by Francis Frangipane
“And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” —2 Thessalonians 2:14
The Word of God states plainly—no, it commands those at the end of the age to be fearless in the face of darkness! Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, the Spirit of the Lord orders His people:
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth,
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you,
And His glory will appear upon you.
And nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
Traditionally, because the second half of Isaiah 60 contains references to the millennium, some have placed the fulfillment of this entire chapter in the age to come. But let me ask: Will “darkness . . . cover the earth” in the millennium? During the glorious reign of Christ when death, sin, and sorrow are banished, will “deep darkness” still rest on “the peoples”? The fact is, while Isaiah’s prophecy does indeed conclude in the millennium, it begins during the last hours of this age.
Clearly, these first three verses of Isaiah 60 are a pre-rapture, pre-millennial command from God. The Lord calls us not just to endure the darkness but to arise in His manifest glory! People argue about the timing of the rapture, but what I am presenting here does not disturb any popular eschatology. I’m saying between now and whatever scenario you believe there will be a time of increasing glory for true Christ followers.
Some of us feel defeated; others are worn out and weakened by the increasing gloom in the world. Yet it is here, where depression would otherwise capture our souls, that we are commanded to rise. To throw off oppression is not just an act of faith; it is an act of obedience. It is time to cancel our plans to be miserable! Through the blood of Christ, we break our covenant with death and darkness; we obey the voice of our destiny!
One may argue, But you do not know my difficulties. Listen to how the Amplified Bible renders the Lord’s command: “Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you; rise to a new life]!” Right at this moment, even as you read these words, new life from the Presence of God is descending into your spirit. Receive it! Accept it! Obey it!
You see, God’s plan is that here on earth, in us, the glory of the Lord will be revealed. The luminous, radiant light of His Presence, as it shone from Moses’ face and flooded Solomon’s temple at its dedication, as it radiated from Jesus and bathed His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration—that light of God’s Presence shall arise from within us at the end of the age! This same divine glory shall, in ever-increasing degrees of brightness, appear upon us in the years prior to the Lord’s actual second coming.
In truth, this great work of grace has already begun. We are part of the Holy Spirit’s expansive preparation. God is gathering together His people. We are learning to humble ourselves in repentance and prayer; we are finding friendship and unity with other Christians. Indeed, our reconciliation across denominational and ethnic barriers has an immeasurable reward attached to it. As valleys are “lifted up, and every mountain and hill . . . made low . . . then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together” (Isa. 40:4-5).
God is qualifying us to receive His splendor! Nations shall come to His light and kings to the brightness of His rising!
Only He is Worthy
Do not fear or think of yourself as unworthy—of course you are! We all are. It is for His glory that we are being prepared. He made no mistake in choosing you, just as He made no mistake in dying for your sins. He chose to put His Spirit within you. Personal unworthiness is not a valid excuse. Your destiny is God’s decision. Beware lest your sense of unworthiness become a smoke screen for unbelief!
The darkness, chaos, or emptiness that may still exist in your life is not any more of a deterrent to the Almighty than the terrible, pre-creation void that awaited Him in the beginning. Certainly, your individual genesis from darkness to light shall not be too difficult for God!
Even now, the Holy Spirit is descending, hovering, and brooding over you. To your “new creation self” the voice of the Lord commands,
“Arise! Shine! Shake yourself from the depression in which circumstances have kept you! You are standing at the threshold of God’s glory!”
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