I normally just cringe when I hear Pentecostal church leaders talking about their building as “the House” or “this House” – meaning I suppose, the House of God. For one thing, it seems to be a very Old Covenant way of looking at things. The Old Covenant had its central tabernacle, and later its Temple, where people would come to offer sacrifices to God for their sins. That “house” was the place where God especially dwelled. Jesus referred to Herod’s temple as “My Father’s house” but then when Jesus died the veil of the Temple, which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn from top to bottom BY GOD – signifying that now the immediate presence of God was no longer locked in a buliding but could be accessed by somehow partaking in the torn flesh of the Son of God. So things have changed.
I can’t see any reference to church buildings being “the House” in the New Testament. Sometimes people wisely say “The Church is not a building, but the people” but the unmistakable connotation of the language concerning “The House” is indeed “the church building” and those programs which go on in it. If that is not what Church Leaders mean when they talk about “loving the House” it would be good of them to say so. But I am pretty sure that is exactly what they mean. It seems to me that they are talking about their platform for ministry.
On the biblical New Testament definition of the house of God we have Hebrews 3:5,6
Heb 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.
Heb 3:5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,
Heb 3:6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
So according to this passage, it seems that the faithful people of God are the house of God. Our bodies are the place where God dwells. How about that?
But suppose I am wrong here, or I don’t see the full picture. Suppose “the House of God” really has another meaning also: that of the consecrated church building? This may be. But if it is, what then are we to make of the religious merchandising that is going on in the House of God? You know what I mean, the selling of “resources” – usually the pastor’s most popular messages, the music of the church or the guest speaker’s books and DVDs. What does God think about merchandising in His house?
John 2:13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
John 2:14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business.
John 2:15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.
John 2:16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
This incident or a related one is also mentioned in Luke 19:
Luke 19:45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it,
Luke 19:46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE IS A HOUSE OF PRAYER,’ but you have made it a ‘DEN OF THIEVES.’ ”
If Jesus was upset because only because people were “overcharging” as some suggest, then why did Jesus also pick on those who were “buying” in God’s temple? Why did Jesus drive the buyer’s out also?
Surely there is a message in all this for us today. If not, why was it even recorded in Scripture more than once?
At the very least, I am sure that God wants our meeting times to be times of PRAYER. We ought to be spending at least some of our time crying out to God in prayer. Corporate prayer is almost a lost art in many of the churches I have attended. May God help us to do what His Word says, to make His Word the authority over every area of our lives, and not simply to follow our modern traditions because everyone else is doing it (or not doing it, as the case may be).
Please Note: I do not make the claim that this website is a church or the house of God. I am just someone who is doing what he can to spread the Word of God and help people come together online to seek God.