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Lenten Journey Day 16: The Presence of God Part 1 - “The Glory of the Lord”March 9, 2023
I am writing about a week ahead, but I wanted to go back and add this section. I have talked about Romans 1 a couple of times, but I wanted to share the amazing view I had on my walk the other night. Revelation 4:8 “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come. 11 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” And wow what a creation it is. The night was perfect for a walk, as the sky was clear, the air crisp, sidewalks bare (no slipping), and the view spectacular. On Tuesday, March 7th there was the full moon, and it was stunning. I walk a 5 km square so there was a view going out and returning home. I was a little early for the moon but by the time I was coming back it was above the trees and buildings. I did jump in the car after I got back for a quick ride out into the country and drove for a bit, looking straight at the moon. All I can say is amazing and thank-you God. Not only was the moon rising, but the sun was setting in all its beauty, but added to those views above the sun setting, was Venus and Jupiter. In the morning I also went for a drive to watch the moon setting and in my rearview mirror was a beautiful sunrise. As I was driving I could not help but think Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” I was also thinking it is foolish not to trust the words of the God of who created all things with those words. After Jesus rose from the dead, He admonished His disciples and Luke 24:25 “He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” Jesus also said, Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Matthew 7:26 “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
I am by no means an expert in astronomy, not even close, as I have to look everything up, but I do appreciate what I am seeing. I appreciate it because this is a promise from God that tells us there is always hope. Jeremiah 33:19 “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’” God will not break His promise to David. Just looking at God’s creation also makes you accountable to God. Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” I hope you enjoyed the view from the perspective of hope and understand clearly that in the beginning God created! Psalm 86:12 “I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.”
The church often uses some really poor phrases when describing God’s presence. There are also levels of ignorance as to whether God is actually present or not. When referring to God, remember we are talking about the Lord God Almighty our Sovereign King as described in scripture. People will often say “God showed up” or “Jesus showed up” or the “Holy Spirit showed up,” when describing a service, event or time in their life. Scripture describes the presence of God much more serious than that. Hebrews 13:25 “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” As we saw on Day 10, not only is God a consuming fire, but a jealous God. Other sayings are, “it was a God thing,” or “God is showing off.” God doesn’t need to show off, he created the heavens and the earth. Showoffs have low self-esteem with a constant need for approval; God does not need our validation. For the do-it-yourself church, many like the saying “God helps those who help themselves” or “pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” This one actually negates God’s presence, since the ownness is on you. The North American church loves this one because they can do all things in their own strength and then give praise to God when they are successful. Everything does depend on God, and we obey His commands.
Another one that is a little tricky is “God moves in mysterious ways,” used to explain things we do not understand. Yes, there is much we do not know about God but what He has made known is made clear in scripture and not a mystery. He tells us exactly who He is and what He requires of us. He makes it clear to us how we are to live and the eternal life that comes from it. If people actually read their bibles, God and His ways would be less of a mystery. Miracles, signs and wonders are not a mystery with God. I think sometimes, as you will see in a moment, people use the word mysterious to explain away things that are not actually God yet think they are. What was a mystery has been made known, as Paul says several times. Ephesians 3:2 “Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” As you read scripture the mystery is made know to you also. In the past the mystery was kept hidden. Paul goes on to say, 8 “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” He also said Colossians 1:25 “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” John 14:8 “Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.”
When describing the presence of God, many think that God is like the idea of Santa Clause. Just hop up on to His lap and he will give you everything you want and when you do not get what you want, you stop believing in him. God is a God of love and wrath, so it is important to understand both. Also, some view God as a parrot on their shoulder, constantly speaking to them, yet the words of God are far from the lips. Jeremiah said, Jeremiah 12:2 “You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts.” Jesus also said Mark 7:6 “He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” The purpose of today and tomorrow’s blogs is to understand God’s presence; what His glory represents and what is His kingdom. Moses said Exodus 15:11 “Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”
Today when I started writing this blog my intent was to look specifically at the glory of God filling the temple and the glory of God filling his people, the New Testament temple at Pentecost. During my research, I had seen the glory cloud as described by the cult Bethel Redding but I did not look into it. I mentioned it Day 9: “The voice of the Lord God Almighty.” Today that came back to me, so I looked into it. In the past I had spent lots of time looking at these cults, which are not churches, but I have not spent much time lately as it is appalling to see and hear what they teach and the devastating effect they have on people who are seeking God. It really is heart wrenching to see all those people being deceived, but even worse all those people hearing depart from me I don’t know you. 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.” In this case I will be looking at the ultra-charismatic and it is wild but I want you to know that the same evil that is at work in the charismatic is the same evil that is at work at the other end of the spectrum that would appear subdued, orderly and by all accounts holy before God, yet like John MacArthur’s false teaching, is just as distorted as the ultra-charismatic I will be talking about. In-between, there are all levels of distortion and evil taking place in the church today as the church has been decimated by the abomination that causes desolation. I have heard non-charismatics talking about the church (Bethel Redding) that I will be talking about and saying how wrong they are, yet at the same time praise false teachers in there own doctrinal camp.
