God Dwelleth not in Temples made with Hands
You won't find God in any religious organisations constructed by men because he does not frequent those places, he does not hang around in them, he does not attend them, he has nothing to do with them.
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
A temple is any religious structure built by the work of men's hands. In addition to churches and cathedrals, religious organisations are man-made structures built by the work of men's hands. Is a religion a work of men's hands? Certainly. Is a church, or group, or denomination a work of men's hands? Unquestionably. They have all been built by men. Does God dwell in temples made with hands? Certainly not, and that includes the Roman Catholic church as much as it does the Muslim religion, the Way International, the Hindu religion, the Salvation Army, or any other denomination, ministry or religion. They have all been built by men.
Jesus Christ's biggest challenges came from the organised churches of his day, and it was the religious leaders who had him murdered by the Romans. You cannot and will not defeat the devil by constructing more churches made with hands. You will not find God in any church, organised religion, centrally controlled group, denomination or ministry, because God dwelleth not in temples made with hands.
So where does God dwell today then? If it isn't in religions, groups, ministries, churches, temples or other works of men's hands, where is it? The woman at Jacob's well asked Jesus Christ this very question. Let's go and meet this woman.
Then cometh he [Jesus Christ] to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
This is what you call living life. Jesus Christ had been travelling and he was tired, so he sat himself down for a rest. The disciples had gone into a nearby town to get some lunch, so he was on his own, enjoying the day. One interesting point here is that Jesus Christ was tired. Does God ever get tired? Nope, so Jesus Christ wasn't God then, was he? Then along came one of the women from the nearby town.
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, [Judean] askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews [Judeans] have no dealings with the Samaritans.
The woman was surprised. She was accustomed to Judeans ignoring her because they considered Samaritans half breeds. She had grown up with this Judean attitude, and yet here was this Judean man speaking to her.
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
Jesus Christ obviously enjoyed talking to people, even if they were half breeds. He had no hang ups about people, no prejudices, no bigotry. He even spoke to Samaritans.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
The woman wanted this living water Jesus Christ was offering. Living water is mentioned in Jeremiah, and this is worth exploring.
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
The living waters in Jeremiah refer to God, who is the fountain of living waters, therefore the living waters Jesus Christ referred to was a reference to something spiritual. In Jeremiah's time, people had forsaken the fountain of living waters and hewed them out man-made cisterns. A cistern is something man makes to hold water. If our supply is God, a living fountain, there is no requirement for a cistern, as a fountain has an endless supply. Men hew out cisterns because they do not believe God will supply all their need. Consequently, they turn their backs on the fountain and hew out for themselves cisterns - they build churches, ministries, religions and organisations to contain their religion. They put their trust in the work of their own hands rather than in the living God.
Not only are cisterns limited in their supply, man-made spiritual cisterns are broken, they are not capable of holding any living water, any spiritual power. Religions, churches, denominations and organisational ministries are all cisterns, man-made cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no living water. Any flowing of living waters, any manifestations of holy spirit they once energised will eventually leak out until all that is left is dry religious ceremony. That is why God dwelleth not in temples made with hands. You will not find God in any religion, church, ministry, or religious organisation for they are all broken cisterns. If you want to find the unlimited supply of living waters, forget about cisterns, all of them, for they are broken and they leak.
Jesus Christ made another reference to living water in the gospel of John, where he was clearly referring to manifestations of holy spirit.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
(But this spake he of the Spirit [spirit], which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
This fits with what Jesus Christ was teaching the woman at the well. He offered her living water, which he knew he had come to make available, and it was a reference to the future gift of holy spirit which we now know came on the day of Pentecost. Jesus Christ then changed the subject.
Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
Now that Jesus Christ had her attention, she asked him the one question that was burning in her heart.
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
The woman wanted to know where she could worship God. She wanted a personal relationship with him. The Judeans taught her that you found God in their temple at Jerusalem. Her people taught her that she had to go up to the pagan temples on the tops of the mountains. Doesn't this sound just like religion today? Join this group, join that group, join this religion, join that religion, join this ministry, join that ministry, right? It's all bullshit. You don't have to join any ministry or church to find God. You can find him anywhere, yet miss him everywhere. He's right where you are now, and you will discover and learn of him in the pages of the bible. You don't have to go to any church or group or ministry or religion to find God, just learn to read your bible.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews [Judeans].
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
This woman wanted to find God. She wondered if the temple in Jerusalem was the place to go, or up to the temples built on the hilltops. Jesus Christ told her to forget both because the Father desired people who would worship him in spirit and in truth, a reference to manifestations of holy spirit. This same truth is very relevant today. If you want to find God, forget about churches, ministries, organisations, religions and temples. God dwelleth not in temples made with hands. If you want to worship God, you can only worship him in spirit and in truth, truthfully by way of spirit, and that does not involve performing weekly ceremonies inside religious buildings or ministries. Stay away from churches and groups and religions and ministries, no matter how much truth they claim to have, for God dwelleth not in temples made with hands.
If any church, ministry, organisation, religion or group offers to teach you how to worship God in spirit and in truth only on condition you join them and give them your money, it is a bribe. Both God and Jesus Christ gave the word unconditionally, without charge. Yes, folks gave of their finances to support Jesus Christ during his ministry, but it was not on condition of getting the word in return, it was a thankful response to being taught the word free of charge.
In answer to the woman's question, Jesus Christ told her to forget about churches, all of them, because God was looking for people to worship him in spirit and in truth. What does that mean? Well obviously you cannot worship God by attending religious meetings, going to church, performing ceremonies, singing songs, going to prayer meetings, lighting candles, or reading bible verses. If you want to worship God, you must worship him in spirit and in truth, you must learn to walk by the spirit and that is not something that comes by going to church, joining ministries or groups, or leaving one religion to join another. I don't care what religion you are, or what group or ministry you are a part of, you can speak in tongues and learn to walk by the spirit right now right where you are. God dwelleth not in temples made with hands. He used to, but not anymore.
