COGwriter Agrees with Pope on Temple

Pope Benedict XVI


Pope Benedict XVI made a statement yesterday, that I actually agree with.  Notice the following news item:

Holy Father: God’s True Temple Is the Person

Says All People Deserve Respect, Affection

BARCELONA, Spain, NOV. 7, 2010 ( After dedicating Barcelona’s Church of the Holy Family, Benedict XVI made a stop at Catholic charity that dedicates itself to the care of persons with handicaps…

In his address to those present, the Pontiff affirmed that, “for the Christian, every man and woman is a true sanctuary of God, and should be treated with the highest respect and affection, above all when they are in need.”

Does the New Testament connect Christians (Jews or Gentiles) or non-believing Jews with the temple of God?

To determine that, let’s look at those passages in the New Testament that refer to a naos “temple of God” on the earth after the resurrection.

The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Corinth:

16 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. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

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? (1 Corinthians 6:19)

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. (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Notice that the Apostle Paul supports the idea that the naos temple of God now has to do with Christians, not necessarily the Jewish peoples (except those who are Christians and have the Holy Spirit).  Additionally, his wording “know ye not” indicates that this is something that they already should have known.

Notice that the Apostle Paul told the Christians in Ephesus basically the same thing:

19 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;

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Thus, Paul’s writings regarding the naos temple have to do with Christian people and not a Jewish building.

And while I do believe that the Bible should normally be interpreted literally, it is clear that the Apostle Paul repeatedly used the term naos metaphorically to refer to true Christians.

Evangelist Richard Ames of the Living Church of God wrote the following:

Today, God has called His people to be the “temple.” The Apostle Paul gave the Corinthians a warning that we, too, must apply to ourselves: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17).

Brethren, God had continually blessed His people at His house, the Temple (John 2:16–17). Now, we are His temple, and we must honor Him by all that we do and think and say. Christ is the living Head of His body, the Church (Colossians 1:18). (Ames R. The First Pentecost. Living Church News, May-June 2009, p. 7).

In the New Testament, it is clear from the writings of the Apostle Paul and the statements of Jesus that the naos temple that is discussed is referring to Christians (whereas the hieron temple is a physical Jewish building).  Yet, because the same English word is normally used for them both, many are confused when they look at the prophetic end time temples that are discussed.

Of course, the pontiff of Rome and I disagree on many things, but if he was trying to say that the Bible teaches that real Christians are the “temple of God”, then we do agree (though we disagree about who the real Christians are).

Two articles of possibly related interest may include:

Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple?  What do the two Greek terms translated as “temple” signify?  How does this effect understandings of end time prophecy?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?

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