From the mini-book ‘The Glory of God‘ by Kenneth E. Hagin, pp 1
But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. (Acts 7: 35)
We frequently feel the glory of God in manifestation among us. And as we walk with God, we’re conscious of His glory, and we’re changed from glory to glory. But in Acts 7: 55, it says Stephen saw something. What did he see?
The Jews who heard Stephen preach this sermon in Acts 7 well understood what Stephen meant when he said he saw the glory of God. There are many references to the glory of God in the Old Testament, beginning with these from Exodus — Exodus 16: 7, 10; Exodus 40: 34,35; Leviticus 9: 4, 6, 23; Numbers 14: 10; Numbers 20: 6.
That glory is what Stephen saw, and the Jews he was preaching to, understood what he meant. They knew that the glory of the Lord had appeared and filled the House of God. They knew that it often looked like a cloud filling the House, so they understood what Stephen was talking about when he said he saw the glory of God.
Whether you ever see the glory of God in manifestation in this life, when you leave this earth, that’s where you are going: to the glory world. Psalm 73: 24 says, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to GLORY.”
There is a glory world, and sometimes that glory world is manifested in this world. When it is, it is by a supernatural manifestation of the power of God.
I saw the Glory
I know exactly what Stephen saw, because I saw that glory too. You know my testimony: I was born again on the twenty-second day of April, 1933, at 20 minutes to 8 o’clock, on a Saturday night, in the south bedroom of 405 North College Street, in the city of McKinney, Texas. I was bedfast then. Four months later, on August 16, 1933, the temperature reached 106° Fahrenheit (41° Celsius) in the afternoon, and that was in the shade.
We didn’t have air conditioning in those days, so the windows doors of our house were all open to get a little breeze if there was any. But my body was so cold that my family borrowed hot water bottles from the neighbors and placed them around by body, trying to warm me up! They also placed heated bricks wrapped in newspaper and blankets around me.
I knew all morning that I was dying. At 1.30 in the afternoon, my little brother, who was 9 years old was standing by my bed as death fastened its final throes upon my body. I said to him, “Run and get Momma – quick! I want to tell her goodbye. I’m dying.” He ran out of the room like a shot, and that whole room suddenly was filled with a cloud that was brighter than the sun shining on snow. The whole room was filled with that glory.
I left my body and I ascended. You see, if you’re a Christian when you leave here, you go up. If you’re a sinner when you leave here, you go down. The Spirit of man is eternal! And there is a Spirit world!
I began to ascend in that cloud of glory, and when I got up to about where the roof of the house should be – it was a story-and-a-half building – I heard a voice speak to me in the English language. I believe it was Jesus’ voice, although I didn’t see Him. But I heard the voice, a man’s voice and it said, “Go back. Go back to the earth. You can’t come yet. Your work on earth is not done!”
I descended back down into the room. When I got back, the glory – the cloud – had lifted, and I saw my mother standing there holding my hand in hers. I seemed to leap inside my body like a man would put his foot inside his boot. When I got back inside my body. I could contact Momma, so I said, “Momma, I’m not going to die now!”
She thought I meant I wasn’t going to die at that moment, but I meant, “I’m not going to die now. I’m going to live and do the work of God.” (It was about almost a year later that I was healed as I acted upon God’s Word in faith.)
That experience was so sacred to me that I never shared it with anyone until the Lord instructed me to do so twenty-five years later, in the ‘50’s. The Lord said to me, “Begin to share that experience, and particularly in teaching on ‘What it means to believe with the Heart.’ Establish the fact that the spirit [of man] is eternal, and never dies.” So then I began to relate that experience.
In the process of time we were visiting my mother in my hometown of McKinney, Texas. She was in her late seventies then, and had been blind since I was a small boy. She said, “Son, I heard you teaching on the radio, and I heard you relate that experience. I didn’t know about it.”
I replied, “Momma, I never told it for many, many years – a quarter of a century – because it was too sacred. Then the Lord said, ‘Tell it.’”
(There are one or two more outstanding experiences I have had in the Spirit world that I have not been able to share, and I don’t know whether God will let me tell about them or not in this life. We can make a great mistake when we talk about things we should be quiet about. We must be sensitive in our spirits to know and understand whether or not to share them.)
My mother told me, “The way you tell that experience, you were maybe gone a few seconds.” I said, “Well, that’s what it seemed to me – just a few seconds.”
“Well,” she said, “let me tell it to you from my standpoint and from Granny’s (Granny was her mother). Pat came running back to the kitchen, saying ‘Momma! Momma! Granny! Granny! Ken’s dying!’ I was nearer to the door, so I rushed up the hallway. When I got to your bedroom door, I couldn’t enter the room. I sensed the presence of God, so I backed up by the dining room table and bowed my head and prayed. Your Granny came running after me, and she didn’t look inside (the door was open). She tried to run through that Glory, and she bounced off it like you would bounce off a rubber ball. She couldn’t enter in.”
(Notice in our Scripture reading, the Bible says the priests could not enter in when the glory filled the House of God.)
Momma continued, “Granny backed up about halfway across the dining room and made another run at the open door – and bounced off it like you’d bounce off a giant rubber ball. Then she backed up all the way across the dining room, against the wall on the other side, and made the third run at it – and bounced off again. She couldn’t get into that room! She was almost overcome and about to fall because of the glory [notice in the Scriptures, the priests fell when they were in the glory], so she clung to the door frame.”
Momma recalled that Granny had said, “Why, Lillie, the room is filled with a cloud! I can’t see Ken. I can’t see the bed.”
And Momma said, “It was ten minutes before we could get into the room. We could not enter the room until all the cloud had lifted. I continued to stand there by the dining room table, holding onto it and praying, and Granny stood by the door, holding onto the door frame.
“Then Granny said, ‘It’s beginning to lift. I can see the chair. I can see the chest of drawers. I can see the bed. I can see Ken lying there. His body is lying there on the bed.’ But we could not enter the room until the cloud had completely lifted. Granny couldn’t enter at first because she was so overcome – so weak. But she said, ‘Well, Lillie, it’s all gone, you can enter in now.’”
Momma said, “I rushed to the bed. I picked up your hand and held it. And about that time, you said, ‘Momma, I’m not going to die now.’”
That experience was a manifestation of the glory of God, and it was sacred to me. When I thought about it, I realized that there is no such thing as time in the Spirit realm. That’s why I thought the experience lasted only a few seconds.
From that day to this, I’ve never felt sorry for Christians who die, whether they’re young, middle-aged or old. Yes I know that healing belongs to us, but we’re all going home sometime. I’ve never felt sorry for them, because I know where they went.
But, oh, it’s another story for those who don’t know the Lord!