Archive for December 22, 2010

Dec 22

Sermon Follow-up: “Jesus: God Dwells”

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

In Sunday’s sermon, “Jesus: God Dwells,” Ryan surveyed the storyline of the Bible tracing the theme of God’s presence with his people. The great thing about the garden was that God was with his people. The terrible thing about life outside the garden is that we’re separated from Him. But, as Paul writes, “in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

As a preparation for the coming of Christ, God gave to his people concrete experiences in order to teach them of their standing before Him and what was required for their restoration to His presence. One of these was a temple. When Israel was settled in the land, God gave instruction to build him a house, a temple where He could meet with his people (1 Chronicles 22).

In his book, From Eden to the New Jerusalem, T.D. Alexander explains an important feature of the temple Israel built after returning to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile:

Although there are clear statements about God’s glory filling the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35) and the Solomonic temple (1 Kings 8:10-11; cf. 2 Chronicles 7:1-2), no similar event is described in the biblical literature concerning the temple built after the exile.

…the “Second Temple lacked five things which the First Temple possessed, namely, the fire, the ark, the Urim and Thummim, the oil of anointing and the Holy Spirit [of prophecy]” (quote from R.T Beckwith, “The Temple Restored” in Heaven on Earth: The Temple in Biblical Theology). The absence of these ‘visible tokens’ of God’s presence indicates that the Holy of Holies was empty.

So, we should see a connection here when John writes of Jesus, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:14). The word he uses for “dwelt” is really, “tabernacled.” And in John 2:18-22, Jesus even refers to himself as the temple of God. The coming of God’s Son into the world fulfills what the tabernacle and temple anticipated both in the revelation of God’s presence in the First Temple and in the absence of His Presence in the Second Temple.

God had a gracious purpose in mind in everything he instructed Israel to do and in every experience that Israel had as a people. And his gracious purpose in not revealing his presence in the Second Temple was to prepare them for the coming of His presence through Christ.

This sermon was second in the Christmas series, “Someone’s Coming”: