The Dwelling Place of God—II

Fred R. Coulter—October 8, 2009

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We saw how that God originally lived in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. And had they not sinned, they could have still lived there; but they sinned and were exiled. Cain sinned and he was exiled even further. The whole civilization sinned against God, so He destroyed all life and saved Noah and his family and started again. And after they landed safely, as we saw, Noah gave an offering to God in thanksgiving for the deliverance and the safe journey to the other side, to the new world. So then God said, ‘Even though man’s imagination is wicked from his youth up,’ He will never again destroy the world with a flood.

Then beginning with Noah and his three sons, this side of the Flood, God gave a new covenant to the people, to the earth, the promise that He would not do it, sealed by the sign of the rainbow. Then we find that men multiplied. And of course, after a couple of generations everything about what happened before the Flood began to fade from their memory. And God was no longer living on the earth. God now, because of the actions of men, retreated to heaven and let man go his course. He would intervene where He had to, to carry out his plan. But God wanted to see what man was going to do. And to keep evil from multiplying to the degree that it did before the Flood, He gradually reduced the age as to how long men would live. So, this was a good thing. A lot of people wonder why did they live so long before the Flood and then after the Flood it got down to where even Moses said if you live 70 years that’s a long life. And if by reason of strength, four score—that’s 80 years. And if you live beyond that, that’s a bonus you could say.

So that the earth would take a long time, and mankind would take a long time to again come to the point as it did before the Flood. So after the Flood we have the genealogies here, talking about where the families went, who the descendants were. Most notable now, we’re going to talk about Nimrod, because Nimrod started again, under Cush, the religion and civilization they had before the Flood. Just like before the Flood, there were tyrants, and they ruled with an iron-fist. They called themselves after the name of God, assuming titles to themselves. So likewise, it began after the Flood.

Genesis 10:8: “And Cush begat Nimrod. He began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter against the LORD…. [Not before the Lord—against the Lord. If you want to know about Nimrod and his wife Simaramis, then you need to get the book The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop. We even have it available on our website that you can download—it’s about a 400-page book.] …Therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod… [He’s the one! He’s our champion! He’s our hero!] …—the mighty hunter against the LORD.’…. [So he’s the one who built Babel] …And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land he went forth to Assyria, and he built Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth Ir, and Calah” (vs 8-11)—and so forth.

So he put himself against God, or in place of God! So he re-established a religion that Cain founded before the Flood; renamed all of the gods after himself, his wife and Tamuz and all the history given in The Two Babylons. So now we have the society, again going the way that it was before the Flood. Here’s what they were going to do. Remember, as Jesus said, ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of man.’ Now, we have the time before the Flood; we also have the time after the Flood. And isn’t it interesting that everything that we see in prophecy, even coming down through the book of Revelation comes all the way back to Babel or Babylon. See how similar this is:

Genesis 11:1: “And the whole earth was of one language and one speech…. [That’s a very interesting statement. With the English language we are approaching virtually the same thing today. I was talking to [someone] and he commented that in China there are 400-million people who speak English, which is more than the United States’ population. Then when you add on how many of the other countries have large English-speaking populations, and you add into that all the computer language, it’s all the same. We are again at that point—one language—and knowledge is multiplying and increasing. So they came to Shinar] …And it came to pass, as they traveled from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar. And they settled there. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, ‘Come, let us build us a city… [and isn’t it interesting that all the cities of the world look the same—they have skyscrapers, they have tall buildings and they’re trying to build taller and taller buildings, some of them reaching up to as much as 3,000-feet is what they are contemplating] …and a tower, with its top reaching into the heavens….” (vs 1-4). This also has an allusion to modern-day that we reach into heaven by what? By rockets. And they are discovering some tremendous things out there. But still, man is limited, and whenever man goes too far, God intervenes.

So they built the tower, they built the city and notice what God said here—v 5: “And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower… [because God is no longer on the earth; and this is why men are given over to evil, because somehow ‘God is way out there and we don’t know where He is, we don’t know who He is, so it doesn’t matter what we do as long as we do what we think is right and can get away with it, that’s what we’re going to do.’ So God did not want a repeat of what happened before the Flood.] …[So He] came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men had built. And the LORD said, ‘Behold, the people are one and they all have one language. And this is only the beginning of what they will do—now nothing which they have imagined to do will be restrained from them…. [So God had to intervene to stop it! We are reaching the same point today, and God will have to intervene to stop it by sending Jesus Christ!] (He scattered them): …Come, let Us… [God the Father and the One Who became Jesus Christ] …go down and there confuse their language, so that they cannot understand one another’s speech.’ So the LORD scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of all the earth. And they quit building the city” (vs 5-8)—sent them to their inheritances and left them to their own devices. Hopefully, scattered enough and small enough population that they didn’t interfere with each other; couldn’t understand each other.

