16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1Cor 3:)
This comment kind of threw me for a loop, and I had to gather my thoughts. I knew he was right, that the Epistles do say we are we are the Temple of God. Yet in my studies, and in the pictures, the types and shadows of the Old Testament, I knew this is not likely to be true. Yet Paul says it is true. So how can I reconcile my observations, my understanding of the Bible, and what Paul clearly states in his letters? I'm not one to toss a coin or check with some pointed and isolated doctrine to draw my conclusions. Everything has to line up, with no ducks waddling out of line, for me to draw my conclusions. And the conclusions I draw are only temporary lines drawn in the sand, and are liable to be washed out by the next tide that passes through.
The comment given me was one of those tides. So now, in this study, I'm looking to see if I can find a new spot of sand into which to draw my line.
We know that what we have today is not the full Kingdom God is working to establish. Paul tells us that we are in a partial realm, waiting for the perfect, the complete to come (1Cor 13:8-10; 2Peter 1:9-11 ).
13Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; (2Peter 1:)
The tabernacle is almost never mentioned in the New Testament, other than when Paul was describing the Tabernacle of Moses in the book of Hebrews. When a tabernacle is referred to, like the verse above, it is in reference to this tent of skin we wear. This would surely give impetus to the assumption that I was wrong in saying we are Tabernacles of God, rather than the Temple of God. And to this error, and its correction, I concede.
I do retain one reservation however. As I said earlier, this does not fit with the picture given to us in the Old Testament. The examples we have in the Torah, that is the first five books of Moses, makes it clear that God will not inhabit anything, including His Temple, that is not complete, and that is not perfect. Nor will He even remain in the midst of His people when they rebel and murmur. We read where God had the Ark moved out of the camp when He was angry with them; He left the Temple (in Ezekiel) and never returned, causing the polluted Temple to be destroyed.
All through the period of the Judges, during Saul's reign, and even the entire reign of David the Ark was separated from the Tabernacle. When the Israelites were taken captive to Babylon, the Ark disappeared and hasn't been heard of since (except in fables). Why then would God now want to inhabit impure creatures such as you and I (ok, I'll speak for myself, "such as me." Feel better?). I know what many of the doctrines teach this, and there is certainly evidence to support such a theory:
3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (Heb 1:)
5And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Rev 1:)
Yes, this and many other verses makes it abundantly clear that we have been washed from our sins. And if we have no sin, then we are ready for God to inhabit us. Right?
11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1Cor 6:)
When we are washed of our sins, we have the Holy Spirit in us. Or looking at it from another direction, when we have the Holy Spirit in us, we are washed from out sins. Hmm, looking at it from this perspective it brings to mind the thought: If we are clean because we have the Holy Spirit, then what happens if the Holy Spirit leaves us when we're disobedient, as He did the Tabernacle and the Temple? When God left the Temple, what happened to the Temple? Keep these tidbits, and these questions in mind. They might come in handy a bit further on in this study.
19Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. (2Tim 2:)
Ooooh! This is some heavy stuff!
First we see that God has a foundation. What do you suppose that foundation is? "Depart from iniquity?" I thought when we're cleansed of our sins, purged of our iniquity, we were free of our iniquity. How then can we purge ourself of iniquity if we no longer have any iniquity" And I thought it was Jesus who washed us of our iniquity. Yet we read here we're supposed to depart from our iniquity, to purge ourself of these. What gives?
There will be some vessels in a "Great house" (and I think we know what that Great House is, don't we?). Some that are for honor, and some for dishonor. If we do the purging of ourselves, we will be a vessel to honor. Interesting. Both the honorable and the dishonorable will be in the Great House, but one will not be so well received. Does that mean they will be cast out? But it says they're still in the Great House. Yet we know iniquity can't be in Heaven, yet here it is! Where do you suppose those dishonorable vessels are in Heaven, in the Temple? Thought provoking, is it not?
20For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2Peter 2:)
Peter is relating a bit of information that's impossible according to church doctrine. How can a person turn away from the commandments when there are no more commandments? And how can a person be overcome when God has us well in His hands, and it's His job to see we don't fail? And what does Peter mean it will be worse for that person than if they hadn't known the truth in the first place? If the person didn't know to begin with, then they're doomed for hell. Yet a Christian, that returns to his old ways, will be worse off than someone doomed for hell? Have I missed something here? Or did maybe someone else miss something? I hope it's me that is missing the mark here. If it's me, then only I will suffer the consequences for my error. But if all those churches are wrong, that teach what Peter says is impossible, them millions of people will have to pay for their error. And according to Peter, that payment will be big one.
