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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE TABERNACLE OF GOD WITH MEN
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).
BEHOLD! This is the word with which John begins his description of what he saw next. Someone has said that the word “behold” in the scriptures is the “Stop, Look, and Listen” sign of the Bible. It always calls for special attention and directs our focus to a truth of unusual importance. The word comes from the Greek idou, a demonstrative participle. There are four things we should understand about this word. First, it bids the reader or hearer to give attention to what is being said, as if we were to say, “Now listen!” Second, it is used when an event is specified which seems impossible, yet occurs. Third, it is an exclamation of one pointing out something and calling attention to it. Fourth, it means to observe what is about to be said and consider it thoroughly.
let us look at the words that follow:
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is
with men,” is how we find it described in the King James Bible. It is significant to note, however, that the
verb ‘is’ does not appear in the
problem has been that with carnal minds and natural thinking we have conceived
of the holy city in the way we know cities on earth, cities having tall
buildings, streets, businesses, residential areas with homes, schools, and
churches. To us this is a city — this is
I was born to be Thy dwelling place,
A home for the presence of the Lord;
So let my life now be separated unto Thee,
That I may be what I was born to be!
There are three symbols — the temple, the bride, the city. It seems to me that the intent of the Holy Spirit is that if you miss the significance of one, surely you will pick up on the other! It’s as if the Lord says, “Consider this now, my child; I’m giving you three symbols of the same thing — you should discover the key in at least one of them and understand by now that the New Jerusalem is not a place, nor is it a thing.” The problem untold millions of Christians have is that they have all their life-time heard the unrelenting drumbeat of carnal-minded sermons preached by carnal-minded preachers who extract from the Bible a carnal-minded “theology.” They have bombarded our minds with pictures of saints driving a golden Rolls-Royce down the golden street of heaven to their mansion right next door to Jesus. Somehow I can’t find that scene in the scriptures! I know it sounds really nice, and a polished orator can move congregations to tears or shouts of glory with sentimental stories about their mansion over the hilltop where they stroll hand in hand with Jesus. But these shallow-minded, spiritually stunted, self-anointed preachers are incapable of asking the simplest, most basic questions, much less uncovering the sacred realm where one discovers the deep things of God.
Have you considered, my brother, my sister, should you inherit a mansion next door to Jesus, what kind of mansion it would be? What all would you want included in that mansion? Now, first of all, how could each of us have a mansion next door to Jesus? If New Jerusalem were a literal city, it would be 1500 miles high, and 1500 miles wide. Your mansion might just happen to be 1500 hundred miles from Jesus! At best, we might be able to get four — one on each side, one in front, and one behind — next door to Him. None of the other millions of redeemed ones could ever hope to secure that coveted location right next to Him! And if there is no night in the city, you would not need a bedroom in your mansion, so you might want to include in your prayers the reverent request for the Lord, when He builds your mansion, to omit the bedroom. Since your food will be the fruit from the trees by the river in the midst of the city, doubtless you will not need a kitchen or dining room in your mansion. Seeing that you will have your “house from heaven,” a body like unto His body of glory, I don’t think you will have any use for a shower, bathtub, or toilet. That eliminates all plumbing and you can also forget the bathroom!
Lamb who dwells within us is the light of the city, the omnipresent glory of
God lightens it, and there is no night there, nor any need of the sun, nor of
the moon; therefore you would not need any electric current for heating,
cooling, lighting, or appliances of any kind.
