The Church – God’s Dwelling Place

If you have read some of my blog already, then you will know that I am passionate about the Church of Christ. However, this was not always the case. Looking back, at one point I was totally disinterested with the church as I knew it. I won’t go into details of why in this post, but you can read about my journey here. However, praise the Lord, it was not long before Christ gave me a vision of His Church that was far beyond my wildest dreams! In this post I will share with you what i’ve learnt about the Church as God’s dwelling place.

When we look at bible in terms of the overall story, we can see something very interesting. God had a desire to dwell with man. And him dwelling or living with man was not just an impersonal dorm room style of living. Neither was it God dwelling in a backyard guest house or in a guest room. He desired to live intimately with man. In fact, He desired a much closer intimacy than we could imagine. When we look at Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, we can see that God walked with them in the garden. He was living with them and enjoying His relationship with them. He shared His life with them and they shared their lives with Him. He desired them to be fruitful and multiply in order to extend His family. It was a beautiful picture of God dwelling with man. The garden was God’s original dwelling place with man, and ultimately He will dwell with man in a garden again.

However, after Adam and Eve fell, fallen man was not in a position to dwell with God in the garden. The unbroken and open communion between God and man was lost, but it was still very much in the heart of God. Throughout the Old Testament we see God trying to dwell with man, even in His fallen state. However, the only way He could dwell with man was in a backyard guest house or guest room.

Jacob was one of the few men to really encounter God in a deep way since man fell. He fell asleep one night and saw a stairway to heaven (Often called Jacob’s Ladder) where angels were descending and ascending. What he saw was an intersection between heaven and earth, a place where God’s heavenly realm could come into contact with man’s earthly realm. That’s exactly what the garden of Eden was. Jacob saw the significance of this and called the place where he was sleeping ‘Bethel’, which means ‘House of God’. Jacob saw God’s house as an intersection between the heavenly realm and the earthly realm.

The next major step God took to have a dwelling place was with Moses in the wilderness. God had finally obtained a remnant who were following Him so He tasked Moses with building Him a mobile home, ‘a trailer’, where He could occasionally have contact with His people. The tent was made of animal skin, but it had a specific pattern. It was built according to a ‘heavenly vision’, which God gave Moses. At the very center of it, the holy of holies, was the ark of the covenant, where God’s presence was found.

After the wilderness experience God’s people went through, He desired a more permanent home. So, He was built a home also according to a heavenly vision, but made out of stone. This house was built in the city of Jerusalem, where God’s people dwelt together. Again, the ark of the covenant was situated in the holy of holies. This house was by no means permanent though. It was destroyed on a few occasions and also went through rebuilding. In the process of all of this, the ark was lost.

God was obviously not satisfied with a trailer home or a house that would keep getting destroyed over and over again. He wanted to dwell with man intimately for eternity. He needed a home that could not be destroyed and a place where He could dwell with man in an uninterrupted union. How he achieved this was divine and magnificent.

Behold, God takes on humanity in the form of Jesus Christ! Through the very act of incarnation, God joins Himself to humanity. All distance between God and man was separated in Christ. When Jesus spoke to Nathaniel, He revealed Himself as the true Jacob’s Ladder (John 1:51). Christ was the intersection between the heavenly realm and the earthly realm. He was the the very house of God. Man once tried to build a house to reach God, called Babel, which did not work. Christ as ‘Bethel’ represents God reaching down to us.

God the Father dwelt fully in the person of Christ. There was an unbroken communion between God the Father and His Son. Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19). Christ was the Father’s House. Christ is also the ark of the covenant. In Him dwells the very presence of God. In the ark was the mana, the rod that blossomed, and the tablets of stone. Christ was the mana from heaven, the bread of life. Christ was the rod that blossomed. Christ was the fulfillment of the law.

The amazing thing that happened through Christ’s death and resurrection was that we became members of His body. The church is the actual body of Christ on earth. We together form the temple of God because we are His body. We are now a spiritual priesthood, which has uninterrupted access to God through the veil of His flesh. Peter said that, “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5). Just like Solomon’s temple was built using stone, we are now the very stones, which form the temple of God. We are living stones and at the center of us is the ark of the covenant, Christ Himself! God has an eternal dwelling place with us through His Son. Praise the Lord!

I don’t know about you, but this is a really exciting and wonderful revelation to me. Even while writing this I am full of joy and excitement that I get to be part of God’s house where I can connect with God in the most intimate way in unbroken union. I can have fellowship with the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit, and if that isn’t enough, I get to do it with my brothers and sisters in Christ! To sum it up, the Church is God’s permanent dwelling place, and Christ is at the center of it all.

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Nathan Odell Nathan Odell is the author of Joined to Him. You can connect with him on

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Comments

  1. There were a few errors in the original post pointed out to me… updated and fixed 🙂

  2. very well presented, and yes I understand the getting excited as we ponder the meaning of His indwelling presence

Trackbacks

  1. […] of the land. Canaan, the promised land, represents Christ. It is also the place God chose to have His dwelling place (the temple). God calling his people out of man-made religion/empires, to go to the promised land is a major […]

  2. […] Christ is the foundation, Cornerstone, and Capstone of God’s house, the Church. […]

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