It was in the mid 1980's while Alan Mc Savage and I were having a chat that he asked, “What comes after Restoration?” Out of my mouth came, “GLORIFICATION!” He then had a banner made for his church that read, “From Restoration to Glorification!”
There is a principle in God in which that which has come to a state of devastation will be restored and transformed into to a state of GLORY. The lines of an old chorus went, “As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the ending. For God did move on the face of the deep. Out of darkness came forth light, Out of chaos his own image. As it was in the beginning, So shall it be in the ending.” While these are grand words of truth, they barely touch upon the plan upon the heart of God, because we are so restricted in our thinking to the natural realm forgetting that our very Source and our Destiny is GOD.
God had a purpose in his relationship with man from the very beginning. This purpose goes beyond the “reconciliation” and “salvation of all” truth that is increasingly being proclaimed. Indeed it could be suggested that simply preaching this message is but HALF the message, much like the four points that I grew up with: “Jesus Savoir, Healer, Baptiser and soon coming King” which is merely an introduction, however poorly to some aspects of truth. An illustration from DeVern Fromke’s book, ‘The Ultimate Intention’ comes to mind. The story is told of one who was lost in the woods, and upon being directed to the path out of the woods, stops at the edge to tell everyone how wonderful this salvation is, totally forgetting that the purpose of the journey was not the edge of the woods, but rather to go on into the grand purposes of our Father God and to view his purpose of sons being made divine - that is into his glorious image and likeness.
We are so blessed in this day to be a part of the ever increasing proclamation of the truth that our Father loves ALL mankind, that his love does not leave one soul out, and that all of the creation will ultimately be restored to that which he preordained. This of course may go against our personal prejudices; because we are certain that certain very evil individuals deserve to burn nonstop, the higher the heat the better. Where is the love of Father God in the hearts of those with such savage revenge desires? The unscriptural pagan teaching that all but a few individuals are destined to burn in hell (an unbiblical word religion put in the Bible) is not God honoring. This heresy makes the truth that ‘God is LOVE’, and that ‘God so LOVED the world that he sent his SON’, and that ‘LOVE never fails’ into a lie. It is not of the CHRIST SPIRIT, but of the antichrist spirit.
An old song from my childhood came to my memory one day. “When the Roll is Called up Yonder” talks about the folks in heaven coming from every tribe and nation. Then one word caught my attention. It was “SOME from every tribe and nation.” Oh my! How can this be? Were these “some” political appointees, contest winners, or just simply lucky? How different SOME is from our Father’s ALL.
The truth is, salvation is not for a chosen lucky few, and if it was, it makes a charade of the truth that Jesus died for ALL. Did not God so love the world that he sent his son? Do we continue to make mockery of the price, the sacrifice, the depths he went to, in order to redeem, to restore, every member of the human race to our Father? Has he not been proclaimed as LORD? Is not his name now higher than any other? The weak half gospel preached by the vast majority of Christendom makes this sound absolutely untrue.
Even though many reject this fact, such as the brethren of the positive confession view, the truth is that God is very much involved in the negative aspects of life. Just take a look at Joel 2:25 and answer the question of WHO was responsible for the devastation. Not once but twice! The same One who said that he would restore that which was destroyed is the correct answer. It was more than restoration as Job 42:10-17 tells us. To summarize it, the Lord restored the fortunes of Job twofold. His brothers and sisters and other folks each gave him a piece of money, and a ring of gold. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had 14,000 sheep and 6,000 camels and 1,000 yoke of oxen and 1,000 female donkeys. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he lived for 140 years, with no ill effects from his physical suffering.
In the midst of his seemingly never ending trial Job said, “If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes.” (Job 14:14) “Struggle” - just like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. In the midst of his nightmare Job still knew that God was in charge and change would come, thus he could proclaim, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”
Then consider the increase which was more than restoration, found in Joel Chapter Two. "Then I will make up to you for the years, That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, MY GREAT ARMY WHICH I SENT AMONG YOU.” The word ‘restore” (Strong’s #799) means - to make good, make restitution, make peace, recompense and restore. This devastation came in order to bring to repentance and purify the ancient Jews, for that is exactly what the locusts accomplished as ‘God’s army.’ It was not the end, but the doorway to better times.
