Let’s recall from last time Solomon’s proclamation at the inauguration of the temple that God had instructed him to build for Him.
The LORD hath said that He would dwell in the thick darkness. But I have built an house of habitation for Thee, and a place for Thy dwelling forever (2 Chr. 6:1,2).
This is what Solomon’s temple was all about. It was to be the place among men where the God who had formerly dwelt in thick darkness now shone forth. Solomon’s temple was, however, only a shadow of the true temple not made with hands—the Son of God Himself. And so last time we also quoted a verse from John.
No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him (Jn. 1:18).
The word declared is the Greek exegesato, and is related to our word exegesis, which is the biblical science of discovering and explaining what the Scriptures really say and mean. Patient exegesis of the Bible will yield to the yielded much fruit. But in John 1:18 we discover that the Son of God when He walked the earth was the exegesis of God Himself. He was the One who explained, made known, revealed, shone forth, the hard-to-understand, unseen, obscure, unknown God.
That’s very wonderful, but I wonder if I don’t hear someone thinking, “Well and good that Jesus the Son of God was the exegesis of God the Father back then, but He is not here now.”
I know the regret you’re expressing: if only we could have lived back in Jesus’ day… or if only He were still here today. Too bad the Devil succeeded in tearing down that living Temple in whom God dwelt and was revealed.
Just a minute. Remember what Jesus said about that.
Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up…
But He spake of the Temple of His body (Jn. 2:19,21).
And so the Devil has his own regrets that he and his cohorts conspired to have the Lord of glory crucified, thinking to be done with Him. For He rose from the dead. And He ascended into Heaven, where, seated at the right hand of God, He began His more excellent ministry of the New Covenant, and an enlargement of that Temple which would continue to be the same exegesis of God.
How so? When Christ ascended to the right hand of God, He “received the promise of the Father” (Acts 2:33), on the day of Pentecost sending the Spirit to His waiting disciples, just as He, in turn, had earlier promised them.
I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you (Jn. 14.18).
I will come to you? This is a mystery. The coming of the Spirit was such that the same One who was the exegesis of God at the right hand of the Father, while continuing to abide at the right hand of the Father in the Heavens, came to His disciples again, and took up residence in them. For, those in whom the Spirit dwells, it is Christ Himself who dwells in them, as we read in many places in our New Testament. (For example, Romans 8: 9,10, and many other places that speak of the indwelling Christ.) And thus they become part of the same Temple Solomon prophesied of, the same habitation the Son of God fulfilled—the same living Exegesis that reveals God and makes Him known among men.
That is the astonishing implication of the sending of the Spirit. Those in whom Christ dwells now become part of that same exegesis of God that the Son of God was.
This is what the New Covenant assembly is all about, or ought to be. The church—which was formed by the coming of the Spirit to individual disciples—is to be the fullness of that same Exegesis of God who walked the earth two thousand years ago, and is now seated at the right hand of God.
The church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1:23).
The fullness of Him? The church is His very body—the fullness of Him? I am sure this is what Jesus had in mind when He “spake of the temple of His body” which He said He would raise up. “The church, which is His body…” The Devil thought to be rid of Him by the cross. What he did, to his great chagrin, enabled God to lay in Zion the foundation Stone for an enlargement of that temple. It began with the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost. He comes for nothing less than to continue the same exegesis of God that the Son of God was when He was here.
That is the nature of Christ’s more excellent ministry of the New Covenant. It is a ministration of the very knowledge of God, and thus, “all shall know Me from the least to the greatest” (Heb. 8:11) . This is something more than knowledge as we generally think of the word. It is New Covenant knowledge: the kind of knowledge—the knowledge of God—whom to know means our being like Him.
How imperative, then, that we in the church, as ministers of the New Covenant (which all Christians are to be) give the Prime Minister of the New Covenant—the Holy Spirit—His lordship and pre-eminence in our individual lives, and in our gatherings. He comes for nothing less than to reveal, to make known, the same God of love and righteousness that dwelt in the Son… so that the same exegesis of God now dwells in and shines forth from the churches—you and me and our brothers and sisters in the churches.
This is what the New Covenant, and the New Covenant assembly, is all about—or is supposed to be—the exegesis of God to a world in darkness. Anything short of this… we are sorely missing His mark.
And it has to be said that much of what is called church in our day has in fact done that. Has fallen short. Has missed the mark. Let the broken and repentant heart be encouraged. Christ is still on the Throne at the right hand of the Father, and the Holy Spirit sent from the Throne is still in the earth. The temple He inaugurated at Pentecost is still here, though in the midst of much that man has built cannot always readily be seen. In fact her enemies are gloating these days that they have succeeded in destroying her and treading her down in the dust. The Lord on the throne has a surprise in store for His enemies. The power and principle of His resurrection life is still at work. He continues to raise up this Temple—the One that was torn down on Calvary’s cross—just as He prophesied He would do. He will beautify her, set living stones in her just like Himself. He will yet be fully revealed, will yet shine forth in this temple in all His glory in the Heavens and in the earth…
…And all the confusion and debate and doubt and misunderstanding as to who He is—all the thick darkness—will vanish like the morning mist in the light of the sun.