Fred Coulter - October 13, 2003

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And greetings, brethren. This is day three of the Feast of Tabernacles, 2003. And the theme of this has been “The Beginning and the Ending”. And last time we saw the ending of the physical temple, but let’s understand that God began to prepare for that when Jesus Christ was born. So that was the beginning. And the beginning of Christ coming into this world was a new beginning. And He actually prepared for that with John the Baptist. And it is a very interesting thing that it talks about John the Baptist, and also it was preparing now for a greater authority with the Word of God.

Let’s come to Matthew 11. And here’s a scripture that many, many people do not understand. Here it is. Matthew 11, and let’s pick it up here in verse 11 talking about John the Baptist, because he was to prepare the way. You see, whenever God has a new beginning He prepares the way. You can go back and you can follow through beginning with Adam and Eve and you can see the same thing every time there’s a new beginning God prepares the way. So He prepared the way with John the Baptist.

Verse 11, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence [or that is, it is taken by those who have force and vigor], and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John” (Matt. 11:11-13). There’s going to be a change. Now the world has misunderstood this change. And the world has misapplied it, and that’s how the Protestants have come up with their perverted lawless grace.

Now let’s go to Luke 16, and let’s look at the parallel account here, and let’s see what else He said about the law and the prophets. Now what He’s talking about here is that until John the Baptist came, the law and the prophets were the highest and greatest authority. You couldn’t go to any greater authority than the law and the prophets. Now when John comes, he prepares the way by having repentance, by having baptism, and saying, “Believe on the one Who comes after me.”

Now, Luke 16:16, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached,…” Now there’s a higher authority greater than the law and the prophets - the kingdom of God. So this is also telling us about the coming New Testament and the authority of Christ that is going to be greater than the law and the prophets. And the way that the laws and commandments are kept are going to be greater than they were with the law and the prophets. So He made that clear by showing it here, see. “…Since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:16-17). So He’s showing that just because there’s a new beginning, just because now the kingdom of God is preached that does not mean that you don’t have to keep the commandments of God, because right when He first started His ministry He told everyone, “Do not think that I’ve come to destroy the law [or that is, abolish the law] and the prophets I’ve not come to [abolish or] destroy but to fulfill.” And that means to make full the law and the prophets and to raise the law to a higher spiritual standard. Now God prophesied of this new beginning. So we’re going to see, yes there was an overlap between the time of this new beginning, beginning with John the Baptist, and then the destruction of the temple.

Let’s come to Malachi 3:1. Now here’s a prophecy concerning John the Baptist. You see, when God does something, He prepares the way. Before the new beginning of the kingdom of God on earth He’s got to prepare and make ready for it. And that has a lot to do with the Feast of Tabernacles. Now verse 1, “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, Whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” And He did. He came to the temple. And let’s see the first thing He did.

Let’s come to John 2 and let’s see the very first thing that Jesus did when He came to the temple. Now let’s pick it up there in verse 13. “And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables. And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things [out of here] hence; make not My Father’s house an house of merchandise. And His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up” (John 2:13-17).

Now then we come to a confrontation here with the scribes and the Pharisees. “Then answered the Jews and said unto Him, What sign shewest Thou unto us, seeing that Thou doest these things?” And this is really quite a sign that Jesus gave to them, and they didn’t understand it, and even the disciples didn’t understand it until after His resurrection. “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Now the Jews, they couldn’t understand. “Well, look it’s been forty-six years the temple was in building.” And it really wasn’t finished until 60-something AD. “How will You rear it up in three days?” “But He spoke of the temple of His body.” (vs. 18-21). So that’s how Christ began. That’s how He began His ministry.

And now then let’s come to the first chapter of John, and we’re going to see something else. And we’re going to see that this is an astounding thing that took place – a fantastic occurrence with Jesus coming and living in the flesh, because it was God Who did this. God dwelling with us. Just exactly like the prophecies have said. You can go back to Isaiah 9, “For unto us a Son is given. Unto us a child is born.” The prophecy of His birth, and we just read the prophecy of the beginning of His ministry. And now here, because God wants to dwell with His people, God came to the earth so He could dwell with them.

Now here in John 1, “In the beginning was the Word,…” We all know this, don’t we? We should have this memorized and deep in our conscience. “…And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” So He came to this dark world, ruled by Satan the devil, and He entered into it to begin His work. He entered into it to do what God wanted Him to do, and to prepare for a very brand new way, if I could put it, of dwelling with His people. But before that could happen He had to come and dwell with His creation.

Now let’s come over here to verse 14. “And the Word was made flesh [that is, He became flesh], and dwelt among us,…” Now “dwelt” means to tabernacle. Tabernacled among us. “…(And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” And then it talks about how John bare witness of Him. So Jesus lived on this earth. He called His disciples to be the apostles. He trained them, he taught them for three and a half years. And it’s really quite a thing what Jesus did.

