Published Manuscript

Der Tempel des Geistes und unser Inneres (The Temple of the Spirit and Our Inner Being)

EA 14/5b

Additional Information
Author Eberhard Arnold
Date August 01, 1914
Document Id 20126059_28_S
Available Transcriptions English

The Temple of the Spirit and Our Inner Being

[Arnold, Eberhard and Emmy papers – P.M.S.]

[Draft Translation by Bruderhof Historical Archive]

EA 14/5b

Evangelische Allianzblatt, August 1914

The Temple of the Spirit and Our Inner Being

By Eberhard Arnold

The wondrously mysterious temple of the old covenant was the dwelling place of God as the place of his witness and his revelation. In Jesus Christ the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells in one body, because in him the revelation of God is complete. It is the completed work of Christ in whom alone the perfect revelation of God’s glory can exist. The spirit of glory lets the glorified Christ dwell in our inner being. As long as Christ was not transfigured, the spirit could not be there, for it is from the glorified Christ that he proceeds. Previously there could be no revelation of his glory in our inner being, but now he has placed within our hearts the spirit, as a pledge, and this represents our anointing which teaches us everything. Only by having God’s spirit in our inner being, can we know the things God has given to us. Nobody knows what is in God except the spirit of God who is within him.

The temple was divided up into the Holy of Holies, the Holy place, and the forecourts. In essence, the whole layout reveals the core, the center, and that which is inmost as that which is decisive and truly valuable. The form of the low buildings in front, the simple and yet sterling character of the exterior directs one’s whole attention toward what is within and inmost where the Holy place and the Holy of Holies are located. It is the Holy of Holies that has the most perfect building form and the most precious and most artistic artwork. The more one distances oneself from it, the more does everything point back from itself and towards this deepest and inmost center. Just as the temple consists of the Holy of Holies, the Holy place and the forecourts, so we also consist of spirit, soul and body. Among men, too , every noble mind is being guided to what is inmost in him , to the nobility of his soul – the spirit.

God had his dwelling within the Temple. For this reason the inmost covering of the Tabernacle of old—the only one visible from within—is itself referred to as “the dwelling.” Already in the Holy place, but much more in the Holy of Holies, and by the ark of the covenant, the mighty cherubim witness to the holy nearness and presence of him who is enthroned above the cherubim. For the life and actions of these glorious and spiritual beings, consist in surrounding and glorifying his throne. It was in the Holy of Holies that God had his dwelling.

Scripture tells us that it is not with our nerves or body, not with our emotions , but rather with our spirit that we join in testifying that we are God’s children, that we may constantly be certain of the gracious nearness of the Father. Deeper than thoughts, feelings, and will, deeper than the soul in the depth of the spirit, who went out from God, is the dwelling of God and of his spirit, where in faith we are ,(abide) , and also have what we do not feel or understand (cf. compare Murray, the Spirit of Jesus Christ). For it is faith which lets our spirit have community with the Holy Spirit. Through faith, which alone has knowledge of conviction and of the realization of what is invisible, we have received the Spirit. It is only upon the basis of faith that we can build up our inner life by praying in the Holy Spirit, for through faith Christ dwells in our hearts. All the tools, walls and ceilings of the Holy of Holies gleamed with gold, as the picture of faith. Only in immediacy of faith is there certainty. Faith born of the spirit stands above the perception of the senses, as high as the human race stands above the animal. No less high does the direct certainty of faith stand above intellect for it has no need of its proofs or reasons .(the philosopher Jacobi † 1819).

There were two things that Jehovah’s holy and gracious presence in his Holy of Holies was bound together with.

The law, as his word, revealed the holiness of his will. The mercy seat, which, signifying expiation, kept the Ark of the Covenant covered, revealed the grace of his forgiveness.

God is present with his spirit, in our spirit only when his word, written into our fleshly tablets, so fills our inner being that from within it can take living shape in our life. God comes to occupy his throne in us only when Christ, as the perfect mercy seat, can, through our faith in his blood dwell within us. Once a year, the high priest carried the sacrificial blood into the Holy of Holies. The mercy seat, covering the Ark of the Covenant, was the instrument of expiation only because with this blood spread on it, it bore witness to the forgiveness of sin and the presence of grace. Christ has been sacrificed once for all. His dwelling within us brings, in his own person, the perfection of his death and his life, forgiveness, and grace into our hearts.

