Ephesians 4: 5-13
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
‘When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.’
(What does ‘he ascended’ mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 1: 20-23
...he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
As a new Christian, in my teenage years, I was bombarded with books, sermons and conferences which lamented the growing darkness on the earth, warning about the mark of the Beast and a living hell under the wrath of the Antichrist. It scared the daylights out of me. No sooner had I received the good news of salvation than I was blindsided by terrifying projections of what was about to break loose on our doomed planet.
But the gospel of the Kingdom is "good news of great joy to all people", and those who see the end times through the whole lens of scripture understand that the hope set before us isn’t terrifying at all; It is the expectancy of a Glorious Kingdom filling the earth in the last days: “For as surely as I live, says the Lord, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.” (Habakkuk 2: 4)
God's desire to fill every corner of His creation is all over the pages of Scripture. It all belongs to Him, He is the only rightful ruler and therefore he is the only one with a legitimate mandate to fill everything.
Let's lean a little further into this idea of God filling all things.
In Numbers 14: 21 God says to Moses: "...as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth..."
Isaiah prophesied of a day when "...the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." (Is 11: 9)
To Jeremiah He said: "Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?" (Jer 23: 24)
When Isaiah had his dramatic encounter and commissioning in the temple, he recorded the seraphim as declaring: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." (Is 6: 3)
God wants to redeem, release and restore all of creation back to it's original design. This is now possible because of the exaltation of Jesus. Satan, sin and sickness have been defeated and dethroned. Everything that was held against humanity is a defeated foe. His exaltation releases every resource of Heaven to the Church that we might fill everything around us. Thus the primary purpose and function of spiritual gifts is not so that the church can have better meetings, but so that Christ's glory and mandate would be established.
There will be darkness around us, that is predictable and inevitable. However it is not something to fear or hide from. It is an divine set-up, a Kingdom opportunity, to step into the darkness with His glory and dispel everything which is contrary to His nature. Isaiah looked forward to this day when he declared:
"Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn." (Isaiah 60: 1-2)
Reflecting on these verses, Bill Johnson says:
"Not only does the prophet give the command to arise, he describes what will happen when we do what God said. Nations will come to our light. Is this not the city set on a hill? It is consistent with the commission of Jesus when He instructed us to disciple nations. That was not a command to get a few converts from each people group. That is a given. This command is to affect and disciple the nations of the world. When did this become a possibility? When the Light came.....
.....I am not looking for us to become famous or popular. I am looking for us to have the intended impact on culture and society that God promised and made possible. I don’t want to appear before Him and discover that He put within our reach the ability to see the nations brought to Him, but because of wrong thinking, we missed our day. He deserves the nations as the reward for His suffering."