“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Permanent Impression, by Randall D. Kittle


As I was praying, I saw in a vision the front of a church auditorium. Making his way to the front altar area was a photographer with an old-fashioned camera. He positioned his vintage camera on its wooden tripod in the very middle. Then he prepared a pile of flash powder on the flash platform, and threw a dark draping over himself and the top of the camera, leaving visible only his arm that held the flash platform. Looking ahead to see what it was he intended to photograph, I saw, in the very middle of the platform (where the pulpit would usually be), a white stone altar, and upon this altar was a slain lamb. As I sadly gazed upon this lifeless lamb, the flash powder ignited with a blinding burst of light.

All I could see now was this brilliant light, but I could hear a voice loudly declaring,
“I am NOT merely a slain lamb. I am the Lamb that was slain from the foundations of the world — the slain and resurrected Lamb. I am not one to be pitied, but praised and feared.”

Suddenly, the light faded, and I found myself with a number of church-leaders in a photographic darkroom. Through the dim, red lighting, I could see the photographer developing the film he had just shot. As the developing negative slowly formed a clear picture, I noticed that instead of the sacrificial lamb lying on the altar, the photo contained a lion standing on the altar. Even more surprising, the image wasn’t still like a photograph — the lion was moving! He turned to face us, shook his mane, and let out a loud roar.

As he roared, the image ignited into flames beginning with his mane. Suddenly, this burning image of the victorious lion leaped off the film, and multiplied — each one moving until one copy was in front of each person’s chest. The flaming lions planted themselves direct into each person’s heart area, and once again I heard a voice declaring,
“I am the Lion of the Tribe of Judah — the great and mighty Judge. Those who know Me, know to fear Me, for I am wonderful and terrible, righteous and awe-inspiring. I am coming to My Church to make a permanent impression. I will mark their hearts with the fear of the Lord. For it is those who fear My name in whom I delight, for whom I fight, and to whom I will show My favor and blessing in the days ahead. I will reveal My fiery presence in your midst in these days, not so that you may experience My glory, but so that you will know My fear! For only those who fear My name will be able to stand in the days ahead.”

Defining The Fear of the Lord
In our day “the fear of the Lord” is commonly defined merely as “reverence” or “awe,” which is fine as far as it goes. But the problem is, it does not go nearly far enough. When John the Beloved saw the risen Savior on the Island of Patmos, this man who used to lay his head on Jesus’ chest and who considered himself greatly beloved of God, didn’t just smile and say, “Jesus, it’s so good to see you again.” No, the Bible tells us that when John saw the risen, glorified Lord that he reacted quite differently. “… when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17). John had more than a reverent awe of his Lord; he had a knee-knocking, boot-shaking fear that overwhelmed him. If the Lord is going to manifest His presence in our midst in greater dimensions in the days ahead, we need to be prepared by allowing the Holy Spirit to instruct us in truly having the fear of the Lord.

In writing to the church at Philippi, Paul told them:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). The Greek word for “trembling” here is “tromos,” which means: “a trembling or quaking with fear.” Just as one would likely tremble in the presence of one who could take our life, so Jesus taught us to fear the Lord: “… fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Therefore, a proper definition for the fear of the Lord should include: a “reverence and awe, being afraid to offend God in any way, and a trembling and quaking if we know we have offended God in any way and have not obtained forgiveness.

The concept of “fear and trembling” in connection with God is not a popular concept today. People prefer to hear about God’s love, grace, and mercy. In fact, sometimes when we point out God’s righteous indignation, holiness, and justice, people will respond, “My God is not like that!” But their “god” is an idol of their own imagination. The one, true God is the righteous Judge of all the universe. He justly pours out both mercy and wrath — commending some by His grace and condemning others who will not accept His gracious offer of reconciliation through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. There is no other God, and we dare not accept a substitute!

Why Do We Need Fear?
The Holy Spirit knows that we will need the fear of the Lord to make it in the days ahead. Why is it so important? The list of the benefits to those who fear the Lord is almost endless, but let me give you just a few reasons it is so vitally important for us to possess.
• When you fear the Lord, it brings pleasure to God.
“The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy” (Psalms 147:11).
• When you fear the Lord, it causes God to show compassion toward you.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him” (Psalms 103:13).
• When you fear the Lord, God will have mercy on you.
“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him” (Psalms 103:17).
• When you fear the Lord, God has promised to bless you.
“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments” (Psalms 112:1).
• When you fear the Lord, it gives you confidence.
“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge” (Proverbs 14:26).
• When you fear the Lord, it separates you from evil.
“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil” (Proverbs 16:6).
• When you fear the Lord, God will answer your prayers.
“The Lord … will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them” (Psalms 145:18–19).

In the vision, the Lord promised to delight in us, fight for us, show us His favor to us, and bless us … if we will fear His name. With promises such as these, let us make every endeavour to possess the fear of the Lord.

Walking In The Fear Of The Lord
In the vision, it was the photographer who showed us who Jesus really was, and developed into us the fear of the Lord. The photographer represents the Holy Spirit. In these days, the Spirit of God is coming into our midst to exalt and glorify the risen and reigning Savior. He is preparing us to have the presence and power of God in our midst like the early Church did. We can see in Acts 9:31 one of the key steps to obtaining this. “Then the churches throughout all Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria, had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” It is important to note that they did not just know about the fear of the Lord or even teach about the fear of the Lord — they were “walking in the fear of the Lord!” When we have great reverence, respect, and … yes, trepidation about remaining in right standing before our awesome God, then we will have attained the fear of the Lord. We must allow the fear of the Lord to become realized in our minds and emblazoned on our hearts — no longer merely something we learn about, but something that has been worked in … and is being lived out!

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