God’s House

“For every house is builded by some man [one]; but he that built all things is God.” —Hebrews 3:4

THE universe and all created things in it, including the hosts of spirit beings and areas of influence referred to in the Bible as principalities, powers, and dominions and thrones, in the ultimate sense comprise God’s house. There are many scriptures that teach or imply this thought. One of these texts is found in Isaiah 40:25,26. “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” See also Psalm 8:3; Isaiah 42:5; 57:15.

Apparently the great Creator of all things has chosen this tiny portion of the universe, the earth, as the place where he would create, select, and develop certain of his human creatures to be associated with him in a special way as members of his great house. Ultimately, we realize, it is God’s plan that the balance of the human race, who are obedient, will also be included as a part of God’s house when the work of the kingdom is complete and God’s law is written in the hearts of these people.

The metaphor of a ‘house’ when used in this way implies that all came from the same source and that all are in harmony with the source as it is with a human head of a house or family. In the case of the nation of Israel, God chose them as a special people and invited them to be members of his house, but on the condition of obedience to his law. Speaking through Moses the Lord said, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”—Exod. 19:5,6

The nation of Israel agreed to the terms of the covenant the Lord gave them at Mount Sinai, and it was ratified and put into operation with Moses as its mediator. The entire nation then became the house or family of God and he was represented as dwelling among them through the tabernacle arrangement. Moses was God’s steward, and was faithful in the discharge of his office. He strictly enforced God’s laws; he was a faultless spokesman carefully delivering the mind and will of the Lord to the people, and he did this with the most inflexible integrity though often at the risk of his life. At the time of the sedition of Miriam and Aaron the Lord spoke of Moses: “And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the Tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently [plainly], and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold.”—Num. 12:5-8

The Apostle Paul in Hebrews the third chapter, after showing in the previous chapters the superiority of Jesus over the angels, now begins to show the superiority of Jesus over Moses. It was important that this be demonstrated to the Jews, because it was Moses who dealt with God on the mount and it was Moses’ face that shone when he came down from being with God. They had evidence that Moses was God’s emissary to them. So the apostle states, “Therefore, holy brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. He was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in God’s house.”—Heb. 3:1,2 RSV

The apostle first shows that as brethren we share a heavenly call which is in contrast to the earthly hopes of Moses and the Israelites. Furthermore, Paul explains that Jesus was the forerunner and the captain of our salvation. Then he states that just as Moses was appointed by God and was faithful in God’s house, so also was Jesus appointed by God to his position and he was also faithful in God’s house.

The reason there is a distinction between Moses who was faithful and Jesus who was also faithful is explained by the apostle: “Yet Jesus has been counted worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house has more honor than the house. (For every house is built by some one, but the builder of all things is God).” (vss. 3,4 RSV) In this text the apostle is referring to Jesus in his pre-human existence, who as the Logos was used by the Heavenly Father to create all things. In Colossians 1:16,17 we read: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

In this text the thought of the apostle seems to be that Jesus, in his pre-human existence as the Logos, was used by God to build his house and this great building included God’s arrangement with the Jewish nation of which Moses was a servant. Paul’s argument is that surely the builder of the house has more honor that the house. And then as if to counter any thought that Jesus on this basis could be considered greater than God, the apostle hastens to add that in the final analysis the builder of all things is God.

Then the apostle states that there is another reason why Jesus is considered superior to Moses in God’s arrangements. “Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are of his house [as sons] if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.” (vss. 5,6 RSV) The word servant is from the Greek word therapon which means ‘a ministering attendant.’ Moses then was such a servant to the house and members of the house so that he might testify to the things that were to be spoken later. The apostle in another place speaks of the experiences of the nation of Israel under Moses: “Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”—I Cor. 10:11

But Jesus was faithful over God’s house as a son. (Heb. 10:21) Christ entered his Father’s house as heir and master. The psalmist wrote in prophecy concerning Jesus, “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee [brought thee to birth as a resurrected divine being]. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Ps. 2:7,8) Then again in Ephesians we read, “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he [God] might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” (Eph. 1:10) All of this is implied from the statement that Jesus was a faithful Son and heir in his Father’s house. Just before his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, Jesus endeavored to comfort his disciples with these words: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”—John 14:1-3

This same promise is implied in Paul’s words that we too have been invited to be part of God’s house as sans if we hold fast our confidence or faith and continue to rejoice in this hope until the end. The psalmist in prophecy speaks in more elemental terms concerning God’s house as a place of abode: “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Ps. 132:13,14) This, of course, is a prophecy concerning the church. The Apostle Paul seems to have this in mind when he wrote to the brethren at Ephesus. “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”—Eph. 1:18

It is only through enlightenment of the Holy Spirit that those who have responded to the Heavenly Father’s call can appreciate the prospect of having the privilege of cooperating and participating in the work of the kingdom and are able to understand how the finished work will redound to the glory of the Heavenly Father. See also Isaiah 62:1-3, a prophecy concerning spiritual Israel.

The thought of a house in its most elemental meaning can apply to each individual who has responded to the high calling and is endeavoring to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. We have our Lord’s assurance, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him … and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” (John 14:23,24) The Apostle Paul in likening the entire church to a temple of God states, “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.”—Eph. 2:21,22

In considering our privilege of being the dwelling place of God through the spirit, the Apostle Paul speaks of our body as being “our earthly house of this tabernacle” and he suggests that it is to be laid down in sacrifice, but that when the earthly house is dissolved “we have a building of God, an house not made with hands [that is, a spiritual body], eternal in the heavens.” (II Cor. 5:1) When this has been accomplished with every member of the church, then it can be truly said that the Lord dwelleth in Zion.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |