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Temple Builders: The High Calling
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  George H. Warnock: "From Tent to Temple"

Preface
 

The purpose of this study, and the title itself, are intended to show how God would progressively move “from one tent to another” as He sought to lead His people into a higher relationship with Himself; and would then consummate His purposes by moving from the lowly “tent” to a glorious “Temple” as He took up His permanent habitation in the hearts of men. This had always been God’s plan, and the only reason He instituted and ordained previous temples was to provide for His people a place where they could draw nigh to Him, so that this place would become a “house of prayer” for all nations, and a means of grace whereby the inhabitants of the earth could discover the pathway to God until the greatest Temple of the ages would be revealed and manifested in the earth. And so it was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus who declared Himself to be the Temple of God in the earth. And then He showed us, through His holy apostles and prophets, how this Temple would be expanded and enlarged to embrace those who are the redeemed of the earth, and made to be “living stones” in that same Temple.

 

Because the original tents and temples that God ordained were intended to be a means of grace, and a revelation of His presence in the midst of His people, whenever the purpose of the temple was perverted to mean something that man had built “for the glory of God,” God did not hesitate to forsake it. Through Isaiah the prophet God saw fit to thunder forth some very awesome indictments against His people: “Do you think you have built Me a House? Do you really think I am hungry, and need to drink the blood of bullocks and eat the flesh of goats and lambs? Your hearts are perverted! Go cut off a dog’s neck.., it’s all the same to Me! Or offer swine’s blood on My altar, if that is the thought of your rebellious hearts! What I am really looking for is not sacrifice and offering and temple and altar-I am really looking for the man who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at My Word!” (See Isa. 66:1-3.) How applicable is such a denunciation to the religious world today! May God remove the scales from our eyes that we might know and be assured that the only temple God ever desired is now in the making, a holy Temple of the redeemed ones of the earth, a “habitation of God in the Spirit.”

 

And when God finds His home in the hearts of His redeemed, He is totally at rest.

 

-George H. Warnock

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Truth runs deep in its flow, and is complex in its structure; but it is by no means complicated. Many would excuse themselves for not getting too deeply involved in Truth by saying, “Well, it is just too deep for me...”  And so they just leave it alone. But neither knowledge nor intelligence are prerequisites for an appreciation of the deeper things of God. A fish is not considered to be highly intelligent, but it appreciates “depth” simply because it has a nature that longs for it. And because it has a nature that longs for it, God has given it the animal and physical capacity to enjoy it, as well as the rivers and lakes and streams and oceans to fulfill this inherent longing. And so the psalmist said, “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts” (Ps. 42:7). There is something “deep” in the nature of the fish that calls unto the “deep” in the oceans... because God put that longing there when He created it.

 

Human wisdom and understanding, far from being a prerequisite to a true knowledge of God, can be very detrimental to us if that longing after Himself is not there. Jesus said on one occasion, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Lk. 10:21). Unlike an animal we have a spirit fashioned after God’s image, which is capable of God-consciousness and divine fellowship. And though this image was defaced by the Fall, it has been restored in Redemption; and we may grow into it as we choose the pathway of obedience unto the will of God. As we simply walk in this pathway, that longing and yearning after God will increase, and there will be an ever-increasing unfolding of His will, and an ever-expanding revelation of His glory.

 

Some would seek to deny us this greater revelation by reminding us that God never changes, that Jesus Christ is forever the same, and therefore we ought not to seek after an unfolding revelation. But this argument overlooks the fact that WE are the ones who need to be changed, not God; and if we truly seek to do His will there will grow within us a cry and a yearning to be changed--even “from glory unto glory” by the Spirit of the Lord. This is what we mean by unfolding revelation. It is the sprouting of the Seed in the soil of our hearts until it springs forth as “the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear” (Mk. 4:28). It is constant growth in the realm of the Spirit until we are able to “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to KNOW the love of Christ, which PASSETH KNOWLEDGE” until we are “filled with [or, unto] ALL THE FULNESS OF GOD” (Eph. 3:18-19). It is entering into and appropriating the inheritance which God has already given us, but which we have never possessed in any degree of fullness. It is a laying hold upon and apprehending that very thing for which God has laid hold upon and apprehended us!

