Back to the Temple
Dividing God into three persons would be like dividing the tabernacle into three temples. Over-unifying God (denying his three-fold being, or saying God is one like your finger) is like having all of the pieces to the tabernacle in one big circle. Both of these ideas may have great intentions, but are out of order with God’s original design.
God’s original design given to Moses was that the Court surrounded The Holy Place, through which the high priest could access the Most Holy Place. In the same way, it is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (the Court) that we have access through his Spirit (the Holy Place) to the head of Christ, which is God (the Most Holy Place).
Here is a more detailed description of the operation of the tabernacle and its parallel to Jesus Christ:
- The Court is where the sacrifice was washed and slain – which corresponds to the body of Jesus Christ, which was baptized and crucified.
- The Holy Place is where incense was burned, bread was offered, and the candlesticks were lit – which corresponds to the work of the Spirit of Christ in the Christian era through the prayers of the saints, communion, and the fire of the Holy Spirit that fell on the church in the book of Acts.
- The Holy of Holies held the Ark and the Judgement/Mercy Seat – which corresponds to the work that Jesus Christ will accomplish in the future, fulfilling the will of the Father at the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10) as he stands as the judge of the quick and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1).
Here is a pictoral example of the tabernacle:
The Tabernacle of God is with Men
At the end of the Bible, a voice speaks from heaven and says “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them” (Revelation 21:3). At the start of the Bible, Moses built the first Tabernacle using the instructions God gave him. After Moses finished this job, God showed himself to Moses in the form of a man, saying “And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:23) In otherwords, after Moses built the temple on earth, God showed him a vision of the tabernacle of God in heaven.
When Jesus walked through the land of Israel, he used stories to teach about God. Jesus began one parable by saying, “the kingdom of heaven is like a man…” (Matthew 13:24). In other words, when Jesus was on earth, he taught that something as common as our own identity was a perfect type for his heavenly kingdom.
When Paul travelled around the Mediterranean teaching about Jesus Christ, he said “And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.” ~ I Corinthians 15:49 (NIV, 2011) In other words, the mortal temples of the Holy Spirit (more commonly called “Christians”) will become eternal temples of the Holy Spirit (following the example of Jesus Christ, the same “heavenly man” that Moses saw).
William Branham said the following about the tabernacle in heaven:
“the Son that was with the Father in the beginning was the Logos that went out of God. And it was the Theophany of God that went out, the human form that didn’t have eyes like you see: a better eye. It didn’t have ears like you hear, but a far more hearing. …Moses saw It when It passed through the rock like that. He saw the back parts.” ~ William Branham, Sermon: Questions and Answers, October 2, 1957
Bringing the words of Moses, Jesus, Paul, and William Branham together leaves us with a startling realization: God has a plan for the Tabernacle, God has a plan for Jesus, and God has a plan for you.
The plan that God has for you is that you might become a son (or daughter) of God: which is simply an individual led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14). That is how a person can become a heavenly man like Jesus Christ.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” ~ I John 3:2
“Those, then, are the perfect who have had the Spirit of God remaining in them, and have preserved their souls and bodies blameless, holding fast the faith of God, that is, that faith which is directed towards God, and maintaining righteous dealings with respect to their neighbours.” ~ Irenaeus against Heresies, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Chapter VI, Book V
The more we learn about the design of God’s tabernacle, the more we can learn about God’s plan for his only begotten son Jesus Christ, and the more we can learn about God’s plan for our lives.