Behold, The Tabernacle of God Is With Men
The Tabernacle of God or the eschatological temple is a key theme of the Bible and particularly of the doctrine of resurrection in the New Testament. It is the destination where all roads lead in the end time.
Our premise for this study is that Death is swallowed up in victory, i.e. in the eschatological tabernacle of God.
“Now I saw a new heaven 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. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.” There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”Revelation 21:1-4.
Almost without fail, every mention of the resurrection in the New Testament is closely followed by, preceded by or connected to a discussion of the last days tabernacle and vice versa.
The Tabernacle of God Arrived in 70AD
The passing of heaven and earth in the text is the end of the Old Covenant system, Matt. 5:17-18; 24:35; Lk. 21:20-22. It is the time when the holy city, the new Jerusalem came down out of heaven. The Holy city is the Tabernacle of God. When Jerusalem comes down out of heaven, God says, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men.” Therefore, the new Jerusalem, holy city is the tabernacle of God. It is God’s new heaven and earth.
What does God affirm for this tabernacle house not made with hands? “There shall be no more death.” In other words, in the tabernacle of God, death has been defeated and removed in the heavenly city which has now come down to earth. This is also the parousia of Christ. How can we affirm that? It’s because Christ and God is the temple of this city, (Revelation 21:22). The tabernacle of God is heaven on earth.
The Tabernacle of God and God’s Glory
In the old Covenant under Moses, and later with Solomon’s temple, the glory of God’s Presence dwelt in the tabernacle. G.K. Beale, “The Temple and the Church’s Mission, A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God, argues that Eden was God’s first tabernacle, and Adam it’s first priest, and certainly God’s glorious Presence was there. That means that we cannot speak of the Presence of God outside the domain of the tabernacle of God.
When Moses and Israel finished the tabernacle in the wilderness the Bible records:
“Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. “(Exodus 40:33-34)
Note also that Israel’s every movement was directed by the glory of God in the Presence of the tabernacle, (v. 36-38).
Observe again the glory which filled the temple upon completion by Solomon. “And it came to pass, when the priest came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:10-11) Observe also that the house of the Lord and the temple/tabernacle of God are one and the same.
The same is true for the tabernacle of the God in the N. T. As Haggai prophesied, God would shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory, “‘ says the Lord of hosts…The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:7-9).
Thus, God’s eschatological glory is in the eschatological temple. There is no eschatological coming in the N.T. which occurs outside the sphere of the eschatological tabernacle of God. Even the kingdom texts which speak of Jesus coming in his glory, are enshrouded in the glory of the temple tabernacle of God. “…And He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”(Zech. 6:12-13)
The tabernacle of God in Revelation 13:6-7 shows the saints “dwelling in heaven”, i.e. in the heavenly tabernacle of God. Just as Mystery Babylon, the harlot city of Old Jerusalem sat as a Queen in priestly attire clothed in purple, scarlet, gold, and precious stones, the new heavenly Jerusalem is described in the same, yet exceeding glory.
The Glory of the Lamb’s Wife is the Glory of the Tabernacle of God
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God…” Rev. 21:10-26. The glory in which the kings of the earth and nations walk and honor with their gifts is the glory of the heavenly tabernacle of God and Christ. The glory of God cannot be separated from temple or the tabernacle of God according to sola Scriptura!
Solomon however, knew that a physical temple could not contain God and thus these buildings were but types of the ultimate last days glorious temple to come. Hence Malachai says the eschatological coming of the Lord is the coming to His temple. There is no glory apart from the eschatological temple of God. Thus, all eschatological or end time glory texts refer to the tabernacle of God.
The Focus of the Tabernacle of God/Temple Was The Removal of Sin
Not one single tabernacle of God was ever focused on the removal of physical death. The tabernacle of Moses was focused on the removal of sin through its sacrifices and offerings. However, these could not take away sin, (Heb. 10:1-4). Thus, the Hebrews’ writer speaks of the greater and more perfect tabernacle (house not made with hands) which Christ, the High Priest of the good things which were about to come would build. In this tabernacle, God would through the death of Christ and the offering up of his body as a sacrifice in death, redeem the transgressions under the first covenant, (Hebrews 9:11-15).
Jesus’ physical body was not for an example of our resurrection body, it was for the purpose of offering it as a sacrifice, Heb. 10:5-10.