Now let’s come to Matthew 8 and let’s understand something about the tabernacling of Christ with men. He was temporarily here on this earth. So in that sense while He was here He was also in the flesh fulfilling a meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles that God temporarily dwelt among His creation. Now He wanted to live permanently with His creation, as we saw when we started out at the beginning. So all during His ministry… Now notice, let’s come here to Matthew 8 and let’s see what Jesus said. He had no permanent place. It was only sojourning in the earth. And so when they came to Jesus, Matthew 8:18, “Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto Him, Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head” (Matt. 8:18-20). So you see, there was no permanent place for Christ. Though He came and dwelt on this earth, though He called the twelve apostles, the greatest joy that He had was not only teaching them but that He had direct connection with God the Father to talk with Him, to see what He was doing, with God the Father talking with Him, and so forth.

And so Christ was going to do now a new thing to fulfill His desire to dwell with His people. And so you can liken what we are doing today very much in the same way as Christ was only tabernacling when He was dwelling here on the earth. See, because we are strangers and pilgrims in the earth too. Once we are Christ’s then we are strangers and pilgrims as well. Now Christ began to explain this, and began to explain what He was going to do and how. And of course they didn’t understand, When you look at the temple, they couldn’t understand what God was really going to do.

So let’s come here to John 6, and let’s begin here. God was going to do it entirely differently. Instead of dealing with the children of Israel He was now going to deal with those that He individually called. See, even as the Jews couldn’t figure out if you destroyed the temple, how are you going to worship God? So Christ was going to do a new thing. A different thing. And that ties in with the Feast of Tabernacles. It ties in with the meaning of tabernacling. God was now going to hand pick a people for Himself, just like He chose the apostles. He says, “I’ve chosen you – you haven’t chosen Me.” And then He gave them the work to do. He gave them the commission to do. Well, we’ll see that a little bit later.

Now, let’s come here to John 6:35. Christ was going to set in motion a process that was going to be a fulfilling thing to those that He calls and the rest of the world wouldn’t understand it. This becomes profound. John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” Now God was going to provide through Christ the understanding of the purpose of life: why are we here, what is God doing, and what is going to be the end result of it? But it’s going to be a new process, and it’s going to be one which will, as we will see a little later, it will be a relationship type of standing with God rather than going to a fixed building, or a fixed place. Remember, Jesus told the woman at the well in Samaria, He said, “You’re not going to worship in Jerusalem nor in this mountain, for the Father seeks those to worship Him in spirit and in truth. And those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” And so God created in man from the very beginning this inner hungering and thirsting, which He alone can fill. And so through Christ, now He was going to begin fulfilling it.

Now let’s come down here to verse 44 and let’s see how God was going to do it. Now we’re not talking about a temple, and a religion, and a high priesthood, and men you go to, and all of this sort of thing. Now we’re talking about something entirely different. Now we’re talking about God directly dealing with each one. God the Father Himself and Jesus Christ together. Then we’re going to do a phenomenal thing that the rest of the world has never understood. And only those who have the Spirit of God understand.

Now verse 44, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Now you see, this is a different thing. This is entirely new. And it’s the only way in this age that God is going to prepare Himself a people for when the kingdom of God comes on the earth. And He’s going to call those that the world does not want. He’s going to call the weak. He’s going to call the poor. He’s going to call the rejected, the down-hearted, the broken-hearted. He’s going to heal them – mentally, physically, and spiritually, and He personally is going to deal with them. Now even the disciples didn’t understand this, we’ll see a little bit later on, and He had to explain to them what it was going to be. But now we have it – no man is going to do anything for God except God choose him, and teach him, and give him the Holy Spirit. Now just think on that. That’s a profound thing. That’s how God separates everything else.

Verse 45, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.” That is, all those who are called. “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father.” He’s talking about Himself. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” Now this is something all human beings have been striving to get, which they rejected in the Garden of Eden” (vs. 45-47).

Now let’s come down here to verse 51. He says, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” And to this very day the world cannot understand the love of God and the power of God that He would come down here to be the sacrifice for the sins of all human beings, and to let His creation kill Him. Fantastic thing. That takes a tremendous amount of love and, you know, only God could do that, you see. That’s why Jesus had to be God. That’s why John started out and said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, because what is required here no human being could do or fulfill.

Now let’s see part of what this entails. We’ll continue on right here. Verse 52, “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him” (vs. 52-56). Now even the disciples didn’t understand this until He instituted the New Covenant Passover on the Passover night just before He was crucified.

Here’s the sum capsule of it. “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so [that means, exactly in the same way] he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me” (vs. 57). Now, this is a brand new way. Now Jesus had to tell the disciples this. They really didn’t understand it. Because you see, they didn’t know anything about the Holy Spirit so Christ had to tell them how He was going to do this, and that they would have to go out and they would have to do the preaching and teaching and He would be with them. And He was going to begin a new work through them.

