Christian Churches of God
Our Dwelling Place
(Edition 2.0 19950403-20000617)
This paper deals with the fall of humanity from the Garden of Eden. The implications for the Church are examined and the basis of our struggle with Satan is outlined. The dwelling place of Satan in Revelation 2:12-13 is contrasted with the dwelling place of the elect. The division of the creation caused by the fallen Host is shown to be the central problem facing the restoration and the Church. The original representation of God on the Earth was not through the Gentile Church but was of and through Scripture.
Our Dwelling Place
This paper investigates the concept of where we actually live, what we see as being our home and where our home might really be.
We will start at the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, where we first meet our adversary; where our understanding of evil enters our minds.
Our first Home and subsequent rejection
Genesis 2:15-25 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
This was the first recorded command of God to man. This command He gave to Adam before Eve existed, thus the Adam became responsible to God for the sins of his wife, as he was the person to whom the command was given.
18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
For a fleeting moment in time Adam and Eve existed without sin in harmony with God and His ways. This was a short-lived moment.
Genesis 3:1-19 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
From this point on man is aware of sin. Sin has entered into his life; however, the law has not departed. The tree was the knowledge of good and evil, whereas before they only had knowledge of good.
8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 14And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Here we see how Satan is banished to the earth. His power is limited and the Church, of which Eve was symbolic, was allowed to be persecuted and attacked by Satan. The protection of the Church was limited and is now based purely on the levels of our action for God and against Satan. We are the controlling influence on Satan at this point. Our actions and commitment to God determine the capacity through which Satan can operate on this planet. If we are idle then Satan’s power is greater. When we are powerful on this earth, because we are working closer with God, Satan is made weaker and the population of the world is made more rational. Here the enmity factor operates. The Church exists to fight evil and it is our calling.
16Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Here we see the extent to which the church will endure hardship. Christ is given as judge over us on this planet now.
17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (KJV)
While Adam and Eve were dwelling in the Garden of Eden they were in the home that God set aside for them on earth. By eating the forbidden fruit they rejected the house that was built for them and chose a different home. That home was on the earth, which is the home of Satan, for it is he who dwells on this planet as god of this world (2Cor. 4:4) and prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2).
So this first sin is a rejection of God. God did not kill Adam for his sin. He gave him his wish and that was to know good and evil and cohabit with Satan. God merely lets us choose and allows us to act upon that choice. What Adam did not realise was the extent of the negative aspect of a choice that is in opposition to the will of God.
If we understand where it is that Satan dwells, we had better understand where we are not to dwell. We must not desire to dwell there, as Adam and Eve did.
Revelation 2:12-13 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. (KJV)
Where is this place in which Satan dwells? Firstly we will look at the meaning of the word dwell in this passage. The Strong’s reference number for this word is 2730 which translates to house permanently. Now where is this place? Let us consider the city of Pergamos or Pergamum as it is otherwise known.
In the commentary contained within the Companion Bible, it is stated that:
Pergamos. A city of Mysia famous for the worship of Esculapius, to whom the title of soter (saviour) was given and whose emblem was the serpent, Identified with Apollo; cp. Acts 16.16 Some trace the Babylonian pagan priesthood as removing to Pergamos.
Who these people are we cannot say. William Barclay however in his commentary on Revelation, sheds a more interesting and less cryptic light on the subject. Let us examine his work, beginning in page 88:
Pergamum regarded it self as the custodian of the Greek way of life and of the Greek worship. About 240 b.c. it had won a great victory against the savage invading Galatae or Gauls. In memory of that victory a great alter to Zeus was built in front of the temple of Athene which stood 800 feet up on the Pergamum’s conical hill. 40ft high, it stood on a projecting ledge of rock and looked exactly like a great throne on a hillside. All day it smoked with the smoke of sacrifices offered to Zeus. Around its base was carved one of the greatest achievements in the world of sculpture, the frieze which showed the battle of the Giants, in which the gods of Greece were victorious over the giants of the barbarians....
This is, as we understand, symbolic of the battle of the Nephilim.
(b) Pergamum was particularly connected with the worship of Asclepios, so much so that Asclepios was known as the “pergamene God”. When Galen was mentioning favourite oaths, he said that people commonly swore by Artemis of Ephesus, or Apollo of Delphi, or Asclepios of Pergamum. Asclepios was the God of healing and his temples were the nearest approach to hospitals in the ancient world. From all over the world people flocked to Pergamum for relief for their sicknesses. R. H. Charles has called Pergamum “ the Lourdes of the ancient world.” The task of healing was partly the work of the priests; partly the work of the doctors-Galen, second only to Hippocrates in the medical history of the ancient world, was born in Pergamum; and partly the work of Asclepios himself.
