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Bible Insights

Living Stones: What the New Testament Says About Temples and Priests

Through Jesus we become his priests and his temple, which should change everything

In the Old Testament the people go to the temple to encounter God. The priests help them in this. They act as a liaison between them and God.

In many ways we still do this today. We go to church to encounter God. We look for our ministers to help us in our quest, to act as a liaison between us and God.

But this is a wrong perspective. We cling to the Old Testament practice and largely forget how Jesus fulfilled it. Peter helps us understand this in his first letter.

He says we are living stones built into a spiritual temple, prepared for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus (1 Peter 2:5; also see Ephesians 2:22).

Yet from our perspective of going to church to encounter God, this verse is confounding. It turns what we do upside down, and that’s the point. Jesus came to turn the old ways upside down and make something new for us.

We need to embrace this. We need to change our perspectives.

Living Stones

As living stones our actions matter. We live for Jesus. We live to honor him, praise him, and glorify him. We live to tell others about him through our actions and even through our words. Our faith is alive, and our actions must show it.

Spiritual Temple

As living stones we become part of the construction of his spiritual temple. And if we are part of his temple, we don’t need to go to church to meet him because, as his temple, we are already there and can experience him at any time.

Holy Priesthood

As living stones we are being made into a holy priesthood. If we are truly priests through what Jesus did for us, then we don’t need ministers to point us to God, explain him to us, and assist us in encountering him. God is preparing us to do that for ourselves as his holy priests.

Spiritual Sacrifices

As living stones and holy priests, serving God in his spiritual temple, we offer to him a spiritual sacrifice. This spiritual sacrifice negates the need for many of the animal sacrifices and offerings we read about in the Old Testament.

Through Jesus we can do things in a new way. Click To Tweet

This thinking is so countercultural to the way most Christians live today that it bears careful contemplation. Through Jesus we can do things in a new way. We are living stones built into a spiritual temple, being prepared for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices.

This can change everything—and it should.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 1 Peter 1-3, and today’s post is on 1 Peter 2:5.]

Read more about this in Peter’s new book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

How Much Money Does the Church Need?

We Must Be Good Stewards of All That God Blesses Us With

The Old Testament church required a lot of financial support to keep it going. There was a tabernacle to build and transport. The temple later replaced the tabernacle, but it required regular maintenance. The priests and Levites received support too.

This huge need required the people to give their tithes and various offerings, some mandatory and others voluntary. In today’s church, facility costs and payroll expenses make up most of the church’s budget, sometimes all of it.

Yet if we were to do away with these two elements, there’s not so much need for money.

After building and staffing costs, what small amount remains in the budget falls into two categories. First is benevolence, that is, taking care of our own just like the early church did.

Second is outreach, sending missionaries out to tell others the good news about Jesus (Matthew 28:19–20, Mark 16:15–16, and Luke 14:23). Think of all the good a church could do with its money if it directed 100 percent of its funds on these two activities and not needing to pay for facility and staff.

New Testament Church Finances

In the New Testament church, people share what they have to help those within their spiritual community, that is, those within their church. They seldom take offerings and when they do it’s to help other Jesus followers who suffer in poverty.

The third thing they do with their money is to fund missionary efforts. Instead of building buildings and paying staff, they help people and tell others about Jesus. It’s that simple.

Rather than focusing on 10 percent as the Old Testament prescribes, we should reframe our thinking to embrace the reality that all we have, 100 percent, belongs to God.

We are to be his stewards to use the full amount wisely for his honor, his glory, and his kingdom—not our honor, glory, and kingdom.

Paul writes that the love of money is the source of all manner of evil. An unhealthy preoccupation with wealth is especially risky for followers of Jesus, as our pursuit of accumulating wealth can distract us from our faith and pile on all kinds of grief (1 Timothy 6:10).

Keep in mind that Paul is not condemning money. He warns against the love of money. For anyone who has accumulated financial resources, this serves as a solemn warning to make sure we have a God-honoring understanding of wealth and what its purpose is.

When it comes to the pursuit of possessions—our love of money—we risk having it pull us away from God.

