KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
TO BE THE LORDíS PRAYER
THE KINGDOM, THE POWER, AND THE GLORY
"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father...Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen" (Mat. 6:13).
This Prayer our Lord taught us to pray has taken us on a long journey and now we have come at length to the end. There is so much more that might have been said, and that perhaps ought to have been said. And so much more still that I do not know enough to say.
THINE IS THE GLORY
This brings us to the next phrase, "Thine is the glory." In praying these words we not only proclaim Godís glory, but disdain any for ourselves. A brother has said that the three things which most easily destroy the ministry of preachers are the gold, the girls, and the glory. This final test is the hardest. It is because we covet the glory that there is so much petty jealousy and strife among brethren. We are so concerned that our church, our talent, our opinion, our counsel, our position, our gift, or our ministry gets the praise and the glory. We want to get the credit. And the credit IS the glory! It is said that the phrase that proved the turning point in the life of Dwight L. Moody was this: "The world has yet to see what God can do with a man who is fully yielded to Him." But a more probing version of that statement is this: "The world has yet to see what God can do with a man who will not touch the glory." Of course, neither statement is entirely true, because the world has seen both in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ! But service given for praise of men is destined to find a place with the wood, hay, and stubble, which will be consumed in the blazing fire of the final day of testing.
"Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God our Father: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Gal. 1:3-5). TO HIM be all the glory! Stop trying to snitch Godís glory. It is His. You cannot add to it, you cannot diminish from it. What you can do is proclaim it and demonstrate it. But you cannot add to Godís glory. There were certain teachers who came into the church at Galatia and said, "You must do certain things to enter into life. You must be circumcised and keep the law. You must perform certain works." Today they would say that you must be baptized a certain way, baptized in the name of Jesus, baptized for the circumcision of the heart, use the sacred name of God (Yahweh), believe this doctrine, keep that day, or worship in such and such a way in order to enter into life. But if you are going to do certain things to get life, then you are going to get the glory. If I "earn" my way into the Kingdom, if I climb myself unto a higher plateau in God, if Iím doing it through human effort, or through external means, then Iím getting the glory.
I can say, "I paid the price, I did what was necessary, I qualified for this attainment in God." But Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith, Jesus is the Captain of our salvation, Jesus loved us and purchased us with His own blood, Jesus redeemed us from this present evil world, He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, Jesus is our forerunner, having entered into that which lies within the veil, opening up the way for us to follow. God the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, He called us and apprehended us, He predestinated us unto the adoption of sons and in due time sent forth the spirit of His Son into our hearts whereby we cry, "Abba, Father" ó and HE gets ALL the glory!
It disturbs me when people speak of Christian musicians as "entertainers," "performers," or of their ministry as a "show". The spirit of God is opposed to the emphasis ó it is the terminology of the world, the spirit of Babylon, not the Kingdom of God. If I get up in the midst of the Lordís people to minister the Word of God, if I have any God-given talents or gifts, or revelation or power, they are sovereignly bestowed, and not by any merit or ability of the flesh. When I minister the life of God I would be truly embarrassed if my ministry were referred to as a "performance" or a "show". And it makes me uncomfortable when people applaud. I understand that they may think they are applauding the Christ in me, or the value of the word ministered, but it smacks of the spirit of the world by which men are applauded for their own talents and professionalism.
We must be very certain that all the glory goes to Him ó and thatís NOT false humility. We are merely servants of God. We are bondslaves of the Lord Jesus Christ. In like manner, those called to a ministry in music may have the best voices and musical abilities in the world, but if their emphasis is on "we are performers" or on "entertainment" then they have missed the point that their music is a ministry. God does not "put on a show." God is not a showman. God is not an entertainer. God is not an actor. God does not "perform" for either the saints or the world. God is in the business of bringing the Kingdom of God to pass in the earth. A person or a group is either ministering by the Holy Spirit as a member of the body of Christ, or performing and entertaining as an instrument of the world. Matters not whether they are singing, playing music, preaching, prophesying or healing ó the principle is the same. When you go to a worldly concert it is appropriate after each song to applaud the vocalist or the instrumentalist, giving glory to his talent and the discipline exerted to perfect it. He responds to this praise by bowing and saying, "Thank you very much." He thereby recognizes and receives the glory given him. His goal is money ó your goal is enjoyment, entertainment.