Barclay goes on to explain that Asclepios’ title was that of saviour and his emblem was that of the serpent. This is significant but only touches the surface of the real meaning.
....Pergamum was the administrative center of Asia. That meant that it was the centre of Caesar worship for the province. Undoubtedly that is why Pergamum was Satan’s seat; it was place where men were required upon pain of death to take the name of Lord and give it to Caesar instead of Christ; and to a Christian there could be nothing more Satanic than that.
And here is the explanation of the beginning of the letter to Pergamum. The risen Christ is called he who has the sharp two edged sword. Roman governors were divided into two classes -those who had the Ius Gladii, the right of the sword, [Ius meaning justice and Gladii meaning sword or weapon hence the sword of Justice who we understand to be Christ] and those who had not. Those who had the right of their word had the power of life and death; on their word a man could be executed on the spot. Humanly speaking the pro-consul, who had his headquarters at Pergamum, had the Ius Gladdi, the right of the sword, and at any moment might use it against any Christian; but the letter bids the Christian not to forget that the last word is still with the risen Christ who has the sharp two edged sword. The power of Rome might be Satanically powerful; the power of the risen Lord is greater yet.
Here we can see that Pergamum was the center of the beast power and it lies in Asia. Satan on his throne assumes the exact role that Christ plays. From this we can understand Genesis 3:24 more clearly.
Genesis 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim’s [sic], and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (KJV)
It is Christ who guards the Garden of Eden and only through Christ can we enter into it. Christ is the healer and the instrument of perfect righteousness, which is justice and Christ is he who has the right of the sword. He judges us and delivers us perfect to the Father, a position which Satan clearly tries to mirror, in order to get all people to view him in the way we should be viewing Christ. That is, as our saviour.
This news however, is not the end of the Revelation 2:12 riddle.
Antipas can have two meanings. From Strongs it would mean “because of (or he who is for) the father” being a derivative of 473 and 3962. So Antipas the martyr or witness is literally he who dies for the Father. Pas can also mean all or the whole thus because of all. However, the more general term is rejected by Strong. If we look back on the paper The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170), we see that it was from the Pergamum era that the Christians were forced into alliance with Islam, fighting for survival against the persecution of the Trinitarians. That is, fighting for God the Father, the same fight we fight now (cf. also General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)). So it is correct to state that this reference to Antipas is a prophetic one and also a message to us of where Christ stands. We know that where we stand on an issue depends upon where we sit. For Christ, that is at the right hand of his Father. We should take this message as being one where if we witness, like Antipas, we are favoured in the eyes of God.
Now we have seen where Satan dwells. Let us now examine where our brother and master dwells.
John 1:2-17 The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
As we saw earlier the word dwelt when applied to Satan, meant to live permanently. However, this meaning has a different intent. This translation of the word skenoo as dwelt here is the only instance in the New Testament. The Strongs reference number is 4637 and reads;
to tent or encamp, to occupy (as a mansion) or (spec.) to reside (as God did in the Tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion).
The actual translation of the text should read;
And the word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us...etc
Christ visited us to become a light in the darkness; to show us what we are to do and to confirm the Law as is it was given. Christ was a temporary visitor in this world. His dwelling place or permanent home is seen from Revelation 3:21 where we read:
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (KJV)
Christ lives with God. We are to, and should desire to, live with God and not away from God, as Satan does. This division is symbolised by this earth system. Freedom of choice however lets us choose. Our decisions are made in the way we understand and observe the Law; that being the way we were shown how to worship and whom to worship.
The following is the basic New Testament story of the Exodus and shows a number of key points. Let us read.
Luke 4:1-13 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
So too were the Israelites lead by Moses under Christ, as the Angel of the Elohim
2Being forty days tempted of the devil.
The forty-day period relates both to the forty years in the desert of Sinai and to the forty jubilees of the New Testament church.
And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
God chooses not to reveal Himself to us in a physical way, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit which Christ was full of when he entered and during his time in the wilderness
3And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
Here Christ tells us that the physical representation of God on the earth was not of and for the Gentile church, but rather was initially of and through the Bible. Thus the Law was our bread and faith was our water.
5And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 8And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Here Satan clarifies where he sees his home to be, namely, on the earth. He offers to Christ what God presented to him as part of his heavenly responsibility and attempts to bribe Christ with the very instrument of his (Satan’s) own corruption. Christ, by his comments makes his choice of home. This is clear, as his total focus is on God the Father and His will. So also was Noah’s will and that of Moses and Abraham, to mention a few who were also subject to God.
