Monday, April 8, 2013

Biblical Motifs: The Temple

motif [moh-teef] noun
1. a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., especially in a literary, artistic, or musical work.
2. a distinctive and recurring form, shape, figure, etc., in a design, as in a painting or on wallpaper.
3. a dominant idea or feature

As we head into week two, I would like to discuss one of the constantly running motifs or themes of Scripture. There are many themes that run throughout Scripture, from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Some of these themes are very subtle, and some are very prominent. All of the themes in Scripture are jaw-droppingly beautiful and awe inspiring. This week we will take a brief look at one of the most prominent themes in Scripture, the Temple of God.


After their exodus from Egypt, the Jewish people always had a temple in one form or another. During their wanderings in the wilderness, they had a portable temple that was known as the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle, which was a beautifully crafted tent, was a visible sign of God's presence among His people. This was the place where the high-priest performed his sacred duties. It also housed sacred artifacts, including the Ark of the Covenant (Remember Raiders of the Lost Ark?).

A few centuries later, after the Jewish people had a permanent homeland, King Solomon would build a permanent temple in Jerusalem (known as the First Temple). However, because of the apostasy of the Jewish people, the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

Eventually, the Jews would rebuild the Temple, which was known as the Second Temple. The Second Temple had a very long and tumultuous history until it was finally destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.; about 40 years after the death and resurrection of Christ.

To this day, the Jewish people have been unable to rebuild their temple. Consequently, they have been without a temple for roughly 2,000 years. Orthodox Jews still live with the hope of rebuilding the Temple someday.

The Temple motif is one of the most glorious themes in Scripture. So here is my question: In light of this history, why does Jesus refer to His body as the Temple (John 2:19-22)?

As always, feel free to add your own questions (and answers) to the mix. Last week was pretty quiet, let me know that you're out there.

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