William Bell

Temple of God

Is the tabernacle of God with men? Ninety nine percent of all Christians live with a deferred hope, an  unrealized promise, a rationalization of God’s fidelity. Materialistic concepts of the kingdom of God cause many to focus on nationalism and wars as the framework for the fulfillment of God’s promises. Yet, it was God’s purpose that: The tabernacle of God would be with men, in other words, it would exist in the lifetime of men.

The focus on the rebuilding of Old Covenant Judaism makes headlines. This seems to fascinate some Christians. They believe that Palestine is to this day the “holy land.”  What makes any place holy is not its geo-centric location, but it’s theo-centric location. In other words, is it located “in God” or in His presence?

Now, do not misunderstand, we believe there is holy ground in Palestine, but not it is not exclusively in Palestine. First, let’s examine a few examples from the scriptures. (Ex. 3:5)

When God appeared to Moses at the burning bush, Moses was in Mt. Horeb, in Arabia. He certainly was not in Palestine or Ancient Israel. However, God spoke to Him saying, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. (Josh. 5:15)

Secondly, After Joshua led Israel across the Jordan into Canaan, after they observed the passover, were circumcised, and ate from the produce of the land, Joshua meets God and is told to take his sandals off because the place where he stood was holy ground. Note there was no physical temple in Sinai at Mt. Horeb, nor in Gilgal where Joshua and the people camped.

God’s Presence

During the forty year trek from Egypt to Canaan, before arriving at their destination, Israel sins in the wilderness in making a golden calf. God all but threatens to destroy them in an one moment.  Moses pitched his tent outside the camp of Israel. Everyone who sought the Lord would go outside the camp to Moses’ tent.  What is unique is that a cloud descended and stood at the door o the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. (Ex. 33:7-12)

Because of Israel’s sin, God promised to lead Moses alone to Canaan, saying, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Ex. 33:14). Moses, however, intercedes on behalf of the nation. He tells God that if God’s Presence did not go with “us” meaning all Israel, then do not bring them out of the wilderness.

Moses recognized that without God’s Presence, Canaan, the land of Israel was simply a pile of dirt. There is nothing inherently holy about the land.  From these references it is clear that God’s presence is the determining factor of what is holy.

The temple in Jerusalem is another great example. Each time God’s presence left the temple, it was destroyed, once in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar, and again in A.D. 70 by the Roman general Titus.  See in both cases where God’s Presence had departed, (Ezk. 9:3; Matt. 23:38).

Holy Ground is Where God’s Presence Dwells

Since God is the only intrinsically holy being, “Be holy because I am holy, (1 Pet. 1:16)  then it must follow that holiness is determined by a relationship to God and not to geo-physical boundaries.  For wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst. (Matt. 18:20)

God’s promise was to bring His tabernacle, i.e. His temple to wherever people served according to His will. Why, because God and Christ are the temple. Speaking of the holy city new Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation, John wrote: “But I saw no temple in it because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Rev. 21:22).

This is why that which is holy is found only in Christ and God. Jesus said, no man comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6). Thus, no one can come to  God apart from Jesus Christ. This is the place of holy ground.

Is The Tabernacle of God Is With Men?

God purposed to bring that tabernacle, i.e. Himself to man on earth. It is not a physical building. It is not located in any one area, for God is omnipresent. That temple is anywhere and everywhere God is relative to man’s worship of Him.

“Now I saw a new haven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” (Rev. 21:1-3)

As a result of Christ’s return in A.D. 70, the tabernacle of God is with men. We dwell with Him and he with us. Wherever there are those who worship God in spirit and truth through Jesus Christ, God is in their midst. That is holy ground.