At the time of this writing the World finds itself amid the Covid-19 Pandemic and we are very unsure of how to solve the illness without destroying the everyday facets of life. Church is on my mind and has been since we first started the “Shelter in Place” orders, how does this affect the Church? For us to tackle this question we need to understand Church (gatherings) from the Bible.
It is my passion that this Blog stay within the framework of Basic Bible Thoughts. My goal will always be to give my thoughts as I see them and attempt to keep them basic enough for all who read them.
Genesis 2: 15-18 ESV
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
In the Garden, God’s presence walked with Adam. God placed within us a desire for fellowship, nourishment, and learning, all of which brings us to a sense of community. Adam was able to fellowship with God, “As he was walking in the Garden in the cool of the day”. God created Eve, “It is not good for man to be alone. Food was abundant everywhere they looked, “Adam, you and Eve can eat from every tree in the Garden but one.” Adam was trained in the ways of caring for this new Earth, “Adam, as you name the beast so it shall be called”.
Exodus 33: 7-10 ESV
7 Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. 8 Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. 9 When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. 10 And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door.
After the fall in the Garden things changed. We had separated ourselves from His presence. God spoke with Moses from time to time and through that relationship God was able to set His people free from Pharaoh, Egypt, and their life of slavery. He demonstrated His spirit and direction with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
When you needed to talk with God, you would walk out to the tent of meeting. When Moses went to talk with God the people watched from their own homes and saw God enter the tent by way of a cloud. The people would hold a worship service while Moses talked with God. So, now we see a different style of connection with God and yet we find: a desire for fellowship, nourishment, and learning.
1 Kings 8: various verses ESV
1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes … to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. 9 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. 10 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, 23 and said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 31 “If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath and comes and swears his oath before your altar in this house, 32 then hear in heaven and act and judge your servants, condemning the guilty by bringing his conduct on his own head, and vindicating the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness. 54 Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and plea to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven. 65 So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly.
God moves out of His temporary dwelling and into a building. When Moses placed the Ark in the tent, it carried three items; manna, a staff that bloomed, and the 10 commandments. At this time it appears that the provisions (manna) and new life (blooming staff), were no longer a part of the Ark. Time had once again changed how the people viewed God, he now was a God only of Laws. Solomon was changing the perspective of God, in verse 23, “there is no God like you, keeping covenants and showing steadfast love”. With all the changes, a new building, only the law in the Ark, and Solomon’s proclamation of forgiveness, we notice again a desire for fellowship, nourishment, and learning.
Matthew 16: 15-18 ESV
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
God’s physical presence is back on Earth in the form of Jesus. We are moving away from a Temple location for God, “In three days I will destroy this Temple and rebuild it”. The Church will be built on the understanding of Peter’s answer, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Acts 2: 1-4 ESV
1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Jesus left this World with a promise that he would send a Comforter, one who would direct us toward Himself. The Holy Spirit draws us closer into relationship with Him. God no longer lives outside the camp or inside a building, but he lives within us.
Acts 2: 42-46 ESV
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
What did these people have in common? Let us look back at Jesus’ statement to Peter, “Upon this Rock I will build my church”, “You are the Christ the Son of God”. The Holy Spirit living inside these Temples (our very Soul) leading us to the fact that He died, which allows each individual to fellowship with Him. He became the Bread of Life so we could be nourished, and He left us the Holy Spirit to teach us how to follow Jesus.
We move into Church life next week.