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Temple, Bob Sorge, Exploring Worship, Moses, Mount Sinai, Hebrews, Brazen Alatar, Korah,
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Satan, Joseph Smith, Angel Mornoni, Mormonism
To the modern worshipper, we need to do
more than daily beholding our God who is with us. We must ascend to heaven to find Him as
we worship for the sake of entering into the glory of His presence. Therefore the Body of
Christ today is inundated with those who preach the mystic theme ushering from the
60s that calls us to enter into the supernatural world through worship. And over and
over again, when we hear this transcendental proposition preached, its proponents point to
Old Testament Scriptures in order to support their New Age blueprint for the church.
The entire exercise is carried out in
order to prove that God agrees with the notion that Christians ought to transcend into the
heavens in their worship. Hence, in recalling II Chron 5:13-15 when the cloud of glory
filled Solomons Temple, Bob Sorge declared in Exploring Worship, This cloud of
glory (the presence of God) so filled the room that the priests could not even stand to
perform their service! Truly that was a very special manifestation of the presence of God,
and it is the same type or manifestation that we seek today.
As Sorge testifies, to a large number of
Christians today worship is all about dramatic supernatural encounters with God such as
this. New Worshippers invariably seek these experiences through mystical exercises with
their eyes closed and hands lifted to the sound of repetitive choruses. However, the Old
Testament Scriptures that they quote in reality do little to support their New Age claims.
For example, in his disposition Sorge makes an interesting observation that actually
invalidates his contentions. The glory of the Lord in the instance that he details
appeared in the temple in the form of a visible cloud. It was so physically apparent to
the eye that it obstructed the ministry of the priests. This was not an engagement with
God that was mustered up in the imaginations of people. It was the real deal. And the
truth of the matter is that the Old Testament occurrences of Gods glory that New
Worshippers continue to advance in order to support their mystical views are consistently
enveloped in physical manifestations rather than imaginary treks into the supernatural.
While Moses received the Law on the mount:
Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And
on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The sight of the
glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the
children of Israel. (Ex 24:16-17 MKJV)
After Moses finished the work of the
tabernacle the Glory of the Lord was visibly revealed in the form of a cloud that impeded
his entrance into the worship center. (Ex 40:34-35)
While in the wilderness the glory of the
Lord appeared to the Hebrews in the form of a cloud that sheltered them from the scorching
heat by day and a fire that directed their path by night. (Ex -22)
During the dedication of the tabernacle
after the priest performed the first sacrifice at the Brazen Altar, the glory of the Lord
descended as manifested with fire. (Lev 9:6-24) Then the glory of the Lord appeared
to all the people, and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering
and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their
faces. (Lev 9:23b-24 MKJV)
When Korah lead an insurrection against
Moses the Scriptures declare: And Korah gathered all the congregation against them
at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the
congregation. . . the ground split apart under them, and the earth opened its mouth and
swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods.
. . And a fire came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were
offering incense. . . Now it happened, when the congregation had gathered against Moses
and Aaron, that they turned toward the tabernacle of meeting; and suddenly the cloud
covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. (Num 16:19, 31b-32, 35, 42 MKJV)
When Moses and Aaron sought God concerning
what to do when there was no water for the congregation in the wilderness the Bible says:
So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the
tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to
them. (Num 20:6 MKJV)
After Solomon dedicated the temple the
glory of the Lord appeared with fire to consume the offerings. (II Chron 7:1) And
the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had
filled the Lord's house. (II Chron 7:2 MKJV)
Ezekiel wrote: So I arose and went
out into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which I
saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. (Ezekiel MKJV)
It is undeniable that these appearances of
the glory of the Lord were consistently revealed within the context of the physical world.
It is also true that these revelations of the glory of the Lord were those that could be
actually perceived with the senses. These were not mystical experiences found while
delving into another world. They were empirical events that occurred within the context of
Gods creation that had a physical effect on the creation. And they were not
revelations that were mustered up through frail human efforts. They were divine
manifestations of Gods glory initiated by God and God alone for His purposes alone.
