04 Building God’s Temple

By John Thiel, mp3

We have contemplated the rock and our encounter with it. In this study we want to culminate in its connection with God’s temple. The rock and its connection with the building of that temple. Recall as we contemplated the rock.

1 Peter 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 

God had known it all before and these particular ones were appointed. They were disobedient, they rejected to have this man to rule over them and in consequence he became a stumbling block, a rock of offence. In Gods church there are a lot of offences from this rock. There was a temple built which had a rock which the builders disallowed. This was Solomon’s temple but there was a temple built different to Solomon’s temple.

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

What is written about the temple that Jesus went to not made with hands? In Hebrews it speaks of him as the minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man. The temple of Solomon and the temple that was built in the wilderness were a figure of the true. Therefore in the building of those temples, in the building of Solomon’s temple even that is a figure is of the building that was built without hands, the temple which is the one of the Hebrews 9. In figure of its construction there was a corner stone. 

The Stone that the Builders Rejected

When the temple of Solomon was erected, the immense stones for the walls and the foundation were entirely prepared at the quarry; after they were brought to the place of building, not an instrument was to be used upon them; the workmen had only to place them in position. For use in the foundation, one stone of unusual size and peculiar shape had been brought; but the workmen could find no place for it, and would not accept it. It was an annoyance to them as it lay unused in their way. Long it remained a rejected stone. But when the builders came to the laying of the corner, they searched for a long time to find a stone of sufficient size and strength, and of the proper shape, to take that particular place, and bear the great weight which would rest upon it. Should they make an unwise choice for this important place, the safety of the entire building would be endangered. They must find a stone capable of resisting the influence of the sun, of frost, and of tempest. Several stones had at different times been chosen, but under the pressure of immense weights they had crumbled to pieces. Others could not bear the test of the sudden atmospheric changes. But at last attention was called to the stone so long rejected. It had been exposed to the air, to sun and storm, without revealing the slightest crack. The builders examined this stone. It had borne every test but one. If it could bear the test of severe pressure, they decided to accept it for the cornerstone. The trial was made. The stone was accepted, brought to its assigned position, and found to be an exact fit. In prophetic vision, Isaiah was shown that this stone was a symbol of Christ. He says: {DA 597.5}

“Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isaiah 8:13-15; 28:16.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit were you able to draw some clear appreciations of the figure to the real?

In infinite wisdom, God chose the foundation stone, and laid it Himself. He called it “a sure foundation.” The entire world may lay upon it their burdens and griefs; it can endure them all. With perfect safety they may build upon it. Christ is a “tried stone.” Those who trust in Him, He never disappoints. He has borne every test. He has endured the pressure of Adam’s guilt, and the guilt of his posterity, and has come off more than conqueror of the powers of evil. He has borne the burdens cast upon Him by every repenting sinner. In Christ the guilty heart has found relief. He is the sure foundation. All who make Him their dependence rest in perfect security. {DA 598.2}

The atonement of Jesus Christ is here spoken of that as I suffer under my pressure and I can’t take it anymore, I’m ready to crack, Jesus is right up close and he is the corner stone that won’t crack. He has taken our burden and we can repose upon that corner stone, the corner stone of experience. It is not just some lovely thought, it is an experience that we meet again and again. Every time the pressure gets too much I see people crumbling around me. How do we crumble? We either walk out of the faith or we change the doctrine or we just go mad. There are many different ways in which we crumble.

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];

2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

In this work we have a clear revelation that the building has been taking place and if you look carefully, who were the builders? God through the spirit and the spirit works through human beings and they are active in building the temple. But who are the people that constitute the temple? Let us search through this study in which we are at the completion of this temple and we are about to experience the consummation which is cited in Isaiah.

Isaiah 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

This is the final consummation of everybody gathered as part of that temple. I will bring them to where?

My Holy Mountain

This is the building of that mountain that is called the temple. It was built upon that rock that we have considered. That holy mountain at the consummation.

Daniel 2:35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

The kingdom of God’s grace is now being established, as day by day hearts that have been full of sin and rebellion yield to the sovereignty of His love. But the full establishment of the kingdom of His glory will not take place until the second coming of Christ to this world. {AG 347.3}

Christ will take to himself his great power and will reign. This development of the mountain will not be fully manifest until the consummation and the crushing rock. When that is revealed then it is completed. Watch its building, a temple without hands. What is that?

Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. ” {DA 509.4}

How wide ranging is that? Is that also in the church that would be built by hands but how is this temple built? The implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the holy spirit.

