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God’s purpose for creating the heavens and the earth was to fill the universe with His glory. It was created “very good” (Gen. 1:31) for this very purpose, and though that purpose has already taken a long time to complete, history will end in victory and glory.
This was the promise of God to Moses who had asked God to forgive the faithless Israelites and to bring them into the Promised Land. God’s answer extended far beyond the Israelites, where we read in Num. 14:20, 21,
20 So the Lord said, “I have pardoned them according to your word, 21 but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.
This promise is referenced in Isaiah 6:3,
3 Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.
Again, in Isaiah 11:9 we read,
9 … For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
At the conclusion of the Exodus Book of Psalms, the doxology reads in Psalm 72:19,
19 And blessed by His glorious name forever, and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.
Finally, we read in Hab. 2:14,
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
This was not mere wishful thinking. This was God’s vow when He said in Num. 14:21, “As I live.” By this, God invoked His own name, swearing as if in a court of law to fill the whole earth with His glory. Jesus died on the cross to fulfill this vow, for when He prayed, “Father, glorify Your name” (John 12:28), a voice from heaven responded, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
The people themselves heard thunder, but some had the discernment to know that “an angel has spoken to Him” (John 12:29). Jesus confirmed it in John 12:30-32,
30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has come not for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now judgment is upon this world [cosmos, “world order”], now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
God’s name is glorified when men know that He has fulfilled His promises. In order to fill the earth with His glory, He must bring judgment upon this world order. This, He said, would be accomplished when He was “lifted up from the earth,” that is, when He was crucified.
His glory cannot fill the whole earth without first filling all of humanity and then all of nature itself. But at the present time, all of creation remains in bondage to the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:20-22), awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God. The sons of God are the first fruits of creation (James 1:18). When they are presented as the first fruits, then the harvest will begin in earnest until the entire creation follows their example into glory.
At the end of each creation day, God was satisfied and pronounced his work “good” (Gen. 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25). The biblical view, however, was opposed by the religion of the Greeks (and many others), who believed that physical matter was created by the devil as evil.
Their view of creation could never end with the glory of God covering the earth, because, as they said, a good God could never taint Himself by touching that which was evil. Instead of believing in the restoration of all things, their view of history always ended in a draw between God and Satan, good and evil, light and darkness. Scripture, though, says that all things will be put under the feet of Christ.
Scripture also teaches that the Holy Spirit indwells human flesh as a temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16). To the Greek mind, this was absurd. Matter was to be separated from God and from all good people who carried the light of God, they said. The original sin, they said, was when spirit became trapped in evil matter, and the solution was for the two to become separated once again.
Hence, where Scripture teaches the great marriage between heaven and earth, other religions taught that heaven and earth, spirit and matter, must be divorced. God would rule heaven in the kingdom of light, while the devil would rule hell in the realm of darkness.
We ourselves believe the Scriptures, and our faith is in God who is able to fulfill His promise to fill the whole earth with His glory. We believe that all things will be put under the feet of Christ, leaving nothing to the devil except that which He has created—i.e., NOTHING.
John 1:3 says,
3 All things came into being through Him [Logos], and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
This biblical understanding is the foundation of the restoration of all things and the great marriage between heaven and earth, which brings the glory of God to creation.
Both Isaiah and Habakkuk tell us that the glory of God will fill the earth “as the waters cover the sea.” The waters cover the sea 100 percent; so also will the glory of God cover the earth 100 percent. He will lose nothing in the end, even though much has been lost temporarily.
The flood in the days of Noah was a great disaster for the earth, but it also prophesied of a second flood yet to come. It is a flood of the Holy Spirit covering the earth as the waters cover the sea. This particular promise, as we have seen, is mentioned 5 times in Scripture, because 5 is the biblical number for grace.
Noah’s flood removed the Spirit of God from mankind. In Gen. 6:17 God says,
17 Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath [ruach, “spirit, wind, breath”] of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.
God’s solution is to put the Spirit of life back into all life on the created earth. He said that He would do this in three stages prophesied by the three doves that Noah sent from the ark in Gen. 8:8, 10, and 12.
Of the first dove, we read in Gen. 8:9,
9 but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark to himself.
This prophesied of the first time that the Spirit of God came to earth. He descended on Mount Sinai and spoke the Ten Commandments to the people. However, the people were afraid and could not then receive the Holy Spirit (Exodus 20:18, 19) on that original day of Pentecost.
So the Holy Spirit “found no resting place” upon the people, and Moses put the Holy Spirit into the ark of the covenant.
Noah’s second dove was described in Gen. 8:11,
11 The dove came back to him toward evening and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth.
This second dove prophesied of the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, where a small group of 120 disciples overcame the fear seen in their forefathers at Mount Sinai. These disciples were collectively the “freshly picked olive leaf.” This was when the Holy Spirit established a foothold in the earth, and the effects of Noah’s flood began to abate.
Noah’s third dove was described in Gen. 8:12, 13,
12 Then he [Noah] waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; but she did not return to him again. 13 … the water was dried up from the earth.
Only then did Noah and his family emerge from the ark and step into a new world. This third dove prophesies of the third outpouring of the Holy Spirit which we expect to see in our time.
The first dove was sent near the start of the Passover Age; the second dove was sent at the start of the Pentecost Age; the third dove must be sent at the start of the Age of Tabernacles to empower the overcomers during the age to come. Each dove came with its distinct level of power.
The glory of God sought a resting place during Israel’s wilderness journey. Num. 10:33 says,
33 Thus they set out from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out a resting place for them.
Not only did the people need a resting place, but the glory of God also sought a permanent place to rest. As long as the people and the presence of God Himself dwelt in movable tents, they were not in a place of rest.
