Acts 7:55 ESV “But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God. And he said, ‘Behold I see the heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
There were a few men that scripture records as seeing the glory of God. There was Moses who was allowed to see the glory from behind a rock. There was Isaiah who saw the train or hem (hem always symbolized authority) of his robe fill the temple. There was Ezekiel who saw the expanse shining like awe-inspiring crystal. Daniel, Peter, John, and Paul all saw visions of the Lord. Almost all had some kind of brilliant shining light. Revelation 21:23 “for the glory of God gives light.”
When you search the scriptures for others who were blessed by God to see a vision of His glory, you find that there are similar images in them.
Isaiah 6:1-5 — Isaiah fell back when he saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up. His response, “Woe is me! For I am lost and a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts!”
Daniel’s vision of heaven and the end is recorded in Daniel 7:1-28. In the last verse, Daniel’s comment was, “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter to my heart.” Daniel lost all color, the blood drained from his face and he turned white, frightened by all he had seen. Alarmed of what the end might look like.
In verses 13-14 of that chapter, “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion an everlasting Dominion, which will not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
John’s revelation in 1:12-17 records his response. “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (ESV)
The effects of seeing the glory of the Lord on these men were the same. They fell back and worshiped as though dead. Daniel turned pale; John fell back. Paul, when he saw the light, fell off his horse. (The New Living Translation) Yea, I read that twice. The glory of Jesus caused him to fall to the ground. Scripture doesn’t say but I (in my imagination) think maybe the horse saw something and bucked him right off on his back side. God has a way of getting our attention!!
The apostles on Mount Transfiguration were frightened. (Mark 9:2-8) Jesus was transfigured before them, and His clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.” (English Standard Version) Impulsive Peter wants to build a monument! Verse 6 reveals Peter’s nature. “For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.”
There is radiant light in all the accounts of men seeing the glory of God and vision of heaven. We read in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.”
God’s very first act in eternity was to bring light to darkness.
I John 1:5 “God is light and in Him there is no darkness.”
Jesus himself told us that he is “the light of the world.”
As God’s image bearers, we are to carry this light into a dark world.
How’s your light burning? Are we shining forth?
Stephen was an image bearer whose light shone so brightly that others were frightened by him. He was a threat to their way of life. He brought light into their darkened hearts.
That is also what we are called to do!!! It will take the courage like Stephen to open our eyes and let the glory of the Lord shine through us also.
Take courage treaders, God will supply the light if you come into his presence.
by Freda Reynolds