“The Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple” (Mal. 3:1)
God is preparing a temple for His habitation in this hour. His temple is His abode and He is establishing it among man. Though men may exert much effort and money to build impressive buildings, these are of no value in the grand agenda of God’s kingdom. The Most High no longer dwells in temples made with hands. Rather, He is looking for a dwelling place among His people. So, when Malachi prophecies about the Lord coming to His temple, none should think of the temple in Jerusalem or their denominational gathering place. Rather we should each turn inward to the temple which we are and look for the reality of His appearing within.
Paul declares: “YOU ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them, and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people’” (2 Cor. 6:16). And again, “Do you not know that YOU ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD and that the Spirit of God dwells in you. If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, WHICH TEMPLE YOU ARE” (1 Cor. 3:16). Indeed, you and I are the eternal temple of God.
We should establish once and for all that the plan of God ordained from before the foundation of the world is to manifest Himself in a people, right here on the earth. Why else did He create us in the earth? Was it to eventually gather us to heaven and abandon earth? Not at all! God desires a true dwelling on earth. Jesus was the first man to offer God a habitation where He could live and reveal Himself in His fullness. This was a temple that was wholly God’s. Dear saint, we too have been called to be the temple of God that He may live and reveal Himself in us.
Various accounts of the temple are recorded throughout the word of God for our instruction. Solomon’s temple, Ezekiel’s vision of the temple from which the river overflowed, Uzziah’s vision of the temple filled with the glory of the Lord, Ezra’s construction of the temple and the various accounts of the temple by John the revelator are all types and shadows of the people of God who are His true temple. Praise God, He comes to our temple to be glorified!
During His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus also came into the temple in Jerusalem on numerous occasions. As a 12 year old child, as a matured Son, early in the morning, in the winter, by the treasury, in the midst of the chief priests and elders, among the locals, among the blind and sick, our Lord Jesus regularly came to the temple to reveal Himself. Thus, Jesus states: “I was with you daily in the temple” (Luk. 22:53). Each of His comings into the temple points to wonderful spiritual truths about His coming to His people. Just as Jesus went into the temple to cleanse it of the money changers, He comes into our temple to purify us of corruption. As He went into the temple to heal the blind and the lame, He comes to heal our spiritual blindness and restore our spiritual walk. Time and time again He comes – He comes to teach in His temple, to walk in His temple, to reveal Himself in His temple, and to raise a standard in His temple. Let us consider on such event of His coming to the temple in Jerusalem.
In Solomon’s Porch
“It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple area in Solomon’s Portico. The Jewish leaders surrounded him and asked, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly’” (Joh. 10:23-24).
Solomon’s porch was an area of the Temple’s outer court in Jerusalem. It was positioned adjacent to the open area which was called the Court of the Gentiles. It was here that Jesus was seen speaking and teaching the people or just walking, as we read in John 10. The porch of Solomon was a special place for Jesus. Even after His resurrection, the apostles continued to gather there to minister to each other (Acts 5:12). It was also at Solomon’s porch that Peter and John healed a lame man and preached to a crowd that had gathered there (Acts 3:11).
So what is the spiritual importance of Solomon’s porch and why did Jesus spend time there? I believe it was significant for its location. Solomon’s porch faced the main entrance of the temple, which was called the gate Beautiful, located on the eastern side of the temple compound. Its location made it ideal to observe the activities of the crowd taking place on the eastern portion of the temple and in the Court of the Gentiles. One could also observe as the people entered the temple’s inner court since everyone who came to worship and offer a sacrifice had to enter the temple via the east gate and move west in the inner sections of the temple. Although restricted, the further west one went inside the temple, one would transition into the Court of the Women (inner court of the temple), to the Altar of Sacrifice, the Altar of Incense, and into the Holy Place and eventually arrive at the Most Holy. This was the east to west progression the temple design was based on. But Solomon’s porch was far removed from the Most Holy.
Spiritually, the movement from east to west signifies one’s progression towards higher dimensions in God. Throughout scripture a westward movement represents the direction and path towards the presence and kingdom of God. On the contrary, an eastward movement signifies the way of man; away from the Lord’s presence to self-dependence. Therefore, the further we travel away from the east, the more we move away from the ways and corruptions of the carnal mind. The Psalmists writes: “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psa. 103:12). These two directions signify two extreme natures that are contrary and which cannot be reconciled or mixed. Thus, the path of our spiritual progression from Adam to Christ is a progression from east to west.
