EPH 2:19-22 God’s Temple in Humanity.
Last time we focused on a passage in Psa 68 concerning God’s permanent home on earth.
PSA 68:15 A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan;
A mountain of many peaks is the mountain of Bashan.
PSA 68:16 Why do you look with envy, O mountains with many peaks, At the mountain which God has desired for His abode?
Surely, the Lord will dwell there forever.
PSA 68:17 The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands; The Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness.
PSA 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captive Thy captives; Thou hast received gifts among [for] men,
Even among the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell there.
We then looked to Paul’s use of this passage.
EPH 4:9 (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?
EPH 4:10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
God reveals to us that He could have easily ascended over His enemies with His omnipotence, which no one possesses but Him, however, if God was going to lead captive His captives, i.e. free from the clutches of sin those who would believe on His name, then more than omnipotence was going to be needed, and that need, God alone possesses as well, divine love manifested in mercy and compassion.
God’s abode is on His mountain - King of the mountain takes OP.
God’s abode is also within men - Lord of glory demands love.
For revelation of this in the OT, we again look to the New Covenant.
JER 31:1 "At that time," declares the Lord, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."
Israel will turn to the Lord and the Lord will lead him back home.
This entire chapter states it so poetically and beautifully.
JER 31:31 "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
JER 31:32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, "declares the Lord.
JER 31:33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the Lord, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
JER 31:34 "And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
And prophesied by Ezekiel in the same generation:
And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.
And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.
God will make His house in Israel, on Zion. God’s first house, the Tabernacle and the Temple, were made with human hands. His house in Israel will be made by Himself.
The first house that God made for Himself is the church, making each individual member His temple.
Still, we return to the prophecy concerning Israel to gain insight into the workings of God that brought about our own abode with the Almighty Savior.
God has told us that we are His house, and with that, He writes many lines of revelation about how He built that house. Should we be content only to know that we are His house and ask God to save the details? Actually, knowing the details, even the poetry and imagery and history that God uses to relate them, quickly increases your love of the Builder.
We must remember something, also related here so well by Jeremiah -
The people are captives that the Lord has chosen to release and take as His own captives.
We read the end of a strophe concerning the joyous return of Israel:
JER 31:14 "And I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness," declares the Lord.
Yet then, the prophet begins a strophe that is very grim.
JER 31:15 Thus says the Lord,
"A voice is heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
She refuses to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more."
Matthew states that this is fulfilled by the slaying of male children in Bethlehem, MAT 2:16, but this is not its only fulfillment (Assyrian and Babylonian captivity)
This passage as quoted by Matthew as Herod “sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under” (MAT 2:16) and states the prophecy fulfilled.
Rachel’s children are Joseph and Benjamin.
Yet, the context of Jeremiah has Rachel weeping over her children, which is Ephraim, the lead tribe of the Northern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes, had already been carried away captive by the once mighty Assyrians. This is figurative since Rachel is long dead by that time, but this is poetry. The image of the matriarch weeping over the captivity of millions of her sons and daughters is a powerful picture of the effects of sin upon the human race.
Rachel weeps over the captivity of her sons and daughters:
1) Ephraim taken by Assyrians
2) Judah taken by Babylonians
3) Herod murdering male children in Bethlehem
The last one comes closest to home because it is the attempt of the enemy to take captive the most important child of Abraham.
The destruction of the people of Israel by the Assyrians and Chaldeans is a type of the massacre of the infants at Bethlehem, in so far as the sin which brought the children of Israel into exile laid a foundation for the fact that Herod the Idumean became king over the Jews, and wished to destroy the true King and Savior of Israel that he might strengthen his own dominion.
The enemy sought to take the Son of Man captive, but He was the only one able to avoid it.
And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.