Category Archives: church sanctuary is holy

Is a church building a “holy place”?

Many have the idea that a church building or a “church sanctuary” is a holy place. Such views are not supported by the New Testament, but by the “doctrines and traditions of men” (Mt. 15:8-9).

It is true that under the Old Testament system the nation of Israel had a physical temple. This was a special place for God’s people to commune with God. Much of the Old Testament system was an “earthly” system (people were able to see and touch different aspects of the Mosaic law). In the New Testament (and this point is made repeatedly throughout the book of Hebrews), there has been a change in the law. Notice how the Hebrew writer expressed this change in the eighth chapter of Hebrews:

But now hath he obtained a ministry the more excellent, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises. 7 For if that first (covenant) had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for a second. 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers In the day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt; For they continued not in my covenant, And I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel After those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, And on their heart also will I write them: And I will be to them a God, And they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his fellow-citizen, And every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: For all shall know me, From the least to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And their sins will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new (covenant) he hath made the first old. But that which is becoming old and waxeth aged is nigh unto vanishing
Jesus dealt with this same subject in Jn. 4: 23-24: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

After Paul became a Christian and started preaching the gospel he said God does not “dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24).

Not only does the Bible tell us there are no “special places for God” (and this proves church buildings are not “holy places”), the New Testament establishes this point in another way. A common New Testament word for “temple” is “hieron” (this is a Greek adjective). This term is used several times in the book of Matthew, several times in the book of Mark, several times in Luke, John and Acts. In the remaining books of the New Testament this term is found only once (1 Cor. 9:13). This indicates that Christians had changed their attitude towards where God was located. Instead of looking for God in a physical place, they realized that God is not bound by some type of structure (Acts 17:24). Today, when people assemble, a “church building” is not any more “holy” than a public park or a private home. When people realize that “church” means the people and not a building, then and only then will they begin to realize just how different the Old Testament is from the New Testament.

Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit for Bible study information.

Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Bible baptism is by immersion only (“burial,” Rom. 6:4), and once it is done, heaven puts that person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3). After proper baptism a person has their sins forgiven (Acts 2:38).

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