THIS SERIES: JOURNEY INTO REST
In the Garden of Eden, Adam & Eve had known a profound relationship with the Lord. However, when they rebelled and were cast out of the garden they forfeited that intimacy. Separated from God, the history of humankind shows the continued and futile attempt to ‘climb’ back up to Him, (the story of religion). Some were given the favour of brief encounters, where the curtain of Heaven was drawn back for a moment; and a few like Enoch & Abraham were blessed with the privilege of walking with the Lord over a lifetime. These were the prophets of a future time when once again there would be everyday access to the Presence.
The Tabernacle was metaphorically and literally at the centre of the Israelite camp during their wanderings in the desert. And in the Tabernacle was the Ark of the Covenant on which the Presence of God rested. The Israelites were known, uniquely among the nations of their day, as the people who carried the presence of their god with them. The Hebrew god was not bound to territories and specific areas of jurisdiction; their God was all-encompassing, the Lord Over All.
The Old Testament, as wonderful as it is, is merely a shadow of the New. We have the privilege of living in a greater reality, being heirs of a superior covenant.
The birth of Jesus brought the presence of God manifestly into men’s affairs. John’s gospel says that He came and dwelt among us, literally ‘tabernacled’ among us [John 1]. And not behind closed doors either. The Presence wasn’t for the privileged few. All who had hungry hearts, whatever their past or present circumstances; whatever their financial or social status; whatever their emotional, spiritual or physical health – all had access. And when Jesus died, the temple curtain separating the Holy of Holies (the place where the Presence rested), from the common people was torn in two.
When Jesus ascended to Heaven He did not leave the disciples – or us- bereft; nor did He leave a poor substitute (or even a book – that came much later).
to help you and be with you for ever – the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Before long, the world will not see Me any more, but you will see Me.
Because I live, you also will live.
On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.
[John 14: 17-20]
The Presence of God is no longer hidden. The Presence is in us, and we are in the Presence.
Pentecost ushered in the age of the Spirit, the age of the Presence. And as we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost this weekend, let’s make it personal; for true Biblical rest lies in receiving the Provision of God, the Power of God and the Presence of God – and all come with the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
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