25 December 2006

The day God tabernacled—for keeps

by Dan Phillips

Mirabile dictu, sometimes fancy-schmantzy words are actually useful. One such is metanarrative. The metanarrative is the grand, overarching story tying together and giving meaning to apparently disparate tales. For instance, is The Lord of the Rings about finding lodging in Bree, meeting Tom Bombadil, running away from Ringwraiths, and encountering talking trees? Of course not; those and the other dozens of stories served the greater narrative of the War of the Ring.

Similarly you could argue (inelegantly) that the Bible's metanarrative is something like this: man flees from the presence of God, and God acts to restore man to His presence.

Think of the first story in the Bible. The world is created for Adam and Eve, who embody God's image and enjoy God's presence — until they plunge into the ruin of sin. Then they hide from the presence of God (Genesis 2:8), and are expelled from it (3:24).

Focus with me on a single word that first appears in that latter verse, Genesis 3:24. It is the Hiph`il (causitive) imperfect form of the root sh-k-n, dwell. Most English versions have something like that God "placed" or "stationed" cherubim at the entrance to the garden; more woodenly the Rotherham has that God "caused to dwell" (cf. Young's Literal Translation). The cherubim dwelt at the entrance, so that man could no longer dwell in God's presence in the garden.

The next occurrence of that verb is in Genesis 9:27a, which Walter Kaiser renders, "God will enlarge Japhet, But He will dwell [weyishkon] in the tents of Shem" (Towards an Old Testament Theology, p. 82). Yahweh would sh-k-n, would dwell, would be present, in the tents of Shem, from whom would come Abram, in whom all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

Fast-forward (this is, after all, a post, not a book) to another theologically weighty occurrence of sh-k-n. It is in Exodus 24:16a—"The glory of the LORD dwelt [sh-k-n] on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days." This was an awesome sight, etched into the minds of those present. But it was a temporary dwelling, a passing presence, if you will.

However, on this occasion, Yahweh immediately gives instructions to make possible a more abiding dwelling place: "Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it." The word translated "tabernacle" is mishkan, which is simply the root sh-k-n with the letter mem prefixed. In Hebrew, a prefixed "m" often denotes the place where something happens. Hence z-b-ch is "sacrifice," m-z-b-ch is an altar, a place where sacrifice takes place.

Yahweh is giving instructions for the construction of a mishkan, a place where He can sh-k-n, He can dwell, in the midst of His people. God repeatedly impresses on Moses the importance of making the mishkan exactly according to His specifications (cf. Exodus 25:9, 40; 27:8; Numbers 8:4; Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5). This was because the tabernacle would serve as a divine depiction of what it means for Yahweh once again to dwell with man.

Back in Eden, enjoying the presence of God was simplicity itself. Nothing beclouded that communion. But matters have changed since Eden. Innocent Adam and Eve could stroll freely with God in the garden; now, all that has changed. Now God must be approached in a specific manner.

And what is it that confronts us as we approach God in the similitude of the tabernacle? First, we see that God is far off. We stand at the entrance, and see well within the enclosure a rectangular structure, called the Holy Place. But God's presence is not manifested even at the door of this inner structure; no, it is in its back, in a smaller room called the Holy of Holies, or the Most Holy Place.

Before you head straight back, you have to confront the first piece of furniture. And what is it? You look down, and see brown-stained earth, at the foot of a large object. That object is an altar. Here innocent, perfect, unblemished animals are sacrificed as substitutes for the sinful worshiper who would approach Yahweh. First he must deal with his sin, and God's appointed means for atonement requires the shedding of the blood of a substitute (Leviticus 17:11).

Then beyond that is a large bowl of water, for cleansing from the defiling filth of sin. Then we come to the entry of the Holy Place, within which is a lampstand, a table set with bread, and an altar of fragrant incense. Beyond these hangs a thick curtain. Beyond the curtain lies the Most Holy Place, where God manifests Himself above a solid gold lid on a large box, overshadowed by statues of angelic guardians. This is the place of propitiation, where God's wrath is turned from the congregation by the annual application of blood (Leviticus 16).

This was the picture of God's presence. It was an eloquent picture, but it was after all a building, mobile and temporary. Eventually it was destroyed. Even when the mishkan stood, God's presence was not open to all. Only one man could enter the Most Holy place, and that only once a year, with blood (Hebrews 9:7-8).

