God’s Purpose and Plan
When a builder wants to build a building, before he actually starts, he has to know why he wants to build it and how he wants it to look. It means he has a purpose for building and he makes a plan. If his purpose is to make shoes, he draws plans for a factory. If he wants a place to live, he draws plans for a house. If he wants to raise chickens, he draws plans for a chicken house.
God, the greatest master builder of all, also had a purpose when He created man. He made three plans or patterns of that which He builds in the earth:
1. Moses’ Tabernacle in the Wilderness, which is the first temple (Exodus 25:1-9).
2. Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, which is the second temple (I Chronicles 22:9-11).
3. Jesus Christ the Man, which is the beginning of the third temple (Matthew 24:2).
They all are very different, yet they all show the same purpose that God had at the very beginning. Can you imagine what would happen if you decided to build a house and called the bricklayers to build a part of it, but they didn’t understand what it is supposed to be used for? They could easily make a mistake and build walls in totally different directions than you needed them to be. That is why it is so important to know God’s purpose and plan for us so that we would not be building things that He does not need or want.
Why do you think God gave us the patterns of the Tabernacle and the temple in the Bible? Was it just that we would know about the history? No, it wasn’t! He wanted to show us two things:
1. That He needs a place to dwell among people.
2. That He needs a place to meet with man.
God’s purpose is not for us to have traditions, sacrifices, routines, and different pieces of furniture as they had in both the Tabernacle and the temple, but His purpose is that He could meet with us. The high priest always had to go through the whole Tabernacle, but if he, at the end of his journey, hadn’t met with God, then everything would just have been a waste of time. It wouldn’t have had any meaning. When the priest was going through the Tabernacle, all the people were waiting with fear and trembling, whether he did everything right and whether he qualified for God to come down and meet with Israel. If everything was done properly, God did come down. We in our lives are also trying to walk very carefully so that we would be able to meet with God.
As we said earlier, God put into His Word several pictures, plans or patterns. When you build a house, you also have to have several different pictures. First of all, you have to have the whole purpose in your mind – you have to know what the house is supposed to be used for. Then, as you talk to different people, you have to use different ways to pass your ideas on to them.
When you tell your idea to the architect, you have to tell him how many feet long and wide the house is to be. You have to tell him where you want your stove to be placed, what kind of heating you want and things like that. When you talk to the people from the power company, you tell them how much power you are going to be using per year as well as where your electricity is going to be turned on and where the fuses are. But, when you talk to the children, you have to tell them how many sinks there are going to be in the bathroom and what color each room will be. All this time you are still talking about one house and all the information you are giving out leads to one purpose – you want to live in it.
Have you ever put together puzzles? Do you enjoy doing it? I don’t know how you start your puzzles, but some people try finding all four corners of the picture first. After they have those, they choose the straight pieces to form the edges. This way they make a frame and they know that all the rest fits inside that frame. No piece stays outside it. The same way everything that is happening in our lives as well as in the world has to fall into God’s framework, into His purpose. Moses’ Tabernacle, Solomon’s temple, and Jesus Christ the Man give us a framework for our lives as well as for the life of the church as a whole.
God gave Moses a detailed plan of a Tabernacle that he should build. The Tabernacle could be packed up and transported, so the Israelites were able to take it with them on their journey from Egypt to Canaan. Egypt is a type of bondage, sin, and our old carnal Adamic nature. Canaan is the type of the great promise of salvation and a life free from sin.
The materials used in building the Tabernacle were wood overlaid with gold, skins of animals, brass, threads of certain symbolic colors, and silver. There were also seven pieces of furniture in it. We will be talking about the meanings of all of these in later chapters.
This plan or pattern has in its symbolic language every bit of God’s word. It starts with the outside of the Tabernacle where the sinner is destined for hell. Then, the Holy Spirit brings him in through the gate of the Tabernacle and takes him to the destination God ordained for man – the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies is a place where God meets with man and where man takes on the full nature of the risen Christ, which means that he is holy and doesn’t sin anymore. This pattern has in itself the very essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His love.
Solomon’s temple shows us the second stage that we, as the people of God, would come to as we develop in God’s plan. In this stage we would be as I Peter 2:5 says, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house. These stones were covered with gold. It means that our old, cold, dead, stone nature will be covered up with God’s nature.
In Solomon’s temple the size and the number of the symbolic pieces of furniture were increased when compared to Moses’ Tabernacle. For instance, there was not only one Candlestick (Lampstand) there, but ten of them. Also, the Table of Shewbread, which was only one in the Tabernacle, was multiplied to ten in the temple. It all means that the work and power of the Holy Ghost has increased in the soul of the believer as well as in the church as a whole.
The next important point is that the glory of this temple was much greater than the glory of Moses’ Tabernacle. Do you remember the story how at one time the glory upon Moses was so great that his face shone and the people could not look upon him? Well, the glory of the temple was much, much greater than that of the Tabernacle. And now we are going out of Solomon’s temple to the third experience, which will bring even greater glory than there has ever been before.
Jesus Christ is the beginning of the third temple. In Christ, we are that third temple. God says that we are and He promised us that He would walk in us and talk in us. It is written in II Corinthians 6:16, And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. This tells us that we are the temple where God wants to live. We will fulfill all that has been written about temples in the Bible.
Many people say that we can never be like Jesus. Yet, the Bible says that we can be like Him and not only that we can, but also that God wants us to be like Him. In Romans 8:29 it says, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Also, Jesus says in Matthew 5:48, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Do you think God would tell us something that would not be possible? No, He wouldn’t for He is God and He cannot lie! We will become like Jesus not because we will be trying hard, but because we will be learning to step out of the way and let Him make us like Himself. I trust that as you read your Bible, this book or other Godly books, you will be able to find out for yourself how to do it in practical day-to-day life, so that you would become like Jesus.
Let me tell you: the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a mystery and it has never been fully revealed. But we live in the time of the end and God said in Daniel 12:9, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. It means that this mystery will be shown to us, because we live in this time of the end. Some of it has already been revealed to the twelve apostles and other brethren that went before us, but some of it is still unveiling. Do you want to understand the mystery of God? If you do, let us study it together.
Answer the following questions to see how well you understood this chapter:
1. God had a purpose before He created man and made several plans or patterns. Do you remember how many and which ones they are?
2. What was the whole purpose of the high priest going through the Tabernacle? What is our purpose?
3. What is the difference between Moses’ Tabernacle and Solomon’s temple?
4. Who is the third temple?
5. Can we be like Jesus? Why?
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