Category Archives: glory

The Glory Of The Lord

Oh, the wondrous things that Moses saw with his own eyes! Among the things that he saw was the bush that burned but was not consumed from which the Lord spoke to him (Ex. 3). He saw the mighty hand of God working in the ten wonders that plagued the Egyptian people and Pharaoh (Ex. 7-12 ). He saw the Red Sea open up as a wall on either side of him and then proceeded to walk through across on dry ground (Ex. 14:21-31). He saw the earth open up and destroy the adversaries of the Lord. In spite of all of this, even with all that Moses had already seen, he still asked Jehovah, “Shew me Thy glory” (Ex. 33:18).

It is impossible to understand who God is without also understanding something of the glory of the Lord. The word glory is used in scripture to describe praiseworthiness or that which sets one above another in some particular respect. It is that which brings renown. In scripture, when used of men, it is often used of one’s wealth, for instance (cf. Gen. 31:1; Psalm 49:17), or one’s personal dignity (cf. Psalm 30:12) or of man’s wisdom and strength (Jer. 9:23,24). It is also used of things such as the forests of Israel (Is. 10:18) and nations (Matt. 4:8). But man’s glory is as fleeting as the grass which withers away (I Pet. 1:24).

God is inherently glorious (I Chron. 16:27; 29:11). One does not have to look far to see the glory of God for the heavens declare it (Psalm 19:1; Rom.1:20). And yet beyond this natural testimony of God’s glory is something that has a very visible and tangible existence. During the Exodus from Egypt, some of the children of Israel complained about lack of food after only six weeks journey (Ex. 16:1). God promised them bread from heaven and that He would show them His glory (Ex. 16:7). And as they looked out over the wilderness, the glory of God appeared in the cloud that had accompanied Israel out of Egypt (Ex. 16:10).

Then, when the children of Israel came to mount Sinai, the Bible says the cloud covered the mount and the glory of the Lord abode upon it and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud (Ex. 24:16). “And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel” (Ex. 24:17).

Given the fact that Moses had seen all these manifestations of God’s glory, it is puzzling that he now asks to see the glory of the Lord (Ex. 33:18). He must be asking for something different than that which he had already seen. And God allows him to see something more than any person had ever seen before or would ever see again, although the Lord warns him that no man could see His face and live (Ex. 33:20). The Lord told Moses that there was a place by Him, and he would stand upon a rock, and while the glory of the Lord passed by He would put Moses in a cleft of the rock and cover him there with His hand (Ex. 33:20-22).

Moses was then commanded by God to hew two tables of stone so that the law might be re-written thereon. He was to carry these tablets of stone with him up into the mount (Ex. 34:1-4). On the next day, after Moses had ascended the mount, the Lord, Jehovah, descends in the cloud and stood there with Moses and proclaimed the name of the Lord (Ex. 34:6). In some form, the Lord stood there with Moses. It reminds us of the transfiguration of the Lord when Moses and Elijah stood with the Lord speaking to Him of the Lord’s impending death (Matt. 17:1-3).

At this moment the glory of the Lord passed before Moses as the Lord proclaimed the name of the Lord by declaring His moral goodness (Ex. 34:6,7). Moses stayed there in the mount with the Lord for forty days and nights and wrote upon the tables of stone the words of the covenant, the ten commandments (Ex. 34:28,29). When Moses came down from the mount the skin of his face shined (Ex. 34:29). Paul tells us that Moses’ face so shined with glory that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold his face and Moses covered it with a veil (II Cor. 3:7; Ex. 34:33).

But the glow of Moses’ face ceased to shine and Paul says the reason Moses put the veil on his face was so that the children of Israel could not look to the end of that which was to be abolished (II Cor. 3:13). As glorious as this scene was, and as glorious as the Old Covenant was, it is far exceeded in glory by the New Covenant (II Cor. 3:9). We now, as Christians, have the privilege of looking into this New Covenant and beholding the glory of the Lord ourselves and are changed into the same image unto glory (II Cor. 3:12-18).