That is the way and spirit of the world. But in the Kingdom of God all talent is recognized as the free and sovereign gift of God. It is developed and perfected through the dealing of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God. Those who sing, preach, prophesy, or heal for the glory of God are but servants of the Most High God. They neither desire nor accept, even indirectly, the glory that belongs to the Lord. Those who are blessed and quickened by such ministry give praise and worship to God. "Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen!" If you want to encourage the minister and say, "Oh, I saw new truths and received life through the ministry God has given you," then thatís wonderful. If you say, "My heart was touched as I worshipped God in the music," then the Lord is praised. But when the applause is in recognition of the good job the man did ó it is religious humanism. We have a secular humanism where God is ignored or denied and everything revolves around man ó but now the same is being done in religious Babylon that is called the church. Why are we praising men when the glory should go to God?
I suppose there are those times when a ministry is so electrifying, when itís so stirring, when itís so moving, when itís so divinely appointed, when itís from such a high realm in the spirit, when itís so quickening and so overwhelming that spontaneously we applaud as an expression of the emotion that is swelling up in our hearts, and I suppose there are those legitimate times for that to occur ó but in the context of todayís system of things they are very rare. What we are seeing today, more and more, is the applause of the human instrument, which is going to the human instrument rather than to our Father in the heavens to whom belongs ALL GLORY AND PRAISE.
Many religious people cannot receive the things I now say, but, because it is the truth it will strike a chord within the hearts of all of Godís elect. To pray, "Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory," demands full humility and obedience. And right here is where the kingdom laws come into operation. When we abdicate the throne of our own lives and our own strength and our own ambitions, plans, and ways, the Lord makes us kings and priests unto God. When we confess that all the power is His, He makes us strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. When we refuse to touch the glory, He glorifies us with the glory He had with the Father before the world was. And this is an unfolding glory, an ever-intensifying glory that shall shine as the stars and the brightness of the firmament forever.
We are so made that we cannot help hungering and thirsting after the glory. We are not as the beasts of the field, which have only physical appetites to satisfy. We are the sons of God, the offspring of the Most High, who cannot live on bread alone. The trouble with us is that we do not recognize glory when we see it. What we commonly take to be glory is not glory but only glitter. We spend our lives in pursuit of money and prestige. We are fascinated by pomp and circumstance. We are enticed by power. The greatest curse upon any man is his exaltation of Self ó Self-willing, Self-seeking, Self-glorying. What is it that brings so much tyranny, strife, intimidation, bigotry, misunderstanding and suffering in the world? Is it not because men and groups of men are the sole suns in their own little solar systems? The universe to them is like a house of mirrors, which on every side reflects nothing but their own persons. They fill the air with the clamor of their own egotism, the fury of their own desires, the obstinacy of their own opinions. We see it in the home, we see it in business, we see it in relationships and institutions, and most often we see it in the church! Men flaunt their personalities, their self-serving programs and grandiose schemes to convert the world, pawning themselves off to the Lordís people as the very power of God, filching vast sums of money out of the purses of the poor and the widows, while being strangers to the voice of the Holy Spirit and crassly ignorant of the ways of the heavenly Father.
I am frankly appalled at the shallowness, gullibility, and lack of spiritual discernment among the people of God, for they give heed continually to the voice of such strangers, but the voice of the Good Shepherd they do not know. Why are the children of God so ready to blindly accept every subtle teaching and plausible program that is thrust at them, without earnestly seeking the help of the blessed Spirit WHO ALONE HAS BEEN SENT TO GUIDE US INTO ALL TRUTH. Any preacher today who can come up with some fantastic notion can corral Godís people in support of his delusions, and the more fantastic the notion the more people run after it. Some time ago a dear sister stopped to visit with us for a few hours, and during the course of our conversation she asked a momentous question. She wanted to know what, in my opinion, is the greatest danger present among Godís people in this hour. I could only reply that the greatest danger I perceive today is that of Godís saints being BROUGHT INTO BONDAGE TO MEN. And I will tell you frankly that there are a thousand and one different schemes and distortions of the Word of God continually being concocted by conniving and power-hungry preachers either to bring the saints into bondage to men, or to fleece them of their hard earned money.
All such are the servants of Self, not the ministers of Christ. Sons of God preach not themselves, but Jesus Christ the Lord. Those who are quick to tell you that they have the greatest revelation or the only message for this hour, and unless you join yourself to them and their group and submit to their ministry and their order, you canít make it into sonship, immortality, and the Kingdom of God, are liars and deceivers, ego-maniacs who will take you on a disastrous trip to nowhere.
I speak the truth when I say it is high time for the people of God to begin to KNOW THE LORD FOR THEMSELVES. Let Godís people come out from among them and begin to seek God, and walk with God, and hear His voice, and know God, and GOD HIMSELF will be YOUR FATHER and you will sup with HIM and He with you. Let us ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and before we realize it we will find ourselves digging deep in the storehouse of Godís treasures of wisdom and knowledge and sitting with Him at His banqueting table. He will spread a table before us in the presence of our enemies, He will lead us through green pastures; He will reveal to us fountains of living water flowing unceasingly FROM WITHIN; He will cause us to rest beside cool, still streams; And HE, the Great Shepherd of the sheep and Bishop of our souls will abide with us and our cup will overflow with the unspeakable riches of His grace and the wonder of His glorious and eternal reality. Now, until Self be cast out of us, and the Father of glory be allowed to take possession of our lives, we give the glory to something or someone other than Him. It is this that Christ would teach us in the Lordís Prayer ó the vision of all things in God, and by God, and for God. "Thine is the glory!" That is the spirit of sonship.
We are commissioned to preach the Kingdom, and commanded to do the works of the Kingdom; but we must always be careful to understand and acknowledge that the Kingdom is His, the power is His, and the glory is His. If we get a touch of the Kingdom in revelation, in preaching it, or in demonstrating its power, it is valueless unless we recognize that we are recipients of this Kingdom by grace, and not the Source; we are powerless apart from Him and will lose even what we have if we fail to glorify Him in it.
And now we come to the glory. What is glory? I am sure most of us knew what we were talking about when we said the kingdom and the power ó but what is the glory? What is its shape, size, and color? Perhaps you feel that you have never seen it, you feel that it is spiritual, and therefore cannot be seen. Not so, my friend, it can be seen. How my heart longs to see the glory! The literal meaning of the Hebrew word for glory is weight or substance; worth, dignity and honor; splendor and majesty. In the eyes of men this literal meaning frequently lent itself to the idea that a person possessing glory was laden (heavy) with the substance and honor of this world. Jacobís flock was his "glory" (Gen. 31:1). The Assyriansí power was their "glory" (Isa. 8:7). Josephís high position was his "glory" (Gen. 45:13). The Israelites thought that they were living to the glory of God by acquiring a weight of material wealth, power and position. Today, a number of "prosperity preachers" have the very same idea! But the prophet Jeremiah told Godís people that they must not consider such human values their glory. Rather, they were to glory in the fact that they knew the Lord, whose glory was His kindness, justice, and righteousness.
When the word was applied to God, it was meant to bring out the weightiness of Godís attributes. All Bible dictionaries agree that "glory" is "the exhibition and display of the excellence of the subject to which it is ascribed." Thus, in respect to God, it is the visible manifestation of His attributes ó His nature, character, power, love, justice, righteousness, etc. (Jer. 9:24). The glory of God is the visible manifestation of WHAT GOD IS. The glory of God is God REVEALED, God PUT ON DISPLAY, all that God is brought into demonstration on the visible plane so men can see what God is like. That is what men saw when they saw the glory of God. God is love, God is light, God is truth, God is peace, God is power, God is life, God is righteousness. When God brings what He is into expression and manifestation so we can either see or perceive it, we then "behold HIS GLORY." It was with this same sense of glory that Jesus spoke about how He would bring glory to the Father. Jesus would not acquire worldly wealth, fame, power or position. On the contrary, His life would be "heavy" with the glorious, heavenly qualities of love, mercy, goodness, purity, compassion, righteousness, wisdom and power.
And now Christ has given His glory to His "many brethren" ó the sons of God. "And the glory which Thou gavest me I have given them" (Jn. 17:22). What a treasure! What riches! What heavenly splendor! God has called us to His kingdom and glory (Col. 2:12). We have been called to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Thes. 2:14). The Captain of our salvation was made perfect through sufferings that He might bring many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10). The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). We are even now partakers of the glory that shall be revealed (I Pet. 5:1). Christ shall come to be glorified in His saints (II Thes. 1:10). We are called unto glory and virtue (II Pet. 1:3).
As I mentioned earlier, Godís great glory is His wonderful nature and character, the substance of His being. Some people foolishly talk about dying and "going to glory" as if glory were a place, an astral location on some other planet. But you donít "go" to glory ó the Bible says nothing about such a crude notion. Glory is revealed. Glory comes to us. Glory is given to us. Glory shall be revealed in us. When the glory of the Lord is fully revealed "all flesh shall see it together." That is the scriptural testimony about glory. If you donít apprehend and experience Godís glory here on earth, forget about "going" somewhere to find it!
Now this word "glory" as used in the Old Testament speaks of a VISIBLE manifestation of God. Moses said to God on mount Sinai, "Lord, I want to see your face," and God said, "Iíll let you see my glory." Sounds good, doesnít it? It is good. In fact, the Bible says that when Moses implored God to show Him His glory, God said, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee" (Ex. 33:19). So you could literally say that the glory of God is His goodness. Actually, Godís goodness is His greatest glory. Letís read the whole story. "Now therefore I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, show me now Thy way, that I may know Thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight: and consider that this nation is Thy people. And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. And he said, I beseech Thee, SHOW ME THY GLORY. And God said, I will make ALL MY GOODNESS pass before thee, and I will proclaim the NAME (nature) of the Lord before thee; and will be GRACIOUS to whom I will be gracious, and will SHOW MERCY on whom I will show mercy" (Ex. 33:13,17-19). Moses requested to see Godís glory. Moses also said, "Show me now Thy way, that I may know Thee." In other words, "Show me your nature, what you are really like, unveil your real self to me!" Moses yearned to behold Godís greatest glory, the revelation and manifestation of Godís innermost being, His mind and heart. In response to this urgent request the Lord replied, "I will make ALL MY GOODNESS pass before thee, and I will proclaim the NAME (nature) of the Lord before thee!" The glory that passed before Moses was the revelation of the nature of God...and that nature is described as ALL GOODNESS. Infinite goodness is the very essence of Godís character.
David beheld this truth in spirit and cried out, "For the Lord is good; His mercy endureth for ever" (Ps. 100:5). Who can deny that what Moses really saw was CHRIST. Jesus is the brightness of Godís glory, and the express image of His person (Heb. 1:3). On earth Jesus was the embodiment of Godís goodness. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:17). Jesus never enforced the demands or penalty of the law. To the woman frightened and trembling with shame He said, "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more!" To another bound by fetters of sin and sickness He proclaimed, "Thy sins be forgiven thee: take up thy bed and walk!" When accused by the bigots of religion of consorting with sinners, He said, "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved!" "The Son of man is not come to destroy menís lives but to save them." To the thief condemned to the death of the cross He promised, "This day shalt thou be with me in paradise." The New Testament writer witnessed of Him, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power: who went about doing GOOD (thereís Godís goodness again!), and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38). "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Lk. 4:18-19). Little wonder, then, that John cried out, "And we BEHELD HIS GLORY, the glory as of the only begotten of the FATHER, FULL OF GRACE and truth" (Jn. 1:14). FULL OF GRACE! That is Godís greatest glory! "I will be GRACIOUS...I will SHOW MERCY!" "ALL my GOODNESS!" Yes, precious friend of mine, from the cleft of the rock at mount Sinai Moses saw the Christ of God!
Now when you think of Godís goodness, set aside that kind of "niceness" our culture has so often portrayed as goodness. Godís goodness is powerful. So powerful that the tiniest portion of it could wipe out all the sin that ever existed in a millisecond. Thatís why in Old Testament times when the glory manifested, God covered it with a cloud. He had to protect mankind from it to keep it from obliterating them. You can see an example of that in Exodus 24, when God appeared to Israel at mount Sinai. "And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day God called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel" (Ex. 24:16-17).
Make a mental note here of the fact that the glory of God appeared as "a devouring fire." As we search the scriptures, youíre going to see that fire again and again. The prophet Habakkuh, for instance, says: "God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as the light; He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power" (Hab. 3:3-4). According to various Bible helps the word horns in this passage refers to bright beams. One translation calls them lightning-like shafts of splendor. The Bible tells us that in these fiery, lightning-like shafts lies the hiding place of Godís power. That alone is enough to let us know that experiencing the glory is more than having a warm, "spiritual" feeling. Itís an encounter with the very nature, being and power of God because His nature, being, and power is His glory! The prophet Ezekiel gives a strikingly similar picture of Godís glory. He says, "Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of (Godís) loins even downward, fire; and from His loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the color of amber" (Ezk. 8:2).
It seems wonderfully significant to me that in the closing pages of the book of Revelation, when the Spirit of God reveals the final and ultimate revelation of God to creation through the glorious City of God, the very last message proclaimed is this: "And the Spirit and the bride say, COME. And let him that heareth say, COME. And let him that is athirst COME. And whosoever will, LET HIM TAKE OF THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY" (Rev. 22:17). Remember, before these words were spoken there was a great white throne and scenes of judgment. Multitudes were cast into the lake of fire. Our God is a consuming fire. The fire of God is Godís glory. Only the Holy Spirit can make this real to us, but a person under deep conviction is tormented. Tormented with what? He is tormented with the fire of Godís holy presence, the fire of His penetrating, burning word. He has no peace or rest, day or night. His conscience troubles him continually. When you and I were under deep conviction for our sins and past life we were tormented by the Holy Spirit, the presence of God. And we had no rest day or night. I have seen men literally run out of meetings to escape the convicting presence of God. When we were finally broken by the Holy Spiritís dealing and repented and came to Jesus for mercy, we cried and shed many bitter tears of remorse and regret.
The smoke of their torment rises day and night. The fiery dealings of God are upon the proud, the rebellious, the blasphemers. Is judgment the last word? Is the lake of fire the concluding word? Is the torment of the damned the final word? NO! Is there no escape? Ah, "Whosoever will, LET HIM COME AND TAKE OF THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY!" That, my beloved, is the LAST MESSAGE! That is the FINAL WORD. And for how long shall this cry continue? For as long as the torment lasts. "And they shall be tormented day and night unto the ages of the ages" (Rev. 20:10). "And the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it (entrance, access) SHALL NOT BE SHUT AT ALL BY DAY: for there shall be no night there" (Rev. 21:24-25). Those gates shall always be open. Ah, the "day of grace" never ends! Should grace end it would mean the destruction of God Himself, for He is ALL GOODNESS. Godís grace and goodness and glory shall flow...and flow...and flow...until the last poor hungry and thirsty soul has marched out of the lake of fire and come through the portals of the City to partake of the GREATEST GLORY OF GOD ó HIS GOODNESS, HIS CHRIST, HIMSELF!
Moses saw Godís glory on another occasion, for we read that when the tabernacle was completed and set in order, Moses and Aaron moved back with all the hosts of Israel and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle, and the Shekinah presence of God was with them ó the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. It was a physical, visible manifestation of God. You will recall when Solomon built the temple and the glory was transferred from the tabernacle to the temple, that somewhere in their long, dreary, sinful history, the glory departed. Ezekiel saw the vision ó it lifted up from the temple, abode a moment to see if the people would return back to God. They did not and it withdrew out over the city, pausing briefly over the city walls to see if the people might turn to God, but they would not. Then it went on out to the mount of Olives, and then was caught back into heaven. That was the last seen of the Shekinah glory.
Four hundred years of silence reigned and was one day broken when shepherds on a hillside had a manifestation of the glory of God as the angel said, "Glory to God in the highest." And John said, "The Word was made flesh" ó pitched His tent among us ó and "we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Now we are at the portal of the Holy of holies, round which we have been moving from all directions. "Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory" ó that is Christ. These are His characteristics. It is a description of Him, not of His outward, physical appearance but of His inner being. "Thine is the kingdom." That is what filled His whole spirit, making Him so royal and Godlike. He had no thoughts that were not conceived in accordance with this kingdom. He said no word that did not reflect the radiance of the kingdom of God. "Thine is the power." His whole will was fortified by this power. It bore Him up, urged Him on, strengthened and uplifted Him. Arrayed with power from on high He goes His way through life, healing, preaching, battling, suffering, victorious. "And thine is the glory." All His emotions were charged with it. It is His very nature. The highest conceivable glory lived with all possible purity in a human life, is Jesus the Christ.
