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Psalms 15:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? - The literal translation of this verse is, "Lord, who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in the mountain of thy holiness?" Fwor the proper understanding of this question we must note the following particulars: -

  1. The tabernacle, which was a kind of moveable temple, was a type of the Church militant, or the state of the people of God in this world.
  • Mount Zion, the holy mount, where the temple was built, was the type of the kingdom of heaven. There the ark became stationary, and was no longer carried about from place to place; and the whole was typical of the rest that remains for the people of God.
  • The Tabernacle was a temporary and frequently-removed building, carried about from place to place, and not long in any one place. Concerning this it is said: יגור מי mi yagur, "Who shall lodge, or sojourn," there? It is not a residence, or dwelling-place, but a place to lodge in for a time.
  • The Temple was a fixed and permanent building; and here it is inquired, ישכן מי mi yiscon, "Who shall dwell, abide," or have his permanent residence, there?
  • The tabernacle being a migratory temple, carried about on the shoulders of the priests and Levites, there was no dwelling there for any; they could but lodge or sojourn.
  • The temple being fined, the priests, Levites, etc., became permanent occupiers. There was no lodging or sojourning, but permanent residence for all connected with it.
  • The tabernacle is, therefore, a proper type of the Church militant, wandering up and down, tossed by various storms and tempests; the followers of God, having here no continuing city; sojourning only on earth to get a preparation for eternal glory.
  • The temple is also a proper type or emblem of the Church triumphant in heaven. "Here the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest." It is the dwelling-place the eternal residence, of all who are faithfui unto death, who are made pillars in that temple of God, to go no more out for ever.
  • The questions therefore are,

    1. Who can be considered a fit member of the Church of Christ here below? and,

    2. Who shall be made partakers of an endless glory? In answer to these questions, the character of what we may term a true Israelite, or a good Christian, is given in the following particulars: -

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? - Margin, “sojourn.” The Hebrew word means properly to “sojourn;” that is, to abide in a place as a sojourner or stranger; not permanently, but only for a while. The idea in this place is taken from the word “tabernacle” or “tent,” with which one naturally associates the thought of sojourning, rather than that of a permanent abode. Compare Hebrews 11:9. It should not be inferred, however, that it is meant here that the residence with God would be “temporary.” The idea of permanency is fully expressed in the other member of the sentence, and the language here is only such as was customary in speaking of the righteous - language derived from the fact that in early times men dwelt in tents rather than in permanent habitations.

    Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? - Zion, regarded as the dwelling-place of God, and the type of heaven - the eternal abode of the Most High. See the note at Psalm 2:6. The question is equivalent to asking, who is qualified to dwell with God? who may properly be regarded as his friend? who has a title to his favor? who is truly pious? By us the same question would be put in another form, though implying the same thing: Who is qualified to become a member of the church; who has evidence of true conversion and real piety? who is he who is prepared for heaven?

    Ellen G. White
    Fundamentals of Christian Education, 402

    Always kind, courteous, ever taking the part of the oppressed, whether Jew or Gentile, Christ was beloved by all. By His perfect life and character, He answered the question asked in the fifteenth Psalm: “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.” In childhood and youth His course was such that when engaged in work as a teacher, He could say to His disciples, “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love: even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.” FE 402.1

    As Christ grew older, the work begun in His childhood went on, and He continued to increase in wisdom, and in favor with God and man. He did not take the part of His own family merely because they were related to Him by natural ties; He would not vindicate their case in a single instance where they had been guilty of injustice or wrong; but He ever vindicated that which He knew to be truth. FE 402.2

    Christ applied Himself diligently to a study of the Scriptures; for He knew them to be full of precious instruction to all who will make it the man of their counsel. He was faithful in the discharge of His home duties, and the early morning hours, instead of being wasted in bed, often found Him in a retired place, meditating and searching the Scriptures and in prayer. Every prophecy concerning His work and mediation was familiar to Him, especially those having reference to His humiliation, atonement, and intercession. In childhood and youth the object of His life was ever before Him, an inducement for His undertaking the work of mediating in behalf of fallen man. He would see seed which should prolong their days, and the gracious purpose of the Lord should prosper in His hands. FE 402.3

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    Ellen G. White
    In Heavenly Places, 175.4

    The great responsibility bound up in the use of the gift of speech is plainly made known in the Word of God. “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:37), Christ declared. And the psalmist asks, “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. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour” (Psalm 15:1-3). HP 175.4

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    Ellen G. White
    Our High Calling, 293.2

    The psalmist asks, “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. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.” When anyone comes to you with a tale about your neighbor, you should refuse to hear it. You should say to him, “Have you spoken of this matter to the individual concerned?” ... Tell him he should obey the Bible rule, and go first to his brother, and tell him his fault privately, and in love. If the directions of God were carried out, the floodgates of gossip would be closed. OHC 293.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 58

    When we listen to a reproach against our brother, we take up that reproach. To the question, “Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?” the psalmist answered, “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor.” 5T 58.1

    What a world of gossip would be prevented if every man would remember that those who tell him the faults of others will as freely publish his faults at a favorable opportunity. We should endeavor to think well of all men, especially our brethren, until compelled to think otherwise. We should not hastily credit evil reports. These are often the result of envy or misunderstanding, or they may proceed from exaggeration or a partial disclosure of facts. Jealousy and suspicion, once allowed a place, will sow themselves broadcast, like thistledown. Should a brother go astray, then is the time to show your real interest in him. Go to him kindly, pray with and for him, remembering the infinite price which Christ has paid for his redemption. In this way you may save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins. 5T 58.2

    A glance, a word, even an intonation of the voice, may be vital with falsehood, sinking like a barbed arrow into some heart, inflicting an incurable wound. Thus a doubt, a reproach, may be cast upon one by whom God would accomplish a good work, and his influence is blighted, his usefulness destroyed. Among some species of animals, if one of their number is wounded and falls, he is at once set upon and torn in pieces by his fellows. The same cruel spirit is indulged by men and women who bear the name of Christians. They manifest a pharisaical zeal to stone others less guilty than themselves. There are some who point to others’ faults and failures to divert attention from their own, or to gain credit for great zeal for God and the church. 5T 59.1

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    Ellen G. White
    The Voice in Speech and Song, 19.2

    The great responsibility bound up in the use of the gift of speech is plainly made known by the Word of God. “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned,” Christ declared. And the psalmist asks, “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. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved” [Psalm 15:1-5]. VSS 19.2

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