“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12, 13. Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the word of God. {DA 509.4}

It is the preaching of God’s word which is the building of Gods temple. Not by legislative counsels as man manipulates and controls as that is building by hands but this the temple built without hands. The implanting of Christs nature in humanity. It is the pure preaching of the atonement of Jesus Christ and not merely the philosophy of it. When the message of 1888 came Sr White described as being not merely a presentation of a theory, it was the living power of the Holy Spirit that was delivered in the presentation of God’s word. It was the atonement of Jesus Christ, Jesus becoming at one with me so that I may be at one with him. He was made to be sin for us so we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus prayed for the building of this temple that we would be one as he is one with the Godhead.

John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

When the world sees a temple built without hands they will say wow when they see a company of people standing together not held together by legislation but by the education of the Holy Spirit that they can’t get their head around.

John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Observe the connectivity of each segment of that growing temple.

A Temple Made Without Hands

When people build temples they put a layer of mortar to hold the bricks and stones together. Mark here this building.

1 Peter 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord [is] gracious.

How do you discover the Lord is gracious? When you discover you are a wretched sinner and your horrible condition. Then you see God bringing Jesus into your proximity as he hangs crushed on the cross of Calvary. Now you begin to taste the atonement as you see your sin crushing him.

1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, [as unto] a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, [and] precious,

2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

What does confound mean? I don’t know what I’m here for or what is going on, I’m all confounded. If you build on the rock you will not be confounded. We must become lively stones engaging in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, if you are not doing that, if you don’t know what that means you better quickly find out otherwise you are not part of the building but scaffolding. We are all together and doing things together as a church but only those who are livingly engaging through the scaffolding activity of the death and resurrection of Jesus will be part of that temple. They are the living stones.

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];

2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Can you see the true meaning of this? In the atonement in becoming livingly engaged in Jesus Christ not just believing in him but having the faith of Jesus. As we are then in him, then and then only are we fitly framed together in the actual temple itself.

Christ, the true foundation, is a living stone; His life is imparted to all that are built upon Him. “Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house.” “Each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord.” 1 Peter 2:5, R.V.; Ephesians 2:21, R.V. The stones became one with the foundation; for a common life dwells in all. That building no tempest can overthrow; for “That which shares the life of God, With Him surviveth all.” {MB 150.2}

What is the foundation? The prophets, the apostles and Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone. These have all been before us. We who are now built upon that are built on the exact and absolute purity of the truth of those that have gone before us. There must be no deviation because if there is we are not ready to be put in the temple. The great eternal God that we are one with amalgamated with us in Jesus Christ and with all who are amalgamated with him. Are there any joints in that temple? Impossible because this is not a joining of one to the other, it is an inward melding. This is part of the whole atonement but now you are talking about a building with stones on top of one another but there is no joint. It has become one mass fused together. Separate stones fusing together become one mass and what is that? One big rock, a rocky mountain without any cracks in it. That is the building of Gods temple. Watch the procedure. Watch its building of such an edifice out of the quarry of humanity. The stones were cut out in the quarry and then they were brought to the building and then they were placed at the right time and place in sequence. Everything was cut out and that corner stone was a perfect fit until they built the foundation.

Isaiah 51:1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock [whence] ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit [whence] ye are digged.

51:2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah [that] bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.

51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

This is the everlasting covenant given to Abraham. Look to the pit from where you were dug. Study the development of Abraham as he was hewn and put into place of that foundation.

To those who worship God in spirit and in truth and in the beauty of holiness it will be as the gate of heaven. The company of believers may be few in number, but in God’s sight they are very precious. {6T 363.2}

Remember the gate to heaven. A church is the gate of heaven. Yes and no. when is the church the gate of heaven? To those who worship God in spirit and in truth, the living reality. To them it is the gate of heaven. Not only that but also in the beauty of holiness. As they are hewn and as they are in the church with the wheat and tears but in the wheat and tares of Gods church militant these people are tapping in and picking up the spirit and truth that is contained in the presentation of God’s word. They are worshipping in the beauty of holiness and to them it is the gate to the temple where they will be established in the temple.

Psalms 68:15 The hill of God [is as] the hill of Bashan; an high hill [as] the hill of Bashan.

68:16 Why leap ye, ye high hills? [this is] the hill [which] God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell [in it] for ever.

68:17 The chariots of God [are] twenty thousand, [even] thousands of angels: the Lord [is] among them, [as in] Sinai, in the holy [place].

The chariots of God are many. When Jesus comes with the chariots, still the same thing.

Psalms 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them].

