A few weeks ago, a class here at church posed some questions about Heaven, the biblical idea of the new creation and how everything “fits” together. I took four (of the many) connected themes in Scripture and traced them from beginning to end. Though this is far from being an exhaustive treatment of the subject, and people far more intelligent than I am have written volumes on such things, it serves as a basic outline for a few concepts that are helpful in providing an overall context.
“The holy space, the realm of life, is where God’s presence dwells with his people and his glory is seen.”
Creation / Eden
· Holy space
Genesis 2:1-4 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. 4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
(Though God is infinite and omnipresent, the expression of his presence is seen in a special, localized way in creation and in a more personal way in the garden of Eden. The creation is seen as God’s “temple” with Eden being the immediate, “face-to-face place” of God’s presence – The Most Holy Place upon the holy, cosmic temple-mountain. cf. Ezekiel 28:13–14)
· Realm of life
Genesis 1:20-25 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds–livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
(God forms, then fills. He spends the first few days of creation forming the universe, then fills it with life. So too, God first forms man, then fills him with life.)
Genesis 2:7-9 …Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
· God’s presence
Genesis 2:8, 15 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed…15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Genesis 3:8a And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…
(Not only is God’s presence in the garden, but the image of God dwells in the garden in humanity as humans are made in his image.)
· God’s glory
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Psalm 148:3-4 Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! 4 Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
God’s original intent for humanity: To be image-bearing royal priests of the one, true God…
The mandate to spread God’s glory by spreading God’s image across creation – Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Isaiah 43:6-7 “I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
(This mandate involves both “forming and filling” creation (subdue and be fruitful), just as God himself has formed and filled creation in the first 7 days. This covenant of creation found in Genesis 1:26-28 highlights the blessing, the land and the offspring/seed. This pattern is found in the covenants with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) and Noah (Genesis 9:1-7) as well.)
The responsibility to tend and keep the Garden, the holy space where God dwells – Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
(Same terminology of serving and tending is used later in the Bible for the duties of priests in the tabernacle/temple. cf. Exodus 27:21)
Genesis 2:25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
· Separation from the holy space.
Genesis 3:24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
(Humanity has been driven from the holy space. They have been removed from the temple of God because of sin. All humanity has been exiled from God’s presence through Adam.)
Romans 8:19-22 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
· Separation from the realm of life.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned–
· Fear of God’s presence.
Genesis 3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. … 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
Exodus 33:20-23 “But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
· Shame upon those made in the image of God for his glory.
Genesis 3:7-8, 10 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. … 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
(Shame exists both before other humans and before God – Our horizontal and vertical relationships are damaged.)
· Holy space
Exodus 19:5-6 “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
(God is reclaiming the role of humanity as royal priests for himself. Exodus 25-31 gives the specific instructions for the building of the tabernacle and how God must be approached in worship. There, on Mount Sinai, God is establishing a way that the holy space might be reentered by humanity though a mediator. From the immediate presence of God in Eden to the mediated presence of God.)
· The realm of life is found with God, but Sinai highlights the continued separation due to sin.
Exodus 19:12-13 “And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.”
Exodus 19:10-14 The LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments.
Though the law holds out the promise of life, for sinful humanity it brings only the knowledge of sin and the penalty of death for the failure to keep God’s absolute demands perfectly. – Leviticus 18:5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.
Deuteronomy 5:33 You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.
Deuteronomy 30:20 “Loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
Romans 2:13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.
Galatians 3:12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”
Romans 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Galatians 3:21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.
Romans 7:10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.
Romans 3:19-20 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
· Like the response of Adam and Eve in the garden, so too the people of Israel recoil at the holiness of God’s presence.
Exodus 20:18-21 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
(Yet Moses drew near to God’s presence as the mediator / intercessor / representative for the people. His very name, Moses, means “drawn out.” God used the “drawn out” one to draw out his people from bondage; God used the “drawn out” one to “draw near.”)
· God’s glory is seen in his frightening presence.
Exodus 19:16-20 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
Exodus 24:16-17 The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.
Hebrews 12:18-29 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken–that is, things that have been made–in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
The Land / Tabernacle / Temple
· Holy space
The land of Canaan itself graciously given by God as a means to experience him personally. –Genesis 12:7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. (see also Deuteronomy 9:4-6)
Exodus 15:13, 17 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. … 17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O LORD, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.”
(Every exile from the land experienced by the nation of Israel is a callback to the original exile of humanity from Eden, and every return to the land points toward the ultimate, final restoration at the time of the new creation. Also, moving eastward is movement from the presence of God: Cain – Genesis 4:16, Lot – Genesis 13:11, Tower of Babel – Genesis 11, Glory of God leaves Temple – Ezekiel 10:18-19, Son of Man returns from east – Matthew 24:27.)
