Christians Are Not Commanded to Build Chapels, or Temples

8/08/2020 , 0 Comments

Is worshipping from home Biblically approved

If God does not dwell on structures made by the hands of men, like chapels, why did He command the Israelites to build Him a house, as written in Haggai 1:4-9? And if we are not to build chapels and temples, where shall we worship God?


These are questions of people who have a notion that God commanded believers to build a house for Him, and that this house, which could be a chapel or a temple, is the only rightful place to worship God.

It is true that Solomon built a temple or a house for God. Although it was David who originally planned to build it, this plan was realized during the reign of Solomon.

1 KINGS 6:1 (KJV)

And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.

Very specific details are provided by the verse. Solomon began building the house of the Lord 480 years after the Israelites came out of Egypt; it was in his fourth year of reign as King of Israel; and it was started in the month Zif, which is the second month in the Hebrew calendar.

When its construction was completed, Solomon dedicated it to God, and there were accounts that they felt there the presence of God during that time.

Since then, God had commanded the Israelites through Moses that whenever they would worship Him, pay tithes, or present their burnt offerings and sacrifices, they should go to His house.

DEUTERONOMY 12:5-7 (KJV) says,

5 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: 
6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: 
7 And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.

That was a law that they had to follow. They had to go all the way to the temple of the Lord, which was built by Solomon in Jerusalem, if they were to fulfill their obligations and vows to God.

However, if it so happened that some of them lived far from Jerusalem and if what they were to offer were the tenth part of their produce, like vegetables and the fruits of their crops and other perishable goods, they did not have to bring those items to the temple. They should convert those into money instead. Meaning, they should sell those items first, and the amount of money that they would raise from selling those goods was what they should bring to Jerusalem.

DEUTERONOMY 14:24-25 (KJV)

24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: 
25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:

Unfortunately, as time passed, the Israelites neglected taking care of the very temple or house of the Lord where they worshipped and prayed and brought their offerings to Him. Because of their negligence, the house of the Lord was laid to waste and became desolate.

The destruction of His house that resulted from the Israelites’ negligence was the surrounding circumstance behind God’s pronouncements in Haggai 1:4-9.

HAGGAI 1:4-9 (KJV)

4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? 
5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 
6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. 
7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 
8 Go up to the mo untain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. 
9 Ye looked for much, and, lo it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

The Lord expressed His resentment to the Israelites for taking His house for granted, for not being bothered at all even if they could see that it was practically falling apart; whereas, their respective dwelling places were finely built and well-maintained.

Eventually, this house or temple of God in Israel was destroyed. The Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, prophesied its destruction in Matthew 24:15 (KJV), which says,

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

The Lord Jesus Christ mentioned about an abominable desolation in the holy place, which had been spoken by the prophet Daniel. This prophetic pronouncement was referring to the impending destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, which was going to be a total destruction, because according to the Lord Jesus Christ, “there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

MATTHEW 24:1-2 (KJV)

1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

If our line of thinking was that worshipping God could only be done in a temple or chapel, what if it were destroyed like what happened to the temple in Jerusalem?

Do you mean we couldn’t worship God anymore simply because the temple has been annihilated? That should not be the case. The truth is, we can worship God even if we do not go to a temple or chapel.

Let us be guided by what the Lord Jesus Christ told the Samaritan woman when He conversed with her by the well of Jacob.

JOHN 4:20-24 (KJV)

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 
21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 
22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The Lord Jesus Christ told the Samaritan woman that the time shall come when they would not have to go to the mountain nor to Jerusalem to worship God; and the time shall also come when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The “time” that the Lord Jesus Christ was talking about actually started that very instance while He was speaking with that Samaritan woman.

In other words, effective that very moment, anybody who wants to worship God is no longer required to go to a designated place like a chapel or temple since he can already worship God even in his own home, because worshipping God means worshipping Him in spirit and in truth.

In worshipping God, you do not have to forcibly gather people together in a big venue like a stadium or coliseum. According to the Lord Jesus Christ, if two or three are gathered in His name, He will be in the midst of them. So, regardless of the place and the number of people gathered in that place, He will be in their midst so long as they are gathered in His name.

MATTHEW 18:20 (KJV) says,

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

This was fulfilled with the apostles during the time when they were being persecuted by the Jews because of their faith in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the situation did not warrant their safety, instead of going to the temple, they just held their gathering in a house with their doors locked. And, indeed, the Lord Jesus came in their midst.

JOHN 20:19 (KJV)

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

If the situation would not compromise their and other people’s safety, the early Christians congregated in the temple. But if the situation posed threats to their lives, they just gathered together in the houses of the brethren.

ACTS 20:7-8 (KJV)

7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. 
8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.

This is an instance when the brethren gathered in a house, not in the temple, to listen to the preaching of the Apostle Paul.

We have to understand that when the Lord Jesus Christ came, He amended many things that were formerly believed and observed by the Israelites. One of them was mentioned by the Apostle Paul in Acts 17:24.

ACTS 17:24 (KJV)

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;


In the above cited verse, the Apostle Paul said that God does not dwell in temples made by the hands of man as He is the Lord of heaven and earth and the Creator of the world and everything therein. However, the Iglesia ni Cristo of Manalo seems to disagree with what the Apostle Paul declared, because as expressed in their official publication, they believe that the spirit of God dwells in their chapels or houses of worship.


Using the word of God in the Bible as our basis, it is very clear that the INC of Manalo is grossly mistaken to even presume that the spirit of God dwells in their houses of worship, no matter how magnificent such may seem for them.

