The Assembly through the eyes of an Architect - The Assembly As A Building
J.Culy Harvey, Twickenham
The erection of the great anti-type of Solomon’s Temple is nearing completion on its heavenly site and foundation—Eph. 2, Matt. 16. 18 . . . a divine masterpiece . . . Eph. 2. 10.
The preparation of the material for its structure largely consists in the exercises and responsibilities of saints in assembly fellowship and testimony. This fellowship the scripture likens to a building of gold, silver and precious stones, laid upon the divine foundation by members of local companies of believers Cor. 3 etc.
The direction to Ezekiel (43. 11) is a sufficient warrant to engage the saints’ attention with the pattern, form and proportion of the house.
The site is in a dark world in which it is to be recognised by the light irradiating from within rather than from floodlighting.
The external and internal features of a building arise out of the functions it is to perform; in this case a Temple for Worship and at the same time a Palace for joint occupation of its divine Builder and the successive generations of those for whom He is preparing a permanent home in the heavens. The Plan, therefore, provides inter alia the following halls and rooms for collective use: the temple for worship; an oriel for prayer; the banqueting hall for communion; a reading room; an instruction room; a nursery, wards for sick and convalescent souls; an armoury; sallying ports for making attacks on the powers of darkness and so forth. The incense chamber, Neh. 13,, must not be surrendered for any Tobiah to fill with his household stuff; the Red Cross store under the treasury, Jer. 38. 11, will be kept well-stocked with bandages (of a spiritual sort), oil and wine for “Good Samaritan” activities.
The material must be most carefully selected. A modern Babylon might have brick . . earthy material put through a shaping and hardening process .... for stone. The materials for Solomon’s temple might be valued at £1,000,000,000; but even so great a sum, could not procure the stones for this building, for only such as are bought with the precious blood of Christ have a place therein.
The building within and without is intended to show forth the excellencies of Christ who is “a Son over His Own house.” Strength and Beauty are looked for in His sanctuary.
The spiritual counterparts of the principles and qualities of a good work of architecture should be inherent in assembly character....two major principles should be observed:—TRUTH….As the TRUTH is in Jesus: every phrase, personified in Him, reproduced in us and by us (Rom. 8. 4 and Cor. 1. 20) with the total absence of hypocrisy or anything that maketh a lie.
BEAUTY. Conformity to the likeness of Him Who is the altogether lovely. The lily work on Solomon’s pillars, Jachin and Boaz, seemed to grow out of the checker work below and correspondingly our chequered life experience eventuates in the beauty of the Lord being manifestly upon those who are exercised thereby.
In a well-ordered company the following qualities, will be observed.
STRENGTH derived from the bread and wine administered by the true Melchisedec and the daily manna that falls “about the camp”; so pillars and. mainstays of the truth arise in the house of God;. This will also ensure VITALITY, evidences of life; for this food is “living and energising” producing growth in grace, faith and love; the devil will be resisted, the faithful word held fast and the word of life held forth., RESTRAINT will eliminate every unprofitable feature, mere talk of the lips for example, for the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. REFINEMENT will, go on with the perfecting of all that remain when the oft-prayed for restraining operation of the Spirit has been given scope. This spiritual building will be pervaded by an atmosphere of REPOSE vide the two recipes in Phil 4 for securing the peace of God and the presence of the God of peace. GRACE, a domestic ornament, will adorn every living stone; not one will truthfully be told as was king James II that “it is not in his nature,” but everywhere it will be seen that “the grace of. our Lord Jesus Christ is upon us.” BREADTH must not be an absent quality for “Thy commandment is exceeding broad .” Psa. 119. 96. The breadth, length and depth and height of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge is here increasingly apprehended “with all saints.”, This however does not open the door for an indulgent false charity that would commingle light with dark- ness. Noah adhered strictly to the vast dimensions God gave him for the Ark.
The FACTORS by which the foregoing may be evinced are varied, two only can be given now; BALANCE and SYMMETRY and GARNISHING WITH PRECIOUS STONES. How the former was ever seen in the Lord’s walk and work . . . Never man spake like this man”... “He hath done all things well.” “Grace and Truth” and so forth. The garnishing was “for beauty” of old so now, may it be in our hearts to “beautify the house of the Lord” by the cultivation of the lovely traits we study in our Lord’s incarnate life here, and so the doctrine be adorned.
These few thoughts are expressed in hope of awakening the perceptions and stimulating aspirations, toward an upward trend in the things of God.