“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.” Rev. 21:3
Sometimes we are asked the question: what is the theme of the Bible? Admittedly, the question is a difficult one. So many glorious doctrines – how can we reduce them all to one, concise sentence? But it seems to me, everything in the Bible points to this grand theme, of which Rev. 21:3 speaks: fellowship with God! The covenant – essentially, a relationship of friendship!
Our text brings out one outstanding way this fellowship was pictured in the Old Testament: the tabernacle. The tabernacle was a glorious, breath-taking type of God dwelling with His people. Wherever the people journeyed in the wilderness, that beautiful tent structure was brought with them. God was always with His people in a very visible way.
Today, Christ dwells with us by His Spirit. Yes, the Spirit dwelled in the hearts of God’s people in the Old Testament, too. But in the New Testament, that Spirit has been poured out as a gushing stream, compared to the trickle found in the Old Testament.
How does God dwell with us now in the New Testament?
Church – there we worship together our covenant God. He speaks to us, and we respond. He comforts us, encourages us, admonishes us, and exhorts us as our Covenant Friend. Do you think of going to church as fellowship with the Most High? Do you think of worshipping God on Sunday as a foretaste of the relationship you will experience fully in heaven? God tabernacling with men!
Devotions – when we sit with our family around the supper table, or sit quietly at night with our Bibles, we speak to, and listen to, our Friend-Sovereign. Do you find that you are reluctant to take fifteen minutes out of your day to read Scripture and pray? If you are, and we all are guilty of this, then we must remember: this is fellowship with God in Jesus Christ. God tabernacling with men!
These are only two ways out of many we have fellowship with God now. But we must go on.
In heaven, God will dwell with us fully. Think of that tabernacle in the Old Testament – Revelation says that in heaven God will tabernacle with men! He will eat with us, live with us, talk with us – in the face of Jesus Christ. We cannot even imagine! No more will we need a human priest to go into the most holy place; no more will the shedding of goats’ and lambs’ blood be necessary – for the lamb, Jesus Christ, has atoned for our sins. He has died for our salvation. Because of His blood, God can tabernacle with us.
And when all is said and done, what is it that we want more? What is it that our hearts truly long for? What is the direction of our entire life, existence, heart, and soul? Fellowship with God! Sweet communion with God! Imagine: dwelling with the Most High God, forever, enjoying His eternal, unchanging love.
That is heaven!