Solomon’s temple was the permanent structure and replica of the tabernacle in the wilderness. What was the mission of the High Priest’s who officiated there? Was it not to make sacrifices and offerings for sin? (Hebrews 5:1; 8:7) Those animal sacrifices were ineffective in accomplishing that goal and objective. Therefore, it was necessary that the true heavenly tabernacle of God which the Lord pitched (Hebrews 8:1ff) have a better sacrifice in order to get the job done, (Hebrews 9:23-28).
Christ’s death and Parousia as seen in Hebrews, and particularly 9:28, is about His Presence within the Veil, the offering of His body and blood as a sacrifice, and the opening of the veil to God’s Presence that we might dwell within it, or more properly that God’s Presence may dwell with believers on earth and in heaven (Ephesians 1:10) now that sin and death are removed in Christ.
There is No Biblical Teaching of the Presence of God Apart from the Tabernacle of God
There is no coming of Christ in the Bible and especially endtime coming separate and apart from the tabernacle of God/temple not made with hands. Even Jesus’ first coming was a tabernacle coming, John 1:14. If Beale and Carson are correct about Genesis, and the evidence is very strong, God began his work in the tabernacle of God in Eden and finished it in the tabernacle of God which came down in 70AD.
Now, we have good proof from partial preterists that Revelation 21 is fulfilled. We also have proof that the time statements regarding the eschatological temple refers to 70AD, according to Kenneth Gentry on John 4:21-24. This contradicts Paul T’s argument with Frost and company claiming that John 4:21-24, and the time statements were not parallel to John 5:28-29.
Gentry says Daniel 12:2-3 is 70 AD. He also says John 4:21-24 is 70AD. He therefore must agree that resurrection of “those who sleep in the dust of the earth, i.e. the graves” equals the “death no more” in the tabernacle of God which he affirms for 70AD. Therefore, Gentry’s logic affirms a non-physical, i.e. spiritual resurrection for Daniel 12, John 4 and 5, and Revelation 21.
As Mike Sullivan pointed out, the only places where resurrection of the “just and unjust” to “everlasting life” and”everlasting damnation” is found in the Old Covenant is Daniel 12, which is the background of John 5:28-29. I pointed this out in a comment made on Gentry’s site which he would not post so Don Preston posted it on Facebook and the only response I’ve seen to it was from Bryan Lewis who agreed with my conclusion.
Frost and company claimed the tabernacl of God temple in John 4 was the regeneration of believers already operative in the ministry of Christ. Kenneth Gentry said, it was the eschatological temple / tabernacle of God fulfilled in 70AD, in the destruction of Jerusalem. More holes in the partial preterist boat. I guess that’s what happens when you only have a partial boat. It won’t float.
Now let’s see where that admission on the part of Gentry leads. If the temple of John 4:21-24 is fulfilled in 70AD at the fall of Jerusalem, then it corresponds to the tabernacle of God which came down out of heaven in Revelation 21. And who’s word do we have for an Amen on this? Why Joel McDurmon himself along with Frost and company who take Revelation 21 to be 70AD.
Now please do not put us away according to the scriptures and the “holy orthodox teachings of second century uninspired men.” Where is another tabernacle and coming of Christ ever mentioned in Scripture? Where is another different eschatological coming of Christ and God mentioned apart from the tabernacle? Certainly not in John 14:1-3. Why is the one in Revelation insufficient in the putting away of sin and death? Joel forgot to tell us about the new “other” tabernacle that Abraham will bring with him from the dead for this new future land promise to be fulfilled! We’ve got him covered later, so don’t miss the sinking of the Titanic.
The tabernacle of God in John 4:21-24, is the resurrection (death no more) tabernacle of Revelation 21:1-4. That means Gentry has also like Paul T, conceded the resurrection as spiritual regeneration consummated in 70AD. That temple certainly did not remove physical death. Remember, the tabernacle of God temple was always about the removal of sin, i.e. regeneration.
The Temple of John 4:21-24 is the Resurrection Tabernacle of Revelation 21:3-4.
Moreover, the time statements, i.e. the hour is coming John 4:21, and the hour is coming and now is, v. 23, related to that one single temple which was being built through the Spirit until it was consummated in 70AD. We will develop more on this later, but I discussed quite a bit of it on the Reign of Christ website. You can read it there for now.
We also pointed out that Jesus used the terms in reverse order to talk about resurrection in the tabernacle of God, John 4:21-24, versus resurrection from the graves of John 5:28-29.
The hour is coming, John 4:21 | Frost and company said this was regeneration of believers in Christ (spiritual resurrection/corporate temple), pre-70AD.
