- Published: 30 August 2010
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In the dispensation of the mystery there is the two-fold picture of the relationship of the believer and God. One is a body of which Christ is the Head and the other is a temple in which He is the chief corner.
Going back into the O.T. and the account of Israel, we find that God tabernacles in the midst of Israel in the wilderness. Later He resides in the holy of holies of the temple in Jerusalem. It is always among His people, but not in them. Even in the future state, the New Jerusalem and the new earth, there is a similar relationship. There is no temple in the city, but the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it (Re 21:22).
So in the past dispensation we discover that God may dwell in individuals by the Spirit, but not in the family as a whole.
So the present picture of the church is that of a body, a new man, which was first created from the remnant of Gentile and Jewish believers who came out of the past dispensation which ended at Acts 28:28. There had been various bodies of believers before, but each in a group or synagogue. And each had its headquarters at some city or the like.
But in the church which is the body of Christ these days, the headquarters is in heaven and instead of being divided up into groups here and there, all the members are one, so one body. And there is one Head and one Lord.
But in carefully reading and looking at notes, it appears that the temple concept is for the future. The temple is in process of being built now. But it is to be an habitation of God thru the Spirit some day. This temple is being built of living stones.
The two-fold aspect is found in Ephesians 3:17 where they are to be rooted and grounded in love. Rooted like a tree and unmovable. Grounded is founded as on a foundation.
In the structural outline of Ephesians, you will find the section 2:19-22 (fitly framed together) balanced by 4:7-19 (fitly joined together). Notice in this latter section the mixing of the figure, fitly joined together, compacted, joint supplieth, increase of the body. These are noted in the margin as being perfectly fitted together as stones in a building, knit together, joined as by ligaments, and so growing either as a body or a temple. Study this slowly. Search and see.
Now what is the purpose of all these remarks about body and temple? As at the beginning, we said that these showed a relationship of the believer and God. And this is done by illustration, for that is the easiest way for us to understand. We have a nearness and close fellowship with God and Christ that is hard to explain. It is something like the picture of the believer in the kingdom, i.e., in Abraham's bosom that you find in Luke 16:22.