God's Eternal Presence
James L. Reynolds

(Psalms 90:2) "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God."

    We would like to take a few minutes this morning and speak to you on the subject of ‘God’s Eternal Presence’. To arrive at the valid conclusion that God has an eternal presence we will be looking at His eternity, His presence and His omnipresence.
    The first point which we wish to submit for your consideration is that:
    1.) God is eternal.
    We sometimes, I believe, use words in some contexts that perhaps we have not completely thought out the meaning of prior to our usage of them. There are of course sometimes more than one meaning for a word and in those instances it behooves us to make sure that we are using the correct meaning to denote the thoughts which we are attempting to convey.
    We sometimes use the words ‘eternal’ and ‘everlasting’ interchangeably and in the strictest sense they are not so when applied to humans, angels or any other created being.
    In the 1933 edition of the Funk & Wagnalls dictionary the first and primary meaning given for the word ‘eternal’ is, “Having neither beginning nor end of existence; infinite in duration”. It is uncontrovertible  that this word can only be correctly applied to God.
    We sometimes refer to mankind as possessing an ‘eternal’ soul and in the strictest sense we are in error when we do so. We believe that the Bible teaches that upon conception a mortal receives a soul, a soul which is everlasting, but that soul is not eternal. The word ‘everlasting’ is far more appropriate when used in relationship to mankind’s soul and conveys our belief that the souls of mankind “have no end”, that is they will never perish once they are created by God.
    There are instances in the King James Version of the Bible where the translators used the word ‘everlasting’ in reference to God. We need to bear in mind that when used in reference to God, and God alone, the words ‘eternal’ and ‘everlasting’ are interchangeable. But they are not interchangeable when referencing mankind’s soul.
    I made the preceding comments in order to substantiate the statement that ONLY God, in the three persons of the Holy Trinity, is eternal. Only God has no beginning of existence, nor will He ever have a termination of existence.
    Let us now proceed to look at some portions of the divine narrative which declare that God is eternal.
(Genesis 21:33)  "And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God."
    Abraham, certainly by divine enablement, had been caused to see that the God who had called him and who had promised to make a great nation of him was the everlasting or eternal God.
    Throughout the ages God’s people have always been shown that their Saviour is the everlasting or eternal God. We find a companion passage to Genesis 21:33 declaring the same blessed truth in the New Testament.
(Romans 16:26)  "But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:"
    We also have the sure and positive declaration of God’s eternity given unto us by the sovereign and omnipotent God Himself.
(Deuteronomy 32:40)  "For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever."
    By divine inspiration the Psalmist was given a glimpse of God’s person and was then caused to triumphantly and joyously declare the eternality of God.
(Psalms 93:2)  "Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting."
    In the King James translation the expression “everlasting God” is used three times. We have just read two of those and the third is found in the book of Isaiah.
(Isaiah 40:28)  "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding."
    There is also one instance in the King James Version where God is referred to as the ‘everlasting Father’. I am confident that the passage is familiar unto all of us.
(Isaiah 9:6)  "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
    There is also one instance in the King James Version where God is referred to as the ‘eternal God’.
(Deuteronomy 33:27)  "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them."
    “God is not in time. It is more correct to say that time is in God. Although there is a logical succession to God’s thoughts, there is no chronological succession.” (A. H. Strong)
    Having shown by the divine record that God is the eternal being (that is THE ONLY eternal being) we now submit for your consideration that:
    2.) God has a presence.
    Presence is defined by Funk & Wagnalls as, “The state or fact of being present; proximity: opposed to absence.” Such a thought as God having a presence should not be difficult to grasp or comprehend for anyone who believes that God is. We readily acknowledge that even frail creatures such as ourselves have a presence.
    There is the story of the man who was found in a place that he should not have been. When asked, “What are you doing here?” he is said to have replied, “Everybody’s got to be somewhere.” We know from our own personal experience that his response is indeed a valid one. From the time of our birth until the time of our death our bodies have ‘got to be somewhere’. Then at death our ‘everlasting’ souls also have ‘got to be somewhere’.
    So it is that our statement that God has a presence should not be difficult to agree with. But we declare unto you that God has much more, infinitely more than just a presence. God has ‘omnipresence’. The Latin word ‘omnis’ means all. The English language uses this Latin word as a combining form with other English words to express that ‘ALL’ characteristic. When we say that God has omnipresence we are saying that God possesses ‘The state or fact of being present’ and ‘all’. That is that God is present in all places at all times and has been so before there was time. God is present at the same moment throughout His creation.
    I fear that sometimes God’s people, through ignorance of God’s Word, assign to satan much more power than his Creator gave him. Though satan is undoubtedly a very powerful creature he is not omnipresent. He can not be in multiple places simultaneously. Perhaps God’s people sometimes want to excuse their own depraved and weak flesh by assigning their sinful actions to satan’s influence when in fact he is nowhere near them.
    The most splendid angelic creation may be able to go from one place to another at a speed which we can not begin to comprehend. But that angel, or any other created being, can only be in one place at any given time. And, because that angel was created there was a ‘time’ when it was not. There was a ‘time’ when there were no creatures, angelic or otherwise.
    However, such is not the case with our omnipotent (that is, all powerful) God. He has always been every place that ever was a place and will always be in every place that ever will be.
    If there ever was a time when there wasn’t time and a place where there wasn’t a place, God was there! “God is present in His world in a very unique manner. He is never separated from any part of His creation. As spirit, God has the perfect capability of being present everywhere in the world at once.” (Holman’s Bible Dictionary)
    Let us now look to a few Scripture references which declare not only the presence of God but His glorious omnipresence.
(1 Kings 8:27)  "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?"
    Solomon, the wisest man who has ever lived, reflecting upon God’s glorious attribute of omnipresence pronounced that even the universe in its’ totality can not contain God. Therefore how much less could a structure built by mortal hands contain Him.
    There is a wonderful and awe inspiring thought for us contained in Solomon’s declaration. Though God is present in the universe of His creation He is not contained in it. But the universe and all of creation are contained in God.
    Stephen in his recorded sermon found in Acts 7 refers to Solomon’s thoughts on God’s omnipresence.
(Acts 7:47-50)  "But Solomon built him an house. {48} Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, {49} Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? {50} Hath not my hand made all these things?"
    There are times in the Scriptures when God asks a question of His people. Those questions are not asked because of any ignorance on God’s part. But they are asked so that the one’s to whom they were asked and also those who will later read those questions may reflect upon those questions. Many times when God asks these questions they are answered in the very asking of them. Such is the case with the question which God posed to the people of Israel through His prophet Jeremiah.
(Jeremiah 23:23-24)  "Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? {24} 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."
In the last days many will find that even the mountains and rocks can not hide them from “the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
    During one of Israels’ battles with the Syrians they had defeated the Syrians in the hills. The Syrians foolishly thought that God was to be confined to the hills and that if they engaged Israel again in the plains they would surely be victorious.
(1 Kings 20:23)  "And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they."
    God was highly displeased with the Syrians erroneous concept of His omnipresence just as He is displeased with anyone's false concept of His omnipresence. The Syrians paid with their lives for their false and blasphemous concepts of God’s omnipresence.
(1 Kings 20:28)  "And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD."
    Whenever anyone, redeemed or lost attempts to limit God by their concept of Him they will be shown to be grievously in error. Only God can limit Himself and those divine limitations are based upon His attributes in all of their perfection.
    Now that it has been shown that God is eternally omnipresent let us turn our attention to some considerations which naturally proceed from such a fact.
    1.) God is omniscient.
    Another of God’s glorious attributes is that of  His omniscience. Again we have that Latin combining form of ‘omnis’ or ‘all’ with the word ‘science’ which means knowledge. When used together as in the word omniscient it means all knowing. Omniscience is an attribute belonging exclusively in God.
God is aware, and that eternally so, of each and every thought, word and deed of each of His creatures. God knows not only everything that will come to pass but also everything that could come to pass.
(1 Samuel 2:3)  “... the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed."
    As God is omnipresent then is naturally follows that He sees everything that is transpiring.
(2 Chronicles 16:9)  "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. ...”
    We are aware that the Holy Spirit here uses language to accommodate our finite and feeble minds so that we may better  understand the truth of God’s omnipresence and His omniscience. God does not need to make any special effort to see what is going on throughout the whole earth. He has, as we previously mentioned, known eternally all things which will or which could transpire in time.
    Those who have experienced God’s marvelous grace and have partaken of His new nature are or should be repulsed by the sinful acts which we see and hear about us. Even the lost person who is considered ‘morally upright’ is disgusted by the rampant sin in the world.