Now let’s come to John 14. Very profound section of scripture here where He tells about the Holy Spirit. Now you see, the world doesn’t know anything about the Holy Spirit. Whatever they understand about the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with the truth of the Bible. That’s why they believe that the Holy Spirit is a third person in a trinity. They don’t understand it’s the power of God, and they don’t realize what God is doing, and they don’t realize how this, as we will see a little later, connects with the temple that God is building now. Because He is building a temple. And we’ll look at the beginning of it here.

Now let’s pick it up here in verse 14. “If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it. If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” Now verse 16 shows how He’s going to accomplish this new thing. “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that [it] he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth [it] him not, neither knoweth [it] him: but ye know [it] him; for [it] he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:14-17). This is going to be a phenomenal new thing, that God is only going to deal with those people that have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in them. He’s going to call them. He’s going to choose them. He’s going to give the Holy Spirit. They are in a new covenant with God. They are going to live by every Word of God. An amazing thing. An amazing thing. “Be in you.”

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (vs. 18). And so the disciples really didn’t understand this. See, because now He’s explaining what’s going to happen when they receive the Holy Spirit – that now it is going to be a relationship directly with Christ dwelling in him, and He in them through the power of the Holy Spirit. Now there are qualifications for it. Keeping the commandments, believing God, believing Christ, believing His Word. Letting the Holy Spirit lead you, as we’ll see a little bit later on.

And He also says, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more, but [you’ll] ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also. [In] At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father [that is, the day He was resurrected and showed Himself to them], and ye in Me, and I in you.” Here is the key. And this is what the world rejects. “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him” (vs. 19-21). So here’s a relationship based on love. “God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but may have everlasting life” (John 3:16, paraphrased). And that belief has to be continuous and ongoing. So this is a brand new thing. And of course Satan the devil, he came along and counterfeited it didn’t he? Yes, he did.

Let’s continue on here. Verse 22, “Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” Good question. How is God going to do that? By using His Spirit to call. That’s how. How did Christ manifest Himself to you one day in your life when you first began to understand, when you first wanted to know about God? Why did you find out and the others didn’t? Because many are called but few are chosen. And the answer is: few repent. And few do this, verse 23, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, He will keep My words:…” That’s very profound. You know, you ask the question: Lord, what should I do? Keep the Words of Christ. You keep the commandments of God. Now as a result of that, because of God’s calling and Spirit and so forth, “…and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him” (vs. 22-23). That means to dwell with him.

Now, question: what made the tabernacle holy? The presence of God. Likewise the temple – what made it holy? The presence of God. Which, just before the temple was destroyed God withdrew. Now we have it, “We will make Our abode with him”. Now that is a fantastic and brand new thing, isn’t it? Has it ever been heard that God would dwell with an individual? God the Father, the great Creator, Sovereign of the universe, and Jesus Christ, would dwell in a man and in a woman? Astounding! Unheard of! And granted, it will be permanent, but however it starts out temporary, as we will see. Because it’s just not automatic fait accompli, because if someone rejects and commits the unpardonable sin, no, it isn’t going to be completed. So in order to make it permanent, it starts out temporary. But in order to make it permanent a person must dwell in Christ, and dwell in God, keep the commandments, have the Spirit of God, grow and overcome and all of those things, and then will lead to a permanent state of eternal life at the resurrection, which then will be another new thing, won’t it? Yes, it will. So when you come to the end of your physical life, then when the resurrection comes there will be a new beginning, right? Yes. So you see all the way through the Bible there are beginnings and endings and it all fits in the plan of God.

Now notice, here’s the separation point. Here is how Christ divides the world from His. Verse 24, “He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings [that’s a dividing line]: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.” Now that is really quite a thing the way that that is done, and that is something that we need to realize and understand.

Now I want to read something to you from the enemy. And it’s from Robert W. Funk, The Coming Radical Reformation. And he’s the head of the Jesus Seminar, which should be re-titled, “The Seminar To Destroy The Knowledge Of Jesus”, and to reinvent another Jesus, because you see this fulfills exactly what we’re saying here. If you don’t love God and keep His commandments you won’t understand it. Yea, and they go further – they reject Him. They reject all of His commandments.

He says:

“The God of the metaphysical age is dead. There is no personal God out there external to human beings in the material world. We must reckon with a deep crisis in God talk, and replace it with talk about whether the universe has meaning and whether human life has purpose.”

And the very thing they reject is what tells them, you see. They won’t understand. That’s why John said the world didn’t know Him. And they don’t know us because they didn’t know Him. And look what they do here:

“We should give Jesus a demotion. It is no longer credible to think of Jesus as divine. Jesus’ divinity goes together with the old theistic way of thinking about God.”

Then of course he debunks everything – the virgin birth, the doctrine of atonement, resurrection of Jesus, return of Christ. And won’t he be surprised when Christ returns, and He’s going to say, “Robert come here.”

