THEME: THE RETURN OF THE ARK
TEXT: 1 Chron.13:1-3
And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the Lord our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren everywhere, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us: And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul. And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
In our last Synod, the Lord spoke to us on the theme; “I Will Do a New Thing”. The message was revealing and prophetic. It was a landmark insight into where God has decided to take His church to; and indeed, since that word came to us from the Lord, a lot of new things have been happening – and certainly, many more new things shall happen in the name of Jesus. Amen. This year’s theme is a deliberate divine guide posts on how to handle and sustain the New Thing God is committed to doing in our Diocese and beyond. The way to keep the global wave of divine move and other aspects of the New Thing is actually to bring back the Ark. So, as part of God’s definite instructions on how to handle the New Thing, He has decided to confront us this year with the matter of the Ark. The Ark, among other things, represents God’s presence, His covenant and His strength. The message of the Ark is the message of true worship of God based on deep, personal conviction and unshaken covenant relationship with Him. The Ark bearers‟ life is so critical to the move of God that even when the form and contents of the Ark are intact but the inner life of the carriers of the Ark is not correct before God, the power of the Ark will not manifest in the lives of the Ark bearers. These are very critical issues that burden the heart of God in this generation; and it has pleased Him to gather us here so that He would show us the principles of Christian living and the bedrocks of handling the move of God in our generation – using the analogy of the Ark.
BACKGROUND OF THE THEME
The two books of Chronicles are more of repetitions. But not vain repetitions, for there are excellent and useful things in them which we cannot find elsewhere. Their repetitions appear as establishing truths that have before been said or revealed, and to aid inculcation and remembrance. The author of the books of Chronicles is widely accepted to be Ezra, that ready scribe in the law of the Lord (Ezra 7:6). The collection was made after the captivity yet the original language is sometimes retained. 1 Chronicles is divided into three (3) major parts. However, our theme text falls in the second segment which is “A repetition of the history of the translation of the Kingdom from Saul to David, and of the triumph of David’s reign, with large additions” covering chapters 10-21. Chapter 13 of the 1 Chronicles from where we have our theme is a paraphrase of 2 Samuel 6. The incidence that preceded the action of David in returning the Ark (as recorded in both 2 Sam.6 and 1 Chron.13) actually took place in 1 Samuel chapters 4-7. Israel had lost their spiritual standing in God before the battle with the Philistines as recorded in 1 Sam.4. The Philistines were defeating Israel, so Israel had to pray. Without genuine repentance, Israel enquired of the Lord to know why the Philistines were defeating them (1 Sam.4:3). In the midst of the backsliding and without a clear word from God, Israel quickly went to Shiloh to fetch the Ark of the Lord so that the power in the Ark will make them win the Philistines in the battle (1 Sam.4:4). When Israel brought the Ark, without correct inner life of holiness and consecration, they began to shout with a great shout so that the ground shook (1Sam.4:5). When the Philistines heard the shout, they feared and thought that a supernatural force had come to help the Israelites in the battle. However, the Philistines decided to continue the fight against the Israelites. Behold, the shout of the Israelites even in the presence of the Ark, was an empty shout! So, the Philistines defeated them and also captured the ark of the Lord – 1 Sam.4:4-11. So, from this time till twenty years and seven months, the ark of the Lord was not in its proper place. For seven months, it was in the hands of the Philistines (people outside the commonwealth of Israel); for twenty whole years, the ark was in one man’s house in Israel. For those lengthy periods, the ark was not in its divinely assigned place: in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. The sequence of the events of chapters 12 and 13 reveals that as soon as David was well enthroned, his utmost concern was about the ark of God thus he emphasized in the words of our text, “Let us bring the ark to us” (1 Chron. 13:3). According to Matthew Henry’s Bible commentary, he aimed at two things here: I. “To do honour to God, by showing respect to his ark, the token of his presence.” II. “To have the comfort and benefit of that sacred oracle.” David had the bringing back of the ark first on his priority list. He saw it as fundamental and foundational to his reign and success. It is not out of place to say that while David was on the bench waiting for his manifestation as king, he had given thought to what was the problem of his would be kingdom. His eyes were inspired to note that though all religious activities were going on, there were still prophets and priests, the name of God was still being mentioned, prayers were still being said, sacrifices were being offered; in fact, normal religious routines were going on but something very prominent was missing, “the Ark”. To David, it is the Ark that gave and gives credence to all religious activities. He felt that all that were going on were meaningless without the Ark. He therefore saw the bringing back of the Ark as his utmost and primary assignment. Thus we can quickly assert here that the matter of the Returning of the Ark began with one person, King David. It started with having the right mind and then applying the right approach. His approach was to communicate the need for the return of the Ark to the leaders and through them to all the people. Now, one may ask, what is so special about the Ark that it engaged the whole of David’s thoughts and efforts?
