In Luke 2:49 Jesus refers to Temple of Jerusalem as his father’s house.
Also, King Solomon built this Temple for God according to His
instruction. However, in Acts 17:24 it is taught that God does not live
in any human built building. I am having some difficulty to explain this
issue can you please help me?
I can certainly see how one might see a potential
contradiction in these two Bible teachings. In fact, both Luke 2:49 and
Acts 17:24 are correct, but are talking about different aspects of God. 1
Kings 8 records Solomon’s prayer upon the dedication of the Temple in
Jerusalem. In both the Tabernacle and later the Temple, the Bible clearly
states that God dwelt on the mercy seat, between the cherubim in the Holy
of Holies. Yet, at the dedication of the temple, Solomon said (1 Kings
8:27) “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest
heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built.”
Even as he built and dedicated the temple, Solomon was aware that God was
way too big to dwell in his fullness in a temple made by human hands.
What we have, then, is that an aspect or a part of God dwelt
in the temple. When Moses entered the Most Holy Place, his face was
glowing afterward so that they had to put a veil over his face (2 Cor
3:12-18). Moses was seeing God, but if he had seen God in all his glory,
he surely would have died (Exodus 10:28). This is a deep and abstract
concept. The fact is that Moses saw God but he did not see all of God.
The fact is that God dwelt in the temple, but not all of God dwelt in the
temple. That is why Jesus was right in Luke 2:49, but Paul was also right
in Acts 17:24. God did dwell in the temple, but God cannot be limited to
It is also worth noting that by the time Acts 17:24 was
written, God no longer dwelt in the temple in Jerusalem. Matthew 27:51
describes how at the time Jesus gave up his last breath the curtain in the
temple was torn in two. At that time God ceased to dwell in the Holy of
Holies in the temple. Forty years later, the temple was destroyed for the
last time. By the time Paul wrote Acts 17:24, is statement that God does
not dwell in temples built by human hands was correct in both senses. Not
only is God too big to be limited to dwelling in his fullness in a human
temple, as of 29AD, God ceased forever to dwell, even in a limited way, in
the human-built temple in Jerusalem. The only remaining temple for God to
dwell in at the present time is in the bodies of saved disciples of
Jesus. “You are the temple of the living God.” (2 Cor 6:16). God no
longer dwells in temples built by human hands, but he lives in temples
built by the Holy Spirit.