What I listened to this morning (a week ago I wrote this) raised my heart rate because of a righteous indignation towards this evil. Just so you know we are allowed. Remember people are being deceived and dying without ever knowing the truth. Psalm 119:53 “Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law.” Jeremiah said Jeremiah 15:17 “I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation.” Jesus is our example when it comes to what should fill us with indignation. John 2:14 “In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” These churches have been seduced by evil just like Moab seduced Israel. Numbers 25:1 “While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, 2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. 3 So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them. After Phineas stopped the sexual immorality (the plague had already claimed 24,000 lives) 10 “The Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. 12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. 13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.” In our zeal, we must remember to stay true to God’s word. The Ephesus church was told Revelation 2:2 “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.” Don’t lose your first love!
If the church was more zealous for the truth of God’s word, the famine of hearing God’s word and decimation brought on by the abomination that causes desolation would come to an end because the church would repent. Saying you believe this, and we believe that and we agree to disagree is a lie from satan which keeps people from repenting. satan knows that if you do not repent you will spend eternity with him. We need to be like Phineas and be zealous for God’s word. As I listened, I remembered why I don’t spend much time looking at in anymore; it is nauseating and evil. Most importantly though are all the people being deceived. Watching the deception is so disgusting because you are watching people who think they are praising God in His presence and fell the glory of God all around them but in reality they are praising satan and God is not present. Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” Much of what I have written down came from listening to a couple of videos, so I did not write down all the words but close enough to get the picture.
Bill Johnson, leader of Bethel, said as I described above about being mysterious when talking about the glory cloud, “it is a big deal that we have things that we cannot explain understand or control.” He said “God enjoys it when we admire and take pictures. He also said they do not seek the signs but kind of dumb if He shows up in a cloud and we ignore it.” “The church has been gathering for decades around a sermon, but Israel camped around the presence.” Notice how diminished the word of God when he said that. He continued saying “There will be dramatic shifts on how we do church. He said the presence of God is the greatest gift we have. For whatever reason he decides to show up…(in a cloud) He then talks about the cloud during Israel’s’ time and how they followed the cloud. Before I go on I will interject here. Basically, they are saying the presence of God showed up and was showing off and it’s a mystery because they cannot explain it. When he compares this to Israel, there is no fear whatsoever in the presence of God and they just kept doing what they were doing but in scripture we se, 1 Kings 8:10 “When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.” Exodus 40:34 “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”He also said “what is happening tonight is the church is camping around the presence. He said “we may not have a clue what we are doing and we certainly do not know what to do next.”He also said, “the cloud was a sign and they needed to know who it was pointing to, so they extended worship.” They chose wrong. He said, “26 times the glory cloud showed up.”
As far as the video goes, watch it with great discernment if you feel you need to. If you need to watch it, look up Glory Cloud January 15, 2012, but be warned, this is not God! Also be warned you may also see from your search that there will be non-charismatics speaking against it, but many are just as false as Bethel. The video is basically music and as I talked about yesterday, and why music needs to be set aside for now. In this video “At about 1 hour 32 minutes of singing (Jeremy Riddle who we talked about yesterday briefly) they start showing the glory cloud / gold dust. At 1:42 Bill Johnson starts talking about feathers appearing in the room, in their homes, place of business, airplane,” and he said this could be a sign that makes you wonder.” He then said, “his (referring to God) world is breaking into ours and it’s amazing,” “he is restoring the wonder, restoring the awe.” “I don’t know what to say about this cloud, but the real cloud burst came when he (Jeremy) started singing our father.” I will interject here as the father they are referring to is not God. Instead, as Jesus said John 8:44 “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” He then goes on to say, “Let your world permeate this one, kingdom of God come, will of God be done.” But it is not God they are talking to. Then they distort a few scriptures to verify.
