The Glory of God

“God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
—II Corinthians 4:6,7

WE HAVE CHOSEN FOR our consideration one of the main subjects of Divine revelation—the glory of God. We shall touch only the fringe of two of its features in this treatise, namely, God’s works and ways as manifested in Jesus Christ. None but God’s Son, Jesus Christ, can reveal the glory of the Father, ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.’


Modern uses of the term glory have withheld some of its true value, as it pertains to our mighty Creator and to our beloved Redeemer, the “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:16) It is something more than that which gives splendor, or a symbolic mantle as an insignia of high office. It may include these, as with the robes of glory and beauty of the high priest of Israel. The shekinah light signified the appearance of God with Israel in a restricted sense.

The glory of God must be explained as the majestic contents of his own nature, embracing the aggregate of all his attributes, according to their undivided, yet revealed, fullness. It is not merely an attribute of God, or one feature of his revelation, but the goodness of all, and every feature, of his fullness and perfection. It is the fullness of God, promised, and in store, for those who turn to him, as John’s gospel records, “We beheld his glory” (Jesus), which reflected the glory of the Father, “full of grace and truth. … And of his fulness have all we received.” By what means, we may ask? In the face of Jesus Christ.—John 1:14,16


Sometimes in referring to the glory of God we think of the great works of Creation. At other times, of God’s ways with man; his character or personality of splendor, magnificent as expressed in his mercy, graciousness and love, his compassion and faithfulness. “Yahweh, Yahweh, A God of compassion and favour—Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and faithfulness: Keeping lovingkindness to a thousand generations. Forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Exod. 34:6,7, Rotherham) “His way is perfect.”—Ps. 18:30

There are these two great aspects of the glory of God as revealed in the Scriptures. His works of Creation disclose to men and angels his wisdom and power. But God’s ways are held secret except as he is pleased to reveal them to others. Jesus said, “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”—Matt. 11:27

The words of the apostle, for ‘God, who commanded the light to shine,’ takes our thoughts back to Genesis, chapter one. “God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen. 1:3) God’s Spirit “moved upon the face of the waters” (vs. 2); that is, God’s attention and interest operated to create the planet as a home for man, who was yet to be created.

“God divided the light from the darkness” (vs. 4), and subsequently the remainder of Creation was brought into existence. We are aware of the order of Creation, of God’s day-to-day performance—the light, the firmament, the bringing forth of grass, herbs, trees, the sun, moon, and stars; creatures that hath life; fish, fowl, beast. Finally, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”—vs. 26

In all God’s Creation, whether in the heavens or on the earth, his works are manifest. All men everywhere can behold those creations, and by such observation should be drawn in adoration and worship to their Creator, to whom worship and praise are due. Moses was clear on this, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Ps. 90:2) David said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, … thou art clothed with honour and majesty.”—Ps. 104:1

That which may be readily known of God’s works is open to the eyes of all everywhere. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun.”—Ps. 19:1-4


The character and the ways of God are withheld from man until he is pleased to reveal them. Paul wrote, “How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33) In speaking through Isaiah, God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”—Isa. 55:8,9

It was at Pentecost, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples gathered in the upper room, that the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shone in the face, or person, of Jesus Christ. Because of this, God’s ways were then more readily comprehended and to a remarkable degree. “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”—Eph. 1:17,18

There are three great and important aspects of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. These virtues are found in God’s beloved Son, and should be reflected in all who follow him, and claim God as their Heavenly Father. They are: light, life, and love. God is the source of all light. “God is light.” (I John 1:5) He formed the light in the natural world and he gives spiritual light and Truth to those seeking to understand his Word and way. He that willeth to do his will shall know of the teaching.—John 7:17

Light is everywhere in the Scriptures an emblem of knowledge, purity, truth; as darkness is the emblem of ignorance, sin, and death. Habakkuk, speaking of God, says, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil.” (Hab. 1:13) Men love “darkness rather than light,” because their deeds are evil. (John 3:19) John tells us that Jesus “was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9) Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”—John 8:12


The Pharisees, in their prejudice, said, Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, his brethren James, Joses, Judah, and Simon? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto him?—Mark 6:2,3

Jesus read in the synagogue on the Sabbath, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. … And the eyes of all … were fastened on him. … And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.” “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” (Luke 4:18-22,32) Here again was manifested the glory of God, in the person of Jesus Christ.

While the face of Jesus, the perfect man, must have been radiant with beauty, and an inspiration to behold, Paul probably had more than this in mind when he spoke of God’s glory being revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. After all, only the first disciples had the privilege of seeing Jesus’ face; and even of these Paul wrote, “Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” (II Cor. 5:16) Jesus came to reveal God’s grace and glory—as symbolized by the face in contrast with the back. Thus through his teachings and his sacrifice for the sin of the world, God’s glory has shined into our hearts.


