A Place to Dwell

Updated: May 16, 2019

Peter McArthur

What is the PURPOSE of God for us? Is it salvation, world peace, justice, to take us to heaven? All of course are partly correct, but they all revolve around MAN and our needs. However the Scriptural view is quite different. God’s purpose is to do something for HIMSELF! He is the one who is at the centre.

Because Man is the pinnacle of God’s creation, we quite obviously play the major role in His purpose. God repeatedly says in Scripture He wants to DWELL with us, especially through the Incarnation of His Son.

So our greatest priority is to understand this purpose.God’s will and purpose is to be revealed only through His people, who are the “called out ones” (the “ecclesia”).

Eph. 3:9-11 (James Murdock’s NT version)“... and should show to all men what is the dispensation of the mystery, which for ages was hid up in God the Creator of all things so that, by means of the ecclesia, the manifold wisdom of God might become known to the principalities and powers that are in heaven: which he arranged ages before, and he has executed it by Jesus the Messiah our Lord...”

This is why God is so long suffering with Mankind. Time and time again He restores us back to a relationship with Him.

God gave us clear insight to His desire to DWELL with Man.

First, in the Garden.

Second, in the Tabernacle tent and ark.

Third, in the Temple.

Even while the Temple was still standing He prophesied He would dwell MOST INTIMATELY in our flesh! Emmanuel = God with us. (Isa 7:14).

Partly for this reason we know Jesus was born during the Feast of Dwelling, the festival of Tabernacles! This God-ordained feast is held during the western months of September to October. Many scholars for the past 150 years have studied the fact that historically, Jesus was most probably (even perhaps “definitely”) born, not in December, but two months earlier during the Feast of Dwelling (Tabernacles).

How appropriate that the Messiah should be born at the time of that very symbolic and prophetic Feast. Very fitting. We actually miss something very important by not celebrating Messiah’s Incarnation at the Feast of Tabernacles. God wasn’t satisfied with meeting with Man in a Garden, or inside a Tent, or even in the splendour of a beautiful Temple. He wanted to dwell INSIDE Man himself. And so He did.

Eph 3:17 “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

He doesn’t want to live in us in order to contain Himself – He doesn’t need that! He’s looking for a place to REVEAL His Glory!

Isa 66: 1-2 This is what Yahweh says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house that you would build for me, and where will my resting place be? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came into being," declares Yahweh. "But this is the one to whom I will look favourably: to the one who is humble and contrite in spirit, and who trembles at my message.”

The local church isn’t primarily to be a place of good teaching and encouragement, correct doctrine, or biblical government. The prime purpose for its existence is to be a place where God Reveals Himself!

The celebration of Messiah’s Incarnation (wrongly called “Christmas”) brings all this purpose into focus. God’s purpose is to dwell, to habitat, to live in Mankind. The “called out ones” are to be an Assembling of such like-minded people.

  • We are to be a place where the will of God is done.

  • A place that fully expresses His glory, person, life and power.

  • A city that is His abiding place.

  • A place made up of saints who although all different, are unique, having been conformed to Christ’s image.

For this is the very eternal purpose of our God!

May we adjust our thinking to His.

Peter McArthur


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