December 25, 2006 The Glory of God- Isaiah 40, Hebrews 1, John 1

I want you to take your Bible with me and turn to that chapter, Isaiah chapter 40. As we prepare our hearts for making this Christmas season most meaningful, I want us to focus on this very phrase in verse 5, "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed."

You might think that perhaps we're forcing this theme on to the issue of Christmas, but that is not the case at all, for the word of Isaiah in chapter 40 verse 5, "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed" is in fact the Christmas story. It is the Christmas message. The birth of Christ was the revelation of the glory of the Lord...just as Isaiah had promised.

Let me give you simply this, to begin with. Here is a definition from John Macarthur: "The glory of the Lord is the expression of God's person. It is any manifestation of God's character, any manifestation of His attributes in the world, in the universe is His glory. In other words, the glory is to God what the brightness is to the sun. The glory is to God what wet is to water. The glory is what heat is to fire. In other words, it is the emanation, it is the effulgence, it is the brightness, it is the product of His presence, it is the revelation of Himself. Anytime God discloses Himself, it is the manifestation of His glory. That really refers to His presence."

1. The Glory of God in creation

Psalm 8:3-4- response- consider the "work" (same word used for embroidering the veil of the Holy of Holies)
Psalm 19- the heavens declare
Job 38:6-7 angels rejoiced Job 37:23-24
God purposed creation to be a channel through which His glory would be revealed.
Job 38-41 is a discourse on God’s glory as creator- the word of God sustains the world –(Col 1:16-17)

Romans 1:18-20
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

His eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen in creation. Therefore even the lost have a revelation from God in Creation!

Creation was the first way God revealed how great He is

Revelation 4:11 " Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created."
Angels began praising from the time they were created and they have never stopped-Holy, Holy, Holy, all thy works shall praise thy name!

2. God’s Glory revealed in the fall and flood

God’s Righteous holiness tempered with grace and mercy is revealed through His response to the fall. After the fall He sends an intercessor in Christ to come seeking them and gives Hope in the promise of the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:16-17.

The judgment of the flood also reveals God’s glory!- through the flood God supernaturally intervened in the plans the world had to consume the seed of the woman and so destroy the plan of God. God floods the earth, saves the seed, provides a new life and gloriously promises to never destroy the world in that way again. We will see later that the final judgment will be a day in which God’s glory is revealed in a very special way.

"That water that delivered Noah and his sons from their enemies, is a type of the blood that delivers God’s church from their sins, their worst enemies. That water that was so plentiful and abundant, that it filled the world, and reached above the tops of the highest mountains, was a type of that blood, the sufficiency of which is so abundant, that it is sufficient for the whole world, sufficient to bury the highest mountains of sin. The ark, that was the refuge and hiding place of the church in this time of storm and flood, was a type of Christ, the true hiding place of the church from the storms and floods of God’s wrath". – J. Edwards

3. God’s Glory revealed in the History of Israel


a. Through Abraham and the covenant
glory showed that He was worthy to be believed.Abe responds not so much from fear as he responds TO the kind of God the glory reveals Him to be.

Let’s look at how Abraham, and therefore WE, should respond to God’s revelation in our lives.

The Revelation The Response

Go without knowing Left Ur (obedience)
Promise-Genesis 12 Built an altar between Bethel and Ai , Called on the name-Gen 12:8
(worship and trust)
Promise of land- Gen 13 Built an altar at Hebron (remembrance and worship)
Promise of descendants-Gen 15 Abram believed GOD (Faith)
Covenant Gen 17 Fell on face (humility)
God’s faithfulness Planted tamarisk tree as a memorial (testimony and acknowledgment)
Provision of ram Named the place after God (testimony)

Get this!- Faith in the biblical sense is faith in a Person. Abraham did all he did because he had understanding of who God is through the revelation of His glory.

b. God’s Glory revealed to Moses and the Law- Exodus
The burning bush- this is the first incident where God comes and tabernacles in something- God’s purpose was to reveal himself to Moses and then to give Him instructions.

Note this- God reveals Himself THEN reveals his will. This is the pattern- knowledge of God is nonsense without wanting to please Him and obey him. You do not know God if you don’t want to obey Him.
So what did God reveal to Moses?

1. His Holiness (take off sandals, holy ground)
2. God remembers and keeps His promises Gen 15 13-14. God is not slack concerning His promise… Verse 6-Moses’ response- He hid His face.
3. He is the eternal and unchanging God -I AM Yahweh- the self existent one, the eternal one, the A and Z.

