At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon prayed that the Lord’s eyes would be open toward the Temple day and night and that He would hear the prayers that His people prayed toward it.
2 Chronicles 6:18 “But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 19 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 20 May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 21 Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.
The Lord answered Solomon’s prayer affirmatively. He would see and hear the prayers offered in the Temple by His repentant people. The Temple would be God’s footstool where His presence on earth would dwell. There was something special and unique about the Temple inasmuch as people would pray toward it or go to it to lift up prayer to God.
2 Chronicles 7:12 the LORD appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
What is the New Testament equivalent of the Temple? Before Jesus was crucified on the cross, his body was the Temple of God. He and the Father were one.
John 2:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” 20 The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
After Jesus rose from the dead, ascended on high, and sent the Holy Spirit, the world-wide Church of Jesus Christ became the Temple of God and His dwelling place on earth.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
Just as the Old Testament Temple was very special, so the body of Christ is also. Just as people sought the Lord by praying toward the Temple or in it, the Living God is to be found by the world in and through the Church.
Ephesians 3:9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Undoubtedly here on earth we shall be unable to fathom the full import of Paul’s grand declaration about the Church. But let’s attempt to have some understanding of how the manifold wisdom of God should be made known through the Church.
Ephesians 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
The Lord has raised up the five-fold ministry to equip His Church for works of service and to attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. The Church is to be like Jesus and to do the works that He did. This is at least in part how the manifold wisdom of God should be made known through the Church. So far the five-fold ministry has failed to complete the task. We are not yet like Jesus or doing the works that He did.
However, we are in the end times, and we personally are beginning to see the Church do the works that Jesus did: proclaiming the Kingdom of God, healing the sick, casting out demons, and making disciples. When believers come together in unity and exercise their authority over demons and disease corporately, we have seen powerful miraculous healings occur without the presence of a specially anointed or gifted or celebrated preacher. These miracles are resulting in the salvation of gospel-resistant peoples like Musl__ms and Buddhists.
We as a body are becoming mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. It is God’s will that the lost should find Him only in and through us, His Temple on earth. He has provided no other way. He is rebuilding His Temple in this present time.
The word of the Lord from Zechariah 4 is being fulfilled….
6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
7 “What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”
8 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.
10 “Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
” (These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range throughout the earth.)”
11 Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?”
12 Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?”
13 He replied, “Do you not know what these are?”
“No, my lord,” I said.
14 So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.”