For years I followed the conventional church teaching that this was speaking about the individual, who’s body is the temple; and if you smoke, drink, or do drugs or tattoo and pierce yourself into a monster, you were defiling the temple….. and I still hold to this, but its much worse than that.
The Greek for defile is phtheiro. It means to lead astray, to corrupt the temple.
Now this speaks to the individual and to the corporate body of Christ. The Word warns us that doctrines of men and of demons, traditions of men that cancel out His truth, hirelings, false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, and wolves would be in abundant supply in the “church” (ekklesia); twisting the scriptures for their own gain, making merchandise of the folks, stealing the wool, eating the fat, devouring widows houses (which means making poor widows pay the ungodly tithe if they want to sit in the pew) – in a word…. phtheiro, defiling: leading astray with their deception and lies, corrupting the temple, the body of Christ.
One verse (though there are many) is 1 Corinthians 3:3 – “for you are yet carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men?”
Divisions is what the clerical/laity system is. Two groups; The upper special control freaks and the lower unwashed masses, the paying folks. This should not be. Jesus said that the world has its despots and controlling leaders but “it shall NOT be so among you”. (Mark 10:42-43)
Well…. it is among us. This divides. A house divided cannot stand. The church is deader-than-dirt and it’s because of this division, men appointing themselves as a hierarchy and then teaching from a fleshly effort and view point, for His Spirit has been quenched because of this worldly upmanship. This leads the folks astray and corrupts their relationship with the Father. Sleeping in the pew, dying on the vine.
Again, we are told not to defile, lead astray His temple, the people, and that’s exactly what’s going on when a self elevated, arrogant, greedy man opens his mouth from behind the Grecian pulpit.
The word “destroy” in this verse (1 Corinthians 3:17), interestingly enough, is the same Greek word as for “defile”. God will lead astray those that lead astray the people!
Wake up ekklesia. Hear what the Spirit is saying unto the body of Christ. Time is running out.