GOD WITH US
(Examining the Nature and Blessings of the Presence of God)
By Ward Fenley

Chapter 1
(Predictions of the Presence of God in the Old Testament)

Matthew 1:21-23 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. There is so much to be learned from this passage that volumes could be written on these three verses alone. I will try to underscore the relevant significance concerning the kingdom of God. Nevertheless it will benefit us greatly to glean some very basic truths necessarily woven into this wonderful quotation pertaining to the kingdom of God.

The Deity of Jesus Christ can be seen first and last in this passage. The command was to call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins. The name Jesus alone proves the Deity of Jesus Christ. One might argue that Joshuaís name meant the same and He was not the Almighty God. True, however, the word does not say that Joshua, son of Nun, would save his people from their sins. The Hebrew equivalent of Jesus is Yehowshuwa. Strongís Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible defines Yehowshuwa or Joshua as, "Jehovah saved" or Jehovah saves. It is a combination of two Hebrew words: Yehovah, yeh-ho-vaw'; from H1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jeho-vah, Jewish national name of God:--Jehovah, the Lord, and yasha', yaw-shah'; a prim. root; prop. to be open, wide or free, i.e. (by impl.) to be safe; causat. to free or succor:-- X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory (Strongís). Worded differently, vs. 21 could easily be translated, "You shall call His name Jesus, for He is Yehovah, the self-existent, eternal God, the One who will save His people from their sins." Nothing could be stated clearer than the angelís words to Joseph. In the most explicit terminology the angel was telling Joseph that the virgin Mary was about to give birth to God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). This is fundamentally one of the great truths of Scripture, i.e. Jesus Christ is the true and living God who alone is able to save His people. Stated as bluntly as possible, Jesus is Yehovah Saves, the One who would save His people from their sins. This is essential to our understanding of the radical significance of the appearance of Jesus Christ; for it is one of the key elements in proving the establishment of the kingdom of God. Jesus is God with us.

Part of the passage in Matthew (vs. 23) is a quotation from a very well known verse, Isaiah 7:14. This verse gained significant popularity especially because of that holiday called "Christmas." It is most deplorable that there is a very neglected element of the passage as it is quoted in Matthew. It is obvious that the Messiah was to be called Immanuel, or God with us. This alone should convince the gainsayer that Messiah, that is, Jesus, is God...with us. But what is neglected is why He was to be called God with us. Consider the passage again:

Matthew 1:21-23 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Verse 22 is imperative to our understanding of vv. 21 & 23. Matthew is narrating the fact that Messiahís name would be Jesus, the one who would save his people from their sins so that it might be fulfilled! The question is, that what might be fulfilled? The answer is in vs. 23. The reason Jesus would save His people from their sins is so that God would be with His people. In other words Jesus, through His death, restored His people to God. Is this not the aim of redemption? It was through His death that His people would be brought into the Holiest of holies for eternal communion with the Father. Hebrews makes this very clear: Hebrews 10:19-20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; The new and living Way was Christís flesh that would bring His people through the veil (enmity between God and man brought about by manís disobedience to God) to behold His face in heaven or the Holiest of holies. This is equivalent to reconciliation with, or restoration to, God: Colossians 1:21-22 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

All these verses are synonymous with being saved from our sins. Which brings us to an important question: do we believe that Matthew 1:21 is referring to salvation that we now have, or is it referring to some separated future salvation? If we affirm the latter position then we must say that Matthew 1:21 has no bearing upon whatever aspect of the Christian is saved (i.e. soul, spirit, body, etc.). However, if we affirm the former position, i.e. that the verse refers to salvation that Christians now have, then we must also affirm that God is with us, one of the great promises of the Everlasting Covenant.

It is clear that because of the manifestation of Christ, God is now dwelling with His people, the Temple of the Living God:

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. What is necessary at this point is to show that 1) the Scriptures never affirmed that there would be two distinctly separated times when God would dwell with His people, and 2) if the passages are seen within their context, many other promises are also fulfilled in God being with us or in us.

An important distinction is the fact that God spoke of Himself as dwelling among physical Israel under the Old Covenant before He would dwell with His people under the New Covenant:

Numbers 35:34 Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel. The Scriptures do, however, speak of a time when God would dwell with His people, or in the midst of His people in a New Covenantally redemptive sense. Even Jesus proclaimed that with His manifestation this aspect of redemption that He would now dwell in the midst of His people was introduced: Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Even though the context of this verse primarily has to do with church discipline, nevertheless, there is an important messianic element contained within it: namely that under this New Covenant God dwells in the midst of His people. This statement must be associated with His words to the Samaritan woman: John 4:22-24 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The hour or season had come for Messiah (God) to dwell with His people. No longer would it be necessary to worship and sacrifice at Jerusalem. Rather, those who would worship the Father would now do so in spirit and in truth, i.e. through the Lord Jesus Christ, who would be in their midst. This would transpire through Him dwelling in their hearts by faith: Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, Even the writer of Hebrews, whose primary aim was to show the glory of the New Covenant spoke of a prophecy pertaining to the realization of this New Covenant. It is amazingly found in the same chapter that is so well-known for its portrayal of Christís death, and that is Psalm 22. The verse in Hebrews is found in chapter two: Hebrews 2:11-12 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. In Psalm 22, vv.1-21 speak plainly of the death of Jesus Christ. Some familiar verses are: Psalms 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Psalms 22:7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
Psalms 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
Psalms 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
This same subject of the suffering of Christ is continued to vs. 21. Then in vs. 22 (the quotation cited in Hebrews) the subject changes but not the timeframe: Psalms 22:22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. The writer of Hebrews understood that there could be no division between vs. 21 & vs. 22, which is why he also included the two aspects of Christís day, i.e. His suffering ("taste death") and kingdom ("bringing many sons to glory"): Hebrews 2:9-12 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. Many professing Christians deny the fact that Christ is the present King and that we as Christians are the subjects in His kingdom and glory. This is one of the reasons they presumptuously interject an enormous period of time in between vs. 21 and vs. 22 of Psalm 22: Psalms 22:21-22 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. 22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. In order to understand this truth we must not employ a telescopic hermeneutic. One may find a few obscure instances of what seem to be unusual divisions concerning timeframe. However, we should avoid dividing a passage especially when we see a N.T. writer unite those aspects of Godís kingdom. If we hold to a sound contextual hermeneutic, it is easier to understand the promise of God dwelling in the midst of His people as well as several other promises that depict the kingdom of Christ: Psalms 22:22-31 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. 25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations. 29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. 30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this. These are promises that are no different from those in the Everlasting Abrahamic Covenant. This is apparent especially considering the emphasis placed upon the nations turning to worship God: Genesis 17:5-6 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. The question is, how could that element of the Covenant be fulfilled? The answer lies in the testimony of the N.T. Scriptures; i.e. that through the work of Jesus Christ, God dwells with His people, which includes Jews and Gentiles. No longer would the worship of God be limited to Jews only. The Gentiles with the Jews as one body (Ephesians 2:11-22) could worship God in Spirit wherever their hearts were. This sheds light on vs. 26 of Psalm 22: Psalms 22:26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. The goal of Christ dwelling in the midst of His people was to give them complete salvation from the condemnation of sin and death. A heart can only be made alive through the indwelling of Christ. This makes the idea of Christ dwelling in the hearts of His people much more significant. This was an event that remained unfulfilled under the Old Covenant aeon (Galatians 4:19). Through Christ's death, resurrection, and Parousia, Gentiles as well as Jews would have direct access to the Father. The time had come for God to tabernacle among men.