Now here’s what they’re going to do to the Bible. This is what they have planned:

“The New Testament is a highly uneven and biased record of orthodox attempts to invent Christianity. The canon of scripture adopted by traditional Christianity should be contracted and expanded simultaneously to reflect respect for the old tradition and openness to the new. Only the works of strong poets, those who startle us, amaze us with a glimpse of what lies beyond the rim of present site should be considered for inclusion. The canon should be a collection of scriptures without a fixed text, and without either inside or outside limits, like the myth of King Arthur and the Knights at the round table myth, or the myth of the American Indians.

The Bible does not contain fixed standard objective standards for human behavior that should govern for all time. This includes the Ten Commandments as well as the admonitions of Jesus.”

Now these people are bent on making a new Bible. And they will. They’re well at it, throwing away 80% of what Jesus has taught, and bringing in all of the Gnostic doctrines that were written by those who were the Gnostics, and led of Satan. So you know we have to be getting close to the end. See, the world cannot understand this. The world cannot grasp what we are talking about. The world does not know what God is truly doing because He is doing it in the minds and in the hearts of those that He calls in a personal spiritual relationship.

Now let’s come over here to John 15:7. “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be My disciples. As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love.” That is the basis for completing what God has started. “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love” (John 15:7-10). And so this is how it’s done. A whole new thing. A whole change. A change of heart. A change of mind. A change of temple. A change of how God does things.

Now when we come to Acts 2, which we covered on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given, repentance and baptism, received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now what is that to do? How is that to work in the lives of those that God calls? Now, yes, we’re to be a light to the world, but even sometimes even being a light to the world they can’t even understand it because they have their own ideas and their own ways and things that they are doing.

Now let’s come to 1 John 3 and let’s see what happens when we receive the Holy Spirit. It is called the earnest of the Spirit, Ephesians 1. And it is called a begettal in 1 John 3. Now let’s go to 1 John 3 and let’s read it here. This becomes real important for us to do and to know and to understand. And also how he shows the relationship continues.

Now let’s pick it up here in 1 John 3:8. “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” So there it is, a dividing line. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is [begotten] born of God doth not [practice] commit sin;…” That’s the way that it should read: does not practice sin. “…For His seed [that is, the seed of God the Father] remaineth in him: and he cannot [practice] sin, because he [has been begotten] is born of God” (1 John 3:8-9). Now that’s what happens when the Holy Spirit is given. The seed of God, which is the begettal of the Holy Spirit, unites with the spirit of your mind and then you start becoming a new creature. Then you start developing the very mind of Christ. Yes, we start out as babes. We are to grow in grace and knowledge, and all of these things are absolutely necessary. And we have to continue at it.

Here in chapter three he explains a little bit more about it. He makes sure that we understand it. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 23, chapter three. “And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment. And he that keepeth His commandments…” Now, this goes right back to John 14 where we read it, didn’t we? “The one who is keeping His commandments dwells in Him, and He [Christ] in the one who’s keeping the commandments” (vs. 23, paraphrased). So that is the great and brand new thing that God has been doing ever since Christ. And we’re going to see what He’s preparing for. And we are going to see that when this comes to an end there is a new beginning, and goes right on with what God wants us to do.

Now notice, “And hereby we know that He [dwells] abideth in us, by the Spirit with He hath given us” (vs. 24). That’s why it’s important that you understand you have the Holy Spirit of God, that you exercise the Spirit of God, you’re led of the Spirit of God. That’s why prayer, and study, and living, and growing, and overcoming are all profound and important because this is part of what God is doing to build, as it were, a new spiritual temple. And this is a temple made without hands. And this is the work of God. And it’s the work of God in each one that has the Spirit of God. And what is the greatest thing that can come out of this? What is the greatest thing that we can do right now?

Let’s come over here to 1 John 4:7. It says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth [has been begotten] is born of God, and knoweth God.” Now that’s a tremendous thing. Yes, the first part of chapter three says, you know, the world doesn’t know us because it didn’t know Him, and it’s hard for them to understand this. But we do. “He that loveth not knoweth not God;…” Neither the one who keeps His commandments, as we have seen. And John said there in 1 John 2:4, he said, “He that says I know Him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him”, you see. Because you see, if you don’t love, you don’t know God, “…for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). And that’s the greatest quality that God wants to produce in your life. That’s why it’s faith, hope, and love, and love is the greatest because that is what is going to be for all eternity.

Now notice continuing he says, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” And through His way, for the work that He is doing now so that you are going to become a part of that spiritual temple and you are going to have a work to do, because it’s not a temple like a building. It is a temple that is the body of Christ to do the work of Christ. An amazing and fantastic, and wonderful thing that God is doing. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (vs. 9-10).

