Desert wisdom springs from Christ, who unites the invisible, angelic realms of heaven with the visible realms of earth, but does not worship angels, because in Christ, God’s true God-centred glorification of God is what inspires wisdom, wisdom that gives glory to God alone. The Book of Revelation is the Book that reveals God’s right-glorifying glorification of God in his Kingdom of glory. Twice in his Apocalypse, John the seer is told not to worship the angel who is his guide and interpreter in heaven, but to worship God alone (Rev 19:10; 22:8-9). In the ‘Ascension of Isaiah,’ a Christian Apocalypse that is probably roughly contemporary with the Apocalypse of John, the seer is told not to worship his angel interpreter because he resides in a heaven far beneath the seventh heaven. The glory of uncreated grace destines the prophetic seer to glorification in the seventh heaven, where his predestined throne, robe and crown of glory await him (Ascension of Isaiah 7:21-22). His angel guide tells him he is not his Lord, but his fellow-servant (Asc. Isaiah 8:5). He is a created angel in a created heaven not to be confused with uncreated glory that created heavens ascribe to God alone.
Desert wisdom listens to the Orthodox right-glorifying consensus of ancient prophecy and lives by its right-glorifying Orthodox glorification of God. Wisdom’s doxological angelologies are completely innocent of the idolatry that demonic powers seek to insinuate into heaven to obstruct God’s God-centred glorification of God. But such innocence calls for the purification and illumination of the heart, if glorification is not to degenerate into vainglorious kenodoxy, glory that falls from true glorification into the confusions and divisions of pride. Pride springs from confusion between the created and the uncreated, where the created usurps the uncreated on the throne of glory in the heart. Vainglory glorifies the created in place of the uncreated, causing endless addiction to fake gods such as money and greed, pleasure and power, fake gods that maintain materialistic consumerism and preserve its dictatorial powers. The desert attends to these sufferings, these passions, curing them with right-glorification, meaning that Orthodoxy is not only the health but also the healing cure without which wholesome health is impossible. Kenodox vainglory opposes Orthodoxy as the subtle enemy of wholesome health and healing, causing many an illness that obstructs God’s wholesome God-centred glorification of God, which is the wholeness of Holy Trinity.
Respectful veneration of angels is not worship of the created, usurping the uncreated, any more than veneration of icons is worship of the saints instead of God. The desert purifies the heart of all idolatrous angelology by emptying the heart of all that is not God, by embracing the consuming fire of uncreated grace that consumes confusion between the created and the uncreated. Desert Apocalyptic handles the potentially ‘polytheistic’ realms of the ELOHIM or deified Holy Ones, by extinguishing every possible idolatry in the purifying fires of Orthodox right-glorification. Desert Orthodoxy cures old addictions to kenodoxical God-substitutes in order to hold steady to God’s own wholesome Orthodoxy, which is God’s God-centred glorification of God, Holy Trinity. Name hallowing is the desert’s way to ensure that the Kingdom of glory comes in glory and not as vainglorious kenodoxy, which is deceptive self-divinization, masking empty vanity.
When desert seers behold seven hells emptying into seven heavens, they are simply following wisdom’s insight into the mysteries of the glory of Holy Saturday, Christ’s mysterious descent into hell. It is Christ who ushers sufferers from their addictive hells into their ascent through six heavens to the seventh heaven. The ancient toll-house myth came from Jewish mystical circles which were not aware of Christ’s sacred function fulfilled on Holy Saturday. It is Christ who holds the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and so unlocks the prisons of hell. It is Christ’s revelation of the Name of names that opens earth to heaven and frees sufferers in hell to rise with him into his resurrection, ascension and glorification. It is Christ, not angels, who grounds desert wisdom in the discernments required to handle the mysteries of glorification. The Spirit abides in the midst of Christ’s mysteries of glorification, but no angel ever comes between the Spirit and the Son or usurps Christ on his throne in the midst. Christ and the Spirit glorify the Father, but the saints, like angels, glorify the Father through the Son, abiding with the Holy Spirit in the Son, glorifying God the Father in Holy Trinity.
The Archangel Raphael imparts sound Orthodox right-glorification when he refuses to be worshipped (Tobit 12:16-22). The great angel Eremiel imparts true glorification when the seer Zephaniah is warned not to confuse him with God (Apocalypse of Zephaniah 6:11-15). Throne-sharing glorification in the seventh heaven is not an idolatrous enthronement of something created in the place of the uncreated but a deifying glorification of the created in the saving grace of uncreated glory. Babylon the harlot worships the created instead of the uncreated (Rev 17:1-19:10), whereas Jerusalem, the Lamb’s Bride, worships the uncreated, not the created (Rev 21:9-22:9). The desert loves uncreated wisdom because it is God’s own wisdom that discerns the crucial difference between the created and the uncreated, without falling into confusion or degenerating into division. Wisdom is hidden, invisible, ineffable and incomprehensible outside the glory of grace, but desert elders know that if they are in the Spirit, angels will help them to see and understand what the Spirit reveals. But it is the Spirit not angels who imparts sound glorification, which is God’s own God-centred glorification of God in Holy Trinity.