The Glory of God Revealed

By Ernie and Mary Kroeger

The Lord wants us to see His glory! He has created an incredibly beautiful and marvelously expanding universe to proclaim His glory and omnipotence! He has given us Jesus Christ to reveal Himself to us. He does not withdraw Himself, cover Himself and hide Himself. He is bringing a revelation of His glory throughout all His creation, and He will be seen in all the earth. This is the beauty of the gospel message!

What is the glory of God? It is difficult to describe His glory. Moses asked God to show him His glory, and God said that His GLORY is His GOODNESS. (see Ex. 33:17-19) "In the Greek language, glory (as a noun) comes from doxa, primarily signifying an opinion, estimate, and hence, the honor resulting from a good opinion. It is sometimes translated as honor, praise, worship. The word denotes the manifested perfection of God's character - His splendor, brightness, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace and majesty. It is a most glorious and exalted state. It is the revelation and manifestation of all that He has and is. Note: doxa is from dokeo meaning `to think'." (Vine's)

The scriptures declare that the earth is filled with the glory of God. "The whole earth is full of His glory." (Is. 6:3) At present we are not aware of it, but it will be manifested throughout the earth. "But indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD." (Numbers 14:21) "And blessed be His glorious name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen." (Ps. 72:19) "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk. 2:14)

Here we see that humanity needs illumination, for it does not comprehend God's glory. Humanity's s mind cannot understand God's ways. Its eyes have not yet been opened to the glory, so it remains in darkness and ignorance of the true God. The revelation of God and His glory comes to those whose eyes have been opened to see spiritual realities!

Since humanity is unable to understand God, He has to reveal Himself to us. Unless we receive His revelation of Himself, we will have a false image of God. If our image of God includes something other than God's declaration of Himself, there is something fundamentally wrong with our thinking.

To make Himself known to us, He gave us Jesus Christ - the exact representation of the invisible God! In Christ, He manifested the glory (goodness) of God in such a way that it became tangible to our senses; the invisible came to us in visible form! Jesus Christ is the greatest expression of God's glory! In Christ, we receive His mind -and His mind is the glory of God! Through God's people the mind of Christ will be manifested throughout the whole earth. This is the high calling that is ours in Christ Jesus. When His mind is manifested in us, the glory of God will be made known to the world through our lives and words! The very essence of the invisible God is to be expressed through us (His people) to all the earth!

The revelation of His glory is foreshadowed and seen in the Old Testament in the tabernacle that Moses built. When the Lord came to His people Israel, He dwelt in the holy of holies. His glory and His presence were not found in the outer court; He bypassed the outer court and the holy place, and went directly into the holy of holies. This symbolizes how He comes to us. When He came into us (His tabernacle), He went right into our holy of holies (our spirit), and gave us His life and His mind. Before that we were like a tabernacle without the presence of the Lord. We were without life - and without life we are just a stinking mess!

The tabernacle of Moses had glory as long as the presence of the Lord resided in the holiest, but when His presence was gone, it was just a structure. When the ark of His presence was stolen, it lost its glory, yet the priests kept making their sacrifices as always. We do not know how they managed on the Day of Atonement when they brought the blood into the holy of holies, and there was no ark and no mercy seat on which to sprinkle the blood, and no presence and light of the Lord. Maybe they invented a new way, and it then became a tradition. But anything that does not have its source in the Lord is meaningless!

God's purpose for the tabernacle was that He might dwell among His people, speak to them, reveal Himself to them, and to lead and guide them. Without His presence, it failed to serve its purpose. This illustrates the fact that without the Lord's presence in us, we cannot fulfill God's purpose for us, for then we are only an empty shell. Instead of life, there is only death. When we received Jesus Christ, the stone that guarded the entrance to the tomb of our carnal mind was rolled away, and we received life in our innermost being. Without the presence of the Lord there is no glory, for only spiritual life contains the glory of the Lord. The Lord's residency in us fills our most holy place with His glory!

It is important that we understand God's plan for us. He has revealed it, but natural man cannot understand it because he cannot receive spiritual realities. God's life in us makes us spiritual beings and gives us the spiritual understanding necessary to receive the Holy Spirit's teaching. This explains our need to be born again. We need to be raised out of the deadness of our carnal mind and receive the life and mind of Christ.

