The church is the spiritual Jerusalem and the Temple of God, Eph 2:3; Gal 4:26. When Isaiah looked forward to nations streaming to the house of God “in the last days”, he was revealing the coming dispensation of Christ and His church. Joel 2:28-32 shows that in the last days God would pour out His Spirit and that all who called on the name of the Lord would be saved. This is shown in Acts 2 to be fulfilled. Pentecost in Acts 2 is the great day that God dwells among the people in a temple made of believers. Peter said, “4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Pt 2:4,5.
In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah we see this wonderful, faithful remnant of God’s people coming back to the land to build a temple where worship and the law of God would be practiced by the people. And while that temple was rebuilt and Haggai assures the people not to think it was nothing (Hag 2:3), he says that it’s latter glory will surpass that of the first. I’m sure the completed temple in Ezra and Nehemiah’s day was a marvelous thing, though Herod the Great talked the Jews into dismantling it and rebuilding His own more glorious version (see link), but God ultimately had in mind the temple of the church wherein He would indwell His people.
Numerous passages tell us that God does not dwell in temples made with human hands (Acts 17). But He does dwell in believers and in the church, 1 Cor. 3:16,17; 6:18-20; Romans 8:9-11; Eph 1:13; 4:30. Like so many things from the old that were external and cold as stone tablets, so the physical temple was done away with the Old Law so that Christ through the Holy Spirit dwells in His people. That’s just amazing.
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