Before I share this next part, I am not suggesting at all that this glory cloud is fake. You have to believe the bible even about the signs and wonders from satan. People who say things like this are fake, and yes sometimes they can be, they downplay satan’s power so that they are at peace with their own lack of power. If it is not real then, they feel better about their powerlessness. If it is not real, they can fix on their own but if it is real, we need the power of God of which most say God no longer does that. But if it is real, they are in serious trouble both those participating and those saying it is fake. Yes, it could be like a lot of the manipulation we see in charismatic circles, but I’ve seen enough to know it can be real and the bible says so. While this could be manipulation, I believe it could be real just like the feathers because scripture tells us Matthew 24:24 “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” Again, this is why we test the spirits because we need to make sure God’s glory is actually part of us. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Don’t be deceived; satan has power to deceive you and millions have been deceived. Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm.” Paul said Galatians 1:7 “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” As far as the feathers, they are trying to suggest the presence of God and or angels but we are told Colossians 2:18 “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.” They are definitely disconnected and are following the father of lies, satan.
In another video one of the leaders described the glory cloud in this way. These people are supposed to know God and say they regularity feel His presence yet they say, “I thought when the Lord showed up so dramatically, everyone would know it. Everybody would be on their face before the Lord, but there is confusion, wonder, bewilderment, cells phones out, it wasn’t what the lord did, mystified and perplexed. ( by the way this is satan in his arrogance telling you this is not God) He said he thought, “awe was mandatory.” I will interject here again. For those who know Him, it is. Even the Ninevites repented in fear. Psalm 119:120 “My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.” He went on to say, “Like saying the Grand Canyon is just a big hole in the ground.” Habakkuk said, Habakkuk 3:2 “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.” Especially if they are talking about the cloud from the Old Testament, which they were. He went on to say, “he could have not let it impress him.” They described it as waves of presence and then described miracles that took place. This part was really amazing as he went on to describe the night that the cloud burst this way (They also said John and Carol Arnott were there who started the Toronto blessing. Basically, that is where Bill Johnson got his false anointing from. He said he attended “a John Wimber (vineyard) signs and wonders conference in 1987 then in 1995, he made a trip to the Toronto Airport Vineyard, where the Toronto Blessing had broken out the year before.) Then the leader who was talking with Bill Johnson in the video said this amazing statement. Before I go on, remember as I said satan is so arrogant he will tell you what the problem is. This man said, “it (glory cloud) was so undeniable and demonstrative that this is either the Lord or an evil magician or a trickster was in the room or an illusionist because it was shocking.” He wondered “Is there anybody manipulating this environment.” But he came to the conclusion of course that this could only be God because I am sure there were feathers and other signs, even though scripture points to satan the trickster and manipulator. So, they could not describe it even though the cloud is described in scriptures, and this was not it. He then said “your ways Oh lord are so mysterious. Don’t try to figure it out just enjoy it.” That is actually pathetic for someone who is supposed to have such a strong anointing, meaning the presence of God dwells in him but he cannot explain it???
When I started this blog today, my intent was to talk about the presence of God and not necessarily the presence of satan as we see so clearly at Bethel. The truth of the matter is that when God is not present, satan is. Yesterday I saw the name Jeremy Riddle and I don’t recall knowing who he was. When I was researching today for the glory cloud, his name showed up and that is how I found the video. This is why it is imperative to test the spirits and I believe that God will guide us as we do that. We also have no excuse not to check with Google at our fingertips but make sure everything is tested with scripture. For a long time, I have not looked at this evil, but as I did my heart was beating a little faster as you can sense the demonic presence. If you do not believe the abomination that causes desolation has destroyed the church, have a watch but let me remind you again it is not just in charismatic circles but all the way to the other end of the spectrum and the non-charismatic such as the cessationists. The word of God has been distorted on both ends and the father of lies reigns in the whole church for now.
The glory of God is God’s presence dwelling among us. Scripture shows that the glory of God was more than something that looked like a glitter bomb went off. In the Old Testament His presence was in the temple once it was built. When Solomon brought the Ark to the temple, 2 Chronicles 5:13 “Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.” 2 Chronicles 7:1 “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord returning to the temple. Ezekiel 43:3 “The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.4 The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” David said Psalm 26:8 “Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” Definitely not the glitter bomb at Bethel. This was satan’s way of mocking the actual glory of God.
