God’s building, as revealed throughout the New Testament, is not material but spiritual. Christ Jesus is the builder, the cornerstone, and the foundation; we are living stones; the word of God’s grace builds us together; and our growth into Christ results in the building up of His Body. This building culminates in New Jerusalem.
In Acts 7:47 Stephen speaks of Solomon building the Old Testament temple. In verses 48 to 50 he goes on, “Yet the Most High does not dwell in that which is made by hands, even as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is a footstool for My feet. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has not My hand made all these things?’ ”
Stephen’s word shows that God’s longing in the Old Testament matches the spiritual building in the New Testament. The Old Testament temple was a temporary picture of God’s real desire.
Stephen quoted Isaiah 66:1-2, where the Lord goes on to say “But to this kind of man will I look, to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” This shows that God’s desire is for a spiritual building, a dwelling in men, as in Ephesians 2:22, “a dwelling place of God in spirit.”
The conclusion of the New Testament and the consummation of God’s building is in Revelation 21–22. We cannot expect New Jerusalem to depart from the pattern prophesied in Isaiah 66 and clearly revealed through the New Testament. New Jerusalem is a spiritual building, a building of God into man, the corporate consummation of Christ making home in our hearts (Eph. 3:16-17) and of the church as the house of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15).
Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.