EBible Fellowship Sunday Bible Study – 18-May-2008


by John McOwen


Today I am just going to read the first two verses of Psalm 15 because that is all of the time that we will have to study in this session.  We could spend a study on just one verse, and many times we do.  Different Bible teachers will just take even one phrase perhaps and develop that through a whole study.  But I think that there is enough material in Psalm 15:1-2 that we can get into.  This is what we will endeavor to do today. 

Psalm 15 is a Psalm of David, and Psalm 15:1-2 says: 

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 

We can see from Psalm 15:1 that there are two questions asked.  Then we can see that Psalm 15:2 begins to answer these questions.  So our endeavor today will be to develop what these questions are really asking in Psalm 15:1 and what the answers in Psalm 15:2 mean. 

Psalm 15:1 is using a personal pronoun and asking about “who”:     

…who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 

So let us look at the first verse and the first phrase: 

…who shall abide…

So the question that David asked Jehovah is: 

…who shall abide

This word “abide” is Strong’s #1481 in the Hebrew and this means “to sojourn.”  “Sojourn” is a great synonym for the word “abide.” 

So what does “sojourn” mean?  We do not really use this term a whole lot in our modern-day English.  But as I used this term, do you have an idea of what I mean by this?  This really means “to stop or stay somewhere,” as in residing.  Therefore, if you are sojourning in a land, you have stopped there; you are staying there.  You pass through a land where you decide to set up your tent and stay for awhile.  So “sojourn” means to remain somewhere that you have traveled and to stay there as a resident for some period of time; it could be long or it could be short. 

Let us turn to Genesis 21 where we will pick up this word in Genesis 21:34.  In Genesis 21:34, we will see this same word that was translated as “abide” in Psalm 15:1.  Genesis 21:34 reads: 

And Abraham sojourned… 

This is the same word as “abide” in Psalm 15:1.  Genesis 21:34 continues: 

And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days. 

We can see this is referring to abiding somewhere short-term or long-term but you are going to stay there for more than just an overnight bed-and-breakfast, so to speak.  In this case, Abraham abided in the Philistines’ land for many days.  For many days, he sojourned there. 

Exodus 12 also picks up this same word, so let us take a look there to further define this word.  In Exodus 12:48, we read: 

And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee… 

Here we find this word “sojourn.”  Again, this is the same word as “abide” in the Hebrew from Psalm 15:1. 

Exodus 12:48 continues: 

And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 

So what is another attribute that we find here relating to sojourning or abiding?  Typically, we see that this is relating to a stranger, someone who has not been a resident there before but who comes through the land and stops and becomes a resident, which could be short-term or long-term. 

As far as the term “stranger,” what is one of the characteristics of a stranger?  Our modern-day saying is, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” 

Here it is saying that if this stranger wants to sojourn with you, make sure that he is “as one that is born in the land” and that he follows the customs of the land.  It says: 

…for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 

Here in God’s Law to Moses where He is referring to a stranger that sojourns, He is saying that they are welcome.  They were not to close up their gates and not allow anyone else in.  It is just that when the stranger comes in to sojourn, they have to abide by their laws, i.e., the males have to be circumcised, etc. 

So to abide, as we read in Psalm 15, or to sojourn, insinuates that you are a stranger, you have set up camp somewhere, and now you are going to begin to act like the laws of the land would command you to act.  You are going to have to abide by them and obey them and be “as one that is born in the land.”  This is what you have to be as a sojourner to be able to abide with them. 

So let us go back to Psalm 15.  David asked Jehovah in Psalm 15:1: 

…who shall abide…

Who shall abide where? 

…in thy tabernacle… 

So the question now is where is this sojourner going to stop and abide?  In what land? 

But this is not necessarily referring to a land because David is asking here in Psalm 15:1: 

…who shall abide in thy tabernacle?... 

So what does “tabernacle” mean?  He is talking about the tabernacle of Jehovah. 

We find this word “tabernacle” in Exodus 26, so let us look at this to see what this means on the physical plane and then spiritually.  If you remember, God gave a pattern to Moses for the tabernacles when the children of Israel had come out of Egypt and they were in the wilderness.  Exodus 26:1 reads: 

Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle…

This is the same word that we find in Psalm 15 [Note: this is not the same Hebrew word that is found in Psalm 15:1.  The word “tabernacle” in Exodus 26:1 is mishkan:H4908; the word “tabernacle” in Psalm 15:1 is 'ohel:H168].

…thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them. 