Like the glory of God filling the temple we see the same at Pentecost, except this time God is filling His people who are the temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” Ephesians 2:19 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel. (which means “God with us). Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” It is here that we see tongues defined and definitely not the babble of the charismatics. That is actually how whole denominations were deceived as they believed the babble they spoke was the same as the tongues here at Pentecost and they (charismatics) in fact are not filled with the Holy Spirit as they say they are.
When the glory of God is among us, the church will have power and authority against our enemies. As Joshua was told Joshua 1:5 “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Mark 16:17 “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Here is a picture of that. Acts 7:54 “When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” God was present with Stephen as he died and so was Saul (Paul) whom God would use in a mighty way.
We cannot have God’s presence among is if we are filled with sin. If we turn from God’s word, God turns from us and without His presence we are powerless against our enemies and we will be defeated. Zechariah 7:11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry. 13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. 14 ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’” This describes the condition of the church. Jesus is our only hope for us to have the glory of God among us once again. When His glory returns that means his kingdom will too. We will talk about that tomorrow. Paul said in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We cannot have God’s glory dwell among us if we are filled with sin.
When Samuel was a boy, God began talking to him. 1 Samuel 3:10 “Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening. 11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’” Later Jeremiah was told to say Jeremiah 19:3 “‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 4 For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.” The church has also turned from God’s word and disaster (abomination that causes desolation) has come against the church just as it did with Israel and Judah.
What Samuel saw would come to pass. 1 Samuel 3:19 “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.” Israel then went out to war against the Philistines and were defeated. 1 Samuel 4:3 “When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.” This was not a good plan considering what Samuel spoke of. 5 When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook.” But it did not go as they planned but it did go how God said it would. 10 So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died. Eli heard about his sons and then he died. 19 His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains. 20 As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.” But she did not respond or pay any attention. 21 She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The Glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
Ezekiel saw the siege of Jerusalem and God departing the temple because of all the sin. Ezekiel 8:6 “And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? 12 He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.’” 13 Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable. 18 Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.” Following other gospels is the same. Ezekiel 9:7 “Then he said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!” So they went out and began killing throughout the city. 8 While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell facedown, crying out, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?” 9 He answered me, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. Ezekiel also saw the glory depart from Israel in Ezekiel 10. In Chronicles we see the final destruction of Judah. 2 Chronicles 36:5 “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. 20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.”
The good news is that Ezekiel also saw the Glory of God return. Ezekiel 43:3 “The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” Isaiah tells us Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer.” The church was supposed to have the glory of God dwell among us but instead the church rebelled and the abomination that causes desolation was unleashed onto the church and it has been decimated with only a remnant left. All you have to do is look at the churches around you not the building, and look at the doctrines and theology and you will see that the church has been conquered. These days you can have a front row seat and see the desolation and destruction like video of Bethel and their glitter bomb. This was not the glory of God and their father is not God but satan yet they talk as if they have been blessed by God. Today if we truly want the glory of God to return and dwell among us the church must turn from wicked ways. 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” There has been no rain and there is a severe famine of hearing the word of the Lord and destruction of the church is everywhere. False prophets teach doctrines of demons and the church remain powerless and void of the spirit of God. Although that sounds pretty hopeless, there is still hope because there will always be a remnant. God will turn his face back to the church and once again Hosea 2:23 “I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
Isaiah tell us Isaiah 4:2 “In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. 5 Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.”Jeremiah 23:5 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.”Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Jesus said, Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Because the church has rebelled against God and have gone their own ways, our enemies have decimated the church as you see form this one example at Bethel but we have hope as we see with Habakkuk. He prayed, Habakkuk 3:2 “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” 12 In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations. 13 You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. 14 With his own spear you pierced his head when his warriors stormed out to scatter us, gloating as though about to devour the wretched who were in hiding. 15 You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the great waters. 16 I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. (not because of the enemy) Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”
With destruction and devastation all around, Habakkuk did not fear the enemy but feared God. He knew that the enemy would eventually be defeated. Today even though the abomination that causes desolation has crushed the church, this too will come to an end. Zechariah 8:2 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her. 3 This is what the Lord says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City / City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain. 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. 8 I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.” Acts 15:15 “The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 “‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’—18 things known from long ago.” The church will once again go out in truth and in the power and authority of Jesus name, Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”