Fast forward another fourteen hundred years, to that day we mark each year on December 25. A baby was born that day. The Bible gives no support to superstitions of any miraculous means of birth. It was not the birth that was miraculous. No, it was the conception that was miraculous, as the seemingly oxymoronic prophecy of a pregnant virgin was fulfilled in young Mary.

What was that, in her womb? Who was it? The angel Gabriel had said to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). But what is the full meaning of this child's birth?

It is found in what is probably my own favorite Christmas verse, John 1:14. Here is my translation of that verse: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us as in a tent, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the unique One from the Father, full of grace and of truth!" Focus with me for a moment on the single word translated "dwelt...as in a tent." It is the Greek word skenoo. Do you notice anything about that verb? What are its consonants? They are s-k-n, the equivalent (as Greek has no "sh") to the Hebrew word we discussed earlier, sh-k-n (dwell or abide). That word is in fact used often in the Old Testament, both in verbal and noun form, for both the Hebrew shakan and mishkan.

John is telling us that the passing picture of the Tabernacle has become eternal truth in Jesus Christ. In this baby, God Himself has tabernacled—permanently. He has come to be Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14), in the fullest sense. He has come to do in truth what was previously done only in picture-form: to dwell among us, to make atonement and propitiation for our sins, to cleanse us from their defilement, to give light to our darkness, food to our souls, and to make intercession for us. The shadow has become substance. In Jesus the presence of God is restored, and that fully and permanently.

In Jesus God comes to indwell us now (Colossians 2:9-10), and because of Him we shall dwell with God forever, and God with us.
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place [skene] of God is with man. He will dwell [skenosei] with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:3-4)
Jesus Christ is both the fulcrum and the goal of the Bible's metanarrative. He restores the presence of God to us, and us to the presence of God. In Him God has come near, does come near, and shall come near forever.

Sad that so many Christians waste this day perpetuating the false notion that Christmas is wholly a pagan holiday, or in being deflected to the world's substitutes and mythologies. This day marks the moment in history when God came nigh to us, that He might bring us nigh to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Ephesians 2:17-22; 1 Timothy 1:15). It affords an opportunity for proclamation of Christ. Isn't that worth a song? Isn't that worth a day? Isn't that worth a celebration?

Surely it is worth all that and much, much more!

Dan Phillips's signature

43 comments:

donsands said...

What a fine teaching! Excellent.

Thanks. And have a blessed Christmas day!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Where is Christmas mentioned in the Bible?

The Jews had their holidays, and yet the first Christians felt no need to create a holiday to celebrate the birth of our Lord.]

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Ebeth said...

Thanks for another post which is both educational and worshipful.

DJP said...

Thanks, Don and eBeth. I appreciate your actually reading the post, actually thinking about the post, and then sharing your thoughts with us about the actual post.

It makes me glad I took my vacation-time to put out the effort for you all.

candyinsierras said...

Excellent post. Now I will go and listen to Handel's Messiah for the umpteenth time.

centuri0n said...

Dan --

That's exactly right. It's worth at least a song, and at least a celebration.

On this day in the city of David is born a savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Born a savior. Gosh! There are 10,000 seromons in that verse, and yours here is in the top 1%.

Hope you got as good as I did for the holiday.

DJP said...

Frank, let me just thank you publicly for something. Every Christmas we have special Christmas-themed reading. This year I used your 6-part harmony (with credit, and very slightly adapted). My family enjoyed it. Thank you for doing it.

jerryb said...

How the Word could become flesh (cf. John 1:14), is the greatest mystery in all of history. Paul calls it undebatable and a great mystery (1 Tim. 3:16). The angels celebrated the incarnation as the beginning of something truly awesome. I think we could too.

BugBlaster said...

An excellent lesson. Thank you.

rick said...

Dan - great post. Thanks. I prayed you would receive the gift of tongues this year. Let us know how that goes.

Exblogitory said...

Hi Dan,

I thoroughly enjoyed this article and appreciate the time you spent preparing it.

In response to:
"It affords an opportunity for proclamation of Christ. Isn't that worth a song? Isn't that worth a day? Isn't that worth a celebration?"

I completely agree. My only problem is the fact we (the visible church) do this only ONE month out of the year. This is a shame as the celebration and songs about Jesus' birth should be celebrated throughout the year. Not only around December.

And so I echo your comment:
"Surely it is worth all that and much, much more!"

In His Grace,
Chris

Qohelet said...

Quoth the Dan: "It affords an opportunity for proclamation of Christ. Isn't that worth a song? Isn't that worth a day? Isn't that worth a celebration?"

