1.2 In Spirit and In Truth by Dr Simon Chan

Carrying on from the previous post about the Temple in the Old Testament, Dr Simon Chan went on to talk about how it relates to the New Testament. In the last post, we talked about how the Temple/Tabernacle was where the Israelites met with and experienced the Glory of God and responded (through worship and obedience).

Note: Dr Simon Chan’s definition of “worship” is the specific acts that Christians must perform when we gather e.g. sacrament, word etc.

Transition from the OT to the NT – The Temple and The Synagogues

There were two main places for worship – the Temple & the Synagogue. There was 1 temple in Jerusalem and (presumably) Synagogues scattered elsewhere (developed after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple).

Worship in both places was modelled after Tabernacle worship. Hearing (or reading) the Torah was the main activity, along with sacrifices and offerings & performing of rites. Jesus did *not* forsake the Temple, but in fact condemned the abuses of the Temple.


Dr Chan asserts basically that when Jesus came, He brought about a whole new perspective of the Temple and how the people met God – Jesus became the Temple.

Bible Verses in reference to this include:

  • Matt 12:6 – One greater than the Temple is here
  • John 1:14 – “Dwelt” literally means “tabernacled” (same root word)

So in essence, with the destruction of the Temple (Matt 24), the physical Temple ceased to have meaning and “in spirit and in Truth” refers to worshipping through Jesus, who has become the means by which we reach God.

Early Christians

Furthermore, the early Christians did *not* disown the Jewish system of worship. They merely saw it in a new light – that of Jesus. They still celebrated the Passover (Matt 26) & Pentecost (previously a Jewish festival) (Acts 2). They also continued to go to the Temple (Acts 2:46, Acts 3:1)

They adopted the Jewish traditions into their understanding of who Jesus was and what He did – the Sabbath became a Sunday (the Lord’s day of resurrection), and celebrated the Passover as Holy Communion.

Sacrament – Holy Communion (Note: the most important point in the lecture to me)

The whole point of Holy Communion is to continually instruct & remind us that WE are now the Temple of God. How do we reach this conclusion?

    The Temple was where the Israelites met God
    Jesus became the Temple, fulfilling the requirements of the Law
    We are the “Body of Christ”
    We are therefore the Temple of God

Holy Communion therefore is NOT just between us and God (though we often see it that way), its about ALL of us being reconciled by Jesus’ death and resurrection and becoming part of the Body of Christ.

Sacrament – Baptism

Baptism is to signal membership of the Body of Christ – it is a corporate event as much as it is an individual one. It represents the death of the old self (lowering head/body),  cleansing (water), and the final rise as a new creation.

Therefore we are “incorporated” into the Body of Christ – very very important.

That’s if for this post! The next post will focus on the overview of “A Biblical Theology of Worship”, the last part of the first session.

Anything to add? Leave a comment!

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~ by jonhyz on March 31, 2009.

6 Responses to “1.2 In Spirit and In Truth by Dr Simon Chan”

  1. hey jon, as promised… some quotes on martin luther with regards to music.
    “music is the greatest gift, indeed it is divine; and therefore satan is extremely hostile to it, because by its influence many great temptations are overcome. The devil doesn’t stay where there is music.”
    “music is the highest art, the notes of which cause the words of the text to live. it puts to flight all sad thoughts, as we see in the case of Saul.”
    “music is a noble gift of God, next to theology. I would not change my little knowledge of music for a great deal. Youths should be trained in this art, for it makes fine, clever people.”

    there’s plenty more… it’s about 2 and 1/2 pages.

  2. that is really intersting… is that in your textbok, or where didyou source that from? i ‘m curious to know what context he said that in!! “,

    • it’s from this book called conversations with Luther. as in it’s topical. so from the contents, u can see a whole list of topics and what exactly he wrote about them. these were from the chapter on “Music”. All primary source material written by the man himself

      • thanks ian! really interesting stuff… is it all quotes or is it whole chunks of writing?

        luther certainly accounts for most of the music/instruments we have today in the (reformed) church.. thank God!

  3. it’s a whole chunk of writing… i’ll see if i can photocopy it for u guys if u all are really interested in those 2 and 1/2 pages.

  4. […] 1.3 In Spirit and In Truth by Dr Simon Chan We’re looking at Dr Simon Chan’s overview of a Biblical Theology of Worship (as promised). Do see the previous posts: 1.1 & 1.2. […]

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