does that leave now — let us think! The
carnal mansion of man’s unspiritual imagination has entirely vanished like a
feather in the wind! Multitudes of
Christians entertain such childish and silly notions of heavenly mansions next
door to Jesus — not so much because they love Him or long to be near Him, but
only to enjoy the creature comforts such an estate would afford. Their interest is on the level of the
us now take note of the wonderful promises Christ has given those who love Him
and are His called and chosen elect. In
John 14:2-3 Jesus says to His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many
mansions (Greek: abodes, dwellings). I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I
will come again, and receive you unto
myself; that were I am, there ye may be also.” Here we must ask the blessed Spirit of Truth
to uncover the hidden things from before our understanding and reveal the
things that from the foundation of the world have been kept secret. The word “mansions” is found in only one place in the King James Bible. “In my Father’s house are many
mansions.” The word “mansions” is
obviously a mistranslation. The
Amplified Bible says, “In my Fathers house are many dwelling places.” Both the New English Bible and Wuest’s
translation say the same. The Revised
Standard Version, Phillip’s translation, Goodspeed and the
Read it again. The “mansion” is not for YOU to live in! A few verses later in the very same chapter of John’s Gospel the Lord makes it crystal clear what He is talking about. “If any man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode (Greek: mone) with him” (Jn. 14:23). Very beautiful is it to notice that our Lord here employs the same sweet and significant word, with which He began this wonderful series of encouragements, when He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions (abodes, dwelling places).” “Mansions” in this verse is the same Greek word as “abode” in verse 23 (mone). If the translators had been consistent in their rendering of this word mone verse 23 would read, “We will come unto him, and make our mansion with him.” The message is clear — God is preparing YOU and ME, beloved, as His place to live, dwell, and have His abode. Our mansion is IN GOD, and God’s mansion is IN US. Glory! But it’s not a “mansion,” as we think of it, it’s simply a place of dwelling.
The church system has taught us that we have a mansion in the sky. Great singers, before vast crowds of thousands intone with melodious voice, “I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop,” and the carnal mind gets blessed with the thought that since we don’t have much wealth and riches, or many yachts or mansions down here, God has prepared a grand mansion for us on that beautiful “Isle of Somewhere.” This sounds sweet to the emotional, carnal mind, but how far from the truth it is! This deception is so imprinted in the minds of the people that naught but the overflowing grace of God can ever erase it. They understand not that God’s separated and elect saints are that beautiful home, full of life and light and love, where no power of darkness, sin, or death can ever invade or operate.
with me again these faithful words of inspiration: “In my Father’s house.” My Father’s house! We have preached long and loud about our
house when in reality it has
habitation is a dwelling place. The
Greek word for habitation in this passage means “a permanent residence.” Every enlightened believer knows that God
does not dwell in man-made temples or buildings. Instead, our Lord has chosen to live in a
temple of living stones — that is, in the hearts, lives, and bodies of His
people. All who are “in Christ,” that
is, joined together in union with Him to be the dwelling place of God (God was in Christ…), are His house, His temple,
His holy city — His abode, His permanent
residence! Surely that means that He
has always cherished having a place to live.
To Him there is “no place like home.”
The dwelling place of God, from its simplest beginnings in Genesis to
the grand finale in the book of Revelation begins and concludes the whole
scheme of God’s purpose to
concept of residence implies limitation.
It excludes all aspects of creation that do not conform to its
specifications. The term tells us
nothing about God’s
him at home! In his residence he is free
of projecting any particular image. Home
is the exclusive domain where he can be
himself and reveal himself as he
is. It requires no effort and no
pretense. The idiom “feel at home” or
“make yourself at home” suggests such a meaning. Just be
yourself — total freedom for self-expression!