Then in Exodus 26:7, we read: 

And thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle… 

So what is a tabernacle?  A tabernacle is a tent.  So this was a tabernacle that Moses obviously made through God’s instruction and pattern in the wilderness.  But what did they do with this tabernacle?  We know that this was something that they could carry with them.  It was not like it had a concrete foundation laid in the earth.  This tabernacle was a tent that was made with these different curtains of goats’ hair, etc., and they carried this with them everywhere that they traveled. 

So let us pick this up in Exodus 40, because there it will help us to understand what the word “tabernacle” means.  In Exodus 40, let us take a look and see what happened with this tabernacle and see how it might relate to Psalm 15.  We read in Exodus 40:1-4: 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. 

Remember that this was a tent that could be set up and taken down rather easily with enough manpower. 

And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony… 

So this is what was inside the tabernacle: the ark of the testimony. 

…and cover the ark with the veil. And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof. 

So there were a few things inside the tabernacle that were very important and very holy, as we will see. 

Then in Exodus 40:12-15, we read: 

And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations. 

Let us stop here for now.  In the tabernacle, we find the tables of the Law, the candlestick, the covering of the veil, just to name a few things, and now we have certain people who are going to be in this tabernacle. 

How can we summarize this?  What kind of people are going to be in this tabernacle?  There are going to be priests in the tabernacle, priestly people who were ordained by God.  Here we find Aaron and his sons.  Therefore, they were people who were allowed to be in this tabernacle. 

Then we read in Exodus 40:34-38: 

Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation…

Here we see that “tent” is referring to the tabernacle. 

…and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

So here we see that when the cloud and the fire moved from upon the tabernacle, they were to move themselves.  They would have to take up stakes, close it and pack it all up, and then continue on.   

From an earthly vantage point, who can abide or sojourn in this tabernacle?  Psalm 15:1 said: 

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? … 

We see then that the earthly tabernacle was a picture of this spiritual tabernacle that David is alluding to in Psalm 15.  So let us move on to understand a little bit more about this physical tabernacle in order to understand the spiritual aspect of Psalm 15:1-2. 

Aaron and his sons were allowed to be in this physical tabernacle and they were allowed to minister to the Lord in this tabernacle.  So let us look at Leviticus 16 where we will pick up a little bit more information about this tabernacle and the priests and see what they did inside this tabernacle.  We read in Leviticus 16:16-17: 

And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. 

So in Leviticus 16:16-17, on the physical, earthly plane, who is being referred to who can fulfill this role?  It is referring to the high priest.  At this point, who is the high priest?  He is Aaron.  So at this point, Aaron was the only one who was allowed to do this.  But what was alluded to in verse 17?  We read again in Leviticus 16:17: 

And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement… 

This means that Aaron is the only one allowed in to make the atonement.  Nobody else can come in. 

Psalm 15:1 asked: 

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? … 

Well, Aaron could if he made an atonement.  But then it says in Leviticus 16:17: 

And there shall be no man in the tabernacle…until he come out… 

So when Aaron came out of the tabernacle where he had successfully made an atonement, then other men could go into the tabernacle.  So we see some of the allusion that is being made and we know whom this pictures. 

You do not need me to develop the simile here and the spiritual analogy because Hebrews 9 describes this for us.  So let us go to Hebrews 9 to read about what all of this alluded to in the wilderness in relation to the Hebrews.  Hebrews 9:1-7 says: 

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 

This is what we were looking at in Exodus.  It was a “worldly sanctuary.”  It was physical.  It had curtains of goats’ hair and it had the tables of the Law inside of it. 

For there was a tabernacle made… 

This is what we have been looking at: the tabernacle that had been made in the wilderness. 

…the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year… 

We already identified that this was Aaron at the time that it was first built. 

…not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 

Here is why I say that the Bible itself defines for us this analogy, this simile, the metaphor.  We read in Hebrews 9:8-10: 

The Holy Ghost this signifying… 

In other words, here we have the spiritual meaning: 

…that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest… 

So this was not made known to the people as yet.  It was only a simile. 

…while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure…

“A figure” means a simile or a metaphor. 

…for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 

This is not referring to the Reformation of the 1500’s.  This is referring to the time of reformation when Christ came. 

Then it goes on to say in Hebrews 9:11: 

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands… 

Remember that the one that Moses had made was made by hands.  The curtains were made with goats’ hair, and they made the table and the other things that they put inside. 

Hebrews 9:11 continues: 

…that is to say, not of this building; 

Then we read in Hebrews 9:12: 

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 

Hebrews 9:11 is referring to a building not made with hands, so think back to the verse that we are looking at today, Psalm 15:1: 

LORD (Jehovah), who shall abide in thy tabernacle? … 

We understood that only Aaron could go into the Holy of Holies once a year in the physical tabernacle, which prefigured Jesus Christ according to Hebrews 9:11. 

