By John Aldworth

Posted May 18, 2015

            Psalm 97: 4: His lightnings enlightened the world, the earth saw and trembled.

Isaiah 29:18: And in that day (i.e. the Day of Christ) shall the deaf hear the words of the book and the eyes of the blind shall be see out of obscurity and out of darkness.

We may not see our world this way but in God’s view it is a dark, evil place. He sees it as a world of ‘night’ (John 9:4) in which ‘no man can work’. Indeed, so dark is its sin that enlightened, grace-saved believers are strictly warned by the Apostle Paul to ‘have no fellowship (at all) with the unfruitful works of darkness’ (Eph. 5:11).

So much for the bad news. The good news is that very soon dazzling enlightenment will come to the whole world. In that day people will no longer have ‘eyes that can’t see and ears that can’t hear”. For in the day of Christ all will see the Lord Jesus Christ manifest in glory and all will hear his voice.

This enlightenment will be brought to the world by ‘his appearing’. But before we turn the spotlight on that, let’s affirm afresh that we, as grace-saved believers, have already been made individually to ‘see the light’. Eph. 1:18 says that we who have believed the Apostle Paul’s report are ‘enlightened that ye may know what is the hope of his calling and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints’.

What’s more those quickened to learn the ‘mystery’ truth of Paul’s prison epistles know that they have been ‘made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (and) … delivered from the power of darkness’ (Eph. 1:12-13). Right now then we should be rejoicing in grace and learning to ‘walk as (the) children of light’ that God has made us to be (Eph. 5:8).

But for the vast majority of mankind it’s a desperately darker story. Thank God we live in New Zealand, where courtesy of gospel preaching for over a century we enjoy peace, safety, freedom to worship and reasonable provision. Contrast that with the lot of folk in pagan, idol worshipping countries. Ten per cent of Indian people are officially deemed slaves and on Ross Kemp’s ‘Extreme World’ television programme last week an Indian procurer casually admitted killing as a matter of course hundreds of young girls kidnapped for prostitution once they had passed their ‘use by date’. . In the Catholic Philippines a third of people live in hunger. And as I write in the Mediterranean thousands of refugees fleeing war and poverty on leaky ships are being abandoned to drowning by Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

A dark world indeed. That’s why for the sake of all humanity, as well as for ourselves, we should be eagerly looking for his appearing (Titus 2:13). Indeed it is for the very purpose of looking for his appearing that God saved us by grace in the first place (Titus 2:12).

So what is the appearing? The word translates epiphanea which means to powerfully shine forth. Enlightenment in the Bible then is not the flowering of artistic creativity or a more rational approach as in humanly supposed ‘Age of Enlightenment’. Rather it is the shining forth of the glory of a person, the Lord Jesus Christ.  More piercing than a searchlight, brighter than the noon-day sun (Acts 22:6, 26:13) his appearing will truly light up the world.

Consider these scriptures:

Psalm 77:18: The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.

Isaiah 40:5: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Isaiah 49:26 …and all flesh shall know that know that I am the Lord.

Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17: I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.

Psalm 98:2: All flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Isaiah 52:10: All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Isaiah 29:18: And in that day (i.e. the Day of Christ) shall the deaf hear the words of the book and the eyes of the blind shall be see out of obscurity and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

All this will happen in the Day of Christ (Phil. 1:6, 1:10 and 2:16). Right now, however,  ‘Christ is hid with God’ and we with Him (Col. 3:3) but when He appears it will be in a blaze of such glory that all will know Him and have their hearts changed by Him.

You see, while Jesus was the ‘light of the world’ when He walked among men in Israel, that was the light of the Son of Man, the earthly Messiah. But men ‘preferred darkness to light’ as they still do today. Christ then did not then appear in his full glory. Phil. 2:7 says that He made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men’.

On the Damascus road Paul was blinded by but the briefest glimpse of the glory of the ascended Lord but neither he or anyone else has yet seen  the Mediator ‘the man Christ Jesus’ appear in his full glory as ‘the great God and our Saviour’ (Titus 2:13) that God has made Him. This because right now ‘Christ is hid with God’ (Col. 3:3). But we will so see Him if we are ‘looking for’ and ‘love’ his appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).

What is it like to see the Lord in his full glory as King of heaven and earth? John and Daniel fell at his feet as though dead when they but glimpsed his glory as the earth’s future King. It seems that only Isaiah was enabled to look far into the future to see the Lord as He will be revealed in glory and ruling on high in the day of Christ (Is. 6:1-5):

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face and with twain he covered his feet and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.

Notice below the prophet’s reaction to what he saw.

Then said I, Woe is me, for I am undone: because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King!

Then realise that in the Day of Christ the world’s billions will feel exactly as Isaiah did when they see the King. They will abhor themselves when they see the light of his holiness. Yes, people everywhere will immediately realise their sin and need of salvation when Christ shines Himself forth in the full glory of God. Isaiah, holy prophet though he was, crumpled in the face of it.

The Apostle Paul wrote of this hugely humbling and enlightening experience in Phil. 2:10-11:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. 

My friend Bible teacher Tom Ballinger writes that in the day of Christ, at his appearing, ‘everyone one will be enlightened concerning all spiritual matters including knowing exactly who Jesus Christ is … that is, God Almighty’. In that day, ‘How could I have gotten it so wrong, how could I have been so blind, so deceived?’ will be the cry of many.

The Day of Christ is a theme that flows through the Bible. It is the time when the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed both in heaven and in earth as the Man made God. It is when Christ will show Himself forth at his appearing as the true and only king of heaven and earth. Which is why in 1 Tim. 6: 14-15 Paul urges Timothy:

That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ , which in his times He shall shew, Who is the blessed and only Potentate the King of kings and Lord of lords’.

At his appearing our Lord will show everyone who is the world’s real and only ruler – that is, Himself. Satan at this time will no longer continue as ‘the god of this world’. Notice our Lord’s appearing takes place ‘in his times’, i.e. in his day, the Day of Christ; ‘my day’ as He called it in John 8:56. The New Testament in fact mentions the Day of Christ by name in seven places. They are: 2 Thess. 2:2, 1 Cor. 1:8, 1 Cor. 5:5, 2nd. Cor. 1:14, Phil. 1:6, 1:10 and 2:16.

Importantly, in his shining forth as King Christ will not only show the devil what’s what, but all the angels in heaven and people on earth as well. None will be able to stand against the light of his glory.

Study for yourself these further scriptures on the appearing: 1 Tim. 6:14-15, Col. 3:3-4, 2 Tim. 4:1, Titus 2:11-13.  In 2 Tim. 4:1 Christ’s appearing is clearly linked to the manifestation of his ‘heavenly kingdom’ (also mentioned in 2 Tim. 4:18):

I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.

 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work and preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom.

Importantly, five times in scripture (including Isaiah 6:3) it is recorded that the whole earth will be filled with his glory. Five is the number of grace and thus it is in grace that Christ will rule from heaven:

Numbers 14:21: But as truly as I live all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.

Psalm 72:18-19: (the prophetic prayer of David): Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel who only doeth wondrous things and blessed be his glorious name for ever and let the whole earth be filled with his glory.

Isaiah 11:9: They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the whole earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14: For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Copyright John Aldworth,2015.