In the Old Testament times God’s people built the ark, the tabernacle, and the temple. They also rebuilt the temple after their captivity. All of these were physical buildings, pictures/symbols of the real building.
Now, as God’s New Testament people, we are building the church. This is a spiritual building. The materials are the Triune God Himself and the Triune God deposited in and worked into humanity. The church is not a physical building and is not built with physical materials.
The first words of Jesus about the New Testament building are in John 1:35-42. Andrew, a disciple of John the Baptist, began to follow Jesus and brought his brother Simon to Jesus. “Looking at him, Jesus said, You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter).”
Cephas is an Aramaic* name and Peter is the equivalent Greek name; both mean a stone. Peter became a stone for God’s New Testament building and later he told us that we all are living stones for the spiritual building. First Peter 2:4-5 say,
Coming to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious, you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.
According to our natural life we are clay, but the Lord’s life changes us to be living stones for His building. We are being built together now as the church, God’s spiritual house. Eventually the building will be enlarged to New Jerusalem.
* The language commonly used by Jews in Judea and Galilee in the first century.
Photo by Tom Kogut, courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.