Smith Wigglesworth’s Insight into The Fire and the Glory
In Acts chapter six, we are introduced to Stephen, whose name means crowned. From the moment we hear about him, we are told that he is:
“Of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.”
Acts 6: 3
He was one of seven whose lives were so identified with the Holy Spirit that we are told they are “filled” coming from “pleres” meaning a hollow vessel that is now filled. Oh, what the Lord can do to an empty vessel surrendered to Him and asking for Him to fill it. This demands that we recognize who He really is and the need to be emptied of ourselves.
Smith Wigglesworth said:
“God has a plan for this meeting, beyond anything that we have ever known before. He has a plan for every individual life, and if we have any other in view, we miss the grandest plan of all! Nothing of the past is equal to the present, and nothing of the present can equal the things of tomorrow, for “tomorrow” should be so filled with holy expectations that we will be ‘living flames” for Him.“
The Lord desires to manifest through frail earthen vessels, His glory. Smith added:
“This is the heritage of the Church, to be so endued with power that God can lay His hand upon any member at any time to do His perfect will. There is no ‘stop’ in the Spirit-filled life: we begin at the Cross, the place of ignominy, shame, and death, and that very death brings the power of resurrection life; and being filled with the Holy Spirit, we go on “from glory to glory.”
Smith was quoting from one of my favorite verses:
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3: 18
The word transformed used here would be better translated as “transfigured.” It is the same word used of the transfiguration of Jesus, where:
“And He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.”
Matthew 17: 2
If we look at what Paul was discussing in Second Corinthians chapter three, we see it is about Mose’s face glowing with the glory. The Shekinah glory of God was seen on this earthen vessel. Look at Isaiah chapter sixty:
“Arise, shine for the time of your salvation has come, and the glory of the Lord will be revealed upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gloom the kingdoms; but the Shekinah of the Lord will settle in you, and His glory will be revealed upon you.”
Isaiah 60: 1 Targum
If we go back to Acts six and the account of Stephen, Smith explains:
“This ordinary Stephen became mighty under the Holy Ghost anointing, until he stands supreme, in many ways, among the apostles- “And Stephen was full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” As we go deeper in God, He enlarges our conception and places before us a wide-open door.”
Paul said of this mighty ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Shekinah glory:
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not us.”
2 Corinthians 4: 7
No wonder Smith explained:
“God has privileged us in Christ Jesus to live above the ordinary human plane of life. Those who want to be ordinary and live on a lower plan, can do so; for me, I will not!”
In the Aramaic translation, we see that the Presence of the Word is always connected with the Shekinah glory.
“But at the place where the Lord your God choses to make His Name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.”
Leviticus 16: 6
In the Aramaic, it says, “But in the place which the Lord thy God will approve to make His shekinah dwell…” The place of His Shekinah gory is the place where Jesus, the Passover Lamb, was crucified. In the place of death, life comes forth. In the place of weakness, His strength is perfected.
There is only one way for every one of us to keep faithful, and that is down in humiliation, the brokenness of spirit, living victoriously over the natural, and having the light of life in our being.
We know that Jesus became our Passover Lamb, and through the Cross, we see the glory of the Lord displayed. Regarding this, Smith said:
“Jesus said in that trying hour- hear it for a moment: ‘I have a desire to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.’ Desire? What could be His desire? His desire because of the salvation of the world. His desire because of dethronement of the powers of Satan. His desires because He knew He was going to conquer everything and make every man free who ever lived”
Jesus came to destroy the works of the enemy and set men free. The Word! It was the Word in a flesh vessel that won the victory! Smith explained:
“When we came into this new work God spoke to us by the Spirit and we knew we had to reach the place of absolute yieldedness and cleansing, so that there would be nothing left. We were swept and garnished. Brother, that was only the beginning, and if you have not made tremendous progress in that holy zeal and power and compassion of God, we can truly say you have backslidden in heart. The backslider in heart is dead. He is not having the open vision. The backslider in heart not seeing the Word of God more fresh every day. You can put it down that a man is a backslider in heart if he is not hated by the world. If you have the applause of the world you are not having the approval of God.”
The Presence of God demands holiness. No wonder Peter reminds us that we are to be holy, for He is holy. The world needs to see His glory on display. If we look at the promises of Isaiah sixty because of the glory in us and on us, we should long for His glory to be revealed in these earthen vessels. But His glory does not operate on our terms but demands we comply with the standards of Heaven. Smith explained:
“As we have born the image of the earthly, we shall have the image of the Heavenly. It means to us that everything of an earthly type has to cease, for the heavenly type is so wonderful in all purity. God full of love, full of purity full of power! No power only on the lines of purity! No open door into Heaven only on the lines of the conscience void of sin between man and God, the heavens open only where the Spirit of the Lord is so leading, so that flesh has no power, but we will live in the Spirit. God bless you and prepare you for greater days.”
If we would come and present ourselves as living sacrifices on the altar, what would happen when we gather in His Name? He seeks for us to present ourselves as a freewill offering out of love on the altar. We don’t come legalistically or religiously but out of love. We see the example of the Master who leads through love. He demonstrated the glory in an earthen vessel by love. For His glory is defined by and known by His love. His love is manifested through and because of His love. That same love must control and drive us to the altar. That same love must manifest in and through us.
While it is right to covet earnestly the best gifts, you must recognize that the all important thing is to be filled with the power and PRESENCE of the Holy Ghost Himself. You will never have trouble with people who are filled with the power of the Holy Ghost, but you will have a lot of trouble with people who have the gifts and have no power.
The Holy Spirit will not dictate or manipulate a person but longs for a person out of love to yield. For if we do it out of love, our motives are true, and we stand secure and able to trust Him. Our desire is to be blessed so that we may be a blessing.
The Lord wants us to come behind in no gift, but at the same time He wants us to be so filled with the Holy Ghost that it will be the Holy Spirit manifesting Himself through the gifts. Where the GLORY of God alone is desired you can look for every needed gift to be made be made manifest. To glorify God is better than to idolize gifts.
In Second Corinthians, Paul explains:
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”
2 Corinthians 11: 13-14
The enemy masquerades or puts on a cloak to cover the throne of lies that resides underneath. Outwardly, he and these false apostles appear as something wonderful and always have the right message of the hour that tickles the ear. We are moved by the outward when we need to be moved in inward. Jesus the Living Word walked amongst us in an earthen vessel, and the majority couldn’t see Him or hear Him.
“He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men…”
Isaiah 53: 2b, 3a
But when your eyes are open, and you see Him, it changes everything, and you are never the same. Why? You have looked in the face of his Shekinah glory, and you can never be the same. No wonder Smith said:
If I could only tell Him as I know Him, My Redeemer who has brightened all my way; If I could tell how precious is His PRESENCE, I am sure that you would makeHim yours today. Could I tell it, Could I tell it, How the sunshine of His PRESENCE lights my way, I would tell it, I would tell it, And I’m sure that you would make Him yours today.