And these revelations of Gods glory were not common historical occurrences in the
Bible. They were specific wonders that transpired in order to mark significant events in
Even those from the Bible who had visions
of heaven saw physical beings, various objects and even Jesus glorified with nail holes
still in His hands. At times they even touched and felt that which they beheld. All that
they experienced was described in empirical terms for us to read. (Isa 6, I Kings 22:19,
Ezekiel 1, 8-11, Rev 4-5)
Heaven is a physical creation of God and
He will make a new one that we will inhabit with new physical bodies. 1It is not an ethereal aura that
we leap up to in mystical experiences as conjured up by our imaginations. It is not some
metaphysical place that people are called to discover through supernatural encounters. It
is not some realm that can only be attained as one transcends from reality and
distractions to find another world with eyes closed and hands lifted high enough to touch
God. Neither is it something that comes down to us to wander to-and-fro from
place-to-place as we desire. Heaven is a real place created by God, filled with real
physical things and beings where we will live as physical people forever. It does not
respond to our beckon call.
The biblical examples of visions of heaven
assure us that God will reveal what He wants to reveal. And he will do so exactly when He
desires to do so. But these heavenly encounters were isolated incidents that occurred as
the result of His initiative and for specific biblical purposes to the edification of
believers worldwide rather than just for the ones receiving the visions. It does not seem
to be appropriate, therefore, to conclude that these experiences were intended to be a
model for us so that we would expect heavenly visions every time we gather together in
church. Hence, since they have no empirical evidence to support their claims of coming
face to face to God at His throne through New Worship, it should be suspected that those
who seek the presence of God in this way are simply imagining the experience.
But Paul admonished: Casting down
imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and
bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (II Cor 10:5 KJV)
This verse refers to spiritual warfare. And this warfare is not about making things up.
seeing is not necessarily believing. In ancient Roman history Constantine was exalted as ruler of Western Rome in 312 when he defeated Maxentius at the MilivianBridge. Prior to that war the emperor worshipped
Mithra the sun god who was also called the mediator. This god was actually an ancient
depiction of Nimrod the warrior. During his successful campaign Constantine supposedly received a vision of the cross
in the sky. Along with the vision he heard the words in this sign, conquer,
which led him to put that sacred sign on his standards. Believing that God had given him
victory in one of the most decisive battles in world history, Constantine was converted to Christianity and issued
the Edict of Milan granting tolerance to Christianity. But the churchs new elevated
status in the Roman Empire came at a cost as the church now bowed
before Constantine who consequently introduced paganism in the church for the first time.
When one considers the fact that the emperors sign in the sky set the church on the
course that eventually culminated in the paganism of the Dark Ages, one has to wonder if
the source of the heavenly visitation was in actuality that of an impersonation of Nimrod
the warrior. The content of the message that Constantine received would suggest exactly that.
In recent history we have Joseph
Smiths vision of the Angel Mornoni that saw the birth of the heresy of Mormonism.
This serves as a dramatic example that the words that one receives in any so-called vision
must concur within the context of the truth of Scripture. No new revelations will suffice.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we
have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Gal 1:8 MKJV) For Satan himself
transforms himself into an angel of light. (II Cor 11:14b) Whether we live our lives
in the ordinary world or wander about seeking heavenly visions, the bottom line of our
understating of truth must come from the words of Scripture and Scripture alone.
There is a consistent agreement in
Scripture that the Lord reveals His glory through His creation. (Ps 19:1, Rom 1: 20-21)
. . .but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the
Lord (Num MKJV) Invariably the glory of the Lord is
a manifestation of God that can be beheld in this world and in this age and not through a
mystical experience as modern gurus suggest.
1. See: Gen 1:1, I Chron 16:26, II Chron 2:12, Neh 9:6, Ps
33:6; 89:11, Isa 42:5; 45:18; 51:6, 13; 65:17; Jer 10:12, 32:17; 51:15; Rom 8:11; Rev
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