Result: obedience- not out of confidence or adequacy for the job- the reason was that God revealed His glory.

KEY point: When we obey in spite of our doubts we glorify God.

c. The Deliverance

The people of Israel went out with an high hand, and Christ went before them in a pillar of cloud and fire. There was a glorious triumph over earth and hell in that deliverance. And when Pharaoh and his hosts, and Satan by them, pursued the people, Christ overthrew them in the Red Sea. The Lord triumphed gloriously.

d. On Sinai

This was another new thing that God did, a new step taken in this great affair, Deu. 4:33, "Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? And it was a great thing that God did towards this work, and that whether we consider it as delivered as a new exhibition of the covenant of works, or given as a rule of life. Chapter 33 Shekinah revealed to Israel- response all the people arise and worship- Worship is not a ritual it is the response of a person to the person of God!

33:18 Show me Thy Glory!
God said v. 19
I’ll show you my goodness
I will proclaim my name-"person or character"
I’ll show you my mercy and grace

God protected Moses from being consumed by the glorious intensity of the Shekinah

34;29 God transfigures Moses- revealed his glory through a man- a channel of grace for the first time in History.

2 Cor 3:13- Moses veiled his face so the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading out. Moses was NOT the final revelation of God’s glory.

e. Revelation of God’s Glory through the tabernacle
God gave Israel a place to worship Him Ex 29:42-46 tells us it was consecrated by His glory. The rituals provided an acceptable way of worship- the shed blood provided access to God. God gave certain craftsmen special skills by his Spirit in ch 40:23-38.

At the dedication 2 things happened-

Inside, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle- at this time the God whose being fills the universe swept in and dwelt on the mercy seat beneath the wings of the cherubim. Each time God manifested himself it was in the shining of light- the tabernacle was transformed!

Outside, 40:34 the cloud covered the tent of meeting.

In 1 Kings 8:11, it says when they completed the temple, the glory of the Lord came and filled it. When they offered the first offering, 2 Chronicles chapter 7 verse 1, the glory of the Lord was seen and the people fell down and worshiped.

f. The temple

Under Solomon 1 Kings 8:10-11

For years the temple glowed with the presence of Yahweh- Ezekiel 10:3-4, 18-19 and 11:22-23 tells of its departure

God could not reveal himself in a desecrated temple so the glory moved to the front door to the east gate and left the temple area to the Mount of Olives and disappeared- the basic route the Jews went into captivity into Babylon. By modern reckoning this happened Sept. 17, 592 BC.
Israel went into the 70 year captivity- when they returned under Zerubbabel they rebuilt the temple but scripture does not say that the glory reoccupied the temple at that time.

Haggai promised that God’s glory would one day be revealed there- Hag 2:4-9
I will shake the nations and I will fill this house with my glory.

"Now there's coming a day," says the prophet Habakkuk, "when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." But until that day of full knowledge, we are dealing with limited perception. And yet God wants us to know Him and He wants us to perceive Him and He wants us to understand His self-revelation. How can we ever know if that's all we have? It says, verse 7 of Amos 3, "The Lord God will do nothing but that He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." He has disclosed Himself through the prophets in the writings of the Old Testament.

f. Through the conquest-briefly acknowledge
g. Through Davidic kingdom- briefly acknowledge-
h. through the prophets, especially Isaiah and Ezekiel

Note: the foregoing were all shadowy , imncomplete pictures of the glory yet to be revealed in Christ Jesus,. In Jesus we get a redefinition of just what Glory IS.
So Creation and the Shekinah is limited. The written word gives content to the creation. It gives content to the Shekinah. But these manifestations of the Glory of God were passing. When Job contemplates the God who reveals Himself in creation, he says this: "Lo," Job 26:14, "these are but the outskirts of His ways and how small a whisper do we hear of Him." You see, God only whispers in His creation. God only whispers in His Shekinah. But He speaks in His Word. And in the Old Testament, verse 1, He spoke. Not a whisper but in full voice.

Well, fortunately Isaiah comes along and Isaiah says this: "The glory of the Lord shall be...what?...revealed." There's coming a greater disclosure, a fuller revelation. Let's see how the New Testament speaks of its fulfillment.

Hebrews chapter 1--Hebrews chapter 1 is another text that deals with the true Christmas story...God's Final Word in His Son

Hebrews 1

1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

At many times and in many ways God has revealed Himself to us. Every revelation has shown Him to be a God of infinite Glory. The revelation of His glory naturally follows His Redemptive plan in History- revelation and redemption go hand in hand.

