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Our Glorious Future
By Jonathan C. Brentner
Perhaps you wonder why I’m writing about glory amid the turmoil swirling around us today that point to difficult days ahead for the followers of Jesus. The spewing of demonic hatred at the highest levels of our government and in the media toward President Trump and his supporters is something that should greatly alarm even those who do not like him. It spells trouble for the days ahead of us.
As I write, there are upwards of thirty thousand heavily armed soldiers and special forces in Washington, DC that have orders to use lethal force if necessary. Is this part of a last second plan by President Trump to restore our republic and keep America from falling into the hands of a Marxist regime via a stolen election? Or, is the military expecting something greater than a domestic uprising? We just do not know.
Because of perilous times we as followers of Jesus will likely in the near future, I have two matters on my heart to share with my readers. In future posts, I plan to revisit the biblical evidence for the pretribulation rapture for those saints who may begin to wonder about this doctrine as the storm clouds on the horizon grow darker by the hour and for those searching for hope during the dark times that may lie ahead for us before the rapture.
But first, I will write about the glory that awaits all of us who know the Lord as our Savior.
What Does the Word “Glory” Signify?
We see or hear the word “glory” so often that we rarely stop to consider what it means or signifies. More times than I would care to admit, I gloss over the word without slowing down to consider its implications for my life or my future in eternity.
A proper examination of the word “glory” would fill a large book, so this will be a brief discussion.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word denotes something weighty or someone who is worthy of great honor and reverence such as befitting a great king or God.
Glory further depicts the luminous manifestation of the Lord’s presence, beauty, power, and character. When the Lord’s glory filled the temple, the priests could not enter it because of the dazzling brightness of God’s presence (2 Chron. 7:1-3).
Creation also displays the Lord’s glory. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, / and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Today we know the universe above contains trillions of stars, all of which God named, and we see beautiful, stunning pictures of our universe via the Hubble telescope. God’s glory includes His matchless beauty and His power displayed throughout His creation.
The Old Testament characterization of glory as God’s majesty, character, radiant presence, and exaltation carries over into the New Testament in the person of the Son. In John 1:14 we read, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus reveals the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and all the prophets to us. Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” Jesus is not only the One to whom all of the Old Testament points, He is the precise representation of God the Father and possesses all His glory.
In John 14:9 Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” He showed us the character and power of God the Father during His first coming; when Christ comes for His church, we will see the full extent of His glory.
The Revealing of Jesus’ Glory to Us
So, what does God’s glory mean for us as followers of Jesus who face affliction, suffering, and uncertain days?
Paul provides the answer in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” For the apostle, the anticipation of seeing the full display of God’s glory far outweighed his personal afflictions, which we know were severe and exceedingly painful. Despite the beatings and scourging, he anticipated a future unveiling of God’s glory that would make all his intense sufferings in this life seem insignificant by comparison. Wow!
I believe this great unveiling of glory starts with the rapture, as Paul refers to it later in the same passage (Rom. 8:23-25). Please stay with me as we go back to the Jesus’ words in the Upper Room as He spoke to His disciples as leaders of the church that would come into being on the Day Pentecost.
Jesus said this in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” The Lord is talking about a time when He takes us to “Father’s house” so that we might be where He is at now.
In John 17:24, Jesus reveals a key reason for taking us to the “place” where He now resides, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” Jesus prayed that we would someday be with Him so that we would see he full extent of His glory. Notice that in 14:3 Jesus says He will take us to be where He now resides and in 17:24 He prays for this to happen so that we will see the glory He possessed before the world even existed.
Jesus longs to take us to His Father’s house so we can see His glory.
Don’t let the scoffers and naysayers deter you from your glorious hope in these troubling last days. We will someday, perhaps very soon, see Jesus in all His spectacular brilliance, power, and beauty. Notice the words of Paul in Colossians 3:4, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Do you see? When Jesus appears, we do not remain on the earth, but we “appear with him in glory;” we depart from this earth to be with Jesus, where He now resides, and witness His glory. This is the rapture!
As one of the first disciples, John spent three and a half years with Jesus on earth. He also saw Him on multiple occasions after His resurrection and saw Him ascend into heaven. So, what happened when John saw a vision of his glorious Savior on Patmos Island? John says, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead” (Rev. 1:17). It never ceases to amaze me that one who knew Jesus so well on earth would respond that way when seeing Him in glory.
What will it be like when we see Jesus in all His glory?
We Will Experience Glory for Ourselves
The news gets even better for us. There is a sense in which we will not only see Jesus’ in all His glory, but also experience it though our resurrected bodies.
Romans 8:30 ends with this promise, “…and those whom he justified he also glorified.” I believe this relates to what the apostle wrote in Philippians 3:20-21, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
Until our faith becomes sight, we can bask in the wonder of the change we will experience when the Lord exchanges our perishing bodies for those that will never grow old or die and when we see Jesus in all the glory He possessed before the incarnation. “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:51-53).
1 John 3:2 says this about the moment Jesus comes for us, “…what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” Notice John’s reference to seeing Jesus “as he is.”
We must not divorce the rapture from the Gospel; it’s the substance of our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:11-14). Our ultimate hope is not in earthly outcomes as desirous as they might be, but in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus.
If the tremendous suffering and afflictions that the Apostle Paul experienced were “not even worth comparing with the glory” that Paul anticipated at Christ’s return for him, how much more should our hope of future glory comfort us during these most uncertain times.
Regardless of what we experience in the coming days and weeks, we know that glory awaits us at the imminent return of Jesus to take us home. Sometimes I try to image what it will be like to suddenly set foot in glory with my resurrection body, see Jesus, reunite with family members who have gone before me, and see the place He has prepare for me. I am sure that my imagination falls far short, but it does help focus my mind on things to come.
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