There were a number of unusual events surrounding the death of Jesus Christ. There was darkness over the land for three hours. This must have generated great fear and wonderment. The veil of the temple was torn in two. This curtain was approximately 42 feet high and 15 feet wide. What did the priests think who entered the temple or who were in the temple when this took place? They would have been able to see into the Holy of Holies—a place that only the High Priest was allowed to enter once a year! The earth quaked and rocks were split open. Many graves had been opened and many bodies were raised after Christ’s resurrection. Can you imagine having a parent, child or relative who had been dead for months come walking back into your house? The shock you would experience with everyone else who knew that person. These events did not happen in a corner. They were precursors to the signs and wonders that occurred on the day of Pentecost.
The religious leaders were so concerned that the disciples of Christ would come and steal His body that they requested the tomb be guarded. A great earthquake occurred, and an angel rolled back the stone. The guards saw the angel whose appearance was like lightning, and they feared and shook. They reported these events to the religious leaders who were aware that something supernatural had occurred. The religious leaders willingly rejected the testimony of the guards. All of these events were capped off by additional signs and wonders on Pentecost. The Old Testament Church started with many signs and wonders, and so did the New Testament Church. God drew attention by the type of signs performed to a transition that was taking place. God was going to reform the way that man worshipped God by personalizing the approach.
As recorded in the Old Testament, when God chose Israel, He gave them the Levitical priesthood. God established a tabernacle and then a temple at which His people would worship Him. God states the reason for this from God’s perspective in Exodus 25:8-9 Exodus 25:8-9 8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall you make it.
American King James Version×: He wanted to dwell among them. Only the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies, where God’s throne was, once a year on the Day of Atonement. The Israelites did not have direct access to the tabernacle or temple—it was only through a physical priesthood that they could approach God in their worship. The way into the Holiest of All was not yet manifested (Hebrews 9:1-10 Hebrews 9:1-10 1 Then truly the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the show bread; which is called the sanctuary. 3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 And over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. 6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
American King James Version×).
When Jesus Christ came to the earth He dwelt among us humans (John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
American King James Version×). The Greek word for “dwelt,” skenoo , means He “tabernacled” or “tented” among us. God literally dwelt among men in the flesh. Notice what God did once the New Testament Church started—He established the Church as the Spiritual Temple today (Ephesians 2:19-22 Ephesians 2:19-22 19 Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together grows to an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
American King James Version×). God dwells in us, and our High Priest Jesus Christ dwells in us. Jesus has made it possible for us to have direct access to God. How was this accomplished? By the blood of Jesus Christ: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20 Hebrews 10:19-20 19 Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
American King James Version×, emphasis added).
Jesus said that “no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
American King James Version×). Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to come before God—to approach Him. We can boldly come to the Father in great confidence that He listens to our prayers and intervenes on our behalf (Ephesians 3:12-13 Ephesians 3:12-13 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 13 Why I desire that you faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
American King James Version×). Jesus Christ is our High Priest. He appears in the presence of the Father for us. He intervenes on our behalf (Hebrews 9:24 Hebrews 9:24For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
American King James Version×and 4:14-16). He pleads our case for us.
Stop and think about it: We are able to talk directly to the most important Being in the universe, God the Father. Through Christ Jesus, we have access to the Father. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in Mathew 6:9 and to end our prayers by saying it all in the name of Jesus Christ. Asking in His name implies that we ask by His authority. We can have God’s attention—He cares for us and we are His family; His sons and daughters. We have direct contact with the most loving, giving, serving, merciful and grace-filled Being there is (Ephesians 2:18 Ephesians 2:18For through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
American King James Version×).
Our Father knows us personally and we can have an intimate relationship with Him. Too often we fall short in keeping that access with God as vibrant and dynamic as it can be. Remember all that God has done to make it possible for you and me to have a special connection with Him. Our prayers should not become a ritual, but a literal conversation with our loving Father. When you pray, never forget the privilege you have to carry on a conversation with God Himself—your Father.
There is coming a time when our Father will dwell with His family and we will have all eternity to get to know Him and for God to know us (Revelation 21:1-3 Revelation 21:1-3 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
American King James Version×). Cultivate that relationship daily through your prayers and awareness of God in your life. That relationship will have eternity to deepen and grow in the future Kingdom of God.