In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3 NASB
Where does God dwell? When the sanctuary was standing, for many years his presence, his Shekina, was there. But even when the sanctuary was standing, he had his eyes on a different home. Humans.
Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word. Isaiah 66:1-2 NKJV
But since the Son came and offered himself and our human temple is swept and clean, he left the former temple (dramatically, I might add) and now he dwells in temples of flesh, the tents of man. My Father takes up residence within me. At the same time Jesus died on the cross, this occurred:
then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, Matthew 27:51 NKJV
This curtain was a symbol, similar to the Passover lamb. They both were shadows of the real, they pointed to something that cast the shadow. The shadow caster is Jesus. And the heavenly and earthly intersected with timing that was not coincidental.
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh. Hebrews 10:19-20 NASB
It wasn’t until after Jesus died, rose, and ascended that the Holy Spirit could fill his disciples. He told them to wait for it. He boldly promised during a feast of the Jews, loudly declaring:
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:38-39 NASB
The Holy Spirit now dwells in man.
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 NASB
Often when we think of where God is, we think of an ambiguous place called heaven, one described only by the most vivid imagination. We have a general idea that it will no longer involve death or suffering (and anything you translate that to mean from not having to eat vegetables to having a field day at Six Flags over California). But, there’s a real place that he dwells, and it’s definitely not here on earth. Or is it?
What does he want? This is most poignantly answered from Genesis 3:9 Then the Lord God called to man, “Where are you?” He wants us.
He longs for relationship, closeness. Nearness to my heart. Association with my brokenness. And more than that, pleasure in my joy, recovery, and my journey. The Holy Spirit fills me. He fills his other believers. He dwells in man. This is incredible. First in Christ (1 Col 1:19 All the fullness of God dwelt in him and in John 2:19 Jesus is the temple). Now in me (1 Corinthians 3:16 I am the temple of God), and eventually, us – a people connected and built together for him into a temple in the spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22).
So, I ask again, where does he dwell? Where are the all rooms that Jesus speaks of? If I attend a funeral, the minister will usually make it plain that he or she believes it’s in that ambiguous heaven zone. Sometime in the future. Something I don’t see. I understand and accept that I don’t see everything today. I’m a man in a body of flesh that has limitations. But he gives me “sprit eyes” with which to see. And, God made this body. And he made it with the intent of experiencing me in it. And me him. Jesus too had a body. And unlike me, it was not blinded by his own sin and he was able to see that kingdom without obstruction. And to dwell there. And to pull from its storehouses and share with those he taught. You knew Jesus had another source besides his family, upbringing and the education (he never received from Jewish schools), he spoke with authority and impact. He was the real deal and listeners recognized the substance which he commanded.
Thayer’s Greek lexicon says “dwelling place” means: a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode. It speaks of a comfortable place, like home. It’s used only one other place in the New Testament, later in verse 23 speaking of the Father and the Son:
“…and We will come to him and make Our dwelling place with him.” John 14:23 AMP
Possibly, the many rooms of which he speaks are the hearts of those he has redeemed, and loves. Believers. There may be many places Jesus dwells. Places we do not know or understand. Wild, wonderful, miraculous, mind-blowing dwellings that have the ability to color our world uniquely and give us a perspective that is different than natural man. But he also dwells in me. Why can’t that be just as mind blowing?
The thing that is often confused from the consolation Jesus is offering his disciples is the timing. Is it another far off, pie in the sky promise of when men and women sit on clouds with golden harps? I personally believe that Jesus, who was friends in the flesh with his disciples, was letting them know that there would be a pause and he would be right back (so to speak). Later, in John 16:7, he told them it was better for them that he went away:
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:7 NIV
He was again pointing to the fact that they would be the new temple. Yes, their relationship would change. It would no longer be flesh to flesh, something they (and we) were very comfortable with. But as much as a relationship with Jesus in the flesh would no longer be present, he was telling them that they would experience him in an even better way. And this occurred with a rushing mighty wind on the day of Pentecost when Jesus returned and filled them all. Clearly, Jesus was saying that the promise of the Holy Spirit and God dwelling in men was coming shortly. Days away. He was talking to them like the nurse talking to the woman in labor. It’s coming.
Putting on “spirit eyes” and not trying to interpret this in the flesh, we may see Jesus in each other. As a believer who wants to value what God values, I’m being transformed daily to be more like him. Yeah, there are some parts still in progress, maybe a lot of parts, but if you can get past the unfinished and see what he has done, you may find him in me. I’m a temple for him. So are you. We may experience the presence of God in each other. I’m a dwelling place for him. So are you. There are many, many rooms in our Father’s house. And it is in these places that not only our Lord dwells, but we are invited to live. We may experience him and his kingdom and majesty in each other. In the playground of our hearts.