There is only one true life, and that is the life of God. Our old life was dead in trespasses and sins, and our spirit was dead because of unrighteousness. Our new birth by the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual life, and our new life is completely separate from our old life; it makes us spiritual beings, and our spirit is alive because we have received the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Because we have been made alive, we can have fellowship with God. We can only have life in union with Him; anything separated from God is in death. Life is the very essence of God, and He only dwells in life. Our dwelling place in Him is in life, and His dwelling place in us is in that life.

Christ Jesus is the cornerstone of our dwelling place - a holy temple in the Lord. "In whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." (Eph. 2:21-22) God is spirit, His words are spirit, our dwelling place in God is spirit, and we are spiritual creatures - not creatures of flesh. Since we cannot see spirit, it may be difficult to grasp all the ramifications of this wonderful message! The good news is that God, not man, is building this temple. It's a spiritual temple, and we are the building blocks. God is fitting us together and putting us in the niche where we are needed. Picturing the growth of the physical body may help us to understand this. Good nutrition, exercise and love build a healthy body. Healthy growth fits all the cells into the right places. So this temple needs spiritual food (truth), exercise (obedience), and love (the very essence of God that binds us together) to grow and mature into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

God has purposed that we should all grow into the maturity of Christ, for in Genesis 1:26 He said, "Let us make man in Our image. according to Our likeness." We know that God is spirit, so we know that this image is a spiritual image of God. Since this looks impossible to us, the achievement of His goal glorifies His goodness and ability. He has one call and one plan for us. Only through obedience to His directives and submission to all His dealings in our lives, can we be conformed to the image of Christ! He has given us all that is needed "to attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:13)

Humanity does not understand what it means to be heavenly-minded. It thinks that it will stop us from being of any earthly good. Actually the reason for not being of any earthly good is because we are so earthly-minded. When we are truly heavenly-minded we will be of great earthly good, for then the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This can only occur when we follow God's directives! They are for NOW! Thinking that God's directives and promises can only be fulfilled in the future - after we have died and gone to heaven - does not come from the Lord, so we know its origin. God is making us into heavenly creatures while we are still in this body of flesh. This is the message of the Bible.

The apostle Paul knew that he was a spiritual being, that his true dwelling place was in the Lord, and the body he was living in was only a temporary dwelling place. Although his earthly body was decaying, his inner man was being renewed every day - renewed into the image of the heavenly. "Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly." (1 Cor.15:49) While our outer man is dying, it is being sown as a seed to bring us spiritual life. The new spirit that the Lord has put within us, bears the image of the heavenly, and our body is being redeemed to function according to God's will. This is the transformation that is taking place in us right now..

The Lord is teaching us the reality of the spiritual realm, and revealing the temporality, changing nature, corruption and futility that is in the material realm. In Romans 8:20 the Holy Spirit says the creation was subjected to futility, but the time is coming when creation itself will be set free from its slavery to corruption.

In Christ we are a new creation; we no longer belong to the old creation and the natural world; we only live in it for the time being. We have the Holy Spirit within us, and He produces His fruit in us. So we see glimpses of the reality of the spiritual realm in ourselves and in each other. "Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." (Rom. 8:23) This groaning comes from the Lord. It only finds fulfillment as God fulfills His plan in us. This groaning will not cease until the fullness of God's plan is fulfilled in us.

The whole creation groans along with us. When we look at the world and see the tension and unrest within it, we begin to understand its groaning. This groaning increases as it enters the birthing canal. The world, in its quest for happiness, looks for ways to fulfil its inner longing, and grasps at external things like beauty, wealth, luxurious cars, lovely mansions, positions of honor, etc. Soon the emptiness of this exotic living surfaces, and they realize that their longing has not been satisfied. So their groaning continues.

However, the groaning in creation will only find fulfillment when the glory of God is revealed in His sons. We are looking for the manifestation of God's presence in His sons. The manifestation of the glory of God is the only thing that will satisfy creation's groaning heart, because the desire to see God's glory was put there by the Lord. He wants His glory to shine forth from His sons - and this includes you and me! We can only be satisfied when the glory of His presence is manifested in us.

In the Old Testament we find some descriptions that give us an inkling of what the glory of the Lord is like. We find one example in Exodus 24 when the glory of the Lord came down on Mount Sinai. What a glorious display of thunder, lightning, smoke and fire burst on the scene! The Israelites were all convinced that the glory of the Lord was an awesome thing. Another example occurred at the completion of the tabernacle. When the glory of the Lord came down, it filled the tabernacle; even Moses was unable to enter in. Symbolically it is telling us that the law cannot enter the glory of God.