I saw a special on the National Geographic that there are tribes way in the western part of Brazil, right where the eastern border of Peru is, that they do not even know the names of them and people that have never been civilized. So, do the barbarians live side-by-side with civilized people? Yes!

So what did God do? After all of that He said, ‘All right, I’ll let mankind go his way, hear what he’s going to do, and I’ll select one man to begin fulfilling the rest of My plan.’ So this is where Abraham comes in. And let’s notice what God said to Abraham. God always gives us a test. Remember, Adam and Eve failed the test. He said, ‘Don’t eat of the tree.’ So here’s a test for Abraham—same thing that applies to us, if we’re going to come to God today. Abraham’s going to be in the Kingdom of God, so he was under the same requirements that we are today.

Genesis 12:1: “And the LORD said to Abram, ‘Get out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house into a land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation. And I will bless you and make your name great. And you shall be a blessing. And I will bless those that bless you and curse the one who curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed’” (vs 1-3). So Abraham obeyed and departed.

Now then, how is God going to find a place to dwell with His people? Well, there was no temple; there was no tabernacle. So beginning with Abraham, He began to show Abraham what He was going to do. And there were two promises to what God gave to Abraham, as we come to Genesis 15, and let’s notice how God appeared to Abraham. There was another occasion later that He appeared as a man with two angels, before He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. But not like it was before the Flood, when God was available for them to come right up the Garden of Eden and meet with God and talk with Him. Now, God withdrew Himself to heaven, and here’s how He communicated with Abram, whose name was later changed to Abraham:

Genesis 15:1: “After these things the Word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision… [not personally] …saying, ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.’ Abram… [by this time, was 85-yers-old] …said, ‘Lord GOD, what will You give me since I go childless, and the heir of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘Behold, You have given no seed to me; and lo, one born in my house is my heir.’ And behold, the Word of the LORD came to him saying… [So in the vision the Word of the lord came to him] …‘This man shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own loins shall be your heir.’ And He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward the heavens and number the stars—if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your seed be’” (vs 1-5). And because he believed, he became the ‘father of the faithful.’

Let’s examine these promises just a little bit; we won’t go through it in detail—we’ve gone through it quite a few times in the past. But here’s the key: “And he believed in the LORD. And He accounted it to him for righteousness” (v 6). Now, you never find that mentioned outside of the patriarchs, before the Flood—they ‘walked with God’—meaning they believe in Him. Adam and Eve didn’t believe in Him. Abel did. Cain didn’t. Patriarchs did. But the rest of the people, none of them did. So here we also have the beginning of New Testament qualifications for eternal life based upon faith. Then God made the covenant. There was the covenant sacrifice, and God assured it with the promise of His own future death through the ritual of the sacrifices that He told Abraham to offer.

Now then, fifteen years later, when he was 99—so we go from 75, when he was called, to 99; and then a year later 100, before he had the ‘child of promise’ Isaac. So then God further expanded His covenant here showing that Abraham was going to have a son; that he was going to be great in the earth—his descendants—and that they would ‘possess the gates of their enemies.’ That out of his loins his descendants would become ‘kings and nations and people.’ Yet, he did not have a son. Later his son was born to him—Isaac. And then God again tested him to see would Abraham, after all this time, ‘obey Me and do what I wanted’? Remember, all during this time, Abraham—and later Isaac and Jacob (as we saw on the first day)—dwelt in tabernacles, not having inherited the land. But we’re also told that Abraham ‘looked for the city Whose Architect and Builder was God!’ So God had to have taught Abraham what it was going to be, the end result, with New Jerusalem. And this is why ‘he believed God.’

So now comes the test. God said, ‘I want you to take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and I want you take him to one of the mountains of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering.’ So Abraham obeyed. He took a couple of other men with him, loaded up his donkey with the wood, carried a pot of fire with him so that he would be able to have it for a burnt offering, and they got to Mt. Moriah. Isaac carried the wood, Abraham carried the pot of coals, and Isaac said, ‘Father, I see the wood and I see the coals, but where’s the burnt offering?’ And Abraham said, ‘God will provide, my son.’ That shows the faith that he had. This was a precursor of the kind of faith that we need to have in God.

