John the Baptist knew he was the messenger send by Jehovah who went before the Lord. His work was to make ready the way of the Christ by preparing the people of the Lord. His work prepared the material for the temple of God.
John was in the midst of the house of Israel, and out of this house came the people made ready. Draw a circle and in the midst of the circle a second circle, then draw a third circle. In John 1:11-12 you see these three circles:
He came unto his own (circle number one), and they that were his own received him not (circle number two). But as many as received him (circle number three), to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:
The “they that were his own received him not” is a narrower group than the house of Israel. They were the ones whom John prepared for Jesus. The apostle is saying that some of those that John prepared did not receive Jesus. However, those that did “gave he the right to become children of God.” They were given the privilege or authority to become what they were not, that is, children of God. The phrase “children of God” is used to refer to a different people than simply being a Jew (John 3:3-5). He gave this right to them that believe on His name.
Okay, let’s put some things together. We have concluded through the Scriptures that John the Baptist came to prepare the people (Matt. 11:9, 10; Luke 1:16-17). The receiving ones were the prepared material for the spiritual temple of God, and on Pentecost those who accepted Him became the church (Acts 2:41, 47).
Let me give an analogy. Just as King David prepared the physical material for the temple in Jerusalem, so John had prepared the material for the church which is the spiritual temple of God. The following passages concerning David’s preparation will help us to see the point.
King Solomon built the temple (1 Kings 6:1). “[I]n the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of Jehovah” (1 Kings 6:1). What material did Solomon use? David’s. “[T]he house that is to be builded for Jehovah must be exceeding magnificent, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore make preparation for it” (1 Chron. 22:5). So David prepared abundantly before his death. “Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God” (1 Chron. 29:1-2). David’s supernatural preparation enabled the temple to be erected without hammer or axe. “[T]he house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready at the quarry; and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building” (1 Kings 6:7).
Just as Solomon took the material and built the physical temple, the apostles on Pentecost began to built the spiritual temple of God. Paul and Peter inform us of the material and the finished product.
So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).
…ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5).
The Lord’s temple (the church, Eph. 2:21-22) was built on Pentecost in Acts 2. Today, and for all time, the spiritual temple itself continues to grow by efforts of the fellow-workers of God (1 Cor. 3:9-16). John’s work, David’s work, and the work of the Apostles has presented us with the exceeding magnificent temple of God. We are that temple!