The Church:Past, Present, Future -Prt. 1

Ephesians 5:2   KJV
27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Revelation 7:   KJV
9  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11  And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12  Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13  And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Dear reader, for this article my objective is to use my words and thoughts to paint you a picture of the church and its glory.  

To look back throughout the history of man, through to the present, and then what God wants of His church in the future.

All throughout time God has shown His glory to men using different means.  He had to for man in his sinful nature could not live if God showed to him his full glory.

To Abraham it was a goat caught in the thickets to replace as a sacrifice instead of his son.  Jacob it was God’s angels that he wrestled with ending by an angel smoting him on his heap.

In the deserts of Egypt He showed his glory to Moses in the burning bush.  To the Hebrews in the wilderness it was when Moses came down from the mountain after spending time with God, then when the Hebrews they could not look at Moses’ face because it shone with the brightness of the glory of God.  Moses also experienced the glory when he asked God to show his face to him.  Instead God covered Moses’ eyes only to allow Moses to see Gods glory in a shadow.

Then while in the wilderness God has the Hebrew children to build the Ark of the Covenant.  He gave the Levites exact measurments, the instruction of what materials to use in it’s building.  He gave instructions that it could only be moved in a certain manner, the placing of beams on each side through rings.  Men were instructed that they were to only use those rods to carry the Ark.  They were warned never to touch the Ark of the Covenant where the glory of God rested.  In it were articles such as the tablets of the commandments, Aaron’s rod that budded, and also a pot of manna.

God instructed the Hebrews when going to war with other nations to carry the Ark of the Covenant unto the battle field.  As long as the were in possession of it, the glory of God, they won all of the wars.

When God commanded them to build the tabernacle He instructed the priests to place it within the Holy of Hollies.  This was shielded from the rest of the tabernacle with the hanging of a heavy veil.  He also gave instructions to the priests what they were to do when entering the Holy of Hollies and also when they were to enter it.  The priests had to be pure.  As the priest was ready to enter the Holy of Hollies there was a rope tied around his waist, because if the priest was not holy he would be struck dead.  The priest had to be pulled out by the rope because only the priest could enter this holy place where the glory of God rested.

There are so many instances of where God’s glory manifested itself in other forms.  The cloud by day, the pillar of fire in the night.  Some Hebrew priests developed the term “shekinah glory”, it’s meaning “he caused to dwell”.  When it was present it was visible to all around, Hebrew children, the soldiers of other nations, even the Eygtians.

The prophet Elihjah called down fire, or the glory of God to show the prophets of Baal that God was truly Lord.

1 Kings 18:20-39 KJV
20  So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
21  And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
22  Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
23  Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:
24  And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
25  And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.
26  And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
27  And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
28  And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
29  And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
30  And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
31  And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
32  And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
33  And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
34  And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
35  And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
36  And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
37  Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
38  Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
39  And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.

Those are just a few times where God showed His glory to man of all nations.  During those times His focus was on the Hebrew children.  

Let’s be clear, this is not the “church”, it is Israel.  As I have stated before the terms are not interchangeable.  However, the character of God is what is being shown throughout the ages.  His character never changes, he is not a man that He should lie.  His word will never fail.  We can know what His character is like by looking at what He has done in times past.

In the next several articles I will continue my exploration on this train of thought, The Church, Glory of God, Past, Present, And Future.

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