1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1John 3:)
Oh my! Now John's getting into the act. John, unless my glasses are dirty (which they always are) is saying what Peter said: We're to purge ourselves. What happened to that initial washing that protects us from the devil, from unrighteousness, and that will give us that eternal security?
John, it appears, is even raising the bar on us. With what Peter said we can kind of imagine that all we have to do is not go into the deep end of the pool to redeem ourselves (poor choice of words under the circumstances). But John here is saying we have to be as pure as Jesus is pure. Isn't that a bit much? It's one thing if God does the cleansing and all we have to do is stand there and look purty (that's Ozark for Pretty).
19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1Cor 6:)
Again we have the Temple, and Paul is saying God is in us, through His Holy Spirit. And we are not our own. But isn't it true that if we sin after we've been saved that we're saying our body is our own? What then will happen to us if we continue sinning, or return to our sin nature, after God has cleansed us? Maybe we should read again what Peter and John said in the verses above.
16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1Cor 3:)
Oh my! It looks like we don't have to refer to what John and Peter said, Paul has made it perfectly clear right here what will happen to those who continue, or who return to their sins. God will destroy (I wonder what that means) anyone who defiles His Temple. And we've learned that we are that Temple. Do you believe the Bible? Do you really? Or is it more likely that you believe what you've been told the Bible says? What do you make of these verses? Do they fit what you've been told you're to believe?
5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? ["Rejects, worthless, castaway"] 6But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. (2Cor 13:
What is Paul talking about? We can't be reprobates, castaways, rejected, if we're "under the blood." Right? Do you think Paul is talking about something else, like maybe he's talking to the great unwashed, the unbaptized masses?
Tell me something, in your opinion, was Paul baptized? I don't recall the Bible telling us that he was baptized. Maybe that's why he was worried about losing his salvation, do you think? He was always talking about his fear of failure. I wonder what he was worried about?
24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (2Cor 9:)
Why is Paul working so hard? Hasn't he heard that he has his salvation in the bag? Is he trying to work his way to heaven? According to what I've heard and read, if that's what he's doing, and I can't see any other way to read this passage, then he'll be sent to hell. Is Paul maybe preaching a different Gospel than is the churches? Naughty, naughty Paul. Someone said that if they preach another Gospel they will be accursed. Oh my, that was Paul who said that, wasn't it? You mean Paul is preaching a different Gospel than Paul preaches? How can that be? Or maybe it's someone else who's preaching another Gospel. What do you think?
The word for "Castaway" Paul uses to describe his fear of failure is the very same one used in a previous verse where it was translated "Reprobate." Reprobate, castaway, worthless and reject are all the same word. I can't find any word in this mix that I would like to be used as a description of me. Yet they are what has been used to describe those who fall away once they have been saved, and "enlightened."
KEEP UNDER MY BODY means: "to hit under the eye (buffet or disable an antagonist as a pugilist), that is, (figuratively) to tease or annoy (into compliance), subdue (one's passions)." Is this what you do in order to prepare yourself to be in the presence of Almighty God? Is this anything like what they teach you that you need to do in order to make it into God's presence?
SUBJECTION mean: "to be a slave driver, that is, to enslave (figuratively subdue):
We hear from the pulpit, but said rather tongue-in-cheek it seems to me, that when we become a Christian, we're essentially turning ourself over to the Lord and becoming His "bondservants." Bondservants are slaves, under the complete dictatorship of the one we have said is our master. Are you taught that you must now serve the Lord with every part of your being? Or is it more likely that you've been told God now wants to serve you and give you what you want? Chances are you hear both of these messages, and sometimes in the same breath.
10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. (John 14:)
Jesus was in the Father, and the Father was in Him. And we're to be the same as Jesus. Jesus was a perfect vessel that would well house the Holy Spirit of God, the Shekinah Glory. But what about us? We may have initially been cleansed as was Jesus, but for most of us, probably less than five minutes passes before we're wallowing in the mire of our past deeds. Again, maybe I'm only speaking for myself.
It's a strange thing about dirt, it just won't stay off once the body is clean. And that's the way it is with sin as well. Sin has a way of collecting on us, and has to be continually washed away through confession and repentance.
When I was a youngster it was customary for school children, one of which I was, to wear their nice clothes to school, then take them off and change into our play clothes when home. And we had our finest clothes, our suit and tie, we wore to church on Sunday. We tried to stay clean. That was just the way we were.
