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The Church as The Temple of The Holy Ghost

May 15, 2018

 

 

This is the third and final part in the series on "What is The Church?" It concludes with The Church as The Temple of The Holy Ghost. A key text is 1 Kings 8 where Solomon dedicates The Temple to God and The Holy Ghost enters it.

 

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ houses of the people of Israel, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion (1 Kings 8:1)

 

Human Orders Present at The Temple: Ecclesial, Civil, and Familial

 

Here we see three orders being represented at The Temple to be fulfilled.

  • "elders of Israel" - elders were the priests of that time, thus The Ecclesial Order

  • "heads of the tribes" - tribal governance, thus The Civil Order
    "leaders of the fathers' houses" - fathers represented bloodlines, thus The Familial Order


These ought be harmonious as we see in the story, but we find disharmony in our history, eg:

  • Early Church Persecutions or The English Martyrs (Civil vs. Ecclesial)

  • Catholics rejecting the teachings on birth control (Familial vs. Ecclesial)

  • Our Lady of Fatima's warnings about the destruction of the family (Civil vs. Familial)


Jesus fulfills all three orders because he is the perfect High Priest (Hebrews 7; Ecclesial), is the perfect citizen who even paid taxes (Matthew 17; Civil), and was the perfect son of a family (Luke 1-2; Familial). There's The People of God, now where is The Holy Ghost?

 

...when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
1 Kings 8:10-11

 

Who or What is The Dark Cloud?

 

We see time and time again that "the cloud" signifies The Holy Ghost, e.g. The Dark Cloud on Mt. Sinai with Moses, The Dark Cloud on top of Mt. Tabor with Jesus' Transfiguration, Jesus Ascends on a Cloud, etc. 

 

In Exodus The People of God follow The Cloud by day across The Wilderness. They inherit the Promised Land and at last build the Temple that God may no longer "dwell in tents" but may have a resting place among His People. The Holy Ghost descends and enters The Temple of Solomon. "Behold, my dwelling place is among Mortals" (Rev. 21:3).

 

On The Temple's Dedication during Pentecost

 

all the men of Israel assembled to King Solomon at the feast in the month Eth′anim, which is the seventh month.
-1 Kings 8:2

 

This festival is also known as The Feast of the Tabernacles (Lev. 16; Deut. 23), Pentecost (Acts 2), or Whitsunday (English tradition). It is celebrated this 5/20/18, this Sunday!

 

Jesus Christ's body is The New Temple, and so is The Church!

 

Recall when Saul is persecuting Christians Jesus' asks Saul, "Why are you persecuting me," which shows The Church is Jesus' body (Acts 9:4; Eph 1). Jesus said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up...But he spoke of the temple of his body" (John 2:19, 21). I.e. Jesus body is The Temple. Ergo, The Church is The New Temple.

 

Why "God in a Box" is what Man needs for Salvation

 

So when someone says that Catholic Theology "puts God in a box," remind them gently, "Yes, and that is The Biblical Faith, for God put Himself into a box: in the Ark, the Tabernacle, The Temple, Mary's womb, in flesh becoming Jesus of Nazareth." Without that there would be no redemption.

 

 

How each Christian is a member of The Temple of The Holy Ghost

 

Since Jesus' body is The Temple of the Holy Ghost. Then it must have ramifications for us as Christians:


Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own;

-1 Corinthians 6:19

 

Does that mean all of us are a Temple or each of us is a Temple? Does it matter? Compare these two translations to see the problem:
 

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own;
-Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

 

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
-New International Bible (NIV)

 

* Notice that if The RSVCE is correct, then "your body" could mean my individual body or our collective body! Temple is singular, there's only one!

* Notice that if The NIV is correct, then it is our individual bodies that matter. Temple is plural, there are many!

