In Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians—2:3,4—Paul writes about the Great Day of the L-RD and how it doesn’t happen until “the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”
Looking at Barnes’s Notes. He makes the following comment concerning the Temple of G-D:
“Sitteth in the temple of God – That is, in the Christian church. It is by no means necessary to understand this of the temple at Jerusalem, which was standing at the time this Epistle was written, because: the phrase “the temple of God” is several times used with reference to the Christian church, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21; Revelation 3:12; and, . . When the Christian church was founded, it was spoken of as the peculiar dwelling-place of God.”
The Christian Church, according to Pastor Barnes, is the Temple of G-D. I wondered about this.
Jesus did refer to His body as the Temple. “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,c and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. (John 2:18-21)
The references cited by Pastor Barnes refer to the individual Christian, the Christian’s body, as being the Temple of G-D, or the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Is the Pastor wrong? What am I missing?
The Christian Church—the True Church of Christ—isn’t a religious institution, it isn’t a specific place or building. The Christian Church is considered the Body of Christ on Earth, which is made up of all Believers in Christ. In this regard, the Church is the Temple of G-D. Pastor Barnes has a point. The Christian Church is the Temple of G-D on Earth.
When we think of this man of lawlessness of whom Apostle Paul speaks, we think antichrist. When we think about the Temple that will be desecrated by this antichrist we think about a reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem, on the site of two former Temples.
When Pastor Barnes thinks about the Temple he thinks about the Church. He says of the antichrist that he is “claiming in the Church of Christ the authority and homage which God had in the temple at Jerusalem.” Pastor Barnes also dispels the thought that the antichrist must actual say he is G-D. He puts it this way, “Showing himself that he is God – This does not necessarily mean that he actually, in so many words, claimed to be God; but that he usurped the place of God, and claimed the prerogatives of God.”
Rather, then, than a man who stands in a building proclaiming himself to be god, could we understand this as a way of thinking that affects our heart? Think about “authority and homage” in relation to us as individual believers. What have I allowed to hold authority over my life? To what do I give homage that is due only to the Father of our L-RD Jesus? Do I revere and submit to people or institutions or even ideas in any way above or even equal to our G-D? Those would be gods. Idols. Could the views and ideas of politicians, scientists, philosophers, public health authorities, hold sway over me above that of G-D? If they don’t now, could they in the future?
And G-D spoke all these words, saying, “I am the L-RD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the L-RD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:1-5 The First Commandment)