Now his test was more severe than a lot of our tests because he was to be ‘the father of many nations.’ So Isaac at this time—we’re best able to determine—was 15-years-old. So when they got up there, Abraham built the altar, laid the wood in order on it, bound Isaac, put him on it, and reached down to take the knife to offer him as a burnt offering. And then we find what God said—so let’s read it here:

Genesis 22:11: “And the angel of the LORD called to him from the heavens and said, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand upon the lad, nor do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me’” (vs 11-12). We also see this is the qualification for eternal life. And this is what Jesus said. Matt. 10, ‘Anyone who comes to Me must love Me more than father and mother. Anyone who does not love me more than father and mother is not worthy of Me.’ In other words, not worthy of eternal life. And brother and sister and lands and all of that combined. That’s exactly what Abraham showed here in what he did.

God then provided the substitutionary sacrifice, a ram caught in the thickets, and Abraham went and brought him and made him a burnt offering instead of his son. Now v 14—here’s the lesson: “And Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide; so that it is said until this day, ‘In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.’ And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, ‘By Myself have I sworn,’ says the LORD, ‘because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son; that in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens… [and that’s a prophecy of the spiritual seed of Abraham, because we are the seed of Abraham if we are Christ’s.] …and as the sand which is upon the seashore…. [the coming physical nation that would come from Isaac, through Jacob, the twelve tribes.] …And your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice’” (vs 14-18). Now, let’s compare that with Adam. Adam obeyed the voice of his wife instead of God.

When the promise was passed on to Isaac—Genesis 26:5—let’s just read this into the record here, because this is important. Here’s what God told Isaac: He said, stay in the land (v 4) “‘And I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens… [Paul says ‘we are as Isaac, the child of promise’ (Gal. 4), so this is referring to the spiritual seed.] …and will give to your seed all these lands…. [the physical seed] …And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because … [notice the value of what it is when one man obeys God!—in spite of all the other circumstances. Now, he had his weakness; he had his human nature, and he had his difficulties without a doubt!] …Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.’”

So it was past on to Isaac; Isaac on to Jacob; Jacob on to his twelve sons, where we find the blessings in Genesis 48-49, and how that would come about. Then after they had been in captivity and slavery in Egypt for the number of years that they would be there. Then God raised up Moses and Aaron to bring them out of the land of Egypt. We cover all of that during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Now, we’re coming to the Feast of Tabernacles and let’s tie this all together now about dwelling with God—because God still is dwelling in the heavens.

So He brought them to Mt. Sinai; He gave them the Ten Commandments; gave them the covenant that they would do; gave them the statutes and everything that they needed to follow—the same ones that Abraham kept and obeyed. And now God was going to do something special. He was going to dwell with His people. Not necessarily bodily, but to put His presence with them in what was called The Tabernacle of God. So let’s read it here. God was going to bless them with His presence. All the tribes now, with their offspring, great in number—about 1.8-million by this time—all formed in the 12-tribed nation of Israel. And it would be through them that God would bless the rest of the world. And we will see they failed! But the point is God said that He would dwell with His people.

Exodus 25:1: “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel that they bring Me an offering. You shall take an offering from every man that gives it willingly with his heart…. [that’s how we are to give any tithes and offerings, we give willingly. God gives the command, but we must choose to willingly do so.] (So in this case): …And this is the offering which you shall take of them: gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and bleached linen, and goats’ hair, and rams’ skins dyed red, and tanned leather skins, and acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for anointing oil and for sweet incense, onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate… [notice v 8—here is the purpose of all of it]: …And let them make Me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them’” (vs 1-8). So that was the covenant.

You know what happened. They didn’t obey God; didn’t obey Him in the wilderness; and the whole story before they got into the ‘promised land.’ And again, and again, and again, God gave them every opportunity to repent and change so He would continue to dwell in the tabernacle. Well, after the period of the Judges, and after the period of Saul, David was made king. Let’s see what David wanted to do. Let’s see what God told him, and what David himself wanted to do. We will see that David was well-intentioned in this. God accepted his good intentions and his desire, because he really loved God, and God loved him. This was before he sinned with the incident with Bathsheba. So David, as you know, wrote many, many psalms, praising God, worshiping God.

Let’s come here to 2-Samuel 7:1 “And it came to pass when the king dwelt in his house, and when the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now… [that is, ‘look here’] …I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God… [where the presence of God was in the tabernacle] …dwells within curtains.’ Then Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.’ And it came to pass that night the Word of the LORD came to Nathan saying… [In this case God deals even with David through a prophet, rather than directly.] ….‘Go and tell My servant David, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Shall you build Me a house for My dwelling?…. [‘What is man going to do to build something for Me?’] …For I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up the children out of Egypt until this day, but have walked in a tent, and in a tabernacle. In all places in which I have walked with all the children of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the tribes of Israel, those whom I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying, “Why do you not build Me a house of cedars?”’”’” (vs 1-7).

