A short time ago, I shared a dream my husband had about a greater move of God that is coming (in “Revival Update”) and some have already been encountering. He said it was like nothing we have ever experienced before, the presence of God was so intense and the conviction that came from being in the presence of a holy God that he (my husband) was afraid people might die, (like Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5). My husband said, “I was afraid I might die” (and my husband lives a clean life, but we all have areas that need improvement). After the death of Ananias and Saphira, it is recorded that “great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things,” (Acts 5:11, NKJ). Most of us have never had this type of encounter with the Lord before. We have experienced his grace, his love, his mercy, etc., but this sounded almost like an old testament encounter, like Moses and the children of Israel had when the Lord descended on the top of the mountain in a dark cloud and there was thunder and lightning (when the Lord gave Moses the 10 commandments). The people told Moses in Exodus 20:19 “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die”. 20 And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear (reverence and respect) may be before you, so that you may not sin.” (NKJ)
In Isaiah chapter 6, Isaiah had a vision where he saw the Lord high and lifted up and he said the Lord’s train filled the temple. He was so struck by the awesomeness of God’s holy presence that he said 5 Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst a people of unclean lips, (NKJ). Being in the presence of a holy God brings conviction, it makes people aware of how far they fall short of His glory. It is only because of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf that we are able to approach such a holy God. In old Testament times, the high priest could only go into the holy of holies (the holiest part of the temple) once a year, after making the sacrifice and going through the ritual cleansings and if it was not done properly, he or the other priests could be struck dead, not because the Lord is vindictive, but because His holy nature cannot tolerate sin. The word “holy” means to be “set apart or separate from sin.”
In a book called The God Chasers, Evangelist Tommy Tenney also referenced a (modern day) similar encounter. He had been preaching a revival at a church and he said in one particular service, the presence of God began filling up the building until it became so intense that he (Tommy Tenney) was afraid to move. The Pastor tried to get him to go to the podium and say something, but he said no, so the Pastor went up to the podium and began to speak. At that moment he said something like a lightning bolt hit the podium and split it in half and knocked the Pastor back about 20 feet (the Pastor was not harmed). A holy fear and reverence for the presence of God struck everyone in the place. Afterwards, people began weeping and filling the altars, getting saved or rededicating their lives to the Lord and then being baptized. This continued for some time. Tommy said that an atheist came to the church on one occasion, not believing in God, but when he crossed the threshhold of the church door and encountered the presence of a holy God, he fell on his face and became a believer.
As I said, most of us have no reference point for this kind of encounter with God, we have experienced His presence, His love, grace and mercy, but I think sometimes we forget that He is a holy God, who should be treated with a reverential respect. Yes we’re His children, but He’s also our Lord, and we need to respect Him as such. Proverbs 9:10 says: “The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding.” (The Amplified Bible).
I have included encounters with God’s holiness from the old and new testaments, as well as modern times to make the point that God has not changed in His nature. God (Jesus) is the same yesterday, today and forever, (Hebrews 13:8). He still hates sin, so it’s not something we should take lightly, like it doesn’t matter to the Lord. He doesn’t want us to go around under a false sense of guilt and condemnation, but He also doesn’t want us to try to turn the grace of God into a license to sin (Jude 1:4, Romans 6:15).
One of my favorite scriptures is Hebrews 10:14, which reads: 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (NIV). This scripture speaks of our positional holiness (our position in Christ as having the righteousness of Christ credited to our account), but it also speaks of practical holiness, which is the Lord continuing to shape and mold us into the image of Christ so that we not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. The Lord desires practical holiness in our lives as well as positional. I Peter 1;15-18 says: 15 But as the One who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living. 16 For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy. 17 And if you call upon Him as (your) Father Who judges each one impartially according to what he does, (then) you should conduct yourselves with true reverence throughout the time of your temporary residence (on the earth), The Amplified Bible.
We have been praying for a greater “move of God” for sometime and have started experiencing an increase, but I believe there is more to come. I think sometimes it is because of God’s mercy that we have not experienced it sooner, because we need to prepare our hearts and live holy lives if we want to encounter the manifest presence of a holy God. God bless you all.