December 26, 2011

"He Tabernacled Among Us..." : Part II

So we jumped ahead to Pentecost. Pentecost can be seen as the birthday of the Church and the initiation of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in power and authority in the believer as individual and corporately. Let me be very clear, the Holy Spirit was not created or had began His existence here but it was Pentecost that the Holy Spirit procured a “Body”. The Church...what was Jesus’ in terms of possession is also the Father’s and the Holy Spirit’s.

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” ~1 Corinthians 12:12-14

At Christmas we talk about and celebrate Jesus’ birthday as being 2000+ years ago. As Christians we in no way suggest Jesus existed before then. It is between 6-4 B.C. that Jesus takes on the attribute of humanity. Flesh.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

“…made His dwelling among us”…dwelling / ἐσκήνωσεν…He tabernacled among us.

In the Old Testament Jesus came as a theophany or the appearance of a human but these were often short-lived transient manifestations. We celebrate the coming of the physical/flesh attribute of Jesus on Christmas. We celebrate His departure of when he was crucified, buried and resurrected on Easter. He was resurrected in a permanent glorified body. In similar manner the Holy Spirit came and departed before Pentecost. It is at Pentecost that the Spirit comes to reside/indwell permanently in man. Subsequently, a collection of these individual indwelt believers constitutes the Body of Christ-The Church.

So what we see on Pentecost is that fact that Jesus through the Holy Spirit allowed a new tabernacle for the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had tabernacle physically/bodily among believers. Regardless, Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem on that ancient first Christmas initiated a new reality in that God would forever dwell among His believers from that point forward…either bodily or through the Holy Spirit. He would be Immanu’el/עִמָּנוּאֵל or God with us.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

The words "we were all baptized" in Greek are written in an aorist tense. Aorist is something that has happened in the past and is done and complete in the past as opposed to being done over and over, again and again. A literal translation would say, “In one Spirit, we were once and for all baptized by Jesus Christ into one Body".

On the day of Pentecost, as a gift from Jesus, the Holy Spirit came down to form His Church and to dwell in it. At the time of the Church inception there were only a few hundred members that constituted Christ’s body. This pretty much amounted to an infant body in terms of size that the Church would grow through the ages. A small weak newborn church that would need to be strengthened, grow and mature over time. God knew that the church would start in an embryonic and infantile state and He also foreknew and saw all of the spiritual Body consisting of all the members who would still be added in the centuries to come…including us…including you. We were all baptized in the past in a “once and for all” completed action into the Body of Christ.

So…when we repent and believe in the work of Christ and are saved by the work of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is not poured out upon us like it was at Pentecost but rather a believer is instantly brought into the already Spirit-baptized Body of Christ. God adds more muscle and size to the body to make it more robust and full of life.

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