Three Uses of Money

We need money to live, but we shouldn’t live for the pursuit of wealth. We should use money to supply our needs, help others, and serve God. Consider these three areas:

First, we should use our financial resources to help fund the things that matter to God. This means we need to understand his perspective. With the wise use of our money, we can serve God and honor him. We must remember that we can’t serve two masters: God and money (Matthew 6:24).

Second, we need God’s provisions to take care of ourselves (2 Thessalonians 3:10). We must focus on what we need, not what we want.

Third we should consider the needs of others. What do they need? How can we help them? Again, as with our own balancing of needs versus wants, we must guard against supplying someone with what they want, instead of focusing on what they truly need.

God especially desires that we help widows and orphans (James 1:27). He also has a heart for us to help foreigners and the poor (Zechariah 7:10).

Therefore, we should give to God first (Exodus 23:19). Then we should concern ourselves with our needs and helping others with theirs. God wants our best, not what’s left over. This applies to our possessions and our actions.

We must direct our money as wise stewards to where it can have the most kingdom impact. Click To Tweet

Where Does Giving to the Church Fit In?

Does this mean we need to give to the local church? Maybe. But it’s much more than that. We must direct our money as wise stewards to where it can have the most kingdom impact.

I question if this means supporting an organization where most—or all—of its budget goes to paying for buildings and staff.

We must reform our perspective on money, realizing that 100 percent of it belongs to God, and we are merely stewards of his gifts. We must use God’s financial provisions wisely in a way that will honor him and have the greatest kingdom impact.

Check out the next post in this series addressing the fallacy of church membership.

Read more about this in Peter’s new book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Why Does God Sometimes Withhold His Blessings from Us?

We Must Put God First Before Worrying about Ourselves

In the short book of Haggai, the prophet has a message for the people and an application for us today. God, through Haggai, chastises his people. They live in nice homes, while God’s home—the temple—sits in shambles.

It isn’t that God wants us to build great monuments for him as much as he wants us to put him first. It’s an issue about our priorities.

God has attempted to get his people’s attention for years, but they miss it. “Consider your situation,” God says. Then he reels off a list of realities for them:

  • Each year you plant much but harvest little.
  • You eat but are never full.
  • You drink but are still thirsty.
  • You put on clothes but remain cold.
  • You earn money, but it doesn’t last until your next paycheck.

“Contemplate this,” he says. God wants his people to put him first and think about their own needs second. When they do this, he will give them plenty.

Specifically, God wants them to rebuild his temple. Though we could assume this means he wants us to embark on a building project for our church—making it our number one priority—this misses the modern-day application.

Remember, Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament, so the need for a physical temple ended because we became his temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and 1 Peter 2:4-5).

God wanted his people to put him first and think about their own needs second. When they do this, he will give them plenty. Click To Tweet

It May Be About Our Priorities

Instead, we can receive this Old Testament prophecy as a call to put Jesus first. That’s an easy enough lesson for us.

However, it gets a bit dicey when we dig into this. Based on the lesson from Haggai, we can assume that if things aren’t going our way and we aren’t receiving God’s blessings, it’s because we have our priorities out of whack, and we aren’t putting him first in all that we do.

Though sometimes this may be the case, other times we may struggle and suffer because God is using our circumstances to grow us into the person he wants us to become. In this situation, we may very well have our priorities correct and, for a season, still not enjoy his blessing.

If we feel we aren’t receiving God’s blessings, it’s up to us to determine why. Do we need to reorder our priorities, or do we need to allow him to grow himself in us, preparing us for the future?

May we wisely discern the reason why.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Haggai 1-2, and today’s post is on Haggai 1:2-11.]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

3 Ways Jesus Changes Our Perspectives about Church

Discover the Revolutionary Way Jesus Fulfills the Old Testament

When we consider that Jesus came to fulfill the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets, what’s important to understand is that we must see these passages in their proper perspective, informing our perspectives about church today.

This doesn’t mean to ignore what was just because Jesus fulfilled it. It means we should consider the Old Testament in its context. In addition to teaching the people how to worship God and the right way to live, the Law and the prophets also point them to the coming Savior, Jesus.

