Where Does God Dwell?


All Orthodox Christians understand God to be everywhere present. His being is outside of time and space:

Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:24

See also…

  • Psalm 139:7-10
  • Amos 9:2-3

Introduction

And yet, there is a special sense in Scripture in which God’s presence is specially manifested to his people. During the time of his innocence, for example, God walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden. God was present with Israel in the Tabernacle during the wilderness wandering. God was present with his people bodily in the person of Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. God indwells believers, in this age, with the Holy Spirit. At the return of Christ, a New Universe will be created. The focal point will be a temple city in which Christ will once again bodily dwell amongst His people. In all of these, God continues to be omnipresent, but yet the focus of His being is presented to us in Scripture as occupying some particular time and place.

The study of the presence of God amongst His people is a very interesting Biblical Theological study. It illustrates the relationship of man to God during the several epochs of Biblical history. It shows us how men were instructed to view God during the various phases of redemptive history. The following chart briefly summarizes my study in the area.

Where Does God Dwell?

Dispensation

Where God Dwells

Notes

Creation Heaven & Earth God dwells in Heaven, but visits Adam in the garden. This period of close intimacy ends with the fall of Adam
Fall Heaven God dwells in Heaven. He is approached by animal sacrifice. He visits his prophets in dreams and visions and in theophanies.
Exodus Tabernacle God dwells among his people during wilderness wandering and in the promised land (before King David) at Shiloh. He is approached through sacrifice. He is only closely approached by priests.
Solomon The Temple The ark of the covenant is moved to Jerusalem by King David. God’s glory dwells in the Holy of Holies, but is withdrawn during rebellion and idolotry.
Time of Christ Christ God’s Spirit indwells the Son.  God’s presence in manifested in the person of Christ.
After Pentecost The Church Through the sacrifice of Christ, God’d glory is no longer hidden behind a vail. Christ’s sacrifice and priesthood brings an end to the Aaronic priesthood and sacrificial system. Each believer is a priest before God and is dwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Return of Christ The New Jerusalem Christ dwells forever in the midst of His people in the new Earth.

 

Further Information

For further information, see my post on the Church as the New Covenant Temple of God.

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