No, because he was content to dwell in a tabernacle. But, nevertheless, v 8: “‘Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I took you from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be prince over My people, over Israel. And I was with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies out of your sight, and have made you a great name like the name of the great ones in the earth…. [Now, here’s a prophecy. This is something! They were already settled in the land. All the 12 tribes had their inheritance. And He says this, which is a prophecy for the future of the moving of Israel; which we know comes down to America and Britain today.] …Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them so that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more. Neither shall the sons of wickedness afflict them any more, as before. And even from the time that I commanded judges to be over My people of Israel, so will I cause you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house’”’” (vs 8-11).

So, that’s what happened! God said, ‘David you can’t build it, but your son will build it. But I’m going to give you a dynasty which shall never end and there will be your throne on which there will always be a descendant from your family sitting on the throne of Israel. Now, we also have online Judah Sepulcher, Joseph Birthright which you can download and you can find the fulfillment of that prophecy.

Let’s see what happened with his son Solomon who built the house—he completed the house. God appeared to him before he built the house, and after he built the house of God, the temple. It was a magnificent structure. God had given all the plans to David, and he drew them all up. David saved gold and silver and precious stone and iron and brass for the building of the temple. Solomon—whose name means peace—built the house of God; built the grand temple in Jerusalem. After it was dedicated, God appeared to him a second time and told him that He was pleased with the house; but that IF—notice very carefully—he would keep the commandments of God and do what was right in His sight, then he would be blessed and God’s presence would continue to be there. And of course, during the dedication of the temple, God put His presence in the temple, as shown by the cloud and the acceptance of the offering on the day of dedication and put His presence in the temple.

Now, you would think after the great display of all of that, all the children of Israel seeing that marvelous thing that took place, with God putting His presence as witnessed by the cloud right in that magnificent temple of God. We also know that Solomon did not do what God wanted him to do.

Deuteronomy 17:14—so here was the command when they had a king here’s what he was to do. We find that Solomon really knew better and he transgressed and caused God to leave. “When you come to the land which the LORD your God gives you, and shall possess it and shall live in it and shall say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ You shall surely set a king over you, whom the LORD your God shall choose…. [David was the one He chose; Solomon was his successor.] …You shall set a king over you from among your brethren. You may not set a stranger over you who is not your brother. Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, so as to multiply horses because the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ Nor shall he multiply wives to himself, so that his heart does not turn away. Nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold to himself. And it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book from that which is in the custody of the priests the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them so that his heart may not be lifted up above his brethren, and that he does not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel’” (vs 14-20).

Now, let’s come 1-Kings 11 and see Solomon did everything contrary to the instructions of what he should do, though he started out in favor, tenderhearted, asked for wisdom and not riches, and God said ‘because you asked that and this pleased Me, I’m going to make you wise; I’m going make you the richest man in the world.’ Here’s what he did:

1-Kings 11:1: “And King Solomon loved many foreign women, even the daughter of Pharaoh, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, Hittites; of the nations which the LORD had said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not go in to them, and they shall not go in to you… [that is, inner-mix] …surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.’ But Solomon clung to these in love…. [Notice, contrary to what God said: ‘You shall not multiply to yourselves wives.’] …And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines. And his wives turned away his heart, for it came to pass when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods. And his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God as was the heart of David his father… [And then he went headlong after those other gods] …for Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites; and Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD and did not go fully after the LORD like his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill which is before Jerusalem… [on the west side of Jerusalem] …and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise he did for all his foreign wives, and burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel who had appeared to him twice” (vs 1-9).

Now, the rest of the story: God split the kingdom. When there’s sin in the presence of God, God takes away! Because God says in Isa. 66, ‘Where is the house that you will build to Me? For all these things My hands have made! And the earth is My footstool!’ It wasn’t successful because of the sins of men. From men to live, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; nor to come to the east of the Garden of Eden to meet with God—No! so God had to destroy the first world with the Flood. Then the children of Israel who brought to God—He gave them a tabernacle. They sinned over and over and over again, and finally, God raised up David. His son Solomon built the temple and now he turns his back on God, and you find no place in the Old Testament that Solomon ever repented of what he did. A lot of people say, ‘I wonder what’s going to happen to Solomon?’ We don’t know, God doesn’t tell us. But we’ll find out soon enough when the resurrection comes.