THE THEOLOGY OF THE ARK
In Exodus 25:10-16, we have a clear record of God’s instruction to Moses to build the ark. That divine instruction on the construction of the ark came to Moses as part of the whole instructions God released to him on the pattern for building the Tabernacle. The Lord said to Moses concerning the craft men that were to build the ark: And they shall make an ark of shitim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shall thou overlay it, and shall make upon it a crown of gold round about…And thou shall put into the ark the Testimony which I shall give thee – Exo. 25:10, 11, 16. When Ark is mentioned, our minds may move to different directions. Some may quickly remember Noah’s ark, a kind of ship. Some others may reflect on Exodus 2:3 that speak of the bulrushes‟ ark in which the infant Moses was laid. Some may also think of the “Ark of God” as captured in 1 Samuel 3:3. The Ark referred to in our theme is the “Ark of God”. In Joshua 3:6, it is called the “Ark of the covenant” while Exodus 25:22 calls it the “Ark of the testimony.” These three concepts present this very Ark as sacred – this is why it is covered all over with the purest gold amidst other make-ups. Easton’s Bible Dictionary has it that over the ark, at the two extremities, were two cherubim, with their faces turned toward each other (Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89). Their outspread wings over the top of the ark formed the throne of God, while the ark itself was his footstool (Exod. 25:10-22; 37:1-9). This description gives us an insight into what the Ark stands for. It depicts the presence of God: It was the most important symbol of the Jewish faith, and served as the only physical manifestation of God on earth – it was central to the Jewish faith. In other words, the Ark was the manifestation of God’s physical presence on earth; it was an indication of the Shekhina, that is, the presence of God. Of course, you know from the scriptures that God’s presence is frequently seen in the guise of a cloud in the Bible (Exod. 24:16) and the Ark is constantly accompanied by clouds. The author of “Ancient Jewish History: The Ark of the Covenant” supported the above idea when he asserted that when God spoke from between the cherubs, there was a glowing cloud visible there (Ex. 40:35); when the Jews traveled, they were led by the Ark and a pillar of clouds (Num. 10:34); and when the High Priest entered presence of the Ark on Yom kippur, he did so only under the cover of a cloud of incense, perhaps intended to mask the sight of the Shekhina in all its glory (Lev. 16:13). If the Ark was an expression of the physical presence of God on Earth and its presence in a place depicts God’s presence was in the place, then its absence also shows that God’s presence is no longer in the place; thus David’s worry to return the Ark. It was therefore a move to bring back the presence of God, the glory of God, and this is a pursuit for revival. It expresses the rulership of God: That the Ark has the Throne of God is an evidence of “Theocracy” (rulership by God) in any place where it is. It showed that the Israelites were ruled by God whenever the Ark was with them or in their midst. No wonder the Ark has in it the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. These commandments formed the constitution of the nation Israel; it formed their culture, rules and regulations The implication of the above is that any time the Ark was away from Israel’s possession, it meant that God was no longer controlling their affairs or lifestyle. It further implies that God was removed from governing them – the government changes from Theocracy to any other form, may be monarchy or autocracy. At that point of delusion, the people deride the commandments (the moral law) of God which stand for the covenant. But whenever the Ark is with the people, it expresses their submission to the rulership of God, that is, His governance, His ordinances, and He becomes incharge of the spiritual, political, social and economic life of the people. It shows the acknowledgement of Yahweh as the only God of the Universe: In the description of the Ark, its basement formed the footstool of God, of Jehovah, of Yahweh. In theological reflection, the basement of the Ark stands for the whole universe being the footstool of God. By this, the presence of the Ark in the midst of the Israelites expressed their religious faith in God as the one and only true God. It expressed rejection of other gods (idols or ancestral worship). In connection with the above, it is obvious therefore that at any time the Ark was lost or taken away, the implication was that the people have been given into the worship of strange gods. It further expresses that the people have backslidden from their belief in God as the only true God. That is to say those other things have taken the position of God in their affairs. To this, whenever the Ark was away, it appeared that the