Indeed, in the past, specifically during the time of the Israelites, the spirit of God dwelled in the house or temple where they held gatherings. But when the Lord Jesus Christ came, gatherings were no longer limited to temples or houses of worship. Let us not forget that when the Lord Jesus Christ came, there was a change in the priesthood. From Moses, it is now the Lord Jesus Christ who holds the priesthood. So, as there had been a change in the priesthood, there followed a change in the law also.

HEBREWS 7:12 (KJV)

For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

That is the reason why there isn’t any verse in the Bible that mentions that the Lord Jesus Christ instructed the early Christians to build chapels or temples where they should worship God and hold their gatherings.

When the priesthood was changed, the covenant was changed.

HEBREWS 8:7-9 (KJV)

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

God made a new covenant, and this new covenant was brought by the Lord Jesus Christ when He came here on earth. But unlike the covenant during the priesthood of Moses, which was purely carnal ordinances, the covenant under the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ is more on the spiritual side.

That is why in the Christian dispensation, the place where worship and other gatherings should be held is not an issue anymore. In fact, the Christians during the latter part of the first century gathered even in the houses of the brethren.

ROMANS 16:3, 5 (KJV)

3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: 
5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

Priscilla and Aquila were a couple; both of them were servants of God. And their house served as a venue for church gatherings.

The brethren in Laodicea likewise gathered in another brother’s house.

COLOSSIANS 4:15 (KJV)

Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

Christians are not commanded to build temples and chapels because they can hold gatherings even in houses or in any rented place. Actually, nobody among the apostles of Christ built any temple or chapel during their time, and neither did they instruct the brethren to build one. They cleaved to what the Lord Jesus Christ said that true worshippers no longer need to travel and go to a designated place where they should worship God; they should worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

We can say that that particular decree of the Lord Jesus Christ is more applicable at present, especially so that today, the whole of humanity is going through a crisis.

There is a pandemic; people are discouraged from going out of their dwellings to prevent the transmission of the virus, and there are community quarantines and lockdowns in effect in many places.

Given this situation, I believe it is more prudent to worship God in our respective homes instead of going to a chapel or a house of worship.

As far as the members of the Church of God International are concerned, despite the lockdowns, community quarantines, and travel restrictions imposed by the government, we are still able to worship God and perform our other congregational gatherings, not physically though as the brethren are in their respective residences where they are safe. But we are able to congregate through the use of modern communication technology.

This way, we are able to comply with government policies, and at the same time, we are able to fulfill what the Lord Jesus Christ said, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” (John 4:23, KJV).

AMEN!

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True Worship Is More Than Attending Church Gatherings

8/01/2020 15 Comments

True Worship is More Than Attending Gatherings

To worship God is to worship Him in spirit and in truth. And worshiping Him in spirit and in truth is not limited to attending church gatherings, singing Him hymns, and listening to His teachings inside a chapel or a house of worship.

If these acts do not constitute the full meaning of worshiping and serving God, how then can we rightfully worship and serve Him?

THE ROMANS 12:1 (NIV) says,

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this your spiritual act of worship.

The rightful way of worshiping and serving God is to present to Him our bodies as a living sacrifice, which is also our spiritual act of worship.

Evidently, the kind of worship being taught to Christians is totally different from the kind of worship that was practiced by the Israelites in the Old Testament. During that time, those who worshiped God had to offer cows, sheep, lambs, and goats, which had already been slaughtered. And the blood of those beasts were even sprinkled in the temple.

But in the Christian dispensation, what we Christians should offer God are our very own bodies; our bodies shall serve as our living sacrifice and reasonable or spiritual worship to Him. It is not only monetary contributions that Christians should offer God. There is a more important offering that we should present to God, and that is our own bodies. And in doing so, we are able to worship Him rightfully.

The question is, how can we make our bodies a living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to God?

ROMANS 6:13 (KJV) says,

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

We have to see to it that we are using the members of our bodies as instruments of God’s righteousness, and not as instruments of unrighteousness or sins. We have to use our bodies in doing good deeds for our fellowmen, like what Job had done during his time.

JOB 29:15 (KJV) says,

I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.

Job served as eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. This means that he rendered assistance to the needy and to the helpless.

It follows that if we extend a helping hand to those who are in distress, or if we offer our services to the physically handicapped such as leading or guiding the blind to where he wants to go, we are already able to worship God. In other words, each time that we use our bodies to serve others, we are automatically worshiping God.

However, if you are using your finger, for instance, to pull the trigger of a gun to kill a person, if you are using your tongue to deceive others, or if you are using your hands to punch and slap your wife and children, you are making yourself an instrument of unrighteousness. In effect, you are serving Satan as you are doing things that delight him.

What I want to point out is that we can still worship and serve God even if we are not inside a chapel. We can worship and serve Him even if we are at home, in the office, in school, in the streets, or elsewhere — if we do His righteousness and if we are always ready to serve and help other people.

According to the Apostle Paul, God, being the Creator of Earth and everything therein, is not served with men’s hands.

THE ACTS 17:25 (NIV) says,

And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.

Nevertheless, we can render Him spiritual service by using, not just our hands but our whole bodies, in doing acts of righteousness for our fellowmen.

As the whole world today goes through a very difficult time, I would say that now is a very good opportunity by which we can be instruments of God’s righteousness. While it is true that a lot of people now are in need of material help, yet many, many more are in need of prayers and comforting and reassuring words that can only come from the words of God in the Bible. I am sure that, with God’s help, that in our own little way, we can be instruments in providing all these to others. Amen.

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