14th October 2019

The Image in the Temple

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
Exodus 20:4 (NIV)

I recently learned that when people make a temple to a particular god, they usually set up an idol of the god in the temple. They believe that using special rituals will bring the spirit of the god to inhabit the idol.

The second of the Ten Commandments given by God to his people, quoted above, instructs us not to make any images of God. I believe that this is almost certainly because we are made in the image of God. As Genesis 1:27 says, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Scripture further teaches us that we are the temple of the living God, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16). Again later in the same book we are asked, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV). Further in 2 Corinthians 6:16 we find the same prohibition as in the second commandment, “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.”

John in the Book of Revelation says that in his vision of the Holy City, the coming kingdom, “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” How well this fits in with what Christ tells his disciples about the Holy Spirit coming to live with you and be in you (John 14:17) and in John 14:20, “On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

The image of God, the only image God wants, in the only temple God wants, is God in his people and his people in God. Jesus sums this up in John 17:20-23, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me.”

Father, may we be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent your Son and have loved us even as you have loved Christ.

Study by Christina Campbell

Christina Campbell attends the Glasgow congregation of Grace Communion International in the UK, where she is an occasional speaker and Bible Study facilitator.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Glasgow
St Stevens Presbytery
(Garnethill Room)
260 Bath Street
G2 4JP

Meeting time:
Sunday 11:15am

Local Congregational Contact:
Ian Smillie
Phone: 01505 348758
Email: glasgow@gracecom.church

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