Pre-Pentecost Presence of God

Daily Reading: 2 Chronicles 6, 7; Acts 4:23-37

Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. (2 Chronicles 7:1, NASB95)

The spectacular events at the dedication of the temple looked back to what had gone before and also to what was yet to come.

  • It’s similar to the completion of the tabernacle (Exod. 40:34-35): “The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting…”
  • With the ordination of Aaron and his sons, “fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offerings… when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces” (Lev. 9:23-24).
  • God “answered [David] with fire from heaven” when he offered the sacrifice on Araunah’s threshing floor, the future temple site (1 Chron. 21:26).
  • When God answered Elijah on Mount Carmel, “the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering” (1 Kgs. 18:38).
  • This event looks immediately back to 2 Chron. 5:12-14, which has the glory filling the house, the priests not being able to enter, and the praise of the Levites, but in reverse order.

In the OT, this was the usual pattern, God’s fire consumes the sacrifice, God’s presence fills his temple, His people are not able to enter, and the people worship God. This was as wonderful an experience as the OT saints could expect. In the NT, with the sacrifice of Jesus, there’s a whole new paradigm. Acts 2:1-4 lays out similar events, but with profound contrasts.

  • God’s presence is very clearly evidenced by the noise of the mighty rushing wind and tongues as of fire, but the people are able to be in God’s presence, with the fire appearing above their heads.
  • God’s glory, His Holy Spirit, does not fill a physical temple, but fills His people (see 1 Cor. 6:19-20).
  • The people give worship, but in other tongues that are understandable to those on the outside (Acts 2:11).

Because of the work and exaltation of Jesus Christ, God’s people are able to dwell in His presence without fear (Rom. 8:1; Heb. 4:16). They are now known as a light to the nations by the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. Have you experienced the intimacy of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence? As His temple and light to the nations, do you experience His power working through you (Acts 1:8)?

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