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Article: Desecrating Sacred Temples

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Nick P.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word sacred? Do you only think of those things that you see at places like churches? Do you think it only applies to God? Do you think there might be some sacredness in everything?

I am going to make my answer simple. What God calls sacred is sacred. One thing he has called sacred is his image. We are made in his image and that image holds great honor. So much so that a life for a life was a standard as early as Genesis 9 in Scripture.

I was thinking last night like any other 21 year-old single college guy about my own special time with a lady someday. Guys out there know I'm referring to a honeymoon and the thought occurred to me that that would be a scary time. Why? Because I would feel like I was intruding upon something sacred.

My general pattern is to question everything so I thought why this was so. Then it hit me. Because I AM intruding upon something sacred. The human body is made in the image of God. Thus, it is to be treated with sacred honor. Paul points this out several times in his first epistle to the Corinthians.

1 Cor. 3:16Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

Let us picture the temple in the Bible that the Jews worshipped at then as a picture of us. The temple was lovely to look at and beautiful to behold but to enter into the temple, you had to be covenanted with the one behind the temple. Even then, you had to do so with awe and respect.

On a human level, this is best shown in the sexual bombardment of our culture as being violated. One-night stands are more and more frequent. Women are often used by men as no more than objects to satisfy their lusts. When this happens, women can tend to use men as nothing more than objects to make them feel accepted.

Let me say none of these are really wrong. There is nothing wrong with a man admiring a woman and there is nothing wrong with the desire for sex. Again, there is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to feel accepted. The problem is when these desires are answered the wrong way.

Now if there is a covenant though, then one can freely enter the temple. Imagine then intercourse as being a picture of the holy of holies between two human beings. The two becoming one flesh and with God overhead, you have a minor version of a Trinity. Two humans becoming one and with the covenant God blessing the action and in a sense, having it be a form of worship to him.

1 Cor. 6:1 Corinthians 6
16Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."[

Now in our day and age, though, the temples are being violated. It is wrong to take your temple and prostitute it with someone else but considering the harsh warnings in 1 Cor. 3 and Genesis 9, how harsh will it be to one who prostitutes someone else's temple?

The temple until a covenant is meant to be admired from a safe distance. This is why in the Song of Songs we see the man admiring the temple of the lady from a distance and he sure does admire it! However,  it is not until a marital covenant later on that he speaks of grasping the fruit.

Yet so many today are violating other people's temples. This should not be! The human body is sacred. It should only be entered into by another with the blessing of a covenant. Do I believe God will be severe? Yes I do. Let me use an example with the literal temple.

If you remember King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. ransacked the temple in Jerusalem and destroyed it but he carried away the fruits of the temple in the form of the sacred items. Years go by and Belshazzar is hosting his friends in Daniel 5 and they bring out the temple goblets to drink.

At this, a hand appears on the wall and starts writing. Belshazzar is said to be frozen and stiff and shaky at the knees. This obviously terrified the king. Daniel comes in and reads what has been written and tells the king it.

Daniel 5:26 "This is what these words mean:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres : Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."

How about a paraphrase of this message? Belshazzar. Your kingdom is going to be destroyed. You have been weighed on scales of justice and your evil outweighs the good and other kings will take you over. Why does this happen when he brings out the goblets of the temple?

Could God be saying, "You think you're something for conquering my temple?! You think you have the right to lord over it as you see fit? You think you're a brave conqueror that will answer to no one? Then get set for this! You great conqueror will be conquered! You who dodge justice will answer to the just one. You who had conquered will become like the one you conquered."

And it happened just that way. God protects his earthly temple with the utmost respect. Can we not expect him to do the same thing today with us, who are his living temples? With this, I would like to go to a final point.

1 Cor. 12:22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. (Verse 24a only)

Our bodies need to be treated as sacred not only by others but by ourselves. That which is sacred in our bodies should not be used to simply satisfy lusts of others or of ourselves. Many men and women seem to flaunt their bodies today in an effort to get what they want and they often don't care how they are used as long as they get what they want in the end.

Let me again show a parallel with the earthly temple. In Isaiah 39, King Hezekiah has just been healed of a disease that should have killed him. Babylon as an offer of peace sends over envoys. Hezekiah in a prideful show displays the inner beauties of the temple to them. As he tells Isaiah in verse 4, "They saw everything in my palace. There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them."

How many have tried to show all their treasures to another instead of realizing while like Hezekiah, the treasures are to be enjoyed, again, only those who enter the covenant have a right to enjoy them? Hezekiah though chose to flaunt that which was sacred and we know what happened as a result. Babylon would later be the nation that would use those treasures for its own purpose.

Today, our society needs to realize the image of God is sacred. You will not find that in any other system except for Christianity. Judaism stopped at the earthly temple. God himself told David that he had never asked to be in a house of cedar. The real temple God has always wanted to dwell in is the one he himself created from the dust of the Earth, our very bodies. Should we not honor that temple, delight in it, from the opposite perspective, admire it, but keep the sacred sacred and honor the system of covenants with it?

Are you not in the image of God?

Comments? Questions? Thoughts? Suggestions? (Insults were due yesterday.)

God bless

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