Religionists have a habit of interpreting spiritual things physically and literally. Take for example the prophecy of Amos wherein God said “I will rebuild the fallen tabernacle of David … declares the Lord” (Amos 9:11 and Acts 15:16). In Kansas City, Metro Christian Fellowship (formerly Kansas City Vineyard) church has created the International House of Prayer (IHOP) which they claim to be a model for the rebuilt tabernacle of David, where musicians, singers, dancers and other artistic people have “worshiped” God 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since September 19th, 1999. Clearly they have made a literal interpretation of Amos 9:11 and Acts 15:16.
But is that a Spiritual and Biblical understanding of the prophecy in Amos/Acts?
I am of the belief that IHOP is misguided, even a vain work of the flesh as are many of men’s efforts to replicate old testament temple worship practices and to build that which the Lord has said HE himself will build. Once again, following the command of Paul who wrote “Do not go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6), which I believe to mean “let scripture interpret scripture”, nowhere in the NT are we commanded to go out and build buildings for worship or holding church services.
Concerning all the buildings we have put up “for God”, scripture still says “God does NOT live in temples made by men” (Acts 7:48, Acts 17:24, Matthew 23:38) and Jesus said, upon leaving the temple in Jerusalem for the last time before His trial “BEHOLD! Your house has been left to you, DESOLATE.” In other words, God has left the building. We could cover the world over with buildings we’ve built for God and not one would be good enough or big enough to serve as His house. That is why the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house, then, could you build for me, what kind of place for me to live in?” (Isaiah 66:1 GNB) Where God uses the earth as His footstool, the best we might do is make Him a foot cushion, but certainly nothing big or grand enough to serve as His house.
When Peter confessed that Jesus is the “Son of the living God”, Jesus replied “you are Petros (Greek: a piece of rock), and upon THIS Petra (Greek: a mass of rock (Jesus is referring to Himself here)), I (Jesus) will build MY (Jesus’) assembly”. Certainly Peter understood that Jesus would do the building, and what Jesus is building is a Spiritual thing, not a physical thing. For Peter wrote:
As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house—a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua. (1 Peter 2:4-5 TLV)
Still men persist in trying to build a physical house or a church for Jesus. The vain efforts of men have given us countless denominations and hundreds of thousands of church buildings the world over. Yet still there is just ONE Body (assembly) built by Jesus (Ephesians 4:4-6). So will the efforts of men to rebuild the fallen Tabernacle of David fare any better than their attempt to build a church for Jesus? Or should we leave the job to the Lord who has said HE will rebuild it?
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. (Psalms 127:1 ESV)
In keeping with the clear teaching of scripture, where we let scripture interpret scripture and not fall victim to the imaginations of religionists who tend to interpret spiritual things in a literal and physical way (1 Cor. 2:14) to profit the flesh, I believe that the rebuilding of the “Tabernacle of David”, began on Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to live IN us. I believe the Tabernacle of David was not meant to be emulated today, rather it is a prophetic and metaphoric symbol for the living spiritual tabernacle Jesus is assembling with us, as living stones (1 Peter 2:5-9)!
“I will rebuild … declares the Lord” (Amos 9:11 and Acts 15:16).
Mans’s attempt to erect a literal tent, or building, in which we “worship”, or to recreate old testament practices through “worship services”, whether for an hour a week on Sunday, or even 24×7 like the IHOP folks are doing, is blind to the work of God in Christ that began 2000 years ago on Pentecost.
The truth is, in the same way we are the “Church”, we are also the “rebuilt tabernacle of David”.
Just as Paul and Peter referred to their own bodies as “tabernacles” (2 Cor. 5:1-4 and 2 Peter 1:13-14), we too are tabernacles, in which the Holy Spirit dwells and our spirits worship His presence within us, continuously.