Moses earnestly desired to see the glory of God in all its perfection. He said, “If I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, … and consider that this nation is thy people.” The Lord replied, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Moses said, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. … I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.” The Lord answered, “I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.” “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. … I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious. … I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” (Exod. 33:13-23) We notice in this conversation with Moses that God is equating his glory to his goodness.

Let us pause and meditate and praise God, for the fullness of good in all his Divine perfection as expressed to Moses in these gracious terms! The glory of God should induce every beholder to stand and recognize and acknowledge the wonders and virtues of the Creator. The question forces itself on one’s mind, What constitutes the glory of God? It embraces everything to be known of him. None but his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, can reveal the glory of the Father, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.

It is a very great honor to have the illumination of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Grace with us has preceded glory and God hath bestowed upon us the sacred secrets of himself, before giving these to the world of mankind. How wonderful to realize, however, the promise, “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”—Hab. 2:14

What a privilege it is to realize this graciousness! How so many of God’s children, by faith, have reveled in his promises and been delighted with the fulfillment of many of them in their daily lives! We have eaten his words and have been sustained these many years in hope, faith, and confidence.


Another great virtue and power of God is life. It is also by and through Jesus Christ that life may be obtained. The prerogative of God is to give life, to raise the dead, and he endowed Jesus with power to give life and to raise the dead—“As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.” (John 5:21) Jesus told the people, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (chap. 10:10) “The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”—chap. 6:33

Jesus is now the fountain of life for man—natural, spiritual, and eternal life. He purchased life by his redeeming sacrifice, and prepared it by entering triumphantly into “the presence of God for us.” (Heb. 9:24) He promised it to his followers during the Gospel Age (John 17:2,3), and will presently, as the “everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6) of the human race in the age to come, bestow it upon all the willing and obedient. (John 5:28,29) Jesus also explained to Martha, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”—chap. 11:25


Love is also a predominating virtue of God. God is love—Divine and inexpressible. God’s love for believers in the sacrifice of his beloved Son, and in his loving sacrifice for all mankind, is of the highest and broadest, and surpasses knowledge. (Eph. 3:19) “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) God’s love is everlasting—“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”—Jer. 31:3

God’s love is boundless, sovereign, free, and all these virtues of love are manifested to us in the face of Jesus Christ. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (I John 4:9,10) Jesus, “being the brightness [the effulgence] of his [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, … sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”—Heb. 1:3

Whatever the height of God’s glory, as seen in all his attributes and perfections, the same glory is manifested in Jesus. There is not one of the Divine perfections that has not its counterpart in him. If the Divine character is to be seen at all, it is to be seen in, and through, Jesus Christ our Lord.


All spiritual thought and saving light to man has come through the revealed Truth of God. “Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4) “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”—John 6:63

Jesus explained to his disciples, as he was about to leave them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. … If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him.” Philip said, “Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Jesus replied, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?”—chap. 14:6-9

How thrilled both Thomas and Philip must have been when, at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon them and brought to their remembrance all things that Jesus had said. The full beams of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shone out in splendor and magnificence before their vision of the One they had followed and whose teachings they had embraced! So completely was the glory of God manifested in Jesus that despite all the criticism of Pharisee and Jew, he was able to pray, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. … O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”—John 17:4,5

All these perfections, these virtues or attributes of light, life, and love, we, as followers of Jesus, are admonished to attain by his grace. We are the receivers of the gift of light of the knowledge of the glory of God that Moses saw in a limited way. Let us, then, seek earnestly to become more completely copies at heart of God’s dear Son, and make our theme and quest in this life the quest and theme of the Apostle Paul, Jesus Christ “whose I am, and whom I serve.” (Acts 27:23) May we, with him, in the spirit of love and service for each other, be “determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”—I Cor. 2:2

The spiritual understanding disclosed and imparted to the disciples, all of whom manifest in a remarkable way the light of the glory of God, reveals so marvelously the emotions and character of God. As we have looked into the face, or person, of Jesus we have seen God. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” said Jesus. (John 14:9) It is all revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, “shed abroad in our hearts,” and in this way we have come to know God personally, and Jesus Christ our Lord.—Rom. 5:5

To some, Christ is a creed and a pattern, not a personal friend. There are so many who know the historic Christ, to whom he is a person who lived two thousand years ago. They read of him as they read a book. But all such miss the blessedness, the sweetness, of really knowing him, which inner conviction is attained, as the Apostle Paul suggests, by the grace and vision of God’s glory in Jesus Christ. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”—II Cor. 3:18

Let us, then, keep in mind the importance of our theme, “The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Let us copy Paul in his confession, Jesus Christ ‘whose I am, and whom I serve.’ We have received of his grace, let us attain to his glory, “The glory as of the only begotten of the Father.”—John 1:14

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |