Ikuro Teshima

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshipped, each at the entrance to his tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.

Exodus 33:7-11

One of the fundamental reasons for the corruption of religions is the human obsession with the outward glorification of religious sects; his insistence to build gigantic temples and shrines, cathedrals and churches and his adherence to maintain them.

On the other hand, Jesus Christ had no intention to build an institutionalized church nor to establish a new religion of his own. Rather, he emphasized the direct communion with God in the Holy Spirit: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.” He even cleansed the Temple Mount of Jerusalem by driving out the merchants who were making a profit from religion. This act of Jesus was triggered by his fury against the fossilized and ritualistic worship of the temple religion. He wished the revival of the spiritual faith of the Prophets of Israel.

A true spiritual devotion is not to worship God outwardly or to pay homage to a church, but to have God dwell within our innermost heart as a holy sanctuary. The Apostle Paul also said, “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. Therefore, honor God with your body.”

The Creator and Master of the whole universe cannot be confined in a tiny man-made house. Both the Old and the New Testaments are threaded by this spirit of the Non-church, Makuya-type worship. The word “Makuya” is the Japanese translation of several Biblical words, meaning “tabernacle” or “tent”: it is equivalent to the Old Testament Hebrew “ohel” (tent), “mishkan” (tabernacle) and “sukkah” (booth), and to the New Testament Greek “σκηνη skene” (tabernacle).

In ancient times the sons of Israel wandered in the wilderness of Sinai, pitching tent from one place to another, according to the guidance of the Spirit of God. Wherever the Makuya moved, God also moved along with men. And in the camp there was the “tabernacle of meeting” (ohel mo’eid) where God’s Spirit came to preside and instructed the people of Israel.

Thus, the Makuya is the dwelling place of God, inside of which is filled with shechinah, the glory of God. It is the meeting place between God and man.

The Makuya is not a permanent building but a movable tent, folding and unfolding freely: it signifies the non-institutional character of God’s ecclesia (a community of the summoned people). Within the Makuya meetings the whole ecclesia exultantly praises God of Christ, fervently witnesses His love and power, and diligently studies His Word.

This is the reason why we Makuya do not possess church buildings nor form a rigid religious organization but to carry out the tradition of the simple life of faith, revealed in Makuya throughout the Bible from the Exodus to the end of the Book of Revelation.

Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death or mourning or crying or pain; the first things have passed away.

Revelation 21:3-4