1 Chronicles 22 / Ezekiel 32 / Ephesians 3-4
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way (in the futility of human thinking). Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Paul sets a contrast between the group he was exhorting, that which he knew he was a member of (the Israel of God, the secret family of the called sons of God), and everyone else in the world—the group he refers to a few verses before this:
You must no longer live as the Gentiles do...
Gentiles meaning not Jews, and Jews meaning the members of the true Israel of God. To a Jew, a Gentile was just anyone who was not one of the "chosen people" of God, those who possessed the knowledge of the only true and living God. Paul knew about Jews, and he applied this term to the new condition of being under the new covenant because he understood that he was one of the true Israel of God, that which natural Israel pointed at as the copy of the better thing (the family). To Paul the true gentiles were all the humans who hadn't been chosen to have the life of the Father and the Son—unified as One spiritual body—living in their bodies, as the fulfillment of everything that was promised (especially by Jeremiah in ch 31).
The true Israel was the group of sons who were chosen to have this life in them, which was distinct and special because they were particularly chosen for it; not general or run of the mill because it was random and open to anyone and everyone who had half a whim to join up with their cause. It's important to understand that people didn't just go and voluntarily join with them (until later when it became safe to) like they might stumble into a church and sit down in a soft, cushy pew and listen to some guy babble on about this week's lie; then stand around making small talk like they care about it, or the others. What did happen by and because of the will of man is what we see now, the landscape of those who claim to know the way to God; leftovers from the original, mother whore enterprise that was accomplished because of and in line with the will of man—which is always to either take by force or buy for himself, so he can own and control the enterprise he is "giving himself" to.
This genuine outpouring of the spirit into the hearts of men, about which we have a preserved testimony, happened because it was purposed by God to happen, not by the will of man. What happened in the first century to this tiny group of people was them being called and responding to the call, which wasn't just taking it in to their otherwise full and happy life. It was taking in the entire burden of the Father and the whole family, a la the Son who very untheoretically gave his life, and in the process losing whatever life and future one may have had and a human animal doing what it wanted to do. It was a very serious, all or nothing—in debt to and dependent on the others for my life—type of deal, not a wishy-washy I think I might go to bible study tonight type of deal.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the spiritual realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What is God's eternal purpose, that which Paul recognized had been accomplished in the Son? To have a house and a family where He can dwell in peace without the chaos of the animals always present. A family is His refuge, a place where His own offspring could live with Him—those who are born of Him and look like Him instead of what every thing/one looks like (the serpent who only wants to get for its self). The sons are the ones He can love and enjoy, those who are pleasing to Him because they have His DNA in them so He is familiar with them (true family). They love and obey Him, and are faithful and loyal to Him and His cause—the other sheep called to be in His family—which is a genuine response from them who are being called, to Him who is calling, because they are able to actually see and hear what the others cannot (that the Father even exists and has a burden to be taken up), and they comprehend His great love for them because they know they've been chosen—not randomly or generically, but specifically because He lets them know in a real (yet totally hidden) way that they cannot deny.
They're able to actually know it, which is not just another ho-hum deal, as it seems with the humans, but it is the end and everything a human could ever hope to attain to. It is the fullness of what the son has been called for—to know and comprehend the love that his Father has for him, because when he actually can do that, then and only then will he be able to respond to God with the true and genuine response of love for their Father. That to God is the most valuable thing; a currency which cannot be grasped, because the spiritual things are so above and beyond what the natural creatures are capable of comprehending.
Across the board, the humans are preoccupied with the things the humans love and think are valuable, which are opposite to what God loves and values. Those things are natural (seen) and temporary; whereas God is spirit (unseen) and eternal. His eternal purpose, which He accomplished in Jesus, is to save His family who will become His house. That is a spiritual concept best translated as the place God desires to dwell, surrounded by each and every one of His particular sons, those whom He has invited and whom are responding to Him, saying, "I want to come," in the most powerful way of not just mouthing it, but saying it with the most valuable thing they have to give to God—their very life and everything that actually means: becoming willing to be poured out as an offering to devote themselves to God and His cause. That is the most genuine way to respond to God, because it means you mean business, and aren't just talking the talk like everyone else. You are willing to give everything you have, had and could be and have to Him, and are willing to trust Him with that life you are giving Him.
