DWELLING PLACE OF GOD’S PEOPLE

“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” – Psa. xc. 1, 2.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God: in him will I Trust.” – Psa. xci. 1, 2.

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal and the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desire and to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle dew groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing the his God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight.)” – 2 Cor. v. 1-7.

In the unfathomable depths of eternity, before the mountains were brought forth, or the earth or the world was formed, or earth’s foundation had been laid, the spiritual life and immortality of all the saints was hidden with Christ, in God, in the secret place of the Most High. That Adam, which is the antitype of the earthy Adam, and who is the Lord from heaven, was that dwelling place of all his members which compose his mystical body, the Psalmist positively testifies; and that he has been our dwelling place, not only in all generations, that even from everlasting. And the inspired apostle Paul informs us that the Lord from heaven, the same Lord in whom our life was hid in God, is the second or antitypical Adam. The apostle John, by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, proclaims to us the record of the eternal word, as borne by the sacred three, the Father, Word and Holy Ghost, that bear record in heaven, saying, “This is the record, that God hath given us eternal life; and this life is in his Son.” Not prospectively, to be our dwelling place at some future time; but in him, actually or really, even from everlasting and to everlasting. And this record from the archives of eternity is also confirmed to us by the three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one, confirming to our faith the witness of God upon this vitally important subject. Thus showing that Christ, who is the Lord from heaven, in whom, as the secret place of the Most High, this gift of God which is eternal life is hidden, and in whom it dwelt from everlasting, is, and was, and forever shall continue to be, one with all his members, even as he and the eternal Father are one. As he is one with the Father and the supreme Godhead, even so are his people one with him in his Mediatorial Sonship. The head of the churches Christ, and the head of Christ as God. As the Son is identified with and dwells in the Father, and the Father dwells in him, even so the eternal life of the church dwells in Christ, and Christ dwells in all his spiritual members. We say his spiritual members, as we do not understand that he dwells in them experimentally and manifestly here in the flesh until he is formed in them the hope of glory. The union of Christ and the church, of which we are speaking, is a spiritual, and consequently a vital, union; a union of life eternal, and not of flesh and blood. For although he did, when the fullness of time was come, take part of the flesh and blood of which his children are partakers, and thus identified himself with them in their flesh, and was made under the law which they had in their earthly nature transgressed, to redeem them from all iniquities, yet it is not that union of which we are now speaking, for that union was not eternal. It was not manifested until the fullness of time had come, and then, but not until then, was he made flesh; and now that he has been put to death in the flesh, and raise from the dead by the glory of the Father, we know him no more after the flesh. But the eternal life in which the head and body are in eternal union, is after the order of Melchisedec, without beginning of days or end of life.