When the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, he carried, besides the sacrificial blood, also the smoke of the burning incense while the throng of believers stood praying in the forecourt.

Scripture clearly defines the significance of this smoke offering as the prayer of the believers. The place of prayer is man’s inmost part, his spirit. True, all the powers of his soul, indeed everything he is and has are part of each genuine prayer. For the Holy place, too, knew the smoke offerings of burning incense, and in the forecourt the people were praying; but without the most holy process in the inmost heart, all else is insignificant.

Because Jesus has opened up to us adoration in the spirit and truth, he could point us to a true and genuine converse with God—to prayer in secrecy and concealment .It is only in the spirit that God can be worshipped . Being filled with the spirit signifies giving thanks and singing in our hearts. Just as the Temple, as the tent of gathering, received the people’s sacrifices and prayers, so, among the believers of the new covenant, God knows no other prayer and sacrifice than those of the heart in the inmost sanctuary.

But the Lord’s death has torn, within the temple, the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy place. The perfect life brought to us by the spirit of Jesus will not restrict itself to what is hidden in the inmost heart. It wants to go out from man’s spirit, and through man’s soul and through his body to bring the unhindered unfolding of God’s lordship with all its gifts and powers. The vitally active spirit in no way wants to smother the powers of the soul - will, intellect and emotions-but rather wants to lead them , under his rulership , to the most vigorous development . The light of the spirit means clarity for man’s will, richness of ideas, and depth of feelings, for true enlightenment is the opposite of spiritlessness, flabbiness and dullness.

The candlestick in the sanctuary has found its place in our soul through its being illumined by Christ, who has become our inward light. The show-breads of constancy , which reminds us to be thankful for our daily bread, have found their fulfillment in him .He penetrates our entire life so that , also as regards food and clothing , we no longer live for ourselves , but with the true thankfulness of devotion , we live for him to whom we belong all together.

Just as the column in the sanctuary bears the names “He is a firm foundation” and “In Him is strength,” so our heart also gains character through his being the life of our soul. In there is freedom in strength; a strong character is free from weakening dependence. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom—freedom above all from any enslavement to sin, for just as the columns of the sanctuary stood on feet of silver, so we, too, can only be a temple of God if purity is the foundation of our life.

Whoever despises that, and changes holiness to impurity, despises God who has given his spirit. If we have life through the spirit, our conduct must also agree with the spirit because the first conviction of the spirit is that of sin, justice, and judgment.

The fruit of the spirit is self-control, the spirit’s harmonious rule over the whole person right down to his lowest urges. Being full of the Holy Spirit can mean nothing other than that the temple of our body is placed, from the inmost sanctuary right to the outermost effects, under the one personal will of the spirit reining within us. It cannot be a question of filling empty spaces with a certain substance, but rather of the ethical effects of the spirit’s divine personality in our life, right to its outermost extremities.

It is highly significant that Jesus drove the money-changers with their business tables away from the outer forecourt. He came to make even forecourt a house of prayer. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?” Just as all the chambers and rooms of the buildings around the forecourt, so our whole body, in all its parts and actions, shall let itself be pervaded by God’s holiness. The forecourt was the place where not only the prophets, but also Jesus and the apostles proclaimed truth to the people. The spirit wants to bring all gifts and powers of our life under his life-giving rule, so that in every word and in every deed the Christ, at work through us, is glorified. Because the spirit brings forth the perfect life, which leads all that lives to its divine perfection, he wants to enrich and equip every individual according to the peculiarity of his or her gifts. The rule of the spirit in the innermost sanctuary determines the spiritual gifts and spiritual weapons for each individual just as his living activity wants it. The unity of this activity and the differentiation of these gifts bring about that every temple, as represented by the individual, offers the most glorious view toward the perfect temple of his church. In truth every believer is a living building stone in the completed temple of the body of Christ, which reveals him who fulfills all in all.