In Genesis through Malachi, we see repeated allusions to Jesus and the freedom he offers to us now. And if we read the Old Testament with care, we will also see that this future revelation about Jesus applies to all people, not just God’s chosen tribe.

Yes, Jesus comes to fulfill the Law and the writings of the prophets. We’re the benefactors of that. Now let’s apply this to the Old Testament ideas of temple, priests, and tithes. to better inform our perspectives about church.

1. New Temple: Living Stones

When Jesus overcomes death, the veil in the temple rips apart, exposing the inner sanctum of the most holy place. This supernatural rending of the veil symbolically allows everyone direct access to God. No longer is God separated from his people, distant and removed.

He is now approachable by everyone. God ceases living in the temple and begins living in us. Our bodies become the temple of God. No longer do we need a physical building. We are his temple.

Yet we cling to the Old Testament idea of a temple and forget how Jesus fulfills it. Jesus’s disciple Peter helps us understand this. He writes that we are living stones built into a spiritual temple (1 Peter 2:5; also see Ephesians 2:22).

Yes, this verse is confounding.

It challenges our perspective of needing to go to church to experience God. Peter’s words flip this practice, and that’s the point. Jesus turned the old ways upside down and made something new. We must embrace this. We must change our perspectives.

First, Peter says we are living stones. As living stones, we are alive—not inanimate rocks. Jesus may have had this in mind in his rebuff of the Pharisees who took offense by the praise offered by his followers.

Jesus tells them that if the crowd doesn’t celebrate his arrival, the stones will cry out to exalt him (Luke 19:39-40). To do this, the rocks would have to come alive.

As Jesus’s living stones, our actions matter. We live for Jesus. We exist to honor him, praise him, and glorify him. Our purpose is to tell others about him through our actions and—when needed—even through our words. Our faith is alive, and what we do must show it.

Next, as living stones, we are part of God’s holy temple, a spiritual house. We become part of the construction of his new worship space. If we are part of his temple, we don’t need to go to church to meet him.

This is because, as his temple, he’s already in our presence, and we’re already in his. This means we can experience him at anytime, anywhere. Through Jesus, God’s temple exists everywhere we go. This is the first of our three new perspectives about church.

2. New Priests: A Holy Priesthood

After saying we’re living rocks built into God’s spiritual shrine, Peter adds two more mind-blowing thoughts. He says these first two truths—that we’re breathing stones shoring up God’s temple—sets up two more spiritual concepts.

Through Jesus we become a holy priesthood so that we can offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus (1 Peter 2:5). If we are truly priests through what Jesus did for us, then we don’t need ministers to point us to God, explain him to us, or help us know him.

God wants us to do that for ourselves as his holy priests.

Remember that back in Exodus, God calls his people to be a nation of priests (Exodus 19:6). But they recoil from that and refuse to cooperate. Later, Isaiah looks forward to the time when the children of God will become the Lord’s priests, ministers of the Almighty (Isaiah 61:6).

At last, through Jesus we’re poised to do just that. And Peter confirms this. As followers of Jesus—his disciples—we’re a royal priesthood. This makes us his holy nation, an elite possession of God.

Our purpose is to praise him for what he did when he saved us from the darkness of sin and moved us into the light of his love (1 Peter 2:9).

But there’s one more thing in this first passage from Peter. As living stones and holy priests, serving our Lord as part of his temple, we offer to him a spiritual sacrifice (1 Peter 2:5).

Though Jesus is the ultimate sin sacrifice to end all sacrifices, we honor what he did by living lives as holy priests that serve as an ongoing tribute to him. This spiritual sacrifice (see Romans 12:1) replaces the animal sacrifices we read about throughout the Old Testament.

This thinking is so countercultural to how most Christians live today that it bears careful contemplation. Through Jesus we can do things in a new way. We are living stones built into his spiritual temple, serving as a holy priesthood to offer him spiritual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5).

Read that again: We are living stones built into his spiritual temple, serving as a holy priesthood to offer him spiritual sacrifices. Wow!

This can change everything—and it should.

