WHOSE TEMPLE WORK IS IMPORTANT?
In a previous post, I talked about the striking contrast between what the Bible says about temples and what Mormonism teaches. According to the Bible, temples are where God dwells. And the New Testament says that is in the body of each believer! Mormonism, however, says that temples are where God visits and its emphasis is on the temples they build.
Now I want to compare what happens in each temple. The Old Testament temple vividly emphasized how sin had separated man from God. I say that because the temple was off-limits to the vast majority of Israelites. Only the eligible priests from the one family of Aaron could enter it. Everybody else, even the kings, was forbidden to enter. Just think of coming to church each week and having to stay in the parking lot and never once being able to enter the building!
The other thing that emphasized the serious nature of sin was all the bloody sacrifices that were offered there. The courtyard of the Old Testament temple had all the sights, smells, and sounds of a slaughterhouse as one animal after another was sacrificed on the altar. Throughout the centuries, the fact that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22) was vividly drilled into them.
All that changed with Jesus’ death on the cross. In his blood, we have forgiveness of sins. Through his work, we have access to God. “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,” (Hebrews10:19-20). Because Jesus has removed our sins, God now dwells within believers – we now are the temples of God.
And we are to offer up sacrifices – sacrifices of praise. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15).
How different are the temples of Mormonism! Access to them is gained, not by what Jesus has done, but what the person has done. Members enter on the basis of their worthiness. And the ordinances done there have nothing in common with biblical temples. In LDS temples, members participate in two ordinances for themselves: being endowed in the endowment ceremony and being united in eternal marriages (sealings). Both are never mentioned in the Bible and were never part of Old Testament temple rituals. And both contradict biblical teaching.
But that’s not all. Mormons participate in these ordinances not only for themselves but also vicariously for the dead. In addition to being endowed for the dead, and to be married vicariously for the dead, they also baptize for the dead. In fact, the vast majority of work done in the temples is for the dead!
There is no resemblance whatsoever between the temples of the Bible and current LDS temples. Biblical temples emphasized that sin separates man from God and that the only thing that washes away that sin is the blood of a sacrifice. LDS temples stress how a person’s own worthiness entitles them to enter God’s presence. Not only is there no resemblance between the two; the two are diametrically opposed to each other! Biblical temples put all the focus on Christ’s sacrifice for us while LDS temples emphasize a person’s own worthiness.
But many people don’t realize that. One reason they don’t is that Mormonism often talks about their temples as a continuation of biblical temples. Even numerous Mormons don’t realize the difference. More than a few have vehemently objected when I have made this point.
There are a couple of reasons why I have spent some time on this. One reason is that the LDS Church is building more and more temples and thus more Christians are becoming aware of them (should you have an opportunity to tour one, you can download a FREE tour preview here. You will also receive a free chapter from my book, God – The Ultimate Humanitarian). But another reason is to again emphasize how the Bible always centers its salvation message on what Jesus has done for us and not on anything we are to do. How are your sins taken away so that you can enter God’s presence? Solely by the blood of Jesus Christ. To him be all praise and glory.
In the previous blog post, I pointed you to a brief video I did on the differences in the temple. Here’s the link again in case you didn’t have a chance to view it: What does the New Testament teach about Temples? Do Christians believe in them?
Read more about temples in these blog posts: