The Glory of God
By Evan Wiggs
We talk about the Glory of God much in the church today but little understand the full implications for our lives of that subject. The Glory of God is a subject once understood will have absolutely transforming effects on our lives. It is essential we grasp this concept for the Lord want to manifest his Glory through the Church. If the Church doesn’t understand this concept we may well miss great blessing from the Lord.
We see God doing something with His Glory in the following verses out of Exodus.
(Exo 24:16 NASB) And the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.
(Exo 24:17 NASB) And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top.
God comes to give the law. His presence called the Glory of the Lord rests upon the mountain six days, the same amount He took to create the heavens and the earth. Then on the seventh He calls to Moses from the midst of the cloud of His Glory. His Glory does something to Moses, which we will expore later, but the people are affected too.
(Exo 29:43 NASB) "And I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory.
(Exo 29:44 NASB) "And I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me.
(Exo 29:45 NASB) "And I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God.
The tent of the meeting, the altar and Aaron and his sons are consecrated, or set aside for a holy purpose. This consecration is the same idea in the New Testament of sanctification. The Greek word is hagios, which is also translated holy. God’s Glory makes holy those things he choses be they the tent and alter or Aaron and his sons. This is something we need to take note of.
Moses was a man just like us. He had a relationship with God that was unique in the Bible. He spoke to God face to face as it were. Do you know God want to speak to us? That He yearns to speak to his people?
(Exo 33:12 NASB) Then Moses said to the LORD, "See, Thou dost say to me, 'Bring up this people!' But Thou Thyself hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Moreover, Thou hast said, 'I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.'
(Exo 33:13 NASB) "Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight. Consider too, that this nation is Thy people."
(Exo 33:14 NASB) And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest."
(Exo 33:15 NASB) Then he said to Him, "If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.
(Exo 33:16 NASB) "For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Thy sight, I and Thy people? Is it not by Thy going with us, so that we, I and Thy people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?"
(Exo 33:17 NASB) And the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight, and I have known you by name."
Moses wants the presence and the Glory of God to go with him and the people. He would not move unless the cloud went before him. Oh, that we would be like that! To hunger for the cloud of God’s Glory to be with us. But then God says an astounding thing to Moses "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight, and I have known you by name.". To have God know you by name when he had just revealed him self as this awesome God of Fire and Cloud and Glory. Do you know He knows us all by name? He knows when a sparrow falls and he knows the hairs on our heads. He is the same God. This shoud send chills down our backs.
Then Moses gets audacious.
(Exo 33:18 NASB) Then Moses said, "I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!"
(Exo 33:19 NASB) And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."
(Exo 33:20 NASB) But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!"
(Exo 33:21 NASB) Then the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock;
(Exo 33:22 NASB) and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.
(Exo 33:23 NASB) "Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen."
Show me Thy Glory! Moses what are you talking about? Didn’t you see the pillar of fire by night and the pillar of cloud by day? Didn’t you see the cloud of Glory resting on the mountain top for 7 days? Moses wasn’t talking about those manifestations though and God knew exactly what Moses yearned for. Moses yearned for an ever-deeper relationship with this God of the burning bush, this God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, this God of Glory. Oh people of God, do we yearn like this to seek this Holy one out, to seek his Glory?
(Exo 34:5 NASB) And the LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD.
(Exo 34:6 NASB) Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;
(Exo 34:7 NASB) who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."
(Exo 34:8 NASB) And Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.
(Exo 34:9 NASB) And he said, "If now I have found favor in Thy sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate; and do Thou pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Thine own possession."
(Exo 34:10 NASB) Then God said, "Behold, I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth, nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you.
Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship. The King of the universe was arrayed before him, speaking astounding words of a God of such Holiness and Glory. Certainly it was a fearful thing. We need to fear our God! He is indeed awesome and glorious all without and within. Has He placed you in the cleft of the Rock of Jesus and covered you there with His hand? Has he spoken to you his fearful, wonderful name? Look now what follows.
(Exo 34:29 NASB) And it came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him.
