We have recently written two articles about the topic of assembling together. The tabernacle and Temple were central in both these studies. This time we are going to look at the Temple from a different, more spiritual, point of view. We have been taught that we are living temples of the Holy Spirit, (YHVH”s set apart Spirit), but are we really? Does His Set apart Spirit dwell in us?
We shall first study to see what we can learn about the physical temple…
The physical Temple
We know from our previous study “ Assembling together…how did we get from a tabernacle to a church or synagogue,” that David wanted to build a house for YHVH. YHVH did not command it, nor did He give specific instructions regarding what it should look like. This Temple, as was the tabernacle, was built as a dwelling place for YHVH.
YHVH did, however, give some very important instructions to Solomon regarding how they were to conduct themselves in order to ensure that He continues to dwell in the Temple.
1 Kings 6:12–14
12 “Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will carry out My word with you which I spoke to David your father. 13 “I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” 14 So Solomon built the house and finished it.
YHVH is, firstly, holy and secondly, wants to be worshiped in a specific manner. He gave detailed instructions regarding this. We also know that YHVH did indeed dwell in this Temple, it was filled with His glory.
1 Kings 8:10–11
10 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of YHVH, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of YHVH filled the house of YHVH.
What a magnificent day that must have been!
What happened when Israel succumbed to sin? Did YHVH continue to dwell in the Temple in their midst? We know that He was patient for a long time, He sent prophets to warn His people, but to no avail. His Holy Spirit left the Temple. We read about it in Ezekiel.
4 Then the glory of YHVH went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of YHVH.
18 Then the glory of YHVH departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. 19 When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of YHVH’s house, and the glory of the Elohim of Israel hovered over them.
22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the Elohim of Israel hovered over them. 23 The glory of YHVH went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city.
The Spirit of YHVH left the Temple and the people were taken into exile, that is what YHVH told them would happen in Lev 26:14-39, if they did not keep His commandments. We have previously written about this passage and how we are seeing the fulfillment of it in our day. You can read more about it in the article “If you will not return to Me…“
If we say we are Temples of YHVH’s Holy Spirit, then this applies to us too. YHVH is a holy Elohim, He gave us specific instructions on holiness. Why? Because He is holy (set apart), and therefor we need to be holy.
2 “Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I YHVH your Elohim am holy.
This was said by YHVH three times, in so many words. Two other references are Lev 11:44 and Lev 20:7. It is also repeated in 1 Pet 1:16.
What is holiness?
7705 קָדוֹשׁ (qā·ḏôš): adj.; ≡ Str 6918; TWOT 1990b—
1. LN 88.24–88.35 holy, i.e., pertaining to being unique and pure in the sense of superior moral qualities and possessing certain essential divine qualities in contrast with what is human (Lev 11:44);
2. LN 53.44–53.52 sacred, consecrated, i.e., pertaining to what is dedicated in service to God (Nu 6:8);
3. LN 11.12–11.54 saints, God’s people, i.e., persons who belong to God, and as such constitute a religious entity (Ps 16:3; 34:10);
4. LN 12.1–12.42 holy one, i.e., a supernatural being that is not God (Da 8:13); 5. LN 12.1–12.42 Holy One, i.e., a title of God (Ps 22:4), note: further study may yield more domains1
Holiness is set apartness, purity in the sense of superior moral qualities, dedicated in service to YHVH.
YHVH gave us instructions in order for us to be set apart. He instructed us about the clean and unclean, the holy and the profane. He also instructed us how He wants to be worshiped and when, His Sabbath and His appointed times. Some of His instructions include what we are to eat and how we are to conduct ourselves when we come into contact with uncleanness. We have written a few articles about these topics: “To eat or not to eat, what is the Scriptural standard? , Modesty…the holy and the profane, Family purity and the law of Niddah and Uncleanness and separation…are these commandments still for us?” He furthermore gave us instructions regarding what He doesn’t want us to do. YHVH basically gave us instructions for living in a way that is pleasing to Him.
These instructions, when followed will result in set apartness or holiness. I like using the word set apart for it is more descriptive. The Merriam-Webster has “qados” as dedicated to the service or set apart by religion.
1 dedicated to the service of or set apart by religion <pilgrimages to holy places>
synonyms blessed, consecrated, hallowed, sacred, sanctified, unprofane; compare SACRED 22
These instructions, His law, is still applicable to us. YHVH is still the same, He does not change.
