God dwells in chosen temples
God dwells not in temples
1) What is the supposed contradiction and why is it believable?
2 Chronicles 7: 12,16 says, “12And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night and said to him: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 16For I have chosen and sanctified (set apart for holy use) this house, that My Name may be here forever, and My eyes and My heart will be here perpetually.”
Acts 7:48 says, “48However, the Most High does not dwell in houses and temples made with hands; as the prophet says,”
At first glance, quite honestly I am astonished. The lengths to which this person or people went to list almost 200 comparisons from within the bible and they already misquoted. If you only look at the part that says have chosen this place for Myself as a house I can see where it seems as though God is saying He will dwell within the structure. In comparison to the verse in Acts, I can see how it looks like God says He dwells in chosen temples and then says different through Luke in Acts.
It should also be noted that Webster’s first definition of “temple” is: A building devoted to the worship, or regarded as the dwelling place, of a god or gods or other objects of religious reverence.
A better verse for this contradiction would be Psalm 11:4 that says, “4The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold; His eyelids test and prove the children of men.” Or Habakkuk 2:20 which states, “20But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth hush and keep silence before Him.”
2) What is the truth in these verses and why do they NOT actually contradict each other?
First of all, I researched the meaning of “temple”. The definitions range from “A building dedicated to religious ceremonies or worship” to “A building devoted to the worship, or regarded as the dwelling place, of a god or gods or other objects of religious reverence.” So, is a temple an actual residence of a deity or is it just somewhere that rituals are performed?
Secondly, anyone who has spent time actually reading the Gospel will know that once Christ was crucified, resurrected, and ascended into heaven, that His Spirit, the Holy Spirit began residing in anyone who believes. It was Christ’s death that bridged the gap. The veil in the temple, a physical representation of the divide between God and man was split in two. We see this in Luke 23: “44It was now about the sixth hour (midday), and darkness enveloped the whole land and earth until the ninth hour (about three o’clock in the afternoon), 45While the sun’s light faded or was darkened; and the curtain [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two. 46And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit! And with these words, He expired.” Before the crucifixion, only the Levites (priests) were able to communicate directly with God by entering the Holy of Holies. Essentially it was their job to be a communication link between God and His people. Hebrews 9:11 explains that upon His death, Christ became the High Priest for us and is now the intercession with God through which we are able to communicate and have a relationship with the Holy Father. “But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.”
God’s presence was before within the temple, in the Holy of Holies where the priests met with Him. Now the Holy of Holies is within us, as the Spirit lives within each and every believer, we have direct communication with God, thanks to Christ.
I have a feeling that a lot of these “contradictions” are going to be Old Testament vs. New Testament. Old covenant (buildings, priests, sacrifices, etc.) vs. New Covenant (Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, Christ is the High Priest, The church is now the body of believers)
3) How can we use this to educate ourselves and others to further the Kingdom?
The purpose of the differentiation between the “old” way of having a priest intercede for man to God and the fact that we can now do it ourselves is the key to realizing our personal relationship with God through Christ. Imagine a conversation with someone through a third person. There is always a disconnect, isn’t there? It isn’t personal; the translations might get a little fuzzy as the words pass from one person to another.
God refused to know us personally because of our sin. However, Christ’s sacrifice atoned us for that sin, past, present, and future. As we accept that fact, God gifts us with His Spirit and the meeting place we have with God is in our hearts, in our souls. Regardless of status, a man is still a sinful being. It is only through the perfect being, Christ, whom we are able to talk with God. Christ is the “sin filter” that makes us presentable to God. It’s not a suit on a Sunday morning. It’s not helping the homeless.
God’s presence can be anywhere He chooses, but it is within us that He wants to reside. However, He won’t do it without us being willing; for forced belief isn’t really belief, is it?