No longer do priests (ministers) need to serve as our liaison between the creator and the created. Instead, all who follow Jesus become his priests, a nation of priests, just as God wanted back in Exodus 19:6.

This means that the laity, serving as priests to each other, should minister to one another, not hire someone else to do it for them. No longer is there a need for paid staff to be the link between God and his people. Everyone can now approach God directly, hearing from him and acting on his behalf.

The Holy Spirit who Jesus sent to us sees to that—if we are but willing to listen, hear, and obey what he says.

This is the second of our three new perspectives about church.

3. New Finances: Generosity

Last is that pesky temple tax, which we call a tithe. Today, a church’s building and employees can make up 90 to 100 percent of its budget. But once we remove the facility and the paid staff from the equation, there’s no longer so much of a need for money.

Does that mean we can forget about tithing?

Yes . . . and no.

The Bible talks a lot about tithing. In the Old Testament, God instituted tithes to support the religious institution he mandated for his people. This sacred institution included the tabernacle/temple, the priests, and the Levites.

To extend the financial support of the Old Testament temple and its priests to the modern-day church and its ministers is a misapplication. When Jesus fulfilled the law, he replaced both, turning us—you and me—into priests and making us into his temple.

Instead of the old way of doing things, Jesus talked about helping those in need and being wise stewards (Matthew 25:14-29). The early church in Acts shared all they had with each other (Acts 4:32).

That’s 100 percent. And being a faithful steward of all God has blessed us with also implies 100 percent—all things (1 Corinthians 10:31). We are to use every penny in the best way possible (1 Corinthians 10:24).

Whenever the New Testament mentions tithing, it always refers to the Old Testament practice. Nowhere do New Testament writers tell us to give 10 percent to God. And they never command us to donate 10 percent to the local church. Yet this is precisely what many ministers preach.

Instead we see New Testament commands and examples to use the money God blesses us with to cover our needs—not our wants (Hebrews 13:5), help others (1 Corinthians 10:24), and advance God’s kingdom (1 Peter 4:10).

Rather than tithing to church, we see a principle where everything we have belongs to God. We are to be generous stewards of his blessings, in turn using them to bless others (Genesis 12:2). We must use our resources to help those in need and advance God’s kingdom, not to support and perpetuate a religious institution.

If you feel a responsible use of God’s money is to support your local church, then do so. However, if you think the money is better used somewhere else, then donate to that cause. But never let preachers mislead you—or rile up guilt—by insisting you do something the Bible doesn’t say to do.

This is the third of our three new perspectives about church.

Status Quo Perspectives about Church

Yes, it’s easy to do what we have always done. It’s comfortable to cling to the status quo, but Jesus offers us so much more—and he yearns for us to take hold of it. There is a new way to worship God, to worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24)—and it doesn’t involve attending church each Sunday.

So stop following the Old Testament model of church: going to a building to meet God, revering the clergy, and tithing out of guilt or obligation. Instead, be God’s temple, act like priests, and share generously. This is the new model that Jesus gives us.

We should be God’s temple, act like priests, and share generously. This is the new model that Jesus gives us. Click To Tweet

So why do we persist in following the Old Testament model of going to church to seek God, being served by a minister, and tithing when Jesus died to give us something new, something much better?

Jesus turned us into his temple, promoted us to priests, and changed the 10 percent temple tax into a principle of generosity.

Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament. He offered himself as the ultimate sin sacrifice and then overcame death by rising from the grave. In doing so, he turned us into his temple, promoted us to priests, and changed the 10 percent temple tax into a principle of generosity.

Read more about this in Peter’s new book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Who Was Supposed to Build God’s Temple?

Nathan’s Prophetic Words May Carry a Double Meaning

Once King David has his kingdom established, he wants to build the temple for God and tells the prophet Nathan. Nathan gives him his blessing to proceed, but later God gives Nathan a different message.

Nathan returns to David and says, “You are not the one to build a house for God. Instead your offspring will build God’s temple.” Then Nathan shares a prophecy about David’s legacy and his offspring who will build God’s house (1 Chronicles 17:11-14).

