Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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October 10, 2011
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October 10, 2011
Jesus' Glorious Brightness Blinds Saul Of Tarsus On The Road To Damascus, Ananias Heals Saul And Saul Becomes A Christian, Physical Brightness Of The Sun Moon And Stars Is An Example, We Shall Be Changed At The Last Trump, We Shall Be Like Him, Daniel Prophesied Exact Same Thing Hundreds Of Years Earlier, We Shall Shine As The Brightness Of The Firmament And As The Stars Forever, Jesus Is The Firstfruits Of The Resurrection, Coleman Kerosene Lanterns, The Spirit Without Measure, Be A Burning Ember And Burn Brightly For The Lord, Coming In The Clouds Of Heaven, Unusual Bright Fiery Clouds In The Bible
If you are familiar with the Book of Acts, then you will know that in chapter nine, the Apostle Paul -- who at that time was still known as Saul of Tarsus -- had a firsthand experience with the blinding brightness of the Resurrected Jesus Christ. It is for this same reason that he was able to write about it later on in his Epistle to the Hebrews, as we see here:
"At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me."
Acts 26:13, KJV
"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"
Hebrews 1:3, KJV
Here again we see that the Glory of the Lord is described as being "above the brightness of the sun". I can't even begin to fathom such a brightness; can you? It is no surprise then that Saul of Tarsus was blinded by the same, and was unable to see for three days until a Disciple named Ananias obeyed the Lord and went to heal this notorious persecutor of God's children. Consider the following verses:
"And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God."
Acts 9:1-20, KJV
As I explained in part one, the word "glory" -- or "doxa" in Greek -- is not restricted to describing the brightness of Spiritual Beings alone. The Apostle Paul also uses this word to describe the splendid, bright appearance of the heavenly bodies as well; that is, the Sun, Moon and stars. In fact, Paul uses the brightness of God's physical creations as an example to help us to understand the greater realities which are yet to come. Consider the following verses from Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians, where he describes the Resurrection of the Dead, and the Glorious Transformation of the Children of Light:
"There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body . . . Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:40-44, 51-52, KJV
As Paul writes, at the sound of the Last Trump, we shall be changed; and as we saw in part one, the Apostle John informs us that "we shall be like him". Let me share that verse with you once again, because there is something very interesting about its verse reference. John wrote:
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
1 John 3:2, KJV
Beloved, please take note! We are going to "be like Him"! If we are going to "be like Him" -- that is, like Jesus -- what exactly can we expect? While I have discussed this topic in other articles, there is one attribute concerning our coming Transformation which I don't believe I have ever talked about before; and I have spent most of this current article telling you about it. What is it? It is the glorious brightness that we shall acquire once we put on our New Bodies. What I find amazing, is the fact that the Prophet Daniel was shown the exact same thing over six hundred years earlier. Not only that, but in the place where Daniel writes this, the verse reference is very similar to John's verse above, as we see here:
"And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
Daniel 12:3, KJV
So 1 John 3:2 informs us that "we shall be like him", and we are told in Daniel 12:3 exactly what that means: We shall shine brightly just like the stars -- and don't forget that Jesus is the Morning Star -- forever and ever. So both Paul and Daniel use the same terminology to describe what it means to "be like him". It is no wonder then that Paul also writes the following:
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV
Brethren and fellow believers in Christ, the Scriptures have spoken clearly. One of these days, if we remain faithful in the things which the Lord has called each of us to do during our brief sojourn on this Earth, our little lights are indeed going to shine; not just in a symbolic sense, but in a very real physical sense as well. We will "shine as the brightness of the firmament and . . . as the stars for ever and ever". That is what it means to "be like him". We shall possess the same form and glory -- or brilliant physical appearance -- as Jesus does; because as the Scriptures inform us, Jesus is the Firstfruits of the Resurrection; which means that someday we shall follow Him into the Resurrection, and will likewise be transformed. Consider the following verses:
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body . . . For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:22-23, 29, KJV
"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
1 Corinthians 15:19-23, KJV
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature . . . And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Colossians 1:12-15, 18, KJV
"To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"
Hebrews 12:23, KJV
"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
James 1:18, KJV
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"
Revelation 1:5, KJV
"These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."
Revelation 14:4, KJV
I am reminded of the Coleman kerosene lanterns that we used when I used to go on nighttime fishing trips with my dad as a boy. I imagine that they sell more modern versions of them today. If I recall correctly, they had two valves or knobs on the side. One was to control the oxygen level, while the other one was to control the amount of fuel that was fed to the wick. The brightness of the lantern could be adjusted accordingly by turning the two knobs or valves. When set to high intensity, one could barely look at the wick. That is nothing compared to the Glory of the Lord!
In a sense, right now the amount of light that we are able to project as the Children of Light is restricted, because our reservoir of oil -- or Spiritual Anointing -- is also limited. Unless Jesus, we haven't been given a full dose of the Spirit without measure, as we see by these verses:
"For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."
John 3:34, KJV
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
Colossians 2:9, KJV
However, one of these days, when we acquire our New Bodies at the time of Christ's Return, we will be freed from the shackles of these physical bodies of flesh and blood, and we shall truly burn freely and brightly for the Glory of God the Father. Won't that be the day! On a related note, you may also be interested in reading my article entitled "Are You A Burning Ember For The Lord?".
Before concluding this current article, let me share with you one more tantalizing clue from the Holy Scriptures. I've spent the bulk of this article explaining to you how we are the Children of Light; how the word "glory" refers to the actual bright appearance of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Angels; how we shall see Jesus as He truly is when He returns; and how someday we shall be transformed, and will radiate with the same glorious, bright appearance as our Lord, because we will be like Him; that is, if we remain faithful.
All this talk about glory and brightness. Is that the end of it? Well, not quite. As we saw earlier, the Bible informs us that Jesus shall return someday "in the clouds of heaven". Following are a few verses to refresh your memory:
"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Matthew 24:30, KJV
"Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
Matthew 26:64, KJV
"And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
Mark 14:62, KJV
While all of the previous verses speak of clouds in a plural sense -- which no doubt leads most Christians to assume that they are referring to actual physical clouds -- personally, I am intrigued by the fact that there also exist a number of verses scattered throughout the Bible which speak of single clouds. For example, in his Gospel, Matthew very specifically describes "a bright cloud" on the top of the Mount, and in the Old Testament the Prophet Ezekiel describes a bright, rotating cloud that is enveloped by fire. In some cases, we are told that voices emanate from these single clouds, while in other cases, these clouds serve as transportation devices to carry people to and from Heaven. Consider the following examples:
"And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire."
Ezekiel 1:4, KJV
"While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."
Matthew 17:5, KJV
"And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him."
Mark 9:7, KJV
"While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud."
Luke 9:34, KJV
"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."
Luke 21:27, KJV
"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
Acts 1:9, KJV
"And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:"
Revelation 10:1, KJV
"And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them."
Revelation 11:12, KJV
Now, obviously, the aforementioned clouds possess qualities which you will not find in a regular cloud that consists of water vapor; so what are they? Why are some of them bright, or enveloped in fire, while others are not? Do these strange clouds represent the Shekinah Glory, or perhaps something else? For possible answers to these questions and more, I encourage you to read my five series "Under the Cloud: UFOs and the Holy Bible", as well as my three-part series called "Chariots of Fire: A Voluntary Voyage to Heaven?". Perhaps there is more here than what at first meets the eye.
With these final thoughts I will bring another article to its conclusion. I trust that you have found it both informative, as well as inspiring. Keep shining your little light for the Lord, and someday you will share in His Glory as well.