When we look at Jesus though the word we see the Father more clearly than Moses could see Him when He passed before Moses (John 14:7-9). The Lord is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person (Heb. 1:3). We are able to see His glory as the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Though we have all fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), we are able through Christ to rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:1,2).

Though in this life we face tribulations, it is really a light, momentary affliction that works a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (II Cor. 4:17). The sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18) because when Christ shall appear, we shall also appear with Him in eternal glory (Col. 3:4; II Tim. 2:10). In heaven, we shall bathe in the light of His glory (Rev. 21:11,23).

Eric L. Padgett

GLORIOUS

In contrasting the old covenant with the new (II Cor. 3:6ff), the apostle Paul described their relative glories. The comparison left the old covenant wanting by that measure. Paul wrote:

For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious (II Corinthians 3:9-11).

Paul described the old covenant as a ministration of condemnation, while the new he described as a ministration of righteousness. While the old covenant was glorious in its own right, the new far exceeded the old in glory.

The word “glory” most used in the Old Testament comes from a root word meaning “heavy” or “weight.” By extension, it means that which has substance and hence is used of that which is substantial, including abundance, wealth, greatness, power, brightness and majesty. Both the Old and New Testament words for glory have a variety of uses.

Glory cannot be separated from God’s nature (I Chron. 29:10-13). All nature itself, that is, the material creation, declares the glory of God (Ps. 19:1). The whole earth is full of His glory (Is. 6:). His glory is set high above the heavens (Ps. 8:1; 113:4). He is the God of glory (Ps. 29:3). God’s glory, as is every attribute of His nature, is eternal (I Pet. 5:10). Contrast this to man whose glory fades away as does the grass (I Pet. 1:24). The Lord is jealous of that glory and will not share it with dumb idols (Is. 42:8). Yet, it is just this glory in which His people are allowed to participate (John 17:22), and which prophets and angels have desired to more fully understand (I Pet. 1:10-12).

God’s glory manifests itself in moral nature, as well. Moses once requested to see the glory of God (Ex. 33:18). In granting his request, the Lord allowed Moses to see only His hinder parts for no man can look into the face of glory and live (Ex. 33:20). As Moses was safe in the cleft of the rock (Ex. 33:22), the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, passing before him and declaring “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,┬áKeeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Ex. 34:6,7). As Moses saw the glory of God, the Lord spoke of His great moral attributes.

Furthermore, after Moses had ascended into the mount to receive the tablets of Law, the skin of his face shone, reflecting the glory of God in whose presence he was, so that Aaron and all Israel were afraid to come to him (Ex. 34:30). Because of this, Moses put a vail upon his face so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the glory of his countenance (Ex. 34:35; II Cor. 3:7). The apostle Paul observed that this was not only to placate the fears of the Israelites (Ex. 34:30) but also to cover the fading glory of the old covenant, as his face ceased to shine at some point after not being in God’s presence (Ex. 34:29; II Cor. 3:13). And sadly, he observed, that vail was still over their eyes, or rather their hearts, blinding their minds to the truth of the Lord (II Cor. 3:16).

But Christians have no such vail over their eyes or hearts and look into the face of the Son of God and reflect His glory or rather are changed into same image with ever increasing glory (I Cor. 3:13). In this life we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:1,2; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:10) and we share in His glory (I Pet. 1:8). We shall also share in His glory after this life is over (John 17:24; I John 3:2; Col. 3:3-4; Rom. 8:17; Phil3:20,21).

It is the glorious gospel of Christ that shines in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (II Cor. 4:4-6). No matter what we suffer in this life, it cannot even begin to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). The afflictions we suffer in this life are light compared to the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17). In heaven, the glory of God and of the Lamb will give us light (Rev. 21:23). Glorious indeed!

Eric L. Padgett