9And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 13And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. (KJV)
Here Satan completes the temptation. Christ, by showing us this example, tells us how Satan attacks us.
1) He offers us the very thing we lust after when we are at our most spiritually vulnerable position.
2) He offers us power and position when we are at our lowest point in self esteem.
3) He tests us against the very thing we hold up as the strongest asset we have, and tricks us into handing it over to make us weaker. Thus he attempts to destroy all contact with God.
The analogy of Christ’s time in the wilderness is equal to that of the Israelite’s time with Moses. The significance is that we are in the wilderness, wandering because we have no home. The Israelites were years in a foreign home, before they were released back into another wilderness. Christ too was a visitor on the Earth to be tempted in the wilderness.
Satan attempted to bring Christ to the point where he would forfeit his place in his home and come to live in Satan’s home. Satan does the same thing with all of us. The job is to be aware of our decisions and where those decisions place us; in the house of God, or, in the house of Satan. Satan’s house is an earthly one, being temporal and cut off from God. God’s house is a spiritual and eternal or heavenly one. The question is: ‘Are we wandering on this earth or do we really see ourselves as living here permanently?’ This question will now be developed.
Genesis 18:16-19:30 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
At this time of Abraham the flood is still a recent memory. God will, however, allow man to destroy himself and destroy the earth again to show what the result of sin is and to cleanse the earth finally. Today the world is in a greater mess spiritually than Sodom ever was. We cannot continue to mock God or He will destroy us and people must be warned.
21I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 23And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. 32And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. 33And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
Abraham was a righteous man and because of this he could go to God and plead for his people in the bold way that he did. This is our job. We also should go before God on behalf of our people and ask for mercy. The sin that stands out here is not just one of sexual immorality and perversion as one usually associates with this story, but also of hypocrisy. For Abraham to think that there were more righteous men in Sodom, there must have been many who professed to be righteous. They must have openly paid lip service to the Law but inwardly rejected it. In my opinion Abraham himself did not want to see the city destroyed. He seemed to feel an affinity with it. But when God said get out, he, being a man of faith, did as his Lord commanded. Faith and obedience are interdependent.
Genesis 19:1-26 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 2And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 3And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 4But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. 10But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 11And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. 12And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 13For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. 14And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. 15And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 16And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. 17And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 18And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 19Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 20Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 21And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 22Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 23The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. 24Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
We all understand by Lot’s wife looking back that she did not want to leave. At this point she saw her home as Sodom and not with God. She lacked faith. We do this on a constant basis throughout our lives.
Thus we now see the concept of two dwelling places.
One is to abide on the earth and if that is our wish then we will live on the earth until the end of the second resurrection. If we choose to tabernacle on this earth, then we acknowledge that this is not our home and our home is, and will be, in the room that Christ has prepared for us.
Many people choose not to travel away for the Feasts and Passover. The concept of leaving the city gates is one of fleeing from Sodom. Our decision to stay at home shows that we see our home in the cities of the world. By going to the place where God places His hand as a meeting place for the feasts, it shows that we see our home as the garden that God has built for us.
The following are quotes from the Koran. From Surah, Chapter 66 verse 10:
Allah citeth an example for those who disbelieve; the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot, who were under two of our righteous slaves yet betrayed them so that they (the husbands) availed them naught against Allah and it was said (unto them): Enter the fire with those who enter.
The Muslim faith is very harsh on Lot’s wife. However the point is correct. Lot’s wife betrayed her husband and God and she desired to cling on to the ways of the past, without trusting in God.
The other point they make is that the wives’ association with their partners availed them nothing. Each one of us is subject to and judged by our own capacity for obedience to enter into the Kingdom. Our association with any particular people or group, however righteous they may be does not lessen our responsibilities. For too long people have listened to their ministers to be told what they are and are not allowed to do. The law is a personal and self-regulating force that operates within us guided by the levels of communication with God for the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the Son.
The time has come where we as individuals look at the law and desire personally to keep it. If we stay in a church that does not keep the law, then we are making this world our home and forsaking our home with God and our wish will be granted. We will be on this earth until our, or its, final destruction.
If we refuse to attend the Sabbath with God’s people who keep the Law, then we say that our tabernacle is not with God but with Satan. If we wish to share our meal with Satan then our wish will be granted. Be careful what we want as we may just get it.
People of like mind, as part of the body of Christ, are commanded to assemble together (Heb. 10:25).
Our actions speak for us, not our words. Words are empty. Where we stand depends on where we sit. Just make sure it is in God’s house and not in Satan’s house.