“However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of My feet; what kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord; ‘Or what place is there for My repose? Was it not My hand which made all these things?’ ” Acts 7:48-50
Old Testament quote after Old Testament quote found in the New Testament.
Shouldn’t be so surprising when you recall that the inspired record in the New Covenant states that the early church proved (Acts 9:22, Saul after his conversion, soon to be known as the apostle Paul) and demonstrated (Acts 18:28, Apollos) Jesus to be the long awaited Messiah from the Old Testament Scriptures. Here we have another passage from a powerful Old Testament instrument of God known to us as Isaiah, quoted by Steven. If you backtrack to the end of chapter six in Luke’s inspired narrative, in particular verses thirteen and fourteen, you’ll note that what got Steven dragged before the Council were the false witnesses who said Steven “incessantly speaks against this holy place, and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” Steven recounts the history of Israel, moving towards the conclusion of his “pep talk” with the above statement from the scroll of Isaiah, trying to bring his listeners to the proper conclusion concerning the physical temple by reminding them that Yahweh’s ultimate purpose was not to dwell in a house (or houses) made by human hands. We should now give you the entire context of the passage from the book of Isaiah from which Steven quoted: ‘Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” ’ Isaiah 66:1, 2 (NAS) Brethren, those on the Council (San Hedrin) would have been very familiar with the book of Isaiah. We (again) would think they would understand the context as Steven quoted from them. In this passage, the LORD makes a clear inference that where He desires to dwell (to this one I will look) is to him (her) who is humble, contrite, and trembles at His word. We know that through other Old Testament prophets, the LORD had always intended to “alter the customs which Moses handed down” (c. f. Jer. 31:31-33 & Dan. 9:27). The Council knew those passages from Jeremiah and Daniel too. They also had in the inspired record, the previous example of the LORD destroying the temple (at the hands of the Babylonians ) because the people would not heed the word of God through His prophets. When they chose to reject Steven’s message, which was scripturally based, they rejected the word of God and its obvious intentions. Steven was just letting them know that God was going to follow through on the altering of the customs of Moses which would require the taking down of the physical temple one last time. The Council, and those Jews of like mind, were not humble, nor contrite, and definitely didn’t tremble at the authority of God’s word. Because the Council was stiff necked and had a hearing and heart condition (uncircumcised), they were rejecting the Holy Spirit (like their fathers) and had become the betrayers and murderers of the Righteous One. All because they refused to accept God’s word at face value. God’s intention has always been to build up a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5), not a physical one. Many in the religious realm and the brotherhood still don’t get it. They want to build million dollar plus “houses for God” (their terminology) thinking that somehow glorifies Him. They’re nice to look at, that’s true, but they are still not the intention of our Lord. Any house built by man is still made by human hands! The house our Lord has always wanted as His repose is the one He made-mankind. That house has always been designed to be “spiritual” from the beginning. You want to build a house for God, understand the only one He desires to see built up is the temple where He now dwells, the Christian individually and the church as the body of Christ collectively. It is this house alone which is able to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God. Remember the principle, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;” (Psa. 127:1) That is why premillenialist teaching is so insidious. One of the foundational principles of that doctrine requires as a part of the ultimate goal of God, the rebuilding of the physical temple when the Scripture, both Old and New Testament, teach clearly that the church of Jesus Christ was the intended repose of His presence and the end result of all His planning. It subjugates the church to minimal importance and exalts a physical dwelling above the people of God once more. The writer of Hebrews says those things were obsolete and ready to disappear. Moses’ customs and the temple did disappear once the Romans destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. Premillenialism wants to make an obsolete (which means no longer useful) system and building reappear! The LORD, through His word, continues to say to those who hold that teaching, “What kind of house will you build for Me?” It’s really simple. You become God’s house, or a part of God’s house collectively, when the Spirit of God dwells in you. See, the indwelling Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. No Spirit indwelling (God’s repose), you don’t belong to Him. Those who revere God’s word humble themselves in faithful obedience, knowing the Spirit comes to dwell only in those who’ve been immersed into Christ. Anyone who rejects that exhortation from the word of God is stiff-necked, uncircumcised of heart and ears and resisting the Holy Spirit. If you tremble at His word, God is looking to work with you!