Webmaster’s Note: With the exception of some grammatical, structural and changes in appearance, this teaching came from one of my research books entitled “God’s Magnified Word”. Overall, the format has been altered to duplicate all other teachings.
I have been taught not to reinvent the wheel, so I made minor changes throughout. This teaching is extremely enlightening and its importance is probably beyond your expectations. You will now be able to understand and answer the question: ”Where is God?”
This research book was published by The American Christian Press in 1977.
God’s Dwelling Place
Ever since the fall of Adam, at which time man lost God’s created spirit*, God throughout the many centuries sought a permanent dwelling place. In Old Testament times, God gave instructions to Moses to build a tabernacle. Later on He directed Solomon to construct the temple. They were only temporary types of dwellings or meeting places for God and His children.
Throughout the centuries God awaited the Age of Grace, which began on the day of Pentecost. It was from this great day on that God could create spirit within man, those people who were His followers.
* According to John 4: 24, God is Spirit. The Word of God teaches that God originally made man as a threefold being, having a spirit [the quality of which God is constituted], but also a body and a soul. God was with Adam by way of the spirit He had created in him. Man had spirit in common with God. And it was the spirit within man that enabled man to communicate with God and God to communicate with man. It gave them fellowship.
Most of the knowledge of this greatness of the occurrence of Pentecost was lost shortly after the death of the Apostle Paul. Christians didn't lose the spirit which was a gift from God, but they didn't crystallize the truth of God's revelation to the end that they really understood and believed the fullness of it in their hearts. That is still frequently the case today, even among so-called knowledgeable Christians. We never get a great enough vision of the significance of that dwelling place of God which, on Pentecost and ever since, is within every believer.
Isaiah 57 demonstrates the vastness of God and describes His habitation.
For thus saith the high and lofty One [God] that [who] inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. -- Isaiah 57: 15
Let’s repeat that Scripture stressing only part A.
For thus saith the high and lofty One [speaking of God] that [who] inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; -- Isaiah 57: 15a
This shows that even heaven is not great enough for God. He also inhabits eternity. This is substantiated by the Book of Kings.
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; -- I Kings 8: 27a
Though these scriptures tell of the vastness of God, one still wonders where God chose to communicate with His people. To search out this answer, let's begin with Psalms 27.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple [find out and learn about God]. -- Psalms 27: 4
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. – Psalms 27: 5
Thus the temple was a place to gain knowledge and love of God, as well as a refuge from troubles. God dwelt in the tabernacle and the temple, during the Age of Law; but sometime after the ending of the law on Pentecost, Stephen, speaking by revelation, summarized these former meeting places.
This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet [Jesus Christ] shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me [Moses]; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively [living] oracles to give unto us: To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which [who] brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot [know] not what is become of him. And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven [devil spirits]; as it is written in the book of the prophets, 0 ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen [which God gave him by revelation]. Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus [Joshua] into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob [Israel]. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? -- Acts 7: 37 - 50
Throughout the centuries, God has always revealed as much of Himself as people were capable of perceiving. Because Israel could not remain faithful to their leader, the Prophet Moses, and to the revelation that God showed him, God gave His children an added, tangible sign of His presence by having Moses build a tabernacle. After that, God dealt with David and then had Solomon build the temple. Again, this was a witness of God's doing His best for His people.
God was always seeking a dwelling place, a place where He would be reverenced, respected, obeyed. It was to be a place where He would have man's undivided, absolute worship. But a temple was not big enough for God's extensiveness. God who inhabits eternity, needs both heaven and earth and even eternity, thus Moses' tabernacle and Solomon's temple were not truly satisfactory. These structures were only provisional arrangements. They were temporary measures until God could bring about in due time a permanent, perfect dwelling place.
It is important in proceeding toward an understanding of God's finding a permanent habitation that we note the three different parts of the temple and their significance. One part of the temple was made up of the sacred courts and the colonnades. Another part included the court of the Gentiles, that court where the moneychangers were seated when Jesus came in and overthrew the tables and drove out the animals. The third was the innermost part of the temple, the Holy of Holies. A wall separated these various sections of the temple. On the day of Jesus' crucifixion, the veil was destroyed between the court of the Gentiles and the Jews. But more important, the wall or veil between the Judeans and the Holy of Holies was also destroyed. Ephesians 2 tells part of the story.
For he [Jesus Christ] is our peace, who hath made both [Judean and Gentile] one, and hath broken down [destroyed] the middle wall of partition between us [between Judean and Gentile]. -- Ephesians 2: 14
Jesus Christ brought peace in tearing down the partition separating Judean from Gentile. God no longer held one person or group of persons in higher esteem than any other. As Peter observed, much to his amazement, at Cornelius' house, as recorded in Acts 10: 34.
Then Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: -- Acts 10: 34
Jesus Christ had caused all people, Gentile and Judean, to be equal before God.
The temple had a wall separating the Gentiles from the court of Israel and another wall separating the court of Israel from the Holy of Holies thus signifying the preferred treatment of high priests from the rest of the body of Judeans. Covering that entrance into the Holy of Holies was the veil which was torn from top to bottom on the day of the crucifixion.
And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. -- Mark 15: 38
By his sacrifice, Jesus Christ brought about the tearing of the veil between the court of Israel and the Holy of Holies, and he also utterly destroyed the temple's separation between the Gentiles and the Judeans. What did Jesus Christ accomplish in ending these separations? He brought peace with God. There would no longer be discrimination between the Judean and the Gentile. Jesus Christ put them on an equal footing in God's sight.
