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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.
Praise (αἴνεσις) is defined within Scripture as the fruit of our lips confessing the name of God.
Therefore, because of this let us offer up a sacrifice of praise through all to the God, that is, the fruit of our lips confessing His Name – Hebrews 13:15
Confession means, “to say the same thing”, and “name” refers to the character of a person. This means we praise God when we verbally agree with Him concerning the manner in which He expresses His character towards us.
The angels are seen praising God when they speak of His good will towards men resulting in giving the world Christ, Luke 2:13. After heeding the voice of the angels, the shepherds found Christ and told all of what they saw and heard, praising God as they returned, Luke 2:20.
In the seventh Psalm, a Benjamite writes of praising God according to His righteousness. Righteousness is an aspect of God’s nature that is expressed through His character. David encourages the Gentiles to praise God for His mercy to His anointed, Psalm 18:48, and as his strength and shield he trusts in God singing praises to Him, Psalm 28:7.
Praise can be done with music and song (Psalm 33:2) or by word (Psalm 75:1), for in it we are speaking of God’s name and therefore confessing His character.
For a Christian, praise is a spiritual sacrifice. As priests, we have religious services that we perform before God. One of these sacrifices that is a part of our priestly service is praise. Through praise we express our admiration for God’s grace (Ephesians 1:6), which is based upon expressing a proper opinion of Him (Ephesians 1:12,14). This admiration also expresses itself in the way we live, not just by our words, (Philippians 1:10), so that our faith results in others appreciating God because of His character and giving Him praise (1 Peter 1:7).
What aspect of God’s character is impacting our lives today? Is it his goodness, kindness, love? Or perhaps it is more His longsuffering and faithfulness as we struggle with living a life that glorifies Him in contrast to fulfilling the desires of the flesh. God’s love seeks the best for us, His joy gives us contentment in any situation, His peace settles our minds, His longsuffering withholds His anger, His kindness makes us feel at ease, His goodness gives us that which is beneficial, and because of His objectivity of mind He continues to express these to us even when we refuse to follow His desires for our lives.
Therefore, let us praise God today for who He is, not just with words, but with how we live a life that shows are admiration for Him and expresses a proper opinion of who He is so that others will also praise Him.
Scripture defines faith (πίστις) as the substance of that which is hoped for, the conviction of accomplished deeds not seen in Hebrews 11:1. It is therefore not an attitude or belief that is dictated by probability, that is wishful thinking based upon a desire, want, or need; rather, it is a conviction based upon a promise.
Substance is referring to the underlying essence by which something exists. Christ is the exact image of God in the flesh. Through His life the fundamental nature of God was made visible to humans, Hebrews 1:3.
Conviction is the act of presenting evidence to persuade a person’s mind to believe in the truth. This evidence is established upon accomplished deeds that are not seen. We see this demonstrated in the actions of God when He determined to show the heirs of promise the immutability of His determination by giving two immutable facts, it is impossible for God to lie and making an oath based upon His word, Hebrews 6:13-18. The conviction of faith is therefore based upon the facts related to accomplished deeds that God has done.
Therefore, faith is the essence of that which is hoped for, and by the conviction based upon the facts of the promise that hope is based upon, the individual expressing belief will act according to their confidence in the person making the promise.
Many times in Scripture Jesus called out the faith of those around Him, especially of those who would not normally have faith. When a Centurion, a Gentile, asked Jesus to heal his servant, he expressed faith in the fact that Christ is the Messiah promised to the Jews by only asking that Jesus speaks the words, for one who is of authority only needs to speak and it is done (Matthew 8:7-10). This Centurion knew the promises related to the Messiah and that He would heal the nations, for he had to have had a bases for his faith. It was not presumption or wishful thinking. When Jesus said He would come, the man expressed believe in Christ based upon the deeds He had already accomplished, knowing that if he only spoke it, his servant would be healed. A faith that should have been expressed by the Jews to whom Christ came to fulfill the promises of God to them.
For us today, we are given promises and based upon our trust in these promises we have faith in God. The gospel of the Christ, which involves the gospel for salvation, has within it the inherent ability to save a person (Romans 1:16), and the righteousness of God is revealed through it out from faith, into faith (Romans 1:17). This salvation comes by faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8). The Jews had a promise from God and therefore a faith, so they were coming out from a faith, where the Gentiles were without a promise; therefore, they came into a faith. However, both of these faiths are based upon the facts of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), for salvation is not offered by any other (Acts 4:12).
How we live expresses our faith. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). It is just words coming out of a person’s mouth. One who takes God at His Word is going to act accordingly. This is not someone that lives by law, for that is not a life based upon the promises from God because He said we live out from faith. The law is not out from faith (Galatians 3:12). The one living out from faith is going to keep Christ’s commandments; Believe on Christ, 1 John 3:23, Love other Christians, John 13:14, abide in Christ, John 15:1-4. When we are abiding in the Son of God, we will love other saints and use the fruit of the Spirit, against which there is no law, Galatians 5:22-23
Because faith is the substance by which the conviction of a promise is brought to reality in our lives, we are to put on that faith as a breastplate, along with love and the helmet of salvation, 1 Thessalonians 5:8. These are not fictitious things, but actually protecting our heart, mind, and actions based upon God’s instructions for our lives.
Faith can be used for a specific doctrine, such as how to have victory over Satan, or as a general description of one’s belief in the promises God has given to us. In 1 Peter 5:9, the Apostle Peter writes that we are to resist Satan by the faith. The faith is described in Ephesians 6:10-18, also known as the armor of God. This armor is based upon promises related to our salvation and will overcome the methodologies of Satan who is seeking to devour us by persuading our minds against the truth and getting us to do his will.
Faith has always been a part of our relationship with God. For it is impossible to please Him without faith, Hebrews 11:6. By faith we understand the ages were framed by Christ, Hebrews 11:3. By faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice to God than Cain, Hebrews 11:4. By faith Enoch walked with God, Hebrews 11:5. By faith Noah built an ark that saved his family, Hebrews 11:7. By faith Abraham left his home country and dwelt as a sojourner in the land of promise, Hebrews 11:8-10. By faith Sarah received strength to bear a child, Hebrews 11:11. These and so many other saints all died in faith, not having received the promise because they cannot be made complete before the Church is made perfect, for those of the Church are of the first fruits of the resurrection, Hebrews 11:39. Therefore, they will all be raised after the dispensation of grace is fulfilled and the Church is resurrected, to receive their promises from God.
Since faith is the substance of that which is hoped for, and hope is always based upon a promise, let us make sure that what we are claiming is based upon God’s Word to us. Not what He said to Israel, or to other saints of any other dispensation, for we are of the household of grace and our faith is based upon the promises given to the Church. We therefore have heavenly promises, not earthly ones.
By faith we have victory over sin in our lives by reckoning Christ’s death and resurrection to us and therefore walking in the newness of life we have in Christ. By faith we overcome Satan by putting on the armor of God when he attacks us, which protects our minds from his lies. By faith we live a life that is set apart from the world system for in Christ we have died to it; therefore, we use it, but do not abuse it. Therefore, we are not involved with being manipulated in our lives by the desires from the flesh and eyes and the pride of biological life. By faith, we love other saints, fellowship with one another as we walk by the truth, and partake of a quality of the divine nature as we add to our faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, love, and fondness for other saints. For in doing these things we will never be unfruitful in the full experiential knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life that I live out from faith in the Son of God who gave Himself for me.