In other words, if it is a tabernacle not made with hands, what is the tabernacle that is pictured?  Psalm 15:1 says: 

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? … 

What do you think this tabernacle is then?  It is not a building.  It is not a tent. 

Let us turn to Revelation 21:1-4: 

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 

So what is this tabernacle?  This says that the tabernacle of God is at this point with men.  So this is a place in the future where certain people will live.  It is the new heavens and the new earth that will be created following the end of time. 

In other words, when Psalm 15:1 asks: 

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?…

It is asking who is going to go to Heaven.  Who is going to be part of this eternal inheritance, a place to live forever? 

This same exact word tabernacle is used in Luke 16.  So let us just finish this study of the word tabernacle and look at Luke 16:9.  We are breaking into the middle of this, but when Jesus was speaking and teaching here, He said: 

And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. 

This word “habitations” is the same word that is translated as “tabernacle” in Revelation 21:3, which points to the same tabernacle that Hebrews 9 was talking about and that which pointed back to Exodus, the earthly figure of the tent that was made.  But Luke 16:9 is referring to “everlasting habitations.”  Are you going to live here on this earth forever?  No; however, the new heavens and the new earth will be created to be an eternal habitation. 

Again, Psalm 15:1 is asking Jehovah: 

…who shall abide in thy tabernacle? … 

Who shall abide in God’s place where He dwells and where He lives?  Who shall be with God? 

This is a good question.  Is this not something that we all would desire?  After all, we learned that this is the endgame of the whole Christian race.  It is to have eternal life, to have that eternal inheritance, which is to live with God in this new heavens and new earth.  At this point, this is shortly coming from everything that we can see and anticipate in the Scriptures. 

After the Psalmist in Psalm 15 asks this question: 

…who shall abide in thy tabernacle? … 

He asks: 

…who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 

This is a second question that is asked in Psalm 15:1: 

…who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 

David is the Psalmist in Psalm 15 and he is alluding to the hill of Zion, is he not?  This is because the earthly Jerusalem was on a hill.  Where was the tabernacles placed when the Israelites finally took over the land of Canaan and Jerusalem?  The tabernacle was placed right there on the hill of Jerusalem, and David asked: 

…who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 

So we see even more metaphorical language being used in Psalm 15.  If you remember, we saw earlier that to “abide” is the same as “sojourning.”  It means to stop and to become a resident somewhere.  Here he says “dwell.”  Does this word mean something differently in the Hebrew? 

Let us look at a verse in 2 Samuel.  It is a different Hebrew word [note: speaker indicated that this was a different word but it is the same Hebrew word for “dwell” that is found in Psalm 15:1—it is the Hebrew word shakan:H7931].  Let us look at 2 Samuel 7 to see if we can pick anything up from this verse.  In 2 Samuel 7:10, we see this same word “dwell”: 

Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, 

We see this word “dwell” here.  What does this have to do with?  What is the insinuation?  Actually, this is pretty clear; it is not even insinuated.  It tells us that it is “a place of their own.”  It is like being a renter all of your life and then you finally have a place that you own and you can call your own.  Or it is like having been a stranger and pilgrim sojourning all over and now finally you have a place where you can set roots down and settle down, so-to-speak, to use earthly language. 

So what does this insinuate?  This is all talking about the end when it is all over.  What does the New Testament say about the Christian here on this earth today before the end of time?  We are strangers and pilgrims here, right? 

So David asked: 

 …who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 

And why is the adjective “holy” used?  This is the same word that is used in Exodus 3:5.  If you remember, this is when Moses was on Mount Sinai and God appeared to him in the flaming fire in the bush.  He said in Exodus 3:5: 

…put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

Why was it considered holy?  It was holy because the presence of God was right there with Moses.  It was holy ground.  In other words, it was something that was totally set apart because God was there.  It was a righteous place.  There are a lot of things that we could talk about in this, but I just wanted to mention it.  When Psalm 15:1 says: 

…who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 

It makes us think of when Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving that message from God in the burning bush.  

And how about this word “hill”?  It says in Psalm 15:1: 

…who shall dwell in thy holy hill

But this is the same word from the Hebrew that is also translated as “mountain.”  It is Strong’s #H2022.  We find this same word in Genesis 7 where it is referring to the flood of Noah’s day.  Genesis 7:20 reads: 

Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. 

This is in the plural, but this is the same Hebrew word as “hill.” 

So Psalm 15:1 asks: 

…who shall dwell in thy holy hill [mountain]? 