Solomon Builds a Physical Temple

In expectation that David’s son Solomon will erect the temple, David amasses resources for its construction. After Solomon assumes the kingship, he proceeds to build God’s temple in Jerusalem.

The finished temple is a stunning tribute to the Lord God. It’s a grand edifice that will serve as a center of Hebrew worship for centuries. It’s completion fulfills Nathan’s prophecy.

Or does it?

Jesus Establishes a Spiritual Temple

Read Nathan’s prophecy again—carefully. Consider every word. Is the prophet speaking of Solomon or about Jesus?

Nathan prophetically says that after David dies, God will raise up one of David’s offspring to succeed him, one of his own sons (Solomon succeeds him, but this happens before David dies, not after).

This king will build God’s temple (Solomon does), and God will establish his rule forever (Solomon’s rule ends, but Jesus rules forever). God promises to be this future ruler’s father, who will be his son (Jesus, the Son of God, fits this perfectly).

Furthermore, God promises to never take his love away from this future ruler (though God strips the kingdom away from Solomon’s son, God’s love for Jesus is without question).

Last, God will establish this future king’s rule forever. His kingdom and his reign will never end (Solomon dies. Jesus rules eternal).

When Jesus becomes our perfect sacrifice in payment for all the wrong things we have done, he fulfills the Old Testament. This includes the practice of worship. There is now no more need to go to a physical place to worship God.

We become living stones used to build God’s temple, a spiritual house for him. We become his priests and offer spiritual sacrifices to him (1 Peter 2:5; also see Ephesians 2:22).

Both Solomon and Jesus emerge as fulfilling Nathan’s prophecy to build God’s temple. Click To Tweet

Who Fulfills Nathan’s Prophecy?

Who builds God’s temple, Solomon or Jesus? Who best fulfills Nathan’s foretelling? David certainly understood this prophecy to be speaking of his son, Solomon. Solomon acts accordingly and constructs the temple for God.

But I don’t think this is what God intended with Nathan’s prophecy. God was looking much farther into the future. He wasn’t speaking in literal terms about Solomon as much as speaking in figurative terms about Jesus, his son.

Though both Solomon and Jesus emerge as fulfilling Nathan’s prophecy to build God’s temple—albeit in different ways—Jesus accomplishes it more fully than Solomon.

Many prophecies are like this, carrying a double meaning. But we can best see Jesus as fulfilling this prophecy.

Thank you, Jesus!

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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All Progress Faces Opposition

Our response to resistance determines the outcomes we realize

In the beginning of the book of Ezra we have the story of Zerubbabel, who under direction of King Cyrus, begins to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. His job is a noble one and backed by the full support of the Persian Empire and all that it entails.

Yet things do not go smoothly for Zerubbabel. He faces opposition from his detractors who do not want to see him succeed. They don’t care what the king says, even though he could crush them.

The resistance to Zerubbabel’s temple restoration project starts by stirring up discouragement and trying to make the people afraid. Next they offer bribes to appointed officials in order to thwart the plans and frustrate the work.

To his credit Zerubbabel doesn’t back down. While the easy response would be to cease work, he doesn’t give up. He persists. He leads his people to complete their work, despite much resistance from those around him and corruption from the government officials over him.

Any time we pursue something good, we will face opposition and encounter resistance. Click To Tweet

Any time we pursue something good, no matter how much backing we have, we will face opposition and encounter resistance. Sometimes the source of this opposition will surprise us, but it shouldn’t.

We need to accept that this will occur. In fact, we should prepare for it and be ready to rely on God to protect us and help us see our project through to completion.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Ezra 4-5, and today’s post is on Ezra 4:4-5.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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God Deserves Our First, Our Best, and Our Most

How much time we spend on our activities reveals our priorities

King David longs to build a temple for God, but God says this is not to be. Another, a descendant of David, will attend to its construction. Instead David must content himself with the temple’s planning and in accumulating its building materials.

Then he dies, having never seen the temple he desired to build.

Solomon succeeds his father, David, as king of Israel. Solomon oversees the construction of the temple. A grand edifice, it takes seven years to build, a fitting effort for God’s earthly dwelling and the center of Jewish worship and life.

