Living with God
God will live with us in the future on the new Earth(Rev. 21:3) without any obstruction and walk with us(2 Cor. 6:16). In this time, God will not abhor us(Lev. 26:11-12). We won't have to worry about displeasing God since we will be without sin in Heaven.
What will living with God be like? We can't know fully since a barrier separates us and prevents us from being in the direct presence of the Lord. God is pure and holy while we are flawed. The Bible provides some examples of people who were in the direct presence of God.
The closest humans ever came to living with God was in the Garden of Eden. God came down to Earth to the Garden of Eden and visited Adam and Eve. There's no mention of Adam and Eve ever leaving the garden. The Lord lived with them until they disobeyed God's command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and were banished from Eden(Gen. 3:6-24). Humanity to this day has never recovered completely.
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and to Mt. Sinai, the Lord came down onto the mountain. Boundaries were placed on the mountain so people would not get too close(Exo. 19:12). The people also had to wash their clothes and be consecrated(Exo. 19:10) before God came. Only Moses could approach God(Exo. 24:1-2) and not even animals or priests could touch the mountain until the Lord left.
God established a covenant with Moses where the Israelites would construct a tabernacle or the Tent of the Meeting. The entrance to the tent led to the Holy Place where only priests could enter. The Holy Place led to what's called The Most Holy Place, where the glory of God dwelled. What is the glory of God? It is the manifestation of God's attributes such as power, transcendence and moral perfection. The Most Holy Place had the Ark of the Covenant(the same one in the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark). The glory of God would be above the top of the Ark of the Covenant between the 2 Cherubim(or angels)(Exo. 25:22). A curtain separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Only the high priest would enter the Most Holy Place once a year to atone for the sins of the nation(Exo. 30:10; Lev. 16:34).
The book of Leviticus gives an idea of the strict requirements and purity needed before going into the tent. Priests going into the Holy Place had to wear special garments(Exo. 28:1-6). The garments included a breastplate, an ephod made of gold, robe, woven tunic, a turban and sash. They were all made by skilled craftsmen. The breastplate had 12 stones, each for a son of Israel(Exo. 28:21). The 12 stones included a ruby, sapphire, emerald and jasper(Exo. 28:17-20). Before entering the Tent of the Meeting, priests had to wash their hands and feet or they would die(Exo. 30:18-21). Any articles in the tent such as the table and lamp stand had to be anointed with sacred oil(Exo. 30:23-29). The Lord would come to the tent in a pillar of cloud(Exo. 33:9). No one was allowed to enter the tent while the high priest was in the Most Holy Place(Lev. 16:17). The high priest had to take off the holy garments and leave them in the tent when he was done(Lev. 16:23).
When the tent was moved, the holy items inside could not be touched by the ones doing the moving or they would die(Num. 4:15). The Ark of the Covenant was carried on the shoulders of a select group of men using poles. Someone once touched the Ark to keep it steady while it was being transported and was killed for it by God(1 Chron. 13:9-12). This sounds harsh, but God gave specific instructions for handling sacred articles. Those who disobeyed, even if unintentionally, were killed because it signaled disobedience and disregard for the laws God put forth.
After King David captured Jerusalem he built a palace for himself but noticed the tabernacle for God was still a tent. He then decided to upgrade the tent to a great temple, but God prevents David from building it because of the blood on his hands. As a result, David's son Solomon built the temple in 959 BC where God's glory dwelled(1 Kings 8:3-11).
The Israelites thought because God dwelled with them in Jerusalem, they would always be safe. However, Jeremiah 7 and 8 mention judgment for idolatry and other sins committed in the temple. God later punished Israel for it(1 Chr. 21:7), and God's glory departed the temple(Eze. 10:18). The temple was destroyed after Jerusalem was invaded by the Babylonians.
The temple was rebuilt in 516 BC(Ezra 6:13-15). When Herod the Great came to power he expanded it. Even though the temple was bigger than Solomon's, the glory of God never completely returned until the time of Jesus.
The New Covenant
When Jesus died on the cross the curtain in the temple separating the Holy place from the Most Holy place was torn, symbolizing God is no longer separated from men(Matt. 27:51). God's spirit dwells in us through the Holy Spirit(John 16:7). God no longer lives in a temple where only 1 person can have direct contact with Him once a year but is now available for all(Acts 17:24).
We ask what living with God will be like. The new covenant by Jesus makes this possible now even when we are physically on Earth(Eph. 2:6), though it is very faint and blurry version of what is to come. When we are in Heaven and are free from sin, we'll experience the full glory of God.
Last updated 10/9/2010