    How much more must the wickedness of mankind be revolting unto our thrice holy God.
(Habakkuk 1:13)  "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?"
    As the omnipresent and omniscient God the LORD is aware of these wicked acts. He does not look upon them favorably. He does not disregard them. He will one day demand total payment for each offense committed against Him. He does not turn away and ignore these sins thereby permitting the offenders to continue in them unnoticed. He is angered by them.
(Nahum 1:3)  "The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet."
    Much of mankind foolishly think that because God doesn’t demand payment for the offenses against Him when the offense is committed that they are going to escape that divine recompense. People go on and on sinning against God piling up wrath against the day of wrath. They will one day find that all of their pernicious deeds were known to the omniscient God and they will be called into account for them.
(Ecclesiastes 8:11)  "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."
    It is to the benefit of all of God’s creatures to take note of His omnipresence and omniscience. Though many deeds are done unawares unto our fellow creatures nothing is done that is not open and plain unto God.
(Hebrews 4:12-13)  "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. {13} Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."
    All things are open, that is all things are plainly evident and fully known unto our great and wise God.
It is possible that we may have sometime in our life been warned by another person that they would be ‘watching us’, that is they would be taking note of our actions. Or perhaps we have made the statement to someone else that ‘I’ll be watching you’ in an effort to warn them that we would be taking note of their actions. No matter how diligent they were or how diligent that we were our observations were limited in scope and extent because we are finite and therefore limited creatures. Many circumstances can arise that will negate the best efforts of one creature to keep track of another creature’s actions. We can’t see inside buildings, in the darkness of night, in multiple locations at one time, in their minds and hearts and on and on. But our infinite God is not bound by any such frailties of His creatures. There is no escape from the piercing scrutiny of our sovereign Lord.
(Psalms 139:1-13)  "O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. {2} Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. {3} Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. {4} For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. {5} Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. {6} Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. {7} Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? {8} If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. {9} If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; {10} Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. {11} If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. {12} Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. {13} For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb."
    The Psalmist acknowledges the omnipresence of God. There is no place which he may go to that God is not there. The Psalmist also acknowledges the omniscience of God. He recognizes that God not only knows all of his thoughts but that He has known them from ‘afar off’.
    There are given unto us in the inspired Word of God examples of those who were so foolish as to think that their thoughts and deeds were somehow hid from God. They ignorantly entertained the notion that because they had deceived their fellow creatures that they were somehow able to also deceive their Creator. Not only do they think that God will not see them they are so deluded as to His holiness that they think that He will not pay any attention to their actions if He would happen to see them.
(Psalms 94:1-7)  "O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself. {2} Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. {3} LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? {4} How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? {5} They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage. {6} They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. {7} Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it."
    Those of whom the Psalmist spoke had made two grievous errors in their judgment of God’s person. They thought that He would not see and they thought that He would not regard their evil actions. They were wrong on both counts. They foolishly question God’s omnipresence and His omniscience.
(Job 11:7)  "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?"
    Even in this present age there are those who because they can not figure out God’s glorious attributes they deny them. They can not by their finite and depraved logic comprehend such a majestic and glorious being as God therefore they deny, at least outwardly, His resplendent attributes.
(Psalms 73:11)  "And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?"
    Much of the wickedness that is committed by depraved man is committed under the cover of darkness. Somehow man’s depraved heart has deluded him into thinking that if darkness hides his foul deeds from fellow creatures that they are also hid from the omniscient God. Just as men love physical darkness for they think it hides their evil deeds so they also love spiritual darkness for they do not want their deeds exposed by the light of God’s truth.
(John 3:14-21)  "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: {15} That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. {16} For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. {17} For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. {18} He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. {19} And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. {20} For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. {21} But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
    It should be a frightening and sobering thought to the lost person that the thrice holy God is profoundly aware of their every thought and deed.  Truly God alone can make the statement, “I’ll be watching you” and it will be an irrefutable and valid declaration.
    As the thoughts of God’s omnipresence and His omniscience should strike terror in the heart of the rebellious and lost sinner conversely those thoughts should fill the heart of the redeemed and saved sinner with hope, joy and gratitude.