However, in a telling aside, the Bible indicates that Solomon spends almost twice as much time building his own residence. This seems out of balance: seven years for the house of God and thirteen years for a house for Solomon. What does that say about Solomon’s priorities?

The temple is for all the people, as well as for God; the palace is for Solomon. Yes, the palace must be a structure worthy of a king, but spending over a decade on its building may be a bit much, especially given that it consumes almost one third of Solomon’s forty-year reign.

We must truly make God our priority. Click To Tweet

Yet I wonder how often we effectively do the same thing, placing greater emphasis on the things we do for ourselves than the things we do for God, the time we spend with him, and the offerings we give. We need to not only put him first, but he also deserves our best and our most.

I fear we too often fall short in those areas.

We must truly make God our priority.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 1 Kings 5-7, and today’s post is on 1 Kings 6:38-7:1.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Jesus Rends the Veil That Separates Us From God

In the Old Testament, the people perceive the temple as God’s dwelling place here on earth. Therefore, to approach God they need to go to the temple. They worship God there and no place else. The God in the Old Testament commands it.

In the temple hangs a thick, heavy veil (curtain) that separates the temple’s inner sanctum where God resides (the Holy of Holies) from the regular people, even most of the priests. The only person who can enter it is one specially selected priest and then only once a year.

Jesus Dies to Change that

At the moment Jesus breathes his final breath the veil in the temple rips in two, symbolically allowing the people direct access to God, without the need for a priest to act as an intermediary. Additionally the veil tears from top to bottom, from heaven to earth, to show that God initiates it.

This is Jesus’s doing, not man’s.

Now through faith in Jesus we may approach God directly, freely and with confidence. The veil is gone. We have no need for a middleman to act as our liaison to God.

We are living stones being built into a spiritual temple by God. Click To Tweet

Peter writes that we are now living stones. God actively builds us into a spiritual temple. We are to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices to him.

That is who we are through Jesus.

[Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45, 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, Ephesians 3:12, 1 Peter 2:5]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Have You Ever Been Overwhelmed by the Glory of God?

When Solomon dedicated the temple, the people praised God with much fanfare and then something strange happened.

Have you ever been that overwhelmed with the glory of God? Click To Tweet

A cloud formed—inside the building. But there’s more. “The Glory of the Lord filled the temple.” It became so intense that the priests couldn’t even work; God’s presence was that strong. It was extreme.

They became overwhelmed with God’s presence and his glory. But what exactly does that mean?

  • It could be the awe of God engulfed them to such an extent that nothing else mattered.
  • It could be that fear of being so close to God effectively paralyzed them.
  • It could be the cloud was so thick—that is, God’s presence was so heavy—that they literally couldn’t see what they were doing, or
  • It could be that with God in the house nothing else mattered.

Regardless of the explanation, we can conclude that God’s presence was so significant that all activity ceased.

Can you imagine worshiping God and collectively feeling his presence to such an extent that all the singers stop singing and all the musicians stop playing? Silence fills the room and nothing else matters. Then the highest form of worship becomes to simply do nothing and bask in his presence.

Have you ever been that overwhelmed with the glory of God?

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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The Curtain in the Temple was Torn in Two

The Curtain in the Temple was Torn in Two

The “Holy of Holies” (also called “the Most Holy Place” or “the Holiest of all”) was the innermost part of the tabernacle and later, the temple. It was so sacred that only the high priest could enter it and then only once a year.

When Jesus died, the veil (which was very thick, more akin to a wall) in the temple around the Holy of Holies was torn in two, from top to bottom. This is significant for two reasons:

Jesus changed things indeed, making it possible for all us to directly approach God. Click To Tweet

First, being torn from the top down signifies that it was God’s doing. Since it was 30 feet high, a person would only be able to tear it from the bottom up. In effect, God was saying, I’m changing the old way of doing things.

More importantly, this opened up the Holy of Holies, showing that everyone could now approach God, at any time—not just the high priest once a year.

Jesus changed things indeed, making it possible for all us to directly approach God.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.