A Tale of Two Temples

 

          The temple of Diana/Artemis is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. This massive structure was larger than a football field—425 feet long and 225 feet wide. Today only one of its 127 60-foot tall columns is all that survives of it and its glory.

          Because of the sanctity attributed to it, the temple became a storehouse of many treasures. Thieves thought better of robbing a sacred place; therefore, large sums of money and other riches from far and near were on deposit there.

          Because of the sanctity attributed to it, the temple became a haven for criminals. Fugitives from the law used it as a place of sanctuary. Apparently, they were able to avoid arrest and prosecution while in its precincts.

          Because of the folklore surrounding Diana—how she fell out of heaven from Zeus (Acts 19:35)—there was a rationale for the temple’s existence and elegance. In addition, its tourists provided a huge economic boost to the local economy. The city’s silversmiths made “no small profit” (Acts 19:24) from the manufacture and sale of shrines of Diana.

          In stunning contrast, the temple of Jesus is the wonder of the ages and universe. It was personally built by the Son of God (Matthew 16:18) who intentionally (not accidentally) came from the Father. This glorious structure encompasses the entire planet—every tribe, tongue, people, and nation (Revelation 5:9). Since it is indestructible (Daniel 2:44), its pristine glory remains undiminished with the passage of twenty centuries.

          Jesus’ temple is the storehouse of every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3) and a sanctuary for every spiritual criminal who seeks the haven of forgiveness via the gospel’s requirements of obedient, penitent faith.

          Jesus’ temple is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with He Himself being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). The whole building is fitted perfectly together and is a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22).

          The blueprint and purpose of Jesus’ temple were not known until they were revealed by the Holy Spirit. Its mystery is the glorious truth that all people—Jew and Gentile alike—are fellow heirs of the same body and partakers of God’s promises through Christ and His gospel (Ephesians 3:5-6). This holy temple was eternally purposed and is the ultimate manifestation of the manifold wisdom of God in the universe (Ephesians 3:10).

          Two temples.

          One was the best a lost and dying heathen world could build. Yet, the gospel of Jesus plus the erosion of time have reduced it to a single, decaying pillar. The other is the best the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit could devise. Its glory and beauty remain unblemished and will be pristine to all generations forever and ever (Ephesians 3:21).

          The tale of two temples ends with a remarkably simple question: If Diana of the Ephesians and her temple are great, what does that make Jesus of Nazareth and His temple?

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Author: jchowning

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