Last time 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, were 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 shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 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. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, to say, his flesh.” (Hebrews 9:19-20) Because Jesus has removed our sins, God now dwell within believers – we now are the temples of God.
And we are to offer up sacrifices – sacrifices of praise. “By him, therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips given thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
How much difference the temples of Mormonism! Access to them is gained, not by what Jesus has done, but what the person has done. Members have to become worthy themselves to enter the temple. And the ordinances done there have nothing in common with biblical temples. For example, eternal marriages for both the living and the dead not only are not mentioned in the Bible, they contradict Jesus’ own teaching about marriage. There is not one single aspect where LDS temples resemble biblical temples.
But many people don’t realize that. One reason they don’t is because 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.
Mormonism’s attempted linkage between its temples and biblical temples is confusing and dishonest. There is no similarity between the two.