We’re going to do a little word study. Remember when Jesus said, I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:2)? That is the certain place that we’re interested in. We will begin in Genesis chapter 28. This is where Jacob is fleeing for his life. He had conned his brother Esau and stole the blessing due the first born. So Esau wanted to kill him, and Jacob was running for his life.
Genesis 28:10-11 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
Jacob lighted upon a certain place. It wasn’t just any place. It wasn’t just a coincidence that nightfall found him there. It was a certain place. The Hebrew says that he fell upon a place. I was first made aware of the significance of this “place” by a rabbi who was dear friend of mine. He explained that this “certain place” was understood to be a place of anointing that God had prepared.
Genesis 28:12-13 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and
the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and
descending on it. (Take note of the continuous spiritual activity.)
13 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.
The covenant God made with Abraham and was renewed with Isaac, He is now also giving to Jacob.
Genesis 28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south…(This phraseology in the scriptures “to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south” has to do with spiritual ministry.)…and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
That is the same thing God told Abraham: In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. According to Galatians chapter three the “seed” is Christ. So this promise filters down to Christ and His many-membered Body. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ…And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:16,29.
Genesis 28:15-19 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places
whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not
leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.
17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
19 And he called the name of that place Bethel.
It wasn’t that Jacob went just so far and when the sun began to set he looked for a good spot to sleep for the night. No, it was a certain place. He had come to a place spiritually. God had been working in Jacob’s life, slowly bringing him to the place He had for him. When Jacob came to the place he needed to be spiritually, then God could renew the blessing and the covenant with him. That is the certain place. It’s a spiritual place, not that piece of ground where he happened to be.
The Greek word for “place” is topos. It is the word from which we get our English word “topic.” Everything is centered around the topic, and that is what this “certain place” is. We’re going to look at a few scriptures where the word topos is used. The first one is in Luke’s Gospel and has to do with the birth of Christ.
Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room (topos) for them in the inn.
The Greek word for “room” is topos. There was no place for Him. God had not prepared a place for Him in the inn. The “inn” represents sectarianism. There is no room, or place, for Him in the inn. So they put Him in a manger. The place God prepared for Him was the manger, not the inn.
We know the events that took place in the natural concerning this. It was a time when everyone in the district were reporting to pay their taxes. So there were many people in the city and there was no room. But not only was there no room in the inn, God did not intend for Him to be there. That was not His place. His place was in the manger with the animals of the stable. Why did God have such a place prepared for His Son? It was a prophetic type. Jesus being born in the midst of the animals prefigured His being born amidst the beastly nature of human beings in this day. His presence is coming forth in a people, and their adamic nature is a beastly nature. Your spirit is the manger He is being born in, and the animals of your flesh surround Him.
In Luke chapter ten Jesus sends out the seventy disciples two by two. The ministry of these seventy disciples is prophetic of end-time ministry.
Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face...
“Face” in the Scriptures means “presence.” He sent them before His face means He sent them before His presence. Do you remember the table of shewbread in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle? The shewbread was also called the bread of faces or the bread of His presence. God doesn’t have a face as we do; He is Spirit. Face means presence.
Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place (topos), whither He Himself would come.
The ministry of the seventy here is a type of the John the Baptist ministry. Like John the Baptist they were to go before Him to every place where He would come later. Each place they were to go was a topos, a certain place, a place prepared for the presence of the Lord. Their place was the sphere of ministry prepared for them to function in.
We must understand that the Lord has a place for each of us, a divinely ordained place, a sphere of ministry in which we are to function. When we come to that place, then like Jacob the Lord will be able to meet us and establish His covenant with us. Then we go on in our journey and God establishes another place. When we get to that place He reveals even more to us. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you. John 16:12-15. As we come to each new place in our spiritual growth, the Lord can turn loose more of His will for our lives. But it is important that we keep moving from place to place – into every city and place, whither He himself would come. He reveals more of Himself at each place.
Acts 7:6-7 And God spoke on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange
land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four
7 And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve Me in this place (topos).
We begin in bondage, and we have to break loose from the restraints and limitations to come to the place He has for us.
The Lord doesn’t make it easy to know Him. I’ll explain what I mean. In John chapter 5 Jesus fed the five thousand. Then in the 6th chapter the same Jews follow Him and Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst (John 6:35). The Jews murmured at Him for that statement (verse 41). They’re already having a problem with Jesus, yet He adds, Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life (verse 54). Now they really were troubled. Jesus knew their laws and traditions about eating flesh with blood. He knew they would have a problem with that statement, but He said it anyway. He turned them off completely, and they began walking away. Why didn't Jesus say, “Wait a minute. Let Me explain what I mean; this is a spiritual truth”? He didn’t do that. He doesn’t make it easy to know Him. He taught in parables and then said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 13:9). Why didn’t He say, “Let Me explain what this parable means”? He doesn’t make it easy to know Him. Jeremiah gives the answer. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13. It is the one who is intense in his spirit, determined to know the Lord. There’s a “certain place” for each of us, but it’s not necessarily easy to get there. Realize that God has a place for you,and go after it with all your heart.
