Our Worship – Lesson 29 – The Temple

What was the Temple?

The Temple in Jerusalem was the house of God.  It was initially built by Solomon to replace the tabernacle (tent of meeting) that had followed the children of Israel in their journey from Egypt to the promised land.  The Temple had an outer court called the court of the women.  It had an inner court where the actual building was.  In front of the building was the altar of sacrifice where they made the various animal sacrifices.  Inside were two rooms.  The first, larger room was called the holy place.  In this room was the table of showbread where the bread from the grain offerings was laid.  Also in this room was the lampstand which reminded them that God, the light of the world dwelt there.  The other furnishing was the altar of incense where the offering of herbs was burned that the petitions of God’s people would rise to God with the aroma of the sacrifice from outside and God would hear the prayers of His people for forgiveness and daily needs.  The smaller room was the holy of holies.  It was separated from the holy place by a curtain.  Inside was the mercy seat of God (originally the ark of the covenant) where God dwelt in all His fullness on earth.  The high priest would enter into this room once a year on the day of atonement (Yom Kippur) to bring the blood of the sacrifice (lamb) to cover the sins of the people.

What does Temple have to do with our worship?

The worship in the Temple was centered around the presence of God.  They came to the Temple because that’s where God was.  The second part of our service is a celebration of the presence of God.  He is present in His Word and in the grace given us in Baptism.  The main focus of the second half of our worship, however, is His presence in the Sacrament of the Altar.  The early church rejoiced in this meal where Christ was truly present with His grace.  They combined the worship of the Temple with that of the synagogue to make our worship experience.  They rejoiced that Jesus is the Temple because He is where God dwells in all His fullness.  Since Jesus is with us in worship, we are in God’s Temple.  Most Christian sanctuaries are shaped like the Temple in Jerusalem.  But there is no curtain because Christ removed it by His death (Luke 23:45)

What does the Bible say about the Temple?

Exodus 25-40 – The tabernacle is established and built in the desert by Moses and the children of Israel.

1 Kings 5-8 – Solomon builds and dedicates the Temple in Jerusalem.  Note how the presence of God comes into the Temple in the form of a cloud.  This is exactly how it happened in the tabernacle in Exodus 40.

John 2: 13-25 – Jesus identifies Himself as the Temple; the place where God dwells in all His fullness on earth.

Revelation 21:22 – There is no Temple in the new Jerusalem because the Lord God and the Lamb (Jesus) are its temple.


Find ways to remind yourselves of the presence of God.  When reading God’s Word (including the above mentioned passages), remind everyone that God is speaking to us.  Pray with the confidence of God’s presence.  You may want to sing one or more of these hymns from Lutheran Service Book:  632, 637, 645, 907, 915

Object Lesson

Speak directly to one family member.  Point out that you are speaking to him/her.  If he/she were not there, you would talk about him/her.  We speak to Jesus who is there.  We don’t speak about Jesus as if He’s somewhere else.  Worship is a conversation with the present Christ.


Lord, thank You for being present with us at church and in our homes.  Help us to receive Your grace and answer with prayer, praise, and confession of faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.