All who share in the glory of Jesusí humiliation will also share the glory the Father gave to Him before the foundation of the world. Peter, James, and John were given a glimpse and foretaste of this glory on the mount of Transfiguration. Commenting years later on that unforgettable event, Peter writes: "We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount" (II Pet. 1:16-18). No one can see ó really see ó the glory of the living Christ and remain the same person. To see His glory is to be changed by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit into His likeness, even as the apostle Paul affirms, "Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another" (II Cor. 3:18). As we are identified with Jesus in the walk of sonship, we too experience the glory of oneness with the Father as He is one with the Father. We also are taken in spirit to where He is and behold the glory He had with the Father before the world was. We will also be fully partakers of that glory, which shall be revealed in us, unveiled before all creation in the manifested sons of God. The hour of unveiling is wonderfully nigh at hand, praise His glorious name!
"For even the whole creation waits expectantly and longs earnestly for Godís sons to be made known ó waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship. For...the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption and gain an entrance into the glorious freedom of Godís children" (Rom. 8:19,21). When Paul by inspiration penned these blessed words of hope he did not have in mind a manifestation of Godís sons after the order of which Jesus manifested while on earth. Jesus glorified the Father on the earth plane, and so do we; but this is not the glory yet to be revealed that we anticipate, neither is it the hope for which the whole creation is in travail. The creation is not groaning for another healing, for another miracle, for another sign or wonder. The creation is not expectantly awaiting another revival, or another crusade, or another healing campaign, or another seminar, or more gifts of the Spirit, or greater apostles and prophets, or even for 144,000 flaming evangelists just like Jesus when He walked the shores of blue Galilee. For two millenniums we have had revival after revival, healing upon healing, signs and wonders and miracles galore, and none of them has ever brought the fullness of the Kingdom of God on earth, nor has even one of them or all of them together ever delivered the creation from the bondage of corruption! The creation continues to groan in its bondage and we ourselves groan within ourselves as we wait for the disclosing of our sonship ó the redemption of our bodies. It is not another "patch-up" job we want, but a full and complete and eternal deliverance from the whole dreadful realm of corruption in spirit, soul, and body!
This Prayer ends by filling all time and creation with the conscious awareness of Godís being, power and love. What we ascribe to Him is not for this year, nor for the next century, nor for the next millennium, but for all the ages of time. God is above and beyond time and ages ó His greatness is unsearchable, of His existence there is no end, His power is unlimited, His love unfathomable, His grace unmeasurable; amid all that comes and goes, waxes and wanes, He is the One who abides "without shadow of turning."
"Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever." "Forever" is from the Greek word AION. In late years there has been much controversy over the meaning of this little Greek word. Certain deceivers, to further their unscrupulous ends and uphold their blasphemous and Romanish doctrine of eternal damnation, have maintained, contrary to and in spite of all revealed facts, that it means eternal. And our King James Version renders it, together with the adjective AIONIOS, as "age, course, eternal, for ever, evermore, for ever and ever, everlasting, world, beginning of the world, world began, world without end." What a horrible mixture!
But we need not remain in darkness, for fortunately the Word of God tells us precisely what this Greek word means. Too few have taken time or energy to consider the real meaning of AION. It is the word from which we get our English word eon. Eon, according to Webster, means "a long period of TIME." Many attempts have been made to prove that eons are eternal. But this is more than a grave error, it is the height of stupidity, for the divine Author of the blessed Bible has not Himself used them in that way. AION nowhere means eternal! Its simple meaning is an age. In its plural form it means ages. This fact can be unquestionably and incontrovertibly demonstrated from numerous New Testament passages. A glance at any Greek concordance proves that the noun AION, or AGE, is not the synonym of eternity. No one who is sane and reasonable can maintain otherwise. To do so is to contradict all known facts and to contradict Godís own Word. That is precisely what all the "eternal damnation" people are guilty of. God be merciful to them!
