True Worship Is Spiritual Worship                      

Isaiah 66:1-2

            I want to assert with all the emphatic dogmatism possible that God almighty will not dwell in the houses and temples that men erect in his name. This is exactly what God himself tells us in Isaiah 66:1-2. Here is a declaration from the lips of God himself that he has forever rejected all material temples and all the carnal rituals of ceremonial worship. There was a time when it could be said that there was a house of God upon the earth. During the days of the church’s infancy, when she was being taught the ABCs of the gospel under the types and shadows of the Old Testament, God required Israel to build a tabernacle and later permitted them to build a temple which was called “the house of the Lord.” But even then, on the very day when Solomon offered his prayer of dedication for the temple, he declared what all who knew and worshipped God understood - That the temple in Jerusalem was only symbolically the house of God (1 Kings 8:27).

            The holy of holies, the fiery and cloudy pillar were only symbols of his presence. But the time of symbols is now over. At that moment when the Lord Jesus Christ cried, “It is finished,” and dismissed his spirit, the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom by the hand of God, declaring that the age of carnal, symbolic, ceremonial worship was forever over. A short while later, God sent the armies of Rome into Jerusalem to destroy forever that very temple which had been the symbol of his presence and of his worship since the days of Solomon.

            I mean to be understood. It is nothing short of base, pagan idolatry in this gospel age to speak of buildings as the house of God, or to speak of altars, priests, holy places, and holy days! In this gospel age all the carnal ordinances of legal worship are expressly forbidden (Col. 2:16-23; John 4:23-24; Phil. 3:3).

            The Lord our God is infinite in his Being. He is Spirit, the infinite, unlimited, independent, self-sufficient Spirit. He is omnipresent, everywhere present at once and always. God is infinitely immense. He is not limited either by time or space. He does not need us to build him a house. Heaven is his throne. There he sits, infinitely exalted above all blessing and praise. Be sure you read it right. Heaven is his throne, not his house. It is the throne of absolute sovereignty, universal dominion, righteousness, grace, and judgment. The earth is his footstool. The great King of the universe lays his feet upon the earth and rules all its affairs with indescribable ease. This earth, indeed, our universe is but a speck before the immense, infinite God! With heaven as his throne and the earth as his footstool, where is the house that men will build for him? If he needed one, where would we establish the place of his rest? God almighty does not dwell in shrines, temples, and holy places (Acts 7:48-50). Our great, infinite God is the Creator of all things. If he needed a house or a place of rest, he would not need our puny, empty hands to build it for him. He says, “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD.”

Don Fortner