The Apple of God's Eye        Richard Close        December 19, 2015

Gordon Lightfoot did a song in 1976. The song was "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Anybody remember that song? It was a really impressive song about an ore freighter out on Lake Superior. Verse 5 of that song starts out, "Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours." On down, to the last line, after it goes through the whole wreck and the memorial for the 29 people killed, the last line, "Superior, they said, never gives up her dead when the gales of November come early."

It is kind of an impressive song. It struck me when I first heard it, and that verse, in verse 5, "Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours."

Joe spoke about love this morning, and I am going to talk about love. But, I am going to talk about a little different angle of love.

We speak very easily about the love of God. All of us, I think, believe in that love, and we experience many aspects of God's care and concern for us. We read about the love of God in the scriptures, and through Christ, our Savior, we are both witnesses and even partakers in the Father's greatest gift, that of love.

Do we at times sense a barrier, I know I do, that many of us find difficult to scale when it comes to the love of God in our own personal lives? It is one thing to simply be confronted with an example of God's love, or passages in the scriptures concerning that love, or to even believe in that love. And yet, it is quite another to fully accept that love in our lives.

The love of God needs to be in our mind far more than mere recognition of God's love to understand fully, readily, in the unique status that each and everyone of us have as children of our God and Father.

Do we in anyway deny the richness of the deep joy that can be ours simply because we either can not, or will not, come to terms with the very, very special relationship that should exists between us as a true child of God and God himself?

It is much easier to just bury the deeper things, to refuse to confront them, to just let life happen, to let our involvement be with other people or church groups, and let that take the place of searching our innermost being, our innermost thoughts, and coming to grips with ourselves - with who we are, who we really are, and where we really should be, and what our status with God is. We as God's people must become more than just knowledgeable. Learning the scriptures is important, and it is wonderful, and it should be part of our spiritual life. Serving others is great because it is an expression of Christ in us and through us. Staying in close contact with God and having great faith and patience and kindness are all marvelous qualities, and we should all diligently pursue those qualities.

Today, What I want to cover with you is something a little different, a little more personal, a little more special.

My Specific Purpose Statement -  I want to talk to you about allowing God to love you, to love me, and to show from the scriptures that he does. He did in the Old Testament, He does now, and is going to in the future. Very personally, very deeply, we need to allow God to love you and love me.

Put your name in here when you are thinking about this message. We need to bask in God's love. We need to become brimful of God's love and running over with confidence and trust and insurance and profound joy and peace, a peace and joy that truly passes understanding. God's love for you, and for me, is what we need to focus on. Not our love for Him, not our love for His truth, not our love for His people, but His love for us.

Let's look back briefly at Israel in the history, in the early years. One of the great blessings of scripture is the fact that God designed it in such a way, in such a fashion, that His spiritual children can come to terms with deeper New Testament concepts by studying the various types in the Bible, especially as they relate to Israel. It is pretty easy to see that the Nation of Israel was a type of the Church of God.

Steven in Acts 7:38, you don't need to turn there, but he is speaking before the Sanhedrin, and he referred to Israel as the Church in the Wilderness. So, the Old Testament church was a type of what we exist in now.

Paul told the Corinthians that the events of ancient Israel history should serve examples, or patterns for the church and especially for the end time church.

Quoting from Paul in Corinthians,
"Those upon whom the ends of the world are coming."

That is from 1 Corinthians 10:11.

With this principle in mind, let's look at, what the Old Testament reveals about the special loving relationship God had with the physical nation of Israel that translates over, using the principle that Paul taught, into the Church of God today.

Turn with me, if you would, to Deuteronomy Chapter 32. We will begin reading in verse 7 and read through verse 14, and pick it up a little later.

Deuteronomy 32:7-14
7“Remember the days of old,
Consider the years of many generations.
Ask your father, and he will show you;
Your elders, and they will tell you:
8When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations,
When He separated the sons of Adam,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the children of Israel.
That is a pretty profound statement. The children of Israel. Israel didn't even exist when God separated the sons of Adam. They weren't even there.

