In the readings of yesterday and the day before yesterday we could see how the apostles got themselves in trouble by talking about Jesus and doing wonders in the name of God.
In yesterdays reading (Acts 6) we read how the religious leaders called false witnesses to be able to punish those followers of Christ. The high priest, we read in today’s reading (Acts 7) questioned if all those things which they had heard were true. This chapter gives a good short review of what we can find in the Old Testament, about the people of God, how they had troublesome days but also how God was with them and helped them to get out of difficult situations.
Chapter 7 of the Acts of the Apostles also speaks of a “Tent of Testimony” that the people were to erect in accordance with the commandment that Jehovah God had given after what God had shown Moses.
To this day there are church organisations that would have their members believe that in the front of their church is a holy niche, or tabernacle, in which God would dwell. They use the same name as what the Jews called the ‘Tent of Meeting’ (or dwelling place), and what Jews and Jeshuaists still call their place of meeting.
The Bible does speak of providing a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. Thus we hear that Solomon went about building such a place for God.
Also, the man in God’s favour (a man after God’s own heart), David, whom God had taken away from the sheep to become the leader of God’s People of Israel, had asked if he could build a house for God, a permanent home in the midst of the People of Israel. David thought to himself that after all the trouble he had gone through, he should find a place where his God could live. A dwelling place for the mighty God of Jacob.
But when Jehovah finally gave peace and Israel was no longer at war with the surrounding nations, David was told by the prophet Nathan not to build a stone house for God, because the God of Israel never dwelt in a temple. To the early Hebrews, His house had been a tent since the time He brought Israel out of Egypt. Never did Jehovah ask why they had not built a beautiful cedar temple for Him. (2Sa 7:1-7 8)
“1 And it came to pass, when the king dwelt in his house, and Jehovah had given him rest from all his enemies round about, 2 that the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. 3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thy heart; for Jehovah is with thee.
4 And it came to pass the same night, that the word of Jehovah came unto Nathan, saying, 5 Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith Jehovah, Shalt thou build me a house for me to dwell in? 6 for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. 7 In all places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel, spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to be shepherd of my people Israel, saying, Why have ye not built me a house of cedar?”
“Now therefore thus shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be prince over my people, over Israel;” (2Sa 7:1-8 ASV)
However, the message of God from the heavenly armies was given to David that as the leader of God’s People Israel, he would give them a land of their own, in which the heathen nations would no longer trouble them, as in the days when the judges ruled His people. When David would die, one of his own sons would be placed on David’s throne by God. He is the one who would build a temple for God. That is what happened, and it became a house to which Jehovah God attached His name.
To this day, we see that God caused all the descendants of David to become kings of Israel, even though Jesus is not yet recognised as such by everyone. But he, too, will come to administer that kingship, which will not falter anymore.
So Solomon built a house for God and his kingship would last forever. And he who came into the world in the line of David would be God Almighty’s Father, while that ‘seed of David’ would be a son to God. Hereby God also made known that He would never turn away His grace from him. That seed of David would be made king by God in His house and in His kingdom for ever and he will sit on the throne for ever.
While Jesus will come to sit here on earth, we must know that Jehovah, the God of Jesus, will continue to sit where He has always sat, namely in heaven. For there is indisputably the abode of the One True God. Nothing from human hands can make anything better than what God Himself has created.
Jehovah dwells in His holy temple and there He sits on the throne in the heavens, where His eyes see and judge all that man does.
“Jehovah is in his holy temple; Jehovah, his throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” (Ps 11:4 ASV)
“47 But Solomon built him a house. 48 Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in [houses] made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 The heaven is my throne, And the earth the footstool of my feet: What manner of house will ye build Me? saith the Lord: Or what is the place of my rest? 50 Did not my hand make all these things?” (Ac 7:47-50 ASV)
It is also in that heaven that one can now find Jesus at God’s right hand.
“55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.” (Ac 7:55-56 ASV)
For many, in these times, it can take a long time before they shall come to recognise, as did the Israelites did in the old times, that God is willing to be with those who recognise and worship Him. God can and must be found here on earth inbetween our midst.
Nederlandse versie / Dutch version: De gedachte van vandaag “God woont niet in huizen” (29 april)
en hetzelfde onderwerp behandelende artikel: Een woonplaats voor God
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