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THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD

    
By Tom Ballinger

We certainly do not expect the reader to accept the chart as shown on this paper as exact, scientific, or authentic. However, we are of the opinion that the universe has the shape of the Tabernacle Moses built in the Wilderness. The design and pattern of the Tabernacle must have been of great significance. The Word of God devotes one chapter in Genesis to creation, while it devotes fifteen chapters in Exodus to the design, the workmanship, and the materials that go into the Tabernacle.

Thus the Tabernacle must be of significant importance. Most Bible teachers see in the Tabernacle beautiful types of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps rightfully so, but our purpose is to point the reader to Scripture. "Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, `See,' saith He, `that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount' (Heb. 8:5)."

Moses was very careful to see to it that it was built to the exact pattern that God had showed him. Also, the Lord especially equipped the craftsmen who performed the intricate work of actually building the Tabernacle (Ex. 31:1-5). It had to be built to the exact cubit that God had showed Moses. Its dimensions were very precise. Although the Lord said for them to build Him a sanctuary to dwell among them (Ex. 25:8), it, was only to typify His True Dwelling Place in the Heavens.

The True Dwelling Place in the Heavens is said to be the "True Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." (Heb. 8:2).

The Tabernacle the Lord pitched is set in contrast with the one Moses Pitched. The Lord Jesus Christ "is passed into the heavens" (Heb. 4:14): He is said to "set on the Right Hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the Heavens;" (Heb. 8:1). The Hebrew believers during the Acts period were to view Him as being "A Minister of the sanctuary [i.e. the Holy of Holies]. and of the True

Tabernacle" (Heb. 8:2).

The Hebrew believers were further told that the Tabernacle Moses pitched was a Divine layout of the True, the one the Lord pitched, "For Christ is not entered into the holy place made with hands [i.e. the one Moses pitched] which are the figures of the True; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us [i.e. us Hebrews]" (Heb. 9:24).

The foregoing has been pointed out to show that there is a definite place ,,'here God dwells. The OT Jew understood that the "Holy of Holies" of the Tabernacle or Temple was indeed the Most Holy Place. Between the "holy place" `here the OT priest ministered and the "Holy of Holies" hung the veil (Ex. 26:33). The Veil of the Tabernacle was placed over the entrance into the "holy of holies" and shut out those who ministered in the holy place. God dwelt behind the Veil. The High Priest went into the "holy of holies- once a year on the Day of Atonement. No one else was ever allowed into the "holy of holies"; it represented God's dwelling place. Only the High Priest, on the pay of Atonement, approached the "holy of holies" and it was by means of "blood," see Lev. 16.

The High Priest was aware that the only piece of furniture in the Holy of Holies was the Mercy Seat and it was for God. There was no place behind the Veil for the High Priest to sit down. He was conscious of the presence of God and was evidently very uncomfortable in His presence.

This was typical of the fact that the time would come when God would tabernacle with men, and He would "dwell with them, and God Himself shall be with them" (Rev. 21:3). It should be noted that God Himself is to come and dwell with men. Men are not going to go and dwell with Him. The OT saints had absolutely no promise or hope of living in resurrection with God in His heavenly dwelling place. They, on the other hand, anticipated living again in resurrection and God there dwelling with them on the earth.

 It is a common mistake among Christians to think that all of God's redeemed were promised heaven as their future place of residence in resurrection. From Genesis to Revelation no one was ever promised that they would enjoy living in resurrection in the True Holy Place, that is, heaven itself, except those saints who have embraced the calling made known by the "prisoner of the Lord."

Only in those epistles which make known Present Truth [i.e. the Prison Epistles] has anyone ever found reason to hope of living with the Lord Jesus Christ in the highest heavens.

The OT Jew never dreamed of dwelling with God in heaven. Neither did any Jew or Gentile during the book of Acts. They were all anticipating the return of the Lord to earth. Only after "Israel's hope" (Acts 28:20) ,-vas set aside and a new dispensation was ushered in did anyone have any grounds to hope of living again in the heavenly dwelling place of God.

Ephesians and Colossians' brings in a glorious hope of a new company of believers that make up the church over which Christ Jesus is the Head. This new company of believers which forms the "One New Man" (Eph. 2:15) is a new creation "created in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:10) after the "middle wall of partition" (Eph. 2:14) was broken down. After Acts 28:28 the One New Man was created. This body of believers is to enjoy. to the exclusion of all other of God's redeemed, its blessings, not in the land of promise, nor in New Jerusalem, nor on the New Earth, but in "heavenly places.

