The manifested presence of God was in the beginning. You can go all the way back to the beginning of Genesis and you will find the manifested presence of God was there. All through history God has spoken to man from within His glory. With Moses, the voice came from within the bush (Exodus 3:3). With Paul, the light around him was from heaven and the voice came from within the light.
“Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven” (Acts 9:1-3).
What do you suppose that light was? It was the glory of God.
Saul was not a nice guy. He wanted to take Christians back to Jerusalem to be killed so he could destroy the church. History tells us that Saul, and the men like Saul at that time, went into the houses and tortured people. They had permission to do whatever they wanted to do. When Saul became Paul and wrote the letters in the New Testament, he talked about how he was a bad person. He didn’t just mean he didn’t leave a good tip at the restaurant. That’s not what he was talking about. He was a bad guy! But what changed him? He was changed when he came in contact with the glory!
The glory will either change you or destroy you. “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'” (Acts 9:4). Where did the voice come from? It came out of the glory.
Many people don’t understand how much the glory had to do with the birth of Jesus.
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid” (Luke 2:8,9).
The glory of the Lord shone round the angels. Compare this passage with what happened to Moses at the burning bush that was never consumed. A voice came out of the bush. Also compare it with the experience of Paul, who was on the road to Damascus. A bright light shone out of heaven and a voice came out of the light.
Look at what happened on the Day of Pentecost. The glory was also present then.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:1-3).
It was the glory of God on each of them.
We cannot limit God or His glory. His glory may appear like a light, like smoke, like fire, or like tongues of fire. Nevertheless, it is the glory. The glory is the manifested presence of God. We must seek God and not the manifestation, but if we seek God, there will be manifestation and it will be God’s decision in how He manifests Himself. Seek God and receive the glory.