The Bible says a lot about the glory of the Lord. There had been a renewed emphasis on the glory worldwide, as we approach the return of Jesus and the end of age. The Bible says that, “The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14) If this is so, then we need to learn more about the glory of the Lord.
Three important questions about the glory of the Lord:
Firstly, what is the glory of God? Secondly, how do we attract the glory of the Lord? Thirdly, what happens when God’s glory is manifested?
What is the glory?
1. There is a difference between the anointing and the glory:
The anointing is the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit that flows out from an individual, to do the works of Jesus. Jesus said in John 7:37, “Out of your heart shall flow rivers of living water.” The anointing is upon people in order to minister to people. We can determine our level of anointing by certain actions that we take. For example, others can pray for us, it can be increased through speaking in tongues, fasting and reading the Bible etc.
The glory, on the other hand, is the supernatural outward manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s presence. It usually comes upon a group of people and does not depend on any individual. It is often unexpected and is initiated by the Holy Spirit. For example on the day of Pentecost there was an outward manifestation of a rushing mighty wind and all the disciples were filled with the Spirit. Usually, the manifestation of God’s glory is more powerful than just the experience of His anointing. Many more people are saved and healed and delivered when God’s glory manifests. Although we cannot initiate the glory of the Lord, we can prepare ourselves to receive it!
We have the illustration of the Tabernacle in the Old Testament: The Tabernacle consisted of three parts, the Outer Court, the Holy Place and the Holiest of All. The outer Court was lit up by natural light, which is a type of the natural man controlled by his senses. The Holy Place was lit up by the golden lamp stand, which is a type of the Anointing of the Holy Spirit. The priests had to attend to this lamp stand in order for it to give light. In the same way, we have to regularly attend to our anointing. The Holiest of All, where the Ark was kept, was lit up by the glory of the Lord. It was there, that God manifested Himself to the Children of Israel. (See 1 Samuel 4:21) The Holiest of All was a place where, “heaven touched earth!”
2. The glory of the Lord is the manifestation of heaven on earth.
There are a number of examples in the Bible. For example, we read about the death of Stephen in Acts 7:55 “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” What did he see? He saw heaven on earth. This also happened on the mount of transfiguration when the disciples saw Jesus transformed and Moses and Elijah appearing with him. They saw a cloud envelope them and the voice of God coming out of the cloud. It was heaven appearing on earth! John, who was there said in John 1:14, “We beheld His glory.” In 2 Peter 1:16, Peter said, that “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
When God’s glory is revealed, there is often a manifestation of angels. For example, the servant of Elisha saw chariots of fire and angels when God opened his spiritual eyes. When Jacob had a dream about the “house of God being the gate of heaven,” he saw a ladder with angels ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12) There are also other examples of this throughout the Bible.
The glory often manifests as a cloud, wind or fire. In 2 Chronicles 5:14 we read that “the house was filled with a cloud…” On the mount of transfiguration, the disciples saw a cloud enveloping Jesus. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He was taken up in a cloud. This is a frequent occurrence in modern church history. For example during the Asuza street revival, a glory cloud appeared in the services which was so thick that the children used to play hide and seek in this cloud. When this happened, there was often a great manifestation of miracles.
On the day of Pentecost there was also the manifestation of a mighty rushing wind. In the Old Testament, Elijah ascended into heaven in a chariot of fire. In Hebrews 1:17 we read that the God makes His “angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.” In 2 Chronicles 5:14 we read that “the house was filled with a cloud…”
3. The glory of God, is the weighty presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Hebrew word for glory is “kovod” which means weight. For example in 2 Chronicles 5:14, we read, “… the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.” That is why some people fall under the power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. This also happened to Paul when he was knocked off his donkey on the way to Damascus. It says in Acts 9:3-4, ” there shined round about him a light from heaven, and he fell to the earth….” The weighty presence of the Holy Spirit knocked him off his donkey. In Revelations 1:17 we read how John saw Jesus in His glorified body and fell down before Him in awe. Usually, when this happens, people have wonderful encounters with God, their lives are radically changed and they receive amazing miracles.
4. The glory of the Lord is the revelation of God’s goodness and greatness:
In Exodus 33:18-19, we read “And he (Moses) said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he (God) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee.” The name of the Lord is His nature and character. Those who experience the glory of the Lord often become overwhelmed by God’s goodness and love. The glory of God is the manifestation of who God is. In Hebrews 1:3 we read that Jesus was the “brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person...” Jesus revealed the character and the attributes of the Father.
How do we attract the glory of the Lord?
Although we cannot initiate the manifestation of the glory, we can prepare ourselves to invite the glory of the Lord. In Isaiah 40:3-5 we read, “Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God … And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:” We can “prepare the way” for the glory to be revealed!
