In general, a temple is a holy meeting place for religious activity.
In the Bible, there are several temples. The first is Solomon’s temple, which was later pillaged and destroyed. It was grand and extravagant.
The temple was reconstructed by Zerubbabel and sometimes referred to as the temple of Zerubbabel; it was more basic and simpler, akin to Moses’ tabernacle.
Later, King Herod greatly expanded Zerubbabel’s temple. However, his motives were selfish and not God-honoring. Herod’s goal was to call attention to himself and garner the favor of the Jewish people. This temple was later destroyed by Roman soldiers, just as Jesus predicted (Luke 19:41-44).
In other uses, Jesus’ body is called a temple (John 2:19-21), the bodies of Jesus’ followers are temples (1 Corinthians 6:19), and heaven itself is God’s temple (Revelation 7:15).
When Solomon dedicated the temple, the people praised God with much fanfare and then something strange happened.
A cloud formed – inside the building. But there’s more. “The Glory of the Lord filled the temple.” It became so intense that the priests couldn’t even work; God’s presence was that strong. It was extreme.
They became overwhelmed with God’s presence and his glory. But what exactly does that mean?
- It could be the awe of God engulfed them to such an extent that nothing else mattered.
- It could be that fear of being so close to God effectively paralyzed them.
- It could be the cloud was so thick – that is, God’s presence was so heavy – that they literally couldn’t see what they were doing, or
- It could be that with God in the house nothing else mattered.
Regardless of the explanation, we can conclude that God’s presence was so significant that all activity ceased.
Can you imagine worshiping God and collectively feeling his presence to such an extent that all the singers stop singing and all the musicians stop playing? Silence fills the room and nothing else matters. Then the highest form of worship becomes to simply do nothing and bask in his presence.
Have you ever been that overwhelmed with the glory of God?