These revelations were designed

1. To dispel our ignorance of God
2. That we might know Him PERSONALLY and relate to Him-faith
3. To bring us to worship, obedience and love toward Him-enjoy Him

This study attempts to trace the progressive revelation of God’s glory so that we might fulfill the command to glorify God in 1 Cor 6:20. The Glory would kill a man if exposed to it full on before the incarnation. Jesus made God's glory accessible.
20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

We will look at three aspects:

1. What scripture teaches about God’s glory
2. Our response
3. How to glorify God.Before we can glorify God we must have some concept of the glory of God. God’s attributes are the qualities that characterize his nature.

A partial list:

Wisdom, power, holiness, goodness, mercy, love, righteousness, grace, justice, truth, omniscience, omnipresence, eternality

All these are multiplied to the infinite degree and God defines any manifestation of them that we see on earth. Glory is displayed excellence. God naturally and rightfully "glories" in his own person. He glories in what He has done but also in Who He is!

As God manifests any of His attributes he glories in that- when he shows mercy, he delights in it. When God loves the world so much that he sends his son, it pleases Him to do so. This infinite weight of glory cannot be hidden or contained. It is God’s nature to reveal Himself.

4. Revelation of God’s Glory through Jesus Christ

Jesus is more than a manifestation of the lory of God. He IS God's Glory in human flesh.

1 John 1:1

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Hebrews 1:3 the radiance of His glory.
At His birth
Luke 1:11-12 glory appeared to Zacharias
Luke 2:8-9 glory appeared to Shepherds
Matt. 2:2 Wise men followed "the shining"

John’s account in John 1

At the transfiguration:
Peter’s eyewitness account 2 Peter 1:16-18 refers to transfiguration.

Luke 9:25 "there are some standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God."

Eight days later- vv 28-32. the transfiguration was a revelation of the essential glory of the Father that belonged to Jesus.

Hebrews 10:19-20 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to (enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh…

Jesus’ body was a veil that was rent.- it protected us from the glory of God

Isaiah 53:2b-3

He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
3 He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
John 17:4-5 Jesus work on earth was to reveal the Father. Jesus asked the Father that he might "glorify me now". We see the ultimate answer 60 years later in a vision Rev 1:13-16. John’s response- fell at His feet like a dead man.

The resurrection gets its own point below as it is shared by Jesus and believers.

4. Glory of God revealed through believers

In the Beginning:
The Word and the Father

(1:1-2)
In the beginning God … (Genesis 1:1).
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning.

Matthew and Luke begin with the birth of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus, and Mark begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. John goes all the way back to "the beginning." The first words of John’s Gospel, "In the beginning … ," bring to mind the account of creation in Genesis 1. The phrase, "in the beginning," both in the English and in the Greek,23 is the same in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. This cannot be merely coincidental; it must be intentional. When Moses wrote the Book of Genesis, he began, "In the beginning God …" John is doing virtually the same thing in the first two verses of his Gospel.

The New Testament writers clearly agree with John in affirming that the Jesus of the Gospels, the Jesus whom the church worships as Savior and Lord, was not only a sinless man, but also perfect and undiminished deity:

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, 16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him—all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers—all things were created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him. 18 He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead so that he himself may become first in all things. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him 20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross—whether things on the earth or things in heaven (Colossians 1:15-20).

John introduces "light" as a theme that will recur throughout this Gospel (John 3:18-21; 5:35; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36; 12:46). It is a prophetic theme, which is highlighted in Matthew (4:13-16; 5:14-16) and Luke (1:76-79; 2:25-32; 16:8) as well. Jesus came as the "light." The world’s efforts to suppress the "light" have failed, and thus the light continues to shine, even till the present time, through the people of God:

3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

7 Therefore, do not be partakers with them, 8 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light—9 for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth—10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For the things they do in secret are shameful even to mention. 13 But all things being exposed by the light are made evident. 14 For everything made evident is light, and for this reason it says, "Awake! O sleeper. Rise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you!" (Ephesians 5:7-14)

The "Light" and Lost Sinners
(1:9-13)

9 The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was created through him, but the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become God’s children, 13 children not fathered by human descent or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God.

Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard (Isaiah 58:8, NKJV).

1 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising (Isaiah 60:1-3, NKJV).

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it (NIV).