Now let’s come down here to verse 16. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.” Do you believe that? Do you believe the love that God has to you in all circumstances, in everything that you do? Do you believe that God is going to give you eternal life? Do you believe that the love of God is the greatest thing that you can do in this life now, and that the love of God through all eternity is the greatest thing that is going to see us through all eternal life? That’s why we are living temporarily in this flesh. This body, we are going to see in a little bit, is a fleshly tabernacle.

Let’s continue on and finish here. “God is love; and he that [is dwelling] dwelleth in love [is dwelling] dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect,…” So it is a process, it’s being perfected. It is helping us to overcome human nature, to overcome sin, to overcome Satan, to overcome the world. And it is the love of God which provides that, you see. “…That we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:…” That’s what we need to grow in, brethren, “…because fear hath torment. He that feareth [or is fearful] is not made perfect in love” (vs. 16-18).

Now let’s see how this is. This is really quite a tremendous and fantastic thing that God is doing with His Spirit in us.

Part 2

Now remember when we read about Christ where He says, “Destroy this physical temple, and in three days I will raise it up”? He spoke of the temple of His body. But also let’s understand that spiritually speaking the church is called what? The body of Christ. And that is the temple that God is building. Now let’s see that. Let’s go to the book of Ephesians. This is really something. You really grasp and understand this then, you know, it will really help you understand more of what God is doing. Come to the book of Ephesians. Let’s just stop by the first chapter here for just a minute.

Ephesians 1:13, “In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,…” It is a sealing. You are set aside by God. “…Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14). Now then he shows that we are to walk in newness of life.

Let’s come here to chapter 2. Let’s pick it up here in verse 8. And this is done, not because we’re great, not because we’re smart, not because we’re intelligent, not because we’re religious, not because we were born into a particular family, or born of a particular race. It was because God has chosen us, as we have seen. And that is a direct act of God, which is grace.

Now verse 8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Because any physical work you can do cannot bring eternal life. Keeping the commandments of God is a requirement. Loving God is the relationship. Now notice what God does then. Verse 10, “For we are His workmanship,…” You see, we are to be made in the likeness of Christ in our hearts and in our minds, see. That’s where it’s to be. “…We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,…” (Eph 2:8-10). And that’s in developing all the fruits of the Holy Spirit of love, and joy, and peace, and faith, and goodness, and meekness, and temperance, and longsuffering, and against such there’s no law because you are developing the mind and the character of God.

Now then he says here, “Look,” to the Gentiles, “there was a time when you were cut off. You had nothing to do with God. But God has called you through Christ.” Verse 13, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, Who hath made [us] both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition…” (vs. 13-14). And that is, actually it’s really talking about the commandments of men that Judaism set up, which separated the Gentiles from the Jews.

Now notice, let’s pick it up here in verse 16. “And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby [that is, the enmity of human nature]:…” Now verse 17, “…And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both [now notice what this is] have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (vs. 16-18). That means direct access. You have the blessing, the privilege, the right, because Christ has given it to you to directly pray to God the Father in heaven above. Now that is something. That is so fantastic, you see. And you need to understand how great that is.

And he says, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are build upon [so here is the temple – the spiritual temple] the foundation of the apostles and prophets,…” Now that’s not the Old Testament prophets. That’s the New Testament prophets, that is those who bring the inspired teachings of God. “…Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone;…” So it’s all built on Christ. “…In Whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in Whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (vs. 19-22). So what God is doing in you and you are growing, you see, with the Spirit of God.

Now let’s see what Paul tells the Corinthians. With this comes some responsibility. With it, as we have seen, the responsibility of loving God and keeping His commandments, and with it is the responsibility that we have to do the things that are right and good and are pleasing to God. Now let’s come here to 1 Corinthians 3 and let’s see about this responsibility. And to understand what we’re doing, how God is doing it, and to be a willing part of what God is building, because He has a great work for all of you to do, every one of us to do when Christ returns, see. So we need to be about finishing, with Christ in us, the work that He has begun, see. He’s going to finish it – there’s no doubt.

Now here, hold your place and come to Philippians 1 and let’s read this for just a minute. If you are faithful, if you love God, if you keep His commandments, if you are doing the things that please Him, He’s going to complete it until Christ returns. Now notice Philippians 1. We need to know and realize, and have this encouragement and understanding.

Now Philippians 1:2, “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:…” (Phil. 1:2-6). Just as we read, we are the workmanship of God. He is forming and creating in us, and for a great and tremendous purpose. That’s why this life that we are living now is temporary. As we will see, it’s likened unto a tabernacle. But we have something greater, because you see this is going to grow old and wear out, of course we know. Here we are at the Feast of Tabernacles another year further and another year older, and hope another year less in debt, if we could put it that way.

