The Manifest Presence of God
A W Tozer once said,
“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”
The Manifest Presence is difference to the omnipresence nature of God. God is always, everywhere at all times, at the same time. This is one of the aspects of His God-ness. However, He does not make His Presence felt or people miss seeing or experiencing Him.
Israel lived in response to the Manifest Presence. In the earliest days of their history they followed the “Cloud” by day and the “Fire” by night. When God’s Manifest Presence stopped they stopped. When it moved, they moved. In the Promised Land, it was the Manifest Presence of God hovering above the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant, in the Holy of Holies, in the Temple of God, that was the locus of their attention. The focus on the Torah was so elevated in their community because it instructed them how to relate to God in such a way that the Presence of God was sustained in their midst.
God’s judgement of Israel’s disobedience came with the removal of His Presence from the Temple. It had devastating consequences. Israel looked for the day when the Presence of God would return. It would be marked by a preceding event, the Forgiveness of Sins. When the Holy Spirit retuned to Jerusalem as described in Acts 2, God’s Spirit touched down in His new permanent temple, The Church of Jesus Christ. In His new mobile temple, God was able to reside in a way that He always intended.
The Manifest Presence of God is equivalent to the Kingdom. Romans 14:16 says, “For the kingdom of God is … in the Holy Spirit.” Where the Spirit is the Kingdom is. When the Spirit presences Himself, the Kingdom shows up. Over history God’s believers that learnt how to interact with God in such a way that they created environments which ushered in Holy Spirit discovered that spontaneous Kingdom breakthrough would happen.
Kathryn Kuhlman, a pioneer of healing in the last century, learnt how to usher in the Manifest Presence in her meeting. As the environments she ministered in would reach the saturation point, spontaneous healing would break out.
Jesus invites us to cultivate a life full of the Spirit. It was the secret to His ministry success. Luke (4:1) tells us that at His Baptism he was “full of the Holy Spirit.” The word for full here means oozed. Jesus was so full that He oozed the Holy Spirit.