The Glory Of God Defined

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The Glory Of God”

Ezekiel 10:4

The Glory Of God Defined

The phrase “the glory of God” is used several ways in the Bible.

  1. Sometimes it describes God’s splendor and majesty [1Chronicles 29:11]; a glory so great that no human being can see it and live [Exodus 33:18-23]. At best one can see only an “appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord (Ezekiel’s vision of God’s throne in 1:26-28). In this sense, the glory of God designates His uniqueness, His holiness, and His transcendence [Romans 11:36; Hebrews 13:21]. Peter uses the term “the Majestic Glory” as a name for God [2Peter 1:17].

  1. The glory of God also refers to God’s visible presence among His people, called by later rabbis the shekinah glory. Shekinah is a Hebrew word meaning “dwelling of God,” employed to describe a visible manifestation of God’s presence and glory. Moses saw God’s shekinah glory in the pillars of cloud and fire [Exodus 13:21]; in Exodus 29:43 it is called “my glory”. It covered Mt. Sinai when God gave the law – filled the tabernacle – guided Israel in the desert – and later filled Solomon’s temple. More specifically, God lived between the cherubim in the Most Holy Place [1Samuel 4:4; 2Samuel 6:2; Psalm 80:1]. Ezekiel say the glory of the Lord rise and depart from the temple because of rampant idolatry there [Ezekiel 10:4,18,19]. The NT equivalent of the shekinah glory is Jesus Christ, who as the glory of God in human flesh came to make His dwelling among us. The shepherds of Bethlehem saw the glory of the Lord at the birth of Jesus – the disciples saw it at the transfiguration of Christ – and Stephen saw it at the time of his martyrdom [Acts 7:55].

  1. A third aspect of God’s glory is His holy presence and power. Even though the heavens declare the glory of God [Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:19,20] and the whole earth is full of His glory, the brightness of His majesty is not now visibly evident and often goes unnoticed. However, believers experience God’s glory and presence in His nearness, love, righteousness, and manifestations through the power of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Finally, the OT warns that any kind of idolatry encroaches on God’s glory and brings reproach to His Name. Whenever God manifests Himself as our Redeemer, His Name is glorified [Psalm 79:9; Jeremiah 14:21]. Christ’s entire ministry on earth brought glory to our God [John 14:13; 17:1,4,5].

The Glory Of God Revealed In Jesus Christ

When Isaiah spoke about the coming of Jesus Christ, he prophesied that in Him the glory of God would be revealed for all mankind to see [Isaiah 40:5]. Both John and the writer to the Hebrews testify that Jesus Christ fulfilled this prophecy. Christ’s glory was the same glory He had with His Father before the world began [John 1:14; 17:5]. The glory of His ministry far surpassed the glory of the OT’s ministry. Paul calls Jesus “the Lord of glory” [1Corinthians 2:8], and James calls Him “our glorious Lord Jesus Christ “James 2:1].

Repeatedly the NT refers to the relationship between Jesus Christ and the glory of God. His miracles revealed His glory [John 2:11; 11:40-44]. Jesus Christ was transfigured in a “bright cloud” as a manifestation of His glory, during which time He received honor and glory from the Father when He spoke [2Peter 1:16-19]. The hour of His death was the beginning of His glorification. He ascended into heaven in glory – is now exalted in glory – and will someday return “on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

The Glory Of God Experienced In The Lives Of Believers

How does the glory of God apply to believers personally?

  1. Regarding God’s majestic heavenly glory, it is still true that no one can behold the fullness of His glory and live. We know it is there, but we do not see it directly. Because God lives in unapproachable light and glory, no man can see Him face to face [1Timothy 6:16]. Nevertheless, God manifests His glory in visible form in two ways, “in the church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations, forever and ever” [Ephesians 3:21].

  1. God’s people experienced God’s shekinah glory in Bible times. Throughout history to the present time there have been believers who have had visions of God similar to those of Isaiah [Isa 6] and Ezekiel [Eze 1], though this was not common then or now. The experience of God’s glory, however, is something that all believers will know fully at the consummation, when we see the face of Jesus. As the final goal of redemption, we will be brought into God’s glorious presence [Hebrews 2:10; 1Peter 5:10; Jude 24] – share in Christ’s glory [Romans 8:17,18] – and be given a crown of glory [1Peter 5:4]. Even our resurrection bodies will bear the glory of the risen Christ [1Corinthians 15:42,43; Philippians 3:21].

  1. On a more immediate basis, sincere believers experience the holy light of His Presence. The Holy Spirit brings the Presence of God and the Lord Jesus near to us [2Corinthians 3:17; 1Peter 4:14]. When the Spirit becomes powerfully active in the Church through His supernatural manifestations [1Corinthians 12:1-12], believers experience God’s glory in their midst {i.e. – an awesome feeling of God’s Presence, similar to what the shepherds felt in the fields of Bethlehem – Luke 2:8-20}.

  1. Believers who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus and are united with Him by the Spirit may share in His glory [John 17:22] and have the Spirit of glory rest on them. Indeed, one reason Jesus came into the world was to reveal His glory to people [Luke 2:29-32]. As believers, we must live our entire lives to the glory of God, so that He is glorified in us [John 17:10; 1Corinthians 10:31; 2Corinthians 3:18].

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