KEY THOT: The glory of the Lord manifested itself in the OT as a tangible and visible presence: "The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel" (vv.16-17). It was a localized manifestation of an omnipresent God.
While we affirm the truth that God is present everywhere, but there is also a sense in which He can manifest His presence somewhere. Just as on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit manifested His presence in a tangible way in a specific house: "a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:2-4).When the Spirit descended on the 120 disciples in the upper room, only they experienced the glory of God in a tangible way, but not people outside the house. The manifestation of God's glory is often an awesome event, just like on Mount Sinai--localised and dramatic in its effects.
While we do not want to turn specific historical events into theological norms, nevertheless we must accept that Scripture teaches that the local manifestation of the glory of God is dramatic and visible, often accompanied by signs and wonders. It didn't just happen on the day of Pentecost and ceased subsequently. Rather, this was repeated throughout the first decades of of the church history as recorded in the NT:
- Hebrews 2:3-4 It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
- Acts 2:42-43 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
- Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
- Acts 5:14-16 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
- Acts 10:44-46 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.
- Acts 16:25-26 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened.
The manifestation of God's glory is sometime called "revival". In the case of Israel in the wilderness, the glory of God never departed from them--they had on-going revival.
So revival should not be is not be an anomaly. Revival is simply a restoration of nominal Christianity to normal Christianity. Whenever the Spirit of God is free to move, it moves in dramatic and often supernatural way. After all, we have a supernatural God! We should expect nothing less.
Father, thank You for Your glory manifested among Your people. May Your Spirit bring revival to restore nominal Christianity to normal Christianity again. Amen.