And that is what it means to be the house, the residence, the
abode or dwelling place of God! It is
the locale where God can express, reveal, and manifest His infinite
I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of God with
men! And He will dwell with them, and
they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their
God.” I love the
ultimately this experiencing of God among men pertains to all men universally,
there is also a very personal application in each of our lives. The Greek
Such is our problem today. We want a book on twelve easy steps to
overcoming. How to live victorious in
three days. Seven keys to being a manifest
son of God. If we can just find the method, the secret to
success, then we can move into the place God has for us. The words need to be quickened within us, “I WILL DWELL IN YOU AND BE YOUR
GOD!” God is not giving us formulas for
success, patterns for overcoming, methods for conquering death — He is giving
us Himself. When we have the Lord as the
reality of our lives we no longer need the formulas, the patterns, the outward
program, for it is now His work in us subduing every enemy, and conforming us
into the image of God. How
awesome and wonderful it is to know that God is living in us, and the
Revelation unfolds for us the beauty, the grandeur, the glory, and the majesty
of the reality! This is not something
that we can conjure up within ourselves but it is the unfoldment of the Lord
Himself. He brings us to this
realization: “He will dwell with us, and we shall be His people.” On the personal and individual level our
“people” — that is, our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, desires, emotions,
hopes, yearnings, all the elements of our being — will be living in oneness
with God. God will live in and through
us in all our hoping and planning, in all our coming and going, in all our
speaking and doing. God will move in and
become our conscious awareness at all times and in all things. It is
“For we are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (I Cor. 3:9). “For every house is builded by some man; but He that built all things is God. And…Christ as a son over His own house; whose house are we…” (Heb. 3:4,6). Would God that all the saints might see that since WE ARE THE HOUSE OF GOD, our dwelling place is not inside the house as an occupant, but within the very framework of the house — part of the superstructure. Every part of a building has its specific place to “abide.” What would happen to a building were the roof to say, “I’m tired of being up here, exposed to the fierceness of the summer sun, the beating of the rain, and the chilling snows of winter. I have decided to come inside and abide on the floor!” Or, should the doors announce, “We’re tired of hanging here on the wall, pushed and pulled all the time. Let’s go up and rest on the roof.” Or, suppose the walls were to declare, “We don’t like this position; we’re going out and lie on the lawn!” Or if the carpet curled up in the bathtub, or the electric range floated up to the ceiling. “Ridiculous!” you say. Yes — but the point is just this. In every house — each stone, board, nail, window, and furnishing has its special and unique abiding place. And all together, in perfect order, each fulfilling its place and function for which the architect designed it, they form the complete, harmonious, perfect building, a place of habitation for those who desire it.
we are given the transcendent and glorious privilege of entering into Father’s house! Not as a guest, or occupant, but as part of
the very substance of the building itself to be DWELT IN, FULLY POSSESSED AND
INHABITED BY THE FATHER HIMSELF! Jesus
said that if this were not true, He would have told us. But because it is wondrously true, He
has prepared a place for us in this glorious habitation of God! When Jesus came He was the only tabernacle of
God on earth! “The Father dwelleth in
me.” And now He has gone away, and come
again, and prepared a place for us in this tabernacle of God,
bringing us into relationship with the Father, that as sons we might be filled
is a blessed and wonderful truth that all that the Father is was deposited in
Jesus. The body of Jesus housed the
Father-Spirit. When Jesus moved, it was
the Father moving in Him. When He spoke,
it was the Father speaking. “The words
that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, HE doeth the works” (Jn.
14:10). Did you notice that those words
are found in the very same chapter and in the very same context of His teaching
about the “many mansions” in Father’s house?
When Jesus looked, it was the Father looking through Him. When He stretched forth His hand, it was the
Father stretching His hand. This,
precious friend of mine, is the glorious “place” where Jesus dwelt as the
habitation of God, this was His plane of existence, His sphere of life, His
state of being. When Jesus walked on
earth He was the only body-building of God, but one beautiful day He thrust
wide open the door into that exalted realm and proclaimed that in His Father’s
house are MANY ABODES,
Jesus dwelt in a spiritual realm of relationship with the Father, we know that
the place prepared for us is a spiritual rather than a natural sphere. It is a heavenly realm. It is the realm of the Father’s
Having ascertained that the Father’s house is a spiritual temple, we can easily understand the meaning of there being in this house or temple many mansions, or rooms, or chambers, as we look at the beautiful type of Solomon’s magnificent temple. Not only was there the outer court, the holy place, and the most holy place, but we also read, “And against the wall of the house (temple) he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and the oracle: and he made chambers round about: and the nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad. The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up the winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third. And then he built chambers against all the house five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar” (I Kings 6:5-10). In chapter thirty-five of Jeremiah we find that the different chambers were for persons of different rank, signifying that whatever place or chamber we become in the house of God will serve as a unique expression of the Father in us and through us, according to how we have yielded unto Him!
following vision was received many years ago by a young sister in
was a marked difference between the houses on the different spheres. Those on the same sphere were more or less of
the same appearance and were of a great number, but those on a higher sphere
were vastly different and far more wonderful.