I hate to sound too Puritanical and all, but, uh, isn't that what we are to do individually every day of our lives and corporately every Lord's Day as a church?

(Man, I really do hate to sound Puritanical.)

By the by, do I need to high-five you on the gospel teaching here or can you get by without my praise without thinking that this means I'm opposed to you or something or just trying to stir up trouble?

Anybody seen farmboy?

Barrett, M said...

I loved it and think, maybe, this could actually be a book someday. Although I have not read any other posts of yours, so it is possible that you are long winded on all of them:) Regardless, this was a powerful showing of Biblical reasoning and worthy of more study and meditation.

centuri0n said...

Qohelet:

You have read this blog before, right?

Listen -- the only reason to even consider asking your question is if there is something wrong with specifically magnifying any of the particular events of the Life of Christ. For example, shouldn't the resurrection be something we have a sort of somber triumphalism over every day? If so, does that mean that celebrating the resurrection at Easter is somehow false?

Yes: Jesus should be Lord and Christ every day to the redeemed. But then what does that mean -- does it mean we should just walk around with drab-colored clothes and emotionally-drab faces with all the fun sucked out of the life we have left to avoid making sure one day is not more or less than the next and we have a very neat and tidy doctrine on paper? Or does it mean that we take every opportunity -- and perhaps even invent some opportunities -- to tell all kinds of people that there are good tidings of great joy because Christ is born, that he died, and that he was raised on the thrid day?

Jesus is Lord and Christ, bro. If there wasn't a Christmas, I'd invent one.

DJP said...

Qohelet -- Anybody seen farmboy?

You mean the guy who nailed you dead-center for your trollish behavior? And you've been crying (or, strictly, raging and laughing [Proverbs 29:9]) about it ever since?

I trust he's around, thank God.

In the meanwhile, I can't make you apologize, drop it, and get on some constructive track, as you should. But I can make you knock it off. You're not going to make every comment-thread be about you and your issues.

So knock it off.

Libbie said...

I'm grateful to be alive everyday, I really am. Doesn't mean I don't thank God for my life very specifically one day a year, on my birthday.
How much have I to be thankful that Christ was born into this world. So Christmas is the least I can think of doing, really.

Good post, Dan.

You know I even read The Fellowship of the Ring all the way through this month. So now I know exactly what you were talking about in the first few paragraphs.

*shudders*

DJP said...

Barrett -- this could actually be a book someday.

The thought has occurred to me, though there are others I'd love to be able to see in print first. But the theme I tried to sound is a very large one, and recurrent throughout Scriptures: the lengths to which man goes to flee God's presence, and what God does about it.

...it is possible that you are long winded on all of them

Well... not all. But it is something I try to guard against.

DJP said...

Rick -- I prayed you would receive the gift of tongues this year. Let us know how that goes

Since it'd be the first time for anyone in 1900 years, I doubt you'd need me to tell you. Just pick up a paper.

janelle said...

That was amazingly enlightening. Thanks!!!

centuri0n said...

Dan asked me to delete his comment to Q, but I'm not gonna. I agree with him and give Q the administrative angry-eyebrows.

DJP said...

Clarification: thanks Frank; I'd actually asked you to delete an earlier (6:48 AM) of two versions. I was able to do so myself afterwards.

Thanks for the nod, and I also stand by the 6:54 AM version above.

DJP said...

BTW, Exblogitory, a belated agreement. I see Christmas as another "excuse" to talk about The Great Subject. Here's a time of year when there are reminders of Christ all over the place, and there are forces struggling to efface them. Shall I (tactily) side with the latter by giving my energies to denouncing any concept of celebrating Christ's birth? Or shall I in effect say, "As long as we're on the subject," and go for it?

If I have any concept of the spirit Paul shows in Acts, I just cannot imagine that he wouldn't leap into the cultural opening with both Gospel guns blazing.

donsands said...

Another thought on Christmas celebrating is the wonderful hymns that were written for this occasion.

'Joy to the World' is one of my favorites, and it resounds with truth.

'Hark the Hearald Angels Sing' is another, 'Come All Ye Faithful', Handels Messiah, and there are so many others which lift the heart of the true Christian, and proclaim the truth for all to hear.

Connie said...

I'm thankful for everytime I have cause to focus on the incredible mystery of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us! Thanks for the post Dan.

I'm not a huge movie/Hollywood fan, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the movie "Nativity" provided me with some lasting reminders of God's amazing and merciful plan.

Appreciate the time and effort you have put forth in this post.

centuri0n said...

