Saturday, July 30, 2016

THERE WAS NO TEMPLE

(A Continuation from the pervious post - Here Comes the Bride)
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It was then that John noticed something else unusual about the city. This time it was not for what the city had, but for what it did not have. “I saw no temple in it,” John says. The absence of a temple indeed would be unusual for John, since the temple of the New Testament times was almost synonymous with the city of Jerusalem. To travel to Jerusalem was to go to the temple.

However, it was immediately quite clear to John why there was no temple in the New Jerusalem. In the same breath he says, “For the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”

This is understandable to us in a spiritual sense, since the temple in the Old and the New Testament was a place where Jews would go to worship God. God was unseen to the people, and intangible, except for the times early in their history when he revealed himself as a blazing fire or as a cloud. The Jews had been taught that the temple was the dwelling of God. Even God himself had indicated this. At Solomon’s dedication of the temple that he had made in Jerusalem, the glory of the Lord came and filled the temple to such an extent that even the priests could not enter it (2 Chronicles 7:1-2). 

Two Words

It is significant to know that there are two different Greek words in the New Testament that are both translated simply as temple in the English. The first is the word hieron, which has at its root a word to indicate something that is set apart or sacred, as an actual temple building made of wood and stone would be. It was not a multipurpose building. It was set apart and dedicated to use for worship. The other word is naos (from naiō – to inhabit). This is a word that refers to an inner but unseen spiritual life that is within a person or even an object, such as the life that is within the buildings of the temple.

These two words often seemed to be used interchangeably in the New Testament. It may be much the same as when we use the word church. When we commonly speak of the church, such as, “This morning we are going to church,” we mean it in terms of the church building. However, we also know that any building made of bricks, wood and glass is not the true church, as when the Bible speaks of the church.

The true inner life of the church is the lives of the believers in Jesus. Sometimes people refer to this as the invisible church, since it is the true church which cannot be seen and is in other ways mostly intangible. However, this is the true inner life of the church of Jesus Christ which does not depend upon a building. The actual life of the church resides in the believers, not in the building.
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Saturday, July 23, 2016

HERE COMES THE BRIDE

The Presentation of the Bride  - (From Revelation 21:9-21)

“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb’” (Revelation 21:9 NAS).

What follows in the text, what the angel showed John, is perhaps to me the most mysterious of any of the Biblical accounts. And I am not alone in this sentiment. When the Apostle Paul was speaking on the theme of husbands and brides and in referring to them, he said, “This mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32, NAS).

By using the word mystery, Paul did not mean it and I do not mean it in the sense in which we usually think of a mystery. To us, a mystery is Sherlock Holms or Colombo putting many seemingly insignificant clues together to solve something that was before unknown. The clues were always there, it just took someone with a superior power of observation and reasoning to put them all together.

That is not exactly the sense of a mystery in the Bible. In the Bible, mystery (mustērion) is a word that conveys the idea of one closing his mouth. (From mueō – shut the mouth). It means that there are many things concerning what John was shown about the bride of Christ that are not yet told to us. There are many things about all of this that are not yet revealed. We do not yet have enough information to really understand what John saw, nor did he have the words to communicate properly and fully what angels showed him.
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