people have taken to religious harlotry, prostituting with other gods. The Ark represents divine assurance of protection and victory: It is evident in the scriptures that the Ark stood as an assurance for protection and victory to the Israelites. It was used by God as an indicator of when He wanted them to travel and when to stop. Its presence with the people in times and places of war was symbolic, providing motivation and aiding victory. This is seen throughout Israel’s journeys in the Old Testament. In other words, at any time the Ark was not in the midst of the people, the whole picture was that the shield of safety and the provider of victory was gone; implying exposure to dangers and defeat. At such time, there were obvious possibilities of losing their position, inheritance, freedom, identity; of becoming slaves, of going into exiles, etc. Thus it was very central to their physical existence, comfort, freedom and happiness. It was therefore the determinant of the expression and fulfillment of their destinies; the aid to a fulfilled life. Its loss meant loss of destiny, loss of fulfillment of life’s purpose. This accounts for why John McGee said, “when the Ark was in its rightful place in Israel there was real blessing; when, on the other hand, it was relegated to a secondary place the blessing was withheld.” The Ark gave the tabernacle (temple) Efficacy: In the words of McGee, “the Ark was the most important part of the Tabernacle plan, as well as the leading article of furniture … The Ark thus epitomized all that the Tabernacle stood for in the minds of God’s people.” The synthesis of the above statement is that the Temple (tabernacle) was meaningless without the Ark. Its beauty and magnificence notwithstanding, the temple was an ordinary monument or best described, “a matter” without the Ark. It is just like any other building if the Ark was not in the Holy of Holies. In other words, it is the Ark that gives meaning to the temple building. Without the Ark, the presence of God, the glory of God, the manifestation of God’s presence, the temple is no different from other halls of meetings. In its deeper sense, the activities in the temple – sacrifices, worship, prayers, reading and interpretation of the codes of covenant (the commandments) are meaningless if the Ark is not in the temple. The activities will only amount to mere routines without any effect on both the worshippers and the society. Thus the Ark determines the efficacy of the Temple, that is, it determines the effectiveness, meaningfulness and impact of the temple life on both the worshippers and the entire environment. In fact, without the Ark, the temple or tabernacle is just a multi-purpose hall for human entertainment. No wonder David deliberately resolved to first seek the return of the Ark before any other thing. It was like seeking first the kingdom of God. The Throne on the Ark represents the Mercy Seat: Nicholas Batzig conceived the throne of God which the outspread wings of the two cherubim at the extremes of the Ark formed as “the mercy seat.” This is agreeable because there is no difference between the throne of God and the mercy seat. Both are the same but only a matter of divergent functions. So, the Ark carries the Mercy Seat, and therefore, assures not only the presence of God but also His mercy, forgiveness, pardon and acceptance. The symbolism of the Ark reached its grand climax on the Day of Atonement. When the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the mercy seat, the glory of God appeared between the two angels on the lid. The New Testament concept of the ark: In Jeremiah 3:16, God said through the Prophet: And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers. God was speaking of the time of the New Testament when the reality of Christ indwelling both the Jews and the Gentiles will overshadow the form of the ark in the Tabernacle. In other words, God was looking forward to a time when the ark will no longer be an external box located at the Holy of Holies and accessible only by the High Priest once a year; God was looking forward to a time like now when the ark is Him in us. That is what Isaiah’s prophecy of Jesus means: “God with us”. Paul calls the New Testament ark: “Christ in you, the hope of glory…” Not just Christ in heaven or Christ on paper; it is “Christ in you…” That is the Ark in the New Testament: Emmanuel – God with us; or, as someone puts it in a Trinitarian form: God the Father for us; God the Son for us; and God the Holy Spirit within us. This is the Ark! Beloved of God, if the Ark stands for the presence of God, the rulership of God, acknowledgement of Yahweh as the only true God, assurance of protection and victory, the efficacy of the temple, and the mercy seat by which the person and saving work of Christ is expressed, then suffice it to say that there is no Christianity without the Ark. We can therefore appreciate the weight of this matter, “The Return of the Ark”.
