The Spirit In The Temple: Bridging The Gap Between Old Testament Absence And New Testament Assumption -- By: Joseph R. Greene
Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 55:4 (Dec 2012)
Article: The Spirit In The Temple: Bridging The Gap Between Old Testament Absence And New Testament Assumption
Author: Joseph R. Greene
JETS 55:4 (December 2012) p. 717
The Spirit In The Temple: Bridging The Gap Between Old Testament Absence And New Testament Assumption
Joe Greene resides at 1612 Eagon Ct., Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526.
The NT assumes a close correspondence between the Holy Spirit and God’s presence in the temple. This assumption is most clearly expressed in passages such as 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; Eph 2:22 where believers are called a “temple of the Holy Spirit.”1 This concept is alluded to in other contexts such as John 14:17 where Jesus (in fulfillment of the temple) promises to mediate God’s indwelling presence through the Holy Spirit.2 This NT concept seems to be drawing from antecedent notions concerning the temple and yet no OT Scripture explicitly refers to the Spirit indwelling the temple. Despite the lack of direct references, many scholars presuppose that the NT relationship between the Holy Spirit and the temple is based upon OT antecedents.3 The gap between the OT and NT data is often addressed by simply incorporating the NT assumption without an investigation as to how the unstated in the OT became assumed in the NT. This paper’s purpose is to address this gap through an investigation of the temple and Spirit concepts in the OT and literature of the Second Temple period.4
Starting with the OT and moving into the Second Temple period I will argue the following points. (1) One of the most important functions of the tabernacle/temple was mediating Yahweh’s presence to his people. (2) In the OT, Yahweh’s presence was depicted with the terms “cloud” and/or “glory” in the sanctuary. The term “Spirit” was usually reserved for Yahweh’s presence or empowerment among the people outside the sanctuary. Because these three terms variously denoted
JETS 55:4 (December 2012) p. 718
Yahweh’s presence, they provided a point of overlap and intersection with one another. (3) The destruction of Solomon’s temple and exile spurred on a shift in perspective concerning God’s presence in the temple. That shift called for a depiction of God’s presence that emphasized his transcendence of the temple while still being close to his downtrodden people. The Spirit, more than the other concepts, better depicted God’s presence in the needed manner. The Spirit’s presence after the exile was not a blinding glory or cloud...
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