The temple of the Garden of Eden is a fenced garden, there is boundary, within which God’s presence was there. Adam did not fulfil the task of keeping the garden, therefore serpent came in, the beast from outside came in and deceived mankind. And the garden temple was destroyed. Since then, God gave the pattern of the tabernacle and temple to point to the complete restoration of that garden temple and Jesus comes to restore that temple through His death and resurrection.
1. Jesus who came as the tabernacle/ temple (John 1:14; 2:19-21)
The word “dwelt” in John1:14 means to tabernacle. Jesus came to this earth and tabernacled among us. Around Jesus were 12 disciples moving around Jerusalem just like the 12 tribes moving around the Wilderness with the tabernacle as the centre. That Centre = Jesus became the representation of God’s presence in that place.
In the gospel of John, Apostle John’s presents that Jesus came as the temple and tabernacle. John 2:19-21 disciples came to realise Jesus was referring to the temple of his body after the resurrection. Jesus body was destroyed and raised in 3 days.
When the high priest or priest enters the temple through the door, their purpose was to reach the Holy of Holies:
Door –> Courtyard; there is the altar of burnt offering and water basin –> Holy Place; there is the table of showbread, lampstand of light, and altar of incense Veil that divides the Holy Place and Holy of Holies –> Holy of Holies; there is the Ark of the Covenant, where God’s presence is, the seat, the throne of God, where the high priest and the people can receive forgiveness, atonement, and redemption.
That is the pathway through which they receive life. Jesus said in John 14:6 He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life:
- Courtyard is understood as the place for washing and forgiveness. Because through the altar of burnt offering their sins are forgiven, through the water basin, they are washed.
– Jesus is the sacrificial lamb that will die on the altar of burnt offering (John 1:29).
– Jesus is the giver of the water; unless one is washed and receive the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5, 4:14)
- Holy Place is a place of knowing through the Holy Spirit. After being forgiven of our sins we come to know Jesus, we come to know Him through the Word. The Word is the bread and the light.
– John 5:19 Jesus said you have to come to know the Father, come to know Him through Me.
– John 6:32-35 Jesus referring to Himself to the Bread.
– John 8:12, 9:5 Jesus is the light of the world.
- Holy of Holies is the place of life. Those who have come to know him through Word and Holy Spirit, can enter into the veil, to the place of life.
– If Jesus is the tabernacle, Father is in the Holy of Holies.
The gospel of John is divided into 2 big sections:
(1) John 1-11 – the book of signs. Apostle John is presenting Jesus step by step how Jesus is the fulfilment of the tabernacle. These miracles and healings that Jesus performs, through those Jesus shows I am the water, I am the light, the life. Apostle John presents Jesus as part of the tabernacle and as the whole. When we enter through the door of Jesus and into the veil, we will find life (John 10:7-9; John 11:25-26)
(2) John 12-20 – the book of suffering. Jesus walks through this tabernacle procedure to show us He came to fulfil the tabernacle’s atonement work.
John chapter 20 (John 20:11-18) is the scene of resurrection. Jesus is not in the tomb, but there were two angels at both ends of where Jesus was laid; that is the image of the Ark of the Covenant with the 2 cherubim facing each other at both ends. Apostle John describes this place not as a graveyard but as a garden. Thus, the restoration of the garden temple.
(John 20:21-22 [ESV2011]) Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is saying, I am sending you now, to expand the boundaries that is under God’s rule. Today, that’s called Evangelism. In order for you and I to do that, we need to be restored as Adam inside the Garden of Eden, receiving the breath of life.
2. Purpose of Jesus coming as the Tabernacle (John 1:18; 20:31)
According to the gospel of John, the purpose of Jesus coming as the tabernacle is clearly described with this word ‘pisteuo’ (Greek) = Believe.
The purpose is to let the people know and believe in the Father through the tabernacle of Jesus.
Have you met the Father through Jesus? Jesus says if you believe you will receive these blessings
Result of believing in Jesus:
- Right to become children of God (Jn 1:12)
- Resurrection and eternal life (Jn 3:15, 16, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 11:25, 26)
- Will not be judged (Jn 3:18, 5:24)
- Worshipping the Father through Jesus (Jn 4:21)
- Will not hunger or thirst (Jn 6:35)
- From innermost being will flow rivers of living water (Jn 7:38)
- Will receive the Holy Spirit (Jn 7:39)
- Become true disciples of Jesus (Jn 8:3)
- See the glory of God (Jn 11:40)
- Become sons of light, will not remain in darkness (Jn 12:36, 46)
- Able to believe in the Father (Jn 12:44; 14:1, 10, 11; 16:27, 30; 17:8, 21)
- Doing the works that Jesus does (Jn 14:12)
3. Those who met Jesus
The people who met Jesus in the gospel of John and believed in Jesus:
(1) Nathanael, (2) Mary, Jesus’ mother, (3) Samaritan woman, (4) Royal official, (5) Peter representing the disciples, (6) Blind man, (7) Lazarus and sisters, (8) Mary Magdalene
What are their common traits?
- Includes those who are banned from the temple; gentiles (Lev 21:16-17, Deut 23:2-9, Lam 1:10, Isaiah 56:3-5, Ezek 44:7-9)
- Jesus makes a comment or initiates a conversation or event that leads them to come to believe. e.g the Samaritan woman.
- Jesus breaks their traditional/preconceived understanding of the temple, service and God (where, when, who, etc.)
- They received new life / changes were made e.g
– the royal official came to meet Jesus to ask him to come and heal his son.
– In today’s passage, Mary saw Jesus’ tomb and she announced and testified to the rest of the disciples that He’s alive.
These are the traits in those who have met Jesus. The blind man’s life was a new life ever since his eyes were open. The Samaritan woman’s life became a new life, from sinner’s life to an evangelist life. Their hearts were changed.
The real important restoration is the restoration of the worshippers. For the church, for the temple to be completely restored, the worshipper needs to be restored, Adam needs to be restored. Unless we are, this church cannot be restored, the kingdom of heaven cannot be restored. But when we meet Jesus and truly believe, then this is happening (Rev 21:1-4).