Is the Mormon Temple Christian? Is it Biblical?
Latter-day Saints believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, and worship of God in the name of Jesus Christ is what the Mormon Temple is all about. But many Christians have heard that Christ did away with temple worship and that temples are no longer needed or of any value since Christ completed His work of the Atonement. In fact, some argue that the whole concept of modern temples must be inherently non-biblical and non-Christian. Let's first see what the Bible actually has to say about this matter.
The Bible and the Temple: Important Even After the Coming of Christ
"We have thought of thy loving-kindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple." (Ps. 48:9)
"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple." (Ps. 27:4)
The Bible describes the Temple as a focal point for worship. Many Christians are taught that it only mattered in Old Testament times and that it is no longer needed now that Christ has come, but this is not a biblical doctrine. The Temple was important to Christ and was important to the early saints even after Christ had ascended to heaven. Look at these passages:
"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." (Matt. 21:12-13)
"And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein." (Matt. 23:21)
"And they [the early Christians], continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, . . ." (Acts 2:46)
"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. " (Acts 5:42)
"Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them." (Acts. 21:20-26)
Further, prophecies in the Bible show that the Temple would play an important role and be part of the Lord's work in the "last days" before the Second Coming of the Lord and would still be important after His return during the great Millennium:
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." (Isaiah 2:2)
"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap. . . ." (Malachi 3:1-2)
"Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Ezek. 37:26-27)
"Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." (Rev. 7:15 - a description of the Millennium)
After the loss of prophetic leadership and the loss of many covenants and sacred teachings of the Gospel during a process that we call the Apostasy, the Christian world found themselves without a temple and without a knowledge of the "mysteries" from earliest Christianity whose details were not written down for the consumption of non-believers. Many have sought to justify the loss of a temple or to make it a metaphorical or spiritual entity, but the scriptures seem to call for the real thing in the last days. The covenant people will have the house of covenants, the Temple, and it will serve as a focal point for the gathering of people around the world, a source of wisdom and learning, a place to which the Messiah will return, and a place where the saints will serve God night and day in the Millennium. Where is the Temple of God? It has been restored through divine revelation and the ministry of angels through the prophet Joseph Smith. To those of you outside the Church, I hope you will recognize the significance of the ancient Temple concept that has been restored in these latter days: you are seeing Biblical prophecy fulfilled as part of God's great and marvelous work in these last days, when He is bringing about the promised "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21). Where else can you find the Lord's Temple?
Some additional information about the Mormon Temple is on the Mormon Answers (LDSFAQ) page about the LDS Temple and Masonry.) Also see Temple.LDS.org.