While the Tabernacle was used by the Israelites during the time of their wandering in the wilderness until the time of Solomon, it was Solomon who built the permanent residence for the Ark of Covenant…the Temple.  King David, Solomon’s father had desired to build the Temple, but the Lord did not allow him.  We read in 1 Chronicles 28:2-3, “Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.”  The Lord wanted the Temple to be built by a man of peace, rather than a man of war.  The name Solomon means ‘peace’. 

We read the description and dimensions of the Temple in 1 Kings, chapter 6.  Verses 2-3 tell us, “And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits. And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house.”  In today’s measurements, that is approximately 180 feet long, 90 feet wide, and 50 feet high.

It took seven years to build the Temple and it lasted for about 432 years before it was destroyed by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.  We read in Ezra 1:1-2, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”  The book of Ezra tells of the re-building of the Temple around 538 BC.  This temple also came under attack and was nearly destroyed several times. This caused it to be repaired and rededicated, the latest being done by Herod the Great, which is how it was during the time of Christ. It was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, during the siege of Jerusalem. Only a small portion of the retaining wall remains today. 

The first mention of the church in the Bible is in Matthew 16:18 where Christ said, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  This shows us that during the time of Christ on the earth, the church did not yet exist.  He spoke here of building the church and He claimed ownership of it my identifying it as “MY CHURCH.”  It is interesting to note that the church is mentioned 79 times in the Bible and NOT ONCE does it refer to a physical building.  With the descension of the Holy Spirit in Acts, chapter two, the church began.  We read of the believers in Acts 2:46-47, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. AND THE LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH DAILY SUCH AS SHOULD BE SAVED.” This clearly shows us that people are added by the Lord into His church once they are saved.  This is the only ‘church membership’ that God’s Word speaks of. You can’t join God’s church.  He puts you into it the moment you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior.

While the Lord resided among His Old Testament people by dwelling in the Tabernacle and then in the Temple, today the Lord dwells inside each believer.  Acts 7:48 says, “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands…”  1 Corinthians 3:16 confirms that truth by stating, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 

Let’s briefly consider 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.”  In this letter to “the church of God which is at Corinth” we see that the ‘local church’ was comprised of every believer in a particular city.  There was no division among the Lord’s people.  There is no mention of the church as a building because the church is an organism, not an organization.  The church is the body of Christ as we read in Ephesians 1:22-23, “And hath put all things under his (Christ’s) feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to THE CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BODY, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

There were two physical temples which were destroyed in time.  There is only one church, and that is the Lord’s church.  He is the head of that church as we read in Colossians 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”  (428.2)