The Word and Human Flesh
(1:14-18)

14 Now the Word became flesh and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory of the only [begotten] One, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. 15 John testified about him and cried out, "This one was the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than I am, because he existed before me.’" 16 For we have all received from his fullness one gracious gift after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The only One, himself God, who is in the presence of the Father, has made God known.


6. The Glory of God revealed by resurrection


There is perhaps no greater demonstration of God’s glory than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 15-reminder of what we just focused on at Easter, and the resurrection life that is ours because of this!
Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism in death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life…

Through our resurrection

God continues to reveal His glory. God has used some unusual channels- broken pots (2 Corinthians 3-4) follow suit with a bush, a tent of animal skins, the tongue-tied Moses, and the rejected Jesus, who was the greatest revelation of God. Now after the ascension, Glory is revealed also in sinners who have become transformed!

Eph 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,
20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,
22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
God is doing now what he did in the OT-making His presence to dwell in a set apart place- the temple of God.

1 Cor 3:16 you are the temple of God.
1 Cor 6:19-20 temple of the Holy spirit
John 14:21ff- Father and Son indwell

God is glorified when He is revealed in us!

2 Cor 3:18 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 from the Lord, the Spirit.

How to reveal God’s Glory

1. By our very salvation
Eph 1:1-14 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

2. By a worthy walk 1 Thess 2:11-12, 2 Cor 4:1-7 Eph 4:1, Col 1:10
3. By a transformed life 2 Cor 4:10, Romans 12:1-2
4. By containing treasure-what treasure? The glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus
5. By our verbal witness to His work in our lives
6. The Glory of God revealed by the finished redemption

What we shall be one day will bring God great glory

2 Corinthians 3:18-But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the [John 17:22, 24; 2 Cor 4:4, 6] glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Philippians 3:21-who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

Colossians 1:27- to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
By bearing much fruit John 15:8- Fruit is the right response to the revelation of God’s glory!

7. The Glory of God revealed by the second coming-

Mark 13:26
"Then they will see [Dan 7:13; Rev 1:7] THE SON OF MAN [Matt 16:27; Mark 8:38] COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory.

Remember Ezekiel’s vision when the glory departed Ichabod was written over it. Like when the ark was captured by the Philistines in 1 Samuel?

In Ezekiel 36 we find the rest of the story- the prophecy of its return. In ch 43 it’s almost identical with 1 Kings 8 the dedication of Solomon’s temple. 43:1-2.
In chapter 11 the departure now in 43 the prophet watched in the direction of the East and saw it return from there 43:3 identifies the glory- here the glory is not longer localized in v. 7 the whole earth is lit up with glory. 44:4 the end time- Ezekiel brought to the eschatological temple. This will come to pass when Christ returns to literally reign from Jerusalem for a thousand years.

Vision of the Heavenly city Rev 21:10
John 14- Jesus comes with the place prepared for us-not the personal, warm idea of "drawing us to His side"…
Rev 5:8, 9-12

The ones who have been redeemed offer worship and praise for redemption. In his presence we will walk in the light of His glory- no need for sun.
Rev 21-22 the eternal state of Glory.

Revelation 21:23
And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.

===============
Concluding thoughts… and review of some thematic responses-

God reveals- We respond

Revelation Response

To Paul -Acts 9:6 He fell on his face and said, Lord what will you have me do? -Obedience
Isaiah-Isaiah 6 – book refers to glory 36 times Woe is me; send me!- Conviction and humility- a passion to obey
At the Red Sea- Exodus 15 "feared the Lord"- Song of Moses-Awe and worship, verbal praise
David-1 Samuel and Psalms filled with Glory Praise and Prayer- 1 Chronicles 29, Psalm 24, 66
Moses- Exodus 34 :8 Bow low toward the earth and worship
Ezekiel – Ez. 1:28 - 23 mentions Fell on face and listened
John- Revelation 1:17 Fell like a dead man then raised to give witness- John becomes perhaps the greatest witness to Glory in His writings…

I turned to locate the voice that was speaking with me, and when I did so, I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands was one like a son of man. He was dressed in a robe extending down to his feet and he wore a wide golden belt around his chest. 14 His head and hair were as white as wool, even as white as snow, and his eyes were like a fiery flame. 15 His feet were like polished bronze that has been refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp double-edged sword extended out of his mouth. His face shone like the sun shining at full strength. 17 When I saw him I fell down at his feet as though I were dead, but he placed his right hand on me and said, "Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, 18 namely, the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive—forever and ever—and I have the keys of death and Hades!" (Revelation 1:9-18)

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From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/