Introduction When the Lord God-Jehovah-Elohim, the Triune God - had planted the garden of Eden, and filled it with everything that could delight the senses, he placed man there. Adam and Eve having sinned, and hearing the voice of God, walking in the garden in the cool of the day, they hid themselves from His presence amongst the trees. God asked, "Adam, where art thou?" And he said, "I heard Thy voice . . . and I was afraid" (Gen. 3. 10).
Concerning Enoch, the seventh from Adam, it is recorded that "he walked with God" (Gen. 5. 21-24). The word is the same as is used of Jehovah walking in the garden. It is implied that before the Fall, God walked with man and man with God. "Enoch walked with God." When he struck out on that path he was not the inventor of it. God had set the example. He desires companionship with us more than we do with Him. The walk begun in Eden, broken off by sin, was renewed with Enoch, amid the evils of a fallen world, continued with Noah and all the children of faith onward to the Cross. A Sunday-school teacher, explaining the translation of Enoch to her class, thus expressed herself :-"God was in the habit of taking long walks with Enoch, and one evening, when they had gone far and talked so long, it was too late for Enoch to go back to his home, so God took him home with Him." Thus shall it be with all who walk with God. That walk begun in Paradise before the Fall, renewed in grace, taken up in resurrection by the Lord Jesus, will be continued in the Paradise of God through eternity, in that eternal day which knows no shadow and no evening. "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye " (1 Thess. 4. 16.17) the Lord will come and take His pilgrim people who walk with Him down here to be for ever with Himself at home up there. "The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them and shall lead them " (Rev. 7. 17). According to His own words, "I go to prepare a place for you. . . . I come again, and will receive you unto Myself" (John 14. 2, 3).
God's earthly dwelling-places THERE are three structures mentioned in the Word of which God was pleased to give patterns and particular instructions:-First, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness; next, the Temple of Solomon, on Mount Moriah; and, thirdly - yet in the future - the Temple spoken of by Ezekiel - the Millennial Temple.
God, in the condescendence of His grace, has caused His Word to be written, so that His children may not be ignorant. He has given His Spirit also to guide them into all the truth. The Word of God is an illustrated Book, full of object-lessons conveying spiritual truths. Of these the chief are the Tabernacle and the Temple. Creation has its voice to man. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork" (Psalm 19. 1), so that men are without excuse (Rom.1. 20) as to the acknowledgment of His eternal power and Godhead. In the two structures of which He is the design er and the architect, " every whit speaks His glory " (Psalm 29. 9). This makes them of eternal interest to us.
The Tabernacle in the wilderness When the children of Israel were brought out from Egypt under shelter of the blood of the paschal lamb, on their way to Canaan, God could speak to them, as a redeemed people, concerning a sanctuary for Himself - God's dwelling-place with man on earth. He gave Moses a pattern of the Tabernacle; He revealed to him upon Mount Sinai His own thoughts about it, and directed him to make all things according to the pattern shown him (Ex. 25. 8, 9). The Tabernacle in the wilderness, which was thus made in accordance with God's command, is an appropriate and expressive type of the Church of God in its present wilderness condition during this dispensation - the dwelling-place of God in His redeemed, according to the Word -"I will dwell in them and walk with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (2 Cor. 6. 16). "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Him" (2 Chron. 6. 18). What a vivid idea Solomon gives us of the infinitude of God in that expression! All created things are finite, unlimited as the spaces occupied by them may appear to us - heavens stretching beyond heavens in apparently interminable succession, but, in the nature of things, limited. Not so God; He is infinite. The Apostle John writes of the holy Jerusalem:
"I saw no temple therein: for Jehovah God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it" (Rev. 21. 22). When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He was God's dwelling-place (John 1. 14). The redeemed are God's temple in which He dwells (Eph. 2. 22); but God Himself is the temple in which they worship. Creation cannot contain His fulness; but those who love Him and abide in Him are filled with all the fulness of God (Eph. 3. 19). God says, "Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool." "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit" (Isa. 57. 15; 66. 1, 2). Marvellous condescension of Divine and infinite love! God seeking the companionship of men! He desired to renew it with Israel, and, through them, with the rest of mankind. Broken by sin, He longed to renew it. and this He has done through redemption, as is here set forth in type. No sooner was the sanctuary provided, and everything accomplished according to God's word, than "the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle" (Ex. 40. 34).