Our earthly life had a beginning, and must have an end. It was created and given to us in the earthy Adam, and hid in him from the time of his creation until it was manifested by natural generation by a fleshly birth; but our eternal life, in which we are one with the Son of God, is as eternal as his Mediatorial Sonship, and will in him before ever he had formed the earth or the world, even from everlasting to everlasting. The dwelling place is respectively of our earthly in heavenly life, are very clearly distinguished one from the other in the scriptures which we have copied at the head of this article. The first and development in the order of time, or that we have any consciousness of, is called “our earthly house of this tabernacle,” and is spoken of as a temporary dwelling place, destined to be dissolved. We can easily understand that these earthly or fleshly bodies, which are born of the flesh, are to be dissolved by death; as the Lord God said unto Adam, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” For nearly six thousand years our natural life, which was hidden in the first Adam, which is of the earth, earthy, dwelt, before we who are now on the earth were born of the flesh. Our birth of the flesh did manifest, that did not constitute, our relation to the earthy Adam; for if we had not been in him from the beginning, we could not have sinned and fell in him. It is not by any new creation that we are brought into manifestation. Death passed upon all man when Adam sinned, for that all had sinned; and this was before any of Adam’s progeny were born. Thousands of years before we were born of the flesh, God commanded that Adam should “multiply and replenish the earth.” All who are born of the flesh are but the multiplication of what was originally created in and called Adam; and as one generation of the earthy man Adam dies, another succeeds to replenish the earth of which man is formed. As the oak only develops the acorn, the branches the vine, without changing its nature, so when Adam all that dwell in him die; for he as our earthly dwelling must dissolve, for death has passed on all in him. If we carefully observed the apostle’s arguments preceding 2 Corinthians v., we will find him speaking of the two natures developed in the saints while in the flesh; and he says the God hath shined in our hearts, to give this the light of the knowledge of and glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. “But,” he adds, “we have this treasure [of light, which is life, – John i. 4] in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” It is not our hearts that shine, but God shines in them. When Christ, who is the true light, is formed in us the hope of glory, the body is still dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. Those earthen vessels, or earthly houses, to whom this treasure of light and life is committed, “are troubled on every side,” &c. “For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake.” But why? “That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” The light and refulgent glory of Christ’s supreme radiance was mantled by the vail of his flesh, until he for the joy which was sent before him endured the cross. For it behooved him to suffer, and then to enter into his glory. In his flesh Jesus was a sufferer, from his assumption of our flesh until his death upon the cross; but in his resurrection the vail is rent, and forever removed. He is now glorified with his Father’s own self, with that glory which she had with the Father before the world was. – John xvii. 5. As it behooved Jesus to die in rise from the dead to unvail the eternal majesty of his Godhead, so his members who were now dwelling in the earthly house of their pilgrimage are delivered unto the mortality of the flesh, that they also may arise from the dead in spiritual, immortal bodies, changed from mortal to immortal, from natural to spiritual, from earthly to heavenly bodies, that the life of Jesus may be revealed in them, without a vail between, that the Glory which the Father has given him, and the superlative glory of his resurrection and exultation, maybe witnessed and enjoyed also by them. “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise up us also by Jesus, and presented us with you.” “For which cause we fain not; but though I were outward man perish,” or shall be dissolved in death, “yet the inward man,” which is in the earthly vessel or house, “is renewed day by day.” “For we know that if this earthly house [outward man, or earthen vessel] were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands,” on which death hath not passed, because it is “eternal in the heavens.” Can there be any doubt the Adam, or our Adamic nature, which was created and sinned and fell in Adam, and which was redeemed by Christ, and which is to be changed, and fashioned like Christ’s glorious resurrected body, is the earthly house of are tabernacle? Or can there be any doubt that our house which is from heaven his Christ, the second Adam, which is the Lord from heaven? What other house is there from heaven the Christ? Do we not groan, being burdened while in this earthly cage? Are we not longing to be clothed upon, and to dwell experimentally in Christ? And have we not found to our sorrow that when we are absorbed in the concerns of this are three state, and are at home in the Adamic house, we are (in our enjoyments and communion) absent from the lord? But when abiding in Christ, as the branch of by death and the vine, we are absent from and forgetful of the body. When caught up by the spirit to the paradise of our God, like Paul, we are on conscious of being in or out of the body. As the house of Abraham, the house of Israel, the house of David, when spoken of in the scriptures, includes their households, their families, so the term is figuratively applied to the first and second Adams respectively; the first in manifestation in time is earthy, the second is heavenly; the first is mortal and must be dissolved, the second is eternal and the heavens. As by the offense of the one, many were made sinners, so by the righteousness of the other many are made righteous; and as in the one we all die, even so in the other shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

How consoling to the way-worn pilgrims, while subject to the opposition, infirmities, pains, groans and deadly strife which we must endure while here in this earthly house of our tabernacle, while we feel the earthly walls trembling, and bearing the unmistakable evidences of decay in dissolution, to know that when it shall be laid low in death, we have a indissoluble building of God in the secret place of the Most High, and under the shadow of the Almighty, which has been that dwelling place of the life and immortality of all the members of the body of Christ which were chosen in him, and in him as their eternal dwelling place blessed with all spiritual blessings from everlasting to everlasting. The earthly house, which is the Adamic nature, must be dissolved in death; but the divine nature of which all the saints are made partakers his indissoluble. That eternal life which the apostle John says “was with the Father, and was manifested unto us,” and which the eternal record of heaven assures us was given to us in the Son of God, and which is hid with Christ in God in the secret place of the Most High, forever has and eternally will of vied in him. And all the saints redeemed from the earth, out of all the tribes of mankind, receive in their new birth the first fruits of the spirit of life and immortality which was given them in him before the foundation of the world; and by the spirit which they receive in the new birth the redeemed persons are sealed unto the day of redemption, or deliverance from the bondage of corruption, and unto the full enjoyment of their house which is from heaven. For “He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the cap spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the lord; (for we walk by faith, not by sight).” We are confident, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and the present with the lord.

“We walk by faith of joys to come,
Faith lives upon thy word;
But while the body is our home,
We’re absent from the Lord.

“To his pleasant to believe thy grace,
But we would rather see;
And we would be absent from the flesh,
And present, Lord, with thee.”

Elder Gilbert Beebe,
Middletown, N. Y.

Signs of the Times,
Volume 48, No. 12
June 15, 1880.