The highest sphere of all was so gloriously brilliant that I could only
behold in amazing wonder without being able to describe it. Each separate sphere was most markedly
different, superior, harmonious, and far more brilliant than the sphere below
it. So great was their light and so
glorious their shining that they outshone the sun by far.
arches — or domes of light — were not things separate from Him but they were a
PART OF HIMSELF. This was the most
surprising of all! They were parts of
His very person. Each separate sphere
was made up of a part of Himself but was such a different manifestation of Himself.
Each higher sphere was so much
superior and wonderful than the one before.
I thought afterwards of an illustration from my own mind to try to
describe it: As a young lady prepares herself in one way to work in the
kitchen, in another way to go out to tea, but in still another way she
beautifies herself to go out for an evening gala celebration. ‘These are the riches of Myself,’ He said,
‘and are most distinct one from the other.
I have offered every one of these dwellings in every sphere to every one
of my children. Although I have given to
every one the same opportunities, many will be satisfied and will resign
themselves to lower spheres because they do not want any more of Me. Each one will reach the place that his heart
truly desires which will be given to him.
Because some will not make the effort to reach out for any more (of My
Ah — there are many mansions or chambers or dwelling places in God’s house, many spiritual levels with various elevations and degrees of prestige and honor, and each of us must find his own. “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead” (I Cor. 15:41-42). The Father’s house contains many positions, many levels of expression, many planes of glory. Some saints have tried to seize some coveted position as did the mother of James and John on behalf of her two sons, who came to Jesus, “…worshipping, and desiring a certain thing of Him. And He said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy kingdom” (Mat. 20:20-21). Jesus did not deny that these positions existed, but He did say, “To sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, BUT IT SHALL BE GIVEN TO THEM FOR WHOM IT IS PREPARED OF MY FATHER” (Mat. 20:23).
do not vie and compete for positions in Father’s house, but we rejoice that
there are “many mansions,” there is ample room, there is room for each one and Christ Himself is
preparing a place for us! This spiritual house is the reality of which the
mentioned earlier, the tabernacle in the Old Testament is the type of God’s
dwelling and fellowship with His people.
Typically, in the tabernacle God met His people, manifested His glory,
spoke to them, made them one with Him through the sacrifices and ministry of
the priesthood, and fellowshipped with them.
The idea, therefore, of the tabernacle is fellowship, communion, and
union with God. And the idea of the
tabernacle of God with men in the New Jerusalem is the perfection of this
fellowship, communion, and union. In
this union God’s people become fully like Him and see Him as He is. They know even as they are known. They see face to face. This is the
This is also the ultimate realization of all prophecy. Thus, for instance, we read, “My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Eze. 37:27). And again, “And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God shall wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it” (Isa. 25:6-8). And almost the entire sixtieth chapter of Isaiah refers to the same thing, including the salvation and blessing of all nations and all people. What a word!
one of his later writings
wonder, anticipation and hope, John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, saw the
spiritual, heavenly, new
“The promise and glory of Tabernacles is the coming of the Lord to the earth to dwell with and in all mankind. He comes in His fullness to dwell with all men and to establish His dwelling place, His tabernacle, here on earth. God Himself shall dwell in and among all mankind. His ‘people’ will include all men everywhere! God Himself shall be with all men, and He shall be their God in the full sense of the word. This is what Tabernacles really is! And it is nothing less than this! Tabernacles is a high and holy realm in God that is more glorious than anything we have yet experienced! God has something far more glorious in store for His people and for the world than what we can see through this veil of flesh. And He is revealing it to His elect, by the Spirit. Launch out into the depths of His Spirit and experience Him! Be blessed by all the Spirit is revealing in this new and more glorious kingdom Day!” — end quote.
my dear friends, if you are still looking for a mansion over the hilltop or a
cabin in the corner of Gloryland you are going to be disappointed. Christ has prepared a place for us alright —
a place IN HIM — which is far more glorious and exciting than some tangible,
carnal possession. He has raised us up
to sit with Him, and in Him, to share
His sonship and the
To be continued… J. PRESTON EBY
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