of the Lord | Bread of the Presence
Also see: Ark | Cloud, Cloud of the Lord | Face | Glory | God | Holiness | Still small voice | Tabernacle | Temple

Baker's, Holman's, ISBE, Thompsons, Bible themes

PRESENCE in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]

select Cross Reference Bible links
Genesis 14:14-16 - Part of Cain's curse was to leave God's presence
Gen 45:1-3 - presence means being in the area, or sight, of - example: Joseph's presence
Exodus 25:30 - bread of the Presence was always to be before the Lord on the table in the sanctuary tabernacle
Ex 33:14-23 - God's presence to go with Moses
Deuteronomy 4:37 - God's presence brought Israel out of Egypt
1 Samuel 21:4-6 - used bread of the Presence is consecrated (given to David for men to eat)
2 Samuel 22:13 - bolts of lightning blaze from his Presence
1 Kings 7:48 and 2 Chronicles 4:19 - The temple Solomon built had a table for the bread of the Presence
2 Chronicles 20:9 - coming to the Presence during a calamity
Job 1:12 and Job 2:7 - Satan has access to the presence of the Lord
Psalm 31:19-20 - God's presence is a refuge and shelter for those who fear Him
Psalm 51:11 - don't cast me from your presence or take Holy Spirit from me
Psalm 89:15 - "blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord"
Isaiah 63:9 - angel of His Presence

Daniel 7:13 - one like the Son of Man coming with clouds, led into the presence of the Ancient of Days
Hosea 6:2 - on the third day he restores us so we may live in his presence
Nahum 1:5 - mountains quake and tremble at his presence
Zechariah 6:5 - the four spirits of heaven will go out with chariots from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world.
Malachi 1:5 - scroll of remembrance written in his presence re: those who feared the LORD and honored his name.
Luke 1:19 - the angel Gabriel stands in the presence of God
Hebrews 9:24 - Jesus appears for us now in God's presence
2 Peter 2:11 - angels also have access to the presence of the Lord
Jude 1:24-25 - Jesus Christ is able to present his people to the presence of God our Savior
Revelation 20:11 - earth and sky will one day flee from His presence

PRESENCE of GOD [Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of the Bible]

The Scriptures often speak of God's presence in human history. The most common Hebrew term for "presence" is panim, which is also translated "face, "implying a close and personal encounter with the Lord. The Greek word prosopon has the same semantic range. The Greek preposition enopion also commonly appears; several other Hebrew and Greek words occur only a few times.

God's presence carries a wide range of meaning. It may be something people fear. Adam and Eve's sinfulness drove them to hide from the Lord in the garden of Eden (Gen 3:8). God's holiness cast light on Isaiah's sinfulness (Isa 6:5). Many people who encountered God or his angel feared for their lives (Judges 13:22; Luke 1:11-12; 2:9). Others tried unsuccessfully to escape his presence (Jon 1:3). As God displays his presence through his great power, the whole earth trembles (Judges 5:5; Psalm 68:8). False gods also become powerless before him (Isa 19:1). Fear and trembling are proper responses before the One who controls all creation (Jer 5:22).

God's presence provides comfort in times of trouble or anxiety (Joshua 1:5). The downcast seek him and find encouragement and strength to praise him (Psalm 42:5).

Knowing God is present should keep our behavior respectful and humble, for God hears our every word and holds us accountable (Eccl 5:2, 6). He will not tolerate pride, and will bring our speech under his judgment (Eze 28:9). However, he will exalt those who humble themselves before him (James 4:10).

God also displayed his presence at a place of worship. The Israelites brought their sacrifices to the tabernacle—and later the temple—because God chose to establish his name there (Deut 14:23,26). Worshipers thus experienced a special closeness to the Lord in such a place. Inside the place of worship, the bread of the Presence reminded Israel of God's nearness (2 Chron 4:19). When Solomon dedicated the temple, the manifestation of God's glorious presence prevented priests from fulfilling their usual duties (1 Kings 8:10-11). Reverent and proper behavior was important, for disastrous consequences might result if people did not follow God's pattern for worship (Lev 10:1-2).

God's presence also accompanied times of covenant renewal and other solemn occasions. Before Isaac died, he determined to bless his son "in the presence of the Lord" (Gen 27:7). Aaron was confirmed as high priest in God's presence (Num 16:7; 17:9). As the Israelites prepared to enter Canaan, Moses told them they stood in God's presence (Deut 29:15). God would guide them as they undertook the enormous task of conquering the land (Num 32:29,32), and would provide Israel's leaders the strength they needed (Joshua 1:9). The apostle Paul charged Timothy to remain faithful to the Lord, reminding his son in the faith of God's watchful presence as Timothy performed his ministry (1 Tim 5:21; 2 Tim 4:1).

The Bible describes heaven as a place filled with God's presence. Angels stand in God's presence and act on his authority as he directs them (Luke 1:19). Satan came before the Lord when he sought permission to attack Job (1:6, 12). The heavenly host rejoice before God when one sinner repents (Luke 15:10). Christ completed his earthly ministry by entering "heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence" (Heb 9:24). Since heaven is the highest, most exalted place of all, it is fitting that God display his presence there.

God's presence is a place where prayer is heard. David sought the Lord's presence when Israel faced a three-year famine (2 Sam 21:1). God's spokesman called the nation to cry out to the Lord in the face of Jerusalem's destruction (Lam 2:19). Paul constantly interceded for the Thessalonian church, bringing their name before the Father's presence (1 Thess 1:3). Christians may approach the Lord with confidence because of Christ's finished work on our behalf (Heb 4:15-16). Furthermore, God promises to hear and forgive those who come into his presence with humble repentance (2 Chron 7:14).