1. The glory is attracted by our commitment and hunger for God:
On the day of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was due to the constant prayers and dedication of the believers. They prayed steadily for ten days. In the Old Testament, the angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel after he prayed and fasted for 21 days. Many have experienced the glory of God through extended times of fasting and prayer. Therefore, if we have a great desire to meet with God, we can create the atmosphere that is conducive to the glory of God.
Radical and sacrificial obedience will often attract the glory of God. That is why many those who paid the ultimate price of obedience through martyrdom and suffering for Jesus have experienced the glory of the Lord. During the time of communism, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand of Romania was in prison for thirteen years and was tortured for his faith. He said that the walls of his prison cell often glowed with the glory of the Lord and he also often saw angels. There are many other similar examples. In the book of Acts, the glory of God appeared to Stephen as he died for his faith.
2. The glory of the Lord is attracted through praise, worship and speaking in tongues:
There are many testimonies of those who have entered into the glory during times of worship and adoration. We read about the priests worshipping God in 2 Chronicles 5:13, “It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers … praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endures for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD.” When we worship the Lord, we harmonize with heaven and we attract His glory. I have heard of some who saw the manifestation of angels and the glory of God when they spoke in tongues a lot. That is why it says in 1 Corinthians 13:1 that tongues is the language of angels. When we glorify God through praise and worship, we attract His glory.
3. We attract God’s glory through deep brokenness and repentance
This has been the pattern of many revivals in the past. We have the example of the Hebrides revival, about 70 years ago. When they repented of their divisions and conflict, the glory of God came upon the whole island and practically everyone was saved. In Acts 3:19 we read, “Repent therefore, and be converted, so that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
We read in Isaiah 57:15, “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite spirit and a broken heart, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the hearts of the humble ones.” Jesus also said in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see the Lord.” This can refer to eternity, but holiness and purity of heart is essential if we want to experience the glory of the Lord.
What happens when God’s glory is manifested.
Firstly, lives are transformed:
When Moses spent 40 days in the presence of the Lord, his face shone and his whole countenance changed. We also read in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Therefore, we do not always have to have some great encounter for our lives to change. As we spend time regular time in the His presence in worship and adoration we become changed into His likeness. This can be a gradual process.
In John 17:22-23, Jesus said, “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” There are a number of things that happen when Jesus gives us His glory. Firstly, it says here, “that they may be One as we are one…” This means that the glory can affect our relationships and will cause us to love one another. Secondly, it will bring such a transformation in the church, that it will enable it to influence the world.
Secondly, great and wonderful miracles take place when God’s glory is revealed.
We read in Luke 5:17 about the ministry of Jesus, “The power of the Lord was present to heal them.” Great and powerful miracles take place when God’s glory is revealed. This happened in the ministry of Smith Wigglesworth and some of the healing evangelists of the previous century. Often large crowds of people were healed and saved without anyone praying for them. There are also often strange and wonderful manifestations when God’s glory is revealed. For example, people have been transported supernaturally, such as what happened to Philip. Others have experienced a shortening in the time continuum when travelling from one place to another. Often supernatural provision takes place, food is multiplied, or people go for extended times with no food without any manifestation of hunger. Metals are removed from bodies and body parts are replaced. Paul said in Philippians 5:19, “May God supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Often, God’s resources are located in His glory. In Exodus 16 we read that the provision of manna was preceded by the manifestation of God’s glory.
Thirdly, it will result in the holy and awesome fear of the Lord.
For example, when Jacob saw the “house of God and the gate of heaven” in Genesis 28:17 he said, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” The same thing happened to Isaiah. In Isaiah 6:1 we read “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.” In verse 5, he says, “Woe is me, for I am undone!”
The glory of God is wonderful and greatly to be desired, but if there is compromise and deliberate sin in our lives it can be dangerous and even kill us. We have the example of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts, who died when they lied to the Holy Spirit. Many who have seen the glory have fallen down before God in great fear. The Ark of the Covenant, which is a type of God’s glory, brought judgment to the Philistines but greatly blessed the house of Obededom. In the same way, when our hearts are right before God, His glory will greatly bless us. On the other hand, the same glory can bring judgment and even death.
Fourthly, there will be a great harvest of souls:
In Habakkuk 2:14 we read that, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” There will be a great harvest in the end times and the manifestation of God’s glory will enable us to bring in that harvest. In Isaiah 60:1-3 we read, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” In verse 5 we read, “Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.”
Although this is probably referring to the nation of Israel, it could also refer to the great harvest of souls that will come just before the return of Jesus. The manifestation of God’s glory is what will enable the church to bring in the last great harvest of souls before the return of Jesus.
Finally: The greatest manifestation of glory will take place one day when we go into eternity to be with Jesus. We will live in God’s glory forever and ever. In 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 we read, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” Amen