The video above, from the Bible Project, admirably summarizes the biblical storyline of the temple theme. What a gift to have sophisticated biblical theology made so clear and accessible!
Here is how they start their summary overview article on the theme.
Israel’s temple in the Bible is described as the place where God’s space and humanity’s space are one. In fact, the whole biblical drama can be told as a story about God’s temple.
The temple is a place where heaven and earth meet.
The ancient Israelite temple was a gigantic symbol that visualized God’s desire to live together with his human creatures and rule the world through them.
If you were to ask any ancient Israelite to tell you the most important place on earth, you would get a clear and consistent answer: the temple in Jerusalem. It’s the place where heaven and earth meet, where the creator God has chosen to take up residence among his people. It’s a sacred place where Israel’s priestly representatives enter into God’s presence on their behalf to express thanks, confession, and praise. This building attracted Israelite pilgrims for centuries and was a cornerstone of their covenant relationship with God.
Was the temple just a building?
But this amazing building did even more. It told a story through its visual symbolism, a story that reaches back to the beginning of humanity’s story as told in Genesis chs. 1-3. There God appoints humanity as his royal and priestly representatives to rule the world on his behalf. And when the biblical authors start describing creation and the garden of Eden, any ancient Israelite reader would have understood these as temple images.
Read the rest here.
For a book-length work on this, see J. Daniel Hays, The Temple and the Tabernacle: A Study of God’s Dwelling Places from Genesis to Revelation.
These videos, using replicas and computerized animation, do a nice job of visually orienting readers to the tabernacle and the subsequent temples in Jerusalem in the redemptive plan of God. Note two things: (1) Having worked closely with Leen Ritmeyer (one of the world’s leading experts on these reconstructions) on the ESV Study Bible, I think these renderings are quite accurate. (2) These videos are produced by Mormons. So I would not recommend subscribing to the videos at the end, as you are invited to do.