“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?” (Isaiah 66:1).
“And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).
Recently, the Lord has been dealing with me regarding this subject. This is just part of what I sense the Lord is bringing His people to understand. He wants us to know His purpose and desire, and the things that He seeks to accomplish in this last day.
As we continually press into the heart of the Father to know His true purpose, it is imperative to know that one of the desires of God is to have a dwelling place – a house here on earth. This dwelling place is the “ekklesia” (the Church) of God, and the Lord is building His house. The apostolic reformation aims to bring people together that God might dwell in us as a spiritual habitation. There is an ongoing building process, and we need a building mentality to see a completion of God’s house.
“….upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens 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 whom ye are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
Heaven is not the house of God. Scripture refers to heaven as the throne of God. There is a big difference between a house and a throne. The house of God has been under construction for a long time, even from the beginning of creation to the present. The Church has been the mystery of the ages. As we unveil this mystery, then we will understand the Church. This understanding will help us to define both our origin and our purpose. We might then understand the process of God in building His house as He seeks for a dwelling among His people in the earth.
The danger faced in this present season is the lack of insight about the blueprint to accurately build the house of God. The Church being a physical structure as supposed by many reflects our ignorance of the purpose and true meaning of the Church. The Greek word for Church is “ekklesia”. It is made up of two words – ek, meaning “out of” and kaleo, meaning “to call”. This means that Church is an assembly of “the called out ones”, a congregation or a group of people. We are the Church of Jesus Christ and the house of God (Hebrews 3:6). We are called out from darkness into His marvellous light and glorious Kingdom.
“the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15).
The lack of insight and understanding of what the Church actually is, has resulted in some in this present apostolic reformation declaring that the present Church gathering in public places is a wrong pattern of God’s way, as reflected in the early Church of the book of the Acts of the apostles. The development of “House Churches” and the manner of gathering in public places are both scriptural. The formation of house churches does not mean that the existing Church pattern of gathering in public places is wrong. Meeting in houses or in bigger public venues is not the issue; the important thing is the gathering of the people who are the real Church. If we look into the book of Acts, we will discover that the Church gathered in houses, as well as in the temples “bigger public venues for worship” (Acts 2:46). The apostles were constantly, daily in the temple. The temple was the central sanctuary, a sacred place where the Church met.
Today’s church building was the temple in the book of Acts, but the Acts’ real ‘Church’ referred to the Christians, the followers of Christ. We need to define the terms as we present our gospel to prevent offence and opposition to the apostolic reformation. The apostolic reformation does believe in the Church. The apostolic reformation does not oppose the Church, but rather calls for a return to the New Testament pattern of apostolic structures in fulfilling the purpose of God in the earth. To this end, a need to come out from some of the present Babylonian church systems and religious denominations is recognized.
The Children of Israel in the Old Testament were the ekklesia that represented the Church in that order (Acts 7:38). One of the goals of God is that the Church would be the instrument to establish His Kingdom on the earth. The churches are not the Kingdom of God, but they represent the Kingdom as ambassadors upon the earth, and aim to establish a heavenly colony of the Kingdom of God. The Old Testament ekklesia, the Church in the wilderness, had a functional preparatory of establishing the Kingdom of God in the earth. As called out ones from Egypt, the desire of God was to separate them as unique ones to represent His Kingdom, and demonstrate His life and character to distinguish them from all other nations and kingdoms upon the face of the earth.
In their true and obedient walk with God, the Children of Israel defined and reflected the nature of Kingdom people under God’s government. Their culture, principles and laws were completely different from others (Esther 3:8). In this present day the Church is a nation “ethnos – a race, a tribe” of people who are scattered abroad, but are bound by the same Kingdom and governmental laws, principles and culture under the Lordship and leadership of Jesus Christ.
The purpose of the Church in the earth is to administer the government of God’s Kingdom. Those called out by God’s grace into the family of God are called, not merely for salvation and eternal life only, but to learn the ways of God and His Kingdom, and to develop His divine character upon the earth. The objective of the Church is to take responsibility in declaring the gospel of the Kingdom of God. This act will bring restoration of God’s heavenly government on the earth and the ousting of Satan’s rule over the people. The intent and desire of God is to Kingdomize the earth and bring all things under subjection through the Church for the return of Jesus Christ (Psalm 110:1-2, Romans 16:20).
Recognize that the true Church is not dead, neither is it dying. The Church is growing to become His glorious Body. The Church will manifest the unsearchable riches of Christ. The Church will make known to principalities and powers in heavenly places the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose that God prepared in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world.
The Lord will not inhabit an unfinished building; neither will His glory come down on an unfinished house. For this reason, the Church has not yet experienced the fullness of God’s glory that will be greater than the former. The Church will reveal the Excellency of the glory of God. To do so, we must remove every hindrance, veil, darkness of ignorance, spiritual blindness, dishonesty, craftiness and deceitfulness. God’s intent in dwelling among us is to manifest His great and excellent glory. It is for the builder and the house to bear the glory (Zechariah 6:13).
God’s desire from the beginning is to find a dwelling place and a house among men. In Genesis, God continually visited Adam and Eve in the garden for fellowship. It speaks of the heart of our relationship with the Lord, and His desire for a dwelling among us.
“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:” (Genesis 3:8-9).
Moses received an instruction that the Children of Israel were to build God a sanctuary that He might dwell amongst them. God’s desire from the beginning of the ages is to find a shelter, a dwelling among men upon the earth.
“….let them make me a sanctuary: that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” (Exodus 25:8-9).
In this present day, the Lord has moved from dwelling in tents and He now tabernacles Himself in men – the Church – as His permanent house here on earth. We have become the temple of the Lord in which He resides. No longer is God content to visit, He seeks to abide permanently. We must go beyond the visitation experience. God wants to dwell in His house, and to be visiting His house!
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3).
The Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah prophetically speak of the restoration of worship through laying the foundation of God’s temple (His house). Careful study of Nehemiah 4:6-18 will reveal some important truths about the building process and restoration of God’s house.
To see the house of God built, our mindsets (philosophy, mentality, traditions) must shift to a purposeful building mentality of gathering of the living stones to raise up the wall and building. (We are the living stones that are scattered abroad that are to be put together, polished and positioned in our rightful place to function as the house of God).
A heap of stones does not make a house alone, but rather it produces a pyramid structure that contains “dead men’s bones”. For the Church to progress beyond this present dimension, each stone must be fitly joined and positioned. The living stones must be well polished and set in order. Proper alignment is needed to accurately build the house of God.
Much today does not indicate order in the house of God. There is displacement and dislocation, as everyone is seeking his own way. Few are seeking the Lord for a clear word. As a result, frustrated leaders and churches are running to and fro, attending conferences for new church growth techniques. All that is received is another man’s vision, methods and principles that does not work for them. I am not saying that the principles are not of God. They are the revelation of God’s word given to His Church in a particular geographical location for that time and purpose. These principles and methods were given by God to men for their particular church, city and nation. We are not obligated to carry this to our own church, city or nation. It is not a mandatory pattern and method for all churches and leaders in other nations. The personal word of revelation from the Lord for each church, city and nation is the key to successful Church growth.
When our mind becomes stuck and set in past experience and doctrine, we cannot move on with God, and traditions begin to creep in, making the word of God of no effect (Mark 7:13).
Tradition is any religious practice, statement, precept, legend, custom, belief, system or teaching handed down from one generation to the other by the words of our mouth, or by practice that replaces the revelation of the Spirit of God. Tradition is developed to replace the word of God when the people lose focus of what the Lord is saying, and where He is at. This is easy to do when we become busy with religious activities and programs thinking that God is in it, and He is not.
Pharisees are agents who promote traditions (Mark 7:3). In the Church today, the manifestation of a Pharisee spirit is visible when God begins to move the Church into a new dimension of spiritual truth, and to change the order and structure of existing revelation in the Body of Christ.
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition.” (Matthew 15:1-3).
The Sadducees and Pharisees sects were instituted during the four hundred year period between the prophet Malachi and prophet John the Baptist. During this dark period God was not speaking and revealing Himself in the earth. For the purpose of guarding and protecting the standard and integrity of the word, as recorded in the Law and the Prophets, the Sadducees and Pharisees sects were set up and recognized. These sects were the ones to become the greatest resistance and persecutors of the Word and the Lord Jesus Christ. Once right, they were not able to discern the move of God in the earth, and they became the persecutors of the very God they professed to serve. The Pharisee and Sadducee spirit exists in the Church today and seeks to oppose God’s plan and purpose in the Church and in the earth.
