By Pastor Jim Erb
Catastrophic, world-changing events bombard our daily news. They cause many to wonder if the world is coming to an end. Is Jesus about to return to earth as the Bible predicts?
Yes, I believe He is coming soon. However, I am convinced that He is coming TO the church before He is coming FOR the church in what the Bible calls His second coming. Prophetic Christian voices around the world are predicting a great, coming, worldwide awakening before His second coming. It could possibly sweep millions, perhaps a billion, souls into the kingdom of God.
God, in His great wisdom, is currently working in the hearts of “tapped-into-Him” Christians to prepare them for usefulness in the new coming wave.
Many Christians in recent years are being called into the place of intimacy with the Lord. He is calling us to develop a lifestyle of deep, ongoing relationship with Him.
As we spend personal communion time in prayer and worship with Him, He is changing us from glory to glory into His likeness as described by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:18 – “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
God’s promise is that eventually “the whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Numbers 14: 21). He can accomplish that in any fashion He chooses. He is God. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul tells us that Christ in us is the hope of Glory” (Colossians 1:27). Evidently God’s desire, at least in part, is to change us from glory to glory in the place of intimacy with Christ and then have us be carriers of that awesome, glorious Christ-likeness into the darkness of the world around us.
I recommend you, dear reader, press into Christ, become a carrier of His glorious nature into the darkness of the world around you. Many in darkness are awaiting your coming. Go with His loving nature and gather in the harvest.
While the Lord works in us to create carriers of His glory, He simultaneously is moving to raise up a prepared Bride of Christ; readying us for the ultimate wedding supper of the Lamb in heaven. As Christians we become part of the bride of Christ, He being the bridegroom. At least that’s my understanding. Some theologians hold different opinions at this point.
In biblical Jewish weddings a bridegroom would be betrothed to a wife as in the case of Joseph and Mary. When she became divinely pregnant, Joseph wanted to privately divorce her. Betrothal was not like getting engaged in our society. It was marriage, but the marriage was not consummated until the bridegroom would go and prepare a place for them to live. Usually this was attached to his father’s house. When prepared, he would come to get his bride. She would not know when he would come. She had to be prepared at any time. He might come at midnight.
We get some idea of the preparation process by looking at Queen Esther’s preparation to marry the king in her day. It involved six months of treatment with myrrh. Myrrh speaks of pain. It was presented to the Christ-child by the visiting kings. Prophetically, it spoke of suffering He would eventually endure. Application? God deals with our fleshy activities, a painful process.
Then Esther was treated with various fragrant oils, a type for us of the character of Christ. So God is now working in us to rid us of walking in our fleshly ways, so we can develop Christ-likeness. We await the consummation of the marriage with our bridegroom, Jesus, at the great supper of the Lamb in heaven.
The Holy Spirit works in our day preparing us to have a broken spirit and contrite heart. God can mightily use people like that. It is all about Him now; not about our great abilities.
Pastor Jim Erb is overseer of Antioch International Ministries, New Wilmington.