9For the Lord’s portion is His people;
Jacob is the place of His inheritance.
10“He found him in a desert land
And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;
He encircled him, He instructed him, [God to Israel.]
He kept him as the apple of His eye.
The title of my message today is The Apple of God's Eye.
Verse 11:
11As an eagle stirs up its nest,
Hovers over its young,
Spreading out its wings, taking them up,
Carrying them on its wings,
If you study eagles, you find that when there young are about to come out of their nest, the adult eagle, gets the young eaglet up on it's back and flies off and then ducks out from under it, and then the young eaglet has to go on its own. I guess they go back and catch them if they are crashing, but that is a pretty hard way to learn to fly. Take you way up there, dump you off, and you are on your own. But, that is what God says he is doing for us, as the eagle does that with their young, He is doing that for us. Verse 12:
12So the Lord alone led him,
And there was no foreign god with him.
13“He made him ride in the heights of the earth,
That he might eat the produce of the fields;
He made him draw honey from the rock,
And oil from the flinty rock;
14Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock,
With fat of lambs;
And rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats,
With the choicest wheat;
And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes.
Absolutely beautiful piece of scripture. Reflects God's love and concern and the relationship that He, in the Old Testament, desired with the nation of Israel.

Let's look now at Ezekiel chapter 16. We will pick it up in verse 7.

Ezekiel 16:7-14
7I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.

8“When I passed by you again [and this is God speaking to the nation of Israel] and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord God.

9“Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. 10I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. 12And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. 14Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord God.

God did more than just give physical blessings to Israel, but physical blessings were there, and a lot of them. But He was moved by their sufferings, their trials, and their pain.

Turn with me, if you would to Isaiah chapter 63. We will see some more of Old Testament Israel and what God thought of them.

Isaiah 63:7-9
7I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord
And the praises of the Lord,
According to all that the Lord has bestowed on us,
And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,
Which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies,
According to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.
8For He said, “Surely they are My people,
Children who will not lie.”
So He became their Savior.
9In all their affliction He was afflicted, [When they were afflicted, God was afflicted.]
And the Angel of His Presence saved them;
In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;
And He bore them and carried them
All the days of old.

They didn't follow. They didn't do what they were supposed to do, but God was upfront and He was concerned for their pain, for their suffering. That carries over into the New Testament, like Christ. Christ was touched it says in the scripture with the feelings of their infirmities, of our infirmities, of the infirmities of the people of His life time in Israel. You can find that in Hebrews 4:15.

Just before Moses went up into the mountain, God said in Exodus 19:

Exodus 19:4-6
4‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. [Another reference to eagles.] 5Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

God's instruction to Moses.

Note, especially, peculiar treasure, kingdom of priests, and holy nation.

Psalms 135:5
5For I know that the Lord is great,
And our [God] is above all gods.

Imagine if you can, what is would be like to be the treasured possession of the God of heaven and earth, His personal pride and joy, if you will.

Let's look at Deuteronomy 7. We will look at a few verses in Deuteronomy 7. We will read verses 6-8.

Deuteronomy 7:6-8 KJVER (King James Version Easy Reading)
6For you are a holy people to the LORD your God the LORD your God has chosen you to be a special people to Himself, [We are special. You are special. I am special to the great God of the universe... to be a special people to Himself, [unto God]]  above all people [ above all people] that are upon the face of the earth.
Not that we are better than all people, not that they were better than all people, but in God's  site we are special. They are not yet special. We are now special. Verse 7:
7The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people: [He was talking about ancient Israel.] 8but because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn to your fathers, [God, who cannot lie, swore an oath to our forefathers in early Old Testament Israel. Because of the oath, which He had sworn to your fathers] has the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Continuing on in this same theme, Deuteronomy 14.
Deuteronomy 14:2 KJVER Again He said,
2For you are a holy people to the Lord your God and the Lord has chosen you to be a peculiar people to Himself above all the nations that are upon the earth.
Deuteronomy 26:17-19 NKJV
17Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. 18Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people [the King James Version says peculiar people], just as He promised you [He promised us that], that [we] should keep all His commandments, 19and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.”

This is, granted, looking at Old Testament Israel, but it is a pattern. God looked at Old Testament Israel in this manner; He is looking at us today in this manner.

God has even more special and distinctive concern for His spiritual people. That's us.

Let's look at:

Zechariah 2:7-11 KJVER

7Deliver yourself, O Zion, that dwell[s] with the daughter of Babylon.

O Zion here is a type of Old Testament Israel.

