From the beginning to the end of the Bible the divine revelation is progressive, and in the last book of the Bible we see the consummation of the divine revelation and of God’s economy, the New Jerusalem.
What does God want to obtain, how does He obtain it, what does He do to obtain it, and what is the final consummation of God’s desire, God’s economy? If you read Genesis, a book of “seeds”, all the divine truths are sown as seeds to then develop throughout the Bible and consummate in Revelation as the harvest.
The heart desire of God which is from the beginning to the end is that God desires to gain a dwelling place, a mutual habitation of God with man.
On the one hand, God created man in His image and likeness so that man may contain Him and express Him corporately (see Gen. 1:26), and on the other hand, what God wants to gain is a corporate man who is fully one with Him to be His dwelling place and take God as his dwelling place so that God and man may indwell one another for eternity as the New Jerusalem, God’s dwelling place and man’s dwelling place.
In the Old Testament God came to dwell among His people Israel in the tabernacle – and more solidly in the temple, after it was built. The temple was the goal of God’s delivering His people out of Egypt, bringing them through the wilderness and across the Jordan river into the good land.
When Solomon built the temple and offered the sacrifices, God’s glory filled the temple. In the New Testament God’s temple is the church as the house of God; we are the temple of God, and the Body of Christ is the enlargement of Christ as the temple of God to be the corporate dwelling place of God.
The consummation of God’s dwelling place, the final destination and consummation of all that God was doing, has been doing, and will be doing is the New Jerusalem where God dwells in man and man dwells in God; here God is our temple and we are at home in Him, and we are His home for Him to dwell in us and be expressed through us. Hallelujah, the temple of God is the goal of God’s economy, and God will gain the temple of God – the New Jerusalem!
The Church today is the Temple of God, the Temple in which the Spirit of God Dwells
Paul asks us, Don’t you know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple of God is holy, and such are you (1 Cor. 3:16-17). We are the temple of God: the believers in Christ in a certain locality collectively are the temple of God (v. 16), and all the believers in Christ are the temple of God universally (v. 17).
The unique universal temple of God in the universe has its expression in many localities on earth, and each local church is the temple of God in that locality. On the one hand, the Spirit of God dwells in us and our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit; on the other hand, we together are the temple of God, and we are God’s building – the sanctuary of the holy God.
If we would see that the church is the temple of God, the sanctuary of the holy God where the Spirit of God dwells, then we will be careful what kind of materials we use to build up the church (1 Cor. 3:12). Because the temple of God is the sanctuary of God, we will not build with worthless materials such as wood, grass, or stubble, but with the precious materials of gold, silver, and precious stones, which correspond with God’s nature and economy.
God’s judgement on us is not according to how godly or sanctified we are but according to how we build. We need to be careful not to mar God’s building but to enjoy and experience the Triune God as gold, silver, and precious stones, and build up the church as the temple of God with the divine nature of the Father, the redemptive work of Christ, and the transforming work of the Spirit.
Praise the Lord, the church today is God’s building, God’s temple, God’s dwelling place, where the Spirit of God dwells!
Lord, thank You for dwelling in us today to make us the temple of God, the church. Hallelujah, the church today is the temple of God, the sanctuary of the holy God, and we are both part of the temple of God and those who build up the church as the temple of God. Lord, we want to take heed how we build the church so that we would not mar God’s temple but enjoy, experience, and minister the Triune God wrought into us for the building up of the sanctuary of our holy God, the church!
In the New Jerusalem the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its Temple
What is the New Jerusalem? When we speak of the New Jerusalem we should realize that it is a habitation: it is the dwelling place of God and man, the consummation of God’s mutual habitation with man. What God desires to gain throughout the ages is a dwelling place with and in man; He gains this in a temporary and movable way with the tabernacle, the precursor of the temple, and He gains it in a more solid way in the temple in the Old Testament.
In the New Testament, however, God has the church, and eventually He will gain the New Jerusalem where there’s no temple, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple!
The inner temple of the New Jerusalem is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb – we will dwell in God, God will dwell in us, and we will serve God in God (Rev. 21:22).
The holy city, New Jerusalem, is the tabernacle of God for God to dwell in, and God and the Lamb are its temple for us, His redeemed saints, to dwell in; the New Jerusalem is a mutual dwelling place for God and man for eternity.
The size of the city is twelve thousand stadia in length, width, and height: it is a cube, denoting that New Jerusalem is the enlargement and expansion of the Holy of Holies (which had the dimensions of a cube both in the tabernacle and in the temple).
