22-05-2016 THE GLORY


Published 22 May 2016


Part One


By John Aldworth

We often think of glory as something that rightly only belongs to God. After all the great kingdom prayer our Lord taught his
disciples says:

                For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever, Amen.

Yet glory is also the garment God created man to wear. That is why before the fall Adam and Eve were naked and were 'not ashamed'. Not
ashamed because, though to sinful eyes apparently nude, actually they were clothed with the glory of God.  But the devil was ashamed. You see, buwah, the Hebrew word translated 'ashamed' in Gen. 2:25) is the same word rendered as 'subtil' in Gen. 3:1, meaning that the serpent was more ashamed 'than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made'. And so he should have been, for his sin of rebelling
against God in heaven.

Now being rightly attired is essential for human beings. And God makes it his business to see that those who trust him are properly clothed.
Jesus said so in Matt. 6:34:

              ...if God so clothe (in glory) the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven , shall he not much more clothe you, o ye of little               faith.

In the previous two verses the Lord had pointed out that lilies of the field neither toil nor spin, yet they are better arrayed than Solomon 'in all his glory'. God, Jesus said, would clothe the faithful in even greater glory.

God then has always been concerned to clothe man. This is why when the first man and wife were found naked, God was quick to 'clothe' them with animal skins. This teaches us that only sacrifice of the sinless and innocent will suffice to cover sin and that, then, as now, the 'fig leaves' of self-righteousness are no acceptable substitute. What does 'ashamed' mean? It means to be to be fearful of God, not only because our sin has been exposed, but also because in sinning we have been stripped of the glory which should be the creature's rightful, God-given clothing. You see, the devil lost his glorious covering of jewels after rebelling against God (Ezek. 28:15) and so did Adam and Eve after yielding to temptation.

You see, in their innocence our first parents were 'naked and not ashamed' because they were clothed in the glory of God. Their fall and loss of glorious covering is summed up in Adam's shameful confession to God (Gen. 3:10):               

                I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself

To this day a deep instinct within most of us requires us to cover our nakedness. It is only the devil who would have us publicly nude. Thus, in Luke 8:27-35 we meet a man possessed of devils who 'ware no clothes' but lived in the cemetery. After Jesus had thrown the unclean spirit(s) out of him the people of that country 'come to Jesus and see him that was possessed by the devil, and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid' (Mark 5:15).

Like this possessed man we too need to be clothed by God and put into our right mind, 'For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God' (Rom. 3:23). What I hope you now see is that the glory of God was the original clothing for man who, by physical nature, is uniquely naked among God's field creatures. All others come ready clothed with feathers, hair, fur or scales.

Indeed, as fallen men and women we have an unbuilt longing to be clothed with God's glory. We may have grace, but we also long to be clothed with glory from God. Moses is a case in point. Like Noah, Moses 'found grace' in the sight of the Lord (Ex. 33:12), but he knew that was not enough for him. He wanted the Lord to go with him and Israel on the long trek through the desert. And he wanted something else as well. In response, the Lord promised his presence would go with Moses and the children of Israel on their march to the Promised Land. But still Moses felt something was lacking. So, he begged the Lord (Ex. 33:18):

             I beseech Thee, shew me thy glory.

Why? So that God's glory could be the 'covering' or 'clothing' for both Moses and Israel on her wilderness journey, surely. So, did God show Moses and the children of Israel his glory and cover them with both it and his presence? Yes, He did, repeatedly and continually. Num. 20:6, for instance, says:

            And Moses and Aaron went from ... unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation and they fell on their faces and the glory of the Lord appeared             unto them.

In Ex. 16:10 the 'glory of the Lord;' appears unto Israel 'in the cloud'. As an aside, this verse gives added meaning to Christ's solemn promise to the religious leaders of Israel who betrayed Him (Mark 14:61-62). The high priest had asked Him: Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed. He replied:

           I AM: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Here Christ is vowing that as He appeared unto Israel in glory 'in the cloud', so He will at the end of the age again appear unto them, this time in great glory 'in the clouds of heaven'. 

Now, other Old Testament examples of the glory of the Lord appearing are found in Ex. 24:17, Lev. 9:23, Ex. 40:34-35, 2 Chron. 5:13-14,7:1-3  and (prophetically) in Ezek. 44:4. And in the New Testament, remember, it was the glory of the Lord that shone round about the shepherds (Luke 2:9) and also shone unto Saul (soon to be the Apostle Paul) on the Damascus road (Acts 26:13). I'll leave you to study these references for yourself.

However, the latter shining was of a greater glory. You see, the glory of the risen, ascended Christ, shone 'above the brightness of the (noonday) sun'. Whereas at his transfiguration before Peter James and John (Mat. 17:1-2) his face had shone only 'as the sun', signifying his coming glory as earth's king. His appearance to Saul, however, was in his greater glory as the 'Lord of all glory' in heaven.

It was also his last appearing in this present age. For his glory will not be seen again until He unveils it at his great appearing at the dawning of the Day of Christ (Phil. 1:6, 10, 2:16), the imminent event we are urged to be 'looking for' (Titus 2:13).

As to Paul being the last to see Him, didn't the Apostle  say, 'And last of all He was seen of me, as one born out of due time' (1 Cor. 15:8)? Paul (then Saul) was indeed the last to see Him. And why was this 'out of due time'? Answer: Because the 'due time' to see the Lord revealed in his full glory as Christ Jesus, the Lord of glory, in Whom 'all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily' (Col. 2:9) will be at his appearing to the whole world (Titus 2:13). Saul then was given a precious pre-glimpse of this stupendous happening.

Like Moses then we too should be asking the Lord to show us his glory. For his glory is our glory. Indeed being clothed with his glory - 'the glory of God' - is the very hope of our calling in grace and the mystery. Thus we read in Titus 2:13:

           Looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Here, without question, the blessed hope is the 'glorious appearing'. And these words really mean the appearing (shining strongly forth) of the glory of Christ. And not only his glory but ours also, because in Col. 3:4 the Apostle Paul assures us that when 'Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then ye shall also appear with Him in glory'. And Phil. 3:20-21 promises us that:

           ... the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body' - that is, his body clothed in glory.

So in the age to come, the Day of Christ, we too will be clothed with the glory of God, just as Christ is now. You see, it has always been God's will that man, his supreme creation on earth, should be 'crowned with glory and honour'. Speaking of man, Heb. 2:8-10 puts it like this:

           Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honour and didst set him overthe works of thy hands. Thou hast put all things under his feet.

           Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For, in that he put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him.

           But now we see not yet all things put  under him.

           But we see Jesus. Who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

And why did Christ die? Why did He have to be 'made perfect through sufferings'? Answer: so that He could bring 'many sons unto glory' (Heb. 2:10).

To sum up, Adam, was really crowned with glory and honour at his creation And, yes, it was God's intention even then that man, should rule over all things, including the angels. And in the Day of Christ and only in Christ and through Christ, we will. But only when we see Christ Himself, the glorified Lord of glory, appearing in his glory. It is that blessed hope we should be looking for (Titus 2:13).

(To be continued)