Does God Dwell In Temples?
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
“But Solomon built Him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:47,48).
Scripture teaches that the Creator God could not be confined to a man-made temple, but it is also true that the temple in Jerusalem was indeed the house of God. God, Himself, had even stated that “For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” (II Chronicles 7:16). Of course, there is no real conflict. God implies that this place would enjoy His special attention, favor, and Name, but He never claimed it as a dwelling place.
Solomon even recognized this. He said, “Who is able to build Him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Him?” (II Chronicles 2:6).
Today, God dwells in many temples, but they are not made with hands either. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? . . . the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16,17). Likewise, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” (I Corinthians 6:19), and “ye are the temple of the living God” (II Corinthians 6:16).
Not only is each individual believer the temple of God, but the corporate body of believers, the church, enjoys the same standing. Speaking of the melding of Jewish and Gentile believers into one body, Paul teaches that each believer is a stone in “the building fitly framed together (which) groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21). As individual building stones, we are “fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:19,20).
The sanctuary of the living God is not a temple or a church auditorium, but hearts yielded to Him. JDM