|- Ray & Doris Prinzing -
"For every house is builded by someone; but He that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after. But Christ as SON over His own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." [Hebrews 3:4-6].
A contrast is given here, briefly and simply, Moses was a servant IN his house, Christ, as SON, was OVER His house. Over― epi in the Greek, meaning, UPON, signifying that complete covering authority over His house, and in perfect control of all that went on in His house. A servant can be most faithful in the house, but there is much difference between "serving in" and being master "over" the house, responsible for all that goes on within the house, and for all of its supply.
In following this allegory, we are now but servants IN our house, a spirit dwelling in a house of clay. Our servitude used for our process of development and training, until we come to full spiritual maturity, to full sonship. As servants we are challenged by Paul's declaration, "to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey... But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." [Romans 6:16-18].
We can yield our will, our mind, our thinking, either to the spirit of the world, to become a servant to its realm, and bring forth thoughts and actions after its kind; or else we yield ourselves to the Spirit of Christ, to have His mind operating in us, and to bring forth thoughts and actions after His kind. Which ever realm we obey, His servant we are!
How wonderful it shall be with the INNER MAN OF THE HEART, this new Christ-life which dwells within us, shall come to maturity and become in perfect control OVER the house of Himself. Then you have control over every thought, every emotion, every impulse, until everything that pertains to this realm is under the complete mastery of the new man, the christed one.
But first we must learn our lessons well as a servant, how we take care of our house. Burning the candle at both ends is a wasteful action and not taking proper care of the house, i.e. our bodies. Improper diets, over-eating, breaking God's health laws, these are all indications of poor servant care of the house. And just how much we are yet a servant is indicated by the fact that if we do not obey the laws given for the health of our bodies, they fall apart and we find ourselves confined to bed while they are mended and built up again.
There is also a collective application for this, as together we become that great spiritual house, to be God's dwelling place, with the holy Spirit guiding the affairs of the house, and overshadowing us with His care and keeping. So that as a whole unit, we all redound to the praise and glory of God.
Now, we read, "every house is built by someone...", and how fitting are these words, when man today is busy building structures of his own making, forgetting that "the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands." [Acts 7:48], "neither is worshipped with men's hands." [Acts 17:25].
There are those who are aware of the fact that God does not dwell in structures of mortar, wood, stones, etc. although it is amazing how many still think they are building God a house when they erect another cathedral, but even those who have gone beyond that stage of thinking, are now willing to call certain groups of people "the house of God," still they feel they can build that house, and forget that "except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain." [Psalm 127:1].
What a rude awakening awaits those who have built, thinking they were building the house of God, while gathering stone and mortar, or while yet gathering people around their revelations and doctrines and creeds. In either case it is the work of man, and man usually takes the credit for it. With human energy and inspiration behind it, it is the work of man. And thus we learn that it is "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord." [Zechariah 4:6]. And then are we ready to "bring forth the headstone with shoutings, crying, grace, grace unto it." [Zechariah 4:7]. Ah, when we realize it is the sovereign working of the GRACE OF GOD, then He will receive the glory and praise, and it will not be something built in the name of man, to glorify man.
"Where is the house that ye build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest ?... BUT TO THIS MAN WILL I LOOK, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit and trembleth at My word." [Isaiah 66:1-2].
Yes, praise God, when He speaks of His house, He says, "TO THIS MAN WILL I LOOK" for He is forming, processing, and bringing to spiritual maturity a firstfruits company of men and women to become the HOUSE OF HIMSELF, His corporate body in which He shall dwell. They are of a poor and contrite heart, leaning not on any resources of the flesh, but totally dependent upon the Lord who becomes their sufficiency. And, they "tremble" at His Word. This word "tremble" comes from a Hebrew word meaning, TO TROUBLE SELF. Marvellous, for when our "self" is troubled when we come to the Word, it means that it is being dealt with, exposed, humbled, and then transformed to become one in the HIMSELF company. As long as we seek to justify ourselves, to protect ourselves, and keep our own robes of self-righteousness, it is obvious that we have not been "troubled" by His Word enough.
