I. The Glory of God – His demonstrated presence
And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then He 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.”
Moses had a strong desire to know God. He wanted to see Him and comprehend Him. He begged to see God’s glory. The glory of God describes His might, power, greatness, and character. God warned Moses that His glory was beyond what a human could withstand.
The Lord agreed to reveal Himself to Moses in two ways. First, He would proclaim the name of the Lord (Jehovah). Second, He would allow Moses to see a limited portion of His glory. He would manifest His presence in a limited way that Moses could withstand and comprehend.
The scripture describes God as an unapproachable light. After Moses’s encounter with the glory of God, his face glowed when he came down from the mountain. Israel asked Moses to put a veil over his face because of the glory of God that shined so powerfully through him.
The glory of God that was seen by Moses was God showing Himself in a limited fashion. This “glory of God” was a partial revealing of His greatness. The expression, “glory of God,” is used throughout the Old Testament to describe God allowing His presence to be manifested to men.
When the cloud of God’s presence appeared, it was described as the glory of God. When the fire appeared, it was the glory of God. When the voice of God spoke, it was called the glory of God. Anytime God demonstrated Himself in a tangible way in which His children could experience Him and know Him, God was showing His glory.
All of these manifestations were God, but just as Moses could not comprehend and withstand the full measure of God, these glorious experiences were a very limited revelation of the limitless God.
II. The Glory of God – His progressive revelation
Beside for these supernatural manifestations, the other way that the glory of God, the presence and nature of God, can be understood is by His name. God progressively revealed His name.
I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD (YHWH or Jehovah) I was not known to them.
God promised Moses that He would be known by His name Jehovah. The Hebrew terminology speaks of self-existence. Most scholars consider this a variation of God’s revelation to Moses when He declared that He was the “I Am.” While both names are saying the same thing, they are given from different perspectives. God claims to be the “I Am.” His people will identify Him as Jehovah or “He Is.” Notice that both names are incomplete thoughts. I Am what? He is what?
The name of God is truly a statement of faith. He is whatever He wants to be. He is whatever His children need Him to be. It was almost a challenge. I Am _____ (fill in the blank). God would reveal Himself through His name.
As God would perform a mighty act, He would further declare His name. His name would reveal His character or reflect His glory. For example, whenever Israel was in need and God miraculously provided for them, they called Him Jehovah Jireh (provider). Whenever they were sick and He healed them, they knew Him as Jehovah Rapha (healer). Whenever God provided the victory over their enemies, they knew Him as Jehovah Nissi (banner or victory).
As God was experienced in new ways, He could be known in a new way. He progressively revealed more of His glorious nature. God revealed Himself in various manifestations in the Old Testament. He revealed limited portions of His glory in multiple ways. He revealed Himself with various titles. Yet He fiercely insisted that Israel understand that there is only one God.
That they may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth.
There is only one Jehovah. He is the self-existent One. Over fifty times, He is called the “Holy One”. Different aspects of God were revealed. Different manifestations demonstrated His true presence. Different names revealed His nature. They were all intended to reveal the One.
Jesus was asked about the central theme of the scriptures. He stated that the greatest commandment was found in Deuteronomy 6:4.
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
The scriptures were given to show His glory. They were given so that we could know the Lord. He wants us to experience Him and love Him. His commandments and great deeds allow us to understand the One that is higher and greater than all others.
Since the scriptures were given to reveal God, it is important that we describe Him using biblical terms. Much confusion enters the minds and hearts of saints when we get away from the scriptures and the first commandment of recognizing and loving the one Lord our God.
I understand the creeds and attempts that have been made to explain God. However, I don’t think that we can define Him any better than He has described Himself. I do not describe God as: trinity, persons, one substance, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, co-equal, co-eternal, co-essence, or with any other non-biblical phrase.
Many people believe that there is one God but that “one” speaks of a corporate one. For example, a singular school board is compromised of multiple distinct members. It can be described as a singular entity while consisting of separate unique individuals.
I believe that the clear claim of Jehovah is that He is absolutely and essentially One not corporately one. This is why He refers to Himself using the following terminology: alone, all by myself, none like me, none beside me, the only Savior, etc.
…God is one.
In His essence, God is one. However you describe God, He is one. If God is a spirit, He is one spirit. If you choose to describe Him as a person, He is one person. If you choose to describe Him as a being, He is one being. In His nature, He is one. However, God has revealed Himself in a variety of ways. Each manifestation or demonstration of His glory, revealed more of the nature of God. Isaiah prophesied that God was going to demonstrate His glory in a new way.
Isaiah 43:3, 10, 11
For I am the Lord (Jehovah) your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord (Jehovah), And besides Me there is no savior.
Isaiah 45:5, 15, 18, 21-22
I am the Lord (Jehovah), and there is no other; There is no God besides Me…God of Israel, the Savior!... For thus says the Lord (Jehovah), Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord (Jehovah), and there is no other… And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
God wanted His children to understand that He was more than just a provider, more than just a healer, more than just the banner of victory. God was going to reveal Himself as the one and only Savior.
Isaiah 48:9, 11-13, 17
“For My name’s sake I will defer My anger… And I will not give My glory to another… I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last. Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, And My right hand has stretched out the heavens… Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God,Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.
The Holy One of Israel, Jehovah, was going to restrain His anger. He would save people that because of their sins deserved to be cut off. He would do it to demonstrate His name and His glory. This glory, this demonstration of God as the Savior, would not belong to another. Jehovah would redeem, teach, and lead.
Isaiah 52:6, 9-10
Therefore My people shall know My name; Therefore they shall know in that day that I am He who speaks: ‘Behold, it is I.’”… Break forth into joy, sing together, You waste places of Jerusalem! For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
The Lord had revealed Himself to Israel as Jehovah with various descriptive titles. There was coming a more complete revelation of God. God’s people would know His name in a special way. This name would be higher than any other name. There would be a greater revelation of the glory of God. He would redeem and show his holy arm (power) so that salvation would come to all.
How would God reveal His name and demonstrate His glory? The Everlasting Father would be seen in swaddling clothes in a manger.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
A Son was born, yet He would rightfully be called the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father. His name would be called Emmanuel meaning “God with us.”
This coming day when the Lord would turn from His anger and reveal His salvation was prophesied in the twelfth chapter of Isaiah. The beauty of this promise is clearly revealed when the text is read in Hebrew.
And in that day you will say: “O Yehovah, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. Behold, God is Yeshuwah (salvation), I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, Yehovah, is my strength and song; He also has become Yeshuwah (salvation).
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Jesus is a compound name. Yah (a shortened form of Jehovah) and Shua (salvation) signify that Jehovah came as the Savior.
III. The Glory of God – His flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
From the beginning God had a creative Word. He had a plan. He had an answer. Make no mistake, He was and is the only answer. He would express His glory. God, the light that no man could approach and live, approached men and gave His life in their stead.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Word was God. The Word became flesh. God was seen in the flesh. He dwelt among us. We beheld His glory.
Just as the cloud, fire, and voice were the glory of God and declared His presence, the Son was the glory of God and declared the Father.
This verse is even more meaningful when we examine a more literal translation.
John 1:14 (Young’s Literal Translation)
And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory
John described God as not only dwelling with us but also being tabernacled with us. This alludes back to the Old Testament tabernacle. In the tabernacle, there was a veil. In the holiest of holies, the very presence of God resided behind the veil. God was tabernacled in the Christ. His presence, his very glory, was behind the veil.
by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
The flesh of Jesus Christ veiled the glory of God.
1 Timothy 6:16
who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
The unapproachable light had to be filtered so that we could see and comprehend it. Moses beheld God’s glory behind the rock. Israel beheld the glory of God shining on Moses face behind a veil. The world beheld the glory of God in Christ, behind the veil of His flesh.
2 Corinthians 4:4
whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person
The very person, the glory of God, was seen in Christ.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
The glory of God, whether the glory cloud in the Old Testament or Jesus Christ in the New Testament, is God revealed. It is not another.
1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh...
God was seen in the flesh. The invisible made Himself visible. The Father was seen as Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
Jesus was not only claiming to be the image of the Father. He claimed to be the Father. Jesus told Philip, “Have you not known me?” When you saw Jesus, you saw the Father. He concluded by stating that the Father dwelled in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:19
…God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Don’t let tradition deceive you. All the fullness of the Godhead dwelled in Christ. The glory was behind the veil of flesh. The Father was in the Son. God was in Christ.
