THE HABITATION OF GOD IN OUR SPIRIT
In the type in Deuteronomy 12, the children of Israel were required to come to a particular geographical location. This means that in the Old Testament the chosen ground was an actual physical place. When some hear this, they may ask, "How are we to apply this type to our situation today? Are all the believers supposed to gather in a certain place three times a year?" In answering these questions, we need to realize that the fulfillment of the type in Deuteronomy 12 is not a matter of a geographical place—it is a matter of our spirit. This is proved by putting Ephesians 2:22 together with John 4:21-23. In Ephesians 2:22 Paul said that we are "being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit." In John 4 the Lord Jesus responded to the question of the Samaritan woman concerning the proper place for the worship of God. He said to her, "An hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall you worship the Father....An hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit..." (vv. 21, 23). This indicates clearly that the proper ground for the worship of God today is in our spirit. God’s habitation, His dwelling place, is in our spirit. As long as we are in our spirit, we are in the right place for the worship of God.
MEETING IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS,
IN OUR SPIRIT, AND WITH THE CROSS
Some may wonder why we emphasize the local church since the place for the worship of God is our spirit. For convenience and practicality, we meet in the different cities where we live. Apparently we are divided by geography, for we meet in separate cities all over the world. Actually we remain in the oneness and are not divided, for wherever we may be, we meet in the Lord’s name, in the spirit, and with the cross. Therefore, no matter where we may be, we all meet in the same place.
Recently, in the prayer meeting of the church in Anaheim, there were saints present from a number of different countries. We may say that we had an international prayer meeting. Nobody gave a word about the subject of our prayer or about how we should pray. Nevertheless, we prayed in one accord. We could be one in such a way because, in spite of geographical separation, we all meet in the same place—in the Lord’s name, in our spirit, and with the cross.
The situation with most Christians today is very different from this. They meet not in oneness but in many different denominations. Even if Christians from various denominations meet together, they may have difficulty praying together. Each may pray in his own denominational tone. If the believers in Christ are to be one, they must give up all denominational things and simply come together in the name of the Lord Jesus, in the spirit, and with the cross. This is the oneness, and this is the proper ground for the worship of God.
Many Christians are divided by their preferences. Even though they may live in the same city, they will not meet together because they want to have their own preference. In the Lord’s recovery, we care not for our preference but for the Lord’s presence. In Matthew 18:20 the Lord Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst." Wherever we may be, in Anaheim or Taipei, in London or Tokyo, we should be gathered into the Lord’s name, and we should meet in our spirit and with the cross. If we all do this, we all will meet in the same place, although we meet in different localities. This one place is the ground of the unique oneness.
In the Lord’s recovery, we have one name and one Spirit. We all meet in the name of Jesus Christ, and we all meet in the mingled spirit—in the regenerated human spirit indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We gather together in this spirit, not in our concept, desire, preference, or choice. Furthermore, in our meeting we should not leave the cross, which is typified by the altar in front of the tabernacle. At the entrance of the church there is the cross, and in order to meet as the church we must experience the cross. The flesh, the self, and the natural man cannot be in the church; they must be crucified. Therefore, we meet in the name of the Lord Jesus, in the mingled spirit, and with the cross. This is the place where we meet, and here we have the oneness which we endeavor to keep in the unique name of the Lord.
(Life-Study of Deuteronomy, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)