Somehow, I missed the Antonio-follower's dismissal of the holiday as extra-biblical.

Let me say this about that:

[1] One of the salient features of what the Bible says about Jesus Christ is that He was born. On a day in history. And on that day, Angels appeared and sang-up God's glory. So celebrating the birth of Christ is hardly not "mentioned in the Bible".

[2] One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

[3] As to the first Christians, the Jews who accepted Christ had both sabbath and the First day; the gentiles celebrated only the First day. In that, the view that "the first Christians felt no need to create a holiday to celebrate the birth of our Lord" ignores the fact that they celebrated once a week the resurrection of our Lord.

The finger-wagging that comes from those allegedly concerned about how free Grace is will never cease to amaze me. Or to get me riled up.

Catez said...

Very refreshing to see metanarrative used in the proper way!

Similarly you could argue (inelegantly) that the Bible's metanarrative is something like this: man flees from the presence of God, and God acts to restore man to His presence.


Not sure if you have encapsulated the metanarrative there, but I need to think on that more. You have definitely encapsulated a theme within it.

And the Word became flesh,

That is the heart of the metanarrative.

I'm not fussed on the pagan blah blah. Christmases trees are pretty. The commercialisation ranks foul though. Which is not a uniquely Christian perspective either.

On the other hand, the virgin birth of the redeemer is.

DJP said...

catez -- Not sure if you have encapsulated the metanarrative there

Nor am I. It is, at the very least, a major theme that keeps surging and recurring within the layers of Biblical narrative and discourse.

4given said...

My pastor has been expositing Hebrews. He just finished, after several weeks of study, Hebrews 9:1-15.
V. 1-10 (The shadow)
V. 11-14 (The substance)
It made this portion of Scripture even more profound to me to think of it in light of the birth of our Saviour. I guess that is what makes a metanarrative approach essential in the study of Scripture. I love the way you tied it together with that single word... dwell. According to Hebrews 9:11, Christ is "the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands... with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place ONCE FOR ALL having obtained eternal redemption."
WOW!!!! That is why He was born... so that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (9:15)
So that we may eternally dwell with our Lord. As my pastor said, "Christ came, Christ entered, and Christ did not leave." It is He who "obtained" (secured) eternal redemption... NOT ME. I had nothing to do with it so why would I think to make a holiday that is supposed to celebrate His birth about me...

Dan... Frank... you two sound like you need to hug each other or something. How sweet.

centuri0n said...

One of the things that hasn't "come up" yet is that the high-church people have a church calendar with church seasons in it for the purpose of exhorting the faithful through a sort of catechetical review every year. (is "catechetical" a word?)

That view of things has a great purpose, if you axe me. It is a method by which the faithful could get a decent view into the metanarrative of Scripture.

But, of course, the Catholics do it, so we can't have that.

4given said...

Pyrocatechetical: referring to satirical, fully aflame with Gospel guns blazing, passionate for truth way of instructing by asking and then answering of questions. This is accomplished with Biblical proof... which sometimes is more like reproof... especially when referring to selfish "It's all about me" questions and "Can someone write stupid on my forehead" statements that have nothing to do with the post... of which result in inevitable self-condemnation of their own misconduct. (In other words... don't be stupid. It will be obvious.)

DOGpreacher said...

From someone who usually just reads, let me say this:

Your post was very good Dan, concerning the tabernacle...dwelling...fulfillment...Christ, etc., yet falls short (in my opinion) of validating Christmas.

I asked my congregation to try & do 2 things during their Christmas celebrations. (1)Let it be truly (& wholly) Christ-centered, & (2) Give the gift(s) that He would advocate giving to the ones who are in need of such.

My response to "isn't that worth a song...celebration...a day(?)" is YES, it is worth far more than that! That still doesn't change the fact that we are given ordinances, & neither Christmas or Easter is one of them.

The teaching concerning the word "dwell" I really enjoyed, and might mention another place: In John when Jesus says, "I am the vine, and ye are the branches..." He goes on to talk about those who "dwell"...etc.

Centurion:
Your argument in point #3 of your comment is neither accurate, nor makes sense (to me). (1)Read Acts 13:42-44, where the GENTILES caught up with Paul as he was leaving the synagogue and begged him to preach these words to them the next sabbath. We see in v.44 where "..the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the whole word of God." Why didn't Paul just say,"Hold on there you Gentiles, you don't need to wait till the next sabbath day, I'll preach to you guys tomorrow? I don't know why he didn't say that, I just know that he didn't.