For the first time in all the Word of God we learn in Ephesians that there is to be a company of believers that is "blessed with all spiritual blessings in HEAVENLY PLACES" (Eph. 1:3). It is in Ephesians and Colossians that we learn that behind the veil which is stretched out across the vast heavenly expanse (Isa. 40:22) where the True Holy of Holies is, there is a company of redeemed which has been made acceptable in that sphere (Eph. 1:6). As a matter of fact, the Church of the Mystery has been made so acceptable in the holiest of all that it is said we have been made to sit together with Christ at God's Own Right Hand Far Above All (Eph. 2:6,1:20-21).

It would have taken the wildest stretch of imagination for that OT Priest to have imagined that anyone could be made so acceptable that they could be seated in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle made with hands, much less seated in the True Holy Place made without hands.

The chart is set forth in this paper to depict in some specific way the fact that the Church of the Mystery will find its place of blessing and inheritance up above the veil, that is, on the tip-top of the universe where the Throne of God is and where the Lord Jesus Christ is now enthroned as The Head over the Church, which is His Body (Eph.1:22-23).

The Church which is His Body will one day be received up into glory. Glory is the place where Christ now is. "When Christ Who is Our Life, shall appear, then shall ye [i.e. the Church which is His Body] appear with Him in GLORY" (Col. 3:4). Glory is a place. It is a Scriptural name for "heavenly places" where we have been made accepted. We are to appear [i.e. be manifested] with Him when He appears to principalities and powers in heavenly places. He is now veiled off and when He makes His open and visible appearance to the heavenly beings then shall we appear with Him in that realm "Far above all Heavens" (Eph. 4:10) in the realm designated as "the kingdom of God's Dear Son" (Col. 1:13).

This sphere and realm, which is up above the firmament, is the place where now dwells "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords; Who only hath immortality, DWELLING IN THE LIGHT which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see:" (1 Tim. 6:15-16). The brightness of the light in Glory is so brilliant that it would blind anyone who did not have a body "fashioned like unto His Glorious Body" (Phil. 3:21). "No man can approach unto" because the Lord Jesus Christ is DWELLING IN LIGHT. Perhaps the brightness is a thousand times brighter than the noonday sun. Saul of Tarsus got a veiled glimpse of the Light on the road to Damascus and was blinded for awhile because of the Light.

This Light one day will flood the universe when all of the traces of sin and its effect are removed. When God becomes all in all and the veil across the top of the universe will be drawn back and the light of the glory of God that shone in the face of Jesus Christ through the veil of His flesh will flood the length, and breadth, and height, and depth of the vast Tabernacle [i.e. the universe] that the Lord pitched. The Light and brightness of the Lord will illuminate the entire Tabernacle.

The Church of the One Body has been "made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in LIGHT" (Col. 1:12). Having been made accepted

in the Beloved also necessitates the fact that the Church has to be "made meet'* to dwell in the Light which no man can approach because of its devastating brilliance. Thank God, we don't have to make ourselves "meet" to partake of the inheritance which is up above the firmament of Gen. 1:6 up where He who hath immortality DWELLS IN LIGHT. We rejoice in Christ Jesus because we have been "made meet."

This place of blessing will never pass away; it's where the Throne of God is. It is above the temporary heavens; "Far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named" (Eph. 1:21) It is up, up "Far above all Heavens" (Eph. 4:10).

We urge the student to recognize the fact that the church made known in the Prison Epistles has as its hope and destination a place far above all heavens, at the right hand of God where Christ is now seated. It is in the very True Holy Place, the Holiest of All. The place that the One New Man will be received up into is the place called Glory, the "kingdom of God's Dear Son." It is up to the Throne of God where an inheritance is reserved in the realm of LIGHT.

Truth for Today speaks of the church which is His Body being received up above the veil into the very presence of God. The hope and destination of those who were members of the church of God during the book of Acts, would carry them no further than meeting the Lord in the clouds of the lower atmosphere, only to accompany Him back to earth to establish the Kingdom.

 The majority of Christians fail to see that only the church over which Christ Jesus is the Head is destined to dwell in the Light, up above the firmament, in the place generally referred to as heaven. All other companies of God's redeemed are to find their place of blessing on the earth. This distinction should be kept in mind.