How deeply we need in this hour the Presence of the Lord in His temple. Nothing else, nothing less, will resolve the impossible things many of us are up against. Our Lord knows this, and Himself longs to inhabit His temple far more deeply than we can comprehend. So we must take courage, and continue looking to Him with longing anticipation. It is He Himself who has nourished this longing in us for the very reason that He is preparing to reveal Himself in His temple once again. He is going to come to His temple.
We have this promise. “The LORD whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple…” (Mal. 3.1).
We are warned of the devastating implications of this. “But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For His is like a refiner’s fire and fullers’ soap…”
This has happened already—in measure. The Lord suddenly came to His temple—in cleansing fire and purifying soap—when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Oh, the cleansing, the purifying, that this coming wrought! God was in His holy temple again… just as He had been when Jesus was here in the flesh.
Jesus was the temple of God in the earth. The Devil thought to destroy that Temple by having Him crucified. Much to his dismay and chagrin, what he did greatly enlarged that temple. And so we find Paul challenging the Corinthians, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3.16).
This takes my breath away. To be filled with the Holy Spirit means becoming a temple of God.
This ought to make us tremble. It is a wondrous, yet fearsome, prospect.
Here is a phrase of Scripture that arrests me. I find myself thinking on it again and again. You will remember the story of Ananias and Sapphira. As others were doing, they brought a gift to the church, the only difference being that they gave the impression they were giving the full price of the land they had sold when in fact they had kept back part of it for themselves. Keeping some for themselves was not wrong, of course, but letting on that they had given all (like others) was pure deceit.
And Peter said, “Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” That’s the phrase that fascinates me. “…to lie to the Holy Spirit.” Do you see the implications? Ananias thought he was just lying to a man, to Peter, something experience had taught him he could get away with. But this day it caught up with him. For, the Holy Spirit dwelt in Peter. And Ananias suddenly found himself lying to the Holy Spirit.
And so Peter told him, “Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5.4).
The thing is… people lie every day without consequence. What’s the difference here, then? This. With the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell in the disciples, the God of Heaven becomes also the God of the earth. He is no longer just way up in Heaven. He is present here.
This is what the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he said that “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4.13). Of course, you say, God in Heaven sees everything. But when the seven eyes of the Lord are in the earth because of the Holy Spirit in His temple, a word sharper than any two-edged sword goes forth piercing and penetrating and laying bare the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And so Ananias might just as well have been in the court of Heaven lying straight to the face of God Almighty when he told his lie. As it was, because of the Holy Spirit in Peter, the God of heaven was here in the earth. The Lord was in His holy temple.
I know many these days are crying out for a return of the Lord to His temple. As am I.
But I tremble for this. When it comes, people are going to discover themselves face to face with God in His holy temple. They are going to find themselves in conversation with God when they converse with you and me. And this will do what nothing else has been able to do. For some it will mean very devastating consequences. For others… I am not saying this is always going to mean such a devastating thing. For others it will mean a broken and a contrite heart.
Oh, how those around us need a meeting with God. A meeting with God Himself… in His holy temple.
Let us seek this relationship, let us give ourselves to this, let us long for this, let us wait for it. Let it be so even now… inasmuch as you and I seek to abide in Him, and He in us.