Now, if AION means ETERNAL, consider how ridiculous the Word of God would be! The Holy Spirit would be found saying, "the mystery which has been hid from eternities;" "the mystery of Christ which in other eternities was not made known;" "in the eternities to come;" "Ye walked according to the eternity of this world;" "by whom also He made the eternities;" "the rulers of the darkness of this eternity;" "now once in the end of the eternities hath He appeared;" "the harvest is the end of the eternity;" "since eternity began;" "in the eternities to come," etc., etc. Let the scholars whose business it is delve into the many intricacies of expression, and worry over the many grammatical combinations. Suffice it to say here that there have been "aions" in the past, there is this present "aion," and there are "aions" to come. And these all combined make up TIME, encompassing the whole of the progressive plan and purpose of God for the development of His creation.
The Greek text reads, "For Thine in the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, to the ages. Amen." It means long, measureless time, and contains the idea that one age follows another in a series beyond human imagining. The Bible rarely speaks of eternity even in relation to God; He remains rooted in "the ages" and thus in history and the universe as the true sphere of His work, and is thus, despite all His majesty and exaltation, the God who inhabits "the ages" ó the full course of creation and redemption. From the beginning to the end HE IS GOD! He is in control. He is the creator, the initiator, the motivator, the mover, the power, the wisdom, the glory of all, in all, and through all. The kingdom is His, the power is His, and the glory is His THROUGHOUT ALL AGES AND UNTO THE OUTERMOST BOUNDARIES OF THE COSMOS ó Amen!
Remember how, after all the blessings of Gerizim and the curses of Ebal, we find the command of Moses: "And all the people shall say Amen." When David nominated Solomon to the throne of his kingdom the priestly soldier Benaiah answered, "Amen! the Lord God of my lord the king say so too." When David brought the Ark to Zion with songs and dances, "all the people said Amen, and praised the Lord." And after some of the most jubilant outbursts of the Psalms we find "Amen and Amen." The apostolic benedictions of the New Testament end with Amen. How thoroughly this term belonged to Godís people in ancient times! They used it in the wilderness three thousand five hundred years ago. They used it in the Temple after the ringing of the golden harps and the sound of the silver trumpets. The returning exiles were inspired and gladdened by it when Ezra, in the Temple court, blessed the great Yahweh Elohim, and all the people stood up and answered Amen and Amen, lifting up their hands in the courts of God. In the last book of the Bible, after the Halleluyah anthem of the angel hosts, the Immortalities around the throne of God cry Amen; and in its last chapter, and its last words, "He that testifieth these things saith, surely I come quickly," and the bride answers, "Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus." When we say "Amen" to Godís call He says "Amen" to our sonship. Thus, in heaven and on earth there is the acclamation and the echo of this lovely and faithful cry, by which the spirit of man acknowledges the God of the "Amen!" So much is meant by this grand, fragrant, immemorial word "Amen" at the end of the Lordís Prayer. And yet, to many people it is only the welcome sign that public prayer or worship has ended!
"Amen" is the word Jesus used when He spoke a deep mystery or revelation which He would impress upon His hearers. The word is translated in our King James Bibles as "verily." It is "Amen, amen, I say unto you..." It is the word used by pious Jews in Jesusí day when they responded to the synagogue prayers. It means, among other things, "It is so!" or "So let it be!" It is an expression of faith confessing that God is in control and will bring it to pass. It is the glad surrender of a son to the Father, offering himself that God may fulfill it all in and through him.
"Amen" is more than a word ó it is a person. How wonderful are the words of Jesus when He says, "These are the words of the Amen" (Rev. 3:14). The word also means more than "It is so" or "So be it." When one says "Amen" he is saying "Iíll back it up; everything Iíve said, Iíll be faithful to." In Bible days people didnít usually make written contracts; they made oral agreements. When they completed the agreement, they would say to each other, "Iíll keep my side of the bargain." It was like an affirmation or an oath. The parties involved knew that they must be faithful to their oral contract and carry out all the things they had agreed to do. They pledged their very word and nature to it. So, "Amen" means a commitment. It means, "Iíll be faithful to this."
Jesus is the Amen! This can mean nothing other than the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the fulfillment of all the promises of God! As it is written, "For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us" (II Cor. 1:20). I do not mean that every promise of God has been fulfilled personally and individually and only in Christ Jesus; but the reality is that if we are ever to lay hold upon and appropriate the promises in our very own experience it will only be in Christ that we will experience them, for HE is the "Amen," the "So be it!" Christ is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption. He is made everything unto us, for He is all. In Him all things were created and by Him all things consist. In Him all things are ours. Whatever men need today can be found in Godís Christ, for He is the AMEN!
