One of the most interesting discourses Jesus ever had was with the Samaritan woman at the well. Off course it was first of all out of place for a Jew to have a normal conversation with a Samaritan alone but Jesus took it to a higher dimension, a clue into the age of the kingdom. There is a reason the Spirit of God wants us to see the intriguing encounter.
She asked a very important question to confirm who was really worshiping God; The Jews or Samaritans? You need to appreciate that back then the Jews believed that they had enjoyed exclusive access to God through the covenants. It seemed to them that every person/nation was an outcast to the house of God.
Jesus gave a fascinating reply in John 4:
“21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 “But the hour is COMING, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in SPIRIT AND TRUTH; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in SPIRIT AND TRUTH.” John 4:20-24 (NKJV) (Emphasis Mine)
Jesus clearly stated that there is a time coming when no one will worship God at Jerusalem. Jerusalem would no longer the location of true worship. What a statement for a Jew to hear back then.
Then he said,” The hour is coming, and now is, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. In simple terms “Soon, no one will worship in Jerusalem, but now God can be worshiped in truth, i.e. reality! He equated the “rich” worship in Jerusalem as shadow worship. The temple is being replaced with the reality.
The author of Hebrews tells us:
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. Hebrews 10:1 (NKJV)
The Law system was a shadow of the good things to come. In all its varied ceremonies it all amounted to a reflection of the true substance. The good things were the spiritual things of the gospel. It had been prophesied from prophets of old that Jerusalem would be destroyed and that God would raise a spiritual temple, the church, Christ’s body. This was to be new tabernacle.
“Are you not like the people of Ethiopia to Me, O children of Israel?” says the LORD. “Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt, The Philistines from Caphtor, And the Syrians from Kir? 8 “Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the SINFUL KINGDOM, AND I WILL DESTROY IT FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH; Yet I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,” Says the LORD. 9 “For surely I will command, And will sift the house of Israel among all nations, As grain is sifted in a sieve; Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground. 10 All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, Who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.’ 11 “On that day I will raise up THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” Says the LORD who does this thing. Amos 9:7-12 (NKJV) (Emphasis Mine)
The leadership of the early church through was able to see the prophecy fulfilled in their time when he said the church, the body of Christ was the rebuilt tabernacle of David.
“And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: 14 “Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 “And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: 16 ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; 17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the LORD who does all these things.’ – Acts 15:13-17 (NKJV)
The earthly tabernacle was a shadow and was destroyed in “The Judgment” of AD 70. We now live in a spiritual kingdom, with a spiritual tabernacle, we worship God in spirit and in reality. Worship in the spirit and truth has nothing to do with our motivations or character in church worship. It’s all about identity and kingdom which is now a reality in the Spirit. The church is the living reality of God’s Spirit because she is the new eternal temple.
I love the way Paul puts it;
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3