6 “For I, YHVH, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
19 “Elohim is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Now that we have determined what is required for the physical Temple, we need to look at how this applies to the spiritual temple, us.
We are Temples of YHVH
It makes sense to compare the physical with the spiritual. We, often, see in Scripture how the physical is a picture of the spiritual, the tabernacle is a good example.
Without making assumptions now, let us first search the scriptures to see where it is said that we are Temples of the Holy Spirit and in which context.
Y’shua spoke of His own body as a temple.
19 Y’shua answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
We know that Y’shua was filled with YHVH’s Spirit. It is probably from Y’shua that Paul got this revelation that we, too, are temples of the Spirit of YHVH.
1 Corinthians 3:16
16 Do you not know that you are a temple of Elohim and that the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 6:19
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from Elohim, and that you are not your own?
What does it mean “not to be your own?” It means that we were bought with a price, we were redeemed with the blood of Y’shua, we are therefor not our own to do as we please. We are bond-servants. However, let us not get side-tracked…
The next reference is also from the Apostle Paul:
22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of YHVH in the Spirit.
Do you see what Paul is saying in Ephesians? He said we are “being built.” Keep this in mind as we will get back to this.
Our bodies are compared to the temple, a dwelling of YHVH in the Spirit. What does this mean? It means that we can apply what YHVH instructed Solomon to ourselves as well.
What is required of us?
We have seen earlier, that YHVH gave Solomon specific instructions, He said He will dwell in that temple as long as they obey His commandments. His specific words were in 1 Kings 6:12-14: “ if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will carry out My word with you which I spoke to David your father. 13 “I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.”
This is very important! YHVH will dwell in our Temples if we will walk in His statutes and execute HIs ordinances and keep all His commandments by walking in them, then He will carry out His word with us which He spoke to David our father. “I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.”
YHVH’s Spirit dwells in those who have faith in Him and are obedient to Him! This said, do we have to be perfect before YHVH’s Spirit will dwell in us?
Do we now have to be perfect before YHVH’s Spirit will dwell in us?
Let us look at our physical example of the Temple again. Did YHVH’s Spirit enter into the temple when it was dedicated, or did His Spirit only enter in after they have proven that they could do, perfectly, what YHVH required of them? We know from Scripture that His glory entered the Temple on the day the Temple was dedicated to YHVH.
We believe it is the same with us. When we come to faith, confessing our sins and dedicating our lives to Him, His Spirit can enter in. We find many witnesses to this in Scripture.
13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
The next passage is about Peter going to the house of Cornelius, after having received the message from YHVH that He is not to regard gentiles as unclean. While he was still telling them about Y’shua and how He is the Messiah, fulfilling the prophecies, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.
Others were filled with YHVH’s Spirit by the laying on of hands after they came to faith, but that is not the point. The point is that you do not have to be perfect in order to receive YHVH’s Spirit. It is also not about your works, but about faith.
2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
This is true, but did you know that to have faith is not just a passive belief. We have learned before that Faith is something you do! You can also read about how Obedience follows repentance. It is the natural next step. We can not repent from sin and then just go right back and do it again.
We also know that sin is the transgression of the law (1John 3:4) So when we repent of our transgression of YHVH’s law, we need to afterwards be obedient to that same law. Does this not make logical sense to you?
We have a responsibility to live a life pleasing to our Heavenly Father, a set apart life as His set apart people. We do this out of love for Him in order to please Him.
This set apartness is a process, a process of sanctification. It is for this reason that Paul said “we are being built. ” We are led by His Spirit in this. Can you say you are the same person you were two years ago, or have you grown spiritually? You and I are being built together into a dwelling of YHVH.
The Temple and idols
Paul asked the question in 2 Cor 6:16 “what agreement has the temple of Elohim with idols” We need to answer this question: Can we live a life of willful disobedience and say that YHVH’s Spirit lives in us? Would that not be like having idols in His Temple…
Can we just assume that YHVH’s Spirit will continue to dwell in us if we believe in Y’shua, but continue to live in willful disobedience? Can we continue to do all the things we used to do, that are contrary to His Word? Things like murder, theft, adultery? Can we continue to worship Him on a day He did not command, continue to celebrate Christmas and other “holy” days He did not instruct us to observe, while ignoring His Sabbath and appointed times? You can answer that question for yourself and make the necessary changes. Ask YHVH to reveal His truth about the matter to you.