The glory of God is so marvelous and awesome that nothing can detract from it when it is manifested. It cannot be ignored, for it is always the center of attention. It was present in Jesus when He was on earth, but it was only manifested on the Mount of Transfiguration. Similarly, His glory is present at this time, but it is veiled, so we don't see it. The manifestation of this glory has to wait for the right timing. In the scriptures we see that the glory of the Lord was only revealed when the Lord chose to do so. He has always done it by Himself and He will continue to do it by Himself.

The prophecy in Isaiah 40:4-5 gives us the requirements that must be met for the glory of the Lord to be revealed. "Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

In that day we will see the glory of the Lord; we will see the fulfillment of that which we formerly saw by faith. Faith is only needed for things that are not seen. The time will come when every knee shall bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord because they will see the reality, and be convinced that Jesus Christ IS Lord. This brings glory to God the Father. When Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damascus, and Jesus Christ appeared to him, the light blinded his physical eyes and opened his spiritual eyes to see Jesus Christ. This experience so convinced him of the reality of Christ that he had no alternative but to believe in Him. So it will be for everyone when His glory will be revealed.

In the New Testament we learn that the Lord has a plan for the revelation of His glory, and in the Old Testament we see how this plan was foreshadowed in the tabernacle of Moses. This tabernacle was centrally situated in the midst of the tribes of Israel. In the inmost part of the tabernacle was a place called the holy of holies where God dwelt between the cherubim that covered the mercy seat. There His glory was revealed. This foreshadowed God's dwelling place in us - the temple that is not made with hands, but by God Himself!

Today He is preparing His dwelling place in us. Collectively the church, the body of Christ, is God's dwelling place, but individually, each one of us is that dwelling place, for it says that our body is the temple of God. Even as He dwelt in the innermost past of the tabernacle of Moses, so He dwells in our innermost part - in our spirit! The beauty of the Lord's plan is that His glory is going to be multiplied and magnified, until it is manifested throughout all creation. This will be brought to pass through Christ's body. Jesus said, "The glory which you have given Me, I have given to them, that they may be one, even as we are one." (Jn. 17:22) Jesus revealed the glory of the Lord by being the exact representation of the Father. He said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (Jn. 14:9)

Through Christ, the glory of God is passed on to us! God cannot and will not share His glory with anything that is not of Himself. In Isaiah 42: 8 God declares, "I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images." God will not share His glory with the old humanity, for that humanity is in Adam. He only shares it with those who are in Christ - the new humanity!

God is bringing many sons to glory! In Hebrews 2:10 it says, "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings." And in Romans 8:18 Paul wrote, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Nothing can compare with the glory of God, and we have been called to reveal His glory! This glory resides in us because Christ is in us, but it is still veiled or hidden. At the right time it will be revealed to us. This is God's plan and purpose for us! We have been called to participate in the glory of God and to be recipients of His glory! The question is, how great is our desire for His glory to be revealed in us and through us? Are we willing to endure the sufferings needed for this to occur? This is the Lord's desire for us, so let's pray that we come into agreement with the Lord's desire! We are His dwelling place, and the fullness of His desire is that His glory will be revealed in His dwelling place. It is not to be hidden; it is to be revealed!

"For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." (Rom. 8:29-30) Just as a place had to be prepared to contain the glory of God in the tabernacle of Moses, so a residing place for the glory of God is being prepared in us. This preparation does not consist of trying to keep the law, but by receiving the great redemption Christ has accomplished, and letting the Holy Spirit do His sanctifying work in us.

"For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." (Rom. 8:19-21) This mystery, hidden from the ages, the Lord intends to reveal. At present we only see it in the shadow, but when the Lord brings it about through His many-membered body, creation will be set free. Sin brought bondage and limitations, but His glory will be revealed when creation is "set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." This glory has not yet been revealed.

