The Vision of God's Building, by Witness Lee


Upon the incident of Uzzah and the resulting frustration, David left the ark with a man named Obed-edom (2 Sam. 6:1-10). He thought that he had nicely settled his dilemma and would now be at peace. But after a short time, he was informed that God had greatly blessed Obed-edom. David was moved, so much so that he proceeded to bring the ark from the house of Obed-edom into his own city (2 Sam. 6:11-12). It is always like this with spiritual blessings: people discover where the blessing of the Lord is, and they want a share in it. David had now learned his lesson with God. This time he realized that the ark should not be borne by a cart, but by living persons. And it was not to be carried by just anyone, but by those who were designated, separated and holy. Only the priests could bear the ark (1 Chron. 15:1-15), several priests together in a coordinated way. One priest alone could not bear the ark on his shoulder; he must carry it in coordination with others. If one priest was short in stature, he must stretch up a bit; if another was tall, he must stoop a little. If another was fast, he must slow down; if another moved too slowly, he must quicken his pace. If they could not coordinate together, they could not bear the responsibility of carrying the ark. David realized this lesson of responsibility. Living persons, the priests, must carry the ark in coordination to its destination. David finally succeeded in bringing the ark to Mount Zion, the choicest spot in Jerusalem (1 Chron. 15:25; 16:1).

On Mount Zion David had prepared a tent to contain the ark. Was this all right? No, it was not absolutely right. With this arrangement there was not yet complete satisfaction. One day David realized the need of a proper and established temple to be built up to house the ark of the Lord.

Many times we desire to do something for God. In our first endeavor we are totally wrong. Then we learn our lesson and begin again. Yet in our second attempt we are only half right; fifty percent of what we are doing is still wrong. But God is a tolerating God. He tolerated David’s shortcoming in bringing the ark into a tent of his own choosing in Zion. David should have put the ark in the tabernacle originally made according to the pattern revealed by God. Therefore, he still did not have settled peace. Many times after accomplishing something for God, we do not have full peace and rest; we do not have full satisfaction. The reason is that we did not act in an absolutely right way.


David then conceived to build a temple for God. This was indeed good, but God’s answer to him was no. God’s reason in so replying was firstly that David had been a man of war (1 Chron. 28:3). Only a man of peace could build the house of God. Secondly, God promised David that He would give full peace to the people of Israel. It is only in peace that the house of God can be built up. Thirdly, God told David that He would first build a house for David, and from that house God would raise up a son to build a house for Himself (2 Sam. 7:1-13; 1 Chron. 28:5-6). God would not give man any ground to boast of doing something first for God. The testimony must be that man can only do something for God out of that which God has first done for him. Thus, David did not build a house for God; rather, he prepared the materials (1 Chron. 28:2; 29:1-9) and the ground (1 Chron. 21:18-30; 2 Chron. 3:1). Finally he prepared Solomon, the builder, and all the helpers (1 Chron. 28:9-11, 20-21). Eventually, after all these preparations, Solomon received the authority on the throne and built the temple (1 Kings 6:1-2).


The temple built by Solomon was not according to any human design, for God had clearly shown David the pattern of the building (1 Chron. 28:11-19). In the same way, on the mount of Sinai, God showed Moses the pattern of the tabernacle. Both the tabernacle and the temple were built according to the design given by God. Thus Solomon built the temple on the proper ground according to the pattern revealed to his father David.

The temple was much larger in size than the tabernacle. The tabernacle was thirty cubits long by ten cubits wide, but the temple was sixty cubits long and twenty cubits wide, just double the size of the tabernacle. The tabernacle was ten cubits high, but the temple was thirty cubits high (1 Kings 6:2). Everything in the temple was much enlarged and increased. Furthermore, the tabernacle was made of wood overlaid with gold, while the temple was built with stones and wood overlaid with gold. The tabernacle was portable and lacked a floor, but the temple had a strong foundation and a floor of wood overlaid with gold. Not only was acacia wood used in the temple, such as was used in the tabernacle, but there was also cypress (fir), cedar, and olive wood. These three different kinds of wood signify the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Everything in the temple was more solid, more stable, and more established (1 Kings 6:7-22, 29-36). Finally, the ark and the entire tabernacle as well, including the brass altar and all the other vessels, were brought to the temple (1 Kings 8:1-4). Everything of the old tabernacle was brought to the temple to be mingled with it as one.

Then the glory of God filled the temple just as it did the tabernacle (1 Kings 8:10-11). Again the glory of God’s presence was seen on this earth, but this time it was in an increased portion. God’s doing is victorious! God moves on in steady progress! Regardless of how much the enemy would and could do to damage and frustrate God’s building on this earth, God brings forth something better, something larger than what has been damaged and frustrated. The enemy damaged the tabernacle and frustrated the recovery of its normal condition, but eventually God built a larger dwelling, the temple, in a more normal condition. God can never be defeated in His purpose!

(The Vision of God's Building, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)