The hour is coming, John 5:28 |Frost and company said this is post 70AD and yet future to us today/physical resurrection individual body.
The hour is coming and now is: John 4:23 |Frost and company says this all refers to the spiritual temple/regeneration/resurrection of believers in Christ, pre-70AD.
The hour is coming and now is: John 5:25 |Frost and company says this is regeneration/spiritual resurrection of believers beginning in the ministry of Christ, pre-70AD.
The hour is coming and now is: John 4:23| Gentry, the “already” eschatological temple/ tabernacle of God in Revelation 21/no more death [spiritual resurrection] fulfilled in 70AD at Jerusalem’s fall.
The hour is coming John 4:21: |Gentry, the “not yet” eschatological temple/ tabernacle of God in Revelation 21/no more death/[spiritual resurrection] fulfilled in 70AD at Jerusalem’s fall.
Do you see their contradiction on these similar phrases?
Here is what this means. Gentry and Frost and company see no distinctions on the nature (spiritual) of the temple of John 4. Neither do we. Further, neither do they see a “gap” of time separated by centuries after the close of the apostolic era requiring second century uninspired orthodox validation. They both see it fulfilled in the first century. Yet, Frost and company argued John 4 was present pre-70 and spiritual. Gentry maintains it is the 70AD consummation and spiritual. One focuses on the Pre-70 temple, while the other focuses on 70AD. Yet, both acknowledge it is spiritual.
However, when confronted with the identical time statements in John 5, they opt to change the nature and time, saying one is pre-70 spiritual and the other is post 70, unfulfilled and physical.
However, our point is that the temple/tabernacle of God is where death is no more, i.e. is removed meaning it equates in time and nature with resurrection. Gentry has given us Revelation 21:1-4 on the tabernacle via John 4. So has McDurmon given us Revelation 21 in 70AD.
Jesus Discusses Resurrection in Temple/Tabernacle Typology of John 4:20-24
However, Jesus is discussing resurrection in both passages when properly interpreted. Why? It’s because deliverance from death occurs within the veil of the tabernacle, (2 Corinthians 3:6-18; 5:1-5; Ephesians 2:1, 5, 19-22; Revelation 21:4). This is the one hope of Scripture.
And, since 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 and 1 Corinthians 15, are parallel, discussing the same subject as John 5:28-29, it must necessarily follow that 1 Corinthians 15 is fulfilled in the tabernacle, as is John 5:28-29. The correlation of 1 Corinthians 15 in “mortality putting on immortality”, is the same “clothing of mortality and with immortality” of 2 Corinthians 5, which occurs in the heavenly tabernacle of God or house not made with hands building of God which was in the heavens which Revelation 21:2-4, shows came down out of heaven to be with men and wherein death is no more.
That’s also why 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 speaks of the removal of sin, death and Hades because it is what has always been the focus of the tabernacle as stated above. Notice that the victory is in Christ and God (who are the eschatological temple of John 4:21-24; and of Revelation 21:22). We say Christ and God because Christ delivers the kingdom up to God that they may be all in all. But what kind of kingdom is it? It is a kingdom of priests, i.e. a royal or kingly priesthood (1 Peter 2:5; Revelation 1:5). It is spiritual through and through.
The technical tabernacle of God terminology is used to refer to the kingdom in Hebrews 12:27 as a contrast to things made by hands. Thus, that elliptical phrase demonstrates that the kingdom is the tabernacle house not made with hands. Beale and Carson agree.
Hence, Peter alludes to the temple in the laying of the chief cornerstone in Zion (the firstfruit of the elect). Christ is the foundation of the new temple and holy priesthood of royal priests, 1 Peter. 2:5-6, 9, 10, Ephesians 2:19-22. Their labor was to abound in showing forth the praises of God. The kingdom of God is a priestly kingdom/temple.
This is why Frost and company are virtually silent on the firstfruits and on the temple/resurrection typology of the eschaton.
Ezekiel 37 and the Tabernacle of God Resurrection Temple
Frost and company also asserted and argued that Ezekiel 37 was based on a Jewish belief of the resurrection of physical bodies from the grave and made an attempt to offer it as a counter point to the temple typology.
Here is a brief quote from Paul T. of Frost and company from our discussion on the Reign of Christ website:
“Interesting your [sic] would bring up Ezzy [Ezekiel] 37, whom all I’m aware of believe is a prophecy for the reconstitution of the nation of Israel, based on the concrete concept of the resurrection of a human body that had expired, i.e resurrection. As far as I’m aware the prophecy was issued while the nation was in exile, Jerusalem having been destroyed.”