Notice that it says, "the freedom of the glory of the children of God"; it does not say "the glory of God." The children of God enjoy freedom from their bondage to sin and freedom from corruption. This may puzzle us as we look at our aging bodies. Since we can't justify immortality with our present state, we immediately put it into the future category instead of a present possession. However, everyone who has been born anew of the Spirit is a spiritual creation, and this new creation is not subject to corruption. There is no corruption in God's life, and we have received His life. In Christ we are freed from our bondage to sin, but in the outworking of it in us is a gradual process. Our words and actions will reveal the measure of our faith. Freedom from our bondage to sin brings glory of the Christ within us. God has planned that all creation shall be set free!

In Ephesians 1:17 we read that God is the Father of glory. Since He is the Father of glory, it follows that all glory has to be fathered by God, and it is therefore eternal. It excludes any so-called glory that has its roots in our world of self, our achievements and our worldly possessions, for that glory does not abide forever. And in verse 18 Paul goes on to say that God wants us to know "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." What a statement! We have no idea how wonderful the salvation is that we have in Christ! Only by faith can we understand that everything we are is from God, and because it is from Him, we see the riches of His glory in His ability to change us from our mortality into His immortality! The change He produces in us reveals His glory!

We need pressures to produce changes in us. Even Jesus needed to suffer. "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings." (Heb. 2:10) God wants us to share His glory to the full, so He allows us to share in the sufferings of Christ. "But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you." (1 Peter 4:13-14) "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory....After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." (1 Peter 5:4,10)

"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Cor. 4:16-18)

Here is the answer to our need for afflictions. Without them we would miss out on the glory! Overcoming afflictions produces an eternal WEIGHT of glory in us! Did you know that glory is heavy? When people hear spiritual truth, they often say, "That's heavy - that's really heavy." But why should glory be heavy? It is heavy because it consists of the throne and authority of our Lord! His authority cuts across all human thinking, philosophy and reasoning. In order to be under His authority we have to be released from the seen realm, and place all our faith in the unseen realm of God's promises. When our difficulties are so great that we are tempted to give up, we look beyond the seen, to the unseen realm of God's ability! Learning to rely on God's ability needs many afflictions. Just like pillars for a large structure are prepared for weight-bearing, so we have to be prepared to bear the glory.

In the book of Ezekiel we have a revelation of the glory of God. In chapter one the heavens were opened to Ezekiel, and he received a revelation of the glory of the Lord. It was a strange vision in which there were four living beings, and cherubim with wings and four faces, and wheels in which the Spirit of the Lord dwelt. And above them was a firmament or expanse that contained the glory of the Lord. When he saw this glory and a vision of the Lord Jesus, he did not have words to describe it, so he could only compare it with something he was familiar with.

The Spirit was in the wheels, and the wheels were full of eyes. There was a wheel for each of the four living creatures, and they moved together, and they didn't move unless the Spirit moved. When the Spirit moved, they moved with it, and there was complete harmony - absolute, perfect harmony among the four living creatures and among the cherubim, as well as a unity with the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God did the seeing. He knew the way, and they moved with Him, and the wings of the cherubim touched each other.

Their faces looked straight ahead, and all of them went in the same direction, and the expanse above them moved with them! Above the expanse was the throne and the revelation of Christ and the glory of God. It was as though the living creatures and the wheels and the cherubim carried the glory! Can you see the necessity of everything moving in perfect harmony? Had they all gone in different directions, there would have been nothing to bear the throne. This illustrates the complete, perfect harmony of God's throne and His glory with Himself and His chosen ones. Movement only takes place under the Spirit's direction.

Before Jesus came, there was no one among men who could bear the weight of glory, so the Lord had to do it Himself. The law came with a fading glory, but God's glory is an unfading, eternal glory! Because of Christ's obedience and overwhelming victory in the face of trials, rejection, pain and torture beyond human endurance, God gave Him a name above every name and eternal glory! In Christ, the church (the body of Christ) is now being prepared to join those in the heavenlies who have already been prepared to bear the weight of glory and to reveal it to the world!

At this present time the Lord is raising up a body of spiritual beings who will bear His glory, and not only bear it, but will even be on the throne with Him. They are learning what the cherubim have known for ages. They are learning to function in unity just as the cherubim and the four living creatures functioned in bearing the throne of God and carrying His glory.

In John 17 Jesus prayed that we might be one even as He and the Father are one. When we are perfected in unity, the world will marvel. In the book of Revelation we see the processing that is needed for this to become an actuality in us. As we focus on the Lord, we too will say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY!" (Rev. 4:8) The Lord is teaching us to function according to the heavenly pattern, so that we will keep our faces focused on Him, and let the Holy Spirit initiate the motion, and be our eyesight! When He moves, we move; when He stands still, we stand still.

