Expecting More Glory
I am currently reading a book called ‘They Told Me Their Stories’. It is a book of first hand accounts from the Azusa street revival. It began in a converted stable in Azusa street Los Angeles and ran for about 3 ½ years from 1906 to 1910. It provided the spark and initial force to the Pentecostal movement and subsequently the Charismatic movement. It is commonly known for the experience of Baptism in the Spirit, which included speaking in tongues. This was the first mass outbreak of this phenomenon since the early church, although there had been several forerunners.
You don’t have to look very deep to find much more going on at Azusa. These first hand accounts are by folk who were teenagers at the time of the outpouring. They tell of the constant manifest glory of God that hung in the room like a shimmering cloud. You could part it with your fingers, you could hide in it in places it was so thick. Then they tell of miracle after miracle of healing that took place in that atmosphere. All these youth were involved in praying for the sick and seeing cancers leave and many walk out of wheelchairs.
It strikes me that the New Covenant is a better Covenant than the old, which came with Glory. There was glory on the mountain top that Moses had to climb, and Glory on Moses face every time he met with God. There was Glory manifest so thick in the new temple that the priests could not minister. This was all for a covenant that the apostle Paul now says is obsolete. He says the new covenant comes with greater Glory and that we can behold it in increasing measure. Some commentators say it is the glory simply of the higher and more wonderful truth of the gospel of grace rather than the covenant of law. Now of course that is true, but 2Cor 3 is also telling us that the 2 covenants both appeared in manifest glory, and that of the new exceeds and transcends the old, and we can see it and reflect it. Put another way, the revelation of the truths of the 2 covenants came with an accompanying manifestation of manifest Glory, and that the new manifestation will greatly exceed the old.
This makes manifest presence so important. Intellectual acknowledgment is insufficient for human transformation, only encounters with God’s glory in some form truly transform us. Be it in our bodies, hearts or minds. We either need to encounter it externally, or – as Christians- have a greater release from within, because Christ in us is the hope of glory.
I believe we are seeing increasingly powerful manifestations of God’s presence and its changing people’s lives. It’s changing their view of God and what they think the Christian life is about. It is bringing new freedom into their hearts and clarity to their thinking, and putting fire inside them for Jesus. What we are seeing is the beginning.
Two senior figures in the Azusa revival prophesied a greater revival than Azusa would come in ‘about 100 years’. That it wouldn’t be centred in one place. Smith Wigglesworth in 1937 prophesied of a revival would come where such was the healing anointing whole hospitals would be emptied of their sick, because Christians went in and prayed. He also prophesied in 1947 that there would be the charismatic movement and then a new church movement in the UK (both things have now happened). He then said that as the new church movement waned, there would be a coming together of people of word and Spirit, and that the outcome would be a revival greater than the one around Wesley and Whitfield that would spread from Britain to Europe. There has certainly been a waning of the ‘new church’ movement as a whole since its heyday in the 1980’s. There seems to be a confluence of these prophetic words in our time. Could it be that we are entering something more than we realise? When the prophet Daniel found Jeremiah’s prophecy about Israel returning from exile after 70 years, he realised the time was up, and began to pray….the rest is Bible history, God answered and moved men. Let’s pray.