We often say that “God is everywhere.” Or that He is “omnipresent,” which means that He is present throughout the universe. “
‘Am I a God near at hand, . . . and not a God afar off? . . . Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ ” (Jer. 23:23-24, NKJV). David understood, too, that nobody can flee from God (Psalm 139). Indeed, as Paul argues, God is close to everyone, at least in a spiritual sense (Acts 17:27-28).
The Scriptures are full of statements about God’s residence being in heaven (1 Kings 8:30, 43, 49). Does this mean that God is more present in heaven than He is anywhere else? God obviously dwells in heaven in a special way, in His glorious presence and pure holiness. The greatest manifestation of God’s presence exists in heaven.
There is a difference, however, between God’s “general presence” and His “special presence.” God is generally present everywhere; yet, He chooses to reveal Himself in a special way in heaven and, as we will see, in the heavenly sanctuary.
Of course, we have to admit that we are limited in our understanding of His physical nature. He is spirit (John 4:24) and as such cannot be contained in any structure or dimension (1 Kings 8:27). Even so, the Bible presents heaven (John 14:1–3) and the heavenly sanctuary as real places (Heb. 8:2) where God can be seen (Acts 7:55-56; Rev. 4:2-3). We have to believe that even heaven and the heavenly sanctuary are places where God condescends to meet His creation.
There are many things that are difficult for us to imagine or understand, such as the dwelling place of God. Yet, the Bible says that this dwelling place is real. How can we learn to trust in all that the Bible teaches us, no matter how hard it is sometimes to understand? Why is it important for us to learn to trust even when we don’t understand?