Wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) into My name, there I AM in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20 AMP)
Jesus, as the Truth, is contrasted with Satan, the liar. But He is also contrasted with all representations, types, symbols, outward forms, etc., which were and are not the true, the real. When our Lord spoke of His body as the Temple, deliberately refraining from the fuller explanation because of the fixed prejudice of His hearers, He introduced the great truth of the transition from one dispensation to another, and the complete change in the nature of temple and worship. It was because Stephen saw this and declared it that he was murdered by these very people. Said he: "The Most High dwelleth not in houses made with hands" (Acts 7:48). Paul said the same to the Athenians (Acts 17:24). This does not mean that God never came into representations when they wholly corresponded with His thought. Both the Tabernacle and the Temple were "made with hands" and God came into them in power and glory, but not to commit Himself to the thing. The time came when He forsook both and He was no longer found there. They were only temporary representations and His presence was conditional.
The "true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man" (Hebrews 8:2) is "not of this creation." The whole Letter to the Hebrews has to do with this change from the earthly and temporal to the heavenly and spiritual. Hence, He is no longer in "temples made with hands." To come right to the point: the New Testament teaches that the Temple in this dispensation is a Person, and persons incorporated into Him through death, burial and resurrection, and "baptized into one body by one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:13). We must also remember that Jesus foretold the passing away of that entire temporal system, with Jerusalem as its center and representation. With His foreknowledge of the passing of the earthly, temporal and material things; places, systems, fixed locations, and outward forms, the Lord Jesus put the whole matter of survival upon Himself as the constituent of a spiritual structure against which the very powers of hell would not prevail. Against fixed localizing and systematizing of Himself and His presence He was emphatic, and history is evidence of how right He was. If, according to John 3:16, salvation is a matter of "whosoever," the Lord's presence and true worship, according to Matthew 18:20, is "wheresoever."
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