What is missed here is that while Israel was in exile, they were separated from the tabernacle, i.e. Presence of God. To bring them back to their land is to bring them back to God’s holy place, the place where his Presence dwelt. That is the meaning of the resurrection in that text. It is temple typology through and through. When God speaks of the end time gathering of Israel under the new King David, he offers to bring them to the land which he had given to Jacob. This is where God would make a [new] covenant of peace with them and set his SANCTUARY in their midst forever.
“My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be my people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” (Ezekiel 37:27-28) This is the tabernacle of God/temple of 2 Corinthians 5:5 and 6:16-18. Paul quotes from Ezekiel 37 in chapters 3-7:1 saying in 6:16, “For you are the temple of the living God. As God said, I will dwell in them and walk in them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.”
The covenant promise of God, i.e. I will be their God and they shall be my people” connects 2 Cor. 6:16 with the tabernacle of Revelation 21:3-4. God places this tabernacle in the land he gave to Jacob where their fathers dwelt.
That means it’s the land he promised to Abraham which McDurmon and Frost and company says has not yet been received and is physical!?! Ezekiel, a pre-first century Biblically orthodox prophet says it’s the land God gives with the eschatological temple which Gentry says is 70AD. My tabernacle [where death is no more, i.e. resurrection] shall be with them.
Paul, a pre-second century biblically orthodox prophet said first century saints were the temple of the living God, i.e. the tabernacle of God was with them, walking in them! John, another pre-second century Biblically orthodox prophet wrote, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.
That means the land promise made to Abraham where their fathers’ dwelt,–the land of Canaan which God gave Abraham not so much a place to set his foot on, is the same [spiritually transformed] land of the heavenly tabernacle, per Frost and company.
Their “second century and beyond orthodoxy” couldn’t save them from making statements and arguments that are diametrically opposed to and which categorically deny 6000 years of Biblical inspired orthodoxy.
Frost and company cannot separate resurrection and the tabernacle of God. They cannot separate the tabernacle of God from deliverance from sin-death and regeneration. They cannot separate the tabernacle of God and 70AD. They cannot separate the eschatological tabernacle of God from the eschatological land promised to Abraham where their fathers dwelt. Abraham received that land in 70AD, when he entered the royal priestly kingdom/ tabernacle of God at the time God cast fleshly Israel into the outer darkness, (Mathew 8:11-12).
That’s why Frost and company have left full Preterism!, namely to go to a reformed hyper-dispensationalism! They want another David, another Abraham, another land, but no tabernacle where deliverance from sin-death is removed. That boat with holes done sunk! Behold, the tabernacle of God!
Summary of the Tabernacle of God
- The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from fulfillment in 70 AD, per Bible orthordoxy, and post second century othordoxy (Gentry, Frost and McDurmon).
- The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the Old Testament glory of God in the Edenic, Mosaic tabernacle, Solomonic temple of God per Bible orthodoxy and post second century orthodoxy of G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson.
- The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the removal of sin death, per Bible orthodoxy of the prophets of the Old and New Testaments. (The verdict is still out on second century orthodox of Sam Frost and company. We await their official stated “orthodox” position.
- The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the Presence of God, i.e. a Spiritual Presence of God who is Spirit in both the Old Covenant types and the New Covenant fulfilled eschatological temple, per Biblical orthodoxy and the post first century and beyond orthodoxy of Frost and company.
- The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the “already but not yet” hour is coming/hour is coming and now is imminent time statements of John 4:21-24, per Bible orthodoxy and post first century and beyond orthodoxy of Gentry and Frost and company.
- The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the resurrection of the dead, i.e. death no more tabernacle of John 5:28-29; 2 Corinthians 5, 1 Corinthians 15, and Revelation 21:2-4, per Bible orthodoxy of Ezekiel, Paul, Peter and John, and the logical conclusions of post first century orthodoxy of Gentry, McDurmon, and Frost and company.
- Finally, the tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the land God promised Jacob, which is the land promised to Abraham where their fathers dwelt, according to Bible orthodoxy per Ezekiel 37, which is out of step with the post first century and beyond “orthodoxy” and therefore heterodoxy of the physical land “promise” of McDurmon and Frost and company as affirmed in the Preston McDurmon debate and elsewhere in their writings and podcasts.
The Titanic has sunk! Behold, the tabernacle of God, (eschatological resurrection) where death is no more is with men!