This truth was evident in Cain. We read that: “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden” (Gen. 4:16). Cain went eastward, away from the presence of the Lord and away from the Kingdom of God to walk according to his ways, independent of God. The land which Cane departed to was the land of Nod, which was “east of Eden” (Gen. 4:16). The Hebrew meaning of Nod is “wandering (of aimless fugitive)”. This is the condition of those who do not wish to press eastward into the fullness of God’s kingdom. The outcome is a pointless wondering in the flesh to gratify and fulfill its passions. Notice also that Adam was driven eastward, away from the Tree of Life (Gen. 3: 24). In both events, Cain and Adam represent those who refuse to hear and press westward into the higher heavens of the Spirit of God.
It was these people that Jesus came to and was observing as He walked on Solomon’s porch. When the Lord comes to our temple, He first comes to our east. For the porch was where the aimless fugitives, the lowly and sick congregated. He could have remained in the higher places with the chief priests and elders in the inner courts of the temple. Instead, He humbled Himself and came to our eastward state to draw us into the Most Holy, back to the presence of God, back to the Tree of Life, back to our reality in Christ, back to the Kingdom of God.
Thus, the Lord’s progressive coming into His temple is from east to west. Jesus declared: “for as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Mat. 24:27). Just as the sun rises from the east and its strength and brightness intensifies as it moves westward unto the full day, so is the increase of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness who arises within us to usher in the Day (Mal. 4:2).
But Solomon’s porch is also emblematic of the spiritual condition of those who gathered in the temple compound (the church system) who knew God and who would go into the inner court of the temple to offer sacrifice and worship. Nevertheless, they would also congregate in the eastern portion of the temple absorbed in the hustle and bustle of the Court of the Gentiles. The Court of the Gentiles was a large court which Solomon’s porch directly faced. It was open to all comers including the cattle-dealers and the money-changers who defiled the temple. And those who came to worship would buy and sell there among the Gentiles demonstrating the mixture of the temple with the world. Though they went to the temple in the name of God, they were there for personal profit. Yet is this not a picture of our day? How many today gather around the merchants of Babylon and go to that house to buy and sell for personal gain under the pretext of worship?
As we all know, there is no direction called “east-west”. Yet we witness an “east-west” spiritual condition in these men. The Spirit of the Lord refers to this as “doublemindedness” (Jam. 1:8) and being “lukewarm” (Rev. 3:16). Those lukewarm are neither cold nor hot, they are a mixture of both. They are neither moving east nor west, they move both eastward and westward in a state of mixture and confusion, vacillating between the spiritual and carnal, between Adam and Christ.
It is also this condition that Jesus was observing as He walked in Solomon’s porch. But our compassionate Lord comes into our temple in whatever state we find ourselves in the Adamic to draw us westward to Himself. Just as He came into the temple to free the people from greed and the traditions of men, He comes within to liberate us from the snares of the self-life and from the bondages of the religious system.
As you read the whole chapter (John 10) you will see that Jesus presents Himself to the people as the door. By this message He was usurping the old order of the temple to establish Himself as the Way, as the Gate, as our Most Holy. Thus He declared: “in this place there is One greater than the temple” (Mat. 12:6). To the disciples who heard that glorious truth on the steps of the porch and followed Him, no longer did they have to come to the temple in Jerusalem and enter by the gate Beautiful to be ministered to. He was to them the new and living way into the presence of God.
This is true for all who are His sheep, who hear His voice and follow Him. No longer do we have to go to a church building or a pastor or even to a someday heaven but enter by the door that He is into the inner sanctuary of the indwelling Christ. This is the westward spiritual progression we are called to by the Lord who comes to the Solomon’s porch of our temple. And just as the disciples continued this ministry on Solomon’s porch, we too are commissioned to draw men away from the confines of self and religion to the Christ that dwells in them.
Dear saints, we are the temple of God and He is coming within us to live, and move and reveal Himself. Praised God, to those who seek Him in His temple, He comes to draw them westward into deeper realities of the kingdom of God. This is to the glorious end that we become a habitation of God on the earth – a temple which is exclusively His. May God continually draw us by His Spirit in the westward progression into His fullness!