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A temple was a house for a god, a place where the god dwelt and was worshipped. This was so in the case of the false gods that Israel’s neighbours worshipped (1 Samuel 5:2; 1 Samuel 31:10; 1 Kings 16:32; 2 Kings 5:18), and in the case of the one and only true God whom Israel worshipped (Psalms 5:7; Psalms 134:1; Haggai 1:8-9; Matthew 12:4; John 2:16; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19; Revelation 11:19).

However, the true God, who is the eternal one and the creator of all things, cannot be contained in a building. The Israelite temple, like the tabernacle before it, was only a symbol of God’s presence. It symbolized that he dwelt among his people (Exodus 25:8; 1 Kings 8:10-13; Acts 7:48-50). God’s original plan for such a dwelling place was the tabernacle, which, being a tent, was a movable shrine that could be set up anywhere. This demonstrated to the people that God was not limited to one locality. The people were to remember this when they built their permanent temple in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 7:5-7; Acts 7:44-46).

The site of the temple in Jerusalem was a piece of land that David had bought from a local farmer on the hill of Zion (Moriah) (2 Samuel 24:18; 2 Samuel 24:22-25; 2 Chronicles 3:1; Psalms 74:2; Psalms 78:68-69; cf. Genesis 22:2). Each of the later temples was built on the same site, on top of the ruins of the previous temple. All three temples were based on the plan of the tabernacle, though they were larger and they included additional features.

Solomon’s temple

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Temple'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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