These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou
oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the
living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded" (1 Kings 8:27)?But nevertheless this temple of Solomon's time, in which God's glory came to rest, was emblematic of a greater house, a house to which such allusions as Paul's statement here have their highest realization. The "House of God is in the greatest sense the household of God or the family of God. "House" in the Bible commonly means a family rather than a building. (The family of Israel was once called God's house: see Num 12:7 and many other references). Paul is still thinking of the same type of "house" when he writes in 5:1, 2 that Timothy should treat the saints as parents and brethren. Compare also Mat 12:50:
"For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother".The real house of God was first of all Jesus Christ (John 2:13-22), a man which God Himself "built up" in a very unique sense. And each believer is in turn a "temple of the Holy Spirit" (1Co3:16; 6:19). [The Corinthians, to whom Paul spoke and other first-century believers were pre-eminently a Holy Spirit temple, in that many members possessed special gifts of the Spirit (1Co12). But in a broader sense they and we also possess the Holy Spirit in the word of God believed among us: (John 6:63; 1Jo 5:6; Eph 6:17)]. Finally, all the believers "fitly framed together" (Eph 2:21) are a "spiritual house" (1Pe 2:5) -- a living house built of "living stones". We are the "house of God" (Consider also 1Pe 4:17; Heb 3:6; 10:21) -- His "tabernacle" (Heb 8:2) or dwelling-place (for He dwells among us in our hearts and minds) built up around Jesus the chief cornerstone (Eph 2:20; Psa 118:22).
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out" (Rev 3:12).The complete assembly of called-out ones will be fitted together around Christ ("the chief comer-stone": Eph2:20) at the "marriage of the Lamb" (Rev 19:7, 9). The whole purpose of the Truth is encompassed in God's Memorial Name, Yahweh Elohim, which means "He Who Shall Be Mighty Ones". God's purpose in Christ is to bring to perfection a special group of people, an "ecclesia" to show forth his transcending glory. From the one "Seed of the woman", by his strength in word and deed, comes the victory over the seed of the serpent. From the one "seed" comes the fruitful vine of the faithful ones. From the one "lamb without blemish" comes a great flock of spotless ones. From the one "captain of our salvation" comes a great army of mighty Spirit-beings.
"There is a sense in which Jacob's pillar of stone exists as a house of Elohim even now, and in intimate connection with the house he will see when he awakes from his present know-nothing state. Paul presents to us this sense in the saying, that "a House of Deity is an ecclesia of living Deity, a pillar and ground (material habitation, from "hedraioma", a habitation of gods) of the truth" -- 1Ti 3:15. This pillar and habitation is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Anointed being chief-corner" -- Eph2:20. As a monumental pillar, the inscription upon it is 'the exceeding great and precious promises' believed by each saint, or 'living stone', of which the pillar is composed -- 'promises' concerning the kingdom and name to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as narrated by Moses. This pillar was anointed on the top of it (Gen 28:18) on the Day of Pentecost, when the spirit was poured upon the apostles (Acts 2:1-4). That anointing was perpetuated in "the testimony for Jesus" which has reached even to us, and with which every true believer is anointed. An ecclesia, however, is not only a pillar inscribed with the truth, but is a 'ground' ('hedraioma') of the truth. It is a material thing made up of 'gods', as David styles them, or of 'children' of 'Deity', according to 1Jo 3:2; Psa 82:6. These are anointed with the truth, and therefore they are a god-habitation, or hedraioma, of the truth.One should read carefully all our brother's comments in this section of his work entitled "A Pillar in the Temple". In these few pages he expounds a great number of Scriptures dealing with God's holy pillars.
"In regard to this word hedraioma, it may be remarked here, that it occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, nor in any classical author. The word is derived from hedra, which signifies 'a seat, habitation, especially of gods, a temple, altar, and etc.' Hence, the expressiveness of the word, and its peculiar and exclusive application to a habitation of the truth constituted of gods, or children of Deity, who are, as represented in the Apocalypse, 'the Altar', 'the temple', 'the Holy city', or as Paul expresses it, 'an habitation of Deity by spirit' -- Eph 2:22." (Eureka, Vol. 1, pp. 391-392)
"And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which 1 have spoken to thee of" (Gen 28:14, 15).Jesus takes up the strain of thought here, by declaring in John 1:51 that the angels were to ascend and descend upon the Son of Man. Jesus thus was the stone upon which Jacob rested, and which he placed upright and anointed the following morning. In this pillar we see clearly the purpose of the Father and the mission of Christ in being at first as a stone of no repute (but upon which the faithful rested through the dark 'night', with only dreams to sustain them), and then set upright in the morning of resurrection and anointing with the greatest glory -- God's immortal Spirit power. "The stone which the builders [the chief priests and rulers] rejected, the same is become the head of the comer" (Psa 118:22).
"That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the ecclesia of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."Of course, the most obvious features of connection between these two Scriptures are the "house of God" (which is the meaning of Beth El -- Gen 28:19) and pillars. (The pillar as we have seen represents Christ and his ecclesia: "And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house" -- Gen 28:22).