 

Which is right then? If you check these two against the Greek, you'll find that "you" and "your" is actually 2nd Person Plural. You'll also find that "body" and "temple" are singular, not plural! The NIV is simply not a translation here, it's a bastardization of the text. We'll cover why in a moment. First, let's render the text in a better way:

 

The importance of "Y'all" in interpreting 1 Corinthians 6:19

 

"Do y'all not know that y'all's body is A Temple of The Holy Ghost within y'all, which y'all have from God? Y'all are not y'all's own"
-1 Cor 6:19

 

I use the term "y'all" because modern English has no term for 2nd Person Plural. We use "you" whether we're addressing a single person or a group. But not so in The South. We have a way to translate The Scriptures that bring out this most important facet of the corporate life of The Temple of The Holy Ghost.

 

Notice, "y'all" (plural) are "a Temple" (singular). The many are one in a sense. This is the beauty of The Church as The Temple of The Holy Ghost. It is God who binds us up as one. Though we are many, we are one body, one building in Him.

 

Therefore, to cite this text as proof that "my individual body is The Temple of The Holy Ghost" is simply incorrect. Christian Man is not an island to himself. Nor is Man in general.

 

Why the KJV is actually meet and right about The Temple of The Holy Ghost

 

While the KJV has many translation errors, it does in fact have some merit here (and it is one of the primary sources for The Anglican Patrimony). The KJV has ways that preserve the 1st and 2nd Person Singular and Plural into English. The terms "thee, thine, and thou" are all singular, whereas "ye, you, your" are all plural. Let's take a look at the KJV:

 

What? know ye (plural) not that your (pl.) body (singular) is the temple (sg.) of the Holy Ghost which is in you (pl.) which ye (pl.) have of God, and ye (pl.) are not your (pl.) own?
-King James Bible (KJV)

 

So whereas the RSVCE is right, it's a little ambiguous. The NIV is just wrong. And the KJV is "meet and right" as we say at Mass.

 

How the NIV changes The Scriptures to fit an Individualistic Faith

 

So what's the deal with The NIV just getting the grammar completely wrong? Why did they change singulars to plurals and plurals to singulars? Why, to force The Scriptures to fit a certain theology. Beware "human tradition" (Col. 2:8).

 

The New International Version (NIV) "Bible" is an extremely popular amongst Evangelicals, Non-Denominationalists, and it is the version you'll more than likely see in stores. Arguably, it's a pseudo-translation, with lots of errors like the ones above. Arguing about singular versus plural might seem nerdy, so let me put it plainly to you -- they change The Bible y'all.

 

What's the result? A reader can say "I got the Holy Ghost so I don't need anything or anybody else, I am a Temple of The Holy Ghost," and believe this is "The Biblical Faith." By searching "Temple of the Holy Ghost" online however, you'll find this false reading of 1 Cor 6:19 has gone rampant. That's the work of the devil. Stay away from The NIV, and protect your children from it. You are not a Temple unto yourself.

 

How an Individualistic Faith is ultimately Polytheism

 

If I say that "I am a Temple" without reference to my brethren who are also baptized, I'm suggesting that The Holy Ghost exists in me and them, yet is not connected. If The Holy Ghost in me and them is not connected, then there's two Holy Ghosts, and in fact, one Holy Ghost for each baptized person. In short, polytheism.

 

How NIV Scriptures are actually used in "Bible Study" for Relativism, Individualism, & Selfishness

 

Functionally, no one reading the NIV is a polytheist. What actually happens is they ignore the logical conclusion, and decide to "live in the tension." They become isolated, The Faitih is reduced to "my faith," and The Scriptures are solely about them and used for them. Jesus is no longer the key. Consider these two common practices.
 

  • NIV Bible Studies focus on "me" as the central key to a text

    • "This passage made me feel..." or "Well, for me..." Relativism, Individualism, and Selfishness all in a single phrase. The Scriptures are sterilized before they're even let loose, like a neutered bull.
       

  • Posters and Social Media Images with One Scripture out of reference that are "nice"

    • How often have you seen in cursive writing "Love is patient, love is kind" on a poster? Now compare this to how often you've seen "Unless you eat my flesh you have no life in you." Only some Scripture is important to me, if it can be cutesy and fit on a wall.