So God came to Jeroboam and said, ‘Jeroboam, I’m going to give you the ten tribes of Israel’—He sent a prophet to do it. And Jeroboam didn’t have any faith in God so he set up the golden calves—one in Dan, one in Bethel—made himself a high priest; sent all the Levites back to Jerusalem; changed the Feast from the seventh month to the eighth month; and all the ten tribes of Israel—until their carrying away into captivity as recorded in 1-Kings 17—never returned to God. Some of the kings of Judah did quite well. Others were sinful. And yet, the children of Judah sinned and they were sent off into captivity because they didn’t obey God. And since God would not dwell among them with their sin He had the temple destroyed, burned to the ground, on the ninth and tenth of Ab in 586 B.C., and sent Judah off into captivity.

No place for God to dwell! How was He going to solve this problem?

(go to track #2)

How is God going to solve the problem of dwelling with His people? Obviously, because of the sins of the people without the Holy Spirit of God, He couldn’t dwell with them. Finally, they ended up in so much rebellion that God had to send them off into captivity and exile. Later He brought them back. He brought the Jews back to Judea and then we come down to the time of Christ. That’s how God was going to solve this problem which He prophesied, beginning with Adam and Eve about the seed of the woman who would overcome Satan. And we also see a prophecy here in Deuteronomy 18 that God foretold that that time would come. This prophecy is referred to many times in the New Testament showing that it had direct reference to Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 18:15: “The LORD your God will raise up unto you a Prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren, One like me…. [Moses was mediator; he was the leader (not the king) in an office similar to a king; and he was the lawgiver, because he gave the laws to Israel that God gave to him.] …To Him you shall hearken… [that means you better listen to Him] …According to all that you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, so that I do not die.’ And the LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well what they have spoken…. [in other words, they were well-intended] (so here’s a prophecy of Christ): …I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, one like you [Moses], and will put My words in His mouth…. [that’s what Jesus said: ‘I speak the words that the Father gave Me to speak.’] …And He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, whatever man will not hearken to My words… [that is, listen, to do them] …which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him” (vs 15-19).

And that was because in order to solve the problem of God dwelling with His people, and His people dwelling with Him, He was now going to start again with one man—the One Who became Jesus Christ.

Let’s come back here to the Gospel of John, chapter one, and let’s see how God did this. We’ve already covered the prophecies of the birth of Christ, so we won’t go through that. Let’s see how John writes this so we will know that this is God Himself coming in the flesh. So this is God’s solution, though He knew that many would not hear. But He also knew that He would call many who would hear, and who would obey. And then the plan of God for solving the problem of the world would begin to unfold in what is called the Kingdom of God, which we have already seen, the Kingdom of God in the Gospels. These Scriptures you know, but I want you to understand the importance of these Scriptures and what it’s telling us.

John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. [That’s Who Jesus Christ was! God manifested in the flesh to begin the process of solving the problem of how to dwell with His people and His people with Him.] …He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and not even one thing that was created came into being without Him…. [no such thing as evolution.] …In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (vs 1-4). Then it talks about sending John who would be the witness; and this fulfills the prophecy of Mal. 3.

Verse 9: “The true Light was that which enlightens everyone who comes into the world…. [That’s Christ—Who gives the ‘spirit of man’ to every child at conception.] …He was in the world… [This goes right back to what God was doing with Adam and Eve; only now instead of appearing in the form of a man He was actually God manifested in the flesh—a man, not just the form, but actual flesh.] …and the world came into being through Him, but the world did not know Him. He came to His own… [those of the tribe of Judah; the tribes of Israel] …and His own did not receive Him” (vs 9-11). So human nature is still there. It’s going to take a change in human nature for God to dwell with His people. And it’s going to take a change in how God deals with human beings, and yet, will do it without a physical temple. How’s God going to do that?

“…His own did not receive Him; but as many as received Him, to them He gave authority to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name… [that authority comes with repentance and baptism—doesn’t come any other way. It’s not just a thing you open up your heart and say, ‘Lord, come into my heart and I’m saved.’ No, you have to put all the other Scriptures together with it.] …Who were not begotten by bloodlines, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but bythe will of God” (vs 11-13). God now is going to be the One Who will do the calling. And we will see that now God was going to do something entirely different, on a spiritual plane, so He could dwell with them and they could dwell with Him.

Here’s what He did: “And the Word became flesh… [the Word: ‘In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.’] …and tabernacled among us… [meaning He temporarily dwelled among men.] …[and John says] (and we [the apostles] ourselves beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten with the Father), full of grace and truth” (vs 12-14). That’s how God is going to solve the problem!

