God's Promised Presence
--by Miguel Gómez Domenech © 2006-17

In Old Testament times, anyone of the Israelites
inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of
meeting outside the camp (Ex.33:7), where the
glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. The
cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day,
and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight
of all the house of Israel during all their
travels (Ex.40:34-38).

Later on, God gave instructions to David related to his son Salomon about building the temple. From then on, the temple would be the place where God would show His glory (2Cr.5:13-14). Priests would be mediators between God and people; and, in order to sanctify the people when drawing near to God, the sacrifice system was still necessary because of the sins of the Israelites.

When Jesus, God incarnated, got into the temple He filled it with His glory, but the Jewish people of His time were not able to see Him: "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him" (Jn.1:11). Not only didn't they receive him, but also, as the apostle Peter said when delivering the Pentecost message to the Israelites: "They with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross" (Acts 2:23). "But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him" (Acts 2:24). In the first evangelistic sermon of Peter, the apostle quoted Old Testament messianic prophecies to give evidence that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 2:25-36).

With Jesus' death and resurrection, Christ become the perfect high priest who has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself (Heb.7:24-27; 9:26), leaving a new and living way opened for us to enter the Most Holy Place through the curtain, that is, his body (Heb.10:19-20).

That would be the fulfilment of the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman: "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks" (John 4:23). With the resurrection of Jesus, God the Father raised the most holy temple, Jesus (John 2:19), and Jesus become the one and only mediator between God and men (1Tim. 2:5)

At the last supper, Jesus knowing that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father, He announced His disciples the coming of another Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, to be with them forever (John 14:16).

Before Jesus was taken up to heaven, He gave the great commission to His disciples:

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)

This commission is to evangelize and to build the church. But Jesus himself will be with them in the person of the Holy Spirit leading the work; that is why Christ told them:

"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about." (Acts 1:4)

The Holy Spirit will lead them.

When evangelizing:

--Convicting the world of guilt in regards to sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8).
--Testifying about Jesus (John 15:26).
--Producing new birth, making the miracle of removing from people their heart of stone and giving them a heart of flesh (John 3:6; Ez. 36:26).
--Imparting the love of God (Ro.5:5)

When edifying the church:

--Imparting the love of God (Ro.5:5).
--Dwelling with and in saints for ever (John 14:16-17).
--Communicating joy to saints (Ro.14:17; Gal.5:22; 1 Thes.1:6).
--Imparting hope (Ro.15:23; Gal.5:5).
--Directing in the way of godliness (Ez.36:27).
--Revealing the things of Christ (John 16:14).
--Guiding into all truth (John 16:13)
--Teaching the believers (John 14:26; 1 Co.2:10-14).
--Testifying about Jesus (John 15:26).
--Being known by the saints (John 14:17).
--Imparting spiritual gifs for building up the church (1 Co. 12:11; 14:12).
--Edifying the church (Acts 9:31).

When the church is planning evangelistic events, we should take into account the example of Pentecost: "Every one of the presents could hear the apostles declaring the wonders of God in his or her own native tongue." (Acts 2:8,11). We should learn to communicate the Gospel in such a way that can be understood by the hearers; likewise, studying not only the language but also the culture and customs, adapting our discourse to them, without contaminating the gospel and ourselves.

On this Pentecost Sunday, let us remember the words of Jesus when He said:

"When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning." (John 15:26-27)

We have received the Holy Spirit when we believed, because the promise is for all whom God calls, and we are witness of His glory in our lives. That is why we must testify too, because we have been with Him and we are with Him.

There is neither tabernacle nor Jerusalem temple any more. God lives in us by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Mat.18:20). God is with us every time we meet in his name; He has promised it!

Do we come to the church expecting to meet Him every Sunday?

The apostle Peter, who delivered the first evangelistic message in the church history, gave to the persecuted church words that are for us too:

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)

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Updated November 2nd., 2017