We can see in archaeological and written evidence of the past, and present conditions in many countries today, the deity’s presence is and was made visible by an image or icon in their temple. Often, those who made such idols claimed that the god whose image was being displayed, approved of the process, even inspiring it. In these temples, rituals were performed as a way of bringing this god’s being from the spiritual world into the physical world of the worshiper so they could feel the presence of the deity. As chants were being made, the deity’s spirit would enter the image in the temple so as to function as a medium through which the worshipers’ wishes could be granted and also to receive the offerings, praise, prayers, and worship offered them.

Once this happened, it was the worshipers’ belief that the spirit of the deity would remain there in the temple so whenever they came, the deity would be there to hear and bless them. When Jesus met the woman by the well in Samaria, she mentioned to Him that they had their images up in the mountains through which to contact God, while the Jews had theirs in the Temple in Jerusalem. So, which one is right? she asked. Jesus basically told her that God was making a new covenant with His worshipers so that in the future there would be no need for temples or images, but that to worship Him the right way it must be done in spirit since He is a Spirit.

Therefore, instead of chants and rituals being performed to bring God down to their level so they could feel His presence, He would lift them up to His level so they could bask in His presence. No wonder after a wonderful service where the presence of God was so real and palpable, people are often heard to say, “It feels like heaven in here!” So, the question is, are we to feel the presence of the Lord in our midst after we see a miracle or a sinner giving their life to Him, or after a great song is sung? Or is the fact that we feel God’s presence that lets us know He is there? It can be both ways. But here’s the secret, unless the Spirit of the Lord dwells within our heart and soul, it will only look and sound like a great thing to see or hear. As Paul told the Corinthians, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom[1] to worship in spirit and in truth. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] 2 Corinthians 3:17

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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