Now, He started out by calling His disciples, teaching them, training them, and also telling them of this new operation of God; which is part of the mystery of God. How is God going to dwell with His people and the rest of the world not understand it? First,He beings by calling. And it is God the Father and Jesus Christ Who make the selection as to whom They’re going to deal with. Let’s come here to John, the sixth chapter. Christ came as the Bread of Life from heaven, because He was God—now manifested in the flesh. God was going to make a special calling. And that’s why we are here; and that’s why we are keeping the Feast of Tabernacles—so we know that we are temporary; so we know that we have a spiritual fulfillment to happen in our lives later, so we can literally dwell with God spiritually.

  • But first He has to call us. And God is the One Who does the calling. So Jesus said, ‘No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up the last day.’
  • Then we also know that it is God Who leads us to repentance.
  • God gives us the understanding, provided we are willing to obey God—just like Abraham—‘obey My voice.’
  • Now, are you willing to obey the voice of Jesus Christ?
  • Are you willing to obey the words of God?
  • Are you willing to respond to God as He leads you to understand things so you can repent and receive the Holy Spirit and then you’re taught of God?

That’s what John 6:45 is all about: “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’…. [the things of God no man understands; no man can understand and interpret the things of God except by the Spirit of God. So you’re taught of God.] …Therefore, everyone who has heard from the Father, and has learned, comes to Me.” Because God is going to do something very special with us; something that He did not do before the coming of Christ.

Now let’s come to John 12:37 and see how the very words of Jesus Christ Himself tells us that He is that prophet of Deut. 18. He did all the miracles. He did all the things that no man had ever done. He witnessed to the world. He witnessed to the religious leaders. He witnessed to the people. And still, after all of that the leaders rejected Him and only a few people actually believed. Of the numbers of the thousands of Jews who were converted, that’s just a small number compared to all the population of the Jews. And likewise, going to the Gentiles. When you stop and consider all the work of the Apostle Paul, when compared to the number of people, was really miniscule. Because through the preaching of the Gospel, God would call those that responded to Him in the way that He showed by drawing them and opening their minds to understand.

John 12:37: “Although He had done so many miracles in their presence, they did not believe in Him… [Just like the children of Israel of old. They saw all the miracles and power of God, yet, they didn’t believe.] …So that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled who said, ‘Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ For this very reason they could not believe because again Isaiah said, ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I would heal them’” (vs 37-40). But He has revealed the secret of the Kingdom of God, the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, to those who were willing. And we will see what that secret is.

“Isaiah said these things when he saw His glory and spoke concerning Him. But even so, many among the rulers believed in Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so that they wouldnot be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God…. [When it comes to God’s calling to you, you can’t let any human being interfere.] …Then Jesus called out and said, ‘The one who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him Who sent Me…. [that is the Father] …And the one who sees Me sees Him Who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. But if anyone hears My words… [now this confirms Deut. 18] …and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects Me and does not receive My words has one who judges him; the word which I have spoken, that shall judge him in the last day…. [here’s the reason]: …For I have not spoken from Myself; but the Father, Who sent Me, gave Me commandment Himself, what I should say and what I should speak…. [Just like the prophecy given by Moses.] …And I know that His commandment is eternal life. Therefore, whatever I speak, I speak exactly as the Father has told Me’” (vs 41-50).

Now let’s see how God is going to solve the problem of where He’s going to dwell; and how you can dwell in Him. It’s in the promise of giving the Holy Spirit. And it’s in the promise that Jesus said right here in John 14—let’s see what He said. We’ve gone over these many times, but let’s tie it together with fulfilling dwelling with God.

John 14:15: “If you love Me, keep the commandments—namely, My commandments…. [the same thing that God told Abraham. He kept His charge; kept His commandments; kept His laws; and ‘obeyed My voice.’ Will you hear Christ?] …And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that it may be with you throughout the age: Even the Spirit of the Truth… [The Spirit of Truth can convert and change the deceitful, wicked mind that all human beings have, if they repent and yield to God and grow and overcome.] …which the world cannot receive because it perceives it not, nor knows it….” (vs 15-17).

Verse 20: “In that day, you shall know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you…. [Now listen carefully, because this is how God is solving the problem of how to dwell or tabernacle with His people.] …The one who has My commandments and is keeping them, that is the one who loves Me… [now it’s going to be based on true love—love of God with all your heart, mind, soul and being. God’s love to you. Christ’s love to you.] …and the one who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him” (vs 20-21).

Now, this was a strange thing to “Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, what has happened that You are about to manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?’…. [How can God do that?] …Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.’” (vs 22-23). That’s how God does it with His Spirit—to dwell within us!