 

God has revealed Himself in the scriptures as One Who is looking for a “home” in which He might dwell. After reading and meditating upon the thoughts brought out in this writing I trust we will understand more clearly why God needs a home. In the scriptures we find Him moving with His people from one resting place to another as He progressively reveals His purposes and seeks to bring into being the ideal “home” that He has been waiting for. This progressive revelation of Himself must continue until the eternal purpose is fully consummated in a people whom He has created for His own glory.

 

In this writing we cover seven phases of God’s dealings with His people as He moved with them From Tent to Temple. I know that some would like for us to pinpoint just where we are now in the cycle of His dealings with His people. But we could not do this, as God’s people are to be found in many of these areas. Like pure Light itself, how shall we know what is red and what is blue, except as the Lord by His Spirit shines through the prism of our hearts and reveals it? And like the wheels of the cherubim, we travel in many directions at one and the same time, and how then could we pinpoint our present location?

 

We just pray that the Truth of God may speak to our hearts in the following pages, regardless of the particular phase of the Temple that we are examining. We will be speaking much about apprehending what God has in mind for His people, without trying to define too clearly the boundaries of our inheritance. How far does God want to take us? This, of course, might seem to be a great problem to those who desire to “apprehend” that for which God has apprehended us. How far can we go without falling into error? Is there not a danger of presenting truth for today that really pertains to another day--or another dispensation? How can we be sure that what we know to be “truth” is really ours to appropriate here and now, rather than leaving it for Heaven--or for the Resurrection?

 

Christendom has always been divided on these issues. And no sooner have the boundaries been theologically set and drawn out, when God moves again in His people, and they move forward into areas of truth that they find are practical, experiential, and vital; while others linger behind claiming that these things are definitely NOT for today. But God does it anyway, without getting permission from the theologians.

 

A born-again experience is thought by many to be something far-out, and not for today: “You can’t know for sure till the day of judgment.” Or healing is not for today. “Yes, in the days of Jesus and the apostles… and perhaps in the Kingdom to come,--but not for today.” The Baptism of the Holy Spirit? “Yes, they experienced this at Pentecost... but that was a once-for-all baptism of the whole Church, it’s not for us to experience as individuals.”

 

God Who is the Author of Truth freely moves in all these areas, and men and women by the millions have entered in and partaken of the provisions of His grace, while others hide behind their theological positions and remain in their stagnant pools. God has a very sure way for His people, and that Way is the Lord Jesus Himself. He is always the one and only way, Who brings us into Truth and into Life. He knows how far He desires to bring us in this life; and as we earnestly seek to follow Him Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life--and stay close to Him--we will not fall into deception, nor will we get bogged down in areas of presumption. As God urges us on, we seek to follow. And if it is truly the Lord urging us on there will be the provision of faith to follow as He leads. We must always search our hearts--and ask God to search our hearts--that in all our pursuit after Him we find ourselves walking in faith rather than in presumption. There is a vast difference. If we are moving in faith, we are moving in the revealed will of God, and a living Word from God’s heart will have within it a genuine seed of faith. If it is presumption we are motivated by our own thoughts and desires, based perhaps on our concept of truth, and finding “scripture” to support us; but the living Christ is not the Author of what we are attempting to do. Peter desired to step out of the boat and walk with Jesus; but he knew it would be rash and presumptuous for him to try it unless the Lord said “Come.” But once he heard the word “Come,” that was enough. In that living Word from the lips of Jesus there was all the faith he needed to walk on the water. It is as simple as that--and we might add, just as difficult. For there is only one provision that God has given us to deliver us from theological concepts of doctrine on the one hand and to keep us in the narrow pathway of the Word of God on the other, and that is, to abide in Christ and to hear His Word. And this we must always prove for ourselves, in every area of our walk with Him. For He alone is the Truth, and the anointing we receive from Him is totally sufficient to keep us from areas of deception and darkness. If we are caught up with the thought of certain events that are about to happen in the Church, or with revelations we feel we have had about God’s workings in the earth, it is always possible we might be right in some of them, and wrong in others. But if our pursuit is simply to know Him in fullness, we need fear no boundaries, for the Spirit of God is here in the earth to lead God’s people into the fullness of Christ--here and now. And I find it difficult to understand how we could desire anything more than this, if we truly love Him with all of our hearts. Again, I must quote Paul’s desire for His people:

 

That we might “be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;

That ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

May be able to comprehend with all saints

What is the breadth,

And length,

And depth,

And height;

And to know the love of Christ,

Which passeth knowledge,

That ye might be filled with [or, unto]

All the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:16-19).

 

Now the apostle earnestly prayed in the Spirit that the saints would apprehend this glorious heritage of the fullness of God. And if the Spirit of God inspired the apostle to pen this prayer, and then preserved it in the holy scriptures for the early Church as well as for us living in the end-time, let us fear no barriers that men may erect to discourage us from appropriating this glorious heritage.

 

The Life of the Ages is abiding in us now, if we truly know the Lord of Life, and He seeks to bring us into a far greater fullness than we have yet known. Our real fear should be “lest we come short of it” and NOT to “beware lest you go too far.” We might go too far in theological concepts, if our pursuit is in that area. But there is no danger that we might go too far with our Lord Jesus, if He is indeed our one and only pursuit in this life.

 

What we have now, and what we have come to experience in realms of the Spirit, are really things that pertain to the next age, and yet, God has seen fit to bring a people into it now! Did not Paul clearly identify the life we have in the Holy Ghost, and the good Word of God, with the powers of the next world?… and assure us that we are now actually partaking of the “powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:4-5)? If the Life of Christ becomes our one and only pursuit in our pilgrim journey here on earth, then let us have confidence that God is pleased as we press toward that mark. If we sincerely desire nothing more, and nothing less, than this abiding life in Christ, dispensations can never become a barrier in our walk with the Lord or with the measure of life that we may attain to in the Spirit. It is the “theology” itself that so often becomes the barrier. Yes, our theology ought to be right; but if it hinders our walk with Him Who is the Theos-Logos Who was “made flesh and dwelt among us,” then l am afraid there is something wrong with the theology. Martha said concerning her dead brother, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (Jn. 11:24). Theologically correct! But the Lord Jesus was the Theos-Logos standing by her side, and He said to her: “I am the Resurrection, and the Life” (vs. 25). This is what makes the difference between theological truth and living truth. If the Lord Jesus is speaking; if He is leading us on; if He is showing us the Way; we must follow on to know Him. For surely the Author of the Book knows what He had in mind when He inspired holy men to write the scriptures, and then preserved them for us to read.

 

I felt to emphasize these things, because in all that I am writing about I am aware that we are speaking at times of another age, as well as the one we are in. I would like to be able to draw the line more clearly, if in so doing it would help God’s people in their pursuit of God. But I have not discovered a clear boundary line between that portion of Truth that God has for us in this age and that which He has reserved for the next. And as surely as we feel confident that we know where the boundary lines are, God may well leave us on this side of the line, and lead another people beyond it. But we can only go beyond the boundaries as the Logos Himself, the Lord Jesus, leads us into those immeasurable realms that God holds out to His people by a living and life-imparting Word from God. Our pursuit of Truth must be very clear and precise. We desire only to know Him… and the power of His resurrection... and the fellowship of His sufferings... We desire only to apprehend the very thing for which He has apprehended us.


 
 



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