God's Dwelling Place - Marked by Fire

The Tabernacle The Temple The Believers
Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
I Kings 8:27 ...behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee;
Acts 7:48-49 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me?...

God spoke to Moses out of the midst of a burning bush and said: "...put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy gound." A place is holy when God makes it holy by His presence. The locations where God establishes His dwelling on earth are the places where God chooses to meet with men. God marks these incidents and locations with Fire. When God first spoke to Moses, He spoke out of the midst of the burning bush. When He led the children of Israel for 40 years in the wilderness He led them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night to give them light. Once again the presence of God was marked by fire.

Exodus 15:17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sancturary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.
Exodus 24:16-17 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud coverd it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
Deuteronomy 4:11-12,36 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similtude; only ye heard a voice. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.

God led them in a pillar of fire to Mount Sinai. The mountain was established as God's dwelling by the presence of fire on the mountain. God asked Moses to construct a tabernacle (tent) Exodus 25:8 "that I may dwell among them." The dedication of the tablernacle is recorded in Leviticus 9:23-24:

And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

Years later after the children of Israel had settled in the promised land king David purchased the threshingfloor of a man named Ornan as a place to build an altar to offer offerings to God as he was in the area of Jerusalem and did not have access to the tablernacle which was at Gibeon.

I Chronicles 21:26, 22:1 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the Lord; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. ... Then David said, This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel.

God had marked this spot with fire and David, after consultation with God, determined that his son, Solomon, would build God a house (the temple) at this location. After the temple was constructed, once again God acknowledged His dwelling place with fire. Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple and God's response is recorded in II Chronicles:

II Chronicles 7:1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.

John the Baptist foretold that after the promised Christ came he would "baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." With the giving of holy spirit on the day of Pentecost the believers themselves became God's dwelling place.

Ephesians 2:18-22 For through him we both [Judean & Gentile] have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 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.

Today we are the dwelling place of God. His continual presence in us is just as sure as the appearance of the cloud by day and fire by night was for forty years on the tabernacle in the wilderness. Just as He had acknowledged the dedication of the tabernacle and the temple, God marked the believers as His dwelling with fire when holy spirit was first made available on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:3-4 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

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As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. Proverbs 25:25

August 1996
URL http://www.cortright.org/dwelling.htm
Michael Cortright