By David A. Green
God sent His Son to save His chosen ones out from among His covenant-people, the Jews, and to save His chosen ones who were scattered among the nations (Jn. 10:16; 17:2). God sent His Son to make these two One (i.e., “one new man” in Christ), to raise them up to become the dwelling of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:23).
Apart from those whom the Father had chosen, God’s people rejected His grace, His righteousness, and His salvation. But Jesus, God’s Word made flesh, accomplished salvation by the Father’s sovereign will (Isa. 55:11; Jn. 6:65). Jesus died for sins, rose from the dead, and then returned to the Father and gave his chosen ones the Holy Spirit –the Comforter; the Spirit of truth; the living Water of eternal life (Jn. 7:38-39; 14:16-18, 26-27; Jn. 15:26; Jn. 16:7, 13-14). In so doing, He granted them faith in His Cross, divine righteousness, and heavenly birth (Jn. 3:3, 7). He gave them ears to hear, and life from the dead (Jn. 5:25). He set them free from the bondage of the slavery of Sin (Jn. 8:34-36).
He also equipped them for the eschatological ministry of calling out His people from within the old world of Law and Condemnation (Jn. 1:17), to build them up to become the house of God through the power of the Holy Spirit, that they would bear the eternal fruit of the kingdom of heaven, as branches in Christ the true Vine (Jn. 15:1-8, 16). Through the Spirit, God put to death and buried the “old man,” and raised up the new, heavenly Man of divine righteousness in Christ (Jn. 12:24).
As Christ was from above (Jn. 3:31; 8:23), so His church had been born from above. Its life and righteousness were from heaven, by grace, instead of from commandment-keeping. For this reason, the world of “flesh” and “blood” and “the will of man” hated and persecuted the church as it had hated and persecuted Christ (Jn. 1:11-13; 15:18-19). But the church, through the power of the Spirit, endured its trials and kept the faith to the end of the age.
On that “last day,” the church’s world-changing death and resurrection with Christ was complete. His Parousia (coming/presence) was consummated, and He raised up His chosen, His bride. The good Shepherd, He gathered all his sheep together to inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God (Jn. 10:2-16, 27-30), making them one with Himself –the true, living, and spiritual Bread and Body of Life that has come down from out of heaven and remains forever (Jn. 1:14; 6:32-58; 1 Cor. 10:17).
It was thus, in the consummation of the ages, that God, through Christ, both saved “the world” (all who were chosen of the Father –the believing Jews/Israelites, living and dead, and the gentiles who were united with Israel in Christ –Jn. 3:16-17), and condemned “the world” (His old covenant people who remained in unbelief, and all who rejected the gospel of His sin-atoning death and resurrection –Jn. 17:9).
“In my Father’s house are many mansions [abodes]. . . . I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. . . . I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:2-4, 6).
In the old covenant age, the earthly temple was the Father’s house (Jn. 2:16). But when the Gospel of John was written, that house was soon to be gone (Jn. 4:21; 5:2). It was going to be “swallowed up,” as it were, by the temple that was not made with hands, and that was about to begin its descent from out of heaven. That house was going to clothe the universal church, in the new covenant world, on the last day (Acts 7:49):
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit” (2 Cor. 5:1-5).
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
“And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb. 3:5-6).
The “place” that Jesus “prepared” for His church was “the New Jerusalem” (Heb. 11:16; Rev. 3:12; 19:7; 21:2). He prepared it by means of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon His people. As the church (God’s new covenant tabernacle/house) was being progressively built up in the last days of the old covenant, the (most holy) “place” / “city” / “abode” / “tabernacle” / “house” of God was progressively coming down out of heaven. This was the eschatological process of Christ being “formed” in His people (Gal. 4:19). The Parousia of Christ took place, through the Spirit, from Pentecost to the fall of the Jerusalem of bondage in AD 70 (Matt. 26:64; 28:20; Jn. 14:18; Rev. 3:12; 21:2-3, 10; Gal. 4:25). When the city and the sanctuary fell, the Father and the Son consummately arrived from out of heaven, and made Their Most Holy Place, or “abode,” (Greek mone –Jn. 14:23) in and among “the bride” who had been “prepared” through the Spirit (Dan. 9:24; Rev. 21:2).