8For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory has He sent Me to the nations which spoiled you: for he that touches you touches the apple of His eye. 9For, behold, I will shake My hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me.
Verse10: changes gears here a little bit.
10Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. 11And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.
The apple of God's eye. What a statement. What a distinction. Both ancient Israel and we see here the New Testament Church is looked on by God as the apple of His eye.
Do you realize that in this same light, this same unique, special status, Do you really believe that you personally are the apple of God's eye. It is kind of hard to wrap our minds around it, much less live it, but we are. Do you feel it? Being praised by God Himself. Do you really feel like family, family with God? Not through the local church, and we are a family, there is no doubt about that. But, connected directly to the Father himself.
David went beyond belief. He lived in God's love. It covered him. It altered his perception, his outlook, and his attitude. Notice that in Psalms 17. David wasn't perfect, neither are we perfect. But, David's heart was right. His attitude was right.
Psalms 17:8 David said:
8Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
He was praying to God. He wanted God to keep Him. I have never prayed that God should keep me as the apple of His eye, but I think I probably will from this point on.
Ancient Israel had knowledge. It is amazing the amount of knowledge they had. They knew the truth. They saw miracles, many miracles. Moses and the 70 elders actually saw God on the mountain (Exodus 24:9-10).They saw God. They met with Him. They could not comprehend, even though all these things happened, how special they were to God. God said it in the scriptures. They did not comprehend it. We must not fail to comprehend how much God loves us, as they did. They failed. They didn't make it into the Promised Land. The Promised Land was a type of the Kingdom of God, and we are striving to be in the Kingdom of God.
First, in order to do this, we must genuinely grasp the depth and profound reality of ourselves, of Richard Close, of ______, of ________. We each individually have to comprehend how much God loves us. We must allow that. We must come to see the reality of God's love for us and to see the rare, very rare uniqueness, the specialty of our calling. We must allow ourselves to fully grasp God's love, to receive it, to become a part of it, to become lost in it, bask in it, revel in it, if you will. Accept the fact that you and I as individuals are so very precious to the Almighty God. Special. Desired by God, then and only then can we really have the deep peace and joy of the Spirit for this is the source of all.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of God's love is best expressed by the Apostle Paul. Look in Romans chapter 5 in verses 1-10.
Romans 5:1-10
1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [which] was given to us.
Not anything we earned, not anything that is due. Given to us.
6For when we were still without strength, in due time [When God was ready, when the plan was at that point. At that due point,] Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
[You see that in military, in combat. People jump on a hand grenade, that kind of thing, for their friends, for their buddies.]
8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, [Dirty, filthy, rotten sinners. Not interested in the Bible, not interested in God, not interested in anything. God allowed, orchestrated Christ to be killed for you and for me.] Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
This was all done for us while we were dirty, filthy, rotten sinners, and enemies of the truth of God. He did that for us when we were the lowest of the low. We are not anymore. We still make mistakes, but God loves us, each and everyone, personally, deeply. We will see more of that as we go along.
Turn with me if you would to Ephesians 3.
Ephesians 3:14-19
14For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
God is love. We need that love. We need to understand it. We need to grasp it. We need to desire it.
Paul here contrasts love and knowledge.
In 1 Corinthians 8:1, he says it a little differently.
Talking about love, Paul said in verse 1:
1 Corinthians 8:1
1Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.
Love builds up. People naturally like to have knowledge. They want knowledge. I want knowledge, not because it is power, but it is power to have knowledge. But, with knowledge, it strokes your ego. People come to you and ask you questions and it brings recognition. True Godly love, the way God loves, often takes a backseat. God's love is always giving. It is always serving. It is always working. Jesus Christ said, "I work, and the Father works unto this day, and He was talking about working on the Sabbath, doing spiritual things: sharing, helping, encouraging.
In 1 Corinthians 13, God uses Paul to show that love is above all of the gifts of the spirit. Let's turn there if you would please. 1 Corinthians 13 shows the preeminence of love over all of the gifts of the spirit.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
You can be the best orator on the face of the earth, and if you don't have love, it means nothing.
2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, [How many here can move a mountain? I haven't moved a mountain. I can't move a weed, hardly, without two hands. It breaks my back.] but have not love, I am nothing. [Absolutely nothing.]  3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, [I haven't done that yet either. Neither one of those.] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
You can do all these things, and it doesn't do any profit for you.
4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never fails.
But prophecies will fail, tongues will fail, all of these physical things, but love, the love of God will never fail. Verse 13:
13And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; [ Faith, hope, and love are the three "biggies" if you will.] but the greatest of these is love.
Love trumps all prophecy, everything. Love is better than faith, bigger than hope, and it does have a profit.
Let's look at Roman's Chapter 8, and put yourself in the midst, if you can. I try, sometimes I don't get there, but put yourself, if you can, in the midst of what Paul is saying, like Paul is talking personally to you.
Romans 8:14-19
14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, [I think we are. I think you are. I like to think that I am led by the Spirit of God.] these [all of us] are sons of God. 15For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
It is hard to imagine, in my mind, all the creation - the trees, everything that is around, the stars, the planets are waiting for our manifestation as the sons of God. Hard to get your mind around, but it says it, right there. It says it. The whole creation is waiting for our manifestation.
Paul makes a point that God has already given up the BEST that He had. He gave His son to be whipped, beaten, crucified, put in the grave totally dead. He has already done that. Because he has done that, we can rest assured that he will hold nothing back from us. Nothing.
Titus 2:11-14 KJVER
11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to Himself a peculiar [There is that word again. A peculiar, a special] people, zealous of good works.
1 Peter 2:1-9 KJVER