The book of Psalms repeatedly speaks of the desire of God to dwell with His people or in the midst of His people:

Psalms 46:4-5 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. Here God is seen to dwell in the midst of the city of God. The prophecy concerns the New Covenant kingdom of God. Notice that the "city" is called the "holy place of the tabernacles of the most High." This "city of God" is none other than the "city of the living God," to which, the writer of Hebrews says, believers have come: Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, This same city is the Bride of Christ in Revelation 21: Revelation 21:9-11 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; Compare this with vv. 2,3 Revelation 21:2-3 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 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. Remember, the book of Revelation is exactly what the title says. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ. It is showing or revealing that in Christ all the promises are "yes" and "amen" to the glory of God. This includes God dwelling with men. The rivers of Psalm 46:4 refer to the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit whose Living Waters give life to those who ask Him: John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

John 7:38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

It is these waters which flow through the believers (the bride, or the city of God) who have entered through the gates of the city. God dwells in the midst of her (the Lambís wife). The context of Psalm forty-six contains material that speaks plainly of the time when God would bring salvation to the Gentiles as well as bring judgment upon the Old Covenant kingdom of Israel and the world: Psalms 46:1-11 To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. 6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Many of those who are identified as scholars with regard to prophecy often are unfamiliar with the use of apocalyptic language, particularly as it refers to Israel. The earth often refers to the land (or earth) of Israel. Mountains refers many times to those who have exalted themselves in their pride and rebellion against God (Isaiah 2:14,15; 41:15). The waters roaring of vs. 3 very likely refer to those who complain against God and those who revile and reproach His people (Psalm 18:15-18; 58:3-7; 69:14,15; Isaiah 17:12-13). In vs. 6 the Psalmist tells us that "the heathen raged." This is a phrase that is also used in Psalm two, a Psalm which Peter said was fulfilled during the time of Christ (Acts 4:25). Verse 7 again maintains "the LORD of hosts is with us" which refers to Jesus as Immanuel or, God with us. At the time of God being "in the midst of her" (His church), we also see the moving of kingdoms (vs. 6), desolations and judgment in the earth, i.e. the destruction of the Temple (vs. 8), and His exaltation among the heathen, which of course is alluding to the Gentiles coming to the knowledge of God through the Gospel (Ephesians 3:6).

We continue to see this theme of God dwelling among His people in Psalm 68:

Psalms 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. Ephesians confirms this passage as referring to the time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Ephesians 4:8-13 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: The writer of Ephesians equates the resurrection of Christ with the giving of gifts to the church for her edification. The Psalmist equates the giving of gifts with God dwelling with His church: Psalms 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. In other words Christ rose from the dead that God might dwell among His people. This is exactly why Christ sent the Spirit to comfort the church until Christ was completely formed in her (Ephesians 3:17: Galatians 4:19). The outward sign of the destruction of the old Temple was proof that God had now completed His redemptive plan to eternally dwell in the new Temple made without handsóthe church, the body of Christ. Let us consider the rest of the context of Psalm 68 and the other events that would take place at this time of resurrection: Psalms 68:15-35 The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan. 16 Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever. 17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. 18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. 19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. 20 He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues (escapes) from death. 21 But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses. 22 The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea: 23 That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same. 24 They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. 25 The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels. 26 Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel. 27 There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali. 28 Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. 29 Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee. 30 Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter thou the people that delight in war. 31 Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. 32 Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah: 33 To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. 34 Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. 35 O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God. It is predicted that God would dwell among His people (vv. 16-18), save them (vs. 20), judge their enemies (vs. 21), and save the Gentiles (vv. 22,29-32). The timing of these events, as we have seen, are all related to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So then, salvation would accompany this time of God dwelling among His people. This relation is also found in Psalm eighty-five:

Psalms 85:9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. To whom would we ascribe this glory dwelling in our land? This glory is none other than that which Paul and his hearers were eagerly expecting: Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall (Gk. mello [about to be-NRSV]) be revealed in us. Peter had the same expectation: 1 Peter 4:13-14 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be (about to be) revealed:

Christ, who was their hope of glory was about to be revealed in them. He was about to dwell eternally in His church or our land. The Psalmist clearly was associating glory with salvation. The rest of the context of Psalm eighty-five and the events that would take place is in complete accord with what we have already observed: Psalms 85:1-13 To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah. LORD, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. 2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. 3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger. 4 Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. 5 Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? 6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? 7 Show us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation. 8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly. 9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. 10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. 12 Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. 13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps. Verse 1 teaches that the captivity would be brought back, the same captivity of Ephesians 4:8. Verse 2 explains the fruits of the death of Jesus Christ for His elect people. His death would accomplish the eternal forgiveness and covering of all their sin (Hebrews 9:12), because of which the wrath of God would be completely pacified (vs.3 cf. Romans 5:9-10). This would result in peace between God and His people (Isaiah 40:2; Ephesians 2:12-17). Would we ascribe to anything but the work of Christ, mercy, truth, righteousness, and peace? All of these are fruits procured for His elect through His death:

Mercy:

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Truth: John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Ephesians 4:20-21 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

Colossians 1:5-6 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
 
 

Righteousness: John 16:7-8 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Romans 3:21-22 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Romans 3:25-26 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Romans 8:3-4 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Peace: Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Ephesians 2:15-17 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Though these references may seem like a severe tangent from that which we have been studying, God could not possibly dwell with His people unless He had first procured and applied these fruits for His people. Doing so would contradict His character: Psalms 5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. Even in Psalm one hundred one the Psalmist declares the purity of Christ and His tolerance only for perfection to dwell with Him: Psalms 101:2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
Psalms 101:6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
We know this perfection to be found only in Jesus Christ: Romans 8:3-4 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Colossians 1:21-22 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Hebrews 10:1-3 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Therefore, Psalm 85 could only be referring to the time of the appearance of the appearance of the Messiah, the day of salvation.