The camp of Israel – Deuteronomy 23:14 Because the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you.
The Tabernacle and Temple – Numbers 18:7 “And you and your sons with you shall guard your priesthood for all that concerns the altar and that is within the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood as a gift, and any outsider who comes near shall be put to death.” (Priests tended and served: see also Leviticus 8:5; Numbers 3:7-8;4:23-26. cf. Genesis 2:15 for same idea in the garden.)
(Temples were consecrated over a 7-day period: Leviticus 8:33-35; 1 Kings 8:2, 8:65; Ezekiel 43:25-27.)
The Most Holy Place (perfectly cubic) – 1 Kings 6:20 The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high, and he overlaid it with pure gold. He also overlaid an altar of cedar.
Veil leading to The Most Holy Place was woven with images of cherubim – Exodus 26:1 (cf. 26:31) “Moreover, you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns; you shall make them with cherubim skillfully worked into them.”
The Most Holy Place in the Temple contained two massive carved cherubim – 2 Chronicles 3:10-13 In the Most Holy Place he made two cherubim of wood and overlaid them with gold. 11 The wings of the cherubim together extended twenty cubits: one wing of the one, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house, and its other wing, of five cubits, touched the wing of the other cherub; 12 and of this cherub, one wing, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house, and the other wing, also of five cubits, was joined to the wing of the first cherub. 13 The wings of these cherubim extended twenty cubits. The cherubim stood on their feet, facing the nave.
The lid of the Ark of the Covenant had cherubim of gold atop it – Exodus 25:18-20 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.
(Exodus 26:33; Leviticus 16:2. The cherubim guarded the entrance into the presence of God – just as the cherubim stood guard at the entrance to Eden on the east.)
The entrance to The Most Holy Place faced east – Exodus 27:13 The breadth of the court on the front to the east shall be fifty cubits. (cf. Genesis 3:24)
(When the priest entered The Most Holy Place, he was acting as the mediator / intercessor/ representative for the people of God as he reentered the earthly throne room of God / reentering Eden. Also, moving eastward is movement from the provision, protection and presence of God. Cain – Genesis 4:16, Lot – Genesis 13:11, Tower of Babel – Genesis 11, Glory of God leaves Temple and departs for the east – Ezekiel 10:18-19, Son of Man returns from east – Matthew 24:27, Mount of Olives is to the east of the Temple – Zechariah 14:4)
· Realm of life
Words of life (in the law) were in the Ark – Deuteronomy 32:46-47 He said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 47 For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
Tree of life represented by the lampstand in The Holy Place – Exodus 25:31-40 “You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand shall be made of hammered work: its base, its stem, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. 32 And there shall be six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it…”
(The area outside the camp was seen as the realm of death as it was removed from the presence of God. Again, a callback to being exiled from Eden…)
Remainders of sacrifices were taken outside the tabernacle and the camp – Leviticus 4:12 All the rest of the bull–he shall carry outside the camp to a clean place, to the ash heap, and shall burn it up on a fire of wood. On the ash heap it shall be burned up.
The ceremonially unclean were placed outside the camp – Numbers 5:1-4 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead. 3 You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell.” 4 And the people of Israel did so, and put them outside the camp; as the LORD said to Moses, so the people of Israel did.
Capital punishment took place outside the camp – Numbers 15:32-36 While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. 34 They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. 35 And the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36 And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the LORD commanded Moses.
The scapegoat was taken outside the camp and left – Leviticus 16:10, 26 …But the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel…26 And he who lets the goat go to Azazel shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp.
· God’s presence
Leviticus 26:11-12 “I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.”
Exodus 25:8 “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.”
Exodus 29:45 “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God.”
1 Kings 6:13 “And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel.”
· God’s glory
Visible manifestation of the glory of God (the glory cloud) filled the tabernacle – Exodus 40:34-35 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
Visible manifestation of the glory of God (the glory cloud) filled the temple – 1 Kings 8:10-11And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
Psalm 26:8 O LORD, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.
· The holy “space” in human form
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt [lit. “tabernacled”] among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 2:18-22 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
· The only entrance to the realm of life, as Jesus is life
John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
John 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5)
1 Corinthians 15:45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
(The temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4) is a callback to the temptation in the garden. Whereas the first Adam failed in the garden, the last Adam succeeds in the wilderness in resisting Satan. Luke places the temptation immediately following the genealogy of Jesus and the mention of Adam. See “son of God” usage in Luke 3:38-4:1-3)
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…”
1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
· God’s presence in the Incarnation
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt[lit. “tabernacled”] among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. Jesus is fully God and fully human. (cf. Colossians 1:19, 2:9; John 8:58, 10:30)
John 1:33 “I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’” (Visible manifestation of the coming of the Holy Spirit; compare to the glory cloud in the tabernacle/temple.)
