Given as a devotional to the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO, on 7/22/01.
"After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God" (Rev. 19:1, RSV).
The whole world is power mad and hungry for glory. A few examples of those seeking glory include rock stars and movie stars, sports teams striving to win the World Series or the Superbowl or the Stanley Cup playoffs, and athletes going for the gold medal in the Olympics. And let's don't forget politicians seeking personal glory, who run for President or the congress of the United States. Someone once said that everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame, but these glory hounds I have mentioned often have the spotlight for days, months and years of their lives. Like everything else in the natural world, this glory is but a shadow of the real thing, the Glory of God, which the prophet Habakkuk prophesied would cover the earth like the waters cover the sea. Isaiah uttered these profound words, "And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isaiah 40:5, KJV). The computer program I have shows that there are 36 scriptures which refer to "the glory of the Lord," and 17 scriptures which refer to "the glory of God."
We've been studying the shechinah glory of the Father for many weeks now, and just when I think we're through with this subject, the Lord turns another page for me to see something else He would have me share with you. The human condition is such that for many of us, God's glory seems to be in short supply. I emphasize the word "seems" because the bible is clear that we cannot understand spiritual things with our natural minds. The things of the Spirit must be discerned by the Spirit, for they are foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14). Likewise, the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God (1 Cor. 3:19).
Thus, I invite you to ask God to show you His glory which IS in your life today, for I realize that from where you are sitting, His glory may appear a little dim to you. In order to walk on water with Him, we must take our eyes off our physical circumstances, our poor health, our poor finances, or our lack of any physical thing, and turn them to where the glory is found. Where is this glory to be found? Do you know? With every question the scriptures bring to our minds, the answer is to be found there as well. Paul tells us plainly where the glory is found: "For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2Cor. 4:6, RSV). This is no surprise to even the most casual bible reader, for Jesus is "the fulness of the godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9), Paul wrote, "the fulness of Him who fills everything in every way" (Eph. 1:23, NIV). Jesus said of Himself, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18). Unimaginable glory is bestowed upon Jesus, "the King of kings and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). He is the one promised to sit on the throne of David for all eternity. Here's the promise God made to Solomon, "then I will establish your royal throne over Israel for ever, as I promised David your father, saying, 'There shall not fail you a man upon the throne of Israel'" (I Kings 9:5, RSV). Isaiah saw that the Messiah would be the fulfillment of that prophecy, and centuries before the Christ was born, he foretold His glory: "Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for ever more. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this" (Isaiah 9:7, RSV). Notice two things about this verse that never cease to thrill me. 1). There is no end to this kingdom, and 2) it is another "God job" from start to finish. "The Zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this!"
Where is this kingdom today? There are those who say that we won't see it until Christ comes back and sets up a physical kingdom in Israel, where He will rule from the throne of David. Again, this is not what scriptures teach. To believe that is to take the symbolism with which the Hebrew mind thought and wrote and try to make it literal. Jesus was clear when all these things would happen: He said, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt. 24:34; Mk. 13:30; Luke 21:32). Chapter 24 of Matthew, Chapter 13 of Mark, and Chapter 21 of Luke contain prophecies that Jesus made having to do with the end of the age, the judgment of God falling on Israel, and the coming of the kingdom. Many Christians project that out into some future time, and live in dread of the tribulation and all the other horrible things He prophesied. This is ignorance of what the bible teaches and of what actually happened in AD 70, when the end of the Jewish age came to pass. General Titus and his Roman hoards destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, including the records of who belonged to the various tribes, making it virtually impossible for the Aaronic priesthood to continue, since no one could prove what tribe he was from, and all priests had to come from the tribe of Levi. I have told you before, but it bears repeating, that to the Jews, to whom Jesus was talking at the time, there were only two ages: 1) the age of the law and the prophets and 2) the age of the kingdom, of Messiah. Titus brought the age of the law and the prophets crashing down to its final and ultimate end. Josephus, the Jewish historian whom Titus employed to write the journal of those terrible events, told about the signs and wonders in the heavens, the armies marching on Jerusalem, the tribulation of the Jews which was so fierce, so savage, and so ruthless, that as Jesus predicted, had the days not been shortened for the elect's sake, no flesh would have survived.
The Jews did not listen to Jesus' prophecy, which was why He stood over the city of Jerusalem and wept, saying that He would have gathered them to Him as a hen would gather her chicks, to protect them, but they would not (Matt. 23:37). Instead, they crucified Him and brought about their own swift and sure demise. "The great and fearful day of the Lord" that so many prophets saw in the Spirit (Is. 2:12; 13:6,9; 34:8; Jer. 46:10; Joel 1:15; 2:1; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Zep. 1:14; Acts 2:20; 1 Thes. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10), fell upon them like a terrible swift sword, and they were swept into the next world by their own stubbornness and rebelliousness. The elect, those whom the Father drew to His Christ, listened to Jesus and when they saw the armies gathering, they fled the city. Josephus wrote that even though one million, one hundred thousand Jews died in the carnage, by plagues, by famine and by sword, there was not one Christian who died there. They had heeded the Lord's words to flee and not look back.