This explains the words of Christ.
I and My Father are one.”
He was both man and God. He was Spirit and flesh. He was Father and Son.
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
Jesus was the root (Father) and offspring of David (the Son that was born).
The Jews couldn’t understand how Jesus could say, “Before Abraham was I am.” All they saw was the flesh. They knew that He wasn’t old enough to be before Abraham. They didn’t understand how He could forgive sins. All they saw was the man. They never saw beyond the veil of His flesh. A lot of people still miss the glory that was behind the veil.
Don’t be confused by the limitations of the manifestation. Multitudes saw the flesh but missed the Spirit. They saw the Son but missed the Father. Manifestations by their very natures are a limited displays of God’s glory that we can comprehend. When God appeared as fire, it truly was fire. God was the fire, and yet God is greater than the fire. When God manifest Himself as a glory cloud, it was a true cloud. God was the cloud, and yet God is greater than a cloud. The manifestations covered a limited amount of space. God, of course, is endless. The manifestations were temporary; they had a beginning and ending. God is Eternal. Similarly, Jesus Christ, while being God in His nature, took on the limitations of a man. As a man, He was hungry, tired, tempted, and ultimately died. As God, He was greater than all of these things, but He humbled Himself to redeem us.
Philippians 2:6-8 NIV
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
God purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). The purpose was to save us, but it also revealed God as our Savior. His glory was seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
God revealed Himself progressively from one glory to another glory. With each experience mankind received a more complete glimpse of who God is.
The holy men, like Moses, longed for more of God’s glory. They wanted to know His name. They wanted to understand His ways.
…I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
We are highly privileged that we have the life and teachings of Christ preserved for us. We can understand God because of the mighty display of His glory in Christ.
The revelation of God did not cease with His life and His teachings. This was just the beginning. God would prove His love for us through His suffering.
Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
1 John 3:16
16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…
Christ entered into His glory by dying on the cross. Now we can perceive the love of God. It was not just some abstract idea or grand claim. His love was demonstrated.
After the glory of cross, Jesus disciples began to finally understand who He really was. Thomas fell down and worshiped and declared that Jesus was his Lord and His God. Jude declared that He was, “the only wise God our Savior.”
IV. The Glory of God – His Spirit
Christians are blessed to know the name of salvation, Jesus Christ. Christians are privileged to have received the revelation of the love of God. We know Jehovah as our Savior. God progressively revealed His glory from an impersonal cloud to our kinsman redeemer. The Father became our brother to pay for our redemption.
I’m glad that I know who Jesus is. However, the death on the cross was not the final revelation of the Lord.
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
God wanted to further reveal His glorious power. He promised that He would pour out His Spirit. His Spirit would dwell in our hearts.
John 14:16-18 (KJV)
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
The world couldn’t see the Comforter. The world didn’t know Him. The disciples did know Him and He dwelled with them. Who dwelled with the disciples? Who had revealed Himself to the disciples in a way that the world couldn’t understand? Who is the Comforter? Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Jesus would come to them, but He would not be manifested in the flesh. He would come in a different way. They would experience Him as an infilling Spirit.
The manifestation of the Christ was God dwelling with us. The promise of the Spirit is God dwelling in us. Receiving the Spirit reveals God in a personal way as He takes residence in our hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18
Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But 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.
As glorious as the birth was, as glorious as the death was, as glorious as the resurrection was, there is further glory in the Spirit. The veil that hides the glory of God is ultimately removed by the Spirit. When we receive the Spirit, we not only behold His glorious power, but we experience it for ourselves. It will transform us.
… Christ in you, the hope of glory:
The Spirit of Christ in us, not only reveals God’s glory to us in this life, but it also gives us the hope of ultimate glory. By the Spirit, this mortal will take on immortality. By the Spirit, this corruptible will take on incorruption.
1 John 3:2
…when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
We will see Him as He is, and we will be like Him. God will no longer partially reveal His glory, power, and light. We will no longer have to fear death due to the power of His glory. We can finally gaze into the light unfiltered and unveiled. We will behold Him in all of His glory!
Revelation 21:3, 23
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God…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.
*All scriptures quoted are from the NKJV unless otherwise marked.