Abomination, Desolation and Deliverance
2. The return of glory


God replaces desolation with his glory by a definite pattern. As human self-exaltation is the foundational sin which is punished by the loss of the divine glory, God acts to restore his image and glory in humanity by the revelation of his Name. This occurs when human beings value the glory of God above their own welfare. In dying on the cross, Jesus willingly enters into a state where no human boasting is possible; this is the death sentence on our fallen nature. In the resurrection, the Father raises Christ’s humanity into his eternal splendour. True Christian ministry magnifies only Jesus’ name and cross. Glory returns to the church through nameless and faceless believers who willingly suffer for the sake of the gospel. God is sovereignly gathering this purified remnant together with a wisdom and humility that undermines evil spiritual powers. The result will be a transformational godly presence throughout society.


This word complements my preceding article, “Abomination, Desolation and Deliverance.” It considers the positive purposes of God in calling a remnant out from the desolating spiritual conditions of much contemporary religion.

The scripture that headed up the first article[1] pictures Daniel as overhearing a conversation between “holy ones”[2]. Daniel, a man “greatly loved by God” (Dan 9:23; 10:11, 19), is in the privileged position of entering into the deliberations of the council of the LORD.[3] Though he hears terrifying things concerning the power of evil in the holy place, the angelic communication finishes with a word of hope, “the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”

Those called out of the mournful state of much of Western Christianity will likewise be able to hear[4] what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches[5] about coming deliverance from the formidable power of evil amongst us. No matter what our experience seems to tell us, our Father is never passive; when the forces of light seem most impotent the fulfilment of the vision is close at hand.[6]

If the key word for the first teaching was “desolation”, the key theme of this one is “glory”. For the holy ones of God, the substitution of human for divine glory is desolation.[7] Once however the temple of God is cleansed, the manifest presence of God leaves no room for the spirit of desolation.

1. Created in Glory

The theme of the glorious presence of God begins with creation. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”(Gen 1:1-2)[8] This scripture pictures the Spirit of God as an illuminating presence penetrating and pushing aside the primeval darkness and chaos. The language of “formlessness” and the Spirit “hovering” is used elsewhere to describe how God overshadowed Israel in the wilderness.[9] Since that which guided Israel through the desert was in fact the shekinah glory of God, his manifest presence[10], it is plain that the glory-cloud of the Spirit filled the earth at the beginning of creation.

Creation gives God great pleasure, because at its heart is his glory-image, man. “When he established the heavens, I was there when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 30 then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, 31 rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.” (Prov 8:27, 29-31)

At the centre of God’s pleasure is Eden, a word that means “delight”, and at the centre of Eden is man, created for the glory of God.[11] A created human being is “the image and glory of God” (1 Cor 11:7); “The glory of God is a man fully alive.” (Irenaeus). This means that the glory of God in relation to humanity is to glorify man-to fill him with the very means by which he was created, the eternal Word and Spirit.[12]

Obedience to the divine command concerning the tree of knowledge (Gen 2:17) would have seen Adam and Eve enter into the fullness of the glory God had planned for them. To seek glory from God is something humanity is always commanded to do.[13] To seek the glorification of God in oneself[14] is to love God and be loved by God. “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Pet 1:8)

The greatest gift that God could give to humanity was to be able to love him, and themselves, as he loves himself and them. This is what it means to share in the glory of God.[15] Wherever humans dwell in the pleasure of God, God dwells in them and fills them with his glory.[16]

2. The Loss of Glory

The language of glory is the language of manifestation; glory is the manifestation of a nature.[17] This means that man’s glory is to reveal God. This would have been accomplished as long as he internalised the means by which he was created in the divine likeness, the Spirit and Word of God, and brought forth his works in their power.[18]

Adam knew these things by revelation, but so also did Satan.[19] The essence of the first temptation is to exchange the image and glory of God in man for the image and glory of man without God.[20]

The essential deception is that true glory can be had apart from God.[21] This is impossible, because when Adam and Eve sought their own glory they denied their true status as created children of God[22]. Instead of seeking glory from God they sought to glorify themselves. By rejecting the revelation of the Word concerning the tree of knowledge (Gen 2:17) and grieving the Spirit (compare Isa 63:10), they lost the indwelling presence of God which is the divine glory (Rom 3:23).

3. The Apostate Glory of Man

Since human beings are essentially constituted for glory they must seek it by any means, if not in the true God, then in false images of God. The primary and universally false image is the self-centred ego. Self-worship is the foundational human sin;[23] it is to directly substitute oneself for God.[24] The human heart is “deceitful above all things” (Jer 17:9) because it gives itself the significance of God.

The power of the spirit of the antichrist is that it images humanity’s ultimate desire, to be God.[25] This explains how the evil one is able to deceive “the whole world” (1 John 5:19; Rev 12:9, 16:14). He is “the god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4) whose agent the beast is given authority “over every tribe and people and language and nation” (Rev 13:7), this images the totalitarian aspirations of the unregenerated human heart. The motto of the great empires, “I am and there is no other” (Isa 47:7-8; Zeph 2:15; Rev 18:7) is nothing other than the human attempt to usurp the place of the true “I am”.[26] It recapitulates the original sin to be “like God” without God.[27]

“The number of the beast… the number of a man…666.” (Rev 13:18) is not as mysterious as may first appear. “Wherever there is blasphemy, there the beast’s name is found.” (Minear).[28] Blasphemy is making oneself God. Those who first read Revelation would have readily drawn associations between the number “666” and various Old Testament passages with a common theme.

Immediately after we hear, “the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents” (1 Ki 10:14), Kings catalogues Solomon’s sins (1 Ki 11:1-8). Particularly relevant is this, “So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord… 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.” (11:6-7) Intoxicated by wealth, the builder of the imageless Temple built images of gods powerful like himself.[29]

Similarly, in the pagan world, “King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits its breadth six cubits.”(Dan 3:1), this was for the purpose of global worship, “all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image” (3:7). The message is the same; man continually images himself as God.[30] As the central theme of the book of Daniel goes on to make clear, only those willing to die for the true faith can overcome this power of evil.

4. The Glory of the Name

Throughout scripture the name and glory of God are joined together. Moses receives the revelation of God’s name at the sight of the burning bush.[31] The name of God is present “in”[32] “the angel of the presence” that leads Israel through the desert; this is equated with the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit.[33] Name, Spirit and glory are inseparable realities in scripture.[34]

When Moses asks to see the glory of God the response of the divine voice is a proclamation of the name, “The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.””(Ex 34:5-7).[35] The revelation of the deliverance and wrath of God is his glory because the name of God is his revealed character.[36]

Where the name of God is truly honoured the glory of God is duly manifested. Because Solomon builds a house “for God’s name” (2 Chron 6:34, 38), “fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” (2 Chron 7:1).

Most importantly, this is the case with Jesus. As the Spirit of glory hovered over creation at the beginning (Gen 1:2), so the Spirit descends upon him at the beginning of the new creation[37] naming him as God’s Son.[38] That the glory of God is on Christ is manifest most visibly at his transfiguration, “a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”” (Mark 9:7). God was present in the glory cloud because by it Jesus was soon to accomplish his “departure (Greek, exodus) from Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:31).

Whilst the glory of God is revealed in the teachings and miracles Jesus[39], the focus on glory in his earthly ministry is actually the cross. It is in relation to the cross that Jesus prays, ““Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”” (John 12:28). “When he (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.” (John 13:31-32) This implies that by his death Jesus fulfils everything that Moses had sought to see of God’s character and reveals all that the LORD himself had spoken of his name, that he is a fully delivering and punishing God.

Since the manifest glory of God fully exposes the truth, it strikes terror into the heart of sinful man.[40] In the cross our humanity in Jesus is reduced to nothing. He is plunged into forsakenness[41], sub-humanity[42], without “form or majesty”[43], someone upon whom God apparently has no pleasure[44]. In bearing the wrath of God for us, in “becoming sin” (2 Cor 5:21), Jesus becomes senseless to the joy of God in him, in dying the death of the cross he is utterly emptied[45] of any awareness of the image and glory of God. In dying in this way, in our place, Jesus becomes absolutely aware[46] that there is nothing in the fallen human flesh that he has taken on (John 1:14) that has any ground of boasting before God, it deserves only condemnation (Rom 8:3). Paradoxically, the entry of Jesus into this desolate state is the glory of the cross[47].

