The Sanctuary of God
Chapter 4 - The Nature of God's House
It is supremely important for us to be thoroughly convinced of the
fact that God is moving in this dispensation particularly in
relation to a perfectly prepared plan. The works were prepared, the
plan was completed, the purpose was settled and fully defined before
this world was, and our calling, and all that is connected with that
calling, is according to His eternal purpose. No one, therefore, is
free to follow his own judgments, ideas, thoughts, conceptions,
mind. All must come in the first place from the Lord and must be
born in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. God works all things after the
counsel of His own will, and that has to have an expression in the
members of Christ.
God is now, according to His eternal purpose, working in relation to
a habitation which is central to the universe, and embodies
universal features. Then out from the eternal unto the ultimate, God
will have a testimony in time. He is working in a concrete way
within the compass of this world, and it is in this connection that,
under the initiative and direction and mighty energy of the Holy
Ghost, the assemblies of which the New Testament speaks came into
being. Paul said that at Ephesus he fought with wild beasts. Truly
he knew what the principalities and powers and world rulers of this
darkness are in relation to the Church of God. Then at Philippi
there was the working of these forces of evil in a tremendous way to
frustrate God's purpose, but the Holy Ghost was there in such energy
that the assembly came into being in spite of everything. These
assemblies are intended to be local expressions of the eternal
purpose and of the ultimate realisation of it. They are expressions
of the dwelling place of God constituted by the Holy Ghost.
The Nature of God's House
The passages in Exodus 32, 33, and 40 help to an understanding of
In chapter 25 there have been given all the directions concerning
this dwelling place.
Then everything is suspended and all in chapters 32 and 33 comes
between the revelation and the execution.
Moses was in the mount for a probationary period (forty days and
forty nights), and it was a probation characterised by a real test
of one principle, faith. Israel failed in that test, because they
wanted to see and have and possess and do. Faith rules all that out.
When Israel turned to the tangible, governed by faithless flesh,
they opened the door for idolatry. Idolatry is, in essence, the
producing of something by the energies of the human soul. It was the
movement of their own ambitious souls on the line of nature.
When that came in all that had been given by revelation was
suspended until that whole realm of things was dealt with. So Moses
took the tent and pitched it without the camp afar off, and called
it, "The Tent of Meeting". It speaks of the essentially spiritual
nature of the House of God as separated from all the works and
emotions of the carnal soul. That is what is meant by holiness.
We have no record of Moses having been instructed concerning this
tent. Chapter 33:7 seems to indicate that Moses had done something
like this before he had instructions about the tabernacle. He had
evidently acted from some spiritual discernment and intelligence as
to what was suited to God's dwelling place.
Moses stood in the door of the tent and cried, "Who is on the Lord's
side, let him come to me". All the sons of Levi went to him. Then
there comes in the essential factor that evil has to be judged
before you can have any real expression of the House of God. Moses
commanded the sons of Levi to use the sword against their own family
in so far as merely natural elements were dictating the course of
things. So far as they are operating, to order, to govern, to
dictate, those who stand for God's full thought have to bring them
under the sword. Hebrews 4:12 will show that this principle is a
truly Scriptural one. We have to see that the House of God stands
upon the basis of what is purely of God and not of nature.
By this, God is securing the basis of complete victory. Presently
these people are coming up against the whole realm of opposing
forces, and God is putting things into the realm where those powers
have no footing. The defeat of the Church has always been because
the enemy has been given an opportunity by reason of some elements
that have been allowed which are foreign to God.
Ephesians gives us an understanding of this. There is the eternal
purpose, the House (a habitation of God through the Spirit). That
purpose is the one object of the fierce antagonism of the whole
hostile realm. The Church has hope of victory only as it is
fortified by that which is shown in chapter 6: the helmet of
salvation - that which girdles the mind; the breastplate of
righteousness - our standing before God in the righteousness of
Christ; the shield of faith - that state of faith which comes
between us and all the fiery darts of evil suggestion and
insinuation. All these things represent a spiritual state.
Moses did not lack the faithfulness that is so essential in order to
have the House of God. (Heb. 3:2). He loved these people, but his
love did not weaken his faithfulness in dealing with the things that
were in the way of the full purpose unto which they were called.
Then we see the positive side. When Moses had pitched the tent afar
off, and had faithfully faced the issue without compromise, the Lord
talked with him face to face. Here is fellowship, communion, and
growing revelation through faithfulness.
Pentecost very largely expresses these types in reality. Under the
sword of the Levites three thousand died. Under the sword of the
Spirit at Pentecost three thousand were slain in relation to that
which was not God's true thought.
In the Old Testament it was judgment unto death.
In the New Testament it was judgment unto life.
At Pentecost they were together in one place, and outside the camp.
Firstly, the Lord identified Himself with them there. Secondly, He
constituted them the nucleus of His House.