GOD’S GLORY REVEALED IN THE PILLAR OF FIRE AND THE LITTLE PILLARS OF FIRE

This post is taken from THE REVEALING by Gary Huffman and S Douglas Woodward.


THE KINGDOM OF GOD BEGINS WHEN GOD’S GLORY FILLS THE WHOLE EARTH

The Triune God has revealed His glory to us in triad ways. The Father reveals Himself through the glory of the creation. The Son reveals Himself through the glory of His manifested presence in and through the incarnation.  The Spirit reveals Himself in the glorification of the Children of God. And the Kingdom of God starts with the glory of God.  The Kingdom of God is the glory of God.  Christ is God’s glory.  And we will inherit that glory when we are united with Christ as His Body.

In Numbers 14:21, God swears:

Num 14:21 But truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD…

David prays this in Ps 72:19:

Psa 72:19 And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.

When God swears it and David (the man after God’s own heart) prays it – there should be no doubt that it will happen. The whole earth will be filled with God’s glory. Romans 8:13-25, among many other passages, supplies some insight about the glory to be revealed in this world through us.

Rom 8:13-25 13For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility,[1] not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

These verses speak of the manifestation of the sons of God, which occurs when the Body of Christ receives its inheritance in Christ. Verse 18 says that God’s glory shall be revealed in us (not to us) at this time. Notice from verses 18-23 that the glory revealed in us – the adoption of sons, the deliverance of the creation, the redemption of our body, and the blessed hope – are all closely related.

ARE THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND KINGDOM OF HEAVEN DIFFERENT? 

The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven…Most of us think of these two concepts as identical. We highlight why we believe the Bible reveals a difference between the two.

Luke 17:20-21 20Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The Kingdom of God is where God is King. The Kingdom of God is the reign of God in the universe over all His creatures and includes time, eternity, heaven, and earth.

A GLIMPSE INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN – THE TRANSFIGURATION

Mark 9:1 And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

Luke 9:27-29 27But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.” 28Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.

Mat 16:28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

In Mark 9:1 above, ‘‘power’’ – Greek word ‘‘dunamis’’ – means an exhibition of power (from which our WORD ‘‘dynamite’’ comes).  God’s Glory is power.

This power of God through signs and wonders was exhibited by Jesus Christ and these signs and wonders authenticated His divine mission:

Act 2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know–“

Mark 9:2-8 tells the story of the ‘‘Kingdom of God come with power.’’

Mark 9:2-8 2Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. 3His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 4And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” – 6because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. 7And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” 8Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves.

In Matt 16:28, Jesus calls this event ‘‘the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom’’ – and in Luke 9:27, “seeing the Kingdom of God.’’

2 Pet 1:16-18 16For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

What did they see? The cloud of glory!  Moreover, the cloud of ‘‘Excellent Glory.’’ So, the sign that ‘‘authenticated the divine mission of the doer’’ was

The Pillar of Fire and the Glory of God in Exodus

the cloud of glorythe same sign that God gave the Israelites in the wilderness. The Kingdom of God was within Jesus and God chose to manifest that Kingdom “without” to three men in the form of the cloud of glory. By implication: The Kingdom of God within can be manifested without in the form of the visible Glory of God.

Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 20 and in seven parables in Matthew 13. These describe different aspects of the Church during the ‘‘Church age’’. This is the Kingdom of God manifested within and then through the Church to the world. Indeed, the Kingdom of Heaven is the outward manifestation in space and time of the Kingdom of God. God must first be King within for His Kingdom to be manifest without. The full manifestation of the Kingdom of God features the Glory of God made visible to the world, through the presence of God activated in its members.

REVERSING HERMON

There was more to this episode on the mount than merely revealing HIS GLORY to those disciples. Michael Heiser makes clear that the most logical candidate for the “high mountain” is Mount Hermon, because of its height, proximity to Caesarea Philippi and its symbolic religious associations.  He places this vital point in the context of the descent of the sons of God in Genesis 6:1-4.  In other words, tradition is wrong.  The Transfiguration was not on Mount Tabor, but on Mount Hermon.  The evil brought to humanity through the 200 watchers discussed in the Book of Enoch was to be reversed there and then. Heiser writes:

Jesus picks Mount Hermon to reveal to Peter, James, and John exactly who He is – the embodied glory – the essence of God, the divine Name made visible by incarnation. The meaning is just as transparent: I’m putting the hostile powers of the unseen world on notice. I’ve come to earth to take back what is mine. The Kingdom of God is at hand.[2]

Heiser asserts that this is the transition point of Jesus’ ministry.  After the Transfiguration, Jesus moves toward His death at Jerusalem. While the enemy knows who Jesus is, the enemy is not aware of His plan. Thus, Jesus baits the forces of darkness to act against Him, those evil powers not knowing that Jesus is using them and their hatred toward Him to accomplish His goal.  We know now, but they did not know then, that death is how Jesus launched the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, we must underscore the fact that the Kingdom of God is revealed for us, but is also now revealed against the forces of darkness.

Acts 2:1-4 1When the Day of Pentecost had fully come; they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Kingdom of God, in unity and prayer, brought forth (in answered prayer) the Church (the Kingdom of Heaven). This included the sign of the tongues of fire or a small pillar of fire (Glory of God) over every head. Now that was very significant to every devout Jew in town! This same pillar of fire had led their ancestors through the wilderness. In other words, while the symbolism could suggest a baptism of fire by which their sins were purged (somewhat like the hot coal placed on the mouth of Isaiah – Isaiah 6:6-7); more importantly, it symbolized that each new believer had become a “pillar of fire” albeit on a small scale.  And this small body of little fires would surely grow hotter and spread.


NOTES

[1] Futility is substituted for vanity in the KJV.  This references Genesis 3:17. What is the curse?  It is a technical theological matter on God’s act after Adam’s sin. See the Deep Dive, “The Creation Was Subjected to Corruption for Our Glory.” (p. 154-155)

[2] Heiser, op. cit., pp. 285-287.

 


 

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