The most powerful expression of that is found in the work of Jesus (by which God accomplished His eternal purpose), who did that very thing of giving his life to the Father in the form of not taking it up, not acting on what the animal instincts were tempting him to do—take up his life, satisfy *his* needs and right as the chosen One. First was the most obvious (he was hungry), but then the one that was deeper and more elusive, yet which is such a powerful component of the animal appetite. That is the ego, the need to be accepted, honored, respected among men. It is earthly power, the opposite of what Jesus taught his disciples, that the first according to God should be last according to the humans.
Being first would have been him claiming his Messiahship and proving it amongst the citizens of Israel so that they knew that he indeed was that most anticipated, honored and respected prophet amongst all of God's holy prophets. It would have been more than being great amongst men, even greater than king David, and Moses, Samuel and everyone else whom the Jews worshipped. The road Jesus was asked by the Father to take, though, was different than what that animal nature, the instincts which tempted him wanted him to choose instead of being faithful and loyal to the Father and His cause. The animal wanted the fulfillment of itself in him, which would have been Jesus to follow its powerful dictates, not denying it as he did out of his love for the Father. It was very present and powerful, enough to make him want to not do it on more than one occasion. The third thing the serpent/animal tempted him with is what men are always drawn to love because of their need to survive, was simply wealth (what Solomon the false son of David gorged himself on).
These three things—appetite/craving/lust that instinctively wells up in the animal, egotistical gratifications of being right, respectable and honorable (being worshipped as a kind of little god), and the love of wealth because it so easily and tangibly appeases the ubiquitous fear built into all of the humans because of the curse—make up the power base from which flows all of what the natural creatures love and run after all their lives, driven by the same types of things that the animal tried to tempt Jesus with, unsuccessfully. Because the animal nature wasn't allowed to inhabit or lead Jesus—out of that genuine response of love for the Father he denied it—meant that he was worthy to be called clean enough to be the unblemished Lamb of God, the sacrifice which was able to save the family of God because of its great value. The Father took the great risk of leaving the lives of every one of the members of the family—those He had known and loved and with whom He wanted to be and live—in the hands of the Son of God, to remain pure by not following the animal when it tempted him.
Jesus, because of that response to God in love, denying what would have been so satisfying to his human condition but instead saying no to it for the Father's sake, was able to accomplish God's eternal purpose, which Paul writes about in this chapter of Ephesians. His true and genuine response of love for God was so satisfying to God, and was the work that could accomplish that eternal purpose, to have a house and a family. The work Jesus did saved all of the sons of God, retroactively, concurrent and future (there is no time or chronology limitations with God, another thing the human consciousness cannot comprehend), so that God could have a place to live amongst the family of sons who all did in an inferior way, what Jesus did in the superior and better way.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's house, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
God's eternal purpose is to have a place to live and a family of sons who love Him who are surrounding Him, with Him all the time, never going away from Him. That's what God wants, what is His eternal purpose which makes a good and healthy kind of sense. The house and the family of sons are like one and the same thing, so that He can be spiritually (beyond our ability to fully comprehend) contained within this house of sons. The house that God will build will consist of us the living bricks, each one alive with that same genuine response of love for Him that Jesus had—each one radiating that same love out to Him as He is surrounded by them all, and able to be satisfied by that great love, which to God is the most valuable thing, His currency and wealth.
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
God is too incredible to even comprehend, not to mention contain, too fantastically complex to ever satisfy. Yet He desires to be surrounded by His sons, and their genuine response of love for Him, which will amount to something great in the spiritual kingdom. It says something very important about the value of that genuine response of love for Him while in these human bodies that are compelled to choose our own selves. Choosing the Father over everything else is what can satisfy Him and give Him the peace He has been working and living for since the beginning, since He created the first humans, and which He's been putting into the mouths of the prophets all along.
