“For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:11)
The illumination of the earth is synonymous with manifestation of His life in our mortal flesh. All facets of the Lord’s manifestation are indeed a great mystery. They are all past, present and future realities. Each aspect of His manifestation conveys the distinctive and multifaceted ways in which He has come, is presently coming and will come in His people. In the above verse, Paul relays to us a most profound word. It is the manifestation of the life of Jesus in our MORTAL flesh.
The scriptures distinguish between a natural body and a spiritual body. There are bodies that are terrestrial (earthly) and bodies that are celestial (of heavenly origin and nature). Paul assures us that our natural body will be sown and raised a spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:42). But which body is Paul referring to when he says mortal flesh? Is he not referring to the natural body? For the body that is mortal (i.e. liable to death) is not the spiritual body but the natural.
The manifestation of the life of Jesus in our mortal flesh is a necessary experience in our progress into His fullness. It points us to the ‘Parousia’ (Greek), the presence of the Lord in our current condition who is daily working in us both to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Certainly these experiences in our mortal flesh are all working together to bring us to our unveiling as sons.
Indeed manifest sonship is the finale of all the dealings of God in His elect sons. It is the culmination of all the previous manifestations of the Lord we have experienced in our mortal flesh. For then will the spiritual swallow up the natural. This manifestation is also the precursor to all of creation coming into the liberty of God and the kingdom coming with great power over all the nations of the earth. Yet this manifestation is not an individual experience. It is a corporate event that will break forth in Father’s appointed hour.
So are we simply to wait for this glorious event, much like many believers today are waiting for a supposed rapture or “second-coming”? On the contrary, Paul affirms that we are to manifest His life in our mortal flesh. God will take His elect sons by the way of the cross in order to manifest His life in the current condition of their mortal flesh. Consider the life of Jesus Christ during the days of His flesh. He demonstrated the life and nature of the Father. Hence He could testify: if you have seen me, you have seen the Father and if you know me, you have known the Father (John 14:7,9). Yet the Lord Jesus did all this while in a mortal flesh. He was not merely waiting for His resurrection or to put on a glorified body. He who had taken the likeness of man and who was liable to death was manifesting the life of His Father until the appointed hour.
So how are we to manifest His life in our mortal flesh? The pattern Son manifested the Father in thought, will and action. He was the very expression of the glory of God. He healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansing the lepers and performed various wonders including feeding the multitudes and calming the seas. All these were the manifestations of a ministry energized by the Father. However, one thing stands out about Jesus’ ministry. There was one aspect of His ministry that took up most of His time and which He was most preoccupied with. It was teaching. I believe this was the principal way in which He manifested the Father.
Of the numerous ways that Jesus had manifested the Father, notice which one He first identifies. “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works (John 14:10). It was WORDS! To speak Father’s words is to manifest His thoughts, His mind, His will, His nature, His spirit, and indeed His life. The words that Jesus spoke were Spirit and life for this very reason. They were the very means by which Father was imparting His life and making Himself known to the multitudes. Interesting also that Jesus refers to the words he spoke as “works” – the very works of the Father.
There is great power in words. Nations have been formed and nations have fallen by words. The ideologies and principles espoused by multitudes across the world is the product of words. Consider communism. It was once a powerful political movement that had impacted the way of life for millions across the world. It is reported that by the early 1980s, one-third of the world’s population lived under some form of a communist system of government. Yet all this was birthed by a set of ideologies primarily conceived by two German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in large part through their book ‘The Communist Manifesto’. Many are aware, more than I, what these words manifested.
Now, if the carnal and lifeless words of two natural men could shift the trajectory of nations and the lives of millions, how much more will the anointed word of God spoken by the sons of God impart righteousness, peace and joy to a desperate world? For this cause, our Lord Jesus came declaring the manifesto of the Kingdom of God. For Jesus, teaching was a daily activity, for He said: “I sat DAILY with you teaching in the temple” (Matt. 26:55). He also spent those valuable forty days after His resurrection speaking to the apostles of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). Do we not see the magnitude and importance that the words of the Kingdom had for our Lord Jesus? Paul too went about “preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31). This verse sums up the book of Acts, for the ‘acts of the apostles’ primarily consisted of teaching.
There is a sure witness in my spirit that the Lord is now illuminating the earth in many sons by the word of the Kingdom that is going forth. It is imparting the thoughts, principles, mind and will of God. It is liberating many from the enemy within and from the false religious dogmas they have been bound to. It is bringing them into the rest and victory of life in the kingdom. Just as the words that Jesus spoke were Spirit and life, the words quickened by the Spirit which we speak will impart the same quality of Spirit and life to the hearer. Is it not the sounding of the seven-fold trumpet that will usher in the Kingdom of God as relayed to us in the book of Revelation? Surely this Kingdom age is being marshaled in by sons who are heralding this full gospel message.
Consider the original Greek word used for ‘manifest’ in our initial verse. It is ‘Phoneroo’ which means: “to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way…to make known by teaching, to become manifest, be made known”. The word ‘Phoneroo’ is not limited to a visible manifestation but also indicates that of AWARENESS and PERCEPTION. It points to the divine words that bring forth kingdom awareness and kingdom perception in a people. Divine words have awakened us to the realities of the Kingdom we now walk in. However, they remain hidden and unknown by the multitudes. But this is only until these words find reality and manifestation in those who bring glad tidings. For the earth shall not only be filled with the glory of the Lord (Num. 14:21), but also with the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of the Lord (Hab. 2:14).
Praise God! He is illuminating the earth of many today by the light of His word. Light is multifaceted in its meaning. In the context of our topic, light stands for truth, for revelation, for life and for understanding which are all brought forth by the entrance of the word. Indeed the quickened word is a light and “the unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psa. 119:130).
Our original text reads that: “the earth was illuminated with His glory” (Rev. 18:1). The word ‘illuminated’ in the original Greek means “to enlighten, spiritually, to bring to light, to instruct, to inform, to teach, to give understanding to”. Another meaning is to “make to see”. To see is to understand. The illumination of our soul (earth), is the lighting of our mind to understand and assimilate the truth of God’s word. This is the work of God by His word to transform our minds. Many can testify with me that God has stepped down into our earth with mighty power to reveal Himself by the very word of truth. He has removed the lies of religion and the veil of flesh that had kept us ignorant of the truth.
We praise you Lord for the light of your word! We thank you for your Spirit who is daily enlightening and instructing us. We also give you thanks for the teachers you have raised among us who have daily illuminated our earth by manifesting your life in their mortal flesh. We are deeply grateful that you have worked in them mightily to bring an elevated awareness of Christ in our life. As they have illumined our earth, equip us that we too can illuminate others to bring forth an impartation of your life. Amen!