A Fit Temple
(Part 23 of the Cleansing of the Sanctuary Series)
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10)
In this last section of the Cleansing of the Sanctuary series we will take a look from another angle and consider whether that cleansing might go as far as to include a degree of physical cleansing.
Reaching the point of having a cleansed sanctuary is described in Revelation as (at last) the bride “hath made herself ready”:
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Rev 19:7-8)
The end result is described:
“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” (Rev 14:1)
“And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Rev 14:5)
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev 14:12)
“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” (Rev 14:15)
The goal of the cleansing process is described:
“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5:27)
Are spots, wrinkles and blemishes serious defects? Compare to:
“From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” (Isa 1:6)
Spots, wrinkles and blemishes don’t sound so bad but the point is that God wants to clean us up entirely – mind, body and spirit.
We think of the spots, wrinkles and blemishes in the spiritual sense as sins but could it include more than that? – What about mental function or physical function? Or should I say dysfunction? Is that also to be cleansed?
Our Body, Our Responsibility
We are a sanctuary or temple for God’s indwelling. We have a responsibility to care for our bodies in order to:
- better reflect God’s character
- be better able to share about God
- not be a burden others
- be good stewards
- be better able to care for family
- be healthier and happier
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Cor 3:16-17)
Our minds are responsible for our bodies (but not the reverse) because that is where decisions are made concerning care of our bodies. The two are closely connected. Your mind, your body. Then what about this?
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor 6:19-20)
You are the manager of your body, you make the decisions for it, what to put in your mouth etc. but God, ultimately owns it. That is much like how man was given dominion of the Earth and yet God said it was His.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen 1:28)
“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:” (Exo 19:5)
He is responsible for our existence and He wants to fully redeem us. And His goal is to have our minds (housed in our bodies) be abodes for the presence of His Spirit.
So the important question here is:
If God is going to make our minds His sanctuary, a place for Him to dwell, will He also take some responsibility for needed renovations and maintenance of the body that houses the mind?
We have concentrated on the cleansing of the mind in this series but have also said that the functioning of the mind is dependent on it being supported by a well-running body. Does this whole Cleansing the Sanctuary process involve the flesh beyond the brain itself? We are familiar with this verse:
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Cor 15:53)
That, of course, is referring to the renewal of our bodies at the Second Coming. But what about before that? That is what we want to continue exploring in this last part of the series.
What About the Timing of this Cleansing?
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven He was asked about the kingdom of heaven:
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:6-7)
It seems that the full establishment of the kingdom was yet future. Daniel chapter seven especially points to a future time for the kingdom:
“But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. … Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” (Dan 7:18,22)
We saw in the previous part of this series that the kingdom was related to having knowledge of the ways of God which is also reflected in this passage:
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer 31:33-34)
The phrase “my law in their inward parts … hearts” sounds like a completed cleansing of the sanctuary and “they [the house of Israel] shall all know me” sounds like atonement in the final stages of cleansing. There is also this verse:
“In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” (Jer 50:20)
Those passages point to the end of time and suggest those in the kingdom have been purified and have a clear knowledge of and close relationship with God. In the previous part, we also linked to the 144,000 which are clearly a group on Earth at the time of the Second Coming. The final, completed cleansing when the 144,000 fully reflect Christ’s character will occur just before the Second Coming (Rev 7:3-4).
Evidence of a Physical Cleansing
The second chapter of the book of Joel contains a very interesting description of a unique group of people and signs associated with them. Here it is in point form:
- v2 great people … strong
- there hath not been ever the like (they are unique)
- v3 fire before them and flame behind them
- land as Eden before them (land producing abundantly)
- behind them a desolate wilderness
- nothing shall escape them
- v4 appearance as horses (a symbol of strength; eg Psa 147:10)
- run like horsemen
- v5 leap on the tops of mountains
- devoureth the stubble
- strong people
- set in battle array
- v6 people much pained (in reaction to “great people” of v2)
- v7 run like mighty men
- climb the wall like men of war
- march every one on his ways
- shall not break their ranks
- v8 neither shall one thrust another (all united)
- each will walk in his path
- not wounded by the sword (see Isa 54:17)
- v9 run to and fro in the city
- run upon the wall
- climb up upon the houses
- enter in at the windows like a thief
- v10 earth quakes before them
- heavens shall tremble
- sun and the moon shall be dark
- stars shall withdraw shining
- v11 his army, his camp is very great
And this is all “at the day of the Lord” in connection with the Second Coming. It does seem to be describing a very unique group of people who are Divinely-empowered to carry out their mission.
