With Pentecost coming up this week, have you ever asked yourself where the Holy Spirit dwelt before he showed up in that room full of Jesus‘ disciples 2,000 years ago, that began the Church age? Heaven is the most obvious answer. But the truth is God is all around us. God is omnipresent, that means he is everywhere present. Paul speaking in Acts says this of God;
“God intended that they would seek him and perhaps find them, though he is not far from each of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:27, 28a
From the time the Tabernacle was consecrated, in the desert, God’s presence (his Holy Spirit) lived or dwelt in the Holy of Holies. Obviously, he wasn't stuck in one place. We read elsewhere in Scripture that throughout biblical history "God's Spirit" came upon others to prophesy or do other great things. But it was understood by Israel that in a very unique way God's Spirit was powerfully present in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Then when Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, he was obviously present in Jesus, and during Jesus life, but we also assume the Holy Spirit continued to dwell in the temple. Apparently, it was his primary residence on earth. But that didn’t mean he was stuck in the temple until Pentecost. He showed up at Jesus’ baptism by John. The point is, God cannot be put in a box, or held in one place in a moment in time. He‘s God!
However, the Bible appears to indicate a major “address change” happened at the moment of Jesus death. Three of the gospel writers report this event upon Christ's death on the cross; “And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Matthew 27:51
This veil was the curtain that separated the outer sanctuary from the Holy of Holies In the Temple. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only once each year to ask God’s forgiveness on behalf of all Jewish believers. Until that day it was a continual reminder that sinners were separated from God’s holy presence.
But at the death of Christ God demonstrated to the world that the old covenant had ended, and the Holy Spirit, the presence of God in the temple, left – for 50 days. When he returned at Pentecost, from that time to the present, the Holy Spirit no longer lived in a building, or an institution. I still cringe a little when I hear older Christians call their church, God’s House. The tabernacle and the Temple were God’s House. But no longer. His primary address now is in us- all true believers. We no longer need a High Priest, or a pastor to represent us before God because we are priests. We are God’s "houses"!
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
So, the Holy Spirit has left the building and he continues to leave the building every time you and I leave our home, leave our shop, school or office. Wherever we go, he goes.
Today, he’s here at my home in Ada, because I live there and tomorrow he’ll be wherever I am or you are. And you and I have a choice every day, to be a holy priest or a poor one. But because of Christ’s death and resurrection and the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, praise God, at least now, we have that choice. So, today, who in your life needs your Holy Spirit anointed priestly influence, encouragement and forgiveness?