“How do I get to this certain place? I don’t know what it is or where it is.” That is the way it was with Abraham. God called Abraham out and said, “I want you to leave your country, your kin, everything; and go to a place I will show you.” Abraham starts to go, but where is this place? Well, Abraham was smart enough to know that it was a spiritual place. So he sojourned in the land and never set up a permanent dwelling place.
Ephesians 4:25-27 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his
neighbor: for we are members one of another.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place (topos) to the devil.
What was Paul saying to the Ephesians? “Listen, you guard your place, because if you get distracted by some sin or other entanglement, the enemy will usurp your place.” Satan and his horde are the great usurpers. The devil doesn’t bother the average Christian that isn’t believing for anything or walking in very much. It is those who are walking in real authority, such as a prophetic ministry or an apostolic calling that Satan is after. He wants to get them off course so he can usurp their authority and use it against the Body of Christ.
Revelation 2:1-4 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the
midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
The “first love” is not first in number, bur first in quality. The zealous love you experienced when you first became a Christian is not what He is speaking of, but the agape-love, the love of God that He puts in you. They had let that love slip away.
Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place (topos), except thou repent.
Their place was “a certain place.” It was their place of ministry, their sphere of functioning, the topos God had prepared for them. So God is saying, “You have come to the place I have prepared for you, and I have made a covenant with you, but unless you repent I am going to remove your ministry from its place.” Their “place” of ministry would be completely ineffective without the “first love.”
We want to move into the place that God has for us, and once we get there we don’t want it taken away. We want to be faithful to the Lord. Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary also says that topos can figuratively mean “opportunity.” When you come to the spiritual “place” that God has for you, then you have opportunities there you didn’t have before.
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in
2 In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place (topos) for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place (topos) for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
So where is the place the Lord has for you? It is where He is, in His presence. A large portion of Christianity has taken this scripture and thrown it out into the future and up into the literal heavens. It isn’t going to take 2,000 years or more for Him to prepare this place for you. It’s prepared now! You can move into it now! As soon as He became Spirit your topos was prepared and available. As long as He is Jesus the Nazarene, His life is separate from you and your topos is unprepared. But when He becomes Spirit, you can move into Him and He can move into you. That is the place He has for you. That where I am, there ye may be also.
John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father.
When He ascended He was gone; the disciples didn’t see Him. But on the Day of Pentecost when He came back they did see Him. How did they see Him? They saw Him with their spiritual eyes. They came to their topos, the place the Lord had prepared for them. It is the place of a pure heart. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8. The word “see” there means “with wide eyes,” “panoramic vision.” You can’t see the Lord with your natural eyes. But when you come to that “certain place” He has prepared for you, you will see Him. There is a “certain place” where there is panoramic vision in the realm of spirit.
In John 14:3 Jesus says, If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself. The word “come” is in the present tense. In the Greek it is continuous action. He is saying, “I am coming and I will continue to come. I will keep coming.” In the place He has prepared for us, there is a continual flow of His presence to us. But it doesn’t just happen. That “certain place” is prepared, but you have to move in it.
Acts 2:1 And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come…
The Greek reads slightly different: When the Day of Pentecost was being fulfilled. Now there had been many Pentecosts in the past, but none of them fulfilled what the Lord had in mind. There was a certain place that had to be fulfilled. No one had come to that place, so it could not be fulfilled.
It wasn’t that the Day of Pentecost, that particular day on the calendar, had finally got there so it could happen. No, it wasn’t depending upon a day. What it depended on was the disciples coming to the place (topos) God had prepared for them. They were in the upper room praising and worshiping God. They didn’t know what they were waiting for. But all the time they were worshiping the Lord they were coming to a certain place. When they got to that spiritual place, they found the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. The Lord had prepared a certain place and it only remained for them to get to that place, the place where it was happening.
God has a certain place for His Church. When will it happen? It could have already happened if there had been a people to come to that place. As long as we are sitting back, waiting for Jesus to split the air, come back, and do everything for us, it won’t happen. It remains for a people. Will there be a people of faith who will push in to this certain place so the will of God can be accomplished? “Well, no one knows the time of His coming? One day He will come.” Listen, it isn’t depending upon a set date that God has established. It is depending upon a people being hungry enough for God to move in to the place He has prepared for the culmination of the ages. It is a spiritual place, a topos. When Jacob was running for his life, he didn’t realize that he was running for his life, that life place, the place God had prepared. You know, it just might be that God stirred up Esau in order to get Jacob on the move. Maybe we need an Esau to help us into our certain place, too.
Copyright © 1999 by Henry DuBose