THE IMPLICATION OF “RETURN” IN OUR THEME
Return in the premise of our theme simply means to bring back. This was why David said, “… let us bring again the ark of our God to us …” When you talk of bringing back, it means what is referred to was before with you or in your possession but was taken away. It somehow expresses that you have knowledge of the where about of the missing object or item, though not in your possession at the moment. That is to say, that there is knowledge of hopefulness not hopelessness; there is the possibility of recovering what is missing. If the Ark indeed stood for all we can think about meaningful relationship with God, and it was missing from the midst of the people, does it imply that God was missing? If we say yes in haste to this question, we will be doubting or questioning the omnipresent nature of God, yet if we say no, we may reduce the potency of the Ark. Like the New Testament has it, “the hand of the Lord is not too short … but your sin has separated you from Him”. This gives a better picture of the situation: God did not disappear, but communion between God and the people was hampered, so they could not access the friendship of God but His judgment, His discipline. The Garden of Eden’s experience expresses this better. That God asked Adam “where are you?” does not mean he was out of God’s sight; it rather meant he was not within the friendship environment of God that could enable him experience the life and glorious manifestation of God. On this ground, when David spoke of the return of the Ark, he was not referring to bringing God back to Israel as though He was an object. He rather meant a re-union of the people and God on the environment of friendship and relationship. In theological reflection, the right language is Reconciliation for the purpose of Revival. So in other words, what David meant was “let us be reconciled to God.” A healthy relationship with God is the Ark because in such relationship, all that the Ark stands for are expressed and experienced. Return of the Ark therefore implies revival, reconciliation, a renewed commitment and relationship with God.
THE BEARING OF THE THEME ON US
We have increasing number of churches today. We are witnesses to beautiful and gigantic edifices standing as church buildings, parsonages and other multi-purpose buildings. The clergy and other church workers are today riding costly cars and owning mighty buildings, establishments, and bagging a number of higher degrees in academics. Churches can boast of owning the best nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary schools. Some denominations are almost becoming richer than the state Government. In fact, there are too much to say about the landmarks of the churches industrially, economically, financially, materially; even politically, the church has her members well positioned. In another dimension, churches are experiencing numerical outbreak. More crusades, prayer meetings, and many other programmes with different nomenclatures are going on almost on daily basis. Can all we have listed in the above paragraphs stand as true evidence of the presence of the Ark, of a healthy relationship with God, of having the presence of God in the church? With all the wealth and numerous activities, we observe that the church has little or no positive impact in the society; the society is influencing the church instead. For true revival is not assessed by what happens within the four walls of the Church, but by what the Church has been able to do in its community. The Church is meant to bring about the fear of God, the righteousness of God, and the light of the Gospel, in her environment, that will naturally spring up development and societal transformation. Whenever or wherever this is not happening, God is always uncomfortable and doesn’t rest until He brings the needed awakening that will cause the church to sit up. This awakening, to me is what we usually call REVIVAL. But you will agree with me that we have church members in positions of authority, both in political, business, and even in ecclesiastical circles, under whose watch, corruption has thrived; social vices are gaining more ground both in the society and in the church. Most traditional rulers are members of the church but we see promotion of evil culture and traditions. When you compare the Christian songs of today with those of the old, you see only noise and entertainment as against soul refreshing inspirations. No wonder a song writer described the goings on in the church today as “so much noise without the power.” The power here refers to the Ark that gives the church building efficacy. You can now see that we need the Ark, the glorious presence of God. We had it but allowed a separation between it and us – We need Revival now that it has become obvious that the church has lost its saltiness, its efficacy. Permit me to reiterate what was said during the 2015 CMF conference; Revival refers to a spiritual reawakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. It encompasses the resurfacing of a love for God, an appreciation of God’s holiness, a passion for His word and His church, a convicting awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility, and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness … Revival breaks the charm and power of the world, which blinds the eyes of men, and generates both the will and power to live in the world but not of the world. According to Edwards, “A true Holy Spirit revival is a remarkable increase in the spiritual life of a large number of God’s people, accompanied by an awesome awareness of the presence of sin with a passionate longing for holiness and unusual effectiveness in evangelism, leading to the salvation of many unbelievers.” Obviously, there is a decline in spirituality in our Churches today. While we can boast of numerical and structural growth of the Church, we may not be able to boast of the qualitative growth. On this, I think we need the Ark, we need Revival. It is the key to unlocking the full manifestation of the New Thing. It is the solution to all our social, economic and political problems as a nation, as a church and as individuals.
HOW TO BRING BACK THE ARK
And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the Lord our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren everywhere, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us: And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul. And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people – 1 Chron. 13:1-4. I. A burden on a David It is not clearly written in the Bible how many years David became the king of Israel before raising the agenda of bringing back the ark, but the essential thing is that it was his priority as a king to do that. Again, David was not a priest but he had a definite burden for the ark. Such a burden must have come out of a sincere heart for God and His agenda for the people. The first step in bringing back the ark is a genuine, personal burden for the ark. It is not a matter for the clergy only; the laity, like David, can actually have that burden and pursue it with the church. If don‟t get anything from the message of the ark, get at least the burden for the ark. That is the starting point for its return. Several of us have become so indifferent to spiritual matters that we no longer know the difference between activities and divine agenda. Sometimes, God will send the leadership of the church a definite burden, we will put it in form of a programme, but many of us will not run with it. The Triumphant Night and SOMAYCO are more than Diocesan programmes; they are spiritual waves of divine move based on His burden for this generation. Therefore, even if you don‟t have an original personal burden for the ark, it is wonderful for you to co-operate with the leadership in the burden for the ark. II. Deliberate co-operation of the people When David raised the agenda of bringing back the ark, the people of Israel (both the clergy and the laity) embraced the agenda. That is the spirit of team work. In genuine service for God, everybody must not initiate a move of God; some, by divine permission may initiate the move, others should work with foreman. That is God’s principle of acceptable service. If we must bring back the ark of God in our generation, we must learn team work as a church. The keys are: burden and co-operation. The burden of David for the ark was genuine; it was not about his interest and personal gain; it was about the agenda of God. Let us all cooperate with one another in this matter, and God will do His work to His own glory. In addition to these two fundamental steps, we charge both individual Christians and the Churches to make a deliberate effort in bringing true revival in our time which is the essence of this theme. To succeed on this journey, we have, in the concept of Dr. Steve Ogan, routes to revival. These routes include but not limited to: 1. Appreciating the level of Decay in the Land (2 Chronicles 15:3-6).Our eyes must be opened to the level of decay both in the church and the society, and more importantly, in our individual lives. The alarmed conscience should be resurrected to recognizing sin and having a burning hunger for righteousness. 2. Taking Personal Responsibility (2 Chr. 15:1-2, 7). We must be available for the Revival. You must work for it before it comes because it shall come as a reward for your work. 3. Demonstrating Courage and Determination (2 Chr. 15:7-8a). There are many factors that are ready to limit or stop the actualization of the return of the Ark. You need to make deliberate decisions, damning the seeming consequences. 4. Removing of the Idols in the Land (2 Chr. 15: 8b). You must put away whatever must have taken the place of God in your life, church and society. This requires courage. The Ark and idols cannot stay together. 5. Restoring the Altar of Worship (2 Chr. 15:7-8c).You must confess your sins, forsake them and worship God in the beauty of His holiness. Worship activities must be taken seriously, done in spirit and in truth. 6. Mobilizing the Entire Nation (2 Chr. 15:9). This move must spark up the church to being Christocentric in her teachings and preachings so as to get her members and those of the society to embrace the move of God. There must be a witness of this move among church members and an impact of it on the environment. David mobilized the whole nation, beginning with the leaders. We have to do same.
