Temples and houses of prayer are very important assets of religious groups. Here, they conducting their masses, holy convocations and other religious observance. Some religions regarded their temples with great reverence that it seems they were at the very door of heaven. Wearing the best attires that they have, they will enter the door of the temple in barefoot. From that time, no more noise should be heard from all corners except voices of prayers and praises.
- Building of temples or sanctuaries of worship is an old practice in religion, but in the Bible, the first instruction of building a house of worship was given to Moses during the exodus. As a dwelling place of God’s glory in the midst of His children, Israelites erected a sanctuary based upon the plan directed by God to Moses. When the Israelites grew into a great kingdom, the sanctuary was improved into a magnificent structure with impressive vessels and utensils made from precious stones of the kingdom. This old practice became the basis for the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) to build great temples and house of prayers all over the Philippines and abroad. The Iglesia Ni Cristo is one of the most powerful religious organizations in our country along with the Catholic Church and the Charismatic El Shaddai Movement. They believe that the Spirit of God dwells in their houses of worship, like what depicted below.
- But what if the temple that they regarded with great reverence become a place for their crimes and fanaticism, can we still say that these temples are truly where the Spirit of God dwells?
Its true that edifices are important things for the Church. This is where the children of God gather to worship the Creator of heaven and earth, and give glory to Him who gave His begotten Son for us to be saved. But a structure, no matter how expensive and magnificent it is, the Spirit of God does not dwell in this building. The Old Covenant was passed and its temple was already destroyed and became nonsense. When Christ died on the cross, the gospel reported;
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; (Matthew 27:51)
The use of temple as the dwelling place of God had passed. The instruction about the sanctuary that the Israelite should build is only a shadow of a more glorious temple which God pitched, not by the hand of man, for the new and better covenant. This is the temple where the High Priest of the Church minister for the sake of His people.
Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. (Hebrews 8:1,2)
God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people of love God and keep His commandments. “Where two ore three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt.18:20) Where Christ is even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church. Where two or three are present who love and obey the commandments of God, Jesus presides there, let it be in the desolate part of the earth, in the wilderness, or in the city enclosed in by prison walls.