Question of the day

How does the promise of divine residence eventually get resolved?
[  ] In the Jerusalem temple?
[  ] With Christ in the believer?
[  ] In people going to heaven?
[  ] With God becoming human?

David is the person whose experience best shines light of God being with humans, but before David, there was the sacred tent. The tabernacle, throughout its wilderness journeys , illustrates communication with Moses as a channel for the people. There was reluctance on God’s part to be in the camp. The danger of his presence was made quite clear.

Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.

Exodus 25:8, NASB

For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the sons of Israel, ‘You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.’”

Exodus 33:5, NASB

Place for the divine name

You shall sacrifice the Passover to the Lord your God from the flock and the herd, in the place where the Lord chooses to establish His name. (Deuteronomy 16:2, NASB

Where to worship

Israel’s primary festival, commemorating deliverance and election,  was to be observed in a certain place.

But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. (Deuteronomy 12:5, NASB)

Location defined by divine name association

Not only was there place for the divine name but David was possessed by the idea of building a house for the divine name. 

Here is Solomon’s summary of the plan.

You know that David my father was unable to build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the wars which surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name. (1 Kings 5:3-5, NASB)

The facts beyond the wood and precious metals

Isaiah got the picture; temple was not the mature version of divine residence. He wrote,

Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?” (Isaiah 66:1, NASB)

The prophetic quest to understand the mystery of God-with-us

Solomon saw the truth; temple was not the mature version of divine residence. He prayed:

Now therefore, O Lord, the God of Israel, let Your word be confirmed which You have spoken to Your servant David. But will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built. (2 Chronicles 6:17-18, NASB)

House cannot be a house made with human hands

God not only with but in his people

The Sender of the Holy Spirit clarifies

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17, NASB)

The apostolic conclusions: Paul’s mind

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22, NASB)

The apostolic conclusions: Peter’s mind

And coming to [Ghrist] as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5, NASB)