Now let’s come to 1 Corinthians 3. Let’s look at the foundation. We all have the work we need to do, you see. And you are the workmanship of God. But it’s interesting about the workmanship that God is doing. He wants your participation. He wants your love. He wants your cooperation. He wants your willingness, your obedience so that you can develop and become precious, if I could put it that way. Now some people have not taken to the responsibility that God has given them, and they just are sort of oh-hum about it. Now let’s see it right here.

Let’s pick it up here in 1 Corinthians 3:5. So even Paul was explaining the proper understanding of the ministry. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” And that can be increase in numbers of people, but it can be increase in the Spirit of God, the character of God, the love of God. God gives all those increases, you see. God gave the increase. “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” It talks about it twice, doesn’t it? “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour” (1 Cor. 3:5-8). Every minister, whatever work he’s doing, he’s going to receive his reward according to his labor.

Now then he shows there is also a responsibility for each one as they do the things that they need to do. “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” You are the work of God. Think of that. See, the work of God is not just what a church can do, or so forth. We’ve covered that recently. But you are the work of God. “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder [or architect], I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” Now that’s what we need to do. How are you building on the foundation? Because even though we are in this temporary tabernacle, you are building a foundation for something that is permanent. For something which will not pass away. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation…” (vs. 9-12). And this is the choice we have to make. Within this – within the will of the choice that God has given us, He’s given us the choice as to how we’re going to work with God and how we’re going to build it. Now you can just plug in here the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3, and all the difficulties and problems and variations between the churches that took place depending on how they were building and working and doing the things that they were doing as compared to the things that they should have done. And that’s why Christ called them all to repentance, except for Smyrna and Philadelphia, because they weren’t building properly.

Now notice, “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold,…” (vs. 12). Now gold is the best because gold always retains its value, it is scarce, there is a limited supply of it, it never corrupts, it never rots, it never rusts. So that is tremendous. That is the best. That’s the character of love that God wants us to have continually. The next one is silver. Now silver is still precious but not quite as good. Silver has problems in as much as that it tarnishes, and it’s got to continually be cleaned and how shall we say, even refined as God says, seven times. His Word is refined as silver seven times in the furnace, you see, to get rid of all the dross. Now the next one, precious stones, they have value but they have a lot of work that needs to be done on them. They need to be selected, they need to be cut, they need to be polished, they need to be set, and so forth. Now then here are those who are lackadaisical in it. And God will allow people to choose to be that. So, you know, as we are thinking of this time during the Feast of Tabernacles: how are we building what God has given us to build with? Are we building gold, silver, precious stone? Or are we building the next three categories – wood, hay, and stubble? And of course all of those do not have a lasting value. And stubble just blows up - burn very quickly.

Now notice verse 13, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest:…” It’s going to be known. God knows. “…For the day shall declare it,…”, and this is why we have trials. Because see, every time you have a trial you have a choice. Are you going to love God and keep His commandments in spite of everything that’s going on? Are you going to look to God for the solution? Are you going to ask God for help to overcome? Are you going to put everything into His hands? What is it that you are going to do, you see? Going to try it. “…The day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” You know that’s why we are told there by Peter, he says, “Beloved, don’t think it any strange thing concerning the fiery trial that’s coming upon you” (1 Peter 4:12, paraphrased). You know, it’s for your good, see. Because… Let’s go back there, 1 Peter 1, then we’ll come back here to 1 Corinthians 3.

1 Peter 1, let’s look at that. That’s quite a profound thing that Peter says because he knows, he knew. Let’s pick it up here in verse 3. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you [which Christ will bring when He comes], who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in [this] the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5). And boy, it’s ready to be revealed. And if this world ever needed salvation, it is now. Of course it’s not quite yet because everything is not ready. When Christ returns, that’s going to be an astounding thing.

Now notice, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:…” Or that is, trials. And those things do come upon us, don’t they? Yes. They are for our good. “…That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,…” So how about that. Look at it this way: every time you go through a trial you are developing character - gold, and silver, and precious stones. See. Now it says here, “…though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:…” (vs. 6-7). That’s what it’s for.

Now let’s come back to 1 Corinthians 3 and see how God is going to hold us responsible for what we are doing, and how that we are part of the very temple of God that God is building. Now 1 Corinthians 3:16, He says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,…” Temple is where God dwells. God is dwelling in you, so your very mind is part of the temple of God because that’s where He is dwelling through the power of His Spirit. See, isn’t this greater than a building? Isn’t this greater than a tabernacle? Of course it is, because you have direct connection with God the Father. Direct access to Him. He loves you. You love Him. You are part of the temple of God. “…And that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” And that’s how it’s done. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy;…” Now you defile the temple of God by doing the things contrary to the will of God and not keeping His commandments, and don’t yield to the trials and difficulties that come upon you in your Christian life, and you commit the unpardonable sin, then you await destruction. “…For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16-17). Now that’s quite at thing to really grasp and understand, isn’t it? “Which temple you are.”