Psalm 132 pictures God resting forever as He dwells with His church:

Psalms 132:13-14 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. 14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. According to Hebrews, Mt. Zion is the mountain to which believers have come because of the establishment of the New Covenant: Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, God in His grace, from the foundation of the world, chose His bride, and as a faithful Husband He desires to dwell with her. In fact, in Christís intercessory prayer this was the ultimate end for His bride, i.e. the objective of glorifying His Father through His finished work on the cross so she would dwell with Him: John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. The main point of Psalm 132:13-14 was to show Godís incredible desire to dwell with His bride, His church. It says He has chosen her and desired her for His habitation. This is exactly the significance of the church being the Temple of the living God. God dwells in His church and walks in His church. This aspect of the kingdom of God is particularly assigned to the New Covenant era, or as Jesus calls it, "the age to come," contrasting the New Covenant age and the Old Covenant age-the end of which had come upon the first-century believers (Matthew 13:39-51; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 9:26). It is also interesting to note that it is in His habitation that God would "rest forever." Earlier in Psalm 132 the Psalmist speaks of that same rest: Psalms 132:8 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. This rest of God is Him finishing His work in making the New Covenant creation in Christ Jesus (cf. Zephaniah 3:17; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Presented within its context, notice the various details that accompany this time of God dwelling with His people: Psalms 132:8-18 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. 9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy. 10 For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed. 11 The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. 12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore. 13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. 14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. 15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. 16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. 17 There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. 18 His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish. In vs.8 we see the resurrection or "arising" of Christ to His throne and habitation after He has finished the work on the cross (John 17:4). Verses 9,16 state that the priests would be clothed with righteousness and salvation. This same clothing of righteousness would be imputed through the work of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). The promise that the throne of David would be established through his lineage is seen in vs.11. Verse 12 speaks of the reign of the people with the King (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:10). The motif of His dwelling place or habitation is continued in vs.14 where we see the present subject of God dwelling with His people and resting forever in her (Ephesians 3:17). Verse 17 portrays Christ as the horn of David which is said to be fulfilled (cf. Luke 1:29). Last, the judgment of God is a promise that would come during this time where God would at last dwell with His people (vs.18 cf. 1 Peter 4:17). Psalms 132 speaks concerning the dwelling of God with His people and making them His habitation. In the New Covenant these promises are confirmed in Christ: Ephesians 2:13-22 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Nothing could be clearer from this passage. The prophecy of Psalm 132 is fulfilled in Christ. Matthew 1:23 identifies Christ as God with us. Ephesians 2:22 confirms that His people are the habitation of God (Psalm 132:15). Ephesians 2:16 says believers are reconciled to God. Isaiah 40:2 and 57:17,18 predict that there would be a time when the people of God would be reconciled to Him. God would only dwell with His people provided they would be reconciled to Him. The sins had to be removed as far as the east is from the west. The enmity had to be abolished: Colossians 1:20-22 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: The subject of God dwelling with His people is also found in the book of Isaiah: Isaiah 12:6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. Once we see the rest of the context of chapter twelve it becomes clear that this statement could not be referring to Old Covenant Israel: Isaiah 12:1-6 And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. 5 Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. 6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. It is obvious that this was an unfulfilled prophecy: "in that day you shall say," etc. The events that would take place once the Holy One of Israel would be in the midst of His people include: the anger of God being pacified (vs.1 cf. Colossians 1:21); God as the salvation of His people (vs.2 cf. Ephesians 2:8ówhich, as we have seen, is how the name Jesus is defined); there would be no fear (vs.2 cf. Luke 1:71,74; Hebrews 2:15); the Living Waters of salvation would be present (vs.3 cf. John 7:37-39), which events would be known in all the earth (vs.5 cf. Romans 10:18; 16:25,26); and the Holy One of Israel would be great in the midst of the inhabitants of Zion (vs.6), this event being our present focus. Jesus is called the Holy One of Israel by His contemporaries: Luke 4:34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.

Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Acts 3:14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;

Hebrews declares the people of God to be inhabitants of Zion: Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, This is in contrast to the ministration of death (the Covenant given at Sinai) which had power over all before Christ: Hebrews 12:18-21 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) Why did Moses exceedingly fear and quake? Because he was under the ministration of death. The ministration of life had not yet been ratified. Moses was not yet an inhabitant of Zion with the Holy One of Israel in his midst. This was an impossibility without the death of Christ. For the inheritance could not be received until the Testator had died: Hebrews 9:15-17 And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. What saith the Scripture? "For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth." The New Covenant had no strength at all until the death of Christ. This is why God could not have been dwelling with Old Covenant Israel until Christ paved the way into the Holiest (Hebrews 9:8; 10:19,20). This dwelling was part of the New Covenant promise that would come at the time of Messiah, which promise the Old Covenant believers did not receive until the vanishing away of that same Old Covenant ministration of death: Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Hebrews 11:39-40 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Quite the contrary of those who have believed under the New Covenant: John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? This is not to say that the O.T. believers have not now received the promises. Once the Old Covenant had completely vanished away (made apparent by the destruction of the Jewish Temple), they were then brought into the presence of God into the Holiest of holies; from the point of view of the writer of Hebrews, "that they (O.T. believers) without us should not be made perfect."

Isaiah speaks of those with whom the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity would dwell:

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. God here proclaims that it is with the one in whom there is a contrite and humble spirit that He would dwell. The timeframe is specifically within the New Covenant as is seen in the next verse: Isaiah 57:16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. Isaiah speaks in another place of the same time period: Isaiah 54:7-8 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. 8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. This same theme of the pacifying of God is found in the book of Psalms: Psalms 103:9-12 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. It is clear that God would one day be able to dwell with His humble and contrite people once the enmity between God and His people had ceased. Several passages remind us of the time of Christ when the warfare between God and His people would be abolished: Isaiah 40:1-2 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. The contrite and humble spirit is equivalent to the meek, they that mourn, and poor in spirit of whom Jesus spoke: Matthew 5:3-5 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Inheriting the land is synonymous with dwelling with God, or God being in His people and His people in Him (i.e. "in the land"). Jesus declared this in His response to the Jewsí inquiry to the coming of the kingdom of God: Luke 17:20-21 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. This of course is in complete accord with the affirmation of the apostles: 1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

2 Timothy 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:15-16 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Contrary to many who believe that these aspects of God dwelling with believers have been happening even before the New Covenant, these fulfillments are restricted exclusively to the New Covenant. These fulfilled promises speak of Godís people as the New Covenant Temple; those in whom He promised to dwell or tabernacle.

