This series is written by a guest blogger. When I am finished posting it as a series I will post a link to a pdf that you can download and distribute with the author’s permission.
God’s presence was with His people continually throughout their sojourn in the wilderness. Nehemiah 9:19 “Yet thou in they manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.”
When Moses completed the wilderness tabernacle God moved His presence thee, where he remained in a visible form throughout all their travels. Exodus 40:33-38 “And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. v. 34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. v. 35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. v. 36 “And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: v.37 But if the cloud wee not taken up, then they journey not till the day that it was taken up. v. 38 For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”
When Solomon finished building the new temple in Jerusalem God moved His presence there. 1 Kings 8:10-11 “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, v. 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.”
Several ancient writers, including Eusebius and Josephus refer to the Shekinah leaving the Jewish temple in the years 66-70 A.D. during the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and moving to the Mount of Olives where it resided for 3 1/2 years before eventually disappearing.
We again see the light marking God’s presence reappearing over the stable in Bethlehem. Matthew 2:9 “When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, til it came and stood over where the young child was.” God marked the coming of His Son with signs and wonders so that those who were awaiting His coming would recognize the event.
Jesus was filled with the presence of His Father God from birth and in this way was a restoration of the relationship God had with Adam in the garden. Adam was able to personally communicate with God before he sinned. Sin ruined this relationship. God restored it in Jesus who is called the second Adam, and Jesus overcame sin in order to restore the relationship with God for us. This would not have been possible if Christ had not had the same flesh as Adam.
God Incarnate! The melding of human flesh with the divine nature! The great and beautiful work that Christ accomplished for us is that through his victory he opened the way for us to also be restored to this relationship with God! God has clearly marked the new temple, our fleshly bodies, as the place of His dwelling in the Dispensation of Grace.
it has often been said among the Holdeman people that “Our church has the Candlestick of God. It is the only church in the world that does. When John Holdeman left the old church he took the candlestick with him.’ We must in a spirit of candor where the scriptural basis is for this idea?
To be sure, the scriptures speak of a candlestick and candlesticks, which were part of worship in the Old Testament temple. The seven candlesticks used in the Jewish temple were a symbol of the presence of God. Revelation speaks of seven golden candlesticks and in chapter 2 verses 1-5 tells the Angel of the church of Ephesus that unless he repents the candlestick will be removed out of its place. We note that this candlestick is one of seven and the warning is to the angel of the church. No where do we find that there is one candlestick of God that represents the blessing, favor, or dwelling of God upon one grop or church in the New Testament. We do, however find that God clearly indicated His place of dwelling with light and fire in the new dispensation.
Acts 2:1-4 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. v. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. v.4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Our bodies are God’s temple as we read in 1 Corinthians 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” The church, the kingdom, the temple, the bride and body of Christ are now to be found within us, as stated in Luke 17:21 “Neither shall they say, Lo, here! or lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
To be sure, there is a collective aspect to the church as we see in Acts 2:1-4. The Holy Spirit came upon them as they were together in one accord, in one place, but the light or marker was not given as one light above the whole group as previously done in the old dispensation. It was given to EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY. This is very significant! The kingdom church and temple of God cannot be found in a nation or group. It is given individually and is so marked and described by scripture. The collective experience of fellowship is accomplished by those upon whom this mark has fallen, those who have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit. And we have this promise in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in he midst of them.” Our collective experience does not need an entire organized conference with boundaries drawn to fulfill God’s plan. We do, however, need each other and are instructed not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. In Matthew 18:18-19 we read “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” This brings the corporate experience, together with the accompanied blessing, down to as few as two individuals agreeing together to ask direction from God.