Adam and Eve failed to live in perfect beit ab. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the children of Israel were conditioned by the Fall. While they lived in beit ab at times, they were sinners, and they were unable to restore beit ab. God provided the perfect way. He was Jesus. Paul called him the firstborn of all creation.
In Colossians, Paul wrote:
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)
Jesus initiated the final act in the biblical story. While the final act is still being played out, Jesus taught and showed us what beit ab is like. He is presently fulfilling his promise to prepare our place in the Father’s beit ab. As he said, “If that were not so, he would have told us.”
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus teaches us in story and parable what the Father’s perfect beit ab is like. While nothing on earth can compare to it, Jesus gave us a glimpse.
The perfect beit ab is our Father in heaven’s house. It is a place without mansions on hilltops (no, we will not each have our independent mansion with our independent wealth and responsibilities for its upkeep). It is like a house with endless rooms. The provisions for every member of the household of our heavenly Father are the Father’s responsibility. His firstborn is Jesus, who is at his right hand and working in harmony for the care of the household. Each of us may have duties, but those duties will be for the good of all as we do our assigned part within the household of the Father.
Jesus often described heaven as a wedding banquet. He also described it as the kingdom of a loving, benevolent king. Both describe peace, harmony, joy, happiness, and a full buffet. Beit ab is good.
Jesus also dispelled the misunderstanding that the Father’s beit ab was only for the chosen people. In contrasting and yet complementary stories, Jesus fed five thousand on one occasion and four thousand on another occasion. He fed them with nothing more than one lunch of five loaves and two fish.
When Jesus fed the five thousand, there were twelve baskets of leftovers. That miracle occurred on the west side of the Jordan in the Galilee, which was the geographical location of Jewish people. The message behind the story, and symbolized in the twelve baskets (twelve tribes), was that Jesus was stating in picture that he was Messiah for the people of Israel.
In the parallel miracle, Jesus fed four thousand, and there were seven baskets of leftovers. When Joshua led the people into the land, he was told to drive out the nations. Seven pagan nations are named in Joshua. He drove them out, but to where? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but rabbis said that they were driven to the east of the Jordan.
The miracle of the feeding of four thousand is a picture, too. In the seven baskets of leftovers, Jesus is picturing that he had not only come to redeem Israel, but was also Messiah for the gentile nations. (Every one of us who is a non-Jew and a believer should be praising God for the good news of this miracle.)
So, for whom is God’s beit ab? It is for both the Jews (God’s firstborn chosen people) and for the gentile believers.
When Jesus left the earth, he said, “All authority is given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.”
What are those who are called to lead to do? In our Western world, we do not live in houses like biblical patriarchs or Middle Easterners today. We do not live in extended family dwellings, and our children are not expected to build on our property. The real picture is outside of our reality.
But the picture is there for us. We can and must apply beit ab in the places where God has called us to lead. In our homes, churches, and schools, we can create places where obedient living with our Father and his Son is our foundation. We must be committed to insuring that the next generation will know, believe, and carry forward God’s kingdom mission. And we must be communities where our doors are open to welcome eager sojourners into beit ab (God’s family in our places).
What are we called to do? We are called to lead children of the Father into community, where they can experience a taste of beit ab.
Devotional are written by Jeff Blamer, Vice President of Member Services