The Marital Status of the Church
Have you ever filled out a form that asked after your marital status? Usually it’s the government that wants to know, either for tax or census reasons, but consumer surveyors and banking institutions are also interested. The options are fairly typical: married, single, or divorced. If you were filling out such a form for the Church, you would have to mark “other.” You see, we aren’t single or divorced, but we’re not married either.
2 Corinthians 11:2
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
We are espoused, betrothed. We are not married. This means that the Church is not the bride of Christ. A bride requires a wedding and the marriage of the Lamb is yet to come! We have been promised to one husband, and on the day of our wedding we must be found pure. We cannot afford to play the harlot with other gods. We don’t know when He is coming back. And unlike the crowd who threw the woman caught in adultery down at His feet, He is without sin and is fully qualified to cast the first stone.
The Temple of the Body
When Jesus cleansed the temple the first time, the Jews requested a sign from Him to prove His authority to do so. Do you recall His reaction at other times when they sought signs from Him? Let’s just say that His response was less than complimentary! But on this occasion He gave them no rebuke, just straight prophecy.
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
Do you suppose Jesus didn’t realize that His statement could have been misunderstood? They were, after all, standing in the temple. He had just cleansed the temple. And they wanted a sign regarding His authority over temple affairs. And He says, “Destroy this temple…” Mind games or more of the Master Teacher at work? John clarifies it for us in an aside, “Jesus was talking about the temple of His body.” The Jews’ confusion leads us to believe that Jesus didn’t point to Himself when He made the statement; he left them to draw their own conclusions. In other words, He intentionally spoke of Himself while referring to the temple. This tells us that the temple spoke of Him. In verse 21 we have a treasure trove of truth and typology—Jesus, the temple, and His body.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
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?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
He spoke of the temple of His body. The Church is the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit who inspired Moses to use Adam’s rib nineteen times in the sides of the tabernacle and its furnishings. He caused the writer of 1 Kings to use it seven times in the temple boards and chambers. And He communicated this word to Ezekiel eleven times in describing the sides and the chambers of the Millennial temple that is yet to be. Thus did the Holy Spirit tie together the Bride and His holy habitations.
The chambers of the temple were built around its sides. They served as rooms for the priests and storage houses for the tithes and offerings. It was usually in the chambers of the priests that the holiness of the temple was compromised first. Those unfaithful to YHWH would bring in their false idols and worship them in secret, telling themselves that God didn’t see. But nothing is hidden from the eyes of the Lord, especially in His own house! We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He is with us wherever we go, whatever we do. Should we persist in defiling ourselves, we will not find refuge from His wrath in our status as His dwelling.
Jeremiah 7:4, 9-12
4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.
9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord.
12 But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.
Shiloh is where the tabernacle of Moses was when Israel lost the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines. Because of the sins of the priests and the people, the Lord allowed His glory to depart from that dwelling place and Shiloh eventually became a heap. The people in Jeremiah’s day felt that they were secure from trouble because the temple was in their midst. Surely God wouldn’t allow His house to be harmed! But the Lord let them know in no uncertain terms that they couldn’t live like sinners and pretend to worship like saints. He would rather destroy the dwelling than allow hypocrites to defile it. Ask Ananias and Sapphira if the Lord still feels this way!
We are His body, His temple. We are bought with a price and do not belong to ourselves any longer. It is required of us to be holy, for He is holy. Be not deceived—unrepentant unholy conduct will disinherit you in the kingdom. It is delusional to believe that the house of God is free from judgment. The angels who defiled His sanctuary in heaven did not escape His scrutiny. His people who worshipped at the tabernacle and the temple were continually rebuked for bringing uncleanness into His holy habitation. Woe to any of us who corrupt His Church or are found with soiled garments in that day!