There is a fad right now to “chase the glory.” People are more interested in manifestations than they are in the gospel. We are not called to what people called the glory realm but we are to be faithful to the Lord and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and broken world.
Let me be clear: there is zero biblically evidence for having portals, realms, and manifested clouds of glory. It just is not there in the New Testament. There is no getting around this. This is honestly closer to Buddhism than it is the Bible.
While Ruth Ward Heflin((Ruth Ward Heflin spoke often at Brownsville Revival and led Calvary Pentecostal Camp in Virginia)) was a woman of God, a theologian she was not. Like many odd teachings, people took what she taught and ran with it. The glory of God is δόξα which is “the unspoken manifestation of God” or simply the presence of God.
As the people of God’s presence, we don’t have to make this weird. The glory is tangible and it does come on us but it has a purpose: to transform us in the likeness of Jesus. It is not about his presents but His presence. It is not so goofy thing that is more eastern religion in nature.
Jesus, angels and the glory
In the opening chapter of the Book of Acts of the Holy Spirit, we read about angels literally rebuking the disciplines for glory gazing. It says they were looking into the cloud of glory as Jesus went to Heaven. In the Greek, ἀτενίζω, it means direct gaze or completely fixated. They had with eagerness looking into the glory present.
Two angels appear next to them and rebuke them for the gazing into the glory cloud. They are told to get to Jerusalem for Pentecost is coming. You could translate it as “Why do you establish yourself here looking for to see something physical, with spiritual results from heaven? Jesus that has been taken away is expected to arrive in much the same way you have contemplate you have seen Him journey from you.”
It was quite simple: we do not be glory gazers but we have work to do. Jesus did not die for us to be fixated on the glory but for the gospel to be preached to the end of the earth.
Even the men that walked with the Lord on the earth and saw miracle after miracles had to turn to prayer and fasting for an outpouring at an appointed time. The emphasis here is on walking in prayer, not what we can see physically with some spiritual effects.
The emphasis of the glory was found in Acts 2 when people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. It was the presence of God that people could personally carry and walk out in their daily lives. It was so weird fad.
Simply put: the glory gazers go beyond anything the scripture teaches and quite honestly get into eastern religion without knowing. I have seen things very close to this in India and Cambodia.
Understanding God’s glory
People tend to get silly over the glory. There is a whole movement full of nonsense calling it the glory that is doing a lot of damage to the cause of Christ. Everything from David Herzog claiming people can lose 20 pounds in the “glory realm” to Jeff Jansen claiming Donald Trump lost because people did not value the “glory.” Both of these false prophets are not alone. Joshua Mills, Tracy Cooke, and Todd Bentley can join the discussion.((The New Testament is clear about the behavior and accuracy of prophets and the standards)) (Btw, Paul had no issue naming names so we shouldn’t either)
There is glory used in many cases in the New Testament. Paul talked about the glory of God, that Christ in us is the hope of glory, that others are his glory and even that a woman’s hair is her glory. The reality is that glory in simple terms is the presence. When Paul said that others were his glory, he was saying “you are my presence when I can’t be there.”((1 Thess. 2:18-20)) A woman’s hair was her presence as well.((1 Corinthians 11))
In Pentecostal circles, we like to call this the anointing. It is really just the presence of God that we carry when we pray for people. We can add a bunch of Christianese to it but that is all it really means. The presence or the anointing breaks the yoke of sin, bondage and sickness.
Living naturally supernaturally
Peter would go on in Acts 3 to be faced with a man that was begging and the apostolic leader told him, “What I have, I give you.” What did Peter have? He carried the presence of God because He was baptized in the Spirit and spoke in tongues. The anointing was transferable and tangible to the point that the man went from begging to doing victory laps around the temple.
We have no account of anything weird going on or Peter making a big deal about praying for him. He simply told him that he would pray for him and grabbed him by the hand as a sign of faith. As Peter prayed in faith, the presence of God came.((Stanley Horton does a very good job on this account in Acts: A logion Press Commentary))
One thing that I find interesting is that in Acts 3:4, we see the gazing again. This time they are not gazing into the heavens (and being rebuked for it) but they are now gazing in the hearts of men. Oh, the difference the baptism of the Spirit makes.