House of God

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This is a name given to the Temple; and also to the Church. See TEMPLE and CHURCH.

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

Christians often (mistakenly) refer to their church building or hall as God’s house. A case in point comes to mind of a brother who was unhappy about the children who were running and playing in the hall after one of the Bible meetings. He said, “The children shouldn’t be running around in here; this is the house of God!” But this remark is really thinking of God’s house along the lines of what it was in the Old Testament, in Judaism. As mentioned, the house of God in this Christian dispensation is not a physical building made with men’s hands, but a spiritual building. Out of this misunderstanding comes the idea that at certain prescribed times Christians go to God’s house to worship—i.e. 10 o’clock on Sunday morning. This confusion comes from the false ideas propounded in Catholicism and Reformed (Covenant) Theology. The truth is that we “are” the house of God (Heb. 3:66But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Hebrews 3:6)) and are “in” the house of God (1 Tim. 3:1515But 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. (1 Timothy 3:15)) at all times—24 hours a day, seven days week—not just when we are assembled with other Christians in Bible meetings. (Nor should we confuse “the house of God” with the Father’s house”John 14:2-32In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2‑3). God’s house is something on earth, whereas the Father’s house is something in heaven.)
The Church, viewed as the house of God, is God’s vessel of testimony on earth. It is to show forth the true character of God before the world. The Apostle Peter indicates this in his first epistle. After stating that believers are God's “spiritual house,” he goes on to say that as such, we are responsible to “show forth the excellencies of Him" who has called us "out of darkness into His marvellous light(1 Peter 2:5-95Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1 Peter 2:5‑9)). Thus, just as we can learn certain things about the occupant of a house by looking at the house, so men should be able to look at God’s house and know God’s character. If the garden is unkempt, there is trash around, the house needs paint, etc., it gives us insight as to the kind of person that lives there. Conversely, we can look at a well-kept home (from what meets our eye) and conclude that the owner is probably an orderly person. Thus, God intends that His character should be seen in the order of His house. Since we are God’s house, the world should be able to look at our conduct and ways and know the true character of God.
This line of truth is a much-neglected side of things. Many Christians have the idea that God is not concerned about what they are outwardly; to them what's on the inside is the only thing that matters. First Samuel 16:7 is sometimes used to support this—Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” But this very verse only enforces the point that we need to pay attention to our outward testimony. Since men cannot see what is in our hearts—only God can see that—they have to look on what is outward. Certainly the most important thing is to have a relationship with God inwardly by faith, but it is not the only thing that Christians need to be concerned about. We have a responsibility regarding how we appear before the world, because our personal testimony reflects on God.
The two main characteristics of God which Christians, as the house of God, are to manifest before the world are:
The house of God today in Christianity is viewed in Scripture in two ways:
The first aspect views the house as consisting of true believers only (Matt. 16:1818And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18); 1 Cor. 3:99For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)b; Eph. 2:2020And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20)-21; 1 Tim. 3:1515But 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. (1 Timothy 3:15); Heb. 3:66But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Hebrews 3:6); 1 Peter 2:55Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)). Since the gospel is still going forth and gathering in the material (“living stones”), this aspect of the house is seen as being under construction and will not be complete until the last believer is saved and put into the structure (Eph. 2:2020And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20)-21)—whereupon the Lord will come and take the Church home to heaven at the Rapture. Christ is the Master Builder (Matt. 16:1818And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)) and “the Corner-stone” of the house (Eph. 2:2020And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20)); He is also Son over His (God’s) house” (Heb. 3:66But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Hebrews 3:6)).
The second aspect views the house as having a mixture of real believers and merely professing believers in it (1 Cor. 3:9-179For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 10According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:9‑17); Eph. 2:2222In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22); 2 Tim. 2:2020But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. (2 Timothy 2:20); 1 Peter 4:1717For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)). Men are seen as having a part in the work of constructing the house, but sadly, not all are good builders; some are building with good material and some with bad material (1 Cor. 3:9-179For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 10According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:9‑17)). With God having committed this responsibility to men in the time of the Lord's absence (Matt. 24:4545Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? (Matthew 24:45)), many of the builders have shown a disregard for the order of His house and have introduced an order of their own making. Consequently, all kinds of things have been brought into the house that really have no place there, and much disorder and ruin have been the result. The house of God, in this aspect, is now like a “a great house,” full of confusion (2 Tim. 2:2020But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. (2 Timothy 2:20)). In fact, today, there is so much disorder in God's house that there is very little left that is according to the pattern of His house in His Word. God is not indifferent to it; He judges those in His house in a governmental way today (1 Cor. 3:17; 11:30-3217If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:17)
30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:30‑32)
; 1 Peter 4:1717For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)).
In this second aspect, the house is viewed as "the habitation of God" on earth. That is, He is dwelling in it through the presence of “the Spirit (Eph. 2:2222In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)). Since the Holy Spirit is in the house (1 Cor. 3:1616Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)), those in it who are merely professing Christians are “partakers of the Holy Spirit” in an outward way, without actually being indwelt by the Spirit (Heb. 6:44For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (Hebrews 6:4)). This second aspect embraces the whole Christian profession on earth. Thus, no local assembly is ever called the house of God in Scripture.
The house of God in the Old Testament had two buildings adjoining each other—the house of the LORD (1 Kings 5-6) and King Solomon’s own residence (1 Kings 7). These two buildings are a type of the two aspects of the house of God today. The house of the LORD (the temple) was open to all who came to God to worship Him—even having a court for Gentiles. However, not all of those who went into the temple precincts necessarily had real faith. It is a picture of the second aspect of the house of God today where there is a mixture of real believers and mere professors. Solomon’s own house was a series of inter-connected rooms that were closed to all but himself and his family. Gentiles who visited the land, and others in Israel, did not have access there. It is a type of the first aspect of the house which is composed of true believers only. (See Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by J. N. Darby on 1 Kings 5-7.)
Some Outstanding Differences Between These Two Aspects Are:
•  In the first aspect, people become part of the house by believing the gospel; in the second aspect, people come into the house by making a profession of faith in Christ (2 Tim. 2:1919Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2:19)), or by being baptized (which is the formal means of entering it).
•  The first aspect is sometimes called “the house of reality;” whereas the second aspect is sometimes called “the house of profession.”