2013 – Looking toward the House
The answer to every dilemma, impossibility, or threat is looking toward the House, from 2013 to infinity.
I want to remind everyone that the Old Testament worship system was a prophetic visual of New Testament worship, that is, “in Spirit and Truth.” The one is visible and the other invisible. One of the most visual examples is the temple that King Solomon built with divine architectural drawings given to him by his father, King David.
“All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern” (1 Chron 28:19).
Even as the Tabernacle in the wilderness was constructed by divine pattern and prophetically represented the salvation plan of the New Covenant, even so the pattern of the temple given by God to David represented the building of the spiritual house of the New Covenant. “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” ( 1 Pe. 2:5).The temple was an amazing house of worship.
Note, that Moses represented the coming Messiah Prophet (Deut. 18:18); while David represented the coming Messiah King; and Solomon represented the work of the Holy Spirit.
David with great pains collected materials for the building project. He had special stones cut from the quarry, he “prepared large quantities of iron to make” nails and clamps and “more bronze than could be weighed. He acquired cedar logs beyond number. He told Solomon that God’s house must be “exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious.” He amassed 100,000
talents of gold (one talent equals 94 lbs or $1.35 million), 1,000,000 talents of silver (in those days silver was worth the same or more than gold). Besides this, David, out of his personal wealth, gave 3,000 talents of gold, and 7,000 talents of refined silver. The rulers, princes, commanders and overseers gave willingly from their wealth, 15,000 talents of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of brass and 100,000 talents of iron. The Bible says, “Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord, with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chr. 29:9). They rejoiced in their giving to the Lord, and this corresponds with the hilarious giving of the Corinthian Church to the need of the church in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8, 9).
David organized the labor force (183,000), the duties of the Levities to take care of the house, the choir and musicians ( 1 Chr. 23-25). Then David prayed: “So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, Blessed are You, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name” (1 Chron 29:10-13).
King David prayed for his son, Solomon, who had been chosen to build the house, recognizing his youth and inexperience (1 Chr. 29:1). Prayer was the key to Solomon becoming a wise and prosperous king. Now, let us fast forward twenty years.
“Thus all the work that Solomon performed for the house of the Lord was finished” (2 Chr. 5:1). He then assembled the elders, leaders and fathers of Israel to bring up the ark of the covenant that contained the tablets of stone from the city of David to the temple mount. On the way they sacrificed sheep offerings beyond number and the priests placed the ark in the Holy of Holies. When the priests, who had carried the ark, came out of the temple, the Levitical singers, the choir, plus 120 priests with trumpets began to worship in unison. They sang, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” and then “the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.”
The Shekinah glory of God had not been seen for over 400 years, since the crossing over into Canaan’s land, and now, in the midst of praise and worship, the glory of God descended and filled the house and the ministering priests fell prostrate before God’s presence. This cloud was a sign that God was pleased and thus graced the work of man’s hands with His presence.
King Solomon stood before the large bronze altar in the presence of the people, then mounted another bronze platform that he had constructed with the same dimensions of the ancient Altar of Sacrifice, 5 cubits square with a height of 3 cubits, spread out his hands toward heaven and began to pray for the nation. (2 Chr. 6) Solomon recognized that God had placed His name in the newly constructed temple, otherwise, a house for His Name! In that house was the ark of His covenant and God’s eyes would be open toward this house day and night (2 Chr.6:20). Solomon considered himself the burnt offering for the nation of Israel. This corresponds with: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Ro. 12:1).
Solomon prayed that if a person needed forgiveness, they could look toward the house and be forgiven; if their armies were being defeated, they could look toward the house and be delivered; if the heavens were shut up and there was no rain, they could look toward the house and it would rain; if there was famine, pestilence, blight, mildew, locust, grasshopper, plague or sickness, they could look toward the house and be delivered and healed. In the middle of bleak and terrible circumstances, all the nation would have to do is to look toward the temple in Jerusalem, and God would come to their rescue. Looking toward the house where the Name of God was located and prayer was the key.
