The Glory of God - “The Man” -Christ Jesus
Acts 7:2-3 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran”
We also see God’s visible presence at the signing of the covenant in Genesis 15:12-18: “behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between these pieces.”
God at various times appeared on earth and revealed His glory to a certain extent to those he chose for his tasks. His glory (shekinah) is avisible manifestation of the presence of God. In the Old Testament, the visible manifestations were of light, fire, cloud, darkness. Along with Genesis, the Shechinah Glory is found consistently in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.
The Shechinah Glory is seen inthe bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed (Exodus 3:1-5) accompanying the angel of the Lord who spoke out of the bush. The Shechinah Glory led Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness it appeared as the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22). On Mount Sinai with the giving of the law we find the most dramatic manifestation of the Glory of God in the Old Testament. Ex.19:16-20 there were thunders and lightning’s and a thick cloud with a trumpet blowing increasingly louder as the lord approached and the Mountain itself quaking. So awesome was the sight that the people feared and asked not to hear the voice of God or go near the mountain. God came down and visited on this mountain inscribing the two tablets personally. His glory at Sinai was seen by the nation Israel (Ex. 20:18-21; Deut.5:22-27). Ex. 24:15-18: “Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. Now the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel” (also Deuteronomy 5:22-27).
When Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets of stone that the commandments were written on
“Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone , and they were afraid to come near him.(Exodus 34:29-30)
V.35 “And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone , then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him”.
In 2 Corinthians 3:7 Paul writes “the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away.” As awesome as this was, it was only temporary.
Later on in Ex. 33:18-23 Moses asks, “Please, show me Your glory. Then God said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and “I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see my face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.” So it shall be, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by. “Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.” To see a face represented intimate knowledge of the person, you would be looking face to face. To see God's face is to have a clear sight of his presence and nature which is impossible on earth in our mortal bodies. There is something about God’s face (directly encountering God’s presence and seeing) that is too awesome for man to behold in the flesh.
Yet we are told in the New Testament by Jesus that “in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). Moses did not see God as He is, but he was allowed to see His passing glory, in this His name was proclaimed. Dr. Dwight Pentecost says, this “can be translated likened to an “afterglow,” the after effects of his going by. Whatever is meant by seeing the Lord, it does not mean in a full disclosure of His nature, but instead partial in revelation but awesome enough to strike fear in the people(The word “face” can also used in the sense of favor Ps. 67:1; Dan. 9:17).
After the reflecting glory on Moses had faded, the glory took up residence in the tabernacle over the ark which the Lord had Israel build (Lev.9: 6-7). God’s heart was to dwell with his people. Ex.29:45; God says He is “the Lord their God who delivered them out of Egypt, that I may dwell among them.” Ex.25:8: “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” Ex.30:6: The Ark was made so he could meet with the high priest. The Shekinah glory dwelt in the tabernacle in the Holy of Holies. As the Priests of Aaron entered the tabernacle the Menorah (7 lampstands) would be the light of the Holy Place but when they went behind the veil to carry out their ministry, the glory of the Lord lit up the room as they performed their duties (Lev.9:23). Its dwelling was in the Holy of Holies over the Ark of the Covenant with the Cherubim on each side. After the offerings we find “… Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people.”
The Glory of God is not always a blessing, it also pronounced judgment on the people of Israel at Kadesh Barnea (Num.13:30-14:45) after the people did not believe the fearful report of the ten spies and believed the report of the two spies God judged the people saying, “they saw my glory and they rebelled and did not believe.” So even the unbelievers of Israel in the wilderness saw His glory with their physical eyes.The Book of Numbers records the Shechinah Glory giving judgment three times for Israels sin and disobedience. Numbers 16:1-50 the rebellion of Korah. And the Shechinah Glory appeared in the incident over the Waters of Meribah (Numbers 20:6-13).
God’s glory had appeared often in the Holy of Holies, in between the facing Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant (Ex.40:34-38) and the cloud would fill the tabernacle. When the Philistines captured the ark from Israel and brought it to their land, Israel reacted in fear thinking the glory had departed,“The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured”(1 Sam. 4:22). However, this would not occur until Ezekiel’s time.
When Solomon built the temple, the Ark is brought inside and the glory is transferred to the Holy of Holies in the temple (1 Kings 8:1-13; 2 Chron.5:2-7:3). It becomes a place of manifestation for His glory. Solomon watched as God’s glory filled the house (1 Kings 8:11-12) saying, “the Lord said he would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built you an exalted house and a place for you to dwell forever.” But this was not to be so!
We find in Ezekiel 9:3 the glory started to depart from Israel slowly, going from its dwelling place in-between the Cherubs on the Ark to the threshold of the house, in Ez.10:4 it went from the house to the court. In Ez.10:18-19 it goes from the door to the eastern gate and in Ez.11:22-23 it goes from the eastern gate to the Mount of Olives and leaves. As we will see this will be significant. It is then that Israel was able to say truthfully ‘Ichabod’ the glory has departed, but it was not to be permanent.