 

Jesus said The Scriptures point to him and are about him, not me

 

Jesus told the Pharisees they search the Scriptures but they missed that the texts point to him (John 5:39). And after Jesus resurrected he showed his Apostles that The Scriptures are about him (Luke 24:27). It ain't about me per se, it's about Jesus. As obvious as that seems to say, it bears repeating in modern "Bible studies."

 

How to Evangelize those with an Individualistic Faith

 

Much depends on disposition here. My suggestion is to immediately pull out The Bible and show the verse 1 Cor. 6:19. Ask if they'd be so kind as to read it aloud for both of you, not to ridicule, but so that you're both on the same page.

 

Explain how the text is 2nd person plural and therefore the individual reading can't be pulled from it. Describe how this individualist reading leads to polytheism. The cry from the other at this point is typically "that is not what I am saying." The response is, "Yes I know, but it is the logical implication of what you're saying. We both believe The Scripture that God is one right? (Deut 6:4) Neither of us believe in Polytheism, so what would follow if there were many temples?" Sometimes the best medicine is a hard truth brought out and laid plain on the table.

 

Enough of Evangelism though. It is an important part of The Ordinariate's Mission, but that settles the false translation. Let us delve deeper into The Church as The Temple of God.

 

The Temple of The Holy Ghost is first and foremost, The House of God

 

The first part of Solomon's Dedicatory Prayer is to establish that it is God's House.


I have built thee an exalted house,
    a place for thee to dwell in for ever.

--1 Kings 8:12

 

And again

 

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of thy servant and to his supplication, O Lord my God, hearkening to the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prays before thee this day...
--1 Kings 8:27-28

 

Thus worship and the architecture of churches is primarily about what is objectively meet and right concerning our God who is Beauty-Itself. Secondly it's about us representing the once and final offering for forgiveness of sins at The Mass.

 

The Temple of The Holy Ghost is secondarily for the Forgiveness for The People of God

 

Solomon kneels at the altar, his hands raised up and begins to pray for The People of God. You'll notice that many of these things: plague, pestilence, famine, war etc. are found in The Great Litany that was prescribed for the Rogation Days last week (M/T/W). They precede Ascension Thursday. You may also have noticed that 1 Kings 8 is prescribed for The Daily Office on one of those Rogation days! This shows that The Church is doing the new version of what The People of God have always done:

 

If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar; if their enemy besieges them in any of their cities; whatever plague, whatever sickness there is; whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by any man or by all thy people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house; then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place...
1 Kings 8:37-38

 

The House of God then is place of supplication and intercession for people. It is The Lord's home where He invites us to reconcile. When's the last time a family member or friend said, "Hey come over, I want to reconcile with you?" Truly, The Lord's mercy is everlasting.

 

The Temple of The Holy Ghost calls for Joyful Feasting

 

Solomon then blesses the congregation in the name of The Lord and sacrifices beyond number are offered. The Temple is thus dedicated to The Lord. Then we feast!

 

So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days. On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their homes joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David his servant and to Israel his people.

 

So too St. Aelred Catholic Community shall go to Mass on Whitsunday followed by a feast. Then we shall return to our homes joyful for, "The Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful, as in a temple" (Lumen Gentium: Dogmatic Constitution on The Church). And just as Solomon & all of Israel feasted for seven days, so too The Church does.

 

Why Revivalism "works" for a moment, but is ultimately Schismatic

 

What we know today as Charismatic or Pentecostal groups frequently cry out for a need to grow in the gifts of The Spirit. This is correct. They do so by calling for "Revivals" and "Renewals." These prey on emotive responses as the key way to express one's individual faith. The problem is that The Temple is one, grammatically singular, as we discussed earlier.

 

Thus, "Revivalism" inhabits many bodies throughout time: The First The Great Awakening (1740's), then The Second (1800's), then Pentecostalism (1900's), now its abandoning Evangelicalism for Non-Denominationalism (2010's).

 

The spirit of Revivalism uses "church bodies" and throws them away like refuse, cleaving each denomination it touches into 100 new denominations. After it inhabited Congregationalism in The North it left them in 90+ shards. This is how America got 8,000-48,000 denominations, depending on how you count. Whatever this "spirit" is, it is Legion, for it is many (Mark 5:9).