Now let’s see what Jesus said here in John 15:1. We must always remain connected with Christ, just like a branch must be connected to the vine or to the tree. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman.” He is the One Who is doing the inner-working through the power of the Holy Spirit—Christ in us; the Father in us! The world can’t see this. It’s a mystery to them. They can’t understand it. How can this be? This is how God is solving the problem. And the world does not even know except that they may see that we are loving, kind, and as they would look at it, religious people—though we’re not religious; but we keep the commandments of God and the Sabbath and so forth.

We have to remain faithful unto death. Let’s talk a little be about baptism for just a minute. You have to repent and be baptized, and baptism is a co-joining into the death of Christ. And you are pledging to be faithful the rest of your life and die in the faith; by the operation of baptism signifies that which you will do. And that is a covenant that you make with God concerning that. Now, if you are not faithful to the end, then you also pledge your life to be cast into the lake of fire, because to receive the Holy Spirit of God and be in Christ and have God the Father and Jesus Christ dwell in you is a one-time occurrence in your life. You don’t do that twice. You may slip away, fall away, but if you repent you can come back. That’s why He said, ‘I’m the vine and My Father is the Husbandman.’

“…He takes away every branch in Me that does not bear fruit… [So, we have to grow; we have to overcome; we have to do the will of God.] …but He cleanses each one that bears fruit, in order that it may bear more fruit” (v 2) That’s what we have to understand.

  • We’ve got to grow.
  • We’ve got to change.
  • We’ve got to overcome.
  • We have to have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
  • We have to have Christ dwelling in us.
  • We have to have the Father dwelling in us.

—all by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then Jesus said: “You are already clean through the word that I have spoken to you. Dwell in Me… [that’s how God does it—spiritually, with the Holy Spirit] …and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, but only if it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you are dwelling in Me” vs 3-4). So this is a far better proposition than a tabernacle or temple where God puts His presence, but you don’t have the Holy Spirit of God. But now with repentance and baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit of God, you are sealed by God and He and Christ dwell in you!

That’s the secret of the Kingdom of God. That’s the secret and meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles. That with this pre-dwelling in us with the Holy Spirit of God, then we will see, at the resurrection, we will literally be changed from flesh to spirit and we will dwell with God. And the ultimate end, as we will see on the Last Great Day, is New Jerusalem to dwell with God the Father and all the saints forever and ever and ever, and to fulfill the plan of God throughout the rest, or the continuance, of eternity.

Verse 5: [Jesus said]: “I am the vine, and you are the branches. The one who is dwelling in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; because apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not dwell in Me, he is cast out as a branch, and is dried up; and men gather them and cast them into a fire, and they are burned…. [Here’s the key; here is what God wants with dwelling in you:

  • You have to be willing
  • You have to be loving
  • You have to be faithful
  • You have to be obedient

…If you dwell in Me, and My words dwell in you… [So we are to have the laws and commandments of God written in our hearts and in our minds so that the words of Christ are dwelling in us.] …you shall ask whatever you desire, and it shall come to pass for you. In this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be My disciples…. [Now here’s another proposition that comes from Jesus]: …As the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; live in My love…. [that is, dwell in My love. That’s what God wants.] …If you keep My commandments, you shall live in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and live in His love” (vs 5-10). I have it translated ‘live’—that’s stronger than dwell—you live in the love of Jesus; you live in the love of the Father.

Now, let’s notice something else down here—v 16: “You yourselves did not choose Me, but I have personally chosen you, and ordained you… [because first the Father must draw, then you must come to Christ to get to the Father.] …that you should go forth and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; so that whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, He may give you.” That’s quite a thing!—isn’t it? That’s something!

Let’s come to Ephesians, the first chapter, and let’s see how this is part of the secret of the knowledge and purpose of God. That the rest of the world does not know. God has personally called us and chosen us to be His sons and His daughters—we’ll see that in just a little bit.’

Ephesians 1:9: “Having made known to us the mystery of His own will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself; That in thedivine plan for the fulfilling of the times, He might bring all things together in Christ, both the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth; Yes, in Him, in Whom we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestinated according to His purpose… [that not only does God dwell with you now in the flesh, but you will dwell with Him as a spirit being in the Kingdom of God. You will rule with Christ. You will reign with Christ. We will be kings and priests.] …Who is working out all things according to the counsel of His own will; That we might be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in the Christ; in Whom you also trusted after hearing the Word of the Truth… [the Word of Truth includes what? Repent and be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit] …the gospel of your salvation; in Whom also, after believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (vs 9-13).

