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a temple in three days: but thus he proves both his ability and authority ; “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days.” Now, it is especially from the scope of these words, that I deduce the following doctrine. OBSERV. Christ's ability to raise up, or effectuate the
resurrection of the temple of his human body, when destroyed by men, is a sure sign of his ability, and authority, and design to raise
up and rebuild the temple of his church, or mystical body, when des
troyed and ruined by men. His ability to raise his own body in three days, is a clear sign of his ability and authority to repair the desolations of his church, when brought to destruction and death, as his own human body was. To this purpose see what is said, Isa. xxvi. 19. “ Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise,” &c. To the same purpose is that, Hos. vi. 2.“ After two days he will revive us ; in the third he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” And hence it is said, i Cor. xv. 3, 4. that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture; and that he was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the scripture: and he arose to be the resurrection and the life, and that his mystical body, being planted in the likeness of his death, might also be in the likeness of his resurrection, Rom. vi. 5.
We shall observe the following method, in prosecuting this observation. 1. We would offer some remarks for the explication
of the text and doctrine. II. Some reasons for the confirmation thereof. III. Some inferences for the application of it.
I. We are to offer some remarks for the explication of the text and doctrine. And the remarks may be of two sorts, or under these two following heads. 1. Some remarks concerning the sign Christ here gives them ;
Destroy this body, and in three days I will raise it up." 2. Some remarks upon the thing signified, namely, his raising up the temple of his mystical body, the church; or his repairing it when ruined by men.
1st, We would offer a few remarks concerning the sign here given by our Lord Jesus ; Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." For explaining of this, you may remark,
1. " That our Lord Jesus here compares his body to " the temple : and, indeed, his body is the true temple, os of which that at Jerusalem was but a type." Why ? for the following reasons.
(1.) Like the temple, it was built by immediate divine direction, 1 Chron. xxviii. 19. And thus Christ says, “ A body hast thou prepared me," Heb. x. 5. This temple of Christ's body, was indeed, a more curious edi. fice, a building of God, a master-piece of his work, by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of a virgin, and gradually built up to a perfect stature.
(2.) Like the temple it was a holy house; and therefore called that holy thing, consecrated for the service of God; a living temple, for the living service of the living God, who says, “ Behold my Servant.” Isa. xlii. 1.
(3.) It was, like the temple, the habitation of God's glory; here the eternal Word dwelleth, the true Shechinah: he is IMMANUEL, God with us; and “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. ji...
(4.) The temple was the place and medium of intercourse betwixt God 'and Israel; there God revealed himself to them, and there they presented themselves and their services to him. Thus, by Christ, God speaks to us, and we speak to him. True worshippers look towards that house, as you see represented, I Kings viii. 30. 35.38, &c. We must worship God with an eye to Christ; of whom, as the true temple, God says, 2 Chron. vii. 15, 16. “ Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attend unto the prayer that is made in this place; for, now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever : and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.” God's heart and eye is set upon Christ as the temple, whence he shews himself precious to sinners.
(5.) In a word, the temple was a visible, outward edi. fice, capable of being demolished and destroyed by the hands of men; and accordingly was so in the event : such a temple was the body of Christ; it was a mortal body subject to death. This leads to another remark here.
Remark 2. “ That this temple of Christ's body was destroyed, as far as the hands of men and devils could “ destroy it; even as the temple of Jerusalem after“ wards was.” By this destruction of the temple of Christ's body, we are to understand the death of Christ, who was actually crucified, dead, and buried, according to the history thereof you have in the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The destroyers of this temple, instigated by Satan, cried out upon the matter, Raze, raze it to the foundation, when they cried,
Crucify him! crucify him!” and so accomplished the prediction of our Lord here, Destroy this temple. Hence,
Remark 3. “That this destruction or death of Christ's “ human body was ordered of the Lord; he permitted “it: yea, God determined it, Acts ii. 23. “Him, be“ ing delivered by the determinate counsel and fore" knowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked “ hands have crucified and slain.” God had a holy hand in that wherein men had a sinful wicked hand.