Today I notice that, not only do the kids not make an effort to wear presentable clothes to school, but the clothes they wear to church my mother wouldn't have allowed us to wear outside to play. And I see that often the parents, and the grandparents of these Raggedy Ann's and Andys aren't dressed much more appropriately to church themselves. I guess that's why the churches have abandoned the concept taught in the Bible about constant washing. It's become a lost art.
15If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:)
Jesus is saying two things here that is somehow missed by a lot of people it seems. One, Jesus is saying that the Holy Spirit will be with us, and later will be in us. What makes the difference? Is it that when a person is pure, when he or she is obedient and following the Shepherd that He will be in us? Then what happens when we aren't being obedient and listening to the voice of the Shepherd?
Again, it's possible that Jesus was saying that while He was yet with them, the Holy Spirit was with them, and at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit would be in them. And then again, maybe both are true.
"Abide with you for ever." I doubt I can count the number of times I've heard these words preached. Or something to that effect. But somehow I've hardly ever heard the other words Jesus spoke in this passage. Those words are: "keep my commandments." For you English students, that's what's called a "Conditional phrase" (don't quote me on that because I flunked English in grade school). Conditions mean there's something that happens if something else happens. Instead of hearing about the conditions of the Bible, the consequences the Bible warns us about, and the commandments we're to obey; I hear that there are no consequences for those who've been baptized, about the promises made, promises that often do not apply to us at all, and I hear there are no more commandments.
9Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21But he spake of the temple of his body. (John 2:)
Jesus was the Temple of God. And the reason Jesus was the Temple of God is because that's where God the Father resided through the Holy Spirit. Had you thought of it quite that way before? If not, why not? If Jesus was the Temple, and we're the Temple, then wouldn't that make us the same as Jesus? From what I read, if we're not the same as Jesus, the Holy Spirit won't dwell in us, and that means we're not the Temple, which in turn means we're reprobate, or as Paul expressed it, we're "castaways."
8For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2Peter 1:)
This is another biggy. Lots of things said here. Did you notice the conditional phrases, and the word "If"? If you missed them, read the verse again. They might have not taught you to see conditional phrases in your church. They don't mine. (Actually I lie. They sometimes mention them, but say because we're washed in the blood we don't have to give them a second thought.)
Purged from his old sins. Was purged from my old sins. Old sins? I thought all sins, past, present and future were gone, as far as the east is from the west. What happens with all my new sins? Aren't they covered as well?
Diligence to make your calling and election sure. Here again we see that Peter does not know or understand "the simplicity of the Gospels." He seems to think a person can lose some of their "calling and election." But you and I know better than that, don't we? We're taught the security of the believer every Sunday. Perhaps we can talk Peter into coming to our church where he can lean the truth oh the Word.
4So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (2Thes 2:)
8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 10According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. (1Cor 3:)
We are a building? What building are we? What is Paul building? Paul said he is laying the foundation, and that we should beware that we build on that foundation properly. But how can that be? Is Paul just playing with words do you think? Doesn't Paul know that we are already the finished product, the completed Temple from the moment we were baptized into the faith? These Apostles Jesus picked can't seem to get their doctrine straight.
The Book of Revelation tells us that the Apostles are the foundation of the New Jerusalem, and that the walls of that city are made of like substance as are the foundation, and that is precious stones, tried in the fire (there's too many diverse references to list here, especially since I've listed them so many times elsewhere).
What will happen to a person who is part of the Church who hasn't "taken heed" and tries to add to the Temple their hay, dirt and stubble, things that will be burnt in the end? Isn't that like polluting the Temple of God? What does God have to say about those who would pollute His Temple? Check out 1Cor 3:17 again and see what Paul has to say about it. Of course keep in mind that the Apostles aren't very clear on the Gospels, so it might be a good ides if you went to your pastor instead. We know he understands the Word.
I don't see any way of getting around it. I was in the wrong. We are the Temple of God, not the Tabernacle of God. It appears that this old tabernacle, this tent of skin, is ours to endure, and that it will be done away with once the Temple is completed.
Completed? Aren't we taught that we are complete from the very beginning? And that is the assumption that seems to be taken by the person who corrected me. However, if we look at the 21st and the 22nd chapters of Revelation we see what the finished building (the Bride of Christ) will be like when it is finished. We find the Cornerstone finished and laid, and we find the Foundation laid and garnished; but the walls are still under construction.
