God is a relational Being and in the beginning He was fellowshipping and communicating with the first pair of humanity according to Gen.3:8. He came to Adam and Eve in the cool of the day until sin marred the relationship and humanity was separated from His Maker. (Gen.2:16-17; 3:1-7) God had intended to continue in this fellowship with mankind in Adam, but it was cut short by the pair and man entered into an era of darkness in which he was fending for himself removed from the spirit of God that made him.
Adam had three sons, Cain, Abel and Seth, but the first two died. The first killed the second and he was banished from the presence of the Lord forever being the first to shed human blood in death on the earth. (Gen.4:10-15) But in the days of the third, who was Seth and in the birth of his first son called Enosh, men began to call upon the Name of the Lord. Men were having fellowship and relationship with God again. (Gen.4:25-5:32) This relationship continued until a man was taken up into heaven in a human form without dying. The name of this man was Enoch and the Lord enjoyed it so much that they had to carry on the conversation in the third heaven where God lived. (Gen.5:24)
In Genesis 6, mankind began to multiply on earth and their sins grew to an alarming proportion. God then decided that He would obliterate mankind from the surface of the earth because his heart was continuously evil. (Gen.6:5-8) But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord and He preserved him, his wife, his three sons and their wives totaling eight in numbers. Noah got drunk with wine and his son, Ham saw his nakedness. (Gen.9:20-29)
Several hundreds of years passed and God called Abraham, the great, great grand-son of Seth, but before then the whole earth was of one language. They began to build a tower whose top would reach into heaven where God dwelt. They would have succeeded had not God confused their language. (Gen.11)
God vowed that He would make a name for Abraham. Princes and kings would come out of his loins. What man was going to do by his own strength, He would do through Abraham and his off-springs. (Gen.12-50) Genesis chapters 12-50 were the stories of Abraham descendants.
We have Isaac, the son of Abraham, Jacob, the son of Isaac and then Moses, the son of Amram and Jochebed. (Exo.2:1-7; 6:20 and Num.26:59-60) These were the stories of Israel’s exodus which Moses led from Egypt to the Promised Land. The children of Israel were led by God through the hand of Moses into the land He promised them.
God said that His presence would be and walk amongst His people, but not in a mega structure, but in a shifting tent. God told Moses to build the Tabernacle in exact specifications like the real thing he saw in heaven. God moved with His people and was in their midst in a movable tent called Tabernacle. The Temple of Solomon was a re-enactment of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and it was not a mega structure.
In 2Sam.7:1-29, when the Lord had given rest to David from all his enemies around, he purposed in his heart to build a resting place for the Ark of the Covenant which symbolized the presence of God. Primarily David had a genuine desire to build something more fitting for the King of kings who is more to him and his throne. Secondly, the king was feeling uncomfortable because God was dwelling in a tent while he was living in a palace. (1Chr.28:2; 2Sam.7:5; 1Chro.17:4 and 28:3)
The first Temple was built by king Solomon and it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC and the second Temple was built by Zerubbabel and it was destroyed in AD 70 under Herod the great by the Romans under Titus. When Christ was dying on the cross, the presence of God left the Temple signifying that He was not please with the old order of things. Since then, He wants to dwell in human hearts, a temple not built with the hands of men, with mortals, bricks, nails, wood, cement and iron. (Matt.27:51-54, Mk.15:37-38 and Lk.23:44-47)
Looking at the Church of Jesus Christ today, we are far removed from the heart of God and we have erected for ourselves monuments, structures, cathedrals and mega buildings we have designated as the house of God. The word of God echoes through the ages and wants humanity to know that: “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool: what house will you build for Me? What is the place of My rest?” says the Lord. (Acts.7:49) My hands have made all things including the earth and the humans on it.
We go to a church building every Sunday morning and go through the motions without really considering why we do what we do. We repeat the squabbles, the fights, the commotions, misunderstanding and the struggles without ever asking ourselves why do we do these things? We have been influenced far more by post-biblical historical events than New Testaments principles.
We know that early church met in homes for their regular church meetings. (Acts.20:20; Rom.16:3, 5; 1Cor.16:19) They took the Lord’s Supper as a full meal. (1Cor.11:21-34) Their church gatherings were open and participatory. (1Cor.14:26; Heb.10:24-25) Spiritual gifts were employed by each member. (1Cor.12-14) They genuinely saw themselves as family and acted accordingly. (Gal.6:10; 1Tim.5:1-2; Rom.12:5, 13; Eph.4:15; 1Cor.12:25-26, 2Cor.8:12-15) They had a plurality of elders to oversee the community. (Acts.20:17, 28-29; 1Tim.1:5-7)
They were established and aided by itinerant apostolic workers. Acts.13-21; all the apostolic letters) They were fully united and did not denominate themselves into separate organizations in the same city. (Acts.8:1, 13:1, 18:22; Rom.16:1; 1Thes.1:1) They did not use honorific titles. (Matt.23:8-12) They did not organize themselves hierarchically. (Matt.20:25-28; Lk.22:25-26) The modern day churches have their programs, order of service, honorific titles and much rooted in the pagan culture of second and third century formulated by Emperor Constantine.
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