At the cross the temple of the body of humanity is totally cleansed forever (John 2:17-21) because the wrath of God, in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire that falls on Christ (Luke 3:16-17) totally consumes all human self-estimation. “It is finished” (John 19:30). From now on, the full glory of God can dwell in humanity, the Son has returned as one of us into the eternal glory of God (John 17:5; Acts 1:9; 1 Tim 3:16) through his sufferings.[48]

The resurrection of Jesus and his return to heaven means that a human being with a human name is now one with the name and glory of God. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:9-11).

5. The True Priesthood

True Christian ministry is not designed to build high profile churches, but to bring glory to God through the church. This ministry of glory is a ministry of suffering for the church, “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.” (Eph 3:13).

It is not that Paul’s suffering has power to build the church in itself, but it is powerful in the cross[49] by sharing in its reality. When he speaks of “the fellowship of his sufferings”[50] and “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col 1:24), he is aware that by grace the restoring power of the cross to renew the glory of humanity is at work in him.[51]

It is because the cross is first at work in him, destroying anything that stands in the way of the manifestation of the glory of God, Paul reckons himself dead to personal honour[52]. Therefore he exhibits “the signs of a true apostle …signs and wonders and mighty works” (2 Cor 12:11-12)[53].

True Christian ministry never accumulates wealth and glory for itself, for this would be a reversal of God’s basic order between parents and their children.[54] It genuinely equips the saints to minister (Eph 4:12) not to itself, nor primarily to the church[55] but for the world for which Christ died.[56] Death to self-interest is the mark of true apostolic priesthood.[57] For Paul to “magnify my ministry” is to reveal Christ.[58]

The result of genuine priestly ministry is that the church does not reveal itself but Christ. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”(1 Pet 2:9) This is the opposite of the endless “churchifying” we see in our day.[59]

6. To Him be Glory in the Church

The purpose of the creation of the church is to bring glory to God. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21)

There is an ancient story of three architects who brought to the king their models of the temple of the sun. The first was a beautiful sculpted work in stone, chiselled and richly polished. The king could only admire it. The second was of gold, brightly reflecting the image of the sun in every angle and facet. The third was a pyramid temple of glass, so transparent that at first it was invisible. However, as the sunlight began to penetrate and pour unhindered through the transparent walls the whole atmosphere began to fill with the colours of the spectrum. This was the true temple of the sun, reflecting not its own glory, the glory of a human architect, but reflecting and revealing in every part the glorious object to whose honour it was devoted.

This story captures the imagery of the final state of the church. The end-time city of God and its streets are “pure gold, clear as glass” (Rev 21:18, 21).[60] In the End, there are no obstacles to the radiation of the glory of God that emanates from the throne of God and the Lamb.[61]

So it should be with the church today. God is seeking “nameless and faceless” people through whom the pure light of his glory will shine. Their deepest prayer will echo the cry of the psalmist, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Ps 115:1)[62] At the present time the Western church is defiled by personal power bases. But whenever there has been a restoration of the glory of God in the church, a revival, it is always led by self-effacing leaders.[63] We will see the first fruits of revival when the powerful work of the Spirit is accompanied by men and women who hate a high profile.

7. Glorification Comes Only Through Suffering

The means of this glorification is suffering for the sake of the name. God is always purifying his people that they may truly reflect his glory[64]. Peter picks up the shekinah glory image from the Old Testament and couples it with the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit.

