January 5, 2024

January 2024 Viewpoint

A couple of months ago, Debbie and I returned from Cranfield, United Kingdom, where we attended the dedication of an Apostolic Faith Church that was purchased earlier this year (read about it here). We were reminded there of Solomon’s declaration that “the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great” (2 Chronicles 2:9). This was his description of the Temple of God. For many of us, “wonderful” and “great” are redundant as adjectives. However, Solomon was a wise man of understanding and would not have chosen his words idly.

What about the Temple did Solomon consider “great”? It was not particularly great in size; when finished, it was about 90 feet long and 30 feet wide, which is just 2700 square feet (see 1 Kings 6:2). The churches that many of our magazine readers attend are larger than that. Solomon’s own palace was four times as big (see 1 Kings 7:2). Perhaps beyond the size, he viewed the Temple as “great” because it was to be a dwelling place for a great God. Solomon acknowledged that Heaven itself could not contain God. In view of that, His house would have to be very great indeed.

One could make a case that the Temple was “wonderful” because of the value and appearance of its components. The beams and roof were made of cedar imported from Lebanon, as were the interior walls that featured carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. The floor was made of juniper and was overlaid with gold. Two sets of gold-covered doors led into the sanctuary and the Holy of Holies. There, all the walls were overlaid with pure gold, and the Ark of the Covenant sat under the two golden cherubim. The final product was certainly beautiful. In that sense, it was wonderful. Yet, without the presence of God, it was just a large collection of expensive and ornate materials.

After seven years of construction, the day came when the Temple was finished. However, it was not complete. How can anything be finished but not complete? Ordinarily, those descriptions are synonymous. Concerning the Temple, however, while it was finished, it was not complete until God came. At the end of Solomon’s dedicatory prayer, fire consumed the sacrifices and the glory of the Lord filled the house (2 Chronicles 7:1-2). At that moment, the description of “wonderful great” took on a meaning that far exceeded the special qualities of this or any other building. This was the singular place on earth where mankind could approach the one, true God. Nothing could be greater or more wonderful than that.

Without God’s presence, any building is just a space for gatherings. Like the Temple, our churches are exceptional because they are hallowed, dedicated specifically as places where people can meet with God. At the Cranfield church dedication, attendees were encouraged to dedicate themselves as well, because our bodies are temples of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Without Him, we are similarly just empty shells. However successful our lives may appear to be, we are incomplete until God has taken His rightful place in our hearts. Colossians 2:10 says, “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”

We are fearfully and wonderfully made, yet we need God dwelling within us to lead the life He intended. God’s desire is to reside in us and use us in the manner that He deems best. As you read the testimonies and articles in this magazine, may you be inspired to dedicate yourself more fully as a “wonderful great” dwelling place of God.

apostolic faith magazine