Let us now look at the Potter in Jeremiah 18:1-4. “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will announce My words to you. Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.” Where did the clay get spoiled? In the potters’ hand? Why? So that the potter could make something better than his original design. It is not that God didn’t already have the “better design” in mind, it was the process that he required to bring the clay pot to the perfection he desired. When our Father has us go through the “processing” do we realize that it is for our betterment and his glory?
God’s purpose in creation was to make man to be in his IMAGE and LIKENESS. We don’t know how much better Adam was than we are. Some, such as, Watchman Nee thought that Adam was very gifted and advanced in his abilities. We do know that this bit of clay - Adam - became marred. Did not the Master Potter know this would happen? How could he not have known? He must have known since redemption was planned in ages past. If I was God, I would have made sure that it didn’t happen. Clearly, “The Almighty” had a plan much bigger and better that my tiny bit of intelligence could comprehend.
Many reject the idea that testing and processing is part of God’s program for their lives. They may make the positive confession, “I am saved! Since I have become the righteousness of God in Christ, nothing more is needed.” They then may lead a self-centred life, with the thought of, ‘Why not eat, drink and be merry, for the end result is heaven?’ One is reminded of what Jeremiah 48:11-12 says about Moab’s refusal to change. Moab ended up stinking, and God arranged for someone to come along, empty, and then shatter his wine vessels. Ouch!
There is a process of God dealing in our lives to bring us to the place where we are changed into the image of Jesus Christ, however long that may take. We can resist this processing, this fire of refining, and live self centred, self gratifying lives very much the opposite of Jesus the Christ who emptied himself of his glory in order to bring us home to the Father as sons made into his image. He being the first born of many sons.
We read in 1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you”; The words “fiery ordeal” come to us from Greek word - purosis #4451 - which means, “a burning, lighting, kindling.” Revelation 18:9 and 18 uses this word to describe what happened to the great city called Babylon. It is NOT for us enough to come out of Babylon - the church of religious bondage, entertainment, flesh pleasers, the using of God for personal gain, super spirituality, and fulfilling desires of the fleshly realm, some of which may seem to be spiritual. Babylon, in all of its aspects, must COME out of US as this is the way of the cross in our lives, and we must not become a private Babylon in ourselves, or our little group! We should not be surprised at the fiery times in our lives. They are ordained of God!
Jonathan Mitchell puts 1 Peter 4:12-13 this way: “Beloved ones, do not repeatedly feel like strangers to the burning within and among you folks which is habitually happening to you toward your being put to the test (or: which is repeatedly coming into being with a view toward a testing, an examination for you), as though a strange or foreign thing is repeatedly walking with you folks. But on the contrary, keep on rejoicing and being glad to the extent that you folks are continually participating with a common share in the experiences and sufferings of the Christ, to the end that, continuously exulting and celebrating exceedingly, you folks may also rejoice within the unveiling of His glory (His reputation).” Amen!
God’s purpose for man is glory, gory, glory! This is more than the covering of glory that Adam lost. Rather, it is the restoration, and more, of that which had been lost. We know that Jesus temporarily set his indwelling glory aside. The First Adam lost/forfeited the glory that he had. (Romans 3:23) Karl Barth wrote, “Men fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God is his conspicuousness - -. For us this conspicuousness is lacking; and herein we are all united.” (The Epistle to the Romans) What Barth said was that God was not visible, could not be seen in man. Can “The Christ” be seen in us, or are we just good living, church attending, Bible loving, religious folks?
Our Lord Jesus lived his earthly life with his state of “glory being set aside.” Then the time came when Jesus prayed for the restoration of the glory that he once had. He had laid this glory aside, or given it up, in order to bring us to The Father (John Seventeen), “Father the hour has come; glorify your son, that the son may glorify you.” Here in a few words is the reason for glorification, not self praise, or increasing self esteem, or even blessing, but rather, to bring honor to our Father God. Jonathan Mitchell puts it this way, "O Father, the hour has come and is now here: bring glory (give a good reputation; bring a manifestation which calls forth praise) to Your Son, to the end that the Son can (may) bring glory (give a good reputation; bring a manifestation which calls forth praise) to You.”