I would like to paint a metaphor that might better explain what I see occurring in the building of this Temple God is to inhabit. Let's say you and I are taken on a tour of the White House. Before they will allow us to enter the grounds we will first have to pass some security guards. At this point we will be checked to insure we aren't going to present a danger to either the building we're to be shown, or to those who work in that building. When God took the Israelites through the wilderness, it was for the purpose of "trying" them, to test them to see if they were worthy of the land they were to inhabit and care for. He was also preparing these people for the cloud they would escape in... Oops, wrong story. God was strengthening and training these people for the battles they would incur when they arrived at their promised land of milk and honey. He first wanted to see if they would live on little, if they truly loved Him, before He took up residence with them. We see this in the lives of the Apostles as well. Whereas God spent 40 years teaching the Israelites what He expected of them, and that was after their destiny had already been sealed, Jesus spent 40 days (the first chapter of Acts) teaching the Apostles what was to come of them. Again, this was after they had proven themselves (faithful in this case, not rebellious as in the desert), and their destiny had been sealed.
Along with training the Israelites to be soldiers, God was also teaching them about himself, His ways and His purposes, and He was instructing them how He wanted them to build Him a Tabernacle, a temporary Temple in which he could be with, and guide them. God provided the material, and the skills, and the instructions for the Tabernacle He wanted built. But it was the people themselves who actually did the building. Paul said we must be careful how we build the walls of the Temple God is building for Himself. The Israelites, those given the gift of leadership, even to Moses and Aaron, and the ones selected and gifted to build the Tabernacle, all died in the wilderness and never got to see the finished product they were working so hard to build. Keeping that in mind, shouldn't we take heed how we read the warnings the Apostles have given us in our efforts to build on the Temple of God?
We have now passed inspection. We're a Joshua and a Caleb. We are not allowed entrance into the White House. In the White House we see many beautiful and expensive items and paintings. We can now leave the premises, return home and tell the family we have seen and been in the White House, the place where the President dwells Then our tour guide announces that our next stop is the Oval Office where the President himself, the Big Man on campus, does his business. We've seen the White House, but now's our chance to be in the presence of the Big Man himself. Are we going to leave the tour and miss this opportunity? Not likely.
We've now seen the Oval Office, but can we say we've even looked upon the President? If he was in his office, yes we can. And if the President did happen to be in his office at the time of our tour, and we had the opportunity to shake his hand, can we then say we know the President? We would probably do just that, but is it an actual fact? Of course not.
Yet we do this with God, with Jesus. Jesus said to those who followed Him faithfully through the fires and the trials of His earthly existence that He now called them "friends." He said a servant doesn't know what the Master does, but a friend He confides in (my interpretation of the discussion). Yet we, hardly having heard of Jesus, and refusing to do what He says we should do (denying that He told us to do anything in many cases) feel it our privilege to call Jesus "friend," and to call God "Abba."
The High Priest was only allowed to enter the presence of God once a year, and that was not for his own pleasure, but for the covering of sins for his people. The presence of God meant great personal risk for the High Priest. And it meant being absolutely free from sin, through the rituals God provided for this cleansing. If he missed a step, he was dead on the spot, which Aaron's two sons discovered. The presence of God is not something to take lightly, as we are so prone to do in this day and age. We approach God with fear and trembling, on our knees, and in repentance. If we don't possess that reverence and respect for our Maker, what do you suppose will be the outcome when we enter the Vail into the Holy of Holies? It seems to me that far too many people think of God as Daddy Warbucks, and call Him "Pops," or some other demeaning name that we ought not to call even our earthly father.
After Babylon, the Israelites returned to their own land to rebuild the Temple that had been completely destroyed. They now had the means, the material, and everything else they needed to complete the project. But there were some things lacking. One of those lacking items was the gifted people God had furnished for the building of His Tabernacle, and for His Temple. The people built the Temple, and for the most part they were very sincere in their efforts; but in spite of their sincerity, it was their efforts, and we don't see God leading them as He did in the wilderness, and through Solomon. There were prophets in the midst of the people, so there was the voice of God with them, but not God Himself.
There was something else missing from this Temple, and this "something" was what the Temple (and the Tabernacle) was all about. The people ended up with a fine building when they were through, and hundreds of years later a non-Jew, Herod, completed this building and turned it into one of the wonders of the world. But in spite of its wealth and its beauty, it was an empty box housing nothing but air and false beliefs.
The Ark, the part of the Temple that represented the presence, and the acceptance of God, was not in the Holy of Holies.
