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What is the House of God?

Although David’s history was fraught with war, there came a time when Jehovah gave him rest from all his enemies. At that time, David expressed his desire to build a house for God, telling Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the Ark of God dwells within curtains” (2 Sam. 7:2). God’s reply was, “Is it you who will build Me a house for Me to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house, since the day I brought the children of Israel up out of Egypt to this day; but I went about in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all My going about among all the children of Israel, did I ever speak a word to any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?” (vv. 5-7). God asked David two questions: “Are you the one who will build Me a house?” and “When did I ever ask someone to build Me a house of cedar?” The answers to these two questions give us a clear understanding of what God desires for His dwelling place.

God answers His first question to David saying: “When your days are fulfilled and you sleep with your fathers, I will raise up your seed after you, which will come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. It is he who will build a house for My name” (vv. 12-13). David wanted to build a house for God, but God told David that his seed, Christ, would be the one to build His house. Christ is the seed of David in His humanity and the Son of God in His divinity (Rom. 1:3). He alone is qualified to build God’s house. This is why Christ said, “I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). Only Christ can build the church as the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15).

Christ builds God’s house not by using physical lumber but by making His abode with us.

The second question God asked was, “Did I ever speak a word...Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” (v. 7). God never spoke this word or indicated that He wanted a house built of cedar. Instead, in the New Testament we see that Christ builds God’s house not by using physical lumber but by making His abode with us. The Lord Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him ” (John 14:23). When we love the Lord Jesus and keep His word, He comes to make His abode, his home, with us. The apostle Paul also prayed that Christ would make His home in our hearts, spreading from our spirit into all parts of our heart—our mind, emotion, will, and conscience (Eph. 3:17).

The house of God, the dwelling place of God, is the church, which is built by Christ growing in the believers and making His home in their hearts (Eph. 2:21-22). God told David that only Christ can build His house and that He does not want a physical house of cedar. He wants a house built by Christ coming and building Himself into us. God does not want us to do anything. He wants Christ to make His home in our heart so that we, with all the believers, could be His eternal dwelling place, the church.

For further reading on this subject, please see The All-Inclusive Christ and Life-study of 1 & 2 Samuel, by Witness Lee, published by Living Stream Ministry.

From Issue No. 61, May 2003

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