In God's Tabernacle

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus warned of the deception which would occur at the end of the age. When we consider His words, we instinctively think of false teachers and prophets; and these will, indeed, mislead many (see Matthew 24). But there is another dimension to the enemy's tactics that is, perhaps, even more dangerous. For we may actually know the truth, but be too preoccupied and distracted to obey it. If this is the case, greater judgment will fall on us than upon him who did not know God's will at all.

Jesus warned, "Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap" (Luke 21:34).

To dissipate means "to fritter away; employ aimlessly; squander; be wasteful." Besides giving us His grace, the second most important gift Christ has given us is time. If we do not have time, we cannot develop spiritually in any of God's other gifts or resources. If we fail to make time for the service of God, we will be unprepared for this day which, Jesus said, "will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth" (Luke 21:35). The day of the Lord will not be an occasion of joy; it will come upon the distracted like a trap.

Over and again the Lord warned that those who put Him off now will be put off by Him later (see Matt. 24:36 - 25:46; Luke 13:24 - 30; John 12:47 - 48). They will seek His protection, but He will not provide it. Why? It takes time to grow in the ways, knowledge and grace of God, and it is this very growth which creates within us the spiritual shelter of the Most High. Today is the day to prepare for tomorrow; to wait for tomorrow to ready ourselves will be too late.

In the Inner Court
In the book of Revelation there is a marvel. John writes, "And there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, 'Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who worship in it' " (Rev. 11:1). John was commanded to measure the "temple of God." When John's vision came, it should be noted that the physical temple in Jerusalem had been reduced to rubble for over twenty years. Thus, the apostle was not commanded to measure the physical temple but the spiritual temple. The church is the spiritual temple.

He was told to measure the altar and those who worship in it. In other words, he was commanded to measure those who have presented themselves as living sacrifices to God. These are the souls who have poured out their lives upon the altar of sacrifice (Phil. 2:17); they have learned the secret of abiding in the holy place with God.

Yet John also was told, "Leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months" (Rev. 11:2).

There are three distinct groups identified to John in this vision: those who worship at God's altar, those immediately outside the temple, and the nations that will tread underfoot the holy city for 3 1/2 years. The "nations," in this context, represent those who shall persecute the unprepared church, which was in the court "outside the temple." Those who worship at the altar are those who, through love and perseverance, dwell in the secret place with God at the end of the age.

Neither Male Nor Female, But Christ
The court that was outside the temple was actually part of the temple grounds and was contained within the wall surrounding the entire temple enclosure. It was called the "court of women and gentiles." Only the priests, who were male in gender, could serve in the inner courts of God.

This does not mean that, today, women cannot enter the Holy Place; it means women must become "sons." To be a son of God is to ascend beyond the boundaries of gender until we attain the character of the living Christ. Women must crucify reliance upon the flesh with its seductions, manipulations, fears and jealousies; men must put to death rebellion and spiritual irresponsibility; competition, ambition, pride and intimidation must likewise die. All the works of the flesh must die at the cross, that God's one Son, Christ, might come forth in each surrendered, transformed soul.

A "son," Paul says, "is neither male nor female" (Gal. 3:28). God's sons are individuals who have literally "clothed [themselves] with Christ" (v. 27). They are fully submitted to Him as their source of identification. They are bold, yet meek; free yet slaves; uncompromising in vision, yet tolerant toward the weak. To leave the "court of women and gentiles," regardless of one's gender, we all must leave the deception of our flesh nature and press into the Presence of the Living God. In our spirits, we must become "a holy temple in the Lord . . . a dwelling of God in the Spirit" (Eph. 2:21 - 22).

In the last moments of this age, there will be those who, although they live on earth, consciously dwell in the tabernacle of God in heaven. They have made the Person of Christ their treasure, and where their treasure is, there their heart is also (Matt. 6:21).

In contrast to those who abide with Christ, there will be those who profess Christianity, but have never truly taken Christ's commandments, promises and warnings seriously. When the times of judgment come, they will be found unprepared for God.

I would fail in my service to Christ if I did not warn you of the Master's return and the purity and preparation He requires of His church. Yet, He also gives us His unfailing promise: a place of protection, high and secure, full of spiritual authority and graced with power. The Stronghold of God is the manifest dwelling place of those who abide at His altar and worship in it.

Lord, how easily distracted I am, how dissipated by the things of this age. Master, I want one thing: to dwell in Your house all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and meditate in Your temple. This day I choose to ascend in worship to Your throne.

This day I determine to live in view of Your glory. Joyfully, I enter the Place of Immunity with You. Amen.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Stronghold of God" now released under a new name, "The Shelter of the Most High" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.