Divide in History
Richard M. Riss
There is coming a particular moment in history which will
be like a continental divide, irrevocably separating the past
from the future.
This moment is described in many places.
"Behold, I am going to send My messenger,
and he will clear the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly
come to His temple; and the messenger of
the covenant, in whom you delight, behold,
He is coming, says the Lord of hosts" Malachi 3:1.
The Lord will suddenly come to His temple, and we, the Body
of Christ, are that temple. In a particular moment, like none
other, He will come into His Body in fullness. This will be
a decisive event. When God fills us with His fullness, momentous
consequences will follow. There will be a manifestation of
the power of God such as has never before been seen since
the foundation of the world.
We have been filled with the Holy Spirit. While this is true,
it is but a foretaste of the fullness which is yet to come,
in this great moment. Hebrews6:4-5 tells us that we have tasted
of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy
Spirit; but this is only a sample of the fullness that will
be ours when Jesus actually comes to fill His temple.
This time of fullness will be a time of tremendous ecstasy
for those who love Him. At this time of unmitigated joy, we
will be caught up into heavenly realms. When the Apostle Paul
received a foretaste of this, he said he was caught up into
Paradise, and heard inexpressible words.
This time of rapture, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,
has been associated with the removal of the physical bodies
of the saints from the earth, rather than the ecstatic joy
and delight which we will have at that particular point in
time, when we are filled with all of the fullness of God.
Prior to that time, however, I Thessalonians 4:17 was rarely,
if ever, interpreted in this way. We, in the twentieth century
must have the humility to recognize that our own peculiar
ways of interpreting this passage may be erroneous.
Collectively, we are to become, at a particular point in
time in the near future, the place of God's habitation. There
are many incidents recorded in the Bible that prefigure that
momentous occasion. One of them is the dedication of Solomon's
temple, when the glory of God filled the temple. It is significant
that this event took place during the celebration of the Feast
of Tabernacles (Booths), because the feasts themselves were
representative of certain key events to come.
Under Moses, God commanded that three feasts be kept: Passover,
Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Leviticus 23). Passover was fulfilled
in the crucifixion of Christ (I Cor. 5:7), and Pentecost was
fulfilled when the Spirit of God was poured out upon the Church,
and they all spoke with other tongues (Acts 2). The church
still awaits the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles,
when God will Tabernacle within us, filling us with the fullness
of His glory and presence.
Another incident is recorded in Numbers 9:15, which foreshadows
the coming great moment when God will fill His overcoming
saints with His manifest presence. After the Tabernacle of
Moses was erected, the cloud of God's glory appeared. This
manifestation of the presence of God continued to be visible
to the people of Israel during the forty years in the wilderness
as a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night.
In Leviticus 16, God warned Moses that on the Day of Atonement,
Aaron was to enter the most holy place of the tabernacle into
the manifest Presence of God, but only under carefully prescribed
conditions, lest he die. The presence of God will not coexist
with sin, but rather will cause its immediate destruction.
It will therefore be a very serious matter when the ark of
His covenant appears in His heavenly temple of living stones,
because it will mean the destruction of all that is in opposition
Although the ark of the covenant was a temporary place for
the presence of God, the completed temple, the Church, will
be His permanent resting place. All earlier manifestations
of His glory were simply foreshadowings of the glory that
is to appear in the Church at the time when He fills us with
all His fullness.
As we have seen, one such manifestation took place at the
time of the dedication of the temple of Solomon, when "the
house of the Lord was filled with a cloud, so that the priests
could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the
glory of the Lord filled the house of God" II Chron.
5:13-14. This was a manifestation of the Shekinah. In a much
greater way, at the moment in which the construction of the
Church, God's heavenly temple, has reached its point of conclusion
with all the finishing touches, it will suddenly be filled
with God's manifest glory. Many will be astonished.
Before the construction of Solomon's temple, God had told
David that his descendant would build a house for His Name
(II Samuel 7:13). While there is a sense in which this was
fulfilled in the temple of Solomon, it is nevertheless true
that Solomon's temple only prefigured the real house. Although
Solomon was David's son, Jesus, also, was a descendant of
David, and it was His kingdom that was to be established forever,
not that of Solomon.
The Lord said to David "Are you the one who should build
Me a house to dwell in? ... The Lord declares to you that
the Lord will make a house for you. When your days are complete
and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant
after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish
His Kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will
establish the Throne of His Kingdom forever" II Sam 7:5,
There is an element of finality about the establishment of
this temple. "The Spirit lifted me up and brought me
into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled
the house ... And He said to me, Son of man, this is the place
of My Throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where
I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever" Ezekiel
It will be established forever. Each individual privileged
to be a part of this temple will enjoy a very special relationship
with the Lord. We will have a mutual fellowship with the Lord,
in which He delights in us, and we delight in Him.
Paul describes this house, or temple, which the Lord is building
and intends to fill with His glory. "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" Eph2:20-22.
How do we qualify to be part of this temple? It is not enough
simply to call ourselves Christians, or to claim that we have
been born again of the Spirit of God. The Lord requires humility
and contriteness of spirit. We must be among those who tremble
at His word. God is in the process of building a house which
will be a suitable resting place for Himself; and for this
purpose, He must use suitable materials - people who are willing
to be brought, through God-ordained suffering if necessary,
to the place where they meet these criteria.
"Thus says the Lord, Heaven in My throne, and the earth
is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for
Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made
all these things, Thus all these things came into being, declares
the Lord. But to this one I will look, to him who is humble
and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word"
It is God who brings this about. In His providence, He arranges
the exact circumstances needed to bring pressure to bear upon
us to change us into His image and likeness. This requires
our full cooperation, commitment and dedication. When we have
given ourselves to Him fully, then whatever our circumstances,
we know that through them, we are being made fit to be vessels
of His glory.