God wanted to be with His people, but they remained at a distance (Exodus 20:18-21). So God had the people create the tabernacle and the Levitical system so He could safely be present with them and they with Him. This became a permanent arrangement with the building of the Temple. The Temple became the place where heaven and earth overlapped, the center of the Venn diagram between two worlds.
When the old Temple and the old covenant was destroyed, God established a new covenant and a new Temple, Jesus himself. Jesus was the Word of God that had come to “tabernacle” among us (John 1:14). Jesus told the people that if “this Temple” was destroyed, he would raise it again in three days (John 2:19). And He did.
Though Jesus was “God with us,” He didn’t stop there. He didn’t just become a new Temple, a new place where heaven and earth overlapped. God’s next move was extraordinary! After ascending to heaven, Jesus sent His Spirit and made us the new Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). When we surrender our life to Jesus, the Spirit comes to dwell inside us and we become the new center of the Venn diagram between two worlds. We are where heaven and earth overlap! You, follower of Jesus, are where the Kingdom of God breaks into this world!
And this brings fulfillment to humanity’s original purpose. The reason God commanded that no graven images be made (Exodus 20:4) was because He had already made humanity “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). So we were perfectly designed to be Temples of the Living God. We just needed cleansed and made new, which Jesus did on the cross and in His resurrection. And all of this simply because God wanted to be with us, His people.
And He’s still not done. At the end of Revelation, we read about the conclusion of all of history. Here’s how the story ends, “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God”(Revelation 21:3). This was the point of it all!