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)

Human Sleight

Paul warned the Ephesians about the activities of deceivers  (4:14) the result of which, is that believers acting as juveniles are “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming”; it is a magician’s m.o. to have people believe everything they see.

Yahweh, God the Almighty and the Lamb are heaven’s temple

Old is not new!

The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 8). Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 9). Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. (10)

Hebrews 9:8-10 

Believe the Bible or believe in God

Cutting the fat from the spiritual diet simply means recognizing that there are things done and recommended in the Bible that we have no business embracing.

The separation of temporary measures from permanent arrangements often eludes us.  Accurately interpreting the messages in the Bible is not merely a function of separating the Old Testament from the New.  A kind of cowardly laziness has kept Christian witness from its blazing and pervasive perfection.  We dilute the wine by mixing it with every ancient liquid we can find. It is as if Moses did not say that the buck did not stop with himself.  Reducing the royal priesthood to a Davidide person executing levitical operations is perhaps the most deceptive of international approaches.

What is in heaven?

A structure with all the installations for dealing with sin located in heaven or on earth says the same thing: people are going to sin.  A temple in heaven is an outright fable.  The permanence of salvation never depended on created space, such as a laver, a lampstand, a covenant box. It most certainly has no need for the intervention of human agents. 

Access to God through Christ does not need the help of a building. Even if the Jewish people built another temple its functions would have nothing to with redeeming humans.  It would be desolate from the start because animal blood is inadequate.  Christ, in his atoning work, is all alone.

The devil gets a hold of our doctrine and turns it into a geography lesson, a nutrition regime, a priesthood system,  anything beside the actual work of God’s Only-Begotten; authorizing sonship for anyone who believes.

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 11) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,(12)

Hebrews 9:11-12

The trickery of men will always end up grounded, exposed as empty clanging, because Christ is not the Alpha and Omega of their reasoning.

One would have to be pretty messed up to think that the true place of atonement is a location where hands and feet are washed, where blood is sprinkled, where bread is laid out etc. The heaven of Hebrews 9:24 is more than God’s residence. It is the eternal fact of essential saving grace in the face of Christ.

One can read the fact in plain language in Revelation 21:22,
“I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple:.

Knowing that the heart houses God

If by grace on top of grace one ends up in the company of the fearful and those who resist God’s word the means of getting there must be examined. The gospel without a social-moral imperative is reduced to ticket-to-heaven comfort and that is why the United States and any nation with a religion never corrects its animalistic ways. When the God of the universe enters human hearts there is affirmation of what is important to God: people.

Hebrews 12:18-19

18) For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19) And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

There is no fear in love

The idea that anyone in the body of Christ is responsible for documenting the believer’s faith is a dragon breath inspiration. Along with “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” there is a lot of open hostility to the freedom from the law that Christ represents. How very simple it would be for Christ and the disciples to have said what appears in Malachi 4:4 instead of broadcasting a) that time had run out b) the arrival of God’s kingdom and c) the building of the church! Even if they did the opposition would still run its propaganda and ignore the numerous divine acts of generosity and compassion performed by the Saviour. I find no evidence that believers ever injected “Show me your faith” into their interactions with each other. James is out on a Pharisee limb. It is a Christless meditation that drives the perceived debate about people needing ANYTHING IN ADDITION TO FAITH TO BE SAVED. Shame on the dragon driven folks who pretend that James is arguing “SHOWN TO BE JUSTIFIED”. He clearly asks “Wlll faith save?”. We are certain that the only people that God saves are the people who believe on His Son. The other propositions are oil on salvation’s waters.

Knowing whom we have believed

Please spare yourself the doublespeak about fear and the beginning of wisdom. That construction is not related either life or wisdom. Moses is an exceptional example of a terrified person. Whatever works the believers need had better be aligned with God’s work. Does anyone really think bishops and deacons have a guide book or a checklist to the works of the new life in Christ? The newborn child of God is equipped to think and do God’s will. Whatever happened to “Hush already about knowing the Lord!”? Everyone begotten of God knows God.

Secondhand witnesses, wolves and copycats.

Who is it that engages in this kind of harassment of the church? Wolfy people and secondhand believers. The minute our faith is redirected from Christ to the human agent (preacher, teacher, evangelist) we are in danger of being overpowered and wounded. Without having worked out the salvation that came to our house we have no testimony.

Second hand witnesses

And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Acts 19:16

What we know is that the evidence of whose we are is the very Spirit that God gives to those who committed their all to follow Christ. Human announcements about new children are often out of sync with the rejoicing in heaven. Our hearts know who occupies. What people have to say about what the believer should look like shapes only up to our own thoughts. If we think that God does not have a template for each life we will end up pursuing robotic and superficial values.

The mystery of those begotten of God

The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8

Let them build…

The project recorded in Exodus 35 bears only a slight resemblance to the work of Messiah in building his church. The people responded to the call with gusto, but the family of the redeemed, Abraham’s faithful clan, labours on a different platform. The Hebrew people built things on things, whereas Christians build on Christ himself, chief cornerstone.

The building project

And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.
Exodus 36:5-7

Christ as priest

The seeping of tabernacle matters into the priesthood of Christ is perhaps the most destructive intrusion into truth. Christ is not a Levitical priest; his ministry needs nothing created by God or man. Christ did his redeeming work all alone: as priest and sacrifice.

Heaven, whither our Lord ascended, is above the heavens themselves, and is the rightful place for Him who is above the heavens. Scriptures tell us that God places His conquering Son above all names and above all authority, yet some believe that Moses and the prophets can override the Lord Yeshua and his apostles. Symbols do not circumscribe the reality!

No resolution of atonement in the Tabernacle

It is Christ who builds his church with converted people. Only sinners can become stones in the church. The annual cycle, over all those years since the erection of the Tabernacle, is evidence that atonement was not a available through the blood of animals, nor were any of the sacrifices effective for reconciling man to God.

Hebrews 9:7-8 shows the annual cycle.

But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Hebrews 9:9 explains the effect or outcomes.

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

Hebrews 9:10 tells us of the scope and time of the offerings.

Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

So, unlike the ancient and modern Hebrews, we are not builders of God’s residence, and it is without controversy that Christ builds his church through the Holy Spirit. First, the Holy Spirit impresses the sinner with the truth. Secondly, Christ gives the repentant sinner the Holy Spirit. This is the building process in which we are caught up. Many have tried to turn the symbols into reality without Christ being the Α and the Z. When he is missing from the construction site as builder we labour in vain. Simply saying “in Jesus’s name” does not validate the speech. In plain sight and with plain speech both the historian and the songwriter capture the emptiness of the made-with-hands house.

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? 1 Kings 8:27

A Song of degrees for Solomon. Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: Psalm 127:1a