There is a level of the presence of God which you do not want to return from. While you rejoice in your heart, normal life feels dull for a time after you experience God so near. There are, in fact, four levels of the presence of God which we see in Scripture and which we can experience.
The four levels of the presence of God are the:
- Indwelling presence
- Manifest presence
- Evidential presence
The omni-presence of God simply means that God is everywhere whether we perceive Him or not. The prefix, “omni,” is a Latin term meaning, all or universal. So you could call this the universal presence of God, or say that God is all-present. God is everywhere always because “… all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:16-17 ESV). King David summarized it well when He wrote, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psa. 139:7 ESV).
“Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD.” Jer. 23:23-24 ESV
It is interesting that the Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “declares the LORD,” three times within just two scriptures, reaffirming this truth. The Apostle Paul refers to the existence of God as something that every human knows because it is evident to us all. He states that since God’s invisible attributes are clearly perceived through His creation, all of mankind is guilty of judgement if they do not surrender control of their lives to Him.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Rom. 1:19-20
The indwelling presence is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). As Jesus told Nicodemus, we must be born again to enter into the Kingdom of God (Joh. 3:3). We were born sinful because we were born of Adam (Rom. 5:12, 17), but by grace through faith God raises us to new life in Christ (Eph. 2:8; Rom. 8:11). He makes us a new creation in Christ, transforming our lives through the seed of life He plants within us: His own Spirit.
“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” 1Jo. 4:13
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? …” 1Co. 6:19 ESV
It is because of the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God that we know that God abides in us (1Jo. 3:24). It is God’s Spirit that gives us eternal life and seals us for the day of our final redemption. He is the guarantee of the fullness of all that Jesus purchased for us with His life.
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Eph. 1:13-14 ESV (2Co. 1:22, 5:5)
The manifest presence differs from the indwelling presence in that it falls upon (Eze. 11:5), rushes upon (Jud. 14:6, 15:14; 1Sa. 10:10, 11:6), or is smeared upon you instead of dwelling within you. This is what the Bible refers to as the anointing. The word, “anoint,” is a Hebrew word which means, “to smear on, to rub with oil”.
In the Old Testament, men were anointed with oil to designate, authorize, and commission them for a special purpose. God anoints us with His Spirit for the same reasons, by which He also empowers us to fulfill His purpose. Therefore, the anointing is the presence of God’s power for a purpose. The presence is manifest in the sense that it is tangible, or made known, to you. It is not a feeling, but feeling accompanies it. It is perceivable grace to perform God’s will.
Jesus began His public ministry by reading out of Isaiah 61, declaring that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him because He was anointed, and revealing that God’s anointing is for a purpose.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luk. 4:18 ESV
The manifest presence of God is for a purpose: to empower us to touch the world around us with the power of God. In short, you receive power to do God’s will when the Holy Spirit falls upon you (Act. 1:8).
“… God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” Act. 10:38 ESV
The evidential presence is a term that I coined to describe what the Bible refers to as the glory of the Lord. The glory is when the presence of God is not only evident to you, but perceivable to those around you as well. It is the presence of God on display. It is for that reason that I describe it as the evidential presence. The ultimate example of the glory of the Lord is the incarnation of Jesus. His name is Emmanuel, meaning, “God is with us.” He is the radiant and glorious presence of God. In Him, all the fullness of God was made evident to us all (Col. 1:19; Heb. 1:1-3).
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Joh. 1:14 ESV
Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden,” and because they sinned they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord” (Gen. 3:8). Since they tried to hide themselves physically, this indicates that they experienced the presence of God physically as well (Gen. 3:7). Even after this, God continued to make His presence evident to mankind in various ways. The Bible says that He had shown His glory to all of Israel through His voice, booming out of the midst of fire.
“And you said, ‘Behold, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live.” Deu. 5:24 ESV
In Hebrew the word referring to the glory of God is, “kabod,” which figuratively means, “weighty”. It’s the weighty splendor of God, the substance or evidence of His presence. When you are in the glory presence of God, you may not physically see or hear anything, but you will often feel the tangible, heavy, weighty substance of God all over you. In the Old Testament, we find that when the glory of the Lord filled the house of God with a cloud, the priests could not stand to minister (Exo. 40:34; 2Ch. 5:13-14).
The glory of God is the atmosphere of Heaven, the very substance of the Kingdom — the evidential presence of God Himself. God is still revealing Himself to mankind just as He always has (Mal. 3:6). After all, why would God not reveal Himself to His own creation? The moments that I’ve experienced the glory of God have ruined me and reshaped me at the same time. There is nothing like His presence.
My prayer is that God will cause you to hunger for your own experience in His presence — to know the nearness of God Himself. I pray that you would desire to know Him for who He is.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for eighteen years, and is the proud father of two boys.