Posts Tagged ‘Sacred space’

This article is a quick cut and paste of a much larger article, but instead of posting the whole article, I want to introduce it in segments…

What is a “Sacred Space”?

All religions have a sacred space. Sacred spaces can be very large, such as an entire country, a city, a mountain, or a river. But sacred spaces can also be very small, such as a very specific point within a grove of trees, or in the desert. Sometimes sacred spaces are identified by markers such as sacred stones or totem poles.

Probably the most common sacred space however, is a building specifically set apart and dedicated for religious purposes. These buildings are known by various names—temples, shrines, synagogues, mosques, churches, etc. Oftentimes the sacred space is subdivided into increasingly “holier” spaces, with access to these spaces limited to only certain religious officials. This is where we get the idea of the inner sanctum—sanctum being the Latin word for holy, and the inner sanctum therefore being the “most holy place.” The primary point of the sacred space is that regardless of whether it is a mountain, a city, or a sanctuary, this space is somehow special and set apart from other spaces for God’s use or God’s work. The sacred space is exactly that—sacred. All other spaces are “non-sacred”—in other words, “not set apart” for God’s use or work—they are secular, profane, or simply ordinary or common.

The Sacred Space in the Old Testament Was a Literal Geo/Physical Space-

Under the Mosaic Covenant, the sacred space included the Promised Land, the city of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Outer Court, Holy Place and Holy of Holies, and the Ark of the Covenant/Mercy Seat.

Look What Can Happen to a Literal Geo-Physical Sacred Space-

If you utilize a literal geo-physical sacred space, look what can happen. In the Old Testament, what if an invading army destroyed the Temple, and/or took the population captive and relocated them outside the land, or occupied the land and prohibited access to the Temple precincts? Wouldn’t this compromise your system of worship/atonement?

Did We Miss the Point?

The primary purpose of the Tabernacle of Moses, the Temple of Solomon, and even the Tabernacle of David, under the Old Covenant was to point to the person of Jesus Christ as their archetype. Jesus is the Temple of God.

(19) Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (21) But He was speaking of the temple of His body. [John 2:19, 21 NAS]

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. [Colossians 2:9 KJV]

But There’s More…

The Old Covenant tabernacles and temples were models of Christ, and as we are in Christ, so now we are the temple of God. Think of it this way—the tabernacle of Moses was a mobile dwelling covered in skins, and therefore a pre-figure of God indwelling human beings. Although contemporary buildings utilized for religious purposes may still have a certain practical usefulness, they are not “sacred spaces,” and they are certainly not God’s dwelling place. No longer are certain “spaces” set apart from other spaces for God use or God’s work—every believer is the dwelling place of God, prepared by the Master Builder Himself.

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands. [Acts 7:48 NKJ]

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and {that} the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? [1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV]

The “Church” Building: Christianity’s Sacred Space-

“Church” buildings are simply the Christianized version of the sacred space. This is despite the fact that the New Testament never commands, authorizes, or even encourages “Christian” buildings or the collection of money to pay for them. Furthermore, we have the audacity to call these buildings “churches” despite the fact that the Bible never uses the word church (Greek ekklesia; Strong’s #1577) to describe a building utilized in this fashion. Calling a building a “church” is so mind bogglingly biblically inaccurate, that it would be laughable if the consequences were not so devastating.

All Believers Individually and Collectively Are the Temple of God-

As members of the body of Christ and partakers of the New Covenant, all believers are living stones in the temple of God (1 Peter 2:5, 1 Corinthians 3:16, et al). Once again, we are reminded that, “The most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48 KJV). The temple of God is people—not buildings! And yet Christians worldwide dump literally billions of dollars annually into ever larger and more lavish buildings without the slightest New Covenant authorization. Under the New Covenant there is no geographic space that is more holy (or more “anointed”) than any other. Every believer is the sacred space where God lives in his or her heart—the true Holy of Holies.

Ask Yourself This Question?

Do you and/or your local assembly, both individually and corporately have a heart-felt, intellectually established, life-changing, practically applicable revelation of…?

  • All believers are living stones in the temple of God. The most High does not dwell in temples made by human hands.

If you can honestly, objectively, and with a clear conscience declare that you and your local assembly devote more time, energy, and money to teaching and practicing that people are the temple of God, than to “church” buildings, then you are well along the road from religion to relationship.

There is a huge difference between utilizing a building because we need a functional place to meet, and believing a building is special because it is set aside for God’s work, or that “God lives there.” In other words treating a building as a kind of validation of our spirituality because we mistakenly or unknowingly believe in a sacred space.

When Christianity is practiced properly—taking life as it comes and interpreting (or reinterpreting) each moment or each event in the reality of an indwelling relationship with the Lord of Life—each and every individual believer, is the sacred space where God dwells.

“The real trouble is not in fact that the Church is too rich, but that it has become heavily institutionalized, with a crushing investment in maintenance. It has the characteristics of the dinosaur and the battleship. It is saddled with a plant and programme beyond its means, so that it is absorbed in problems of supply and preoccupied with survival. The inertia of the machine is such that the financial allocations, the legalities, the channels of organization, the attitudes of mind, are all set in the direction of continuing and enhancing the status quo. If one wants to pursue a course which cuts across these channels, then most of one’s energies are exhausted before one ever reaches the enemy lines.” [John A.T. Robinson]

The New Testament plainly teaches us that, “The most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48 KJV). The temple of God is people—not buildings! The church at large desperately needs a heart-rending revelation of this fact. The New Testament never commands, encourages, or even authorizes “Christian” buildings or the collection of money to pay for them. Furthermore, we have the audacity to call these buildings “churches” despite the fact that the Bible never uses the word church to describe a building. There is no geographic space that is more holy (or more “anointed”) than any other. Every believer is the sacred space where God lives in his or her heart.

Additionally,the New Testament clearly teaches us that all believers are priests (1 Peter 2:9). So how is it then, that some “priests” have staffs, salaries, and expenses paid for by the other priests? I guess they must be the high priest… but wait asecond, I thought Jesus was our high priest [sic]. One of the purposes of the tithes (yes, tithes, plural), under the Old Covenant was to pay the Levites and Aaronic priests for doing their jobs—officiating in the tabernacle, Temple and Levitical cities. But if we are all priests, and we are all the Temple, again, how is it that some priests get paid by the others? Once again, the church at large needs a heart-rending revelation of this fact.

I could go on and on. The institution is not the church. The church is people, and we waste billions of dollars every year on buildings, maintenance, staffs, salaries, programs, and other expenses that are utterly foreign to the NewTestament.

Does this mean we can never utilize a building or that those who minister the gospel should not live of the gospel? Of course not. But as I have already said, the church needs a deep revelation of the true Temple of God, the priesthood of every believer, and that our ordinary everyday lives are our sacrifice. Building on this foundation (pun intended) would put many things in a better perspective.

Imagine, just imagine, if all the money we waste financing the institution actually went to genuinely helping people how massive of a difference it would make.