Isaiah 43: 19 Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.
It should be no surprise to us that when we ask God for revival and reformation, with serious intent, and covenantal conviction in our heart, that the series of seasons that follow will be nothing short of ‘epic’. That has been our experience here in our region in Wales this last year or so. Not only have the dealings of God come with loving severity, but also the loving-kindness of God in ‘surprising’ revelation.
Nothing is new to God. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. There is nothing ‘new’ under the sun. The Scriptures are non-negotiable in their teachings and explanations. And yet, God comes in His newness each day by His mercies, and He is causing those He loves to come closer to His character and ways because there is much more He wishes to reveal to His Church. We have not yet plumbed the depths of Scripture where we can say that all that God has declared and fulfilled in His Son, as revealed in the Word, we are walking out in the power of the Spirit. And so, I wish to just drop just one of the seeds of truth that has shaken us to the core over recent times. These things are not new to God – He has always been the same. But the Light of the Lord has shone brightly on these truths, thus shining the Light of His Word into our hearts. May we as Spirit-filled Scribes take out of the Word that which is Old and New to see the People of God mature in Him. May we not be found wanting!
The Throne of God is Mobile.
Perhaps one of the greatest offenses to the religious Jews of Jesus’ day was His teaching and pronouncements about the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was the zenith of their religious experience as a people. It was in their mind, the focal point of God’s covenant and choosing of Israel, to be in the midst of them, and to be their God. All of history was ultimately about that thing for them. The patterns of worship were no more exemplified than in the Temple. The order of things no more demonstrated than in the Temple. No greater revelation existed of God in the Earth and among His people, other than the Temple.
However, it is not as if God ‘sold them down the river’ in order to deceive them, when Jesus came. It wasn’t as if God was being sneaky when He sent His Son to ‘redefine’ the Temple of God. No, the Law, the Prophets, and the symbolic articles were never meant to be the ‘ultimate’ revelation of the Person and Character of God. God had revealed to Moses something of the ‘true tabernacle,’ ‘not made by hands…’ and yet for a time, Moses built an earthly ‘shadow and type’ of a glorious reality that was still to be revealed. So too, it was for the Temple. God’s ultimate revelation of Himself, and indeed the Temple, was always purposed to revealed in ‘The Son of God.’
So in the years of the prophet / priest Ezekiel, can you imagine the surprise and shaking he experienced when found in exile, where apparently, God had forsaken His people, and removed them from the close proximity of the Temple, yet was coming near to them in a ‘new’ way?
Ezekiel 1 details the remarkable experience of this priest. (I encourage you to read it.) This man knew something of the awesomeness of God’s dwelling place in that former Temple. He knew that it was a judgment of God that they had been removed from that proximity – it jeopardized all of their identity, not to mention the promises. But here is the thing: A priest, now removed from his calling (in terms of temple function) is by the river Kebar, in dark Babylon, and in a moment of Divine initiative and encounter, sees as a prophet. Not only is this startling to Ezekiel, but the fresh revelation of the ‘God of Israel’ to him in that moment is even more shocking: God’s Throne, which was permanently fixed in Jerusalem’s Temple or so the people of Israel had come to understand, is actually Mobile!
Wait a minute! You mean to say that God’s rule, His reign… His Kingdom can actually be a moving entity? More than that, not only can it be, but should be so? Yes. And, imagine what that would have done to the thinking of Ezekiel. Imagine the magnitude of that upon the exiled people. To those who said: ‘the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord…’ God had come to redefine something, not of who He was, but what the people had made of Him.
This is the startling ‘new thing’ if you like, God is speaking to the ‘exiled’ people of God today. God wants to not only be exalted in a churchified temple, as a fixed state / place of rule, but He also wants to advance into enemy territory, even in the midst of exile.
So what came to Ezekiel in that prophetic moment? The Throne of God had wheels and mobility! I know, to the human mind the image can seem bizarre to say the least. But for a temple priest and a temple-orientated people of that time it was shocking. The Scriptures however, or should I say, ‘God, however’ was not surprised. Neither should Israel have been. Their history as a people was actually founded on that exact principle. The patriarchs were mobile men. Their sons a pilgrim people. Moses typified this more than any other in the OT by building a ‘tent’ that was mobile in nature, and a constant reminder to the people of God finding both a resting place, and also moving onto new regions. Zion was meant to be a place that exported the reign of God ‘to the Nations.’ Not only that but many of God’s servants also saw much of this ‘Mobile Chariot Throne’ with wheels and / or in chariot form during their encounters with the Lord, such as Daniel, Elijah, the Psalmists and other prophets.
So God was saying that in essence His Throne, or the Kingdom of God if you like, was to be expressed in a mobile way, always, and yet it would also find in that mobility a place of rest and residence. Jesus in the NT comes to express this point in a full way concerning Himself and His newly formed people. In fact, the very tension at the NT early Church in Jerusalem, was that they had been told to ‘Go’ and yet stayed. Thus God thrusts them out, for He Himself is a God of movement and mobility. Stephen in that time even addresses the religious men of Israel with these very truths in Acts 7:49-50:
However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me?’ says the Lord. ‘Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?’
The point Stephen was making was that God was looking for ‘Spirit filled people’ to inhabit and reveal the Messiah to the Nations.
So then, the implications of this truth for us today are startling. Many of us enjoy ‘coming to church’ and experiencing all of the blessings of sharing in the Word, fellowship, worshiping the Lord together. However, that in and of itself is insufficient if we are to manifest the Kingdom of God. Have we become guilty of New Testament temple-worship of our super modern ‘worship’ complexes? In an age of large franchise model super ministries with our multi-campuses, all linked via media to our fashionable speaker, are we guilty of holding everything to the center and believing that this is the only way God can work, by bringing people to church? Are we guilty of keeping the Throne of God static? Or is the Church of Jesus called to be a mobile congregation of saints; marching in the power of the Gospel of the Kingdom, proclaiming ‘the Kingdom is near…’ – yes, taking Kingdom ground and raising up churches (congregations) as ‘outposts of the Kingdom,’ (as one scholar has termed it) rather than the Church building as the ultimate expression of God’s rule?
The Throne of God has wheels, or at least they represent the chariot like features of God’s rule & reign – always advancing. Does our ‘mission statement’ or ‘vision’ represent that? Is our goal for a ‘great church,’ or to be the called out ones of Jesus?
I hope and pray it doesn’t take a time of exile for the people of God in the New Covenant to realize that God is wishing to do something ‘new.’ Or maybe, we have been in a time of spiritual exile in order to realize that the Throne of God was more than we realized; and that the wheels are in motion, the Spirit is in the wheels, and He is gaining momentum! I pray that we will see this vision and reality grip our hearts in the season ahead. Advance Lord Jesus!
(Next time we will look at the second part of what the Lord spoke to us that surprised us in its intensity – ‘seated with Christ in Heavenly places’.)
Andrew Yeoman, is a resident of Wales. He is Snr. Leader at Swansea Valley Bible Church, and a School of Ministry based in South Wales, UK; he also leads another church plant and the Europe Ablaze Missionary Society. He is the author of “Jesus Ministry,” which is available on Amazon.com.
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