In Haggai 2:9 the prophet states this promise, “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, says the LORD of hosts.” Could the second temple have greater glory? How could this glory be greater? The next temple (2nd) is known as Herod’s temple, which was destroyed in 70 A.D. What glory could He be talking about that came before it was destroyed?
The glory returned 400 hundred years after the last prophet, after the period of silence known as the inter-testament period. But not in some spectacular manner but in a meek and almost unnoticeable except for a few who heard the message- Christ the savior is born Lk.2:9 he is announced with an angel and glory, he is called Immanuel.
Christ the savior all describe who is born, as does the name Immanuel- God with us describes who He actually is.
He did not come as a King but as one with no reputation who would to be recognized as king ( Phil.2:5-8; Zech.9:9).
No man has ever been born with God’s glory not even Adam. As we will see, Jesus is the glory of God in the same way the glory of God dwelt in the tabernacle and temple. As the Scripture tells us “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We all come short of Jesus who is the visible standard for all mankind.
Jn.1:14: “The word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father.” Here Jesus glory relates to that only of the Father. John starts His gospel proving the Word was equal with God and is God (Jn.1:1), in v.14 this Word became flesh, being united with the humanity of Jesus. Jn.1:14 describes this event as the word (Logos) became flesh (tabernacled). This glory of God is now made visible in a new way “The word became flesh and ‘dwelt’ among us.” The word for dwelt (to tabernacle) in Greek is skeinei which is from the Hebrew mishkhan, (shachan, means “to dwell) which is the same root as shekinah. Its meaning- to tabernacle as God did in the Old Testament tabernacle. “The word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” God took upon himself human flesh and lived on planet earth.
B. B. Warfield stated, “the flesh of our Lord became… the temple on earth.”(The Person and Work of Christ, p.53). In the Old Testament God was separate from His temple, while in the new He made it a part of Himself. It was not a temple that was inanimate, but one that could feel, that was vulnerable to the human existence and needed to be preserved and protected like anyone else. It was a living temple not made with hands.Hebrews 9:11-12:
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.”
As the Scripture explains “It pleased the Father that in Him should dwell all the fullness.”(Col.1:19) (Greek- pleroma ) the totality of the Divine powers and attributes are filled up in Jesus. “should dwell” meaning to make an abode or home. All the divine attributes that are in the Father are at home in Christ. Col.2:9 “For in him dwells (lives) the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (bodily form).
No longer would God dwell in a temple made with hands, but a living temple as the God/man. Staggering as it may seem to those who do not believe this and have not faith- it is a true event and a essential Bible teaching.
John 2:11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory” What Jesus had as his nature on the inside was seen by the miraculous works on the outside.
The same glory seen in the tabernacle is described by Peter of the transfiguration event (2 Pt.1:16), when Jesus is transformed (Mt.17, Mk.9:1-10, Lk.9:29-36). Mark reports He was transfigured before them, his clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. Luke says the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. Matthew states “and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.”(Matthew 17:2-3). Here we have Moses who covered his face because of the glory that was reflected by him, and he now he appears with Jesus on another mountain as He reveals the glory that is within him.
Jesus being transfigured in the Greek is the word is Metamorphoo, meaning a change of appearance. This is not an inward change but an outward one. What was once veiled is now revealed to those around him. They were able to see the inner glory that was veiled by His flesh.His real nature was shown, giving us insight into what Jesus gave up coming to earth. It was hidden from man physically but revealed in practice until this one day. Heb.1:3 calls Christ “Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power.” This is what Peter was describing. “The effulgence of his glory the very image of His substance,” This is what was within Him and expressed by His life, His teachings and actions. Here Jesus shows that He has the glory of God that manifested itself in the Old Testament and dwelt in the tabernacle.
There are a number of Greek words that important in their explanation. Being (Greek:oon) meaning Absolute and timeless existence (Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament). “glory” is the expression of the divine attributes collectively. It is the unfolded fullness of the divine perfections, (Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament,) “the very image” (or impress) of his substance” (ibid.). He is the perfect representation of another person, therefore He too is a person who has the same nature. Jesus is the exact image, the word used is an illustration of an engraving tool that would stamp its impression on a coin or seal. It bears the image produced by it having the exact reproduction of the original. Yet the image is not the same identity as the seal. Neither is the Son the identical person as the Father except in His nature.
The image of the invisible is made visible in a most perfect fashion, that to see the Son is to see the Father. In Rom. 8:29 we are told that we are “to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Our being conformed (shaped in growth by the sanctification process) to the Son of God, not to his humanity only, but the deity expressed in His perfect humanity. Christ is the theanthropos- Greek for “The God/Man.” Christ’s nature is deposited in the believer by the Holy Spirit to transform us as we live by His word. Only Christ is a perfect representation of the Father as he is the co-owner of this eternal nature.