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you… if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household[65] of God; (1 Pet 4:12-15, 17)

This passage reflects Peter’s own experience, “and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the name.” (Acts 5:40-41) Peter knew what it was to have “a joy unspeakable and full of glory” through fiery trials (2 Pet 1:7-8). This principle of suffering and glory is nothing other than the Holy Spirit repeating in us the means by which he glorified the humanity of Christ.[66]

From the suffering of the Old Testament prophets in their union with the Spirit of Christ[67] through the apostolic agony and the whole history of the persecuted church up to the present time, the manifest power of God is only released through patient endurance. At the core this is not about human factors, but about overcoming those evil spiritual powers which first robbed humanity of its glory.[68]

8. Overcoming of the Powers

The New Testament teaches that the purpose of the gospel ministry is “to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (Eph 3:9-10)

The ruler of this world is “cast out”[69] in the opposite manner to that by which he was allowed in[70], through the superior wisdom of God[71]. The wisdom that comes from above is totally free from personal ambition[72] and so allows God to fill all things with his holy presence. This holy presence is not to be equated with a high emotional feeling, but a presence that terrifies both men and demons so that their opposition to the kingdom of God is rendered spiritually impotent[73].

The wisdom in which God dwells in the midst of his people is the wisdom of the cross[74]. Contrary to popular religion, we never move “beyond the cross”, for the cross is eternally present to God.[75] When, “in the Spirit” (Rev 4:2), John is taken into the throne room of heaven, he sees in the midst of the glory of God (4:3-11) “a Lamb standing as slain”[76]. In Christ, God rules the world in a cruciform (cross-shaped) manner.

The spiritual paradox is that the saints defeat the devil in the same manner as Jesus did, by being slaughtered[77] as if personally defenceless.[78] Contrary to our Western insistence on personal rights, this is something that is commanded of us.[79] We overcome the spirit of the beast by not opposing it in the same spirit, but by submitting to God’s decree that we be conquered by it in the way that it conquers.[80] The Satanic power cannot touch our life “above” that “is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:2-3), but it can certainly rob us of the pleasures, privileges and comforts of this life.

If the spirit of the beast is self-love, the Christian overcomes this spirit by loving God, self and others in God’s love. This is to love all in the gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is to love to the point of death and to leave no room for the spirit of the anti-Christ.[81]

Once the temple of God, the church[82], is cleansed from self-exaltation, God sees his own beloved image reflected in it[83], this is the image of Jesus Christ, the slain and raised Lamb. This image he loves with all his being.[84] In the purified church the throne of the Lamb is set up on earth and the glory of God is poured out in the Spirit.

9. The Glory is Coming

In terms of the basic biblical principle, “the testimony of Jesus …the spirit of prophecy” (Rev 19:10) the teaching above is true. Whilst timing is always in God’s sovereign counsel, I believe I am seeing certain things in the Spirit that lead me to conclude the time is near for a manifestation of the glory of God.[85]

On a hotel roof top in Argentinian 1994 I had an answer to prayer in seeking to know the “secret of God”[86]. God answered me visually with the sight a set of concentric circles in the colours of the rainbow.[87] This was cantered upon the indwelling Christ in me[88] and signals, as the rainbow in scripture does, the taking away of judgement.[89] When judgement is taken away the glory of God is manifested.

Earlier this year I believe the Spirit gave me a related picture. On the left hand side is a clear white beam of light, it approaches an empty cross. There are blood stains at 5 points on the cross corresponding to where Jesus was pierced: the head beam, the position of the feet, the 2 hands and his side. If these 5 points are joined laterally and vertically a diamond shape is formed. When the pure light passes through the diamond, a spectrum emerges on the other side of the cross.

The white light is the light of Christ (John 8:12), the 5 blood stained points represent faithful people who know the crucified life (Gal 2:19-20), the diamond shape or prism represents relationships/connection between these people in Perth. The spectrum that is refracted through these cross-centred relationships represents the shekinah glory of God, as in a rainbow, signifying the reign of grace and the end of judgement upon our city (Gen 9:13-16; Rev 4:3).

God is sovereignly bringing together in this city a group of transparent selfless individuals through whom his glory might shine[90]. Outwardly they will not be impressive but inwardly they will reveal Christ.