(Exo 34:30 NASB) So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
I don’t know the physics of the Glory nor how the skin can glow but I understand what it means. God was showing the people the Glory of his presence stamped on Moses face. They were afraid to come near him. This was God showing his approval of His servant. I have read of Maria Woodward Etter, the great female healing evangelist of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, actually being surrounded by a cloud of glory for short periods of time as she preached. Smith Wigglesworth went to New Zealand in 1921 to have meetings. He called the leading preachers and men of God of the town he was in to a prayer meeting. Twelve men showed up. They all prayed their prayers and then Smith started. Soon the twelve had to leave because the cloud of Glory came into the room. The next night a thirteenth man came who had heard about the meeting the night before. He intended to stick it out. The prayers started and then Smith prayed. The cloud of Glory descended and twelve left. Finally the thirteenth man left too, he could not last as Smith stayed and basked in the presence and Glory of God.
People of God, did you know that God does not change? He wants to bless us at this day and time but we seem to be too distracted from all around us. The little robbers of Glory, little distractions of gossip, lust, pride, rebellion.
Now look at two more instances where the Glory of God is present. Both are about the temple. The first instance in the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the second in Solomon’s temple.
(Exo 40:33 NASB) And he erected the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the veil for the gateway of the court. Thus Moses finished the work.
Exo 40:34 NASB) Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
(Exo 40:35 NASB) And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
(Exo 40:36 NASB) And throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out;
(Exo 40:37 NASB) but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up.
(Exo 40:38 NASB) For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.
(1 Ki 8:10 NASB) And it came about when the priests came from the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
(1 Ki 8:11 NASB) so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
(1 Ki 8:12 NASB) Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.
Now in both of these instanced the Glory of God drove people away from it. The holiness of God in full measure few of us could stand. We have to be covered by His hand. We are too full of sin and it tendrils run deep. But is that the way it is supposed to be? Are we heirs of a lesser promise? Does the Old Testament contain all the power and we today have received a fading glory where God has distanced Himself and no longer shows Himself Glorious?
(1 Cor 6:19 NASB) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
(1 Cor 6:20 NASB) For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
This is most amazing. Our bodies are temples. The Israelites had to go to the temple to pray, sacrifice and worship. We have God within, the temple is within our bosom. Oh how awesome that is. The Glory that was in the temple is in us! Can you fathom that with all it implies. The God of the mountain is now Immanuel. The Holy Spirit of God indwells our spirit and empowers us with all God has for us. What are we missing? Somehow this seems out of sync with what we experience.
Maybe we are not experiencing what we should.
(2 Cor 3:1 NASB) Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?
(2 Cor 3:2 NASB) You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
(2 Cor 3:3 NASB) being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.
(2 Cor 3:4 NASB) And such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
(2 Cor 3:5 NASB) Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,
(2 Cor 3:6 NASB) who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Cor 3:7 NASB) But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,
(2 Cor 3:8 NASB) how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?
(2 Cor 3:9 NASB) For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.
(2 Cor 3:10 NASB) For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory on account of the glory that surpasses it.
(2 Cor 3:11 NASB) For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.
(2 Cor 3:12 NASB) Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,
(2 Cor 3:13 NASB) and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away.
(2 Cor 3:14 NASB) But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
(2 Cor 3:15 NASB) But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;
(2 Cor 3:16 NASB) but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
(2 Cor 3:17 NASB) Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
(2 Cor 3:18 NASB) 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.
What is Paul talking about? Look at verse 7 where he talks about the old covenant being represented by the tablets of stone and the fading glory on Moses face. Then he says, "how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?". Paul says that the glory now is greater than the former glory and that the former glory actually became no glory because of the surpassing glory of now! Oh Church! Do you realize what that means? The veil in the temple has been removed and we don’t need a veil on our face! Verse 18 says we with unveiled face are beholding the Glory of the Lord and are being transformed INTO THE SAME IMAGE FROM GLORY TO GLORY!!! It is unlimited what God is willing to do in us. We only need to reach out in faith and stand on the promises of God. We only need to dare to believe!