The enormous prophecy of Ezekiel contains a well-known chapter pertaining to God as the Shepherd of His flock. This is found in chapter thirty-four where it is prophesied that God would be the sole Shepherd of His flock. Specifically, vs.30 predicts that God would be "with them":

Ezekiel 34:30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. This should remind us of the foundational text in Matthew: Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Ezekiel prophesies, "Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them." Matthew 1:23 reads, "they shall call His name Emmanuel...God with us." It must be reiterated that there is no place in Scripture that teaches two distinct episodes of God dwelling with His people. Either He is dwelling with us or He is not. If He is, then we are in the eternal age of the New Covenant, which is synonymous with the New Heaven and New Earth: Revelation 21:1-3 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 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. If He is not dwelling with us then we are still in the Jewish age under the Old Covenant: Galatians 4:2-4 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law The fullness of time has come and God is dwelling with His people. Ezekiel was very clear in his prophecy. Equally magnificent is the context of Ezekiel thirty-four and the prophetic elements that would take place at the time when God would be with His people. In the beginning of the chapter God rails against the false teachers and priests who were, in their hypocrisy and legalism, ruling over Godís people with cruelty. The prophet continued, however, to speak of a glorious time when God would bless His people under the "covenant of peace," or as Hebrews describes, "the Everlasting Covenant." Here is the prophetic passage in its entirety. (Notice the blessings that are similar to previous contexts we have studied): Ezekiel 34:11-31 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. 17 And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 18 Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. 20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. 21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; 22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. 23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. 25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. 28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. 29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. 30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. 31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD. The protection of God under the New Covenant is seen in His seeking out His sheep (vs.11). Jesus clearly taught that this was a primary objective in completing His ministry, as He proclaimed to be that Shepherd who came to seek and save that which was lost (cf. vv.11,14,23,31 & Matthew 18:11-14; John 10:1-18). Particularly interesting is Godís promise that the recovering of His sheep would take place "in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered" (vs.12). Jesus is that Good Shepherd dwelling among His sheep. As Ezekiel prophesied, "and my servant David a prince among them." Jesus said that Abraham rejoiced to see His "day." This day is none other than the day when, as Ezekiel prophesied, the Shepherd would be among His sheep to deliver them (Galatians 1:4) in the cloudy and dark day. The "cloudy and dark day" of vs.12 refers to the curse of sin and death under the law (Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79; Hebrews 12:18-21). John 10:9-11 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. The above passage speaks of very similar elements found in Ezekiel. If we are in Christ then we have been saved, found pasture, have life more abundantly, and are dwelling with the Good Shepherd. He has delivered His people completely from the curse of sin and death through His death. He is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life that the sheep might have life more abundantly. It is in this life (Acts 5:20) that Christ dwells in His people and they in Him (John 14:20; 17:21-23). Through His death, resurrection, and Parousia, He has gathered His people into their own land to feed them in a good pasture (cf. Ezekiel 34:13-15 & John 10:9; 11:48-52; Hebrews 11:8-10,13,14; 12:22). Healing is a part of the Messianic ministry that is also predicted in vs.16. Christ showed Himself to be that Healer (Matthew 9:6,12; 11:3-5; Mark 2:17; 6:56; Luke 4:18,40; 5:24; Luke 10:9; cf. Isaiah 53:5 & 1 Peter 2:24). In vs.22 God promised that He would save His flock which is precisely what Jesus came to do (Matthew 1:21; 18:11; Luke 2:11; John 4:42; 12:47; Acts 5:31; 13:23; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 3:4-6). This time would also be a time in which there would be one Shepherd guiding the people of God (vs.23 cf. Matthew 26:31; John 10:1-16; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 1 Peter 5:4). In vv.23,24, The prophet Ezekiel uses David to picture Christ as the prince over His people (Psalm 89:20-29; Jeremiah 23:5; 30:9; Ezekiel 37:24,25; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11; Zechariah 12:8; 13:1; Matthew 12:23; 20:30,31; 21:9; Luke 1:32; Acts 3:15; 5:31; Revelation 1:5; Romans 1:3). Under the rule of the Prince, Godís people would dwell in peace and safety (vs.25,27,28 cf. Luke 1:68-79; 2:14; 19:38; John 14:27; 16:33; Acts 10:36; Romans 5:1; 8:6; 10:15; 14:17; Ephesians 2:14,15,17; Colossians 1:20-22). Showers of blessing would come upon the people of God (vs.26). These blessings are the spiritual blessings under the bond of the New Covenant (Matthew 13:16,17; 25:34; Acts 3:25; Romans 5:29; Galatians 3:8,14; Ephesians 1:3). The continual yielding of fruit would be another aspect of the glories of the kingdom (vs.27 cf. John 15:16; Romans 1:13; 6:21,22; 7:4,5; Colossians 1:5,6; James 5:7; Revelation 22:2). During this time the bands of their yoke would be broken (vs.27 cf. Matthew 11:29,30; John 8:32-36; Galatians 4:1-5:1; Romans 6:18-22; 7:3; 8:2). They would be safe from their enemies and no longer live in fear (vs.28 cf. Luke 1:68-74; 12:32; John 14:27; Romans 8:15; Hebrews 2:14,15; 1 John 4:18). Hunger would no longer plague them (vs.29 cf. Psalm 16:11; 22:26; 36:8; 37:18,19; Isaiah 49:10; Jeremiah 31:14; Joel 2:26; Matthew 5:6; John 6:26-58; Revelation 7:16). Contained in Ezekielís prophecy is the glorious aspect of deliverance from the shame of guilt (vs.29 cf. Isaiah 29:22; 45:17; 54:4,5; Joel 2:26,27; Romans 9:33; 10:11; Ephesians 2:11-13). Finally, the prophet declares that God would be their God and those under this covenant of peace would be His people (vs.30,31 cf. Genesis 17:8; Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 24:7; 31:1,33; 32:38; Ezekiel 11:20; 37:23,27; Zechariah 8:8; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Revelation 21:3).