John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
· God’s glory both concealed and revealed
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Was concealed willingly while Jesus was in the flesh – Philippians 2:5-7 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Revealed on the Mountain of Transfiguration – Luke 9:28-36 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”–not knowing what he said. 34 As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
2 Peter 1:16-18 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…
On the Cross…
· The Holy One became accursed.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (cf. Deuteronomy 21:22-23)
(John 20:12 – Possible callback to the cherubim on the veil/over the Ark.)
· The realm of life gave way to the realm of death.
Philippians 2:8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Hebrews 13:11-13 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. (cf. Leviticus 4:12)
John 10:18 “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
· His presence was rejected by the people, and his fellowship with the Father was broken.
John 1:10-11 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
At the death of Jesus, the temple veil (with the cherubim woven into it) was torn – believers given access to the Most Holy Place as well as God “having access” to his people. – Matthew 27:50-51 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
· God’s glory was displayed through the shame and humiliation.
Isaiah 53:2-3 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Galatians 6:14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
· Holy space
Jesus prays that his followers would be set apart from the world by truth – John 17:14-19 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
1 Peter 2:5,9 You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (cf. Exodus 19:5-6; Romans 15:16; Revelation 1:6; 5:10)
Ephesians 2:22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Galatians 6:15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
God begins his work of universal restoration in his people – 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (cf. James 1:18, Romans 8:19-23)
· Realm of life
The Church proclaims the Gospel which brings eternal life – Acts 5:20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
Life in Christ requires death to self – 2 Corinthians 4:11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Matthew 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Christ lives his life through his disciples – Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Colossians 3:3-4 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Mortality will be consumed by eternal life – 2 Corinthians 5:4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
1 Corinthians 15:21-24 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power…
· God’s presence
Ephesians 1:22-23 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
Believers are filled with the Holy Spirit just as the tabernacle and temple were filled with the presence of God – Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus…
Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own…
1 Corinthians 3:1 6-17 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Ephesians 3:17a So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…
Romans 8:23-25 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
· God’s glory
The Church is given the mandate to go and spread the image of Christ though redeemed humanity as well as establishing “outposts of Eden” across creation – Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
John 17:10 “All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.”
John 17:22 “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one…”
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
Ephesians 3:21 To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
· Holy space
(In the Millennium, there will be a temple – Ezekiel 40:6; Revelation 3:12; 7:15; 11:19; 15:5-8, 15 – but at the arrival of the New Jerusalem, there is no physical structure of a temple.)
Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
Isaiah 52:1 Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean.
All things will be holy to the LORD – Zechariah14:20-21 And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the LORD.” And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar. 21 And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.
Isaiah 65:17-18 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.”
Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
The new Jerusalem itself is The Most Holy Place – Revelation 21:15-17 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. (Perfectly cubic, just as The Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle/Temple.)
· Realm of life
Revelation 2:7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. ‘To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’”
Revelation 7:17 “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
The river flowing from the eastern side of Temple will give life to the land downstream – Ezekiel 47:1-9 Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. 2 Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side. 3 Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. 4 Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. 5 Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. 6 And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8 And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. 9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.”
Revelation 22:1-3 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
Revelation 21:4-6 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
· God’s presence
Zechariah 2:10-11 “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. 11 And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.”
Leviticus 26:11-12 “I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.”
Ezekiel 37:27 “My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place [lit. the tabernacle] of God is with man. He will dwell [lit. tabernacle] with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (“Dwell” in 21:3 is the same verb used in John 1:14 – “to pitch a tent / to tabernacle”)
Ezekiel 43:1-6 Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. 2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. 3 And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. 4 As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, 5 the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 6 While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple,
Revelation 22:1-4 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Continual, immediate access to God – (contrast with one entrance to The Most Holy Place in the physical Temple) – Revelation 21:12-14 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed– 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Revelation 21:25 …And its gates will never be shut by day–and there will be no night there.
Revelation 22:1-5 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Ezekiel 48:35b And the name of the city from that time on shall be, “The LORD Is There.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
· God’s glory
Revelation 4:9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever…
Revelation 7:12 …Saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
God displays his glory through both his saving work… – Revelation 5:11-12 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
…And his judging work – Revelation 14:17 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Psalm 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise you; the remnant of wrath you will put on like a belt.
Revelation 19:1-3 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2 for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” 3 Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.” (cf. Isaiah 24-26)
Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Revelation 21:26-27 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Numbers 14:21 “But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD…”
Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
2 thoughts on “4 Threads”
WOW THIS IS GREAT . Thank you so much for sending this to me. Love and miss y’all so much.
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