    The redeemed saint has gratitude when they contemplate these two glorious attributes of God. For in contemplation of them they rejoice that even though God knows their every sin and transgression He loved them in Christ Jesus before the world was. And in Christ Jesus they stand perfectly holy and acceptable in God’s sight. God did not, as those in Psalms 94:7 thought He would, disregard His peoples transgressions and sins. His perfect holiness would not permit such a miscarriage of justice. He did not disregard the sins of His people that He has eternally known of. But He charged them all unto their willing substitute, who paid for them in the fullest with His own sinless blood, shed as the Father exacted the full and holy wrath due for each of those sins.
    The redeemed saint has hope that whatever may befall them their omnipresent and omniscient God knows about their predicament and is able to deliver them safely unto His special presence in Heaven.
(Romans 8:28)  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
    As God knows everything He therefore knows how to deliver both the just and the unjust, one to their reward and one to their punishment.
(2 Peter 2:9)  "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"
    God is present to His people in a special way in which He is not unto the world in general. This special way is in the form of a personal relationship with them through His only begotten Son and His indwelling Spirit.
    God has known all about everyone of His creatures from eternity. That knowledge is a part of His omniscience. Yet there are a multitude that are known unto God in a very special way. They are known unto Him in a loving relationship through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. They were known unto Him in love from before the foundation of the world. When He speaks of knowing His people it is much more than the knowledge which He has of every one of His creatures. For reasons known only unto the thrice holy God He chose to ‘know’ some of His equally hell deserving creatures in an eternal covenant of love.
(2 Timothy 2:19)  "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
    Sometimes because of our weaknesses, because of our frailties, yes even because of our sinful nature manifesting itself in rebellion against the one who loved us and redeemed us we loose sight of the fact that our omniscient God knows all about us.
(Psalms 103:13-14)  "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. {14} For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust."
    We don’t say these things to give us comfort in our sins but to give us comfort in our gracious and merciful Lord.
    Have you ever thought that if you had known before hand certain things about a person that you would not have become as close to them as you did? Has it ever occurred to you that since you found out certain things about a person that you would like to dissolve all relations with them. Such are our weaknesses, such are our shortcomings that we sometimes want to terminate a relationship with someone when they offend or displease us.
    How great a comfort to the saint to rest in the assurance that because God has known our every act from eternity that nothing we do can separate us from His love. This is not meant to in anywise encourage us in our sins, for God will chasten His children in the proportion which they need, but to give us hope in His great longsuffering lest we faint with despair because of our weaknesses.
(Hebrews 13:5)  "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
    “Those passages that speak of God’s being present in special places are to be understood as referring to God’s special and transcending manifestations. Thus He is spoken of as dwelling in Heaven, because it is there that He makes the greatest manifestation of His presence.”  (T. P. Simmons)
    We sometimes hear people use the erroneous expression, ‘the devil’s hell’. Beloved, although he is going to be it’s chief occupant hell does not belong to the devil. Hell belongs to God, just as all of creation does.
    We are assured by His holy Word that those who have been made alive in the Lord Jesus Christ will one day forever abide in that special presence in Heaven. Yet, while we live in this tabernacle of flesh there is a ‘special place’ where His divine and august presence is manifested more so than any other place in this world. That place is in His precious, blood bought church.
    We told that He loved the church and gave Himself for it.
(Ephesians 5:25)  "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
    We are told that He purchased His church with His own blood.
(Acts 20:28)  "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
    And we are told that in His church He will manifest His presence to us and be with us in a special and exclusive way.
(Matthew 18:20)  "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
    I believe that it is wonderful to note that our dear Lord says that He will  be ‘in the midst’ of His church. Not separated from the saints, not removed from their center but in the middle of them.
Beloved, how such a knowledge that God is ever watching us, that He in the person of His Spirit is ever with us, should fortify us against our sinful propensity. Wherever we go, whatever we say, whatever we do the Lord is there.
    Oh that He would grant each of us the fervent desire to constantly and continually mortify the deeds of the flesh so that we would not grieve the Holy Spirit nor bring any shame or reproach upon His holy name or His precious church.
    One day we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. As the omnipresent God He has always been in our presence. As the omniscient God He has always known us with a total and perfect knowledge.
    Those who stand before Him in acceptance will do so only in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Acceptance is only in Christ’s completed work, finished upon the cross of Calvary.
    But rewards for those things done in this life are based on faithfulness and obedience.
    Let us all obediently and diligently strive to hear from the One who has eternally known all about us that most desirous summation of our earthly sojourn, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

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