“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;
A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated,
And the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9-10
On Saturday night, I visited a new church. Before I went the Holy Spirit showed me that I would not sing during worship. I took this to mean that sometimes we are silent before a holy God. Before the worship started, God showed me the above verses in Daniel 7; I noted the word “fire” or “fiery” used 3 times – describing God’s holiness. During the worship time he showed me Revelation 4, which speaks of heavenly worship.
“The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
‘Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!’
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him”. Revelation 4:8-10
About halfway through the songs, one of the worship leaders got an impression that there was a special anointing for the youth. About this time a couple of girls were dancing and running around at the front. This could have been the Holy Spirit, but . . . I felt they were dishonoring God. Then the worship leader said one of the young people should come up on stage and give the Church a corporate word. The senior pastor escorted one the girls to the stage. She delivered a very long word and I did not have any peace about what was happening. As the young girl continued to speak through the microphone, I felt the Holy Spirit saying I may have to leave because judgment was about to fall – I think he meant his fire, which also can consume. Hebrews 12 says, ”Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” (12:28-29) She finally finished and I was relieved. About 2 or 3 minutes later God commands me to leave immediately. He clarifies by saying, if I don’t leave, his fire will fall. I left.
That experience frightened me, but I think God was showing me that it is possible to have too much freedom, especially in a season when we should be honoring God’s holiness. It is also possible to worship the golden calf of freedom instead of worshipping the true God. When I read Revelation 4, I see a protocol before God. Instead of “elders” throwing down their crowns and falling on their face before Almighty God, we have young people doing this. Clearly, this is not their fault! However, it does go against the heavenly protocol.
The next day I went to my “normal” church and I admit I was afraid. But as soon as worship started, I saw (in the Spirit) a man dancing. I was relieved and worshipped Jesus with all my heart. I definitely felt God’s Spirit falling like lightning during this worship. The difference in the two experiences was like night and day. I later wondered why there was such a difference.
Here are four things I noticed about my church:
1) The Body and leadership is mature
2) We honored God by singing about his holiness!
3) There was protocol while at the same time freedom
4) We worshipped the King, not the golden calf of freedom
It is possible that in our free expression or insistence on free expression we go too far. We can actually be in rebellion against God by worshipping freedom. This is a strange thought I know, but I believe this is what I experienced. I know if someone were to watch me worship, it might look like I was doing whatever I wanted (Judges 21:25). But in reality I am not doing that – I am following protocol in reverence and fear and expressing my worship of a holy and righteous God. If I stand instead kneeling at the wrong time, I am in rebellion at the most dangerous time. Isn’t it ironic how lightly we take this type of discernment, and how deadly serious Adonai Yahweh is about his own worship.