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D'varim/Deuteronomy 12:11 ... the place where the L-rd your G-d will choose to rest His name
The question of 'the place', the one place, where sacrifice was to be brought has exercised the commentators, historians, archaeologists and others for many years. Proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis argue that this was written in the days of King Josiah, as part of a political move to concentrate religious focus (and power) in Jerusalem at a time of revival.Rashi, on the other hand, explains in the preceding verses that Moshe is prophesying about the difference between the times when there was a central national altar (the Mishkan in the wilderness, the Tabernacle at Shilo and the Temple at Jerusalem) and the times when there was not (14 years at Gilgal, 57 years at Nob and Gibeon), and during the latter times, when voluntary offerings may be made on local 'high places' to G-d.
But what does it mean for G-d to have a place where His name rests or dwells? Throughout history there have been pilgrimages: the regalim, foot festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot prescribed in the Torah: "Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the L-rd your G-d in the place which He chooses" (D'varim 16:16, NASB). People go to seek G-d, to be in a place where He is or has been. Our people congregate at the Kotel, the Western Wall, to touch the stones and put messages into the cracks in the wall; many believers have visited the Airport Christian Fellowship in Toronto, seeking the blessing of the Ruach HaKodesh. The idea of G-d actually being present on earth, among His people is compelling and has the power to draw people the world over.
Just after Yeshua had created a considerable stir by His entry to Jerusalem, and some Greek-speaking Jews had asked Philip to arrange for them to meet Him, Yeshua said, "As for Me, when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself" (John 12:32, CJB). He had just drawn quite a crowd, yet this was clearly going to be something more. John tells us in the next verse that 'lifted up' referred to His death on the stake, and we can also apply the words to Yeshua's subsequent 'lifting up' from death; but how do we understand "draw everyone to Myself"? I recently heard a preacher say that while many people may have a problem with church, in his experience of 30 years as an evangelist, very few people really have a problem with Yeshua once they get to hear the gospel simply explained.
Why are people drawn to Yeshua? What is it about the historical figure of a Galilean builder/carpenter who became an itinerant preacher and rabbi before being crucified by the Romans nearly 2000 years ago that draws millions of people around the world to follow Him and call themselves by His name? Simply that He is the Son of G-d - "The The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory" (John 1:14, ESV). As Rav Sh'aul said, "For in Him all the fullness of G-d was pleased to dwell" (Colossians 1:19, ESV).
Further Study: Colossians 2:8-10; Hebrews 1:1-3
Application: Are you drawn to Yeshua? He is the place where the L-rd our G-d has caused His name to dwell - and it is that presence of G-d that makes Yeshua our place of pilgrimage and our resting place.
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
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