I am going to present a theory with the purpose of encouraging further consideration by others. It is based on a combination of three things we have looked at in this series:
- the cleansing of the sanctuary
- the description of the kingdom of God
- the characteristics of the end-time 144,000
The theory is that there will be a period of time (likely very short) on Earth preceding the Second Coming when the 144,000 who have their minds (sanctuaries) fully cleansed and have a correct understanding of the character of God (and reflect it in their own lives) will act as God’s special agents in giving the last warning message to the world. They will be obedient to all of God’s laws, will be filled with the Holy Spirit, supernaturally endowed with physical capability and directed (for example, see Acts 8:29) to do God’s work. This seems to be indicated by what I have looked at and I invite others to further investigate whether it might be so.
My capable reviewer pointed out to me that this group in Joel chapter 2 is commonly regarded as being the same as the nation (Joel 1:6) that was to invade and lay waste to Israel. And that may well be. I do recognize however that there are prophecies in the Bible that have dual applications/fulfillments and am questioning if this might be one of those.
Some of the points in that section of Joel 2 that most seem to point to an end-time scenario are:
- v1 “the day of the “LORD”
- v10 the sun and the moon being darkened (compare Matt 24:29)
- v11 His (The LORD’s) army
So, I freely admit, that this theory is somewhat speculative (but not without evidence).
That there are degrees of being filled with the Holy Spirit is evidenced by:
“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (John 3:34)
The presence/influence of God can be partial or total (“without measure”) and will be in accordance with the degree of obedience or conformity to the will and ways of God:
“And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” (Acts 5:32)
We will now look at some of the ways the Bible suggests God’s servants in the last days will be empowered. Whether Joel 2 describes His servants or not, there is evidence elsewhere in scripture for a special, Spirit-guided role for the 144,000.
Promises of Protection
I think God will especially honor His promises to those with the seal of God who are doing His will and reflecting His character.
“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” (Psa 91:5-7)
“Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psa 91:9-12)
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” (Isa 54:17)
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)
“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:18)
Given Words to Speak
“And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.” (Exo 4:15)
“And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12)
“For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.’ (Luke 21:15)
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt 6:33)
That verse implies “all these things” will be provided if you find the kingdom of God. Doesn’t “first” imply: seek and then the other things are added?
“Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.” (Deut 8:4)
That suggests that the clothing of the Israelites did not wear out during their wilderness travels. And, of course they were provided with manna to eat.
“He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” (Isa 33:15-16)
As the Garden of Eden
“A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.” (Joel 2:3)
Both fire and a garden can be connected to the concept of harvest and the overall setting is the end of time. “Nothing shall escape them” may be picturing a very thorough work. Being a gardener myself I like to imagine that the earth will produce for God’s people like it did in the Garden of Eden. That might be stretching things a little, however, we know that the Earth was cursed because of Adam’s disobedience:
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;” (Gen 3:17)
“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (or because of you) suggests a relationship between disobedience (or obedience) and the cursing or blessing of the earth. Could the ground not also be blessed by obedience or at least for the obedient? Here are a few verses that might relate to that:
“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isa 24:5)
“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” (Eze 22:30)
“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom 8:21)
“Creature’ is often translated as “creation.”
“And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.” (Hosea 2:18)
“And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.” (1 Kings 17:4-6)
“For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.” (Job 5:23)
“My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” (Dan 6:22)
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Rom 8:18-19)
Most versions use “creation’ rather than “creature” in that verse. Creation itself is waiting for this group of people to show up on the world stage.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” (Isa 60:1-3)
“And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.” (Exo 34:30)
Is it possible that the faces of the 144,000 will shine?
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan 12:3)
There are a number of verses that directly speak of renewed physical health some of which are related to obedience or dependence upon God:
“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.” (Isa 58:8)
“In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.” (Zech 12:8)
“Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;” (Psa 103:3)
“And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” (Exo 15:26)
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa 40:31)
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 2)
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” (Pro 3:5-8)
Telomeres – A Little Genetics at the End
Let’s consider a little cell physiology. Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes that are involved in the cell-division process. They are often likened to the plastic ends on shoelaces. Telomeres get shortened each time a cell replicates, eventually becoming too short to function properly, which correlate with declining health experienced as aging.
There is an enzyme – telomerase – that can increase the length of telomeres (effectively lowering biological age). Telomere length is therefore considered a reliable biomarker of aging.
Studies have shown that telomerase activity is increased by thoughts and activities such as gratitude, engaging in acts of service, a general positive outlook and having a sense of purpose.
What greater sense of purpose could one have than to reveal and reflect the character of God to others with the purpose of demonstrating how really good God is? This is the goal and purpose of the cleansing our sanctuaries.
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification …” (1 Thess 4:3)
This is the final Part (23) of the Cleansing of the Sanctuary Series
Return to Daniel 8:14 (the master page of the series)