10. Transformational Presence

The plan of God[91] is not limited to the church being filled with the glory of God[92] but that “all things”[93] be filled with the glory of God in Christ through the church. When he assembles his holy ones in each Western city[94] this is what we will begin to see[95]. It will see the commencement of an alteration of the spiritual environment that signifies the reality of the end-time city of God. Over each city there will be, as it were, a “sacred canopy”[96] that marks out a place of spiritual protection and powerful witness to the gospel. The Lord will supernaturally[97] and mysteriously[98] grow his church through the power of his kingdom, and glory will be given to his name.[99]

What then is the Lord requiring of us? Nothing other than prayerful faithfulness to his own sovereign means of restoring his presence in the church.

[1] “Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”” (Dan 8:13-14)

[2] These are undoubtedly angelic beings.

[3] The divine council (1 Ki 22:19-23; Jer 23:18 etc.) is the heavenly court where God as King decides how his kingdom will reign upon the earth. It is universal in authority. The ultimate mark of a false prophet is that they are excluded from this council.

[4] ““For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.””(Amos 3:7)

[5] Revelation 2:7,11,17 29; 3:6,3,22.

[6] Habakkuk 2:2-3 is the classic Old Testament text about waiting for the fulfilment of what God has spoken. When Babylonian power was at its height the prophet was counselled to wait in faith. For a Christian, the ultimate foundation in times of despair when evil seems to triumph is the cross. When Jesus was at the end of himself (Mark 15:34) the Father’s deliverance of his eternal spirit was closest at hand (Luke 23:46).

[7] This is because holiness has nothing in common, no communion, with the worship of anything other than the true God.

[8] Compare, “For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.” (Isa 60:2)

[9] “He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11 Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions,” (Deut 32:10-11)

[10] Ex 13:20-22; 40:36-37; Num 9:17-23,10:34etc.

[11] “I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.””(Isa 43:6-7)

[12] See Gen 1:2; Ps 33:6; 104:30 for creation by the Spirit, and John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2; Heb 11:3 for creation through the Word (= Christ).

[13] Something always commended in scripture, for example, “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life” (Rom 2:6-7). This is not in contradiction with those texts which say God will not give his glory to another (Isa 42:8; 48:11). What is in mind here is the idolatrous pursuit by humanity of the honour that belongs to the one true God (John 5:44). What distinguishes Jesus from all other men and women is that he always seeks glory from his Father and never for himself (John 7:18, 8:50; 17:5).

[14] John 12:43,17:24; 1 Pet 1:8; 2 Pet 1:17

[15]Love and glory cannot be separated, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)

[16] “For when he received honour and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,”” (2 Pet 1:17)

[17] “Holiness is glory concealed, glory is holiness revealed” (Herntrich)

[18] This is something done fully only by the second Adam (Matt 12:28; Luke 4:1,14,18; John 10:32,37, 14:10; 24etc.)

[19] Scripture does not delve into the origins of the devil, but his association with the angelic “sons of God” (Job 1:6; 2:1) indicates that he had insight into what man meant to God, ““Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth/… when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”(Job 38:1, 7)

[20] “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Rom 1:22-23).

[21] Jesus refused to submit to this when tested in the wilderness, “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”” (Matt 4:8-10)

[22] See Luke 3:38; Acts 17:28 for created sonship.

[23] In modern terms this is narcissism, something some sociologists see as the plague of modern Western culture. Self-expression and self-realization are now the new “sacred cosmos”. The most important religious figure promoting this cult of self in the English speaking world would be Oprah Winfrey.

[24]“ Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God: “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god” (Ezek 28:2)

[25] “the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thess 2:3-4)

[26] Isa 45:5-6, 18, 22; 46:9 “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me”

[27] Gen 3:5

[28] “The church can become the antichrist, and when it denies this, it is.” (Niebuhr). Compare Daniel11:30-39, where the anti-God power enters into agreement with apostates from the covenant community.

[29] Those pastors who tell their congregations to bring the “tithes into the storehouse” (Malachi 3:10), equating the church building and its programmes with the spiritual temple of God, are in great danger, as Solomon was.

[30] Whether the statue was of the king himself or one of his gods is unclear, in the ancient world the king was in any case a manifestation of the deity.

