In John 1, two new disciples of Jesus, when first meeting Him, asked, “Where are you staying?” Jesus answered, “Come on over,” and they hung out together at Jesus’ place the rest of the day. If Jesus kept a scrapbook entitled “My Dwelling Place,” surely pictures of that seemingly insignificant day would fill a few pages. It’s exactly why He left His “Ivory Palace” in Heaven – to dwell among His people and have them hang out at His place.
There were few visits from God to men, until Moses built the tabernacle during the wilderness trip from Egypt to the Promised Land. He built it according to God’s very detailed plans and for this purpose: “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8.) It was to be a “tent of meeting,” where God could meet with His people.
Every detail was special, none more so than its most sacred room, the Holy of Holies where the very presence of God would reside. The grand crescendo of the book of Exodus records God’s moving-in-day when His Glory filled the tabernacle. Photo-op! More pictures for the scrapbook!
There were even more opportunities for pictures five centuries later when Solomon replaced the tent with a permanent temple. 2 Chronicles 7 records the special day when God moved into His new place, His glory again filled the temple and all the people bowed to the ground in praise and worship. “How lovely are your dwelling places” (Psalm 84:1a), and many songs echo the message of the joy of spending time at that temple where the glorious presence of God actually resided. Sadly over the next four centuries, the hearts of God’s people grew cold, and they quit coming to visit God. Their abandonment led to the dramatic and sad departure of the glory of God from the temple, as recorded in Ezekiel 10:18 and Ezekiel 11:23. That temple was destroyed, later replaced with a smaller temple, and later with Herod’s Temple – no Glory of God in there.
Then. . . . “The word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory.” (John 14:1a). This marvelous visitation of God with us (Emmanuel), the beginning of which we celebrate today as the most special time of the year, Christmas. Throughout his ministry here on earth, Jesus dwelt among the people, as recorded in the four Gospels.
When He returned to the Father after his death and resurrection, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell inside us. Amazing! No wonder the Apostle Paul called it the great mystery hidden for ages and revealed now – Christ in you – the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27) Later Paul also reminded us that we are the temple of God! Like a building of many stones, all believers are a part of God’s new temple. (2 Corinthians 6:16)
Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them. Revelation 21:3
Photo opportunity! When we die, only those who have trusted in the risen Christ as their savior will be in heaven. Make sure you’re in the picture! All have sinned, (Romans 3:23) but good news, Christ paid the price, died for our sins (Romans 5:8), and gave us a precious gift, if we will only receive it (John 1:12). Hopefully you will be there to smile and say… “Heaven!”
About the Writer:
Ruthe serves as the Director of Truett Memorial Library at First Baptist Dallas, where you can find much more information pertaining to the love of God, as well as the stories behind the songs we sing in church. Please visit us, or see our website at http://www.firstdallas.org/library.