This brings us to the question. Dare we ask to be glorified, and what doe it mean? How could we, as a “fallen,” but by grace, redeemed people qualify? What is there of worth in us worthy of such honor? Some have said that we are but “sinners saved by grace,” and some have added the shameful words, that they will “always be a sinner.” What a shocking view that is, because it belittles, and insults, that grace of God. We are saints by the grace of God, with the life of Jesus Christ dwelling in each and all of us! The worthiness in each and all of us is Christ himself who is progressively changing us into his own image, and we shall be as he is because he along can bring us to the fullness God has purposed for mankind. Our glorification is ultimately to be as he is without the limitations we face today.
We as the children of God have every right to pray for glorification, or perhaps it could be better said, to be co-participants of his glory, NOT self aggrandizement, but to bring honor, esteem to our Creator, Redeemer and Father. What is the basis that we can dare to ask? It is so simple, and yet so profound. God included us in Christ Jesus, so that when he died, we died, when he was raised from the dead, so were we. When he ascended to the right hand of the Father, so did we. How do we know that Jesus succeeded? Did he really make it? Jesus stated that he would send the “promise of the Father. This Peter declared had happened in Acts Chapter Two, because the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the proof of his exaltation to the right hand of the Father. Did our Father say to Jesus the Christ, “Well done my faithful slave.” “Just a minute,” we all would say, “Isn’t he the Son of God?” Truth! However, when he came to restore all of mankind to the Father, he took the place of a slave – doulos according to Philippians 2:7. Having successfully done what he came to do, he then was restored to the place of a Son, and the fullness of his former glory.
There is a song with the words, “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow,” which is great. However, the reality is, because he lives, we live also! Because he in the Father, we are also! Because he is glorified, so are we! This is not to suggest that we have arrived at the state of fullness, hardly so! We have learned that all things are progressive, in both the natural and spiritual realms. There is a processing work going on, and it will continue until the fullness of the glory of God fills our earthen bodies, and all of mankind, and all of creation, for the fullness of his glory shall fill the earth as the sons manifest the glory of the Father.
There is a sense of the grandeur of it all in Ephesians 1:9-10 “He has made known to us his hidden purpose - such was his will and pleasure determined beforehand in Christ - to be put into effect when the time was ripe: namely, that the universe, all in heaven and on earth, might be brought into a unity in Christ.” (NEB) >From a much earlier writing the following comment and quotations were made about Verse Ten.
“What he planned was that "He might gather together in one all things in Christ." The meaning of this brought to my spirit truth, from days past, that my mind didn't accept.
First the term, "gather together in one," is the Greek word, "anakephalaiomai" #346, meaning to sum up under one head. Read the following quotations:
“E.W. Bullinger: "to reduce under one head, to reunite for one's self under one head."
“J.H. Thayer: "to bring together again for Himself all things and beings (hitherto disunited by sin) into one combined state of fellowship in Christ, the universal bond."
“Kenneth Wuest N.T.: "To bring back again to their original state all things in the Christ."
“Rotherham's N.T.: "to reunite for Himself (under one head) the all things in Christ."
TCNT (1901): "when He would make everything both in heaven and on earth, center in the Christ."
“Weymouth: "the purpose with He cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find it's one Head in Christ."
“What our Father has purposed "to gather together," are ALL things (Greek, "pas" - all, any, every kind or variety, the whole), which are in heaven and in/on earth. The goal of the gathering is - IN CHRIST.”
Let us look briefly at this scripture passage. “Acts 3:21 "Whom heaven must receive until the restoration of all things," The word RESTORATION is the Greek word "apokatasis" #625, from two words, "apo" - back again and "kathistemi" - to set in order. APOKATASIS means, to reconcile completely, reestablishment, to bring back to a former state of harmony. Kenneth Wuest puts it: "to receive until times when all things will be restored to their pristine glory.” End of quote."
Our Father, we long for the fullness of what we see by the Spirit, we look for the mighty glory that is to be revealed in us, and in all of your creation. Lord hasten the day. Glorify your sons so that we may bring glory, honor, praise and esteem to you. That indeed all that you purposed in ages past shall and will be so. Even now cause the indwelling Christ within us to cry for the restoration of the glory we once knew in part when our spirits dwelt with you. We are indeed your offspring, and birthed of you. Bring us we pray to the fullness that you have planned and purposed. Amen!