"The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them" (Psa34:7).
"(God) Who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went" (Gen 35:3).
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached
unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into
"The mystery... now made manifest ... the glory of this mystery... which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:26,27).
"While God lightly esteems the wisdom of the reputed wise, there is a wisdom which He invites all men to embrace. This is styled 'the wisdom of God in a mystery'; it is also termed 'the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world, which none of the princes of this world knew' (1Co 2:7). It is said to be hidden in a mystery, because until the apostolic age, it was not clearly made known. This will appear from the following texts: 'Now to him that is of power to establish you according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret in the times of the ages, but now (in the time, or age, of the apostles) is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets made known to all nations for the obedience of faith' (Rom 16:25,26). 'By revelation God made known unto me, Paul, the mystery, which in other ages (former ages under the law of Moses) was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed unto the holy apostles and prophets by the spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel' (Eph 3:3,5,6).The remainder of this verse is a point-by-point development of that "mystery of godliness" -- the revelation of Christ to all men and man's step-by-step comprehension of the love of God directed toward his salvation. In the Greek original this section is rhythmic, much like the Hebrew poetry of the OT. Possibly Paul is quoting from some well-known Christian hymn of the first century, or an early "statement of faith". Notice how these several points form parallels with the very last part of Mark's Gospel (Mar 6:15,16), and with a section of Peter's first letter (1Pe 3:18-22) also.
"Here is the 'knowledge of God,' in which are contained 'exceeding great and precious promises', the understanding of which is able to make a man wise, and 'a partaker of the divine nature'. Now, although these hidden things have been clearly made known, they still continued to be styled the mystery; not because of their unintelligibility, but because they were once secret. Hence, the things preached unto the Gentiles, and by them believed, are styled by Paul, 'the mystery of the faith', and 'the mystery of godliness', some of the items of which he enumerates: such as 'God manifest in the flesh, justified by the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory'. Thus an intelligible mystery characterizes the once hidden wisdom of God, and becomes the subject matter of an enlightened faith." (Elpis Israel, pp. 3,4)
"But he told them that this was not so; for he said, 'My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me', and John also testified that 'he whom the Deity has sent, spake the words of the Deity', as Moses predicted in Deut. 18:18, concerning the Christ, saying, 'I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall be, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.' And so when the Word became flesh, the Word-Flesh recalled attention to what Moses had written and said, 'He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words... the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last days. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak' -- John 12:47 -- 'the words of eternal life.'While Christ was like all other men in his nature and the temptations he had to undergo, he was different in that he never succumbed to the lusts of the flesh. By his whole life he condemned sin in the flesh (Rom 8:3), becoming "dead to sin". And when Christ died, death could have no more dominion over him: "He that is dead is freed from sin" (Rom 6:7). The grave had no more dominion over him and God, after declaring His own righteousness in condemning Jesus' body of sin (Rom 3:26), could demonstrate His mercy as well, in raising Christ from the dead to eternal life. Jesus was "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead" (Rom 1:4). Jesus was "vindicated" or "endorsed" -- as the Greek word signifies (Mat 11:19; Luke 10:29). Jesus was justified (declared just or righteous) in the spirit by being "born of the spirit" through a resurrection to life (Roml:4; 1Pe 3:18):
"The words, then, that came out of the mouth of Jesus, are to be received as the direct teaching of the Eternal Spirit, and to be interpreted of him." (Eureka, Vol. 1, p. 103).
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36 ).Christ's resurrection to life was a proof of his righteousness and an example and guarantee to those "in Christ" that they might similarly be accounted righteous through him (Rom4:25).
"Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him" (1 Pet 3:22).But a more satisfying explanation, in view of the context here in 1 Timothy, as well as the parallel in Mark 16, might be this: The "angels" (messengers) relate to the disciples who saw Jesus shortly after his resurrection to life:
"Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went, and told it to the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen" (Mark 16:9-14).These appearances (1Co15:5-8) were of more immediate importance than those to the angelic beings, as it was in this way that Jesus established the first-century ecclesia and instructed the early believers in the more complete principles of the gospel. Since this section of Paul's letter is concerned with the ecclesia, God's house and the "mystery of the faith", it would seem to be more appropriate to understand the term angels as referring to those mortal messengers who were to witness to the world the foundation of the faith -- Jesus, a living Messiah. (Compare such passages as Luke 24:34; Acts 9:17; 13:31; 26:16).
"Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."Even Peter saw this same thing, for he told the Jews at Pentecost:
"For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:39).This was driven home to Peter even more forcibly when he saw the vision of all manner of animals, clean and unclean, after which he remarked:
"God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean" (Acts 10:28).Of course God's plan, ultimately to offer salvation to the Gentiles, is foreshadowed a hundred times in the Old Testament and in many of Christ's parables too. Sometimes it is even stated in simple prophecy (Isa 49:6; 57:19).