Chapter 37 of Ezekiel contains a beautiful account of God making His tabernacle with men:

Ezekiel 37:26-28 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. When the context is analyzed it is evident that the whole thrust of Ezekiel 37 is not so much that Israel would be gathered back into their land from the Babylonian captivity (though there is certainly a type seen in the Babylonian captivity); rather, the intent is to show that there would come a day in which Israel would be gathered forever. The resurrection of vv.1-14 may very well have significance regarding the planting or resurrecting of Israel after their seventy years in Babylon, however, more likely, the reference to the Spirit being placed in them should remind us of several passages that specifically refer to the New Covenant: Isaiah 32:15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
Isaiah 59:21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
Ezekiel 36:26-27 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Ezekiel 39:29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

Joel 2:28-29 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Acts 2:16-18 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

All these references are given to confirm the implication of Ezekiel 37:1-14. It is important to note the great promises given in these verses. Those who interpret these verses as referring to the deliverance from the Babylonian captivity have to contend with vs.14 which declares that God would place them in their own land. When was Israel ever in their own land after the fall of Samaria and Judah? From time of the captivity of Judah in 586 B.C. they were under the dominion of the Gentiles (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome) until their utter destruction by the Romans in AD 70 (Luke 21:20-24). Regardless of any "peace" they may have experienced during their existence in Israel, they never owned the land of Israel. They merely had freedom to exercise their apostate religion. If we do apply this resurrection to the return from Babylon then how do we explain God putting His Spirit within them? Historically, it is mentioned that God put His Spirit within Israel (Isaiah 63:11), however, from 586 B.C. when did Israel ever stand up as an exceeding great army as Ezekiel prophesied?: Ezekiel 37:10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. It would be very difficult to apply this to physical national Israel at anytime after 586 B.C. Even their brief time of godliness and productivity after the Babylonian captivity was because God used Cyrus, the king of Persia to command Israel to build the Temple. Therefore it should be contended that the prophecy in Ezekiel pertains to the spiritual resurrection and unity of Israel under the New Covenant economy. In this light the second revelation given to Ezekiel in vs.15 seems to be continuing the same theme of the resurrection of the house of Israel. Here is the context: Ezekiel 37:15-28 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, 16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: 17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. 18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these? 19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: 23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. These promises certainly never took place with physical national Israel since 586 B.C. and they never will. God removed from the face of the earth the apostate nation of Israel (Amos 9:8) and replaced it with the Jerusalem from above, the city of the Living God (Galatians 4:25,26). The unity of Judah and Ephraim is seen in vv.16-22: Isaiah confirms this same prophecy: Isaiah 11:10-13 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. 11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. This clearly points to the time of Christ when at last, the Gentiles would be saved and the distress between Ephraim and Judah would be removed. The other promises in the passage from Ezekiel that would occur with Godís tabernacle among men are: Israel would be gathered together into their own land (vs.21 cf. John 11:51,52; Ephesians 1:10; 1 Peter 3:18); there would be unity (vs.22 cf. Ephesians 2:14); they would have one King (vs.22 cf. John 18:37; Acts 17:7), there would be salvation and cleansing (vs.23 cf. Ephesians 2:8; 5:26); God would be their God and they would be His people (vs.23 cf. Romans 9:25,26; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Peter 2:10); one Shepherd would rule over them (vs.24 cf. John 10:11,14,16; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25); they would dwell in the land promised to their fathers (vs.25 cf. Hebrews 12:22), David (Messiah) would be their Prince (vs.25 cf. Acts 3:15; 5:21; Revelation 1:5; 22:16); the Everlasting Covenant of Peace would be ratified (Luke 1:68-72; Acts 3:25; Romans 11:27; Hebrews 8:7-13); God would dwell among them and Israel would be sanctified (vv.27,28 cf. John 17:17,19; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 10:14; 13:12). When the passage in Ezekiel 37 is compared with the N.T. confirmations of these promises in Christ, it is abundantly clear that Ezekiel was speaking of the day of Messiah; a day which Abraham rejoiced to see (John 8:56).

There are many visions in the Bible that concern the glory of the Lord in His house. Ezekiel had a vision concerning this house. He not only saw the glory of this house, he was also told by God that God Himself would dwell in the midst of Israel:

Ezekiel 43:1-7 Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: 2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. 3 And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. 4 And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. 5 So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house. 6 And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me. 7 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. The house consists of all those who are in Christ Jesus. Those who are His people are His house. If we are His people and He (Christ) dwells in us (His house), then His glory fills this house; hence the glorification of His people or His house: Hebrews 3:5-6 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Stephen preached of Solomon building an earthly house (Temple) which could not contain God: Acts 7:47-50 But Solomon built him an house. 48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50 Hath not my hand made all these things? Even Solomon understood this: 2 Chronicles 6:18 But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Yet God considers us His houseóa house which Paul declared to be in the heavens made without hands: 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. This well known passage is not introducing some new proposition to believers in Christ. Rather, it is confirming what Christians have in Christ in the heavenlies. Ezekiel 43:7 confirms that when God would dwell with His people it would not merely be a temporal dwelling; instead it would be an eternal dwelling: Ezekiel 43:7 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. When the angel told Joseph that the Messiah would be the fulfillment of "God with us" (Matthew 1:23), was Joseph to assume that the angel did not really mean that God would be with us forever as Ezekiel said? Was he to suppose that the angel was implying two totally separate salvations? If Joseph or any other of the N.T. writers did make this assumption, where in the O.T. did they uncover this information? Even if they did assume two separate salvations or redemptions why did they only speak of one salvation that was "ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5)? From the context in Ezekiel 43 and seeing the fulfillment of Matthew 1:23 we must assert that in Jesus Christ, Messiah had appeared to dwell with His people forever. In the book of Ezekiel God not only predicted that He would dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever, He also predicted an incredible promise of holiness: Ezekiel 43:7 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. Certainly under the New Covenant this is true. Under the Old Covenant the sins of Israel were holding them guilty under the curse of death. Under the New Covenant, the ministration of righteousness (2 Corinthians 3:9), God considers His elect holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His (as opposed to our sight) sight without spot or wrinkle (Colossians 1:22; Ephesians 5:27): Romans 8:3-4 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. This fulfillment of righteousness confirms the promise of Ezekiel 43:7, and no wonder: 2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. The next two verses in Ezekiel 43 should not be separated from their context: Ezekiel 43:8-9 In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger. 9 Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. Notice that God commands the Israelites to "put away" their whoredom...and He would dwell in their midst forever." We know that the Jews did exactly the opposite. They became more and more devoted to their idolatry and spiritual adultery and unfaithfulness to the true and living God (Jeremiah 10:1-10). In fact this fornication had grown to such an extent that they crucified the Lord of glory (Matthew 21:33-45): thus the wrath of God came upon them to the uttermost (1 Thessalonians 2:16). Jesus even told the Pharisees to "fill ye up then the measure of your fathers" (Matthew 23:32). But in Ezekiel God mercifully promised that if they put away their whoredoms, He would dwell with them forever. The problem rested in the depravity of men. They were unable to put away their idols. This is why Jesus said, "Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin...if the Son therefore shall make you free you shall be free indeed." In Ezekiel God is saying the same thing only concealed without the light of Christ. Those of a more human-centered persuasion would immediately come to the conclusion that to whomever God was giving this command, those same people had the ability to obey. The disobedient Hebrews were obviously fleshly as it pertained to overt idolatry and rebellion against God. Paul addresses the same problem with the Pharisees and Judaizers of his day, and that is the idolatry of self-righteousness. Paul classified this religious idolatry as being in the flesh. Notice Paulís analysis of the spiritual inability of those who are in the flesh: Romans 8:7-8 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Hebrews tells us that there is only one way to please God: Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Acts teaches us that faith is the gift of God: Acts 3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:
Regarding obedience to the law of God, He specifically commanded them to obey it. He even said that the person who obeys it would live because of that obedience to the law: Leviticus 18:5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD. Galatians confirms this but explains that man cannot do them: Galatians 3:10-13 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: How could the Israelites in Ezekiel put away the whoredoms from them? The answer is simple: they could not. It was impossible. This is why Galatians explains that Christ was the only one who could redeem us from the curse of the law. If we examine the phrase, put away, used in Ezekiel, then Hebrews comes alive concerning its usage of the phrase: Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world (age) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. The Greek word athetaesene is used to signify the "cancellation" of sin. The Israelites could not cancel, or put away their sin. Only the work of Christ upon the cross could cancel their sin. Paul understood this even in regard to O.T. saints who had believed: Romans 3:25-26 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Paul understood that the time of salvation of which Ezekiel had spoken had come. God made a clear promise to the Israelites in Ezekiel: Ezekiel 43:9 Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. It was through the putting away of their idols that God would dwell with them forever. But they would not do it. Even Jesus testified this truth against the Pharisees: John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. Of course Paul confirms that the elect of God are no different by nature: Romans 3:9-12 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. The solution, therefore, to this severe problem of idolatry, whether overt idolatry or religious idolatry, could only be the sacrifice of Christ to put away sin; or more specifically, to put away the idolatry of His people. Remember the promise: Ezekiel 43:9 Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. Because Christ knew He was the Lamb who would take away the sin of the world He could, with full assurance, declare: Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