Even though the Ark was gone, and the Holy of Holies, that small, dark room behind the beautiful Vail, was as empty as a tomb, it was still regarded and treated as if God Himself was still within it. The priests still performed all their rites, which were nothing but dead rituals performed by rote rather than to serve a true purpose.
Today we carry on this tradition of pretending to serve God, performing empty rituals, in a show of worship and reverence. We pretend as if we are holy vessels filled with the Spirit of God, fully sanctified and ready to be a part of the building that God is preparing for Himself. God is not interested in building a Mansion for Himself out of clay, out of clean dirt; He wants a House of gold and jewels, purified in the fires of tribulation and persecution. He has not hidden this fact, but the fact has been kept hidden in spite of God's efforts to point to the truth.
The Tabernacle, as well as the Temple, was made up of three distinct areas. The first area we come to is what is called the Court. Here in the court is where a person is inspected (inspects himself) and cleansed. This is accomplished at the brazen Laver where a mirror for self-inspection is available, as is the water to clean the dirty spots from the face, the hands, and the feet. Then comes the Alter of Sacrifice, where a person makes sacrifice for their sins. And since it's only the priests that can enter this area (which is why we are called "priests," which allows us into this area), the priests can, and do offer the sacrifices brought to them by others who are not allowed into this area. Jesus and the Apostles said we must assist one another. Jesus showed by example that we are to wash one another's feet, meaning we should act as laves for one another, pointing out "dirt," and helping to wash that dirt from one another.
Those in this court yard are priests, and they are "in the Temple of God." But being in the Temple is a long way from being in the presence of God, who resides in the Holy of Holies. There are many priests allowed in the court yard. And these priests, except for a very few, will never go beyond this point. And even those is this area, should they form a scab, have their foot broken, or in some other way become less than perfect, will be restricted from the area they would otherwise be entitled to. Sin is that imperfection that will keep us from being in even the outer edge, the "works area" of the Temple, even though we're still "Priests.".
There were those who were allowed into the Holy Place, the area where the "daily bread" and the "Candle stick," which represents the Church, the lighting of the Holy Spirit is located. Since the reign of David, the priests who served in this area were divided into 24 "courses," or as we would call them "shifts." The candle sticks were snuffed, filled and lighted daily, and the incense burner, which represents the prayers of the saints, was serviced. This area was directly in front of the Vail that hid from view the smaller area where God resides. A person, a priest, even the High Priest, can work in this area all their life, and yet never even get a peek behind the Vail, leastwise enter that area into the presence of God.
Once a year, as already described, the High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies, the ultimate reason for the Temple in the first place. At this time, at least it was so before the disappearance of the Ark, a person could be said to be in the presence of God. And even though it was the High Priest, a person ordained for that ministry, and fully prepared for the function who was allowed to do so, he had better be in a state of awe, reverence, and humility. He can't enter the presence of God bringing any of his fleshly baggage with him if he expects to exit the presence of God in one piece.
We are said to be priests of the High God. We, in our ignorance, assume this to mean, from the time we're baptized, that we are high on the list of priests, ready for full service, even though we haven't the slightest idea what that service entails. And there are many of us being trained to demean and castigate those who are serving with all their might in the service of their Lord, accusing them of trying to work their way to Heaven.
Can you imagine God having priests working for Him, claiming all the benefits, but not doing their job? I can't even imagine such a thing on this earthly plain, leastwise on a Heavenly level.
Let us assume that we have been taught correctly, and that we can't lose our "priesthood" once we've been given that honor. What level of priest do we begin with? Keep in mind that all Levites were priests, but only certain families of priests were allowed to serve in the Temple. Other families were attached to the Temple, but not allowed to enter the Temple they served.
If I worked my way up to the job of CIO of a firm such as General Motors, let's say I become president of that firm. And I do something that causes me to lose my presidency. I am bumped back to being one of the executives of that business. Do I still work for General Motors? Now I again commit a booboo, and I'm kicked all the way back to common laborer on the assembly line, am I still in the employ of General Motors? Let's take this to the military, and say I am bumped from five star general to buck private, am I not still just as much a "soldier" as I was when I was a general?
We have an infantile understanding of the Word of God, having twisted it to suit ourselves rather than as in instruction manual for serving God and one another, which is the same thing as serving God. Until we release our selfish hold on Christ, and His body, which is His Church, we will never be able to understand the Word, nor to please God. And if we don't please God, we won't find ourself in the presence of God as we so firmly believe of ourselves.
We are the Temple of God. This is not in debate. What we should be questioning however is: Just what part of the Temple we are working to attain to.
7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:)