Now in this, and in the process that we are doing, and in how it is being accomplished… Let’s come to 2 Corinthians 4. Let’s see that there’s a process which has to occur. And this is something that we do daily. This is something that we overcome daily. And this is how we are to live our lives. And it helps us understand this: the children of Israel lived in booths to remember that they were brought out of the land of Egypt. They lived in temporary dwellings. Now then, we understand even more. This that we are walking around in is a tabernacle, because God is dwelling in it. Temple or tabernacle, yes indeed. Now notice, this is going to cause something to change and always be working in your life on a day to day basis.

Now let’s come to 2 Corinthians 4:16. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” So this growing, this overcoming, and this renewal is day by day. To build the mind of Christ, as we will see, to develop the character of God, to grow in the love of God, Christ and God the Father are dwelling in you. That is a tremendous thing to grasp. And they are doing it every day, day by day. And to help us overcome the human nature, to help us overcome sin, and Satan, and the world. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;…” You’ve always got to… As we saw earlier, just like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they had to be looking for the city that was coming from God, and He was the one Who was the builder of it, you see. Likewise with us. Verse 18, “…While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen [the spiritual things of God]: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18). And that’s what we’re looking to. To live permanently with God. Not having God dwell in us temporary through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Now, 2 Corinthians 5:1, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved [this body], we have a building of God [a new body, a new mind], a house [as it were] not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” He’s going to bring it to us. “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:…” See, to have the eternal life that God is going to give us. “…If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.” Now you can think all about the Laodiceans and their problems with that one. “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, Who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit” (2 Cor. 5:1-5). So that’s what it is. We are going to change tabernacles. We are going to change bodies. We are going to change minds. We are going to change the way that we live permanently forever at the resurrection. So you see now it is a temporary dwelling. Now it has to be made new from the inside so that when the spiritual body is given to us and the fullness of the spiritual mind, we will be indeed a new creature. So when we come to the end of our lives and we’re tucked in the grave, we have finished. That is the end. But there is a new beginning at the resurrection.

Now in the meantime, let’s come over here to verse 17. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:…”, that is you are being recreated in the image of Christ. We’ll see that in just a minute. “…Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And that is done by God’s Spirit. Let’s see what this is to do for us. Let’s see how this is going to be.

Now let’s come here to Romans 12, and show the process of this that we already know, and how God is building His building. And you’re part of it. And I’m part of it. And all of those that God has wherever they are in the world. And this is why Paul, beginning here in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable [or, spiritual] service. And be not conformed to this world:…” We’re to be different from the world. We’re to be apart from the world. God has separated us from the world, you see. “…But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, [so] that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).

Now then let’s continue on. Let’s look at some other things, and how this is going to be, and how God does it in us. Now let’s come to Galatians 4. Very important verse here. Galatians 4:19, it tells what God is doing. Paul explains it right in this one verse. See, we receive the Holy Spirit of God, which is the begettal from God. We grow in grace and knowledge and overcome. And with that Christ is being formed in us. That’s what Paul is talking about here.

Galatians 4:19, he says, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,…” That’s how you become a new creature – from the inside out. Not from the outside in, see, with the Holy Spirit of God to love God, to serve Him, to keep His commandments. He explains this again a little later.

Let’s come over here to Colossians 1, and let’s see now Christ be formed in us, now he explains it in just a little bit different way. This time now, it is Christ in you. See, because remember we go back to where we began that if you love God and keep His commandments, the Father and Christ will come and They will make Their abode with you. That’s how you become a temple, or tabernacle of God. And it’s all being fitly framed together for the great work that God is going to have for us to do, see. And it’s going to be something. You are going to be part of the greatest thing that this world will have ever experienced. That’s why God has called you.

Now, Colossians 1. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 21 so we can see how these things flow along here. He says you’ve been reconciled, verse 20, you’ve “…made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh…”, which is the church. And the church is His temple, and you are a part of the temple and you are a temple of God. So you see how all of this comes together and fits together with the Feast of Tabernacles and the meaning of it, and the purpose of it, and where we’re going, and what we’re doing. “…In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: if [you might want to circle that] ye continue in the faith grounded and settled,…” But you have to continue in the faith. “…Grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;…” (Col. 1:21-23).

So then he explains to them that he was going to finish and complete the Word of God. That was part of his work, verse 25. Then he explains this mystery – and it’s a mystery to the world. You know they just cannot grasp, and the reason they can’t is because they don’t have the Holy Spirit of God so therefore they can’t grasp and understand what God is doing. But you can. If you can understand what God is doing, it is by the Spirit of God that that is possible.

