“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” Eph 2:19, 20

This Apostle Paul in writing to the Ephesians, describes them as “fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” and likens the ecclesia to a building that “groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:19,21). By the use of this figure, he is able to illustrate important spiritual principles relating to the design and construction of this spiritual temple, the New Jerusalem, of which the great Creator Himself is both the ARCHITECT and BUILDER. “For he (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10 – Rotherham). Before commencing to build, the architect (or designer) has in mind the pattern or design of the final structure and then the builder carefully considers the best way in which the edifice may be constructed. These two important aspects also apply in a spiritual sense to the design and building of Yahweh’s house.

The Design Stage

 “A wise master builder never begins to build without a design. Having well considered the whole, he concludes, that it is the best possible plan that can be devised in harmony with the principles of architecture. It then becomes his purpose, his foreordination, predetermination or design. All subsequent arrangements are made to conform to this recorded purpose, because it is the very best his most deliberate wisdom and ingenuity could devise.” (John Thomas – “The Faith in the Last Days”, page 49.)

Yahweh as the Architect has a predetermined purpose or design which is clearly displayed in the Bible. It is the Father’s declared purpose as the architect or designer of the house that, “whom He did foreknow, He also did predetermine to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). Yahweh, as the designer, has His predetermined purpose. His “predetermination” applies to the actual characteristics that are to be seen in this glorified, spiritual temple and this necessitates that the constituents must have “conformed to the image of His Son”. His predetermination (or predestination as it is translated in the A.V.) does not mean that He has predetermined who, as individuals, will be included in His completed and glorified household but rather the predetermined characteristics to be seen in those who will be included.

On our part, we need to constantly “study the plans” of the great Architect by consistently reading His Word and thereby grow in understanding of His mind and purpose. In so doing we develop “the mind of the Spirit” and identify with His wonderful purpose. This purpose involves the development of a Divine Family from among men, every one of whom shall be Spirit, because born of the Spirit.

The Building Stage

 “Moreover, whom He did predetermine, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified(Romans 8:30).

In accordance with the plans and specifications, the builder then proceeds to collect together all the necessary materials such as brick, stone, lime, sand, etc. At this stage they bear no resemblance to their final condition and only in the design and plan of the architect can any idea of the final picture be seen and then it is only a shadow of the real thing. When the building is completed, the surplus, broken and misfitting material is carried away and either dumped or burned. Thus the building is complete according to the design or predetermined purpose of the architect.

Yahweh as the Builder is vitally concerned with preparing and fashioning individuals who desire to be part of His household. The spiritual building which will stand for eternity comprises living stones – people that have characters developed and fashioned by the Word in accordance with the Divine plan and purpose and which show them as being aligned with the character of “the chief corner stone”. In accordance with the predetermined “specifications” of the Gospel, Yahweh the Builder calls for those who desire to become part of the building and reveal characters acceptable to the Great Architect. They have a love and desire to please their builder and allow Him to fashion them after the pattern of His son. These are the justified ones who are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, that they might become a building fitly framed together, growing unto an holy temple in the Lord, in whom they are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph 2:22,23). The completed building sees them united with their Lord and each other as the glorified ones.

Our Building Program

 There are many important lessons that emerge as we contemplate our personal involvement in the growth of Yahweh’s spiritual house.

  • Inasmuch as we are to be “an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph 2:22), it demands that we must think according to the Spirit, that is, to begin to think more like God thinks. To be able to do this, we must consistently “study the plans” and absorb more of the mind of the great Architect. This will enable us “to comprehend with all saints what is the length and breadth and depth and height” (Eph 3:18). This doubtless refers to the moral qualities that make up the “dimensions” of that spiritual temple, which in Rev 21:16 is described as a perfect cube and reminds us that together we must be “rooted and grounded in love” (Eph 3:17).
  • Although we are individual stones in the course of preparation, we are nevertheless an integral part of the building as a whole and as part of our preparation we need to recognise our dependence on, and our responsibility towards, our fellow citizens, who are also part of the household of God. It is apparent that Paul is laying a basis in Ephesians 2 for his strong appeal in chapter 4:3 to “keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”.
  • A study of the role of Yahweh as ARCHITECT and BUILDER of this spiritual temple helps us to understand how God views His creation and thereby together with Him and each other, “we await, with earnest expectation, … the manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). Paul says that “we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works that God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). One expression describes this whole process – GOD-MANIFESTATION.

What a great privilege is ours to be among those who have heard and responded to the Call of the Gospel and who have been justified by faith. Mankind at large does not comprehend these principles and as a result accuses God of injustice and unfairness. In this regard, the following excellent article from the pen of Brother Thomas has been chosen to further elaborate this theme of GOD MANIFESTATION enabling us to better understand God’s purpose from God’s viewpoint.

 Therefore, we earnestly await the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to complete this great building project when “He shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, Grace Unto It” (Zechariah 4:7).

In the meantime, may we hearken to the challenge of the Lord’s words: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his lord has appointed in the household to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh, shall find so doing.” (Matthew 24:45,46).