[Jesus Christ] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make [create] in himself of twain one new man, so making peace. -- Ephesians 2: 15
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity…” means that Jesus Christ totally destroyed the inability of man to know God personally. To state it in the positive, Jesus Christ made it possible for man to know God personally. Jesus Christ abolished in his flesh the enmity and the law of commandments. The enmity specifically relates to the natural men of body and soul who were basically the Gentiles. The law of commandment contained in ordinances was given to Israel, the Judeans. Thus when Jesus Christ abolished the enmity for the Gentiles and the law of commandments for the Judeans, he tore down the obstacles which were separating each group from God and then he created of twain, from these two types, one new man.
Jesus Christ took the Judean and the Gentile and broke down the partitions separating them " ... so making peace." Why did Jesus Christ abolish the enmity and the ordinances? This was all done in order that God might create one new man. The word "create" is absolutely accurate. That creation is the spirit. What Jesus Christ brought about was the new creation of God in Christ in every believer, regardless of their previous label as Judean or Gentile. There were no longer the two classifications, but a new creation in Christ Jesus.
And that he might reconcile [bring back together that which has been separated] both [Judean and Gentile] unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. -- Ephesians 2: 16
Israel was never able to keep the law, so they were without God. The Gentiles were also without God. So Jesus Christ had to reconcile both types "unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." So the Gentiles were not only enmity to God, but Israel also, who couldn't keep the law of commandments. They were also enmity [at conflict] to Him. Jesus Christ needed to reconcile both to God.
And [Jesus Christ] came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. -- Ephesians 2: 17
There are several kinds of preaching in the Bible, but this preaching of Ephesians 2: 17 is the good news of the destruction of the enmity and the commandments and of Christ making peace and reconciling the Judean and the Gentile to God in one body. The good news came "... to you which were afar off [Gentiles], and to them that were nigh [Israel]." Israel had God's goodness constantly available to them, so they should have been grateful. But they weren't. Moreover, both groups needed Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and his saving grace.
For through him [Jesus Christ] we both have access by one Spirit unto [pros ] the Father. -- Ephesians 2: 18
There is only one God to whom both the Judeans and the Gentiles have to be reconciled. Once the reconciliation was accomplished, He [God] became Father to both. When Christ's accomplishments were complete, God could then have a permanent dwelling place, not in a temple made with human hands, but in a temple made by His own work. And this temple was His very own children.
The greatness of this fatherly relationship continues to unfold in the next few verses of Ephesians 2 by the usage of certain words whose Greek root is oikos, meaning "house," "household" or "family."
Now therefore [since we have a Father] ye are no more [no longer] strangers and foreigners [sojourners], but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God. -- Ephesians 2: 19
The Word "foreigners" is paroikos. We are no longer paroikos, outside the household, moving around like bedouins, having no certain living place, no definite home. We are no longer strangers, for we are known by Him and we know Him. We are fellowcitizens. "Fellowcitizens" is sumpolites. All of us born-again saints are God's townspeople. Not only are we fellowcitizens, but we are also of the household, oikeios, of God because He is the Father.
And are built [epoikodomeo from the root oikos ] upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. -- Ephesians 2: 20
"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets .... " That is true apostolic, prophetic succession. The apostolic succession never came through the Apostle Peter. That's a story someone made up, not what God's Word states. Apostolic and prophetic succession including evangelists, teachers and pastors - are for those who are part of the household of God and remain faithful to God's Word. This is God's criterion for special ministries in the Body.
The household of God is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, "Jesus Christ ["Christ Jesus" is the text] himself being the chief corner stone [foundation stone]. He is the solid rock upon which we must build our lives. That is what that verse says.
In whom [the foundation of the apostles and prophets and Jesus Christ] all the building [oikodome] fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.
-- Ephesians 2: 21
There is only one building on that foundation. Those who are born again of God's Spirit, whom He knows as His sons, make up the building, the family.
"In whom the whole building is harmoniously fitted together and it grows ... " because new people are continually being born again. That's the growing. And this " ... groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord."
In whom ye also are builded together [sunoikodomeo] for an habitation [a housing place, a location, katoiketerion ] of God through the Spirit. -- Ephesians 2: 22
"In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." God does not dwell in temples made with hands, but the God in Christ in you is the habitation of God. This habitation is something that the true God wanted from before the foundation of the world. But because of God's justice, He wasn't able to bring it to pass until His Son Jesus Christ had finished his work. Then it was legally possible for God to have a certain dwelling place within a person when that person would confess with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead. What God had desired from before the foundation of the world He was able to see manifested on Pentecost and thereafter, when God in Christ is created in each believer. That is God's permanent dwelling place. Now what can we believers do with this creation of God in Christ in us? We cannot feel God. Therefore, the only way God can be magnified is to worship Him in spirit and in truth [truthfully via the Spirit] which is speaking in tongues.
Now you can see why I fervently encourage believers to speak in tongues often. God is Spirit and can be worshipped via our spirit - and that can only be done by speaking in tongues. When we speak by the spirit, we absolutely know that God dwells in us for we show God who gave us spirit.
We have to get to the point that we unreservedly practice the Word of God as the Will of God. God, who is holy and who is Spirit, even the heavens cannot contain. Remember Isaiah 66: 1 which says:
THUS saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? – Isaiah 66: 1
Imagine how immense God is, how great He is! That same God is in us and we are that household of God, that harmoniously fitted temple, the habitation of God by spirit. And whenever we speak in tongues, we are worshipping God, and thereby He is receiving from His children what He worked to bring about from the very beginning.
We are now God's dwelling place.