Back in the old testament, God instructed Moses to build the tabernacle, a tent in which he could live among his people. Looking back it is easy to see that the tabernacle was a temporary residence, a temporary home.
And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office.
And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.
And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.
After the tabernacle was built, God moved in.
Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
God has always desired with great longing to live among his people. His heart bursts to be with us, to have fellowship with us, and the tabernacle was a first step towards that reality. Later, Solomon built the temple, and with the coming of the greater, the lesser was no longer necessary. After the building of the temple, God moved home, he moved out of the tabernacle and into the temple, and that became his new home among his people.
1 Kings 8:2-11
And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.
And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.
And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.
And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.
For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.
There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.
This is the record where God moved into his new home. However, Solomon's temple was also temporary accommodation. It was not God's permanent home among his people, and later he would move house again. In this Administration of Grace, since the day of Pentecost, God no longer dwells, God no longer lives, God no longer resides in temples made with hands. On the day of Pentecost, God moved house. Neither the tabernacle nor the temple sufficed to contain him, neither afforded the home comforts, the companionship and love he so desired. They were provisional arrangements, temporary accommodation until a permanent home became available.
A basic understanding of the overall structure of the temple affords us a few clues in our search for God's dwelling place. The temple was basically divided into three separate areas. There was the court of the Gentiles, which was where Jesus Christ turned over the tables of the crooked merchants and drove out their animals. Another part consisted of the sacred courts for Judeans only, which Gentiles were not permitted to enter. The third part was the Holy of Holies, where God resided, and into which only the High Priest entered once a year. These three separate areas were divided off with walls and veils. Ephesians teaches us what Jesus Christ accomplished regarding these divisions between the Gentiles, the Judeans, and God.
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Those who were far off refers to the Gentiles mentioned in verses 11 and 12, who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise, and who were without hope and without God in the world. The blood of Jesus Christ brought the Gentiles nigh, close, next of kin to God.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
The middle wall of partition refers to the wall separating the court of the Gentiles from the sacred courts of the Judeans in the temple. As well as figuratively, at his death there was an earthquake which literally destroyed this wall separating the Gentiles from the Judeans. Jesus Christ broke that wall down. That's why he is our peace.
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Jesus Christ made of two one new man, the two being the Gentiles and the Judeans. Of these two, Jesus Christ made one new man, and that's how he made peace between us. He abolished that enmity between Judeans and Gentiles in his flesh, referring to the price he paid in giving his life.
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
The price Jesus Christ paid by way of his death reconciled both Judeans and Gentiles to God in that one body, that new man he had made of the two. The enmity was slain, destroyed, it no longer existed.
At the same time as the wall of separation between the Gentiles and the Judeans was broken down, the veil separating all of us from God in the Holy of Holies was torn from the top to the bottom.
And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
As well as the walls of separation, the earthquake tore the veil, signifying that the way back to God was now open to all men, whether Judean or Gentile. What man had lost in Adam back in Genesis had been regained by Jesus Christ. Man had been reconciled back to God.
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Through Jesus Christ, both Judeans and Gentiles have access by one spirit unto the Father, our heavenly Father, God.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In contrast to Solomon's temple, which was made of stone, we are now all builded together as a holy temple, a permanent home for God through the spirit. It is the spirit, that gift of holy spirit we receive at the time of the new birth, that is our eternal life. God now lives in us through the gift of holy spirit. We are God's permanent home. God no longer dwells in temples made with hands, he lives within those of us who have his spirit.
There is only one building God lives in now in the 21st Century, and it is not any temple made with hands, it is not any man-made ministry, group, or religion, it is within those of us who are born again of his spirit, those of us who are his children. We make up the household of God. The household of God is not a ministry or a church building, because God dwelleth not in temples made with hands, and they are all the work of men's hands. We, his children, are the temple, the house, the home of the living God, and we are not temporary accommodation, we are his for eternity.
1 Corinthians 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Corinthians 6:19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
2 Corinthians 6:16
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
It is an interesting phenomenon that most folks in religions and churches around the world think they are right, that they are in what they believe to be the true household of God. Quite how the devil instils this insipid lie into people is really brilliant. The vatican believes it is the only true church on earth, and the pope and the jesuits are committed to exterminating everyone on earth who is not one of them. All other christians regard themselves as right. Muslims believe they are the only true followers of God on earth. Buddhists believe they have found the true way to God. Jehovah's witnesses, a particularly insipid brand of religion, believe they are the only true way to God. Mormons believe they are the only true church on earth. The Way International believes it is the only true household of God and instils that lie into its followers. Folks, God dwelleth not in temples made with hands, they are all broken cisterns, they all leak. If God does not live in them, how can they be a source of living waters?
The good news is, God does not want you to leave one religion or church and join another. What he wants you to do is enjoy his endless supply of living waters. Forget ceremonies and rituals, forget going to church and making a fool of yourself. God isn't there anyway, so going to them is a waste of time. Constructing churches over the graves of once energised ministers is how the devil destroys the word they stood for.
God does not live in the vatican. God does not live in any christian church or denomination. God does not live in the Muslim religion. God does not live in the jehovah's witnesses. God does not live in the mormon church. God does not live in the Hindu religion. God does not live in the way international. These religions may teach they are the only true way on earth, but they are liars, for God in his word teaches that he does not dwell in temples made with hands. Regardless of which religion you are in or where you live in the world, you can have fellowship with God right now right where you are by worshipping him in spirit and in truth.
Chapter 45 - The Church in the Home