The true character of the church

Rebuilding of the Temple (illustration by Gustave Doré from the 1866 La Sainte Bible)

He said to him, Take these articles, go, carry them to the temple site that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its former site.

Ezra 5:15.

In the Old Testament one single house is designated as the house of God. That was the temple in Jerusalem. Now Solomon’s temple was indeed destroyed as a result of the unfaithfulness of the nation. But with the building of the temple under Zerubbabel after the return from the Babylonin captivity God’s Word speaks of the rebuilding of His house “on its former site”. God recognized only one house as His house: the temple, which stood on the place He had appointed for it (cf. 2 Chronicles 3:1). The Lord Jesus, too, recognized this building (it was then Herod’s temple) as His Father’s house.

Even today there is only one house of God. It is the church of God, the entire body of the redeemed, that exists since Pentecost. That being so, believers should even today gather according to the principles of the New Testament.

It is recorded of the believers in the apostles’ days: “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). They came together for teaching from the Word, to celebrate the Lord’s meal of remembrance and to pray. Do we keep this practice today? If not, we should be encouraged by the God-fearing Jews in the book of Ezra and rebuild the house of God “on its former site” in practice. 

Where believers gather as an assembly, as indicated in the New Testament, there is a visible testimony of the house of God on earth.

Image: By Gustave Doré – Doré’s English Bible, Public Domain,