Let’s come to 1-Corinthians 3, and let’s see what Paul also wrote in understanding now, instead of a physical temple in one physical place, built of physical things; now each one of us becomes a physical temple to receive the Holy Spirit of God, that we might become like God. And we are actually then a mini-temple. All of us combined together are being built up into a spiritual temple of Christ.

1-Corinthians 3:16—Paul writes to the Corinthians: “Don’t you understand that you are God’s temple, and that the Spirit of God is dwelling in you?… [as we just read] …If anyone defiles the temple of God, God shall destroy him because the temple of God is Holy, which temple you are” (vs 16-17). Now, that’s quite something!—isn’t it? So God doesn’t need a physical temple.

Let’s come here to 2-Corinthians, the fifth chapter, and let’s see what Paul also does in drawing an analogy of the tabernacle and our bodies and our coming reward and the coming spiritual body that we will be clothed in also called a tabernacle.

2-Corinthians 5:1: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with human hands, eternal in the heavens…. [Which Christ is going to bring with Him.] …For in this we truly are groaning, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; if indeed that being clothed, we may not be found naked…. [going right back to the Garden of Eden] …For we who are in this tabernacle… [this physical one we are in; though we are a Holy temple unto God with the Holy Spirit in us] …truly do groan, being burdened; not that we wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed upon so that the mortal flesh may be swallowed up by life…. [To have our bodies transformed to be made like Christ’s glorious body; because we are the living temple of God.] …Now He Who is working out this very thing for us is God, Who has also given us the earnest of the Spirit” (vs 4-5). So that we are going to receive what God wants us to have—a spirit body, a spirit mind; being the sons and daughters of God—all of that comesto fulfill the promise to dwell with His people.

Now, let’s come over here to 2-Corinthians 6:14, because he continues right on with this. This is why we are not to go back into the world, brethren. This is why we are to be different than the world. “‘Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers….” As he said in 1-Cor. 10, ‘you can’t eat of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.’ We cannot go out as the Church of God made the great mistake of, after they became corrupt and infiltrated with non-believers in the ministry, who then went back and brought in the doctrines of Protestantism; and God had to scatter the Church. And that’s what they did—became ‘unequally yoked’ with non-believers. If the Protestants and Catholics truly believed the Word of God they would not be Protestants or Catholics. And they would have, truly, the Holy Spirit of God. So God does not want this inter-mingling.

“…For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? And what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what union does Christ have with Belial?…. [You can’t do it; that’s why Jesus said we are ‘not of this world.’] …Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement is there between a temple of God and idols?…. [the temple of God is each one of us] …For you are a temple of the living God, exactly as God said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk in them… [the secret mystery of His purpose: He will dwell within us now; and then we will all dwell with Him together when Jesus returns.] …and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from the midst of them and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you; And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty” (vs 14-18).

So when the Millennium begins we’re going to be kings and priests and we’re going to reign with Christ a thousand years and bring millions and millions and millions into the Kingdom of God. And then, as we will see on the Last Great Day, we will all dwell in New Jerusalem. So from the start of Genesis to the end of Revelation, you have the story of how God dwelt with His people and they didn’t want Him; and how God raised up the nation of Israel after first calling Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and how they didn’t dwell with God; and the temple did no good for them. So Christ came and then made it possible for us to receive the Holy Spirit, and we are built up into a Holy temple with Christ as the Head of the Church. Christ and the Father dwelling in us to fulfill His great purpose. That is the dwelling of God!


Scriptural References:

  1. Genesis 10:8-11
  2. Genesis 11:1-8
  3. Genesis 12:1-3
  4. Genesis 15:1-6
  5. Genesis 22:11-12, 14-18
  6. Genesis 26:5
  7. Exodus 25:1-8
  8. 2-Samuel 7:1-11
  9. Deuteronomy 17:14-20
  10. 1-Kings 11:1-9
  11. Deuteronomy 18:15-19
  12. John 1:1-14
  13. John 6:45
  14. John 12:37-50
  15. John 14:15-17, 20-23
  16. John 15:1-10, 16
  17. Ephesians 1:9-13
  18. 1-Corinthians 3:16-17
  19. 2-Corinthians 5:1-5
  20. 2-Corinthians 6:14-18

Scriptures referenced, not quoted

  • Matthew 10
  • Genesis 26:4
  • Galatians 4
  • Genesis 48-49
  • Isaiah 66
  • 1-Kings 17
  • Malachi 3
  • 1-Corinthians 10

Also referenced:

    • Book: The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop
    • Sermon: Judah's Sceptre, Joseph's Birthright

 

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