1Wherefore laying aside all malice and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that [we] may grow thereby: 3If so be you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4To whom coming, as to a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, [Jesus Christ is precious. We are precious because we are brothers of Jesus Christ.] 5You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on Him [that is Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone] shall not be confounded.
7To you therefore which believe He is precious [I believe Jesus Christ is precious.]: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
9But you are [again] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people [Doesn't that make you feel special, different? You think on it a little bit differently when you hear all of these strung together, at least it struck me that way. A peculiar people]; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
How special are you, how special am I to God.

Ephesians 2:18-22
18For through Him we both [Both things, not both us. We both] have access by one Spirit to the Father.
19Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Think about that. We are being polished, shined up, smoothed out, rough edges knocked off so, that when God builds His temple, like the temple in ancient Israel, it was built with stones that were way off somewhere. And they took the stones ready to fit in place. So, there was no hammer, no noise, just the stones going in place. How they did that, I don't have a clue. But, that is what God did in the physical temple, a type of what He is doing now in the church. We are being fitted, and polished, and ready to fit in a certain place. God knows where we are going to fit. Can you imagine that? We are specifically specially chosen, singled out, polished, prepared to fit together into the very dwelling place of God. Just how special are we, that God is doing all that so we will fit together and that He can come and live in the temple that He is building with us. It boggles my mind; it really does.
1 John 3:1-3
1Behold [look at, pay attention] what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. [The world did not know Jesus Christ when He came. After three and a half years of preaching, He had 120 people that followed Him. It is no wonder that the world doesn't know us. How many people come by, tip their head, and say, "I know you are a saint of the living God. You are called. You are chosen. You are working on being faithful." Nobody has ever done it to me in 40 something years. I don't look for it to happen. The world does not know us, because it did not know Him.] 2Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
God is pure. Jesus Christ is pure. If we have this hope, we are working at purifying ourselves, as Jesus Christ is pure.
Genesis 1:26 A principle that God shows early in the holy scriptures: is that kind begets kind. Mr. Armstrong talked about that a lot.
Evolutionist think that a bird can bring about a fish, or some other kind of thing, but it is not that way. It cannot happen from the early beginning. There are minor changes, but they don't change a cow to an alligator. It just doesn't happen that way. You have different colored cows, some give more milk than others, and those kinds of things, but they don't change kinds.
Kind begets kind. What does it show? It shows that God is reproducing Himself. He created man in His image and His likeness. Two different things. I'm not going there now.
The purpose of God is so grand, so extraordinary, that it literally defies all language, all description, all expression. Becoming a child of God is not figurative. A lot of churches think it is a figurative thing, it is just a symbol of a type. But we are destined because of His eternal love to enjoy the priceless privilege of becoming directly related to Him. We are going to see Him as is. We are going to be like Him. We will be raised to His divine level. We are destined to become His children. We will be like Him. We will have his mind, His state of perfection. His kind of power. We won't have His power totally, completely. He is always going to be Most High. But we will have His kind of power. We will share with Jesus Christ in the entirety of the creation, either known or unknown, visible or invisible, spiritual or physical. We are co-heirs with Jesus Christ.
When I was developing this message, they quoted the Philips translation of 1 John 2:24.
1 John 2:24 Philips translation
24I beg you to stick to the original teaching, if you do so, you will be living in fellowship with both the Father and the Son.
And that means sharing His own life forever as He has promised.
1 Peter 1:23 very accurately professes the profound reality of God's love as it is revealed in His plan for you in your life and my life.
1 Peter 1:23 Philips translation
23 for you are to be sons of God. The live, permanent word of the Living God has given you His own indestructible heredity. 
Right now we have a heredity. God says it is allotted to men three score and ten. But, if by reason of strength four score. (Psalm 90:10)
1 Corinthians, if you will turn there, with me please.
1 Corinthians 15:44-49
44It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
We all have a natural body. We are going to come to the end of our life and we are going to be sown in natural body. But after that is a resurrection, and we are going to have a spiritual body. Verse 47:
47The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
So, we had Adam, and we had Jesus Christ, who was the second man.
48As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the man of dust [We all have born the image of Adam.], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. [It is a prophecy. It is written. Guaranteed, as long as we develop the love of God in us.
2 Corinthians 6:16-18
16And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. [We are, now, the temple of the living God.] As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”
We, living today, in the church of God are the final and complete fulfillment of the Old Testament experience that they went through and the expression a truly peculiar people. We are the real holy priesthood. We are the actual apple of God's eye. Pretty amazing.
Galatians 4:4-9
4But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” [Abba, in the Greek, is a term of endearment.] 7Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
8But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
This shows that we are to be the inheritors of everything that God has created, everything He possesses. Pretty amazing.
Isaiah 62:1-12
1For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
And her salvation as a lamp that burns.
2The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory.
You shall be called by a new name, [That's us.]
Which the mouth of the Lord will name.
3You shall also be a crown of glory
In the hand of the Lord,
And a royal diadem
In the hand of your God.
4You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;
For the Lord delights in you,
And your land shall be married.
5For as a young man marries a virgin,
So shall your sons marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.
6I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
7And give Him no rest till He establishes
And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
8The Lord has sworn by His right hand
And by the arm of His strength:
“Surely I will no longer give your grain
As food for your enemies;
And the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine,
For which you have labored.
9But those who have gathered it shall eat it,
And praise the Lord;
Those who have brought it together shall drink it in My holy courts.”
10Go through,
Go through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people;
Build up,
Build up the highway!
Take out the stones,
Lift up a banner for the peoples!
11Indeed the Lord has proclaimed
To the end of the world:
“Say to the daughter of Zion, [That is us. That is the New Testament church.]
‘Surely your salvation is coming;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.’ ”
12And they shall call them The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the Lord;
And you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.
Malachi 3:16-17
16Then those who feared the Lord [Seems to be talking about our time, right now. Those who feared the Lord] spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them; [He heard what we were saying.]
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.
17“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,
“On the day that I make them My jewels.
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
We are going to be jewels, precious stones of the living God. Just mind boggling.
Zechariah 9:16
16The Lord their God will save them in that day,
As the flock of His people.
For they shall be like the jewels [KJV says stones] of a crown,
Lifted like a banner over His land—

