Vol. 4, No. 5, Sep. – Oct. 1975
Dr. E. Fischbacher
I have recently been thinking about the building of the Sanctuary, not approaching it as a subject to be discussed, but rather with the concern that there should be a place for God in the hearts of men, a place where He is honoured, loved and served. Long before the idea of a House of God was injected into the thinking of God’s people, there was a place for God, a Sanctuary, and it was in the heart of Abraham. That was a place where God was God and Lord, where no other consideration was allowed except consideration for God, His wishes and His plans. It was a place where God was worshipped and served in the truest, deepest sense, just as is referred to in Romans 12:1 which speaks of ‘reasonable service’ or ‘spiritual worship’.
It almost seems as though we get nearer to the divine thought of the Sanctuary in the life of Abraham than was ever achieved later in the Tabernacle, the Temple or New Testament churches. I do not imply that these things were not a progressive development of the seed, greater in design and in ultimate content, but think only of practical experience and outworking. We see later that the principles of sanctuary life were more honoured in theory than in actual practice.
The thought I am here trying to express is that the ultimate Sanctuary, the eternal House of God, will be more reminiscent of the heart of Abraham than of the organisation of the Temple or the Church as we know it in its various forms today. Some would say that this is going back to the old idea of personal holiness, personal and individual spirituality, and so retreating from the Pauline revelation of the Church which is the Body of Christ, with its relatedness and corporate life. Yet surely men such as Abraham (the friend of God), Moses (the man of face-to-face communion), and David (the man after God’s own heart), were more than just outstanding individualists. They were adjustable, relatable men. Think of Abraham’s beautiful relatedness with Lot, of Moses’ patient working for forty years with a difficult people in difficult circumstances, and of David’s ability to adjust to awkward characters among his mighty men. These were men who knew as much about ‘relatedness’ as most ‘fitted-together-and-built-up’ groups in existence today! They were men who, despite their natural stature, knew enough about humility to fit in with others.
This leads to the thought that the Sanctuary is not only something made ‘with’ men, but first of all something made ‘in’ man. We cannot hope to reconstruct with men a Sanctuary for God unless these men individually have a Sanctuary for God in their own hearts. The process of splitting, arguing and dividing which we see among God’s people today is a heart-breaking testimony to this truth. No matter how spiritual and true our organisation may be, the Sanctuary will exist in reality only to the extent that there is in men’s hearts a Sanctuary for God.
Hong Kong Diary
Dr. E. Fischbacher [100/ibc]