When I was in college, a substantial number of students on campus loved the Lord. This was in the mid-70s when Maranatha university fellowships were flourishing. I found myself heavily involved in two Christian camps, and even being the student leader of a gathering that met every Wednesday with about 300 students, for worship and bible study.
Following college, I pursued business interests, and did no public speaking for the next ten years. Eventually, the Lord dealt profoundly with me in 1989, concerning my calling and destiny. I once again started speaking and sharing the gospel in public forums. The first message that I preached, I took 2 Chronicles 5 as my text, saying,
When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions)…clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD,
and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God. — 2 Chr 5:11 14
This Scripture reflected my desire then, and it does even more so today. Our heart aches to see God’s Glory filling His Temple. There was something significant about the 120 coming together in unison and harmony to produce this atmosphere. The entire company worked cohesively to glorify God with musicians, singers and priests all doing their part as one sound. This temple experience outlined in Solomon’s day represents the Church as a corporate body and us individually as His Temple. Paul said, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19)
When Solomon completed his prayer of dedication, something profound happened. God manifested Himself in power! The expressions, harmony, unison, dedication, prayer, and glorifying God, are all essential ingredients in the recipe to see God’s Glory.
A Greater Covenant
The apostle Paul reminded the Church of his day and ours that,
if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? —2 Corinthians 3:7-8
The Glory that came in the old covenant was not lasting, but the Holy Spirit is promised to be with us until the end of this age. The law was a shadow of what we are to have in reality. If Moses could encounter the Lord to such and extent that his face was illuminated, how much more should we. That is a challenge we feel emanating directly from God’s heart.
In Solomon’s dedication, God’s glory was tangible. It was seen and felt by everyone present. It wasn’t an allusion or a figment of their imagination, but the manifestation of God’s goodness and glory to exemplify His character. Our experience with Him must be equally as real. There is something noble and awesome being awakened in this generation that is insisting upon our experience being genuine and tangible.
Solomon’s temple is a symbolic representation of our individual bodies, and the corporate body coming together as one. We are to be filled with God’s Spirit and His glory so completely, that we shine as a light in a dark place. We will then illumine this generation with the knowledge of God and transform hopelessness into divine destiny.
There are numerous historical accounts of individuals who drew near to God in their quest to know Him. For some, the residue of their encounters with Him could be seen in their countenance. It was reported in the sixth century, concerning Columba of Iona, that God’s Heavenly illumination was often seen on his face and surrounding him during sessions of prayer. The end-of-the-age is the time of harvest and fullness of all things. This reality will rest upon an entire company of radical believers as it did these forerunners and more.
Life in Christ often appears as foolishness to the unbelieving masses. Nevertheless, we must run the risk of looking foolish in order to apprehend God and experience His Glory. That is not to say that we act foolishly or in any way haughty! If we are persecuted for these qualities, then it is our own doing. However if we, as mature believers, stand for truth and are ridiculed, then a spiritual principle is set in motion that will become fruitful.
A Door of Opportunity
It seems clear that this generation stands at the door of tremendous opportunity to encounter God and change our present age. It is imperative that we allow His Spirit to groom and prepare us for our responsibilities. Judgment has begun in God’s house, primarily because it is His desire to grant close encounters with Him and give us “meat in due season”
I had a strange thing occur in January that the Lord has wonderfully indicated as a door of opportunity, if we will sincerely pursue it. This is my “Jubilee” year, and as I was in prayer, I found myself saying, “Lord, all the foolish things I have done in my past are enough for one lifetime… please let the remaining days of my life be spent in your perfect will.”
When I prayed that heartfelt petition, I did not consciously know that I was reciting a scripture. A day or so later, I opened my Bible to read before bed, and was surprised when it fell open to 1 Peter 4:2-3 saying,
so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.
I am sure at some point I had read this passage, but it was not at the forefront of my mind when I prayed for a line of demarcation in my life. I knew the Lord was giving the Scripture as a promise for those who genuinely assert that appeal from their hearts.
This truth so impacted me, that I planned to share it at Chuck Pierce’s, “Start the Year off Right Conference,” where I was invited as one of the speakers. Interestingly, the day before my appointed session, Pastor Joseph Garlington ministered a wonderful word that set the stage for my message. At the conclusion of his session, he led the approximately 3500 in attendance in a prophetic song. The words were, “about this time tomorrow, everything’s gonna change.”
The people sang this chorus repetitively for quite some time. While this was taking place, my son leaned over to me and reminded me that my session would be at this time tomorrow.
Although I intended to highlight the prophetic proclamation from the day before, I actually forgot about it by the time my message was concluding. As the altar call, I shared the truth of 1 Peter 4:2-3 and reiterated the Lord’s promise to help us live in His will. As a prophetic act, I had the people take a step forward as an indication of their earnest desire to live the remaining days of their lives, free from the spirit of this world and its desires.
When I did, one of the leaders reminded me of pastor Garlington’s chorus and further indicated that the people began to recite that proclamation at exactly 4:02 PM, the day before — “about this time tomorrow, everything’s gonna change.” This seemed to be a clear confirmation of 1 Peter 4:2.
God’s people are proclaiming their own destiny and declaring transformation, personally and corporately. This change, however, is for God’s people to be transported from the spirit of this world, into harmony with Him; as Peter put it, “out of darkness into His marvelous light.” This realignment will lay the platform for us to experience tangible releases of His Glory and manifested presence.