This was an entirely New Covenantal concept, that where two or three, Gentiles or Jews (John 4:23,24), were gathered together in the name of Jesus Christ there He would be, in the midst of them, and that they would be with Him where He is. This is exactly what was promised in Ezekiel as well as the other passages we have studied. And this could only be accomplished through the work of Christ. Even Caiaphas, through the Holy Spirit, understood this: John 11:49-52 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. It is through Christís eternal work as High Priest that Christians are now gathered together in His name. Christ has put away the sins, whoredoms, and idolatries of His people, therefore Christ is dwelling among His people.

We will now examine Joelís "last days" passage in which God says He would be in the midst of Israel:

Joel 2:27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. Joel specifically prophesied that the people of God would know that the LORD their God was in their midst. Paul was under the impression that this prophecy had been fulfilled: 2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jesus obviously believed He was the LORD their God which He clearly intended to convey: John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Was Jesus introducing a new idea? Was He fulfilling a prophecy that was never predicted in Scripture? It is highly unlikely that Christ was fulfilling any prophecy outside of what the Scriptures predicted. Even Christ Himself testified that the Scriptures spoke of Him: Luke 24:25-27 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Paul proclaimed the same fact: Acts 26:22-23 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: 23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. Beyond the testimony of these Scriptures, when the context of Joel is examined it becomes evident that many of the same elements of prophetic passages we have already studied are present in Joel as well. Joel 2:21-32 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. 22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. 23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. Joel 3:1-2 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. This passage is laden with promises that would accompany God dwelling in the midst of His people. If we affirm that God dwelling in the midst of His people was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and that where two or three are gathered in His name there He is, in their midst, then we must also affirm that the other prophetic elements are also fulfilled. Specifically, these elements are: Godís people would not be afraid (vv.21,22 cf. Hebrews 2:15; 1 John 4:18); joy would fill the land (vv.21,23 cf. Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:14; 2:10; John 15:11; 16:20-24; 17:13; Romans 5:11; 14:17; Galatians 5:22; 1 Peter 1:8; 4:13; 1 John 1:4; 2 John 1:12; Jude 1:24); the land would be prosperous (vv.22-26 cf. Matthew 13:8; Matthew 26:29; Luke 8:15; John 4:36; John 12:24; 15:1-16; Romans 6:21,22; 7:4,5; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9; Colossians 1:6; Hebrews 6:7,8; James 5:7-9; Revelation 22:2); the people of God would never be ashamed (vv.26,27 cf. Romans 5:5; 9:33; 10:11; Philippians 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 John 2:28); God would dwell in their midst (vs.27 cf. 2 Corinthians 6:16); during the Apostolic era He would pour out His Spirit which would be accompanied by prophecy, visions, dreams, and judgment (vs.28,31 cf. Acts 2:16-21; 1 Corinthians 13,14; Hebrews 2:4); salvation would come to those chosen by God to call upon His name (vs.32 cf. John 3:17; 10:9; Acts 2:39,47; 4:12; 11:14; 15:11; 16:31; Romans 5:9,10; 9:27; 10:9,13; 11:26; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Ephesians 2); and God would bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem (3:1 cf. John 11:51,52; Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; Hebrews 2:10; 1 Peter 2:25, 3:18). Each of the N.T. verses show the fulfillment of the promises under the bond of the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Toward the end of the third chapter of Joel the prophet concludes this great prophecy with these words:

Joel 3:21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion. The whole context of Joel chapter three basically concerns the judgment that would come upon the Gentiles (vv.2-16). Then in vs.16 Joel again speaks of the New Covenant blessings that would come upon the people of God. This continues through vs.21: Joel 3:16-21 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. 17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. 18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim. 19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. 20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. 21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion. If it is true that through the work of Jesus Christ, the LORD is now dwelling in Zion with His people (Matthew 1:23; Hebrews 12:22), when were the other elements of this passage fulfilled? Concerning physical national Israel, God utterly destroyed them from off the face of the earth through the Roman armies in AD 70: Observe these promises of God to destroy them: Amos 9:8-10 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD. 9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. 10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.