[31] “And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. …Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” (Ex 3:2, 13-14)

[32] ““Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him.”” (Ex 23:20-21)

[33] “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.10 But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them. 11 Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people. Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit,” (Isa 63:9-11)

[34] “Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!” (Ps 72:19) When the seraphim proclaim God’s name as “Holy… the whole earth is full of his glory!”” (Isa 6:3), the Temple is necessarily saturated with his presence.

[35] There is an intimate connection between this incident and the first three of the ten commandments, “no other gods before me…no likeness…not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Ex 20:3-7) They all preserve God’s incomparability and warn of judgment for failing to do this.

[36] “Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! 4 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”(Ps 105:3-4)

[37] Strictly speaking, the Spirit earlier hovered over Jesus as he was conceived in Mary, ““The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

[38] “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22).

[39] For example, the turning of water into wine, “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.”(John 2:11)

[40] God “rises to terrify the earth” through destroying human pride and idolatry by “the splendour of his majesty”, “and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.”(Isa2:10, 11, 17, 19, 21).

[41] “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(Ps 22:1; Mark 15:34).

[42] “I am a worm and no man” (Ps 22:6).

[43] Isaiah 53:2

[44] “in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.” (Heb 10:6 citing Ps 40:6). Whilst the cross was “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph 5:2), the cost of bearing our sin meant that Jesus had no sense of this.

[45] This is the climactic meaning of Philippians 2:7-8, “he made himself nothing… he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”

[46] His death “perfects” his humility before the Father (Heb 2:10; 5:9).

[47] This is because it is an act of pure love.

[48] “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”(Luke 24:26 cf. Heb 2:9)

[49] “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:17-18)

[50] Phil 3:10

[51] This is manifest because the “afflictions” of which the apostle speaks here and elsewhere (Acts 20:23; 2 Cor 6:4; 1 Thess 3:3 etc.) are a union with the “afflictions” of the Suffering Servant who redeems the world (Isa 53:4, 7).

[52] “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”(Gal 6:14) Compare Phil 3:4-8 etc.

[53] It is the combination of brokenness and supernatural evidences (see also 2 Cor 4:11-12; 6:3-10; 12:1-10) that distinguishes a true apostle from a false one (2 Cor 11:13; Rev 2:2). The lawless one has “all power and false signs and wonders” (2 Thess 2:9) but he is recognisable by his self-glorying.

[54] “Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.” (2 Cor 11:14). The contemporary apostolic movement that teaches one should tithe to their apostle is therefore revealed as false. This principle of rejecting those who prophesy to their own advantage was laid down very early in the life of the church, “And no prophet when he orders a table in the Spirit shall eat of it; otherwise he is a false prophet.”(Didache11:14-15, dated mid to late first-century AD).

[55] The simple fact is that around 80% of church income is internally directed.

[56] The structure of Ephesians 4 shows that Paul understood Christ to be working to “fill all things” (v.10) (the cosmos) with himself through the “fivefold ministry” releasing the gifts of all the saints of God.

[57] This is an expression of Paul’s, “a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God” (Rom 15:16)

[58] He would have been totally appalled at the academic expression “Pauline churches” and certainly would not have had a TV programme listed under his name. Compare the great reluctance with which he introduces the stories of his personal experiences (2 Cor 12:1-6,11).

[59] By this I mean the creation of a church culture that is personally ambitious and promotes titles, positions, leadership and excellence within the service of itself.

[60] The city is composed of holy people (Rev 21:2= 19:7-8). In John 14:1, when Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places (mone) ”, this must be interpreted in terms of the “manifest” indwelling of God in believers he speaks of later, ““If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home (mone) with him.” (v.23)

[61] “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Rev 21:23)

[62] In the city in which I live (Perth, Western Australia) it is common to identify the local church by the name and reputation of the senior pastor to a degree that may be unprecedented in Christian history.

[63] At the height of his fame George Whitefield proclaimed, “Let the name of Whitefield perish, but Christ be glorified.” “Let my name die everywhere, let even my friends forget me, if by that means the cause of the blessed Jesus may be promoted.” Similarly William Booth, “I should be a man possessed by the Holy Ghost. When men hear my name they would think about God.” (It was Luther’s opponents who coined the term “Luther-an”, he used “Evangelical” i.e. relating to the gospel.)

