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We returned home last evening after a long drive.
Our children had planned a family reunion to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. It’s nice to gather together every ten years so we can get pictures of the whole family and see how time has improved all of us.
Some of you may recall that we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary ten years ago with a week-long cruise to Cancun (Mexico), Belize, and Honduras. They want us to decide the location for our 60th anniversary celebration. The world will be a very different place in ten years, so it is impossible to plan ahead so far.
My oldest son drove, so I was able to read four books on the trip. Reading is always a luxury for me, as I spend most of my time writing. The books enriched my understanding of some key things that will be very helpful in writing future weblogs. Toward the end, I got stuck on page 106 of Don Bast’s book, There is One God the Father, where he was quoting from Jesus’ prayer in John 17:22, “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them.”
I prayed and meditated on that statement for the rest of the trip. What are the implications of that word of truth? What exactly does that glory look like? How did He give it to the disciples—and, by extension, us as well? At the moment, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels,” Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7. It is hidden or veiled by our flesh. When will this glory be revealed/unveiled? I suspect it will be the climax of the coming outpouring of the Spirit.
The glory of God is also pictured by the manna, because God told Israel in Exodus 16:7, “and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord.” Just as God gave His glory to Israel every morning through the manna, so also did Jesus give His disciples that same glory day by day. The manna was Jesus Himself (John 6:32, 33), and anyone who eats His flesh receives a daily diet of the Logos (Word) and His glory.
So also, Moses received the glory of God in his face after He received (ate) the word (law) on the mount. One can hardly separate God’s presence from His word. Eating the word is what prepares our hearts for the glory to be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).
Israel had 40 years of manna, but many were too fleshly to appreciate it (Numbers 11:6). Perhaps they wanted mere Bible study, rather than the revelation of the word. Perhaps they just wanted to be soulish, rather than spiritual. Whatever the case, they did not want to “eat” the flesh of Jesus Christ, that is, to believe the gospel. The Hebrew word basar means both “gospel” and “flesh.”
Specifically, most of the church in the wilderness did not believe the New Covenant gospel, which is the “good news” or “good tidings” of God’s promises to us. That, I believe, is the essence of the manna-word that has the power to transform us into His likeness.
That is why it is so important to understand the difference between the two covenants. We either believe God’s promises, or we expect God to believe our promises. Where does our faith lie? Are we saved by the will of the flesh or by the will of God? The answer is found in John 1:13.
Jesus’ disciples received daily manna from Jesus as they followed Him. They were not transformed immediately. They were still quite fleshly even at the end when Jesus was crucified. But when they saw Him in His glorified body, something triggered a change in them. I believe this is what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.”
This transformation did not occur when Peter, James, and John saw His glory on the Mount in Matthew 17:2, for at that time, “they fell face down to the ground and were terrified” (Matthew 17:6). Not long afterward, they were still seeking to lord it over their fellow disciples, much like the nations seek authority over others (Matthew 20:21, 25-27).
Only in the upper room awaiting Pentecost do we see the disciples in full unity (Acts 2:1 KJV).
Only then did they begin to comprehend that the purpose of authority was to have a calling to serve others, not to have servants serving them. This great truth applies not only to civil government but also to church government. Denominational systems are based on the way that the nations view authority. They do not yet have the revelation that would allow them to behold the glory of the Lord through New Covenant eyes. How, then, can they be “transformed into the same image from glory to glory?”
There are so many avenues to ponder in this matter of God’s glory. I am now being stirred to enter a time of prayer and fasting to search this out more thoroughly. I don’t plan to sit in a tent on a high mountain or in the woods. I will continue writing weblogs and to share whatever God gives me. After all, we are all in this together. Yet the current series on the house of Elisha may possibly suffer some interruptions, if I have other things to share. I think, though, that the revelation of Elisha is closely related to the revelation of God’s glory.
As usual, I don’t know what to expect in the days to come, nor do I even know yet how long this will take or how I should proceed. At the moment, I only feel a stirring and will need to pray further for more details.