You must not defile the land where you live, for I live there myself. I am the Lord, who lives among the people of Israel. – Numbers 35:34
The Israelis had reached the Jordan River and were about to cross over it and inherit the land promised to them via their forefathers by the L-rd. He’d told Moses to instruct the people how to divide the land among the tribes once they’d crossed over. Among the instructions from the L-rd were the details for establishing six cities of refuge, where a person who’d accidentally killed someone could reside to escape revenge from the decedent’s relatives. The L-rd stated that when murder was committed, the murderer had to be killed but only on the testimony of more than one witness. The land was not to be defiled by murder, and the only cleansing of the land could come through the execution of the murderer. This stipulation existed because G-d said that He lived among Israel there in the land, and He could have no part of unholy, defiled things.
Ancient Israel proper was the physical place on earth where the L-rd dwelt among his people. He even named the capital city after himself, Jerusalem. — Adonai, hear! Adonai, forgive! Adonai, pay attention, and don’t delay action – for your own sake, my G-d, because your city and your people bear your name! (Daniel 9:19).
First his tent of meeting (tabernacle) served as his physical dwelling place on the earth followed by his temple erected in Jerusalem by Solomon. These were the most holy places within ancient Israel and had to be purified with the blood of the sacrifice to make them holy — …he will make atonement for the Especially Holy Place; he will make atonement for the tent of meeting and the altar; and he will make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the community. (Leviticus 16:33).
This process was done later with the temple once erected. The point being that the holy dwelling of the Holy G-d of heaven, Adonai, must have a holy place to dwell while present on the earth. He even showed his approval of these two dwellings with the glory from the Spirit of Adonai’s presence. Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the L-rd filled the Tabernacle. Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the L-rd filled the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35). When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices; and the glorious presence of the L-rd filled the Temple. The priests could not enter the Temple of the L-rd because the glorious presence of the L-rd filled 2 Chronicles 7:1-2).
Man, in his natural state, has sin it and cannot stand before the glory and presence of Adonai. It took the blood of animals to atone for the sins of man to even allow them to serve before the L-rd in either dwelling. The L-rd is that serious about holiness and being undefiled. We might think that it’s impossible to serve G-d now because we make mistakes and do sin at times. However, we have a High Priest, who offered Himself once for all as the ultimate sacrifice. He endure the false accusations, false trial, and criminal execution only to rise from the dead and give us access into the Most Holy of Holies, the very presence of Adonai! Without His blood, we could not stand nor serve Adonai, especially when His Spirit manifests his glory on the earth.
Fortunately, Adonai approved the last Temple to ever be constructed as his final dwelling place on the earth, for it is not made with human hands. It is and continues to be constructed one spirit at a time by the L-rd himself. It is his bride and body of Messiah, you and me! For you see, we were accepted as that final dwelling place on the Day of Pentecost (50 days after Passover) when the Spirit of Adonai came down to earth with the sound of a mighty rushing wind and settled upon each of the 120 disciples of Yashua HaMashiach in the upper room with what appeared as languages of fire resting atop each of them. They could do nothing but begin speaking in other languages as the Spirit of Adonai enabled them to speak. This was Adonai’s acceptance of the human temple as his dwelling place on the earth, and it wasn’t just for the Jews any longer, but all mankind. For as many as received Him [Yashua], to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of G-d (John 1:12).
We, now, have to understand that it is through the blood of Yashua that gives us positional holiness in the sight of Adonai, for we are seen as the righteousness of Messiah because of Messiah’s work on the cross. However, we are still commanded and are required to live a holy life before Adonai, our behavioral holiness. Scripture tells us As people who obey G-d, do not let yourselves be shaped by the evil desires you used to have when you were still ignorant. On the contrary, following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life, since the Scriptures say, “You are to be holy because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16). Thus, we must do our best with the grace of G-d to live this holy life defined and outlined by Peter and the rest of Scripture, for Yashua told Paul, My grace is enough for you, for my power is brought to perfection in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Again, the prophet Zechariah told us that it is not by force, and not by power, but by my Spirit, says Adonai-Tzavo’t (Zechariah 4:6)
We are to do our best with the Spirit’s enablement and guidance to live a holy life before Adonai; he demands it. This isn’t legalism or salvation by works. It is living the Spirit-filled, Spirit-powered life that G-d created and desires all of us to live. It pleases him to live an obedient, repentant lifestyle before him. Why? Because we show ourselves to be his true disciples when we do what he commands. As stated earlier, we will fail him from time to time, but his grace, mercy, and forgiveness enable us to continue despite our shortcomings. He loves us enough to not boot us when we fail. He cleanses us and see our positional holiness from his Son’s righteousness via his blood, yet he expects us to continue striving to live the Spirit-powered life!
Adonai, Father, L-rd, you are the Most Holy of all! There is none like you. We need to learn to keep a clear reverence for your Majesty and Supremacy. In pride many have fallen; some to everlasting contempt and some to receive grace and pardon through humble submission to you. I know that I fall in to the latter group and am so thankful that you look down upon me with love and justice. You are firm yet gentle, kind yet chastening. Thank you for loving me enough to bless me when I’m obedient and to chastise me when I’m rebellious. My trust is in you and the knowing that there is hope for me in Yashua HaMashiach and am enabled, empowered to live a holy life before by your Spirit’s doing. Teach me your ways oh L-rd that I may become more like your Son, Yashua! Ruach HaKodesh, Spirit of the living G-d, thank you for sharing Adonai’s grace with me. Yashua, thank you for paying the debt I owed and could never repay, thus allowing me to live in you and with the Father. May your will be done, not mine. In the name of Yashua, Amen.