The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son.
God loved David enough to respond to his genuine response to Him, in David's desire to build God a great house to live in. Although David was misguided about what God needed/wanted even in this response toward Him, nevertheless the response is what was important to God, not the temple David wanted to build Him. God loved David's heart, open and tender to Him, humble and knowing, keeping the knowledge of the great things God did for Him before him, not forgetting that, even though he became so much in the eyes of the humans.
This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"
David's idea of building God a great and fantastic house to live in was a human idea for the benefit of the humans, not God—almost ridiculous because He cannot be contained in a house made of inanimate objects like the humans must. David was transferring this idea onto God as something as something for the humans, not a thing He needed, wanted, or would even enjoy. A great edifice and temple was for the humans' benefit, not God's. It was so they could have something to look at, like all the other nations with their great statues and monuments, which was the big deal at the time to do. It was something tangible, ostentatiously ornate and huge, a physical center that the humans could behold, which created an agreement of greatness they could hold on to—a very tangible kind of validation that they were okay. What God chose was the humble little moveable tent—ornate and special, yes; but nothing like what the humans built, not for Him, but their own welfare, to feel like they had something great, like the other nations had. A human sort of way to prove to themselves that their God was alive. It is the same kind of process the humans create for themselves when they form groups and surround themselves with other who are like them in thought and "belief," as it has been bastardized by the christians to mean nowadays. Surrounding one's self with those who agree with you is a very tangible way of appeasing the constant fear within, that somehow you're right because all these others "believe" the same thing you do.
David was misguided about this in his response to God, in wanting to build this great monument to Him, which God immediately tried to correct him about in His first response back to David, that He didn't want that great edifice, like all the other nations had. What God wanted was what David gave to Him—a true and genuine, broken and contrite heart that was open and honest with God, which didn't hide like Adam and Eve did from God, behind whatever lie lived inside it.
I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you.
That's what God wanted, and why He chose David to be with and make great in the same style as Joseph. It was David's heart that God loved and responded to, what He wanted David to guard against becoming like the other humans. His vulnerable heart that was genuinely devoted to God, even as the youngest bother and shepherd boy who tended his father's sheep, the perfect metaphor for what God turned David into. That was a thing which couldn't be seen by the humans, but only revealed to God, explained in the story of David's anointing, the last one the humans thought would be chosen to become the king of Israel, the youngest and overlooked son of Jesse, doing God's work, shepherding and protecting His sheep, while Samuel was attempting to identify the one he was sent to anoint. Just like that, God didn't want the obvious thing (a humongous edifice); He just wanted a little, humble tent which itself would show that His way was not like the humans' way or what they would choose. David didn't understand that, and perhaps neither did Nathan, who would have told him that God wasn't talking about Solomon when He told David that his son would be the one who would build God's house for Him.
He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son.
The Chronicles reading shows that David never understood what God was talking about, since he reworded and filled in what Nathan told him, with his own assumptions of who that Son was (not an ordinary human).
Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon: "My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the LORD my God. But this word of the LORD came to me: 'You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.' "
Notice the rephrasing of the content of what Nathan told David, and the assumption David had that Solomon was the son God was talking about, who would build His house for Him. David's intentions may have been good, a response toward God, but he didn't understand that God wasn't talking about a physical building.
"Now, my son, the LORD be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the LORD your God, as he said you would. May the LORD give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged."
Look what happened to Solomon, though, who was not careful "to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel."
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, "You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods." Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.
Solomon was the product of the marriage which symbolized the time when David's heart turned away from God, when it became cold with the lies and hypocrisy he held fast to, after he himself was not careful "to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel." During the episode, David's heart became different than it had been when he was young and humble, the reason God chose him. Nevertheless, God loved David, but the consequences of that shifted everything that happened in Israel onwards. It was a distinct turning point, and the beginning of the erosion of what God had brought to greatness, until the One whom God was actually telling David about was raised up in Israel.
