Tabernacled in Us

Having grown up Protestant, books like Baruch were not in my Old Testament back in the old days. Don't worry, this is not that post, kicking up dust. Maybe some other day.

I just came across a verse in the book of Baruch the other day that caught my eye, and I am glad it did. Especially in this Nativity season, as we prepare for the coming of God himself and his taking on of human flesh, the uncreated taking on created nature, this verse fits in perfectly.

This is our God; no other shall be compared to him. … Afterwards, he was seen upon the earth and lived among men (Baruch 3:36,38). This clearly refers to Christ (...though I cannot figure out what the writer might have meant at the time of writing). This one simple verse holds the truth that sets Christianity apart from all other religions: God himself became man. And, in Greek, that is not "lived among men" as translated here and also in the Prologue of the Gospel of John in just about every translation out there. Rather, God came and lived (literally, 'tabernacled') IN man. Not 'among' as if merely saying God came and spent time with us, but rather 'in'. For God abides in us, both in humanity, that is, taking on human flesh; and also individually, as we dwell in him and he in us...the kingdom of God is within us!

As a result, Jesus Christ has joined man to God, bringing us into himself, (and at the Ascension) raised our nature up to more than merely man. So, truly, what Baruch said is so incredibly true, no other [God] shall be compared to him, for in what other religion does God join himself to man and come to tabernacle in men?

...and as a slightly embarrassing close to all of this...I just noticed in the past couple weeks since first seeing this passage that it is one of the Old Testament prophecies read in the Royal Hours leading up to Nativity. Oops. I have been hearing this for several years now and completely missed it. Open my ears that I may hear wonderful things in thy law.

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