The words of Ray Prinzing are so appropriate here. He writes: "Not only do we have the sureness of HIS WORD, but we read, ĎHE CONFIRMED IT BY AN OATH.í Literally, HE INTERPOSED HIMSELF by an oath. ĎBecause He could swear by no greater, He swear by Himselfí (Heb. 6:13). He placed Himself ó in all His righteousness and holiness, in all His mercy and love, in all His power and authority ó as being responsible for the word which He had spoken ó the promise He had given.
"When HE INTERPOSED Himself, placed Himself as the Responsible Fulfiller, as the CONFIRMATION to that which He had already promised, in order for that Ďconfirmationí to be handled and known, He took upon Himself the form of man. When He interposed Himself, He literally committed Himself to become the VISIBLE CONFIRMATION ó and thus, as Paul tells us in Romans 15:8, our Lord Jesus Christ became as a servant ó a minister ó TO CONFIRM THE PROMISES. He is both ó He is the Word/Promise, and He is its confirmation. In Him we have all the Ďyea, and Amen.í Christ is the Word of the Promise ó ĎIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was Godí (Jn. 1:1). He is the LIVING WORD, the YEA, the AMEN, to every promise.
"Furthermore, the Son of God, Jesus Christ...was not yea and nay, but in Him was YEA. ĎFor all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by usí (II Cor. 1:20). Herein is a vital point, there is an inclusion, a ĎBY US.í He is the Word, the Promise, and it is a POSITIVE AMEN, and it is BY US that the fulfilled promise redounds to the glory of God. When God gave the promise it was TO US ó UPON US. ĎGod so loved the world...í THATíS US! Therefore the promise can only glorify God when it is fulfilled in us. What an amazing revelation of His grace, that links together the Ďglory of Godí and this ĎBY US.í He gives the promise, He fulfills the promise, works it all INTO US ó and then God is glorified!
"It is also written that Jesus Christ was never Ďa maybe, a hope-so, or just a wishful possibility.í He was not a NAY and a YEA ó a nay if...or a yea if... There are no conditional clauses inserted in the promise, for IN HIM ALL THE PROMISES ARE YEA, plainly asserted; and AMEN, faithfully fulfilled. He is the ETERNAL YES of God! The SO BE IT, the I WILL DO IT!" ó end quote.
"That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth" (Isa. 65:16). The Hebrew rendering of this precious passage calls God the "Amen." The word "truth" in the King James Version is the Hebrew word AMEN. Our English word "Amen" is not really an English word at all, but merely the transliteration of this Hebrew word, that is, the Hebrew word brought over into English. Just as "taco" is a Mexican term brought into English, so "Amen" is a Hebrew word adopted into English. The Amplified Bible beautifully renders this verse: "So that he who invokes a blessing upon himself in the land shall do so by saying, May the God of truth and fidelity ó the Amen ó bless me; and he who takes an oath in the land shall swear by the God of truth and faithfulness ó the Amen ó to His promises..." "Amen" has the same meanings in both the Hebrew and English languages. The full scope of these meanings is threefold: "it is true" ó used as a confirmation; "so be it" ó used as an endorsement; and "may it become true" ó used to express the hope that the uttering preceding it will come to pass. The word "Amen" is derived from the adjective "true". It is used after prayers and blessings by both Jews and Christians. The only difference being that Jews do not usually conclude their own prayers with "Amen" as Christians do, but instead use it to confirm or endorse anotherís prayer.
When Jesus calls Himself the Amen, it means that He is the divine "Yes" to all of Godís will and to the prayers of Godís elect as they pray according to His will. When the revelation of God speaks within you it is the spirit of Christ in your heart that witnesses, "Amen!" The spirit of Christ loves to do within you that for which He indwells you ó to accomplish Godís will on earth. When you step forward to do Godís will Christ within you is the Amen ó not the word, but the POWER. He is the divine impetus, the force, the vision, the encouragement and the strength to fulfill all of the Fatherís plan and purpose. Halleluyah! Amen and Amen!
The End of the Series
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