Ryan Hofman, 30, is an Australian-born civil engineer and a passionate follower of Jesus. He and his wife Hayley have a young daughter, and serve in leadership at Coastlands Church, Worthing. Ryan recently had a remarkable experience, which he shares here:
Earlier this year, I become desperately aware how the Church today is not seeing the glory of God that we read about in the Bible, so in my prayer times I began crying out to see that glory.
One morning in early March I woke at 6am, made a coffee, and went to the sitting room. I played music on my headphones then started worshipping – my usual routine. I felt an urge to kneel, which sometimes happens. So I knelt, and said “OK God, here I am.” I closed my eyes, and lay down flat. I felt as if I was preparing for something.
And then… in walked Jesus!
My eyes were opened to see Jesus, not in flesh and bone but in spirit. He said, “Son, look up”. I tried, but the glory that radiated from him was like looking into the sun in all its brilliance. The light was painful, so without wanting to, I had to look away, bowing my face down. Again, he said, “Son, look up”. I did, now with a realisation of having the Creator of the universe in my sitting room. All I could say in that moment was “Jesus, thank you!” but again I could not continue to look directly at him. It was a beautiful, ethereal experience.
Flat on my face, the floor saturated with tears, I was completely undone (I call it ‘wrecked’!) by the power of his presence. Then Jesus began to speak about his desire for the Church to know of his glory.
He began to move around the room; I wanted to follow him, but found I couldn’t lift my head and felt pinned to the floor. I realised that this was the weight of the glory of his presence!
We had heard Pastor Colin Urquhart at a Kingdom Faith conference describe how, in times of revival, the believers would be ‘wrecked’ for hours, unable to get off the floor because God’s glory lay so heavily over them. And now it was happening to me! I wanted to get up, but it was as if gravity had increased ten-fold.
It was overwhelming. I asked him “Lord, why isn’t your glory in the Church?” And he said, “Because if I sent my glory now, the people would be destroyed.”
I repeated this three times: ”God, why won’t you send your glory on the Church?” until he promised, “I will send a portion to the Church as a taste of the things to come if they will repent.”
Because the glory of God’s presence is pure and holy – no sin can withstand it. His glory brings judgement on any kind of unrighteousness. So if we cry out now for his glory, in his mercy God will say, “My glory would destroy them, but I love them too much; they are my bride. In order for me to pour out my glory, my people must first be prepared.”
“God, what do you mean?” I said.
He told me: “My bride, the Church, sees me in the distance; my glory like a halo. That is the closest they have ever been able to come.
“But,” Jesus said, “I want to step closer, so they experience more of my presence… I want to be so close to my bride, that they would see the specks of gold in my eyes, and feel my breath on their face. But I cannot! Because if I came this close now, they would be destroyed by my glory – and I do not want to pass judgement on my people yet. First, I need to call my Church into repentance.”
In Matthew 4:17, after fasting for 40 days, we read, “Jesus began to preach and to say ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’.”
Jesus is calling his Church to be spotless before him – purified, clean, righteous and holy. His Kingdom life is within us, and he is saying to us today: “Would you re-examine your hearts, and turn away from your own humanistic ideologies? Change your thinking and seek the kingdom of God with all your heart… because only then will you experience the fullness of my glorious presence.”
There in my living room, Jesus said: “I need my bride to be made righteous and holy.”
I said “God, may your bride be righteous and holy! But how does the Church do this? How do I do this? What do you need me to do?” He said, “My people need to plead the blood of Jesus over every aspect of their lives.”
We understand it is Christ’s atoning death that gives us his righteousness; only through salvation is it possible to experience his glory. Before Christ, the people of God couldn’t do this; high priests could only go into the Holy of Holies with a rope around their ankle, in case the glory of God found them unrighteous, and they would die in God’s presence.
Jesus, in his mercy, is telling his people today: “I want to come to you, to bring my glory. But have you been washed clean with the blood? Have you prepared yourself, Church, for my holy presence?”
The pleading of his blood in prayer washes us clean and brings holiness. But first there must be repentance; we need to turn away from all ungodliness – from anything that creates a barrier between us and God.
Jesus told me “I don’t want my people to wait until they die to experience my holy presence in glory. I need them to know it now.”
Repentance is one of the most beautiful gifts God has given us – we are being called to go higher, to draw closer to the Lord. But first, we must prepare ourselves to be pure and holy.
Church, are we willing to humble ourselves before God, surrendering whatever hinders us from holiness, so that he can bring the glory of his presence into our lives, and into our congregations?
This is an edited extract from a Coastlands Church message recording dated Sunday 12 March 2017.
Used with permission. www.coastlands.church