Ready for my answer? In my previous post, I posed the question “why does God care so much about having a home on earth?”
Whether it was the Garden of Eden, or the tabernacle of Moses, or the temple of Solomon… God placed a lot of emphasis on having a physical building/place where His people would gather and worship Him. Why is that? Why would a spiritual God care so much about a physical building?
Why? Because our God is an INCARNATIONAL GOD.
‘incarnation’ = being incarnate, taking flesh, assuming human form or nature
Being incarnational means that God speaks to us in our own language. He comes to us in a form that we can understand. He knows that we are flesh and blood so therefore He uses the same flesh and blood to communicate with us.
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same.” Hebrews 2:14
[He] “…made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:7
When God wanted to save the world from sin, He didn’t just shout instructions from on high, or wait for us to be able to ascend up to His level. He became like us. He spoke our language. He shared our nature. He did that so we could relate to Him – not because He needed it, but because we needed it.
Imagine a college professor trying to speak to a group of four-year olds about the principles of mathematics. Can he just stand up a podium and deliver the same lecture he usually gives to his college students? Of course not! They won’t understand a thing.
He needs to come down to their level. He needs to use vocabulary that they understand. He needs to use examples that they can relate to. He probably needs to even come down to their level physically – by sitting on the floor or kneeling next to them. That’s the only way they’ll be able to relate.
God is the same. God likes to take flesh and speak to us in a form that we can relate to.
So what does any of that have to do with God wanting a house?
As He did with His Incarnation. God is speaking to us in a language we can understand. God doesn’t need a physical house any more than He needed a physical body. But He is using a physical house in order to teach us a spiritual truth.
And that is: God desires to have an intimate relationship with man.
That’s what building a home is all about. It’s not about the actual house; it’s all about the intimacy that God desires with the people who share that house with Him.
God wants to be our father and He wants us to be His children (see Matthew 7:7-11). He wants to our Bridegroom and have us to be His bride (see Matthew 25:1-13). He wants us to see ourselves not as His servants only, but also as His famiy – His brothers, sisters, etc. (see Mark 3:31-35).
All of those relationships are connected with living together in the same HOUSE. So the emphasis on the house is really an emphasis on the intimacy God desires with man.
In the New Testament – after God had instilled this message of His desire for a house within His people – Jesus took the discussion to the next level. When it came to having a home on this earth, God said “let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” – that’s what He said in Exodus 25:8. But when it comes to our eternal home in heaven, now it’s HIM who is preparing the house.
“I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3
Whether it’s the Garden of Eden, or the Tabernacle of Moses, or the Temple of Solomon, or the church of the New Testament – they all foreshadow the same thing. The Kingdom of Heaven. They are all types or foreshadowings of what is yet to come (see Hebrews 8 & 9).
God doesn’t need a house on earth; but we need it. We need it because we are physical creatures so therefore we need physical things to live out these spiritual truths.
That’s why Jesus didn’t just offer us a spiritual communion, but He offered us communion through physical elements – bread and wine.
That’s why He didn’t just tell us to be baptized in the spirit, but to be baptized in water as well.
And that’s also why He wants us to have a HOUSE on this earth - a physical place for us to live out a spiritual truth, that we are His family.
For discussion: what do you think? Are you convinced that God likes physical buildings or not? In what other ways can you see God’s desire to teach spiritual truths through physical means?