The Greek word for temple in Rev. 21:22 denotes the inner temple; the inner temple of the New Jerusalem is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. Wow, Hallelujah, what God will obtain is a mutual dwelling place of God and man: God is our temple for us to dwell in, and we are God’s tabernacle for Him to dwell in! Praise the Lord!
God’s Economy is to have the Temple of God Filled with the Glory of God for Eternity
If we read carefully throughout the Bible we see that God’s desire, His economy, is to gain the temple of God filled with the glory of God. When the temple was built by Solomon, God’s glory came upon it and people saw and knew that God is with them, blessing them abundantly with His glorious presence (2 Chron. 5:13-14).
When the temple was lost because God’s people rejected God and were taken into captivity, the glory of God departed from His temple (Ezek. 43:1-5). When the temple was recovered and rebuilt, God’s glory returned to the temple through the east gate, the same gate it went out on (Hag. 2:1-9).
In the New Testament we can clearly see that God’s glory is in the church: we are strengthened with power into our inner man according to the riches of God’s glory, and we have God’s glory wrought into us; this glory is then returning to God with us so that He may gain all the glory in Christ Jesus and in the church forever (Eph. 3:16-21).
The church as the firstfruits in the universe (James 1:18) takes the lead to give glory to God, and all the families both in heaven and on earth follow the church to glorify God. Hallelujah, God’s glory is wrought into the church, God is expressed in the church, and the church glorifies God and gives God all the glory!
The ultimate intention in God’s economy is that God would gain the temple of God filled with God’s glory; this unlocks the mystery in the Bible, opening the meaning of the universe and all the mysteries in the Bible.
The economy of God to have the temple of God filled with God’s glory involves the high peak of the divine revelation – God becoming man so that man may become God in life, in nature, and in expression (see John 1:14; Col. 1:27; 3:4; Heb. 2:10; Rev. 21:10-11, 22).
We need to endeavor to reach this high peak so that we may be the God-men who are being transformed, glorified, and mingled with the processed and consummated Triune God to be the Holy City, New Jerusalem bearing God’s glory for eternity.
It is only by God becoming man to make man God in life, nature, and expression, that God gains what He is after in His economy: the temple of God filled with the glory of God. We will even look like God: the One sitting on the throne looks like jasper (Rev. 4:3), and the wall (signifying us, the transformed believers in Christ) have the appearance of jasper (Rev. 21:11).
We need to be desperate to pray and pay the price as the apostle Paul did so that we may reach the high peak of the divine revelation to be the temple of God filled with the glory of God!
Lord, we want to endeavor to reach the high peak in God’s economy by allowing You to work Yourself into us, transform us, and glorify us to make us the same as Christ in life, nature, and expression! Amen, Lord, gain what You are after: the temple of God filled with the glory of God, the ultimate goal of God’s economy! Lord, gain the New Jerusalem composed of the God-men who have been transformed, glorified, and mingled with the processed and consummated Triune God to be God’s increase and expression for eternity! Amen, hallelujah, more mingling with God today for the New Jerusalem!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, bro. Andrew Yu’s sharing in the message for this week, and The Conclusion of the New Testament, msg. 208 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Church as the Temple of God – The Goal of God’s Eternal Economy (2015 Thanksgiving Conference), week 4 / msg. 4, The Economy of God, the Temple of God, and the High Peak of the Divine Revelation.
- All Bible verses are taken from, Holy Bible Recovery Version. Recommending the footnotes on Eph. 2:21, 3:21, and Rev. 21:22.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Jerusalem, the ultimate, / Of visions the totality; / The Triune God, tripartite man— / A loving pair eternally— / As man yet God they coinhere, / A mutual dwelling place to be; / God’s glory in humanity / Shines forth in splendor radiantly! (Song on, New Jerusalem)
# Our hearts, Lord, now You fully own, / We love You, Lord, and You alone. / Lord, single keep our hearts, and pure, / For You and for Your church. / Increase Yourself, O Lord, / Now in us, grow more and more. / Oh, build Your glorious church— / You loved and died for her! / To suffer, Lord, and live to You, / Our joy, our glory true. (Song on Praying for God’s desire)
# O Lord, O Lord, by Your economy / So flood us with Your glory, saturate us thoroughly. / Come out, come out, break forth in glory here, / And from the church, O glorious One, in glory soon appear. (Hymns #1177)