I do not believe that Paul thought of the first day of the week as a commemoration of the Lords resurrection, or He being a man of obedience & strong love for the Lord wouldn't have spent his first day of the week...making tents (a regular work-day)in Acts 18:1-11. I believe Paul knew that our "Sabbath" (rest) had been fulfilled in Christ, and that every day was true rest for the one "In Christ"!

Alas...I expect no less than the ridicule & harsh manner that was given to "qohelet". But, then again, it is the "day after Christmas"...no need to emulate our saviour now, eh? I am...

Grateful For Grace,
The D.O.G.preacher

Catez said...

Dan:
Yes. And I just remembered why we will come to that point. We can't really encapsulate the metanarrative because of our finitude. God is the metanarrative! The Logos!
We can acknowledge the metanarrative - which you have ably done. And we can capture significant themes and expressions.
Of course there are those who want to reduce the metanaarative to some sort of subjective pluralistic human construction. Or even try to do away with it as if it is a dispensable relic. I'm not having that - it's like cold Christmas pud.
Your post however lifts us above the worship of the creaturely to the Creator. Very nicely too.

DJP said...

Qohelet -- repeating the same snide insinuations and sneering snipes, however eloquently and at length, does not meet my definition of "knock it off." So it, and related posts, are gone.

Stay, go, whatever. You're free. Just like the service Pyro provides. If you won't apologize for the behavior I singled out (which had nothing to do with diverting to the propriety of Christmas celebrations), don't.

Just stop repeating it. I mean it.

farmboy said...

"Alas...I expect no less than the ridicule & harsh manner that was given to 'qohelet'. But, then again, it is the 'day after Christmas'...no need to emulate our saviour now, eh? I am..."

Is your comment such that it should properly be treated in this way? If so, why didn't you reformulate your comment, addressing all relevant issues, before posting it? Do you have evidence that Mr. Phillips, Mr. Turk or Mr. Johnson dispense such responses in instances where they are not warranted? Do you have evidence that Mr. Phillips, Mr. Turk or Mr. Johnson consistently and intentionally seek to behave in a manner contrary to the example of the Savior? You level two very serious charges. You have a responsibility, then, to back up your charges with evidence.

DJP said...

dogpreacher -- glad you got some benefit from the post. I regret your gratuitously pugnacious closing paragraph.

I don't find your argument from silence compelling, but certainly affirm your freedom to refrain from taking this opportunity to celebrate the Incarnation. I'd ask you to do the same (as you seemingly do) to those of us who, by contrast, leap at the opportunity.

Pastor Mike said...

Dan-
Did God tabernacle for keeps as your title suggests? Didn't he tabernacle for a time (christ's lifespan on earth). Now he has taken the tent back to the throne room and is seated at the right hand of the Father -- "pilgrimage" completed. The Holy Spirit now tabernacles with believers in Christ. Perhaps this is a minutia comment.

I appreciated the Revelation connection with "tabernacling", but isn't that a reference to something (like the old shekinah glory in the tabernacle) restored in the end? God will actually be in our presence -- no flip that around -- we will actually be in God's presence in that millenial reign. I'll bet that the celebrations during that time will feel alot like Christmas 24/7/365 for a million years! :)

A metanarrative note: could you see "God revealing portions (fractions) of his glory to men" as a larger metanarrative umbrella than your suggestion? I have to agree with the post about our finitude however. Trying to boil God's plan down into 12-20 words is a bit overwhelming.

Dan, I really appreciate your writing (I really appreciate another long-winded fellow) and your responses. Sry that it includes some sniping. Thanks for your vacation writing too. There is no real day off is there?

Matthew said...

Interesting points, Dan...

Carla said...

Dan,

I just now had the time to read this post, and I wanted to simply say thank you.

The way you wrote this really blessed me, and I'm glad I stayed up past my bedtime to read it.

Now... about that pizza recipe... ahem...

Mark said...

Dogpreacher,

Read Acts 20:7-12. Should clear up any misunderstandings with Cents point #3. Paul and the disciples had communion on the first day of the week. The disciples were Jews and Gentiles. At this time, Christians had not entirely seperated from the Jews.

As to why Paul did not immediately preach to the gentiles in Acts 13. Continue reading to v46. The Jews had yet to reject the Gospel.

In Acts 10, 11, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19 and 20, each time Paul/Silas/Barnabas enter a city such as Antioch they preached at the synagogues first. The Holy Spirit called out those chosen. Once the Gospel was rejected they went to the gentiles. They followed the teachings of Jesus as described in Matthew 10:5, 15:21-28, Mark 7:24-30 for example. Going to the lost sheep of Israel first.

