Changes Regarding the Temple

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Changes Regarding the Temple


Changes regarding the temple are crucial to understand the changes from the Old to New Testament. In AD 70, the Roman army came and surrounded Jerusalem. Eventually, the walls of the city were breached and destroyed by the Romans. The temple was also destroyed, and to this day has never been rebuilt. In the New Testament, Christ's followers are called the temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16). Some reasons for these changes are explained from Key Connections: Understanding the Changes from the Old to New Testament (Erickson, Wipf & Stock, 2023).


“In the Old Testament, a physical temple was established for God’s people, as the one place for sacrificial offerings. Sacrifices were made at a specific place that God appointed for his people (Deut 12:5–15). So the land, the temple, and the sacrificial system were all linked together. In early years, this place for sacrificial offerings was the OT tabernacle; later it was centered in the temple that was built in Jerusalem.”


"In the New Testament, God’s plan expands in order to welcome all nations to Christ through the gospel. The gospel was not designed for one people in one land; the message of Christ would be spread to all nations. As a result, there would no longer be one place, one temple where God’s presence would be uniquely known. Instead, God’s people become the new temple, God’s dwelling place (2 Cor 6:16–18). This would be true no matter where God’s people dwelt: in cities throughout the Roman Empire and eventually throughout the world" (Erickson 2023, 23).

“In a comparison of OT and NT texts, it is the NT communities of faith that are referred to as the temple of God; they are also called the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16–17; 2 Cor 6:14–16; Eph 2:19–22). The temple of God’s presence is now the people of God” (Erickson 2023, 29). 


“…in the new temple God was building, Jews and gentiles were being knit together. In Eph 2:11–22, Paul makes it clear that this temple includes both Jewish and gentile followers of Christ. Jesus Christ is the new cornerstone, and “the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:21). Because Christ’s sacrifice was offered for the sins of the entire world, Jews and gentiles would share together in this forgiveness. They would be joined together in the new Christ-centered communities of faith God was forming (cf. 1 Cor 12:13). They would be his new temple” (Erickson 2023, 24-25).


 “….The symbol of the temple in the Old Testament finds its more complete expression in the New Testament: individual believers and the united communities of believers are the new temples of the living God. Not limited to Jerusalem, these temples would be established throughout all the nations wherever people receive Christ and churches are planted. This corresponds with the massive shift from God’s work with an individual nation (Israel) to God’s work throughout the nations—because Christ has come as the Savior of the world” (Erickson 2023, 30).


Excerpts from:

 Key Connections: Understanding the Changes from the Old to New Testament by M. A. Erickson (Wipf & Stock Dec. 2023). The book is available in print or Kindle formats at, at:, Key Connections: Understanding the Changes from the Old to New Testament




This area of change is also addressed in:


Freely Gathered Communities of Faith and the Changes between the Testaments, a dissertation by M. A. Erickson (Wipf & Stock 2019).



The Temple of Israel....

"Key points concerning the temple must be analyzed and related to their transformed emphasis in the NT..." (M. A. Erickson, p. 77).


"The transformation from a physical temple for the OT nation to the community of faith as the temple in the NT is remarkable. No longer tied to a physical temple, the NT communities of faith could flourish as freely gathered communities throughout the Greco-Roman world. The NT communities of faith became increasingly independent from the Jerusalem temple, and the new temple imagery allowed these communities to lay claim to the presence of God as the indwelling reality that was once restricted to the Jerusalem temple. This meant that wherever NT communities would be gathered, the presence of God would be recognized as dwelling within them and among them..." (p. 85-86).


"The emphasis on the community that is based on faith in Jesus as Messiah is tangible in the NT. The presence of God is with the new community because of the indwelling Holy Spirit; the sacrifice of Christ is now the all–sufficient sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins; the barriers between Jews and Gentiles are removed so that the believers can become one body, one temple of God…" (p. 102).



Excerpts from:

Freely Gathered Communities of Faith and the Changes between the Testaments by M. A. Erickson (Wipf & Stock 2019). The book is available in print or Kindle formats at:

 Freely Gathered Communities of Faith and the Changes Between the Testaments at





















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