For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens.
2For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven:
3if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life.
2 Corinthians 5:1-4 (ASV)
13And I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
14knowing that the putting off of my tabernacle cometh swiftly, even as our Lord Jesus Christ signified unto me. 2 Peter 1:13-15 (ASV)
This body we have is called our tabernacle as we see from these verses. Just Our physical body is mobile, temporary and will dissolve into dust when we die. This tabernacle houses the spirit of God within us. Without this tabernacle we would die but as long as we are in this tabernacle it is proof that the Lord has not returned to give us a new body, fashioned unto His.
16Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17If any man destroyeth the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, and such are ye. 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17
Whereas the tabernacle refers to our physical bodies; THE temple refers to the Body of Christ. Notice in these verses how the word ye is used? This is because Paul is speaking to the body of believers in Corinth as opposed to one believer. Collectively, we are the Body of Christ and as such we are God's temple which is where His spirit dwells.
Three times in these verses the phrase the temple of God is used (the first one mistakenly uses the word a ). In each case the phrase would be best translated God's temple . We are God's temple because God's spirit dwells in us. If any man defiles (destroys or mars) God's temple through introducing division and worldly doctrine, God will destroy or mar that person.
Please look at these two verses from the Amplified Bible:
16Do you not discern and understand that you [the whole church at Corinth] are God's temple (His sanctuary), and that God's Spirit has His permanent dwelling in you [to be at home in you, [c]collectively as a church and also individually]?
17If anyone [d]does hurt to God's temple or corrupts it [[e]with false doctrines] or destroys it, God will [f]do hurt to him and bring him to the corruption of death and destroy him. For the temple of God is holy (sacred to Him) and that [temple] you [[g]the believing church and its individual believers] are.
[c] 1 Corinthians 3:16 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Holy Bible.
[d] 1 Corinthians 3:17 The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges.
[e] 1 Corinthians 3:17 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Holy Bible.
[f] 1 Corinthians 3:17 The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges.
[g] 1 Corinthians 3:17 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Holy Bible.
Our earthly tabernacle is not holy. It is merely the dwelling place for the spirit of God within us. This tabernacle will either die and return to dust or be changed in an instant when the Lord Jesus returns. Collectively, we are God's temple (sanctuary). The Body of Christ is where God's presence dwells and thus it is holy.
With every ounce of our strength, we should strive to purge God's temple of money changers, heretics and evil weasels intent on disrupting, dishonoring and destroying God's sanctuary. Before Paul died, he said in 2 Timothy that he had fought the good fight and had kept the faith. The fight Paul was referring to was against deceiving spirits attempting to destroy God's temple.
This study is essential to understanding one of the greatest aspects of the heart of God which is deals with where He has chosen to set up His habitation. Contrary to what most Christians think, God's habitation is NOT the local church building, the Vatican or some seminary. When we see the truth regarding the habitation of God, it will change our lives and draw us closer to His heart.