THE ARK BEARERS
“…the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto Him, and to bless in His name…” – Deut.10:8. It is said that revival happens when someone cares. That is to say, that revival will always come through one man. As determination and desire to bring back the Ark is important, the type of persons who would be instrumental to the return of the Ark is equally important. Bearing the ark is a very serious matter to God. It is not a duty for every dick and harry; it is not an all-comers‟ affair. The reason is that there is a direct connection between the power of the ark and the inner life of the carriers of the ark; that was why the Lord had to give definite instruction on those who should carry the ark. The life of the ark must be born in the ark bearers. That is the principle of God in handling the ark, otherwise, the ark shall be „robbed‟ of its power. If the external activity of bearing the ark is not flowing from a correct inner life, the ark will not manifest its power. This is a very critical matter. God is particular about this principle. So, when Israel was making all the noise in the presence of the ark without carrying the correct inner life, the Philistines still overcame them. Also, the ark did not function in the hands of the Philistines, except that God had to punish the Philistines while they carried the ark because there were a wrong people for the ark. The staff of Elisha did not function in the hands of Gahazi. The reason is simple: Gehazi did not have the life the staff of Elisha represented. Therefore, it is very imperative that if the ark will be meaningful in our hands; if the move and global wave of the programme of God in our hands will not fail, our inner life must be correct before God. Ark bearing is not just an activity; it is a ministry, the ministry of transferring the life of God to others. So, no matter the shouting and the noise of activities, if our inner life is not correct before, the Philistines will definitely continue to defeat us! Again, let us note very well that in the Philistines land of idolatry and ungodliness, the ark will not manifest its power except that of plagues. If we deliberately continue in godlessness, yet with the externalities of religion and empty formalities, the ark of the Lord not work in our hands. Furthermore, in bearing the ark, we should not be presumptuous like Uzzah and the men of Bethshemesh who presumptuously carried and looked into the ark of God. The closer we come to God, the more meticulous about His principles He expects us to be. Let us not be too familiar with God and His word that we treat either with levity. That is dangerous. The inner life of the ark bearer must reflect the contents of the ark. They that bear the ark must have the ark born in them. WHEN THE ARK RETURNS In the days of King David, the return of the ark was the return of joy, genuine worship and the power of God. In the days of Solomon, during the Dedication of the Temple, when the ark of God was put in its proper place at the Temple, the experience the worshippers had was awesome: And they brought up the ark of the Lord, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up. And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude. And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims…And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord – 1 Kings 8:3-6, 10-11. The cloud of the glory of God in the Temple could not allow the priests to do the routine priestly functions. Why? The ark has been given its proper place. The only visible Person in the Temple was God in form of the cloud; no other person was seen. Ministry and activities turned to worship; the cloud swallowed up every other thing and every other person in the Temple. When the ark of God returns to its place in the church, all the worshippers will not see themselves anymore; they will see only God. Christian service will become a delightful worship; all will prostrate to His majesty. Classism will go; division will go; sin will go; envy will go. Only God would we see in one another! What a glorious experience. Lord, may your ark return in our midst in Jesus name. Amen. Please join me in this hymn; Revive thy work, O Lord; Disturb this sleep of death Quicken the smouldering embers now By thine almighty breath. Revive thy work, O Lord! Give Pentecostal showers; The glory shall be all thine own, The blessing, Lord, be ours. Amen! God bless you for listening and for catching the flame in Jesus name .Amen
Your Brother, Friend, and Bishop.