My friend, brother, and worship pastor - Kerry Crespo - brought a great teaching to the choir during practice last night and his delivery style was spot-on also. The message struck such a chord (choir pun intended) with me that I needed to journal, blog, write, share again with possibly those that are not in our wonderful choir. So, be encouraged, be challenged, and be blessed.
In short, as the Tabernacle of Moses housed the presence of God in the Old Covenant, so does the Christian body house the presence of God in the New Covenant. There are a lot more details to enrich that statement, but to ponder on this thought ends up being a great privilege and a great responsibility.
In the Old Covenant, God set aside a certain man (the High Priest) from a certain tribe (the Levites) from a certain nation (Hebrew people, later Israel) to hold the awesome responsibility of representing the people in God's presence. God manifested His presence above the Ark of the Covenant in a private, secluded, curtained-off room called the "Holy of Holies". It was here that the High Priest received instruction concerning the well-being of the entire nation from God. It was also here that the High Priest brought the sacrifice for the mistakes or sins of the people once a year.
Throughout the years, these High Priests were the Mediators for the people. They were also the Ambassadors for their God to the rest of the world. However, God had an awesome self-advertising scheme as He led the Hebrew people in the daytime by a Pillar of Cloud and in the nighttime by a Pillar of Fire. Whenever God desired His people to move - He told them, led them, and protected them. We no of no other god (little "g") that met with it's followers like this or displayed itself in the might and power like Yahweh or Jehovah-God.
Today in the New Covenant, Christians do not have a Pillar of Cloud by day and/or a Pillar of Fire by night that leads, guides, and directs them - they have the promised Holy Spirit within them to move with and by. Before Christ, God manifested Himself in many forms. God displayed Himself in a burning bush, as "The Angel of the Lord", the middle or third man to Abraham and Sarah, and the fourth man in the furnace (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego). Then the Word of God came and was with us as the Son of Man, Jesus. His perfect life and perfect sacrifice and resurrection fulfilled, for any who believe in His gift, all the original requirements set up in the Old Covenant meant to show humanity our imperfection, fallen relationship with God, and need for a Savior. His provision of salvation was once and for all - "whosoever will believe will not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16)!
Jesus now sits at Father God's right hand, but has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within Believers as the Comforter, the one who leads us into all truth, and the one who convinces us of our righteousness in Christ. The Holy Spirit is our resource on a very personal and daily basis that Christians can rely upon for guidance and direction. Forgiveness has been taken care of by Jesus, the Bible is our life's manual, the Holy Spirit is God's presence in us instructing us. He always brings to mind The Word of God or points back to Jesus in one way or another.
With this in mind it is important to recognize that Believers need to be sensitive to being carriers of God's presence - the Holy Spirit. We are now the priests on earth with our High Priest, Jesus, in heaven sitting on the throne having paid for all of our sins. We are now the Ambassadors of Christ, taking that great news that Jesus was not murdered, but loved us so much that He laid His own life down and picked His own life up again SO THAT "whosoever" believes in Him will have a redeemed relationship with Him and dwell with Him for eternity! It is an awesome message entrusted to Christians everywhere, especially with current world and national conditions. But with the same power that raised Christ from the dead dwelling within each Believer we can meet this TALL ORDER!