Again showing that we are precious stones in the sight of the living God.

Zephaniah 3:14-20
14Sing, O daughter of Zion! [the New Testament church. We are to sing. We are to:]
Shout, O Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
15The Lord has taken away your judgments,
He has cast out your enemy.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
You shall see disaster no more.
16In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Do not fear;
Zion, let not your hands be weak.
17The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Picture, if you will: Jesus Christ coming back. We are to go up, meet Jesus Christ in the air. And God standing in the third heaven, singing with joy because of our birth into the family. I never had seen that scripture and recognized it before. 
17The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over [us by] singing.”

It is going to be awesome to hear. It is going to be awesome to hear.

Going on to verse 18: KJVER
18I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of you [they are of God's], to whom the reproach of it was a burden.
19Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict you: and I will save her that halts, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.
20At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, says the LORD.
I can hardly imagine: God in heaven singing. I had never thought of it before, but God standing in heaven singing at the birth of His children. We are special to him. I didn't sing at the birth of any of my children. I was concerned. I loved them, but I didn't stand there and sing. Probably, the nurses would have evacuated, and we'd have a real problem.

It is just amazing that, as we are born into the spirit realm, at the return of Jesus Christ, that God is going to sing because it brings Him joy.

We, you and I, are God's delight. We are His pride and joy.

For a concluding scripture, if you would, turn to 2 Corinthians 3. We will read verse 18.

2 Corinthians 3:18
18But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

We are going to be changed into the very likeness of the living God.

I have spoken quite a bit in times past in the last two years of prophecy, doom and gloom, a lot of that type of thing. But I felt, today, was a good time maybe give us a boost, a little pickup that we can really realize how deeply, how profoundly, God loves us, how special we are to Him, the apple of His eye.