42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’? Matthew 21:42 NKJV
Jesus quoted from Psalm 118 to the religious leaders of His day who rejected Him as the Messiah, or Christ. He was telling them that, because of their rejection, a new temple would be constructed, but not with human hands. He will be the cornerstone to its eternal foundation and the capstone of its structure.
The temple today resides in the hearts of men and women worldwide who believe in Christ and receive Him in their hearts. Believers have been purchased and redeemed by God through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Upon believing in Him, they are given the Holy Spirit to live in their hearts and are reborn.
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV
A thousand years before Jesus came, God chose to have King Solomon build His temple in Jerusalem. This would be the place where God would reside among men and women in that day.
Solomon’s temple was magnificent in construction with gold and cedar throughout, with ornate carvings and holy articles that reflected heavenly patterns. Its basic contents and layout were first specified by God to Moses on Mount Sinai for use in the tabernacle, but there are indications the temple’s design was later confirmed to David directly by God.
David assembled all the materials for the temple, but God insisted that David’s son, King Solomon, do the actual construction. David had spilled much blood in his wars with Israel’s surrounding nations, and now an era of peace and abundance would be granted throughout Solomon’s reign. (The future temple of the Holy Spirit would be built by Jesus, who was also known as the Son of David in Matthew’s gospel.)
Solomon’s temple was a building devoted to the residence of God on earth. His presence was centered at the mercy seat, located between two gold cherubim resting above the ark of the covenant. The ark was the one built under the supervision of Moses in the desert and bore the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Here behind the curtain in the Most Holy Place, God would meet with mankind through their representative, the High Priest, once each year.
The materials of Solomon’s temple were impressive, and its design precise. Many thousands of workers were involved in its construction.
7 And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built. 1 Kings 6:7 NKJV
There is a story that one of the stones brought to the temple from the quarry had been carved to exact specifications, but could not be found to fit anywhere. It was rejected and thrown off to the side. Years later, when the temple was almost finished, a final stone was needed to fit the uppermost crest of the structure. But no more stones were being sent from the quarry – they were finished, per their design plans. Then, someone remembered the discarded stone, and a search was made in the weeds until they found it. This stone, which the builders had rejected, fit perfectly. Like Christ, it had been the designed capstone of the temple all along.
Christ is both the cornerstone and the capstone of the temple, the Alpha and the Omega.
Like Solomon’s temple, the spiritual temple of today is also made up of many different “materials”. Each believer is unique, and each of these living stones has been given a gift to use by the Lord, according to His design.
We each have a specific place in the heavenly temple assigned by God to use our gift to help Him build up the kingdom. With His help, we can find our role.
Lord, show me where you want me in Your heavenly temple.