In one sense, the people found rest when the next generation entered the Promised Land, where they were able to build houses for themselves. The ark still remained in a tent at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1) until God destroyed that place on account of the corrupt priesthood of Eli.
The ark then moved from place to place for the next 80 years until David brought it to Jerusalem. Even so, the ark remained in a tent near David’s house (2 Sam. 6:17). It is called “the booth of David” in Amos 9:11, and “the tabernacle of David” in Acts 15:16.
When Solomon later built the temple as a house, God too found a resting place. Hence, Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple in 2 Chron. 6:41,
41 Now therefore, arise, O Lord God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your might…
Nonetheless, this was not to be a permanent resting place. The corrupt priests in Jerusalem brought down the wrath of God once again. Jer. 7:3-11 indicts Jerusalem with many sins, ending with verse 11:
11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight?...
A den of robbers is a thieves’ hideout where they believe they can be lawless and feel secure from the judgment of the law. The temple, in the days of the prophet, had become a safe haven from the law of God.
God then pronounces His verdict in Jer. 7:12-15,
12 “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things,” declares the Lord, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you but you did not answer, 14 therefore, I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave you and your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. 15 I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brothers, all the offspring of Ephraim.”
The glory departed from Jerusalem, even as it had departed from Shiloh. When the glory departed from Shiloh, a grandson of Eli was born, and they named him Ichabod, “the glory has departed” (1 Sam. 4:21, 22). So also did the glory depart from Jerusalem.
Though Jeremiah delivered the verdict, Ezekiel received the revelation of this event. Ezek. 10:4 says,
4 Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord.
Ezek. 10:18, 19 continues, telling us that the glory of God departed from the temple and moved to the east gate,
18 Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. 19 When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them.
From the east gate, the glory then moved to the Mount of Olives, as we read in Ezek. 11:23,
23 The glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city.
That mountain, of course, is the Mount of Olives. I believe that it remained there for another six centuries until Jesus ascended from that very place (Acts 1:9-12).
Jesus ascended on the 40th day from His resurrection (Acts 1:3). The glory of God returned to heaven for ten days and then returned on the 50th day, the day of Pentecost, to indwell a new temple made of living stones.
This is the temple built upon the Cornerstone of Christ and the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20-22). It is not a temple in the earthly Jerusalem, but a temple in the heavenly city. Just as God had forsaken Shiloh and never returned there, so also God was to forsake the earthly Jerusalem and never again return to that place.
This fulfilled the word of the Lord to Jeremiah.
God told Jeremiah that Judah and Jerusalem was to be cast out even as Ephraim and Samaria had been cast out a century earlier. This was partially fulfilled when Judah was taken to Babylon and the city destroyed.
However, in order for Christ to be born in Bethlehem, as the prophet had foretold (Micah 5:2), Judah had to return after 70 years to reestablish the nation. So the line of David resettled in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born a few centuries later.
But once Judah fulfilled its calling to bring forth the Messiah through the line of David, then Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. and its people scattered to the four winds.
In other words, Judah/Jerusalem was cast out in the same manner that Ephraim had been cast out and deported to Assyria seven centuries earlier.
The reason Jeremiah gave was that the place had become “a den of robbers.” The reason Jesus gave was the same in Matt. 21:12, 13,
12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were buying and selling in the temple and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”
This is repeated in Mark 11:17 and in Luke 19:46. His verdict meant that God’s original verdict in Jeremiah was finally about to be fulfilled in a greater way.
In Jer. 18:1-10 the prophet was told to go to the Potter’s house to receive a revelation of the restoration of the House of Israel. The House of Israel consisted of the ten northern tribes, including Ephraim, which had been destroyed by the Assyrians from 745-721 B.C.
The prophet was shown that these so-called “lost tribes” would be restored in the end, even as the potter made a new vessel out of the wet clay in his hand.
Then the prophet turned his attention to the house of Judah and gave a list of indictments against that nation and Jerusalem (Jer. 18:11-23). Then in chapter 19 God told the prophet to take an old earthen jar (hardened clay) to the valley of the Ben-hinnom (Greek: gehenna). There he was to pronounce judgment upon the nation and Jerusalem.
Jer. 19:10, 11, then says,
10 Then you are to break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you 11 and say to them, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Just so will I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot again be repaired; and they will bury in Topheth because there is no other place for burial’.”
An earthen jar cannot be repaired. Hardened clay is not like wet clay. Israel was to be rebuilt into another vessel, whereas Judah/Jerusalem was to be cast out so completely that it would never again be repaired.
When Babylon destroyed Jerusalem, it was later rebuilt. When Rome destroyed Jerusalem, it was later rebuilt. The city has been rebuilt many times over the centuries and stands even today. Therefore, Jeremiah’s prophecy has not yet been fulfilled.
Hence, the day is coming soon when the city will be cast out fully, never to rise again. Why? Because the earthly Jerusalem is Hagar, not Sarah, and her children are spiritual Ishmaelites, not the people of Isaac. This was the point of Paul’s teaching in Gal. 4:22-31.
If we are of the New Covenant, then we are the children of Sarah, that is, the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal. 4:26). The bondwoman and her son must be cast out fully before Isaac can receive his inheritance.
The inheritance is the glorified body, our “dust from the ground” that is our true land inheritance. This is the Promised Land under the New Covenant, of which the land of Canaan was but an Old Covenant type and shadow. Abraham’s Promised Land was not that old land, for we read of him in Heb. 11:9, 10,
9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise, 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
We read further in Heb. 11:14-16,
14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country [Canaan] from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return [as with modern Zionism]. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
This is the “country” and “city” where God’s glory resides. It is today limited in size, but as His dominion increases, the whole earth will be filled with His glory.