Destroy this temple;" it is not a command or allowance, but a prediction of what wickedness they would commit; yet God designed his death as man's Surety; therefore justice pursued him, and knocked down that temple: he died to satisfy that threatening; “ In the day thou eatest, thou shalt surely die.” The destruction of this temple was designed for our deliverance. Therefore,
Remark 4. “ This temple was raised up the third “ day after it was thus destroyed, according to the pro“mise and the type.” This temple behoved to be repairerl and rebuilt : and that in three days. This holy temple saw destruction, but it was not possible it could see corruption. “ David foreseeing this before, speaks of the resurrection of Christ, That his soul was not left in hell; neither his flesh did see corruption,” Acts ii. 31. compared with Psalın xvi. 10. and Acts xiii. 35. Arise he must, to shew that he was the Son of God,
Rom. i. 4.; that he was the living God, a living temple, not made with hands, as other temples.
Remark 5. “ That Christ by his own power, raised “ up again this temple in three days: I will raise it up.” It is true, we are told, again and again, the Father raised him; and that God raised him from the dead : but then it is as true, that, as God, he and his Father are one; and therefore, he arose, by his own power, which was the power of God; for, he is God
He declared, that he had power to lay down his life, and power to take it again, John x. 18. And as Christ foretold it here, so he actually rose and Christ is risen indeed ; the temple is raised up by his own power. And never was there a greater demonstration of the power of God, than was put forth in raising this temple: it is called the power of his resurrection, Phil. iii. 10. As Lazarus behoved to be dead, and buried for a time, that the power of Christ might be manifest in raising him; so here, the temple of Christ's body behoved first to be destroyed by death, and interred, that his own divine power might be illustriously displayed in the revival of it again.
Remark 6. «That this resurrection of Christ, or the “ raising up of the temple of his body, was a sign and “ demonstration of his power and authority to raise “ and repair the temple of his church, his mystical
body." The Jews here sought a sign of his authority for what he did; but seeing his works and miracles did not convince them that he was the true Messias, he spoke in a figurative way of a sign, that should in itself be demonstrative of his being the true Messias, the true God; and should declare that he was the Son of God with power, and the glorious powerful Head of the body of the church. This leads,
2dly, To offer some remarks upon the thing signified namely, his power and authority to raise up the temple of his mystical body the church, or his repairing it when demolished and ruined by men. Concerning this we may remark,
1. “ That as the human body of Christ, so his church "and mystical body, is comparable to a temple, and free
quently in scripture compared thereto. “ Know. ye “ not that ye are the temples of God, and that the Spirit “ of God dwelleth in you?” i Cor. iii. 16. Yea, their “ bodies are called the temples of the Holy Ghost, 1 “ Cor. vi. 19.“ What agreement bath the temple of 66 God with idols ? For ye are the temple of the living « God; and God hath said, I will dwell in them," 2 Cor. vi. 16. The church is a temple of God's building, as Christ's body was; “ The Lord hath founded Zion, he buildeth Jerusalem.” It is also his holy temple, and called the mountain of his boliness, Psal. xlviii. 1. It is his habitation ; yea, he hath desired it for his habitation, saying, “ This is my rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it," Psal. cxxxii. 14. And further, it is the place of intercourse with God: there is no ordinary means of salvation but in the temple of his church, where his word and ordinances are dispensed; for, as “ There is no name given under heaven, whereby to be saved, but the name of Christ,” the only Saviour published in Zion; so, “ Where there is no vision, the people perish." This temple, indeed, hath both an outer and inner court; I mean, the church is either visible or invisible. The catholic or universal church, says our Confession of Faith, which is invisible, con
sists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, • are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the
Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the ful• ness of him that filleth all in all, Eph. i. 10. 22, 23. v. • 12. 27. 32. Col. i. 18.-The visible church, which is
also catholic or universal, under the gospel, (not con• fined to one nation, as before under the law) consists • of all those throughout the world that profess the true • religion, together with their children ; and is the king• dom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.'*
Remark 2. “ That as the human body of Christ, “ when in his state of humiliation, was liable to destruc“ tion and death; so is the church militant, the mysti
* Confession of Faith, chap. xxv.g. 1, 2. with the scriptures there quoted.