Matthew 21:43-45 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
Matthew 22:1-7 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
Matthew 23:34-39 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Luke 21:20-22 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

The point of these passages is to show that it was Godís intent to destroy physical Israel after the flesh (1 Corinthians 10:18). Since God did wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and these promises were fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, then the promise in Joel regarding the blessing of Judah and Jerusalem had to have been referring to the true Israel of God i.e. Jerusalem from above: Galatians 4:22-26 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

Hebrews 10:15-17 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Hebrews 10:25-30 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

Hebrews 13:13-14 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

We will not divert our attention to the true spiritual Israel of God except to cite just a few verses to confirm that the apostles Paul and Peter and the writer of Hebrews believed that she (New Jerusalem) was already being built: Romans 2:25-29 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. 26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Colossians 2:10-14 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

1 Peter 2:5 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.

At this time of God dwelling in Zion, it is evident from these passages and the passage in Joel that God would also make the New Covenant with the house of Judah. Ephesians inseparably connects three important elements: God dwelling with or in His people, the New Covnenant of peace through the blood of Jesus Christ, and the uniting of Israel with the Gentiles to form the New Jerusalem founded upon the apostles and the prophets: Ephesians 2:11-22 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Revelation 21:14), Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (1 Peter 2:4-8; Revelation 21:11); 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. What other blessings to Judah and Jerusalem could there be? Is there a Jerusalem beyond the Jerusalem from above? Is there a New New Jerusalem. Are there two heavenly countries for which Abraham was looking?: Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. We believe that there is only one New Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem was fully established once the Jerusalem from below was destroyed. The destruction of the first Jerusalem and the Temple was the sign that Godís kingdom was finally established. Since then nations and kings have been bringing their honor and glory through its gates (Isaiah 60:11,18; 62:10; Zechariah 8:16; Revelation 21:23-26). Joel mentions that judgment would come and that there would be several other blessings besides that of God dwelling in Zion. He mentions that the heavens and the earth would shake (apocalyptic language referring to the destruction of politcal and/or religious systems (cf. vs.16 cf. Genesis 37:6-10; Exodus 32:13; Deuteronomy 28:62; 30:15-20; 31:24-29; Judges 5:19-20; Job 20:27; Isaiah 13:1-17; 34:1-5; Jeremiah 15:3; Ezekiel 29:5; 31:6; 32:1-11). Specifically, the "roaring" of the LORD and the uttering of His "voice" refers to the word of Jesus Christ which judges the nations (Psalm 149:5-9; Isaiah 54:17; John 12:48; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 2:5; Revelation 1:16; 19:11-21). The LORD would also be the hope of His people (vs.16 cf. Acts 23:6; 24:15; 26:6,7; 28:20; Romans 5:2; 2 Corinthians 3:11,12; Titus 2:13). Joel also says that God would would "cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed." This cleansing of course is effected through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The N.T. uses the Greek word katharisae to express the cleansing of the church by the blood of Christ. Here are several passages that distinctly reveal the fulfillment of the passage in Joel: Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 9:22-23 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The reason for our focus on cleansing is because the passage in Joel explicitly relates the dwelling of the LORD in Zion with the cleansing of the blood of Judah and Jersusalem: Joel 3:21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion. If the passages quoted from the N.T. do not refer to the cleansing from the passage in Joel, then to what cleansing do they refer? Did the N.T. writers suddenly introduce a different cleansing from those in O.T. prophetic contexts, or, were they (and Jesus) confident that in Christ all the promises in the prophets were fulfilled?: Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:44-47 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Acts 13:32-34 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, 33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. 34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
Acts 26:22-23 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: 23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

Christ and the apostles were persuaded that in Christ all of the promises God made through the prophets were fulfilled: Romans 1:1-4 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

Zephaniah uses the same type of language to explain the blessing of God dwelling with His people in the established Messianic kingdom: Zephaniah 3:15-17 The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. 16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Verses 15,17 speak of the LORD in the midst of His people. Obviously there is strong correlation with the passages we have already examined. We have concluded from these passages and their connection to Matthew 1:23, that Christís manifestation was the fulfillment of the O.T. prophecies pertaining to the same subject. It is also evident that the other elements within the same contexts were fulfilled. While examining the verses in Zephaniah it will be necessary to use the same principle in order to understand their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. Here is the context: Zephaniah 3:8-20 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. 9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. 11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. 12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. 13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. 14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15 The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. 16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. 18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. 19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. 20 At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD. Blessings that parallel God dwelling in the midst of His people (vv.15,17) include: judgment against the enemies of Godís people (vv.8,11,15,19), which, of course, refers to the judgment by the word of God (cf. Psalm 149:5-9, Isaiah 54:17, John 12:48, 2 Corinthians 2:14-16); a pure language for Gentiles to call upon the name of the LORD (vs.9 cf. John 4:23, Acts 2:21; 10:43; Romans 9:33; 10:11,13); the Gentiles and the Jews uniting "with one consent" (vs.9 cf. Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:11-22; Colossians 3:10,11); the gathering together of Godís people to dwell safely in their own land (vv.10,18-20 cf. John 11:51,52; Ephesians 1:10; 1 Peter 3:18); "offerings" brought to the LORD by His people (vs.10 cf. Isaiah 66:20; Romans 15:16); pardon from transgression and guilt and removal of shame (vs.11,15,19 cf. Romans 3:19,25,26; 6:18-23; 10:11,13); the people of God dwelling in Mt. Zion (vs.11 cf. Hebrews 12:18-24); no more iniquity, lying, or a deceitful tongue (vs.13,15 cf. Isaiah 53:5,6; Ezekiel 36:25-29; Romans 8:1-4; 14:17; Ephesians 2:21; 5:25-27; Colossians 1:20-22; 2:11-14; Hebrews 8:8-13; 9:14; 10:14; 2 Peter 3:13,14); feeding and lying down safely without fear (vs.13,16 cf. Matthew 14:18-21; 16:8-11; Luke 1:68-79; Hebrews 2:14,15; Revelation 7:17); destruction of the enemy (vs.15 cf. Luke 1:71; John 12:31; Romans 16:20; Hebrews 2:14); the King of Israel, the LORD, dwelling in the midst of the people of God (vs.15 cf. Isaiah 12:6; Matthew 2:2; 21:5; 27:11; Mark 15:26; John 12:13; Acts 17:7; Revelation 17:14; 19:16); their salvation (vs.17 cf. Matthew 1:21; 18:11; Luke 2:11; 9:56; John 4:42; 12:47; Acts 5:31; 13:23; 1 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 1:10); finally, God rejoicing over His people with singing (vs.17 cf. Hebrews 2:12).