In fact, it will be found that a lot of man's building effort, to establish groups around some special revelation or idea he has received, is actually an effort to justify himself, and to gather enough people around him to support and bolster that justification. Self wants to do this, or that, rather than being dealt a death-blow by submission to the Cross, and the truth, and so man will get a so-called revelation which gives him a supposed loophole for this action, and then he surrounds himself with others who agree with him, and help to sustain that supposed justification.
Praise God for His Word, which is "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." [Hebrews 4:12]. When this Word works in us, it will indeed trouble "self," but it will also bring new life and victory as we are conformed to the truth, and become one in its message.
Thus the house of the Lord is not simply an ecumenical gathering of the organizations, nor yet the localized groups unorganized, but it is that individual, and whole mystical, corporate body of Christ, in whom the Lord is working by His grace. "The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there." [Psalm 87:6]. Born of the Spirit, to become a part of that heavenly register of the new Jerusalem and mount Zion.
It doesn't matter where you begin in the Scriptures, from Genesis onward, guided by the Spirit of truth, you will soon pick up that golden thread of knowledge that God is bringing forth a NEW MAN, the image of Himself, to bear the name of Himself, that will have the nature of Himself, that will be the personification of the presence of Himself, and indeed, will be the house of Himself, i.e. the temple wherein He shall dwell.
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out." [Revelation 3:21]. The OVERCOMER― this is the qualifying point, becomes part of that glorious temple. So that when John's revelation unfolded of the New Jerusalem, "I saw no temple therein (that is, no building, cathedral); for the Lord God Almighty and the lamb ARE THE TEMPLE OF IT." [Revelation 21:22].
The Lord God Almighty, we know who He is, our Saviour, our Redeemer, even our Lord Jesus Christ, and the lamb-literally, lambikin, a little lamb, those who have become a part of The Lamb, possessing His lamb-like nature, these also are a part of the temple. Like as the OVERCOMER shares His throne, [Revelation 3:21], so they also share His temple position, to become the dwelling place of God omnipotent.
"Never rely on false phrases like, 'This is the Eternal's own temple, His very own temple, His very own temple!' Do you take this house, My very own house, for a robber's cave? I see you, the Eternal cries, I see you! Go to My sacred shrine at Shiloh, where at first I fixed My presence; look at what I did to it, on account of the wickedness of Israel My people! So now with you!" [Jeremiah 7:4, 11-12, Moffatt] .
The Lord has dwelt in the "Church, as we have known and understood the generalization of that word, but like Israel of old, they have brought in their imagery, polluted themselves, so that He has forsaken them.
Once God had dwelt in the midst of Israel at Shiloh, it was a temporary tabernacle abode, which later gave way to the temple. Then for a time the glory of God filled the temple which Solomon had built as a house for the Lord, but that, too, was later left desolate, as Israel filled the place with their idolatries, and so when Jesus appeared on the scene, He said to them, "Your house is left unto you desolate." [Matthew 23:38]. And then a short time later, with both his personal being as an example, and the temple proper as well, "the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom." [Matthew 27:51], signifying that the Spirit of God had departed from that place, just as much as His own Spirit left the house of His flesh when He gave up the ghost on the Cross.
There is much more in all of this, for it also signified with the rending of the veil that the way was made into the holiest of all, with the direct access into the most holy place, and thus we are able to come to the throne of grace for help in time of need. And thus also the very inner heart of Christ, in all His love for all men, was revealed at Calvary.
But there is yet one more point to consider right now, for there was a new house, the resurrected body of Christ, which His spirit returned to, and took up its abode. And now the glory of God which left the old temple is taking up residence in the hearts of men, as they become the new temple.
