Extend the place of thy tent

Israel takes over Adam’s role to be fruitful and take dominion over all the earth


A very profound message sits at the beginning of Genesis. That is the commission to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 God blessed them: God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air and every living creature that crawls on the earth.”

In other words, Adam and Eve were to extend the Garden of Eden to the ends of the earth.  Whatever was outside the Garden needed their authority to redeem it and bring it into submission of principles of heaven. In The Temple and the Church’s Mission….

G.K. Beale argues that, “Adam was to extend the hospitable part of the new creation in Mount Eden into the inhospitable world. In this new creation Israel was to function as a kind of corporate Adam in their renewed Garden of Eden and spread out from there, reflecting God’s glory in obedience to the commission of Genesis 1:28.”[1]

Beale makes the case that the tabernacle of Moses and then the temple were to be places where Gods presence could dwell as it had in the Garden of Eden. Israel was tasked with taking over Adam’s role to extend the borders and Isaiah states this in chapter fifty-four verse two as they were to enlarge the place of their tent.[2] The new creation believer, in whose bodies are described as the Temple of God, carries on this role of extending God’s presence to the ends of the earth through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He says Christians are the living stones and Christ is the chief corner stone of a new and living temple. In this way the Garden of Eden, now represented as a temple or tabernacle, is extended over all the earth. Daniel sees it as a rock[3] which smashes the world systems and grows into a huge mountain that fills the whole earth. And that rock was Christ, as Paul puts it in the book of Corinthians.[4]

As the purpose of the Garden of Eden was extended to the tabernacle and the temple, they then became places where God’s presence could dwell.

Just as Adam and seemingly failed in extending the garden so too Israel seemingly failed to extend God’s presence to the surrounding nations. Oh but the GRACE of God for New Testament believers became living stones of a spiritual temple that physically holds God’s presence. So in reality Israel took over Adams role to be God’s family that are the priests to the inhospitable world and then the New Creation believer extends Israel’s presence to the ends of the earth. Mat 28:19

It is not that the church replaces Israel as God’s special people but that it was always God’s desire that Adam take dominion over all the earth and then Israel was tasked with doing the same when Adam failed. It was the GRACE of God through the work of Jesus Christ that allowed dispersed and assimilated Israel to come back into covenant and fulfil the promises to Abraham by saving their souls one living stone at a time. Paul in Ephesians three says ‘that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel’.

William Leinenberg in his book Disappeared into Eternity[5] makes this very astute comment, “The priestly Tribe of Levites performing [their priestly duties] in Israel [was supposed to foreshadow the priestly duties that] Israel was to perform in the world of nations.” [] mine comment for clarity. Just as “the Tribe of Levi was free to roam the land”, so too, “in time, Israel would likewise be free to roam the lands of earth as to bring the Light of the Great God of Israel to the nations.”[6]

So we have Beale seeing the glory of God in the Garden of Eden and the commission of Adam and Eve extend to the Levites bringing God’s glory into Israel through Tabernacle and Temple services. Then Lienenberg supports Beale’s premise by showing that the Levites were to  Israel as Israel was to be to the world. Therefore, in the end, fulfilling the commission to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth[7] through the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach “Good News” to all creation.[8]

Just as the temple was to fill the earth so too Israel is to inhabit the whole earth. Although we have not seen it yet it is what God desires.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. Rev 21:3

[1] Beale. G.K., The Temple and the Church’s Mission InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove Illinois 2004 pp150-151

[2]Isaiah 54:2  Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes

[3] Daniel 2

[4] 1Corinthians 10:4

[5] Disappeared into Eternity Book 2 by Prof. William Leinenberg pp11-12

[6] ibid

[7] Genesis 1:28

[8] Matthew 28:19

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