Also, in your readings you will see that on return trips to cities that had churches, scripture tells us that Paul went to the churches first. Same with Apollos, Silas etal.

Establishment of ordinances has nothing to do with Christmas, Easter, The Lords Day (Sunday). If we can only do something on authority of an ordinance, then my Baptist (SBC) and your church are limited in what we can do. You as I are Baptist. We hold only two ordinances. Everything outside of that is not governed by an ordinance. If we have to have an ordinance to justify our church and demoninational beliefs....we are in trouble. As are most Christians.

Merry Christmas. We continue celebrating until 3 kings day. Sometime in January. A month and half of 1st Advent celebrations. Good to have a Latina wife!

Oh yes, Dogpreacher, no attacks just a friendly exchange of information.

Mark

centuri0n said...

For the record, I was the one who deleted Q's last comment. I am sure there's a record of it in heaven.

Malchymist said...

When I was a younger and more demanding man I too made issues regarding what we now call Christmas. Virtually every component save for the retelling of the nativity is pagan.
The date and so much of the activity is distinctly that of the Saturnalia and related winter solstice celebrations. And that not taking into account that the real likelihood that Jesus was born in September during the Feast of Booths (tabernacling).
Now I see 1. All my kids missed, and for what?
2. As cent referred to Paul and the observing of special days- days mean what you decide as a Christian, not what some heathen decides, nor some legalistic religionist.
So now Christmas is a good day and the family, the kids and especially the grandkids and I fully enjoy it.

Dan
This was an excellent post tracing the Hebrew word through the Bible, and I am considering it a Christmas gift.
thank you

DJP said...

Pastor Mike -- thanks for the good questions.

Yes, God permanently tabernacled in Christ. That dwelling is not taken down and reassembled, one day to be destroyed for good. The fullness of Deity has, as Paul says, settled down in Christ, in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). That bodily presence is a permanent presence. It has been removed to Heaven physically, but now the Trinity settles down within us here, now, spiritually (Ephesians 3:17-19).

I'm not sure how you see the final dwelling of God as exceptional to my point.

Mike, I'm hesitant about picking any one theme and saying it is THE metanarrative. The glory of God is the center of all; but what narrative is that, specifically? If you wed it to my suggestion -- that man flees the presence of God in His glory, and God moves to restore him to that glorious presence -- then maybe we're on to something.

Thanks again.

DOGpreacher said...

djp,

Actually, in this case (the argument from silence), I think the silence is deafening. This would not technically qualify as an argument from silence anyway (When Paul tells about his labors as a tent maker, while continuing to preach every sabbath, this tells us what he did with the other days of his week). The silence I am hearing is that NO ONE has dealt with the scriptures that I ask them to look at.

"Mark" responded with an insightful piece of commentary...that DID NOT address what I was talking about. BTW, "Mark" I am in agreement with you concerning ordinances. My point was that in Baptist life it seems like the unofficial 3rd ordinance & viewed as being outside orthodoxy, and something one dare not question.

"farmboy": I am familiar with your commentary on many previous posts, and have always found them thoughtful, some insightful, and within the spirit of Christlike dialogue. That said, I will respond to your questions: (1)No (2)N/A (3)I didn't address Mr. Turk or Mr. Johnson. Pertaining to Mr. Phillips...yes, I believe so (at least that is my perception). (4)Once again, only in regards to Mr. Phillips. I read the comment from "qohelet" that is still on here, as well as the one that WAS here and is now gone. what was so incendiary about THOSE 2 comments? I don't believe our saviour would have censured those comments. So...yes to this question(#4). As for leveling serious charges...No, I am not. I am simply saying that kind words and solid exegesis are preferrable. As for my responsibility, I call them like I see them...and remember, at the first of my comment I mentioned that I just usually read here. When you are not in a haste to comment, but just to read, it is fairly easy to see where people have misunderstood others comments, then get a little defensive with some tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. The person who was misunderstood then attacks back, and it's on...and on...and on.

BTW...NOBODY addressed the part of my comment about the things I asked the congregation to do this Christmas (If we are going to call ourselves reformed, we had better start with Christmas [i.e. the worldly aspects of the holiday that we have brought into the church]). Did that hit to close to home?#:<) OR was that just not as eye-catching?

I have appreciated so many wonderful posts here, and will continue to, and did this one except for the tie-in to Christmas, which is romantic but a stretch in my opinion.