How often has the glory of the Lord DEPARTED from places, and people. Groups have been visited by glorious manifestations of His presence, and then later, having turned to carnal things and rejecting His grace, they have been left desolate and empty, to have a form of godliness but without its power and reality. Buildings that once symbolized the presence of God, and a sacred place where men might draw aside and wait before Him, later become places for social activity, and only religious ritual.
Now, Christ has become "a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (making)." [Hebrews 9:11].
All of the tents, the tabernacles, the material temples, etc. were but tarrying places, they were not His "fixed abode," for His true abiding place is yet in the building process. There have been many places where God tarried for a little while with men, filling the place with His glory, and like Jacob of old, when we became aware of Him, we said, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not." [Genesis 28:16]. But as the ways of carnality took over, flesh sought for prominence, and the glory of God departed, and if we wanted to sense His presence again, we too had to leave that place and journey on to the next "tarrying" spot. However precious these experiences were, we find that they do not last, for the FIXED ABODE, where He shall dwell forever, is yet in the preparation process, namely in the heart of man whom He has called to become ONE IN HIMSELF.
In 2 Samuel 7:2, we find David earnestly desiring to build the Lord a house, as he says, "See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the Ark of God dwelleth in curtains." The prophet understood David's feelings, and agreed that he should go ahead to build this house for the Lord. But then the Lord spoke to the prophet that night, and sent him back to tell David, "Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build Me an house for Me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even unto this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle." [verses 5-6]. But then in the 11th verse we come to the glorious part of the message, "Also the Lord telleth thee that HE WILL MAKE THEE AN HOUSE."
It was a noble desire in the heart of David, but this wasn't the kind of a house the Lord desired to dwell in, something made by hands, rather, He would dwell in the heart of MAN, THOSE WHOM HE HAS CHOSEN, and whom He is purifying and preparing through all these times of travail. Whereas David was going to build God a house, God reversed the order, and the form, and told David that He would BUILD HIM INTO HIS HOUSE. Here we have both a natural and a spiritual promise, wherein we find much rejoicing.
From the seed of David came forth a lineage which was never to lack one to sit upon the natural throne, as God built a natural house from David. But there is also the tremendous spiritual application, as God takes "man" and builds him into becoming part of that living temple, to become the habitation of God through the Spirit.
This is explained even more when we come to Psalm 132, when David is recounting again how much he had desired to build the Lord an house, "Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the Mighty God of Jacob." [verse 5]. But God gave him the promise, and so we read in the next verse (6), "Lo, we heard of it (the house of God) at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood." An odd place to find the house of God? Ah, it was this boy, born in Bethlehem Ephratah, who was later found tending sheep out in the fields, and still later was out in the woods hiding from Saul who sought to take his life, who was being processed to become an house for God.
Sure, we heard of the house of God down at Bethlehem, and we found it out there in the fields of the wood― we called him David, and all those who were gathered unto him out there, a company which the world despised, but whom God has chosen, and they became mighty in His sight. It was in David that the spirit of God dwelt, and to find him out there in the woods was to find the house of God, a place where you could feel God's presence. And so today, wherever God's remnant are scattered, that's where His house is, for we are becoming the house of Himself.
But the types of the scriptures .carryon, the temple was built by Solomon, David's son, and it, too, was a shadow of that which was to come. And even the flesh-body of Jesus was not the lasting house, though "the Word, entering a new mode of existence, became flesh, and lived in a tent (His body) among us." [John 1:14, Wuest]. A tent is not a permanent dwelling place, the physical body of this mortal flesh is not His permanent house, it must be changed. Answered Jesus and said unto them, "You destroy this inner sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up ...But that One was speaking concerning the INNER SANCTUARY, THE ONE WHICH IS HIS BODY." [John 2:19,21, Wuest].
They thought he was speaking of their temple-building, but He was referring to His body, which was the true sanctuary. And while it is true that He did raise His body in three days, a resurrected body, that was of a new substance, though identifiable as flesh and bones; yet there is underneath all this, a deeper meaning, for the inner sanctuary was also to be His MYSTICAL BODY which He would raise up in three days, speaking of a greater time period, a thousand years for a day.
"Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight." [Hosea 6:1-2].
"Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." [Luke 13:32], and lest one would think this was confined to three days period of only twenty-four hours each, the next verse says, "Nevertheless I must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following..." so obviously He was not going to be perfected on that day, if He was still walking on, namely, towards Jerusalem. But there is a THIRD DAY wherein perfection shall be revealed, and His SONS shall be manifested as the HOUSE OF HIMSELF, and they are truly to be His "inner sanctuary."
Yes, indeed, we are a people with a purpose― a vision of becoming that house, even as it is written, "Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them." [2 Corinthians 6:16]. This word "dwell" comes from a Greek word meaning, TO BE IN A HOUSE, He will be at HOME in this people.
"IN UNION WITH HIM the whole building is harmoniously fitted together and continues to grow INTO A TEMPLE sacred through its union with the Lord, and you yourselves in union with Him, in fellowship with one another, are being built up into A DWELLING FOR GOD through the Spirit." [Ephesians 2:21-22, Williams].
As Jesus once said, the foxes have their holes, and the birds have their nests, but the Son of God was without a permanent dwelling place, even as we could say that He has no place until He brings forth this HOUSE OF HIMSELF, which even now He is preparing, for we also read, "In my Father's house are many mansions (rooms) ...I go to prepare a place for you... I will come again, and receive you unto Myself." [John 14:2-3]. Here is a oneness that is wonderful, for He is preparing us a place, that we might dwell in Him, and He will receive us unto Himself, but so also He is preparing us, that we might become His dwelling place, that we might fully receive Him, and so farther down in the same chapter we read again, "We will come unto him, and make Our abode (room, dwelling place) with him." [verse 23]. To love Him and keep His words, is to find that this Word which once "troubled self" has worked in us until it has prepared us to be His dwelling place, and then He will come again, not just to receive us, but that we also might fully receive Him thereafter to be perfectly united in one.
"He is the Head over all things to the called out, which is the body of Himself, the fulness of Him Who all things in all fills." [Ephesians 1:22, Free Translation].
"And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple." [Malachi 3:1]. We shall see Him, we shall be like Him, to receive that grace which will climax the process in us, and blend us into one with Him, to be received of Him into Himself, and to receive Him into ourselves, that we might be perfectly united in one, henceforth to express His life.
"And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: AND I WILL FILL THIS HOUSE WITH GLORY, saith the Lord of hosts. ―The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts." [Haggai 2:7, 9].
This flesh-body of present mortality is not His permanent, fixed abode, for He must change this body of our humiliation, and fashion it anew like unto His glorious body. But when this transformation is complete, we shall become that HOUSE OF HIMSELF, "For it is in Him that all the fulness of Deity continues to live embodied, and through union with Him you too are filled with it." [Colossians 2:9-10, Williams].
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain OF THE LORD'S HOUSE shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." [Isaiah 2:2].
THE HOUSE OF HIMSELF
The foxes have holes, and the birds have their nests,
For the Lord has provided it so.
But where is the place that the Son of man rests
While the storm winds of hell's regions blow?
'Tis not with the gath'ring of mortar and stone,
That men build Him a cathedral rare,
Nor yet the uniting all men to one creed,
As proposed by the false doctrinaire.
For God dwelleth not in an house made with hands,
By the multiplied works of a man,
But he shall bring forth the new House of Himself,
And fulfill His great age-during plan.
'Twas not by the might, nor the power we've known,
But the Spirit inworking His grace,
That He's building His house with choice, living stones,
His election of Israel's race.
In union with Him, till the house is complete,
And well fitted with many fair rooms,
The Builder works on with great patience and skill,
Till the whole with His loveliness blooms.
The House of Himself is the mystery that's hid
Till the time by the Father decreed,
When He shall reveal in the top of the mount,
We're the place of His true rest indeed.
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