THE CHURCH BEING ON THE WAY TO GLORIFICATION
The church is the Body, and the Head is Christ, so the manifestation of God in the flesh here is applied to both. The Head has already been taken up in glory, but the Body is still on the way of being taken up and has not yet entered into glory. Hebrews 2:10 says that God is “leading many sons into glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect.” He is the Author, the Captain, the Forerunner, and He has already entered into glory. We are on our way into glory. I would like to tell you that even though you may not know this, all the angels know it. Time after time when we meet, we are walking on the pathway of glory. Whenever we meet, on the one hand, we are the manifestation of God in the flesh, and on the other hand, we are heading for glory. We are on our way into glory. Perhaps one day we will be meeting, and the angels will be around us, saying, “Look! God is manifested in the flesh!” Before they have finished speaking, the saints will be raptured one by one into glory. If this happens, I will not feel that it is the least bit strange. I hope that I am not at home looking distressed and complaining to my wife when the Lord comes. Then perhaps my wife will be raptured, and I will be left behind. I hope that I will be meeting together with the saints experiencing the great mystery of godliness, the manifestation of God in the flesh, when I am raptured. I believe that this will happen, because every time we meet we are on the proper way to enter into glory. Our meetings are heading toward glory.
The church is the house of God and the pillar and base of the truth. Moreover, the church is the great mystery of godliness as the manifestation of God in the flesh and is being taken up in glory. Thus, this passage has a double application. It applies both to the Lord Jesus and to us, both to the Head and to the Body. I hope that our eyes will be opened here to see that the church is not a doctrine. If it were merely a doctrine, there would not be very much to say. However, when it becomes our subjective experience, we can all sing hallelujah! Every time we come together, it is the manifestation of God in the flesh, and we are heading toward the goal of glory and proceeding toward it. Now we are here allowing God to be expressed; one day we will be taken up in glory. Therefore, the last step of the church’s subjective experience is glorification.
Paul said, “When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4). If today we live by Him and take Him as our life, then one day He will be our glory. Oh, Christ in us has become the hope of glory (Col. 1:27)! We are on our way to glory, and with every meeting we are a little bit closer. We meet every day, and we head toward glory every day. Our goal is just glory. When He is manifested, then we also will be manifested with Him in glory.
When you read Romans 8, you can see that those whom God called, first He predestinated, justified, and conformed them, and then He glorified them (vv. 29-30). The last step is to glorify us. This glory is neither coincidental nor temporary; rather, God predestined before the ages for us to have this glory (1 Cor. 2:7). In eternity, before the foundation of the world, God had a plan to glorify us.
What is glorification? Today we are all in the flesh, and God wants to be manifested in the flesh. However, when we are raptured, in that instant our flesh will be transfigured. Today God is in the flesh, but in that day our flesh will enter into glory. This will be exactly like what happened to the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration. Before the Lord ascended the mountain to be transfigured, He was Jesus the Nazarene in the flesh, but when He was transfigured, His flesh entered into glory. When He comes, we will be raptured, and our flesh will enter into glory and be completely transfigured, so that we will be conformed to the body of His glory. That will be our glorification. Today we are the manifestation of God in the flesh; in that day we will enter into glory, and our bodies will be transfigured into the condition of glory.
This matter is very subjective. You should never think that glory is merely a realm, that today you are a Christian only on earth, but one day the Lord will use His powerful hand to rapture you from the earth to heaven, instantly placing you in glory, at which time you will shine and be glorified. It is not like that. I tell you that today this glory is within you and me, and this glory is actually the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus today is in us as life. Then in that day He will be manifested from within us as glory. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
Second Thessalonians 1:10 says, “When He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed…in that day.” When we will be raptured at His coming back, not only will we enter into glory, but the Lord Jesus will also be glorified in us. Today the Lord Jesus is still concealed within us and has not yet been manifested, so He cannot come out in glory. But when He comes and raptures us to Himself, He will saturate our entire being to completely glorify Himself from within us. That will be His being glorified in us and being marveled at in that day in all of us who have believed. Glory is a seed that is inside us. This seed within us will grow and develop in us until it breaks forth from our body. That will be the redemption of our body, and that will be our rapture, our entering into glory. Thus, we will be brought into the glory which God predestined for us. Therefore, in the end the church will be a group of redeemed people who have been completely transfigured into glory. This is the ultimate manifestation of the church.
Today the church here is the manifestation of God in the flesh, but in that day the church will be a group of redeemed people who have been transfigured into glory. That is the church. The Lord has already spoken to us, and I hope that we will have the light and vision to see that this is the church. The church is the reprint of the Holy Spirit with Christ, the place of God’s infusion, the manifestation of God in the flesh, and ultimately the flesh transfigured into glory. Hallelujah— this is the church!
(The Subjective Truths in the Holy Scriptures, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)