1 Tim.3:16: “God was manifested in the flesh.” This also goes together with Jn.17:5: “Glorify me with the glory that I had with You before the world began.” God says He will not give His glory to another, Christ says He shared in God’s glory before the creation which means He must possess the nature of God. Jesus is asking for full restoration to the pre-incarnate glory and fellowship He had before creation came into existence ("By the side of thyself.") John is clearly teaching the pre-existence and deity of Jesus Christ. “Nor inferior to Him in nature (for "The Word was God"), nor separate from Him in being (for "The same was in the beginning with God.") (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary).
The Bible makes clear that the son shares in the same glory of the Father “I am the LORD: that is my name: and My glory will I not give it to another” (Isa..42:8) Isa. 48:11 states “and I will not give my glory unto another.” Isa. 6:1-5: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Here is a vision of angels seen around the throne, the same scene recorded in Revelation 4:8, 5:8-14, 7:11.
John records about Jesus in 12:37-41: “But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” Isaiah said these things when he saw His glory.” John tells us it is Jesus that Isaiah saw on the throne with glory! In Jn.12:44 Jesus proclaims: “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees me, sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world.” John previously mentions this in the beginning of his gospel - Jesus being the light of the world, of every persons life. John 1:1, 9-10: “in the beginning was the word”-“That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. Certainly John is using Genesis 1 as his basis for this- God is the light that appeared in the days of creation (Gen.1:3) before the sun and stars were created (Gen.1:14).
Jesus’ prayer after the Passover -Jn.17:1: “Father the hour has come to glorify your Son that your Son may glorify you.” V.5 “And now, O Father, glorify thou Me with thine own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” God states several times He will not give glory to any other but himself. Yet in Jn.17 we have Jesus stating for God to glorify Him with the same glory He had with Him before there was any created thing. Jn.17 With thyself “By the side of thyself.” Jesus is asking for full restoration to the pre-incarnate glory and fellowship (Jn.1:1) He enjoyed before His Incarnation (John 1:14), before He came to earth and became man. This shows us two important points, first He pre-existed as a distinct person from the Father and that He shared in His glory before the world began, which makes him God.
On the Emmaus road Jesus meets a few of his disciples and explains the Scripture to them and then says “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" (Luke 24:26-27).
In Paul’s conversion recorded in Acts 9:3-8, he describes a blinding light coming out of heaven which Paul calls a great light. (22:6-11) He describes it as brighter than the sun (26:13-18; just as Peter did at the transfiguration). Paul was familiar with his Hebrew history of those encountering God’s glory so he immediately bowed his will to its visible presence. We also read that this presence identified itself as Jesus on the Damascus Road to Paul, just as God the Father spoke from heaven at Jesus’ baptism and on the Mt. of Transfiguration to the disciples. Jesus identifies himself to Paul as the one He is opposing, in so doing - he was fighting against God, against His glory.
Later on as Paul becomes the evangelist to the Gentiles, Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 of the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” James also calls Jesus the “Lord of glory” James 2:1: “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.”
1 Tim.6:15-16: (Speaking of Christ and his appearing) “He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of lords; Who only has immortality dwelling in unapproachable light which no man has seen or can see to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.” God surrounds Himself with his glory it emanates from his Holy nature of which no one has fully seen. Christ shares the same glory His Father has. No one has seen him in this glorified state face to face. Throughout the Old Testament theophanies (God appearances) were like light rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds on earth. In the New Testament John tells us the light of the world became a man and dwelt among his people he created. Just as God’s glory was literally was seen in tabernacle so it was seen in “the Man” Jesus by his words and his works and his revealing of the Son of man at the Mount of Transfiguration.
In the history of the Old Testament the Shekinah glory appeared and disappeared at times, but finally departed from the Mt. of Olives. In the New Testament Christ departed from the very same Mountain as He visibly ascended in a cloud (God’s glory). He will also come back in glory in the same manner (Acts 1:11). Christ’s second coming in a visible glory will announce His kingdom has come on earth. There will be no mistake who Jesus is when he returns-“The man” Christ Jesus our Lord.
Matt 16:27: “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels.” “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven…and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Mt.24:30). Rev.1:7: “Behold He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him.” The sign will be the Shekinah glory that will be seen by all on earth, there will be no mistaking who He is. The clouds of heaven are a either a description of that glory He comes back with, or possibly glorified saints. We are told to be “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
When Christ comes back to judge it will not be secret but open (Mt.25). Those who served Him will not fear but welcome this event. In the meantime, we are to occupy until He comes, continue to fight the good fight of faith, laying hold of eternal life. “That you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing”(1 Tim. 6:14).
In Rev.21 we see the finality of God’s intent of dwelling with man in which the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven to earth. V.3 “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”Rev. 21:22-23: “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” The New Jerusalem, city of God will be lit up by the glory of the Son and he will dwell with us forever.