Verse 26, “…Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints:…” Notice, not unto the world. Their day is coming, it’s not yet here. But all the saints are going to have a part in the day when it comes to the world. See, because God does nothing haphazardly. We need to understand that. He has [a] plan, He has [a] purpose, He has a design, and He’s working it out. Christ is not going to come back to this earth until it’s ready. Christ is not going to come back and just all of a sudden appear without all the saints. The saints are going to be resurrected, as we saw on Pentecost, and they are going to be with Him, and we’re going to rule the world. It is a well thought out and great plan that God has. And He’s going to put it all together when the resurrection occurs. And then when we come back down to this earth, as we’re going to see tomorrow, God has a great work for us to do, to accomplish, and to do, and to bring this work of God to the whole world. And we will be actively doing the things of God to save the world.

Now continue on here. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:…” (vs. 17). So you see, Christ is to be spiritually formed in you by the renewing of your mind, and we’re going to see how profound and important this is, you see. Now then, it’s quite the opposite of what the world believes. But the work of God that He’s doing in each one of us is quite the opposite of what the world would think anyway, isn’t it? Yes, indeed.

Now let’s come to Philippians 2 and let’s see (just a couple pages back here), and let’s see what it’s going to be, and how it’s accomplished. It’s not accomplished by the physical things that we do. It’s accomplished by the spiritual things that we do. And letting Christ be formed in us. That’s why He is to dwell in us. We are the temple of God.

Now Philippians 2:1, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels [or that is, any deep inner compassion] and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;…” Because those are carnal things. Those things will never accomplish the spiritual things of God. “…But in lowliness of mind…”, and we’re going to see that’s all a part of what Paul talks about is the mind of Christ. “…In lowliness of mind let each esteem [the] other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:…” (Phil. 2:1-5). Now, you do that by loving God. You do that by yielding to God. You do that by putting the Word of God into your mind through study, through prayer, and with the working of the Holy Spirit in your mind to be renewed, to develop and form Christ in you. And you see, that’s one of the very reasons why you have a body and a mind that God has given you for that purpose. That’s a tremendous and wonderful thing, brethren, and a great meaning for the Feast of Tabernacles – that Christ is dwelling in us to give us of His way, His truth, His love, His Spirit. And the ultimate of being with Him in the kingdom of God and to rule in the kingdom of God, and bring peace to this earth. That’s what He’s given us, you see. That’s what’s so great and so powerful about it.

Now let’s come over here to Revelation 3 and let’s see that there is work that has to be done and how it’s going to be done. Revelation 3, and let’s pick it up here in verse 8 – to the church of Philadelphia. We have our work to do. He says, “…I know thy works:…” Does God know your works? What are your works? Are they gold, silver, precious stone, or are they wood, hay, and stubble? Either way, God knows. But here is what is important, what he’s talking about here. And we’ll see this is all part of the process of Christ in you, working in you. You growing and changing and becoming that new creature, the new person as it were, so that when the old man dies then at the resurrection you have a new beginning with the new man. “…I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou has a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.” Now that tells you everything. How are you going to develop the character of God of gold, silver, precious stones, except by this way – with the love of God?

“…Have kept My word and hast not denied My name.” Now God is going to do something for this world. He’s going to make them do something. “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan [which now rule the world], which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of My patience [so here’s a promise], I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (vs. 9-10). So we’re going to have to see that time. We have yet a lot ahead of us that’s going to happen, and we’re going to live through these times. God will see us through it.

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God,…” Now He’s not going to make you kind of a standing pillar, that you all of a sudden become part of a building. No, that’s not what it’s talking about because when we see at the beginning of all eternity God isn’t going to have any temple at all because He’s going to be dwelling with His people, God the Father and Jesus Christ, in new Jerusalem. So this is a figurative temple. Just like today, you are a temple of God today. This is going to be the spiritual temple of God. “…He shall go no more out [he’ll always be with Christ]: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name” (vs. 11-12). So there you have it.

The purpose of the Feast of Tabernacles has many, many meanings. And one of the greatest meanings today applies to us who have the Spirit of God – that our bodies and our minds are a temporary dwelling for God, and that we are looking for the tabernacle that we are going to be clothed with at the resurrection. Now come back tomorrow because we are going to see another new beginning, which begins when we come back to this earth with Christ and begin ruling with Him.

Tabernacles – Day 3–October 13, 2003

Scriptural References

1) Matthew 11:11-13 15) Ephesians 2:8-10, 13-14, 16-22
2) Luke 16:16-17 16) Philippians 1:2-6
3) Malachi 3:1 17) 1 Corinthians 3:5-13
4) John 2:13-21 18) 1 Peter 4:12
5) John 1:1-4, 14 19) 1 Peter 1:3-7
6) Matthew 8:18-20 20) 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
7) John 6:35, 44-47, 51-57 21) 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
8) John 14:14-24 22) 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, 17
9) John 3:16 23) Romans 12:1-2
10) John 15:7-10 24) Galatians 4:19
11) 1 John 3:8-9, 23-24 25) Colossians 1:21-23, 26-27
12) 1 John 4:7-10, 16-18 26) Philippians 2:1-5
13) 1 John 2:4 27) Revelation 3:8-12
14) Ephesians 1:13-14