Our God is a Consuming Fire

When Moses prayed that blessed Christian prayer, the Lord said: "There is a place by me,... and I will put thee in a cleft of the rock," "and I will make all my goodness pass before thee." "And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by," I "will cover thee with my hand. And I will take away my hand," and you shall see me. Exodus 33:21-23. So, though every man should dread the terror of the consuming glory of the Lord in that great day, there is today a place by him. So we are to bid all souls; and from him I bid you, today, Come, and stand in this place by him, in the very presence of the flaming glory. Do not be afraid. Moses was not able to bear the fullness of that consuming glory that day; but the Lord, in his love, covered him with his hand, and protected him from the effects of that glory, which he was unable to bear.

The great trouble in that great day is that the people are not able to bear the glory. The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, the chief men and the captains, and every bondman, and every freeman flee to the rocks and mountains to hide themselves, and say to the rocks and mountains, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" The blazing glory of God will shine upon the earth, and these people can not bear it.

But today do not be afraid. He says: "There is a place by me" there is a place "in a cleft of the rock," and "I will put thee in a cleft of the rock," and I "will cover thee with my hand," so that you can bear the blaze, and the purifying power, of my glory. And that consuming fire of my presence shall consume away all the sin. I "will cover thee with my hand,"—I will protect you even from that weakness which, in you, makes you unable to bear the fullness of my glory. And when he takes away his hand in that great day, those who have dwelt by his side, and been purified by living in this consuming fire until they are made white and tried, can look upon his unveiled face. In the full brightness of his glory, we shall look upon him, and see him as he is.

And that is where we are now, to look. With open face we can look, even now, into his face. For, in the flesh of Jesus Christ, God has veiled the annihilating power of the glory of his face; for, having shined into our hearts, he gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. In looking into the face of Jesus Christ, we see the face of God, and "we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory, to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

Then let every soul welcome the glorious message that God sends to the world, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost;" welcome that blessed Spirit that works this change by which we are changed from glory to glory, and made ready to meet him in that great day of glory; and welcome not only the Holy Spirit, but covet earnestly the best gifts, which the Holy Spirit brings when he comes. Desire spiritual gifts; for these are to bring us to perfection in Christ Jesus. Only in this way shall we be made perfect in Christ Jesus; and in Christ be made ready to meet him as he is.