In the New Testament there are two primary words used for Temple. Hieron (ἱερόν), which describes the temple as a whole and Naos (ναός), the Holy of Holies. This is the inner chamber where God dwells as described in the building of the Temple in Exodus 26:33 as holy of the holies (קֹ֥דֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִֽׁים), where the ark of the covenant resided and only the High Priest was permitted to enter in once a year to make a sacrifice for the whole nation (Hebrews 9:7).

In Matthew, Jesus calls out the foolishness of the religious leaders who had no issue with someone swearing by the Holy of Holies and breaking their promise, but if they swore by the gold of the Holy of Holies then they were obligated to keep their word (Matthew 23:16). They had the same twisted allegiance to the sacrifice rather than the altar. Yet, the one swearing by the altar also swears by all that is on it, and the one swearing by the Holy of Holies also swears by the One who dwells in it (Matthew 23:20).

In one of Satan’s attempts to lure Jesus into acting independently from God the Father, he takes Him up to the pinnacle of the Temple, Matthew 4:5. His intent was to get Jesus to tempt God by casting Himself off the Temple, for Scripture states that His angels will protect Him. The tempting of God is not appropriate, for God cannot be tempted and tempts no one (James 1:13); therefore, Jesus rebukes Satan for even suggesting it (Matthew 4:7). In seeking to accuse Jesus, the Pharisees seeing His disciples picking grain and eating it as they pass through a grainfield on the Sabbath, tried to call Him out for allowing them to break the Sabbath. Their efforts were thwarted when Jesus stated that if they had understood the saying, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” they would have understood why David and his men were permitted to eat of the bread for the priests, and the priests are held blameless when they violate the sanctity of the sabbath (Matthew 12:3-8). It is within the Temple (ἱερόν) where Jesus found the money changers and those selling animals for sacrifice when He came to Jerusalem for the Passover. His response to such disrespect of the Temple grounds was to make a whip and drive them out, John 2:15. The Temple in Jerusalem was built based upon the Tabernacle (σκηνή), which served as a copy of the heavenly things, Hebrews 8:5. For Christ did not enter into the Tabernacle made with hands to offer His blood, but into the heaven itself, into the real Holy of Holies to obtain eternal redemption, Hebrews 9:11-12.

When the spiritual death of Christ was finished on the cross, after the three hours of darkness fell upon the earth and just before He physically died, the veil in the Temple separating the Holy of Holies tore from top to bottom, Luke 23:45. This showed that the way into the Holy of Holies was now open, for while the first Tabernacle stood the way was closed, Hebrews 9:6. In 70 A.D. the Temple in Jerusalem was torn down, just as God said it would be, not one stone left upon another. However, God is not left without a witness and a place here upon the earth, for now the Church is being built up into a Holy of Holies for Him to dwell, Ephesians 2:21.

One of the aspects of our Salvation is that all three members of the God head indwell us. The Holy Spirit is the One that this indwelling is primarily focused on, for while we are in a transitional state awaiting our full redemption, He is the guarantor, sealer, and helper Who fills us where we lack so that we can overcome the desires from our sin nature and have good desires that please God, transforming us to outwardly manifest Christ in us to the world. Therefore, the Church is now the Holy of Holies and our physical bodies are involved in this dwelling place for God, 1 Corinthians 6:19. The Holy Spirit dwells within our spirit, 1 Corinthians 3:16, and anyone defiling the body God will bring to ruin for it is now the Holy of Holies, 1 Corinthians 3:17. As ones who belong to God and are His dwelling place, we are to separate ourselves out to Him and to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what agreement does God have with idols? Or Christ with Belial? We are the Holy of Holies, just as God said He would dwell in them and walk among them, 2 Corinthians 6:14-16.

Therefore let us not forget throughout our day that we are not our own, but were bought with a price and God dwells with us, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. When we do not sense that God is close, it is because we are walking in the darkness, that is, according to the desires of our flesh and in a state of mind that has no fellowship with God. For it is not God who has left us, but we who are ignoring Him. At these times let us cleanse our hands from sin and draw close to God, using the truth to overcome our sin nature and walk in the light so that we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Christ will keep on cleansing us from all sin, 1 John 1:9, so that we continually have fellowship with Him.