The Pharisee spirit in a passive and lifeless traditional church holds to the voice of the past moves and rejects the present voice and truth. A spirit of rebellion manifests as stubbornness and unwillingness to yield to the present move of God in the earth. Leaders, board members, elders, deacons and decision makers are at risk of deception through lack of understanding and revelation of the Holy Spirit regarding the actions of God. This gives place for the spirit of Jezebel to enter and begin to rule and oversee the activities of the Church.
Here are some thoughts gleaned from Nehemiah 4:6-18:
1. The mindset of the people to build (Verse 6). Evidence of a purposeful building mentality, gathering the living stones to raise the wall. There must be a corporate and active response to the purpose and plan of God if we are to finish His work on earth. We must have the right blueprint to build accurately. We are not to build according to the old pattern; there must be accurate prophetic insight regarding the apostolic patterns to build the Church in this season.
“To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5).
2. The walls of Jerusalem were built upwards (verse 7). Another translation says the walls of Jerusalem ascended. This verse speaks of the ascension gifts, the five-fold ministry whose primary purpose is to build the Church into a perfect man and measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:8-16). The ministry of the apostles and prophets has a specific assignment, to lay foundations from which the house (Church) is fitly joined together. These ministries alone are the only delegated ministries that is able to lay the foundations of the Church (Ephesians 2:20). Restoration of the apostolic and prophetic ministry will commence this work, and the Church will grow into a holy temple of God through the Holy Spirit. The Lord will have His habitation and rest therein. The Church of Jesus Christ must be built in accordance with the pattern revealed in scripture.
3. Building with a warfare mentality (verses 15-18). In accordance with Ephesians 4:11, as the ascension gifts are released to build, the activities of the enemy must be recognized. Be prepared for spiritual warfare. Build with a warfare mentality to see the house of God finished and His glory dwelling therein. In our spiritual warfare, we know that it is finished, accomplished by Christ Jesus who spoiled all principalities and powers. We wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), but our declaration as a company of Kingdom people is to stand in the victory of Christ and proclaim the word of God. Shout from the housetops that the warfare is accomplished! (Colossians 2:15, Isaiah 40:1-2). We need to know our stand and our authority in Christ Jesus.
4. Being alert to the call of the trumpet (verses 19-20). The trumpet of God is sounding in this last day. Many are deaf to the sound of the trumpet of God, and are not alert to the call of the Spirit of God. Some are not aware of the revelations that the Holy Spirit is releasing in this day. The seal is being broken and the revelation of the mysteries of God’s plan and purpose is being revealed. Access into the Holiest of Holies is being granted, for us to hear and know the will and purpose of God. We live in a new day of revelation (Revelation 10:7). God is raising up a new ministry of revelation that is trumpeting the mind of the Father in the earth by the Holy Spirit and His word. The Church must tune in and heed to what the Lord is saying.
5. To hinder it (verse 8). Another translation says “to make an error to it”. The enemy conspires against the purposes of God. The enemy seeks to make an error to the plan, so that we will not complete the house of God. The intent of the enemy is to scatter and hinder the process of building God’s house and His work upon the earth. Ignorance and unbelief war against the purposes of God in this present move and are key factors that hinder us from entering into the purpose and ways of God (Hebrews 3:1-19). As we advance, be on guard for false and twisted revelations, human philosophy and errors in the present truth of God.
Tradition and religious programs result from the lack of a clear voice from heaven and the lack of focus on the principles of God’s Kingdom. In this present reformation of the apostolic ministry to establish God’s Kingdom, every human tradition and Babylonian system of governmental authority taught as doctrine that stands against the word and Spirit will be rooted out and destroyed. Those with a Pharisaical spirit will become offended with the effect of reformation and the hard sayings of revealed present truth, and then this reformation will bring a transformation of relationship with God.
“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men….Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” (Matthew 15:9-13).
Church is a dwelling place for God. When the building of the house of God is finished, the glory will come.
“And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. 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.” (Exodus 40:33-35).
“Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God…….. It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.” (2 Chronicles 5:1, 13-14).
Apostolic Kingdom builders should not be satisfied with what has been built thus far, but should seek a more accurate strategic pattern to bring the Church to ultimate completion, and to a place of finishing the unfinished works of our fathers. Let us build according to God’s requirement and pattern. When we build accurately in the exact pattern that the Lord has given, a transition into a new and higher realm becomes possible.
Copyright © 2017 by Israel Onoriobe
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