“Looking toward the house” would be the same as Israel in the wilderness when they were infested with fiery and deadly snakes. Moses was instructed to make a bronze serpent and raise it on a standard, and anyone who was bitten and dying, would only have to look toward the bronze serpent and be healed. This was a type of Jesus being lifted up on the cross. Jesus said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up”(Jn. 3:14). Salvation is realized by looking toward the cross. Later Jesus said, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I myself will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:40). To look or behold is not work. It is by beholding and believing in Jesus that we are saved. It is by faith and not by works.
When Solomon finished praying, a holy fire fell down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the Shekinah glory filled the house! (2 Chr. 7:1). So God answered with fire, which was a sign that He had accepted the terms of the covenant.
Looking toward the house is the theme of this writing. What are we to do when everything gets upside down and the weight of circumstances is crushing and squeezing us and little hope can be seen. The ancient example of Israel should be our guideline for today. Looking toward the house, not the house that Solomon built, but the true house in the heavens. Solomon’s house was only a type and shadow of that which was to come. Jesus is the “minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, not man” (Heb. 8:2). “For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24). We are to look toward the house or dwelling place of God in the heavens.
1. Elijah on Mt. Carmel: 1 Kings 18.
The nation of Israel was divided over who to worship as God: Baal or Jehovah. Elijah confronted Israel, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions” (1 Ki. 18:20)? Baal, meaning lord or master, was a Canaanite God believed to be master over the skies and the land. The issue between Elijah and the people was who controlled the rain, Baal or Jehovah? Elijah challenged the people, “If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him”( 1 Ki. 18:21).
Elijah made the following proposition: take an ox, cut it up, place it on wood, but put no fire under it. I will do the same. Then you call on Baal and I will call on Jehovah. The one who answers by fire, “He is God!”
The challenge was accepted: one against 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah.
The false prophets called upon Baal; they leaped around the altar and cut themselves with swords, lances and raved until sundown. There was no fire and no answer.
At the time of the evening sacrifice, after sundown, Elijah took 12 stones and repaired the altar. He arranged the wood, cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he filled 4 pitchers of water and poured it on the burnt offering. He did that 3 times. That equals 12 pitchers of water. 12 is the number of God’s government. Elijah was recognizing that Jehovah God was in control.
Before darkness settled on the land, Elijah prayed: “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word” ( 1 Ki. 18:36). He requested three things and then added the fourth: “that this people may know that …Thou hast turned their heart back again”( 1 Ki. 18:37). The fire of the Lord fell. God answered by fire in the presence of Israel. He demonstrated that not only was He a God of battles, but also God over the sky and the land.
When the people saw the fire come down and consume the sacrifice, they fell prostrate on the ground and cried out, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God” or otherwise, “Elijah, Elijah.”The name Elijah means the Lord is God!
The point of the contest was which God supplied the rain for their crops, Baal or Jehovah. Elijah instructed King Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower” ( 1 Ki. 18:41). Obviously, he was in tune with the Holy Spirit. While Ahab went up to eat and drink, Elijah returned to the top of Mt. Carmel that faced the Mediterranean Sea to the west. He knelt down on the earth and put his face between his knees facing Jerusalem to the east. Elijah sent his servant six times to look westward over the sea, and he could not see any clouds, but on the seventh time he said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea” (1 Ki. 18:44).
Solomon prayed that if the land lacked rain look toward the house and God would open up the heavens. Elijah looked toward the house and torrential rain came down on the land. It was a testimony to the people that God controlled the heavens and not Baal.
2. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah: 2 Chr. 20
The last notable event of Jehoshaphat’s prosperous reign occurred when the Moabites formed a great and powerful confederacy with the surrounding nations, and marched against him. Recognizing his totally helpless position, the king hosted a nationwide day of prayer. “And Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord; and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”He stood in the court in front of the temple and cried out in desperation unto the Lord. He was familiar with the prayer of Solomon. He looked toward the house when he was threatened with the invading army.
He admitted that he was powerless before this massive army and did not know what to do, but the following is the key, “but our eyes are on Thee” ( 2 Chr. 20:12). He was looking toward the house, the place of the Name of God.
Then in the middle of the assembly, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel and he addressed the people: “Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s” ( 2 Chr. 20:15). He continued with this declaration: “You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you” ( 2 Chr. 20:17). Jehoshaphat urged the people, “Put your trust in the Lord your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.” ( 2 Chr. 20:20).
