Is God With Us… Really?: Part 2

When we think of God, the word, “holy” gets used a lot. It means sacred and set aside. It refers to being different from the rest and set apart. God has always been referred to as holy and the Bible makes it clear that He cannot have fellowship with the unholy. His purity cannot intermingle with impurity. It’s not that He doesn’t want to get His hands dirty. It’s that He’s a purifying force and the holiness of His presence does not allow for anything to remain close to Him that is corrupt. This is the reason that even though God initiated a relationship with mankind, He still had to be apart from us. This is why He set His tent close to the nation’s but not in their personal camps. As much as they worshiped Him and followed His representation, they still could not get close enough to touch Him or feel His literal presence… so now even though they have come to know a God that cares about them for a change… they still are separated from Him…

Throughout the history of Israel, even with all of the times they fell away and worshiped other gods, they still always were identified with Yahweh. While they wandered in the wilderness, they had a mobile Tabernacle structure for His dwelling and worship. Once they had been established in Jerusalem for a few generations, they eventually built a permanent version of this and it’s referred to as the Temple. In the innermost chamber of the Temple was the Most Holy Place and this was where the fiery or glowing presence of God hovered.

Even thought they knew He was with them… they had an experiential understanding that He was separate from them.

He was near them… and the force of His presence could be felt, but it was not a part of them.

As mentioned in the previous article, we know that all of this changed when Jesus came to us in human form. He submitted Himself to our limitations and interlocked His arms with ours. He became one of us. He spent His time here explaining what God created us to be and encouraged us to engage God’s true design.

But… He was executed… crucified… because the religious people didn’t like the threat that He posed to their systems…

BUT… He resurrected… the most incredible event in human history… and further proof that He truly was and is the Messiah.

Buut… He left… A little more than a month after He rose from the grave, He literally left this world. The Bible says He “ascended.” Some say this means He rose up from the earth and kept going up until totally gone. and others say He de-materialized into another dimension. I don’t know… but what it says is that He left as His followers were looking on.

This would have given them another moment of loneliness, I think. They wanted the presence of God just like everyone does… they got it… and now He’s gone again. However, He told them to wait because something else was going to happen. Someone else was coming.

A beautiful reality to all of this also was that His death dealt with the issue of separation between us and a Holy God. Like it or not, the Bible tells us that there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood. It also tells us that the wages of sin is death. When Jesus died in our place, He took the punishment and death we deserved and imparted to us His innocence and holiness…

Yes… He gave us His holiness… and that’s critical for what happened next.

So… all of His followers were gathered together and were spending time praying and encouraging each other… and then an event that none of them saw coming. The Bible describes it as a “mighty rushing wind.” I’m not sure exactly what it sounded like besides that, or how long it lasted, but what happened next changed the entire narrative. It was obviously a supernatural visitation and the Scripture tells us that “tongues of fire” rested on each of the people there. Let me explain this a little… if I can…

In the past, God’s literal presence was observed as a glowing entity of some kind. It was described as a flame… from the burning bush (that didn’t burn) to the hovering glow in the Most Holy Place. But it was always separate from them. It was never in or on them. Now, after Jesus came, died, rose again, ascended, and promised another immediate visitation, this manifestation enters in… but it doesn’t come in and hover in the middle of the room. Instead it overs over them… because… due to Jesus’ payment for our sin… we have returned to our rightful place as a suitable “Most Holy Place” for the presence of God. The Holy Spirit can now come and abide within and on us… nothing separates us… even though we can be the biggest screw ups in history. The price has been paid. We are now the dwellings of the Most High, Most Holy, absolutely infinite and eternal, Almighty God. WE ARE HIS TEMPLE. We don’t need a building or a structure. We don’t need to try to figure out how to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. We are a global Temple. His Temple has once again become mobile and by this, He is REALLY with us. He’s not just alongside. He’s intertwined in our souls. 

 

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