As we were singing the chorus containing the lines “your holy presence living in me” at public worship I was drawn to Daniel chapter seven. This contains a vision of the Ancient of Days, a way of describing God’s eternity. In the vision “his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and flowed from his presence.” (verses 9b-10a). This is a picture of the most intense holiness.
Later in the passage, “one like a Son of Man comes with the clouds of heave. And he came to the Ancient of Days.” The result is that he receives “dominion and glory and kingship” over “all peoples, nations and languages” (verses 13-14).
In the New Testament Jesus repeatedly refers to himself as the Son of Man (70 odd times). Daniel’s vision of glory and dominion therefore refers to Christ’s return to the Father. This is the meaning of the “clouds” that accompany Jesus when he ascends to heaven (Acts 1:9). Jesus has entered into the eternal glory of the Father (John 17:5).
What struck me for the first time as I was praying was that Jesus has entered into the throne room that is ablaze with the fiery presence of God. Jesus has been and still is immersed in the fire of God’s holiness in heaven (1 Tim 6:16). As a resurrected and glorified human he now dwells with the immortal Father in “unapproachable light which no (mortal) man has seen or can see” with “honour and eternal dominion” (1 Tim 6:16). The very throne upon which he is seated at God’s right hand (Acts 2:30; Heb 1:8; 8:1; 12:2; Rev 3:21 etc.) must too be a throne of fire.
Scripture teaches that on the day of Pentecost “”tongues as of fire” rested on each of the disciples (Acts 2:4). I believe this signified to the first church that they were now seated with Christ in the heavenly places, with him on thrones of fire in the holy presence of God (Eph 1:20; 2:6). This means that the rule of God in and through our lives is a rule of holiness.
If Christ dwells in our hearts (Eph 3:17) in order to rule there, then we must have the fiery presence of God’s holiness within us. Another way of putting this is that the throne of God is holiness (Ps 97:1 -3). This means that the reign of God, the coming of the kingdom of God with power (1 Cor 4:20) through our lives will be in direct proportion to our holiness.
If we are seeing little of the manifest power of God as recorded in the New Testament – dramatic conversions with heart brokenness (Acts 2:37; 1 Cor 14:25); signs and wonders and miraculous healings (Acts 3:7; 8:13; 14:3; 1 Cor 12:9-10); community transformation (Acts 2:43 – 47; 4:32 -37) – then it must be that we are not living in the holy power of God.