God's presence is also a place of judgment. The Lord cast his people from his presence (Jer 15:1; 52:3). The Scriptures describe this action as God hiding his face (Isa 59:2; Ezek 39:29). But God's presence for judgment also carries an eschatological dimension. The Lord will one day summon all nations before him; heaven and earth will flee his holy presence (Rev 20:11). Those who see this judgment coming will beg for deliverance, but to no avail (Rev 6:16). The most awful aspect of God's judgment is eternal separation from his presence (2 Thess 1:9).

But God's presence is also a place of blessing. David counted it a joy to experience the Lord's presence (Acts 2:25,28), and Peter described it as the source of blessing for all who place their faith in Christ (Acts 3:19). To experience God's presence is to experience the shining of God's face (Psalm 67:1). Believers always live in God's presence, and he notes all their deeds (Mal 3:16). He has promised to be with us until he comes again (Matt 28:20).

In the age to come, God's presence will be the ultimate blessing, for believers will see him face to face (1 John 3:2). His immediate presence will render a temple unnecessary (Rev 21:22). It is the anticipation of this presence that should motivate Christians to faithful service in this present age (1 Thess 2:19; 2 Peter 3:10-11).

Bryan E. Beyer

PRESENCE [Holman Bible Dictionary]

God's initiative in encountering people. Biblical words for the presence of God usually relate to the “face” of God.

Old Testament Usage During the patriarchal period, God used a variety of means of revelation to communicate with the people (Genesis 15:1; Genesis 32:24-30). These are often described as theophanies, appearances of God to humanity. Moses had a close relationship with God. He encountered God in the burning bush and knew God “face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10). The presence of God was also closely related to the tabernacle, the place for ancient Israel to encounter God in worship. The tabernacle was the place of the Lord's name or glory, a manifestation of God's presence and activity in the world (Exodus 40:34,Exodus 40:38). The cloud and fire symbolized the presence of God leading on the journey to Canaan.

Perhaps the primary tangible symbol of God's presence with the people was the ark of the covenant, the container for the tablet of the law and the seat of God's throne. It led the people in the journey to Canaan and into battle (Joshua 3:1-6). The ark was associated with the sanctuary and eventually came to rest in the Temple, the place of the presence of God. Here Isaiah had a powerful vision of the holy God (Isaiah 6:1).

God also manifested Himself in other ways: in fire (1 Kings 18:1) and in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:1), both to Elijah. The Psalms speak of God's presence with the worshiping community (Psalms 139:1) and of the apparent absence of this present God (Psalms 13:1). In either case, God is still addressed. Ezekiel spoke of the Exile in terms of the glory (presence) of God leaving ancient Israel but then returning at the end of the Exile in Babylon (Ezekiel 43:1-5). Much of the Old Testament discussion of the presence of God centers on the fact that God is utterly free to be where God wills but constantly chooses to be with His people to give them life.

New Testament Usage The primary New Testament manifestation of the presence of God is in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23; John 1:14; Hebrews 1:1-3). This presence did not end with the death of Christ. The risen Christ appeared to the disciples (John 21:1-14) and to Paul. Through the apostles, Paul and the disciples, Christ's work continued (Acts 1:8; Acts 26:12-18). The Holy Spirit is an important manifestation of the presence of God and continues the redemptive work of God. The return of Christ will bring permanence to the presence of God with His people.

The church is called to be a manifestation of God's presence. That community is fed by the presence of God found in communion between worshiper and God.

W. H. Bellinger, Jr.


In the Old Testament nearly always the rendition of panim, "face" (Ge 3:8; Ex 33:14 f; Ps 95:2; Isa 63:9, etc.);
occasionally of `ayin, "eye" (Ge 23:11; De 25:9; Jer 28:1,11, etc.);
and in 1Ki 8:22; Pr 14:7, "the presence of" represents the preposition neghedh, "before";
compare also Aramaic qodham, in Da 2:27 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "before").

In Greek, "presence" has an exact equivalent in parousia, but this word is rendered "presence" only in 2Co 10:10; Php 2:12;
the Revised Version (British and American); Php 1:26 (the King James Version "coming").
Elsewhere parousia is rendered "coming," but always with "presence" in the margin.
Otherwise in the New Testament "presence" represents no particular word but is introduced where it seems to suit the context (compare e.g. Ac 3:13 the King James Version and Ac 3:19).

PRESENCE [Thompson Chain Reference]
A Comfort to Saints

    In the Pilgrimage of Life
        Genesis 28:15
        Genesis 31:3
        Exodus 3:12
        Exodus 29:45
    Affords Rest
        Exodus 33:14
        Leviticus 26:12
    Gives Courage in Life's Battles
        Deuteronomy 20:1
    A Comfort in Trials
        Isaiah 43:2
        Zechariah 2:10
    Assured to the Smallest Assembly of Believers
        Matthew 18:20
    Unto the End
        Matthew 28:20
    SEE Divine
    SEE Divine; Friendship 

A Terror to Sinners

    A Comfort to Saints
    SEE God
    A Terror to Evil Does
        Genesis 3:8
        Job 23:15
        Psalm 68:2
        Psalm 139:7
        Jeremiah 5:22
        Jnh 1:3
        SEE Guilty Fear
        SEE Concealment of Sin
        SEE Concealment-Exposure

Of Christ, Overpowering

    John 18:6
    Acts 9:4
    2 Thessalonians 2:8
    Revelation 1:17
    SEE Christ  

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