He was the cornerstone of the true temple/house God was talking to David about, that true because it would be spiritual, not natural, temple and house made up of His own living sons as the bricks which it consisted of—the only thing that could satisfy Him, which was His eternal purpose—to have a house and family. This is just the best metaphor and picture of that eternal purpose of God, and has to suffice because the spiritual reality is so far above what the humans can get their minds around since they're earthly, natural, unspiritual so they cannot comprehend spiritual things. Jesus, who was spiritual and understood spiritual things, understood what David and Solomon couldn't:
Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
Jesus' body and the perfectly obedient heart it contained was the true temple of God, His house where He desired to live—inside the heart of His only Son. Jesus' body wasn't the entire temple, but the one important brick which would, with all the other bricks, make up the entire temple, or house of God, or the place God wanted to live—in the son's heart, as close as He could possibly get to His sons. That shows His love for them and desire to be with them, close to Him, and never to have to leave. Just one brick, yes, but more than just another brick; the chief cornerstone, upon which the whole house rests on and is built around.
God wasn't talking about an edifice, but what Paul refers to in the Ephesians reading as His eternal purpose. That is His true sons, who would "no longer be foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's house, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." God was telling David about the work of Jesus, who would save all of God's sons (like David) and give Him that place He wanted to live in peace, amongst those who like David had their hearts turned toward Him, who genuinely responded to Him and said all together, "We choose you, and we're not just saying it, but we're showing it by responding with that most genuine response that says we're willing to give up everything for your sake, in the manner and footsteps of the Son whose work made it possible to even be able to do that."
Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
Paul understood what that life of God living in his heart meant, that he was living proof of the spiritual fulfillment of what all the natural things were a copy of. He and the other believers (the sons of God in the first century) were where God wanted to live, and He did once Jesus ascended to become One with Him. Then the two became One, and that perfection was the spirit which inhabited the bodies of those sons in the first century. The way that the spirit, or the new life of God that was created when Jesus and He were unified, was sent to inhabit the hearts/bodies of some of the humans living in the first century, was a kind of celebration of the work that Jesus did, and another type of inferior looking forward, at what would ultimately be, which is God's eternal purpose.
Because it was only another copy, or pointing forward to the ultimate reality, it's okay that it went away (the abomination, which caused the desolation of that condition, which was only a copy of the better thing, yet to be satisfied). In fact it's God's purpose and plan that it went away because it was only a pointing forward at the ultimate reality of God's eternal purpose. So that which is inferior must not be held fast to as what is more important than the eventual, ultimate reality and purpose.
God's house could only be built by Jesus the first and greatest Son, whose response to God was greater, harder to do, and more genuine than any other. There is nothing more important to God than Jesus and the work he did for Him, which is why the thing that the humans did to that work in the second, third and fourth centuries is so abominable to Him. When the humans turned Jesus and the spirit, which was the life of God and Jesus together in spirit form, into gods who were equal with the Father, it effectively wiped out what Jesus had done for God, as that response of love toward Him, giving Him the house and family He desired to have.
Since that time, everything built around the name of the jesus god, on what is supposedly the truth about him, comes out of the falsehood of what was created by the holy roman church, the false identity of jesus as one of the good gods, for whom it wouldn't have been a problem to say no to the animal since he was a god. Therefore the entire basis of his purpose has been, since this new conception of who Jesus was, put into place as a total sham and lie—a thorough abomination of the truth and a desecration of the true temple of God by the animals and what their nature drove them to do (grab the power that was afforded to them by being shepherds of God's people for themselves), which is ironically the exact opposite of why God loved and accepted Jesus: because he didn't do that.
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
The leaders of the church, after the apostles were gone from the earth, took the power that was entrusted to them for their own. They took it, owned it and controlled it and turned what was good into what is evil because it is for their cause and purpose, not God's, who remains hidden from them. They are the opposite of what Jesus commanded, that the greatest of his followers would have to be like the least of the humans, just as he was—degraded, despised, shameful, nothing in the eyes of the humans—not honored and revered as leader. Instead, they became great, and became least to God, and took the truth that the apostles knew and turned it into the lie that has existed ever since, which takes and wears the name, but not the life.
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.