In the scriptures, wings symbolize movement in the heavenly realm. The touching of wings symbolizes intimate spiritual fellowship. This is the Lord's desire for us. In Isaiah 40:31 we read, "Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." This pictures our ascent in the spiritual realm.

In the holy of holies, on the mercy seat, were two cherubim facing each other and looking toward the mercy seat. Their wings were spread upward, and covered the mercy seat. These cherubim symbolize those heavenly spiritual beings that are seated with Christ in heavenly places, namely, the faithful in Christ Jesus. The fact that they face each other, tells us that they are not wearing masks and pretending to be other than what they are; they are without condemnation, for their eyes are on the mercy seat of God's grace that covers the law of commandments. The law always brings condemnation, so a relationship founded on law is never without condemnation. Only a relationship that is filled with mercy and grace can bring unity and openness.

The glory of the Lord dwelt right in the middle of the two cherubim. This tells us that the Lord's glory dwells where there is unity in the Spirit, and intimacy of fellowship. What a premium God puts on the unity that results from obedience to the Spirit!

This is the truth that is emphasized in Ezekiel chapter 1 - in the four living creatures and the cherubim as they traveled in unison and in complete obedience to the Spirit. They are united in Spirit and obedient to the Spirit's directives. As we move in the spiritual realm, we will also be united and obedient to the Spirit's directives. Walls and divisions only exist in the earthly realm where there is legalism, independence, choice and religiosity. As we move in the spirit, we can look each other in the eye with love and transparency.

In Solomon's temple, the cherubim show us a further aspect of fellowship. The huge cherubim in the holy of holies had wings that touched each other in the middle, as they covered and hovered over the mercy seat. How interesting! They touched each other with their wings - not with their faces or any other part of their bodies. This tells us that they touched each other in the spiritual realm. They were not looking for unity and togetherness in doctrine, programs, policy, etc. Our unity with our brothers and sisters is in the spiritual realm because we are spiritual creatures.

Furthermore, we notice that their wings touched in the middle. In this way a circle was formed - a circle of fellowship in spiritual unity with the mercy seat in the center - and God dwelt above the mercy seat. All eyes are focussed on Him; He receives all the attention, and our fellowship is around Him and with Him, and He initiates, leads, guides and directs all activities. This harmony in God's children brings a revelation of the glory of God! "To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus." Only His power is able to accomplish this!

What a powerful lesson God is teaching us! He is teaching us to move in the heavenly realm where there is no self life! Today we see the glory of the Lord to some extent in some Christians, but this is just the down payment. When the glory is revealed in full measure we will wonder why we ever complained of the trials and difficulties we faced along the way.

Once we see the glory of God's redemption, love, mercy and everlasting compassion, we are overwhelmed by it, and all glory goes to the Father. In deep humility and thankfulness we rejoice in the redemptive work God has accomplished in us! The glory of this world has lost its fascination for us, for it cannot compare with the glory that is revealed to us in Christ! And we have been called to share and manifest His glory!

His glory initiates true worship in us, for we see that He is worthy of all honor, praise and worship. We recognize that He alone is truth, and therefore we can trust Him in every situation that comes our way. In worship we submit all we are and have to our Lord and Savior, and stand in awe at His power and love to change us into heavenly beings who have His life and nature!

God's ability to change us into a people who carry His name and nature is His greatest glory! Although we marvel at the ever-expanding universe and the glories of the solar system, and in the glory of even the minutest things, we see that these do not compare with the glory that is ours in Christ! Christ is the greatest revelation of God's glory to us, and Christ in us is the revelation of God's glory to the world!

Christ is the firstborn of many brethren! We can't begin to visualize the glory that will be revealed when Christ's many brethren will be revealed, shining forth in the fullness of Christ's nature, demonstrating His humility, his obedience to the Father's desires, his love, grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness to a sin-sick world! God's glory will be magnified and multiplied when He brings His many sons to manifest His glory! You and I will be either spectators or demonstrators of His glory. Our present-day sufferings will seem like nothing in comparison with the glory that will be revealed! So let's join that heavenly host in worshiping the Lamb that is worthy of all honor and praise!

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