After consulting with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed those who sang and praised the Lord in holy attire to go before the army. Amazing! He sent the choir ahead of the army and they sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” This is the song the choir sang many years before, during the dedication of the temple, and then the Shekinah glory filled the house. The presence of the Lord went before the choir and the army and God discomfited the enemy. The bible says, “Judah shall go up first”, otherwise praise shall be first. True worship is looking toward the house and then deliverance will come.
Instead of being a victim in the valley of death, the nation was refreshed in the Valley of Blessing!
3. Daniel, the prophet and statesman (Daniel 6)
Daniel was taken to Babylon during the first deportation in 606 B.C. He, along with others, received special training to serve in the Babylonian court and he was elevated quickly in the government because of his God-gift of interpretation of dreams. Over his life span he outlived five Babylonian rulers and in his old age served under the Medo-Persian ruler Darius.
Darius, recognizing the ability and wisdom of Daniel, appointed him as one of three commissioners over the kingdom. He distinguished himself among the other two and Darius planned to promote him over the other commissioners and satraps in the world kingdom.
In anger the commissioners and satraps attempted to find some type of corruption or ground of accusation against Daniel, but they could not find anything. Politicians are very apt in digging up dirt on their competition and running a smear campaign.
Therefore, they conspired against Daniel and influenced Darius to sign a petition into law that prohibited praying to another god for 30 days. They already knew Daniel prayed three times a day to His God so they set a political trap.
“Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously” (Da. 6:10). He knew the document was signed and could not be revoked! Yet, he continued to “look toward the house” believing in the prayer of Solomon that if one had been taken captive by a enemy, and if they repented, acknowledging their sin, and “pray toward their land…and the city and toward the house,”God would hear. Many years before in 586 B.C. the house in Jerusalem had been reduced to rubble by Nebuchadnezzar, but Daniel knew the name of the Lord had not be destroyed.
Darius reluctantly gave the orders for Daniel to be thrown into a den of lions. A stone sealed the entrance, and there was not any way to escape. Darius spent a fretful night because he had great respect and affection for Daniel, but was trapped by his own politicians. At dawn he approached the lion’s den, fearing the worst, hoping against hope, he shouted out with a troubled voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions” (Da. 6:20)?
These shocking and unexpected words echoed out of the den, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you O king, I have committed no crime” (Da. 6:21, 22).
A seemingly impossible circumstance was circumvented by “looking toward the house!” Daniel did not lose his focus, his faith nor his courage. A thought on the positive side; Daniel had the opportunity to spend the night with angels. Truly, he found the Psalm of David was true, “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry and the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them” (Psa. 34:15, 7).
4. “A door standing open in heaven” (Rev. 4:1).
The command to John was: “ Come up here…!”He was immediately transported by the Spirit into the house of God in the heavens. He saw one sitting on a throne glittering like jasper and sardius stones, encircled by an emerald rainbow. Around the throne were 24 elders wearing golden crowns and dressed in holy garments. From the midst of the throne came flashing streaks of lightning and thunderous sounds reverberated through the heavens. Four living creatures, representing the standards of the head tribes of Israel, sang out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come” (Rev. 4:8). And the four living creatures continually gave glory and honor and thanks to Him who was sitting on the throne.
The house of God where the name of the Lord is, after the resurrection, ascension and exaltation of Jesus, has moved from earth into the heavens. Now we look toward the house in the heavens where Jesus is “crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:9). The house in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., but that has not affected the New Covenant believers because we have another house, built by God, in the heavens, the true tabernacle of God. “Lift up your heads” and behold the house where One sits on the throne, all powerful, and able to save to the uttermost! “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion” (2 Tim. 6:15, 16)! His unlimited power will sustain all the frailties of mankind. Just look toward the house in the heavens!
Elijah, Jehoshaphat, and Daniel looked toward the house in Jerusalem, believing in the prayer of Solomon, but from the cross forward believers look toward the house in the heavens for deliverance and salvation, believing in the finished work of Jesus Christ!
For your consideration,