Since that day nearly 2,000 years ago, all believers in heaven and earth, living and dead, are where Jesus is: With the Father in the Holiest of Holies, which is now the church itself –the Father’s new covenant house of many “abodes” (Greek mone –Jn. 14:2).
“Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him” (1 Thess. 5:10).
“For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Rom. 14:9).
As other scriptures confirm, the “blessed hope” of every Spirit-indwelt believer in “the last days” (AD 30-70) was that he/she would, on “the last day,” become the completed temple, not of the Holy Spirit only, but also of the Father and the Son:
“If anyone loves Me [through the Holy Spirit], he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We [the Father and the Son] will come to him [on the Last Day], and make Our abode with him” (Jn. 14:23).
“My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).
“in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21,22).
“that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” (Eph. 3:16,17).
“to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
“And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (II Peter 1:19).
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20; This promise was written to believers.).
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them” (Rev. 21:2,3).
The following events in the Gospel of John were about to take place, or be consummated, on the last day:
1. The destruction of Jerusalem (Jn. 4:21; 11:48)
2. The Judgment (Jn. 12:48)
3. The burning of the fruitless branches (Jn. 15:6)
4. The harvest (Jn. 4:35-38)
5. The resurrection of the living and dead, just and unjust (Jn. 5:28-29; 8:56; Jn. 6:39-40, 44, 54)
6. The Second Coming (Jn. 14:3; 21:22)
7. Christ taking His chosen ones to be with Him (Jn. 14:3; 17:24)
8. The scattered children of God being gathered together and made one (Jn. 10:16; 11:52)
9. The marriage of the Lamb and His bride (Jn. 1:29, 36; 3:29; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:9-10)
10. The triune God making His abode in the church (Jn. 14:23)
11. The church attaining to the perfect knowledge of her union with God (Jn. 14:20; 1 Cor. 13:12)
12. God’s people no longer worshiping in Jerusalem, but in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:21-23)
God had told Caiaphas (who was high priest during Jesus’ ministry in the flesh) that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation and “gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (Jn. 11:51-52; 18:14). Shortly after Caiaphas had received that prophecy, the chief priests and the Pharisees (the thieves, robbers, strangers, and hirelings of John 10:1-13) had a council. They feared that if the people believed Jesus to be the King of Israel (as so many were coming to believe), that Caesar would send his armies to put down the sedition, and take away their place and nation (Jn. 11:48). So Caiaphas advised the council, based on the prophecy he had received from God about Jesus. He said, “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not” (Jn. 11:50). It was because of that advice that the chief priests and the Pharisees “took counsel together for to put [Jesus] to death” (Jn. 11:53).
This is a subtle yet profound irony in the Gospel of John. The chief priests and Pharisees, based on a prophecy given by God, took counsel to murder Jesus in order to save their place and nation from being taken away by the Romans. (Or at the least, that was their faithless and perverted rationale for killing the righteous One.) But as was foreordained of the Father, their murder of Jesus and of His disciples was the direct cause of God bringing the Romans to take away their place and nation, i.e., to shatter the power of the chief priests and Pharisees (Dan. 12:7), to destroy Judea, Jerusalem, and the temple in AD 70 (Matt. 21:38-45).
In that work of divine vengeance and salvation, God established the promised kingdom in Christ’s blood, in which the sheep of His flock no longer worship Him through types and shadows in the earthly Jerusalem of death and condemnation (2 Cor. 3:7-9). Now we worship the triune God in His Presence, in the glory of resurrection-life through faith in His blood, in face-to-face union, in peace with God and man through Christ, forever and ever (Jn. 4:21, 24; 1 Cor. 13:12; 2 Cor. 3:7-18; Rev. 22:4).
“Neither pray I for these [the twelve apostles] alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that You have sent Me. And the glory which You gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one. I in them, and You in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them, as You have loved Me. Father, I will that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me: for You loved me before the foundation of the world” (Jn. 17:20-24).