[64] See, for example, “But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.”(Mal 3:2-4)

[65] The connections with the judgement of God in the Temple shows that the Greek term oikos here means temple/sanctuary not household (Ezek 9:6)

[66] Take for example the structure of Romans 8:15-17. Through the Spirit we exclaim the name “Abba! Father!”, and know our inheritance with Christ “provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him”.

[67] “Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” (1 Pet 1:10-12)

[68] “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12). My experience is that there is much more anger around against the failures of the church, than against the devil. Compare the discerning aggression of Jesus, Peter and Paul (Matt 16:23; Acts 5:3, 13:10).

[69] “ “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.””(John 12:31-32)

[70] In the order of temptation (Gen 3:1ff.) and grace (see Footnote 71) wisdom is more foundational than power.

[71] When Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18) it is in the context of a display of the Father’s wisdom, ““I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” (v. 21)

[72] “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” (James 3:13-15).

[73] “And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.””(Mark 1:23-24); “Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ…7With shrieks, evilspirits came out of many” (Acts 8:5, 7).

[74] 1 Cor 2:1-7; compare the need for Christian worship in wisdom Col 3:16; Eph 5:15-20.

[75] “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” (Rev 13:8)

[76] Unfortunately, many English translations render what is known as the Greek perfect participle by “as if slain”. The point of the grammar is that the power of the death of Jesus is perpetually manifest before the throne of God. Compare 1 Cor 2:2.

[77] The verb used for the Lamb’s death in Rev 5:6 (sphadzo) is used also of the death of the saints, “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.”(Rev 6:9) “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.” (Rev 18:24).

[78] “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isa 53:7)

[79] “ 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them….If anyone has an ear, let him hear: 10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.” (Rev 13:6-7, 9-11)

[80] The mystery of the beast’s “resurrection” (Rev 13:3) is that evil powers feed on bitterness, arrogance, hatred and so on. Whenever the “true church”/”remnant” hates and malign the “harlot church” of Revelation 17:1-6 the beast will rise again in another diabolical form.

[81] “And they have conquered him (the Accuser) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Rev 12:11).

[82] 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; Eph 2:21; Pet 2:5

[83] Compare 2 Cor 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

[84] This is not to say that there are variations in the essential nature of God as love (1 John 4:7), but that God can actively love in a greater way, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.” (John 10:17).

[85] This relates particularly to the part of the world in which I live, the city of Perth. I leave it to others to apply to their locality.

[86] Something vital to the New Testament understanding of the gospel (Rom 16:25; Eph 1:9; 3:4,6; 5:32; Col 1:27; 2:2; 4:3) but rarely preached today.

[87] The Greek word for “manifold wisdom” in Eph 3:10 is related to “many coloured.”

[88] Compare Colossians1:26-27, “the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

[89] Gen 9:8-17; Rev 4:3

[90] Just as a rainbow is made up of a multitude of tiny prisms that together add up to give the entire spectrum effect, so each faithful believer, in fellowship with other saints, will constitute the lens through which the glory of God will be manifest.

[91] Eph 1:10; 3:9

[92] We never hear of “the gospel of the church” or were taught to pray, “your church come”. Such a focus equates to ecclesiolatry i.e. worship of the church.

[93] This is a theme that begins with the dominion mandate in Gen 1:26-28; is seen by the prophets e.g. Gen 6:3; Hab2:14 and taught in the New Testament e.g. Eph 1:22-23; 4:10ff.

[94] I believe that in many parts of the “two-thirds world” believers are already experiencing these things.

[95] Christ’s commission is to transform nations into disciples (Matt 28:19), not to enlarge the church (this is his business, Matt 16:18).

[96] “And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4 when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. 5 Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. 6 There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.”(Isa 4: 3-6)

[97] “praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47). Compare Psalm 133, which sees an outpouring of spiritual blessing through coherence rather than inclusiveness (in a politically correct sense).

[98] “He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.” (Mark 4:27)

[99] There is nothing in this description that implies a postmillennial or triumphalist view of the long term future of the church across the globe.

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