Through Isaiah the Lord asks something very interesting.
1 Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?” Isaiah 66:1 (NKJV)
The obvious answer is that nothing we build or create can contain Him or be a place for Him to rest. Yet what He did when Israel journeyed in the wilderness was have them build a place where His presence would dwell and rest. This place was the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle of Moses. His presence dwelt and rested between the wings of the cherubim over the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant. Later Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem and God’s glory came and filled the temple when it was dedicated and He was there in the Holy of Holies over the Mercy Seat (2 Chron.7:1-14).
Given the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon predated Isaiah we need to better understand Isaiah’s prophetic point. In seeking to understand Isaiah there is something else to consider.
41 “Now therefore, Arise, O LORD God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, And let Your saints rejoice in goodness.” 2 Chronicles 6:41 (NKJV)
8 Arise, O LORD, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. 9 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your saints shout for joy. 10 For Your servant David’s sake, Do not turn away the face of Your Anointed. Psalm 132:8-10 (NKJV)
The passages above both speak of Yahweh arising, ‘to Your resting place.’ We generally arise FROM rest, not TO rest, yet scripture says the opposite. The idea was Yahweh wanted somewhere not just to be but a place to rest in and upon. As already noted, Isaiah raised His prophetic point after the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon had been erected so clearly Isaiah was looking to something else. That something else began long after Isaiah had stepped from time into eternity.
Whether he knew it or not Isaiah’s question pointed forward to the birth of the church. Stephen (Acts. 7:48-49) and Paul (Acts 17:24) both affirm that God does not dwell in physical structures, temples made with human hands. What we know from the New Testament is that He now dwells in flesh and blood temples.
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV)
So, this answers part of Isaiah’s prophetic question, He dwells in His body birthed through Jesus death and resurrection. He made His own house. Now, we need to answer the other part, are we walking with Him in such a way that in us He can arise TO His rest? Though Jesus is now dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit is He relationally at rest in us?