Does God Dwell In Temples?
By: John D. Morris, Ph. D.
“But Solomon built him an house. 48. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,” (Acts 7:47-48).
Scripture teaches that the Creator God could not be confined to a man-made temple, but it is also true that the temple in Jerusalem was indeed the house of God. God, Himself, had even stated that “For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” (II Chronicles 7:16). Of course, there is no real conflict. God implies that this place would enjoy His special attention, favor, and Name, but He never claimed it as a dwelling place.
II Chronicles 7:14 - If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Solomon even recognized this. He said, “Who is able to build Him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Him?” (II Chronicles 2:6).
II Chronicles 2:6 - But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?
Today, God dwells in many temples, but they are not made with hands either. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? . . . the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16-17). Likewise, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” (I Corinthians 6:19), and “ye are the temple of the living God” (II Corinthians 6:16).
I Corinthians 3:16-17 - Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
I Corinthians 6:19 - What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
II Corinthians 6:16 - And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Not only is each individual believer the temple of God, but the corporate body of believers, the church, enjoys the same standing. Speaking of the melding of Jewish and Gentile believers into one body, Paul teaches that each believer is a stone in “the building fitly framed together (which) groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21). As individual building stones, we are “fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:19-20).
Ephesians 2:21 - In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.
Ephesians 2:19-20 - Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.
The sanctuary of the living God is not a temple or a church auditorium, but hearts yielded to Him.