Continuing in our examination of the various prophecies related to Matthew 1:23, we will now turn to Zechariah. Theologians often identify Zechariah as one of the "minor prophets." Considering the enormous wealth of information regarding the day of Messiah, one might be more likely to include Zechariah among the major prophets. In the second chapter of Zechariah, there are three verses that predict a time when the LORD would dwell among His people:

Zechariah 2:5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
Zechariah 2:10-11 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. 11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.
When the entire context is read, it is evident that the prediction of vs.5, "the glory in the midst of her," is synonymous with the prediction in vv.10,11, "I will dwell in the midst of thee." If the whole context is unaltered, the rest of the prophetic details are much more cohesive: Zechariah 2:3-13 And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, 4 And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: 5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her. 6 Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. 7 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9 For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me. 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. 11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. 12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. 13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation. In vs.4, the restoration of Israel is seen in the multitudes dwelling in her. This coincides with the "multitude" mentioned in the book of Revelation: Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; This is referring to the multitudes of Gentiles that come to faith in Jesus Christ who enter through the gates of the city (Revelation 21:26). Zechariah, in vs.5 predicts the protection God gives to His people who are the inhabitants of the city (Romans 8:31-39; Hebrews 12:22-24). The "messenger of the Covenant" of Malachi 3:1-3 is seen in vs.8, who will destroy the nations who come against the Israel of God (cf. Galatians 6:14). This takes place through the preaching of the word, which is the savor of death to the enemies of God. Also in vs.8, it is interesting to see Messiah seeking after the glory of His people, which glory is the New Covenant gloryóa glory that was coming to its fullness during the first century (2 Corinthians 3:18; Hebrews 12:28; 1 Peter 4:14). The judgment of the enemies of God inevitably accompanies God dwelling in the midst of His people (vv.9,10). The "singing" and "rejoicing" are directly related to the prophetic context of Isaiah 54, which singing and rejoicing is the result of the death of Messiah of Isaiah 53. We also see a clear reference to this same expression of joy in Jeremiah 31:7-14 a passage the writer of Hebrews declares is fulfilled in the New Covenant by the blood of Christ (Hebrews 8:6-13). Of course, the reason for the rejoicing and singing is that Godís presence would be in the midst of His glorified people (vs.8 cf. Isaiah 55:5; 60:7,9; Jeremiah 30:19; Romans 8:18). The many nations being "joined to the LORD" point to the Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus Christ, who worship God in the Spirit (John 4:23,24). "Joined to the LORD" refers to the marital union between Christ and His bride (vs.11 cf. Romans 7:1-4; Ephesians 5:25-32). The Husband, the Son of God, is sent to His people to initiate the New Covenant (vs.11 cf. Matthew 10:40; Matthew 15:24; 21:37-45; Luke 4:18; John 3:17,34; 4:34; 5:23,24). It is through Jerusalem being "chosen again" that she is married to Christ (vs.12 cf. Isaiah 65:9,22; Zechariah 1:17; Matthew 21:33-45; Galatians 4:22-31; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 2:9,10).

The eighth chapter of Zechariah gives another reference to God dwelling with or in His people:

Zechariah 8:3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain. One can immediately see the relationship between this passage and Hebrews 12:22, especially when considering the prophetic elements of Jerusalem being called a "city of truth," and the holy hill of Zion: Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, The elements of Zechariah 8:3 are realized and fulfilled under the bond of the New Covenant in the blood of Christ (cf. Hebrews 8:6-13; 10:1-22; 12:18-24). Taken within its context, the range of the passage in Zechariah extends from vs.3 to the end of the chapter: Zechariah 8:3-23 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain. 4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. 5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. 6 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts. 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; 8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. 9 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. 10 For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour. 11 But now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13 And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong. 14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts, and I repented not: 15 So again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not. 16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: 17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD. 18 And the word of the LORD of hosts came unto me, saying, 19 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace. 20 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. 22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. 23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you. In this context there are many of the same prophetic details which have seen in other passages. "Jerusalem from above" in Galatians 4:26 is the "city of truth" of vs.3 of our present passage. This is none other than the "heavenly Jerusalem of Hebrews 12:22, to which the writer of Hebrews says believers have come. It follows that in Hebrews 12:22 and Zechariah 8:3, Mt. Zion is associated with the heavenly Jerusalem. Zechariah then speaks of those who are believers within this city of truth (vv.4,5). Isaiah links the New Jerusalem being inhabited with the same age groups experiencing the same joy and happiness: Isaiah 65:18-20 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. 20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. Galatians, likewise, associates joy with the New Jerusalem: Galatians 4:26-27 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. There are some who maintain that the passages in Zechariah and Isaiah refer to a physical new heaven and new earth that has not yet come into existence. However, the book of Galatians clears this erroneous thought by explaining that the Jerusalem from above represents believers in the New Covenant experiencing freedom from sin. Here is the context: Galatians 4:21-31 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. 5 1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Paulís "stand fast therefore" is in reference to the freedom the first-century believers now had in Christ Jesusóthe same freedom of the Jerusalem from above mentioned in vs.26. It should not seem amazing that the Scriptures are so unified in their associating the same prophetic details, yet in altogether different contexts. Salvation is a prominent theme in many of these contexts. Zechariahís prophecy speaks of God saving and gathering His people from the east and the west country. This is of course referring to the salvation of the scattered Israelites and Gentiles (vv.7,8 cf. Matthew 12:21; Luke 2:32; Acts 10:45; 11:1,18; 13:47,48; 14:27; 15:3,12-17). These Gentiles, according to Zechariah, would dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, a Jerusalem, as we have already noted, that would be chosen again (vs.8 cf. Zechariah 2:12; Matthew 21:43). God would be the God of the Gentiles and they would be His people (vs.8). Peter and Paul make strong allusion to this idea: 1 Peter 2:9-10 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. In case this reference is primarily directed toward believing Jews, which some affirm, Paul clearly includes the Gentiles in the book of Romans: Romans 9:24-30 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. 27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: 28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. 29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. 30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. The vine giving fruit, the ground giving increase, and the heavens giving dew (vs.12) are all mentioned within the New Covenant context: John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

1 Corinthians 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

If there is an objection that this last reference is referring to the "dew from heaven" of Zechariah, consider these verses: Ezekiel 36:24-30 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.

Deuteronomy 32:2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

Psalms 65:10 Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.
Psalms 72:6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.

Ezekiel 34:26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.

Micah 5:7 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.

Zechariah 10:1 Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.

In comparison with Christís description of Himself there is evident similarity: John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Notice that most of these verses link faith in Christ with the benefit of these waters or showers from heaven. God also would save His people from the curse and from fear (vs.13,15 cf. Luke 1:71,74; Galatians 3:10,13; Hebrews 2:15). Finally, Zechariah predicts a time when Gentiles would join with the Jews (the same "grafting" mentioned in Romans chapter eleven) in prayer and the worship of God (vv.22,23 cf. Acts 2:3-11; 17:6; Romans 10:18; 16:25,26, Colossians 1:5,6,23). The N.T. qualifies this worship of God as worship "in spirit.": John 4:20-24 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Ephesians 2:19-22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Ward Fenley

CHAPTER 2

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