In the garden called Eden, the first people chose not to obey God. Their evil deed separated them from God. They had made it impossible for God to live with them (Genesis chapter 3).
Since then, Godís greatest desire has been to live with his people. That was why God told Moses to build a tent, called the tabernacle, for him (Exodus chapter 26). Wherever Godís people went in the desert, they took Godís tabernacle with them (Numbers 9:17-23). Godís holy place still had to be separate from them, but it stood in the middle of their camp.
God gave his people, the Jews, the country called Israel as their permanent possession. Still, for several centuries, the house of God continued to be a tent. David wanted to build a permanent building, called the temple, for God; and God allowed Solomon, his son, to do that. However, the relationship between God and his people had not changed. Godís holy place was still separate from his people, although it stood in their capital city, Jerusalem.
Something extraordinary happened when Christ came. For a short time, God was living among his people, although few people realised it (John 1:14). Christís death changes the relationship between God and his people (Hebrews chapter 8). Now nothing separates them from God (Hebrews 10:19-22). Now Godís Holy Spirit lives in them (1 Corinthians 6:19).
That is the beginning of Godís work to create the new heaven and earth (2 Corinthians 5:17). Today, we can hardly understand what God has done (1 Corinthians 13:9-10; 1 John 3:2). In the New Jerusalem, it will be clear to everyone (Romans 8:18-19). God will live with his people. He will remain with them always and nothing will separate him from them.
Abraham, Isaac and Job lived in tents (Hebrews 11:9). They often had to move their tents. They were looking for a place where they could rest and remain (for example Genesis 33:18-20). God has travelled with his people to many places. He, like them, will find a permanent home in the New Jerusalem (Psalm 132:13-16).
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© 2016, Keith Simons.