God dwells on earth/in heaven


2 Samuel 7:6

"I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling."

2 Chronicles 6:1-2

Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; I have built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever."

2 Chronicles 7:16

"I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there."

Acts 7:48

"However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men."



The OT verses are speaking in the same way that we do today when we refer to a church as "the house of God." Clearly an omnipotent, omnipresent God does not require a physical shelter. What then do we mean when we say "the house of God?" We mean that the church is a place that's dedicated to God, where people go to consciously, intentionally be in God's presence and interact with him through prayer and worship -- a place where they are more aware of God's presence.

This view is expressed in the account in 2 Chronicles of the dedication of the temple Solomon built. Solomon paraphrases 2 Samuel 7:6 as "Since the day I brought my people out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built for my Name to be there, nor have I chosen anyone to be the leader over my people Israel" (2 Chronicles 6:5). Solomon goes on to say,

"But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! ...May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place...Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive." (2 Chronicles 6:18, 20-21)

God's response to Solomon's dedication was, "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices...Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place" (2 Chronicles 7:12, 15). 2 Chronicles 6:18 confirms Acts 7:48; if God can be said to live somewhere, it is heaven. To say that God's Name was in Solomon's temple means that it was a holy place where people could go to interact with him. In a sense, they would be more in God's presence while they were communicating with God, along the lines of what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."