The Pharisees were the first to ask Jesus where the kingdom was. He said to them, and to us as well, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Lo, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you"" (Luke 17:20,21, RSV). That's about as plain as it can be. The kingdom cannot be seen with our natural eyes, He said, because it is within us, in the midst of us. Another way to say it is that the kingdom of God is wherever the King is, and right now, He is in our hearts, ruling and reigning in our lives. The kingdom is here folks, and if you cannot see it, you need to have a conversation with the Father. When Niccodemus came to Jesus by night and asked Him about this subject, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3, KJV). In verse 5 of that chapter, He said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5, RSV).
I'll repeat what I said to you last week, which is that being "born again" is a "God job" from start to scratch (John 1:12-13). Each denomination has its own version of what it takes to be "saved," or "to become a member of their church," avoid hell, or however you may describe it, but being "born again" is strictly what God does for us, NOT what we do for Him. Paul wrote to Titus, "But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:4,5, KJV). The word regeneration there means to be "born again." This is not something that we can do for ourselves. Our works of righteousness have NOTHING whatsoever to do with it. It is strictly by the mercy of God, by His grace, His unmerited favor that we are saved, filled with His Spirit, and born from above. The Apostle John wrote about this experience, "Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and every one who loves the Father loves His child as well" (1 John 5:1, NIV). There is always some religious person who will read this verse and conclude, "Ah hah! There IS something we have to do. We have to believe that Jesus is the Christ." Well, I hate to burst that bubble for you, but Paul is very plain that faith itself is a gift of God. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the GIFT of God, not because of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8,9, RSV). It is a good thing that verse is in there, because after fellowshipping with Christians of one variety or another for most of my life, my experience has been, that men will take whatever credit they can in the process. Why? It is an attempt to grab some of God's glory for themselves.
God simply will not allow that, but the good news is, that His plan all along, from before the foundation of the world, has been to fellowship with us, to make us His heirs, joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17), and as such, His glory will accrue to us by virtue of the fact that we are His children. "See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him." (1 John 3:1, RSV). Beloved, we ARE the children of God. Christ is our elder brother (Rom. 8:29); God is our Father and Jesus told us we could call Him, "Daddy." Abba is the Hebrew word for the familiar term, "daddy" (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6), which Jesus used to address His Father and our Father, His God and our God (Jn. 20:17). The end result of being "born again" is that we begin to see the kingdom of God and His glory everywhere around us. We bow before the authority and sovereignty of Him who sits upon the throne (Rev. 4:2, 9-10; 7:15; 19:4), of Him who has the name, "King of kings and Lord of lords" written on His robe. As sons, we have precious fellowship with our Father. Because Jesus left the portals of glory and clothed Himself with flesh and triumphed over all the negative aspects of the flesh (Phil. 2:7-11), we can now enter the throne room (Heb. 4:16). We can freely go through the veil into the holy of holies and sit on God's lap and tell Him our troubles, our cares, our thoughts and our desires. We have a Father who loves us and who will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). We can trust Him with everything we have and are; we can turn over to Him all our fears, all our worries, and all our concerns. He invites us to His great banqueting table where we may sit with Him and feast upon His goodness. He is the bread of heaven and when we partake of Him, we shall want no more (Jn. 6:35). In His blood is life eternal (Jn. 6:53-54), and it is ours, freely given.
Apparently some still think that the reason we must be "born again" is to avoid hell. You can look all you want, but you will not find that reason in scripture. We are born of God so that we will be members of His family, and even though that is wondrous for all of us, nevertheless, He invites us to come not just for ourselves alone. He invites us to come and be filled up with His light and His power and His glory for the purpose of sharing that with the world. The world is hungering and thirsting for glory, for something to fill up the hole in its soul. Some people fill up the hole with booze and drugs; others with the accolades of the crowd; still others fill it up with gambling, sex, shopping, work, or food. We were born with a hole in our soul, I think, in order to be receptacles for the Light and Love of the Father. I also believe, and have for years, that when we are filled to overflowing, His love and light and power, like rivers of living water (Jn. 7:38), will spill out from our innermost being to all we meet. We are the light of the world, Jesus said, a city set on a hill (Matt. 5:14). We are the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2), birthed from above, unto whom the Gentiles and the kings of the earth will come (Is. 60:3). Luke said of Jesus, that He was "a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel"" (Luke 2:32, KJV). Christ lives in us (Gal. 2:20), and because He does, our calling is the same one that Paul and Barnabas had: "For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, 'I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth'"" (Acts 13:47, RSV). And this, dear saints, is why we were "born again," and this is how we may enjoy the kingdom today. If you think you may not have been "born again," ask the King to birth you into His family. Only He can do this for you, and He is willing to do it now. It is why He came among men and women and why He sends us forth to the uttermost parts of the earth, for His is "the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen" (Matt. 6:13).
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
Jan's Poem, "The New Creation"
"Following the Glory"
"The Glory Story Continued"
"Living in Glory"
The Glory Road
We always enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web
by Jan Antonsson, on 7/22/01
and last edited on 11/03/08.