THE COMING GLORY

 

ByJOHN RODGER

 

1. The Glory Announces Blessing, Peace and Prosperity To All The Earth.

 

Many volumes would be required to do justice to this significance of the Glory; here we can only suggest where to find in detail the announcement of the abundant blessings under the government by theocracy, or by the Lord as King over the whole earth.  Such promised blessings shall give to all who dwell on the earth an ideal life of bliss, such as has not been known since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden.  The absence of way and the ravenous beasts with much greater immunity from disease and death, the rich fertility of the soil, even of what is now barren desert land, prolific crops of cereals and fruit, abundance of cattle, special protection and care given to the poor and needy, shall ensure happiness, peace and prosperity for all.  The following Scriptures may help to pursue this theme of millennial bliss further; Isaiah, Chapters 4, 11, 12, 33, 54, 60, 65: 17-25; 66: 10-24. Psalms, 46; 47; 48; 67; 97; 98; 99; 100. Etc.

 

There is frequent mention of the shining of Godís face upon His saints, in Old Testament scriptures, which is always associated with God blessing them.  The following are examples: Num. 6: 24, 26; Psalms 67; 21: 6; 31: 16; 44: 3; 80: 1, 3, 7, 19; 89: 15.  On the other hand, the hiding of Godís face spells disaster and misery to them, as, for instances:- Deut. 31: 17; Isa. 59: 2; Ezek. 39: 23, 24, 29.

 

Now what Ezekiel mentions as the hiding of Godís face from Israel, in Chapter 39, he had already announced as the withdrawal of "the glory of the great God of Israel" in Ezekiel 3: 23; 8: 3, 4, 18.  While the return of that glory is described in Ezekiel 43: 2, 4, 5; 44: 4 and is otherwise stated in 39: 29:- "Neither will I hide my face any more from them."  Therefore the shining of Godís face, and the appearance of His glory, both refer to His blessing.  In the New Testament we find also that the shining of Christís face, and seeing His glory, refer to the same incident:- "The fashion of His countenance was altered" (Luke 9: 29); while we find these other references to that event:- "we beheld his glory" (John 1: 14), "they saw His glory" (Luke 9: 32), "He received from the Father honour and glory" (2 Pet. 1: 17).

 

2. The Glory Shall Usher In Summary Justice

 

We sometimes are presently surprised at the celerity and vigilance with which those whose duty it is to investigate crime can detect the offenders and bring them to justice.  Yet we often find that criminals can defy detection and escape punishment.  In large cities facilities abound for hiding evil-doers from justice; they sometimes also escape to other countries, in some cases where extradition is difficult or impossible; moreover, the culprit occasionally cheats human justice by committing suicide.  In some places money can bribe judges and let prisoners go free, while it is not unknown for innocent persons to be wrongly convicted and punished by circumstantial evidence or perjury.  But when the Greater than Solomon reigns, He who by His wisdom created the heavens and the earth, in whom all fulness dwells (Col. 1: 16, 19), the Personification and Source of true wisdom (Jas. 1: 5; 3: 17), He will detect unerringly every wrong act immediately.  There will be no fugitiveís escape from Him.  The experience of Jonah, the prophet, proved that, nearly three thousand years ago.  It will be futile to try suicide to escape, for He has the keys of death and Hades (Rev. 1: 18), and being the Omnipresent God (Psa. 139: 7-12) will be present in Hades to meet the departed spirit [soul]Ļ arriving there.  Our Lord as Judge of all the earth shall never permit a wrongdoer to escape his recompense, nor will He ever mistake the perpetrator and punish the innocent.  Now the very first appearance of "the glory of the Lord" mentioned, was meant as a warning to Israel for provoking God by their discontent:- "for that the Lord heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord" (Exod. 16: 8).  The appearance of Ďthe gloryí on the first occasion seemed meant even as the display of a cane to a class having unruly scholars.  Again, in Numbers 20: 6 the same motive is apparent.  Three other appearances of Ďthe gloryí were followed by drastic, summary punishment to rebels in Israel (Num. 14: 10; 16: 19, 42).  During the present Church age, God is long-suffering and patient, not willing that any should perish but that all should come unto Him and live.  But when the veil of ignorance, at present beclouding menís intellects, has been removed, when Satan, who is the author of this beclouding veil, has been imprisoned, and when conditions of living all over the earth are vastly improved, these increased blessings will bring with them increased responsibility to all to obey the Lord, and will justify God punishing evildoers swiftly, without delay or probation.

 

This aspect of theocracy is foretold in several passages:- "He shall rule (the nations) with a rod of iron" (Rev. 19: 15). "For as much as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise" (Dan. 2: 40). So all sinners and rebels shall be as potterís ware, so easily shattered under the strokes of an iron weapon.  This distinctive feature of our Lordís [millennial] reign shall be administered by His saints also, who receive this position of authority as one of the rewards for overcoming, when even "the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13: 43).  "He that overcometh and keepeth my words to the end, to him will I give authority over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter are they broken to pieces" (or shivers. Rev. 2: 26, 27, Schofield margin).  Perhaps our Lord was referring to this distinctive feature of his future reign on earth when He made a promise of pardon in answer to Mosesí intercession for Israelís forgiveness at Kadesh-Barnea:- "The Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word: but as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Num. 14: 20, 21).  As much as to say, "when the earth is filled with My glory, those who disobey Me shall be subdued and broken immediately"; "for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11: 9).  Increased knowledge brings increased condemnation.  It may be well to explain that it is not at all likely that Ďthe gloryí was given by our Lord to His disciples as the sign of His coming for His Church, but as a sign of His coming for the Believing remnant of Jews who follow and serve Christ after the Church is caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Cor. 15: 51, 52; 1 Thess. 4: 16, 17).  Many of these Jews who trust in Christ, after the Church is translated, may be converts brought into the Lordís fold through the ministry of Godís two witnesses to be martyred in Jerusalem (Rev. 11: 3-12).

 

3. The Glory Will Keep All Nations In Mind Or Israelís History

 

During the present age of grace, when Christís Church is being gathered out of the world, Godís methods and manner in governing Israel during Old Testament times are revealed to us now, as an object lesson and warning to His Saints in the Church (1 Cor. 10: 1-15; Rom. 15: 4).  During the millennial age under theocracy, the whole of Israelís history from the very beginning up to the return of the Lord to reign in Mount Zion, including their long sad experience at the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, and subsequent harrowing trials all through the centuries following, until the appearance of their Messiah in glory and all the holy angels with Him, shall be universally known by all nations.  The lessons to be learnt from their departure from their great God along with His punishment for their disobedience and backsliding shall be clearly understood as an object lesson and warning to "all people that are on earth do dwell".  Thus shall all understand clearly how they also can retain the Lordís blessing and smile of approval; thus shall they be warned how they can incur His displeasure and severe discipline. So shall "the earth be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11: 9).  The Glory of the Lord shall continually remind all of Israelís past history; "I will set My glory among the nations and all the nations shall see My judgment that I have executed, and My hands that I have laid upon them: the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they trespassed against Me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hands of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.  According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid My face from them" (Ezek. 39: 21-24).

[1. To call a disembodied soul a "spirit" can be misleading. Not the Ďspirití but the Ďsoulí descends into Hades at the time of death: ďÖthou wilt not leave my soul in HadesĒ = Heb. ĎSheolí (Acts 2: 27; cf. Psa. 16:10; Rev. 6: 9, etc.)]

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