 

This is not a Temple, this is a claim to many temples. Nothing is being "revived," the original is being destroyed and different ones are being setup. When people say they're "reviving The Church" in this context, I can't imagine what they mean by "The Church."

 

Why Anglican and Episcopalian communities are incapable of Renewal in The Spirit

 

Likewise, Anglicans and Methodists see their churches as one possible vessel for "the catholic church" or see themselves as part of a broader "catholic tradition," but this itself is to declare that there are many temples rather than One Temple.

 

Furthermore, this makes the physicality of The Temple irrelevant, a pseudo-Gnostic tendency. The Holy Ghost comes to dwell in a particular Temple, the one Solomon made, not any particular temple. So unless we're ready to claim our church is The Church, there's no need to waste our breath.

 

If one's "church" is a historical schism, if it is a branch that has fallen off the one tree trunk, it may bloom today, but it will be dead tomorrow. As we saw in 1 Kings 8:1, renewal and the descent of The Holy Ghost requires all the people gathered together in unity. So too the first disciples gathered at Pentecost. Because this oneness is so important for renewal, St. Paul chastises the Corinthians, "I hear that schisms exist among you" (1 Cor 11:18). Love of that spirit precludes receiving renewal in The Spirit, after all, "Have you not heard friendship with the world is enmity with God?" (James 4:4).

 

Why True Revivals and Renewals in The Spirit are sustainable only in The Catholic Church

 

In short, Renewals and Revivals are only possible in The Catholic Church because she is the one true Temple of The Holy Ghost. Every other Christian community doesn't even believe they are the one true Temple. In fact, they will happily and readily admit there are many churches, denominations, and by extension then, there must be many temples. They then will imply this is somehow good for "The Church," which seems to be a church made of many churches, as if Jesus' body was made of many more versions of Jesus' own body. If you're confused, me too.

 

If a Revival or Renewal in The Spirit is to happen, the question is, "Where will I find this Temple? If it descends, where do I go to join the ranks?" I don't recall The Holy Ghost telling Solomon, "I'll meet you where you're at, in your bathroom or bedroom Solomon," but rather, all the Orders of Man gathered at The Temple. So too we should, because God ordains it so.

 

Why Ascensiontide & Whitweek is a period of Renewal even if we don't "feel like it"

 

The Catholic Church believes in Renewal in The Holy Ghost. So much so that she commits Ascensiontide & Whitweek to praying that The Holy Ghost would pour down His gifts upon us once again. We pray the whole People of God would be renewed. Part of needing a Revival is that the People of God have gone arid, spiritually dry. In that time, waiting for one's own gumption or get up and go just won't do. This is why every year time is set apart for Renewal -- whether we need it or not, we're going to pray for the Gifts of The Holy Ghost. That's a hat you can hang your hat on.

 

We don't pray The Novena or Feast in Whitweek as a bland "commemoration" but we do so joyfully, knowing that those days participate in the actual events they recall. It is Ascension and Pentecost for us. Time-itself is caught up in Christ and is being redeemed, and we are caught up in it. We thus are again renewed and become better People of God, we become better members of the body of Christ, we become better "bricks" in The Temple of The Holy Ghost. This is The Biblical Faith.

 

St. Paul makes this point succinctly in his treatise on Ecclesiology:

 

So then y'all are no longer strangers and sojourners, but y'all are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom y'all also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in The Spirit.
-Ephesians 2:19-22

 

The Temple of The Holy Ghost as The Bond Between The People of God and The Body of Christ

 

If The People of God [The Father] represent the human element to The Church, and The Body of Christ represents divine element, then The Church as The Temple of The Holy Ghost represents the bond between the two. The Temple is what brings the two together. Therefore, just as The Holy Ghost is the Charity between The Father and The Son (St. Ignatius of Antioch), so too then The Church as Temple of the Holy Ghost is the Charity between The People of God and The Body of Christ. It is how we are reconciled to Our Lord, and it is Love of him.

 

Thus The Church is the perfect mirror of The Holy Trinity.

 

Here endeth The Lesson. Peace of Christ y'all.

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