We are to remove the idols from our Temples and dedicate ourselves fully to YHVH. However, even if we are fully dedicated and obedient to YHVH, we may still sin. We may sin in our thoughts, our words or our deeds. What is the implication of this? Will His Spirit now leave us?
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
To, willfully, sin against YHVH is rebellion. If we know what is right to do, and we do not do it, it is rebellion and we grieve the Holy Spirit when we rebel.
10 But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.
What is rebellion?
5286 I. מָרָה (mā·rā(h)): v.; ≡ Str 4784; TWOT 1242—LN 39.34–39.41 (qal) rebel, defy, become disobedient, i.e., be openly defiant of an authority, implying hostility, including not obeying a command (Dt 21:18), see also domain LN 36.12–36.30; (hif) act. as a rebel, defy by one’s action (Ps 78:56), note: for NIV text in 2Ki 14:26, see 52531
What does the Hebrew word “asap” translated as “grieve” mean?
6772 II. עָצַב (ʿā·ṣǎḇ): v.;
· distressed, i.e., pertaining to a state of emotional distress and sorrow (Isa 54:6+); (nif) grieved, be distressed (Ge 45:5; 1Sa 20:3, 34; 2Sa 19:3[EB 2]; Ne 8:10, 11+); (piel) grieve (Isa 63:10+); (hif) grieve, cause grief (Ps 78:40+); (hitp) filled with grief, be filled with pain (Ge 6:6; 34:7+);
· (qal) properly train, formally, grieve, i.e., give discipline and training to a child for right living, as an extension of causing grief to another (1Ki 1:6+), note: NIV translates “interfere with;” note: some change text to 6806, with a different focus as “mistreat, oppress;” note: some parse 1Ch 4:10 as n.masc. of 6778;
· injured, i.e., pertaining to being physically harmed or wounded (Ecc 10:9+); 4. LN 33.134–33.155 (piel) twist, distort, i.e., speak in a manner which deliberately misinterprets statements or arguments (Ps 56:6[EB 5]+)
6773 עָצָב (ʿā·ṣāḇ): n.[masc.];
· idol, image, i.e., a formed and fashioned object believed by its maker to contain or represent a deity, and so an object of worship and reverence (1Sa 31:9; 2Sa 5:21; 1Ch 10:9; 2Ch 24:18; Ps 106:36, 38; 115:4; 135:15; Isa 10:11; 46:1; Jer 50:2; Hos 4:17; 8:4; 13:2; 14:9[EB 8]; Mic 1:7; Zec 13:2+)1
What happens when we grieve the Holy Spirit? YHVH is full of mercy, but He is also just. If we continue in disobedience, His Spirit will leave us. King Saul is also an example of how the Holy Spirit left him when He willfully disobeyed.
1 Samuel 16:14
14 Now the Spirit of YHVH departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from YHVH terrorized him.
Let us just back up a few verses for context.
1 Samuel 15:22–24
22 Samuel said, “Has YHVH as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of YHVH? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of YHVH, He has also rejected you from being king.” 24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of YHVH and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.
These are hard words! YHVH’s Spirit will leave us when we continue in rebellion agianst Him, just like He left Saul and the Temple. We can only pray for YHVH’s mercy for each of us who sometimes willfully disobey YHVH’s instructions.
It is interesting to notice that the Hebrew word “Asab” also means an idol or image. To grieve YHVH’s Set apart Spirit is, furthermore, to make an image or a misrepresentation of Him. What do we do when we say the Spirit of YHVH has told us to do something contrary to His word? We grieve Him, because we misrepresent Him. When we say Y’shua has abolished the law, and we say that we are taught not to obey His commandments by His Holy Spirit, we grieve His Spirit, for we misrepresent Him. This is serious!
YHVH changes not, what He said He will do, and He does not change His mind. He did not make a mistake when He gave us His instructions! To teach that His commandments or law has been done away with, grieves His Spirit for it misrepresents Him. He is not the author of lawlessness; He is set apart, and He wants us to live set apart lives. He told us how to do that in His Word.
Paul said it very well!
2 Corinthians 6:16–18
16 Or what agreement has the temple of Elohim with idols? For we are the temple of the living Elohim; just as Elohim said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people. 17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says YHVH. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18 “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says YHVH Almighty.
This is a wonderful invitation to us, we are to come out and be separate and live our lives in accordance to His Word.
7 “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says YHVH of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’
We know what to do, we can still return to Him, there is still time. Pray that YHVH will continue to have mercy upon us.
- Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- Merriam-Webster, I. (1996). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate thesaurus. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.
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