Let us look at the physical part first.  David here is talking about a tabernacle and a holy hill, and it makes us think about the tabernacle of Moses’ day.  Physically, the “holy hill” is looking at Jerusalem, Mount Zion, which we sang about earlier in a hymn sing.  But the city of Jerusalem lies about 2,000 feet above sea level and it is surrounded by large hills.  The city of Jerusalem is on a mountain itself. 

It is also the place where Abraham prepared to offer up Isaac his son.  What was it called then?  It was called Mount Moriah.  Let us look at Genesis 22 to prove this.  This is when Abraham was commanded by God to offer up his son.  We read in Genesis 22:1-2: 

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. 

This is the same place where Jerusalem was located.  Eventually, Solomon’s temple was built on this same mountain.  It was this exact same place. 

In 2 Chronicles 3, we read about this in relation to Solomon’s temple being built on this same hill.  We read in 2 Chronicles 3:1-2: 

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign. 

Not only was this the place where Abraham prepared to offer up Isaac his son, but this was also the threshingfloor of Ornan.  This was the same exact spot. 

So we see in Psalm 15:1 that God through David is speaking and saying: 

…who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell… 

In other words, who is going to have residence in Thy tabernacle?  Who is going to be able to live and call it a place of their own “in thy holy hill”?  This is certainly not the land of Jerusalem that David is talking about, right?  Clearly, it is not.  This is just a picture. 

What did we see earlier in Revelation 21:2?  We saw: 

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven… 

Then John talked about “the tabernacle of God.”  So John the Apostle at the very end of the Bible talks about the tabernacle and Jerusalem in the same breath in the beginning of Revelation 21, and David oddly enough, ironically enough, is talking about the same thing in Psalm 15, a good thousand years or so earlier.   

So who shall dwell there?  Well, we all want to be there, but the Bible answers the question of who shall live there in this place, in this “holy hill,” in this “tabernacle of God.”  We read in Psalm 15:2: 

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 

This almost makes it sound like I can earn my way there, does it not?  Well, we have to understand what this means then.  Who does walk uprightly?  What does it mean to be upright? 

Let us look at Genesis 17:1 where we find this same word defined: 

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect

This word “perfect” is the same word that was translated “uprightly” in Psalm 15:2.  It is Strong’s #8549.  In other words, to walk uprightly means to be perfect.  God is telling Abraham to be perfect and walk before Him. 

Psalm 18:30 says the same thing.  It says there: 

As for God, his way is perfect… 

This is that same word for “uprightly.”  Psalm 15 told us that the one who dwells in God’s holy hill is going to be the one who walks uprightly, and here it says: 

As for God, his way is perfect… 

In Exodus 12:5, we will see how God defines this term a little differently. 

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year… 

This is talking about the sacrifices.  The words “without blemish” are the same Hebrew words as “uprightly.” 

So the word “uprightly” means “perfect” and it means “without blemish.”  It means that there is no imperfect found at all.  Well, God told Abraham to live this way, and we know that we cannot live this way no matter how hard we try.  We might think that we can come close, but we cannot live this way.  There are many people in the Bible whom we do not read of having any sins at all, like Daniel.  We do not read about any of his sins even though, obviously, he sinned; he had to have.  We might think that some people came very close to this perhaps, but no one could have possibly achieved this. 

Who can be without blemish?  This is what Aaron was pointing to when he was allowed to be in the tabernacle.  Before any other men could come into the tabernacle, Aaron had to offer the sacrifice.  It was called “the atonement.”  He did this once a year through the second veil in the place of the Holy of Holies. 

What did John the Baptist say in John 1:29?  He said: 

…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.   

He was pointing to Jesus Christ, was he not?  Christ is the One who walks uprightly. 

How about perfect?  Psalm 18:30 said: 

As for God, his way is perfect…

And God told Abraham to walk and be perfect, but Abraham could not have done this.  I know that neither can I, and yet Hebrews 5 tells me, though, that there is a way.  It sounds like Christ is the only One who can fit this bill and dwell in God’s “holy hill” for all eternity.  Hebrews 5:8-9 says: 

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 

So He was made perfect, and yet Christ was perfect.  He is the One who walks uprightly and He is the One who “became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”  So here is the insinuation that others could enter in also into this tabernacle.

We know that we cannot fit this description because Romans 3:10 says: 

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

But Luke 6:40 tells us: 

The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 

So Jesus is actually saying that it is possible to be perfect. 

This sounds like a contradiction, does it not?  After all, the Bible says in Romans 3, “There is none righteous, no, not one.”  So there are none who are perfect, and yet the Bible says in Hebrews 5 that Jesus Christ was “made perfect,” and Jesus Himself said in Luke 6 that even though a disciple is not above his master, everyone who is perfect can be as his master. 

