Dwelling with Us (Day 14)
- And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
~ Revelation 21:3-4
When I was a kid, I thought that maybe God lived at the church. A likely mistake right? Through the years, I have had many children think that I live at the church because I am the pastor. Jesus and me living at the church together right… how cool is that?
Seriously though, God’s desire has always been for us to live in His Presence. Adam and Eve first lived in Eden, a heavenly home of sorts where the Lord would dwell with them, and come walk with them. A major consequence of their sin and disobedience to God was that they were expelled from their home in Eden, and no longer experienced the presence of the Lord dwelling with them and in them.
We see in the verses above from Revelation that God never gave up on His plan to dwell with us. I love the description that “the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people” (Rev. 21:3). The last two chapters of the Bible bring a full restoration to all that humanity lost due to the Fall of Sin. Revelation 21 & 22 show God’s redemptive plan coming full circle, breaking the curse of sin over humanity and the world. The Resurrected and Exalted Jesus will finally make all things right again. He has been working this plan from the moment man and woman disobeyed. In the Old Testament, the Lord rescued his people Israel out of slavery in Egypt. He brought them into the wilderness and made a covenant with them at Sinai. God gave them his commandments and called them to follow Him. Moses was then called to construct a (portable) tabernacle where God’s presence would dwell in the middle of the camp in the midst of his people. The tabernacle was also known as the Tent of Meeting – where the people would come to worship, sacrifice, and meet with God. Eventually, King Solomon would build the temple in Jerusalem which would become the dwelling place of God. Do you see the pattern? God would dwell among his people in the tabernacle – and then later at the temple in the Holy City of Jerusalem.
The New Testament begins a new era with the birth and arrival of Jesus Christ into the world. We have previously looked at this verse from the book of John, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). We have seen that Jesus is the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. Now let’s come more fully into God’s restoration plan and look at the idea that Jesus “dwelt among us.” The phrase literally means “to set one’s tabernacle.” Do you see it? Eden was the place of God’s presence where He would dwell with his children. Having forfeited Eden, God seeks to bring his people back into His Presence. In the OT, God would set the tabernacle of His Presence in the midst of his people. Then the temple became the location of God’s presence. John is now declaring that Jesus the Living Word of God came to make his dwelling (tabernacle) among us. The implication is powerful for all of us. The meeting place of God is no longer residing at an actual place like the tabernacle but is now fully residing in a person – Jesus Christ the Son of God. Jesus is the tabernacle – the place where people can now meet with God, in person and face to face with the Son of God.