The Significance of the Dwelling Place of God’s Spirit (Romans 8:9-11)
Romans 8:9-11 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” [All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise notes]
The Bible is full of threads that start from the beginning and are present even today. There are concepts that are continually true and relevant in every book of the Bible. These types of theological truths are both exciting and faith building. They are faith building because they show God’s genius and all-knowing power, they show the validity and consistency of the Bible, they give the greater context of the Bible so that the Christian can better understand the new testament and his place concerning Christianity.
When considering these threads, one of the more incredible ones is the significance of the dwelling place of God. This article will focus on the temple (dwelling place) and its theological importance. The physical temple, what it represents, and the spiritual temple are the three main ideas that will be looked at in this study.
The Physical Temple
After roughly 8 months of labor and 2 years of freedom, the tabernacle was set up. It was the first day of the first month (Ex. 40). The first month for a Jew was called Nissan. Nissan was from the middle of March until the middle of April. Generally speaking, a tabernacle is a moveable habitation or a tent. In the context of Judaism, it is God’s house of worship.
Everywhere that the children of Israel went, so did the tabernacle. It was considered a holy place. Only the Levites were allowed to do the ministry duties, and only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies. The high priest could only enter into the Holy of Holies 1 day a year, 2 times in that day. He could enter once to offer sacrifice for himself, and once to offer sacrifice for the sins of Israel as a whole.
This was to be a place of worship and repentance for Israel for as long as they were in the Old Covenant. The Tabernacle was designed for the same reason that the Mosaic Law was designed; to show Israel how holy God is, and how far away they were from said holiness. This was its purpose for Israel. David M. Levy says in The Tabernacle: Shadows of the Messiah that, “Throughout Israel’s history, there was a propensity toward idolatry; thus, the Tabernacle stood as a visual reminder to Israel that they served the true a living God . . . He was only approachable through holiness. The structure and service of the Tabernacle showed sinful people how they could come before a holy God . . . ” (18). It was not meant to be arbitrary or idolatrous. It was meant to be a symbol and reminder of both God’s righteousness and holiness.
There are 7 holy items inside of the tabernacle. Each item is purified and sanctified by the power and holiness of God. The first of these items is the Alter of Burnt Offerings. This is also known as the Brazen (or “brass”) Alter. All of the offerings that were made by fire were done at this alter. This was located in the court. The court was the area that was in the tabernacle, but not actually in the tent of meeting.
Second, there is the Laver, which was also bronze (Ex. 30:18). It was used for washing and cleansing, and it was placed in the court between the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and the Alter of the Burnt Offerings.
Third, there is the Table of Showbread (Ex. 25:23). This is located inside the Tent of Meeting, but outside of the Holy of Holies. The table held unleavened bread. This area is to as the sanctuary many times. This is also known as the Bread of Faces and the Bread of Presence.
Fourth, was the lamp stand, which was also in the sanctuary (Ex. 25:31). It had a central staff and 6 branches. It was made of pure gold. The lamps burned with olive oil.
Fifth, there was the Alter of Incense (Ex. 30:1). There was a veil between the sanctuary and the Holy of Holies inside of the Tent of Meeting. The Alter of Incense was placed inside of the sanctuary, and right in front of the veil. It was in direct line with the Ark.
Sixth was the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25:10). This was placed on the inner side of the veil, and inside of the Holy of Holies. Inside was things of remembrance. This includes the 10 commandments, a jar of manna, and Aaron’s budded rod.
Finally, there was the Mercy Seat (Ex. 25:17). This is also known to some as the place of reconciliation. It was a lid that covered the Ark of the Covenant. It was a throne of God. It was also the place where God dwells.
The temple was built as a permanent house by Solomon in 1 Kings and then rebuilt in the days of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel. Herod and his family renovated the temple over a number of years, and it finally was destroyed in year 70. – Jesse
Suggested Reading After This Article: The Significance of the Dwelling Place of God’s Spirit (Romans 8:9-11) Part 2