Well, He must mean that there is a way to get this perfection in some other way, which we know is not possible through our own behavior and conduct.  So Colossians 1 helps us to understand this and to define it and helps us to see a little more clearly what this perfection is all about.  This passage also helps me to dwell on this new heaven and new earth.  We read in Colossians 1:27-28: 

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect… 

And how is this done?  It is done: 

…in Christ Jesus: 

This is the issue.  One is made perfect in Christ Jesus.  This is the view that David represented in Psalm 15:1-2: 

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly… 

Who walks uprightly?  Jesus Christ does.  He did and He is the only One who can.  However, everyone else is made perfect “in Christ Jesus.”  So David was really saying that this is an impossibility.  It is: 

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 

No man can do this.  Only in Christ is this doable.  Again, here is that great mystery of how God the Father looks at someone who is able to dwell in that holy mountain.  The One who is able to abide in that tabernacle is Jesus Christ.  This is who God sees instead of you.  Hence, you are perfect in God’s sight. 

This is a comfort for us who sin and sometimes doubt as to whether or not it is even possible that we can be saved.  Is it really possible that God has given me eternal life if I still sin?  Is this even feasible? 

Sometimes we get this thought in our minds when we sin.  It creates doubt as to whether or not we are really a child of God.  Is it possible that maybe I am not saved.  And it is possible that we might not be saved.  This is possible.  However, we can look at passages like this and possibly gain a little more assurance and a little bit more hope especially. 

The Psalmist said, “He that works righteousness,” and I cannot do this because “there is none righteous, no, not one.”  Then we read in Exodus 9:27 concerning righteousness: 

And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. 

This is what I would say, too.  It is God, the Lord Jehovah, who is righteous. 

Psalm 116:5 also speaks to this.  We read there: 

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. 

So here we have a verse that tells us God is righteous and in the very next phrase it says that He is merciful.  Is this not wonderful how this is tied together?  He is the One who is righteous and He is also the One who is merciful in that He will give His righteousness to others.  In doing so, we become righteous in Christ, as Colossians 1 teaches us. 

So we saw earlier how we become perfect; it is in Jesus Christ.  And 2 Corinthians 5 has another great verse for us to look at to solidify this righteousness that allows me to enter into that new heaven and new earth.  We read in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21: 

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

Notice that we are not made righteous in ourselves.  It is: 

…that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

We are talking about the righteousness of God that is in Christ.  So it is not as if the only thing God looks at is all your good deeds and that He does not look at your sin.  Sometimes we might think this.  God says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us,” and so we might tend to think that God is only going to look at our good; but not that this gets us into Heaven, of course.  But sometimes we might get this erroneous thought in our minds that He will still look at some of the good deeds that we do and look favorably upon us.  But this verse in 2 Corinthians really teaches us that we need to be made that which is “the righteousness of God in him.” 

So this is God’s righteousness.  It is Christ’s righteousness and He is the only One who has ever lived perfectly.  This is the only righteousness there is.  In God’s eyes, “our righteousnesses,” the good deeds that we might have done in witnessing to others, “are as filthy rags.”  This is what He tells us in the book of Isaiah.  It is all as “filthy rags” in His sight.  Therefore, it is the righteousness of God that He imparts to us. 

If you wind up in Heaven, in the new heavens and the new earth, and you are dwelling in His tabernacle, and maybe you were eighty years old when you died on this earth or when the rapture comes, so you were able to do a lot of good deeds in your lifetime.  But there is also an infant who is born in a hospital on May 20th in 2011 who is also saved and a child of God.  You are no better than that infant who was just born a day before Christ returns.  Both of you go to Heaven because both of you have the righteousness of God in you in Christ Jesus.  This is the only thing that gets you to Heaven. 

So we thank God that we have the righteousness of God that we can hope for and pray for and ask for.  Christ Jesus was the One whom David was looking at in Psalm 15 when he asked: 

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

Who can do this, Jehovah? 

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

Jesus Christ says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  Christ is the only One, like Aaron who went into the Holy of Holies and made the atonement.  What happened after that?  Others were allowed into the tabernacle after that [note: no one but the high priest was allowed into the Holy of Holies].  When Aaron came out successfully, others could go into the tabernacle.  Others can now enter into Heaven because Jesus Christ is the One who walked uprightly.  He is the One who did righteousness.  He is the One who did the work and He is the One who spoke the truth perfectly in His heart. 

This all can be given to you if God so chose you before the foundations of the world to be an inheritor of eternal life.  May God impart this righteousness to everyone who has heard this message today that He might be glorified in the salvation of His elect.  Amen.