What is it saying? It is talking about the building of the temple. The holy mountain of God is being built as it takes place in the story of Mount Sinai. There in Mount Sinai he was building a foundation. Who was around Mount Sinai? Chariots that were stopping Satan from interfering from with the implantation of Gods holy law. Even in the church where there is rebellious mentality to God, he is among them. Wasn’t that demonstrated in Israel in the Hebrew camp? God was among them no matter what was going on. There were the murmurs and the mixed multitude, Korah, Dathan and Abraham all doing their things and that was all part of the scaffolding as God was there and the foundation was being built there were all sorts of horrible things going on. Did the majority of Israel become saved that came out of Egypt? Did they become part of the temple? How many? Two and maybe a few others that were not mentioned. We don’t know whether they confessed and repented or not. It is not mentioned. All that was left out of those that left captivity were identified and of course Moses. The building of the temple is not the company surrounds the building of the temple.

Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

Did God give gifts to Korah, Dathan and Abraham? Who were they? Princes and leaders. God gave gifts to them.

Leviticus 26:11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.

Ephesians 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

What were the gifts given for? Just because someone is an apostle, evangelist, prophet, pastor or teacher, does that mean he is part of the building? What are they there for?

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

What happens inside the church? This and that doctrine. People are tossed two and fro. Is that happening? Is that true? In every church isn’t it? There is a ministry that is perfecting the saints and edifying the temple of Christ.

Ephesians 4:14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:

4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

We are being built and who is the real builder?

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building.

Whose building? Gods building. The human agency is active only in respect to communicating the word. The rest is Gods building. God’s plan of action, Gods plan of building the temple is evidently via a visible functioning ministry, a visible church indeed. Saul became part of the building when he became Paul and it was through Ananias that he was brought in although Jesus met him personally, it was through the agency of Ananias, Gods church that Saul was brought into the church to become part of the building.

In the ministry of Christ and his apostles, those who were converted to the truth were brought into church relationship; and every stray, lost sheep that was found, was brought to the fold of the church, that under the direction of the Master, through the undershepherds, they might go in and out and find pasture. God has instituted his church and delegated to it his authority and power. He has given it the inspired oracles, provided it with pastors and teachers to carry forward his work on the earth when he should leave it. {ST, October 23, 1879 par. 9}

Many people read this as they having the power and authority. The pastors and teachers were to take his word and that is where the authority was. The glory and power of God is revealed in his church because he is among them. Here is God gives the blessing of his grace, here he reveals the mysteries of his will. While the church is functioning it is a visible company as it has been through history it is not in itself the temple. The church that he is using to build the temple is different agencies which don’t necessarily become part of the temple. They may do, the apostles were part of the temple but some others are not part of the temple.

The church upon the earth is not perfect. It is not the church that will be when Zion is triumphant.–Letter 22, 1889, p. 7. (Written at Battle Creek, Michigan, January 16, 1889, to R. A. Underwood.)

Is the temple of God perfect? Is the church of God perfect? When will the church that is not perfect be replaced? When the church is triumphant. If the church that is now was the church that will be triumphant then she wouldn’t say that would she. The church that is now is not the church that will be when it is triumphant. Why? Because the church that is now is the scaffolding that is building the perfect temple.

The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant.– Letter 32, 1892. {Ev 707.1}

The mentality is that the church militant will shake out all the evil ones and only leave the goods ones. That is not what I’m reading. It is the overcomer in every successive generation that was being built into the temple. Only those who have truly amalgamated with the chief corner stone will then remain as an integral part of the temple.

The life of Christ was a life charged with a divine message of the love of God, and He longed intensely to impart this love to others in rich measure. Compassion beamed from His countenance, and His conduct was characterized by grace, humility, truth, and love. Every member of His church militant must manifest the same qualities, if He would join the church triumphant. {FE 179.3}

Is that simple? The church militant is full of all kinds of people and as already described certain members become living stones that are built into the temple. Then when it comes to the culmination and consummation of that temple of the church triumphant, the last people who are living in the last generation will leave the church militant and join the church triumphant. Is that a fabrication?

Every member of His church militant must manifest the same qualities, if He would join the church triumphant. {FE 179.3}

The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant. The church upon earth is not perfect and it will not be the church when Zion is triumphant. When you read this without preconceived ideas you will correctly conclude. I have no preconceived ideas. If we would do that, the Lord will install us into his temple. It is my prayer that we will continue to follow it through carefully. Here is the process of understanding.

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Posted on January 8, 2011, in Sermons by John Thiel, The Consummation of the Everlasting Covenant. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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