Glory – A Concept or a Charge?

Just as God is what man is not and so much more, so also, Glory is a picture of this antimony. In the Old Testament, kabod (in Hebrew) literally signifies “weight” (a fact which Paul seems to remember in 2 Cor. 4:17). It also indicated: honor received from one’s dignity, wealth, or high position. It is the utmost respect given to God for His manifest presence. (Dignity – Prov. 15:33; 25:2; Honor – Num. 24:11; Mal 1:6; Object of Respect – Jer. 2:11; Psalm 106:20; God’s manifest presence (“the glory of God”) – Ex. 16:7; Num. 14:10; Isaiah 3:8)

“GLORY” took the physical form of light (Psalm 29:3; Ezekial 1:27-28, Exodus 40:34-38, 2 Chron. 7:1-3; and Luke 2:9; Acts 7:55). God made Moses realize that the essence of His glory is His holiness and goodness (Ex. 33:18-34:8; Is. 6:1-5; John 12:41). It is any place which God consumes. The moment His presence emerges, is the moment that place becomes a worshipper – which is to give God glory (for example, Moses and the burning bush. When God consumed it, it began to give glory back to what consumed it – God.)

God is intrinsically invisible. Nevertheless, He does reveal Himself, or declare Himself. (e.g. a thunderstorm – Psalm 97:1; or clouds, lightings, fire, and hills that melt like wax.)

In the New Testament, doxa (in pre-New Testament Greek, meant “opinion”). However, with the arrival of the New Testament Koine style Greek came the evolution of this term to mean two things: “excellence and praiseworthiness set forth in display” (which is glory shown); and also “honor and adoration expressed in response to this display” (as in glory given).

In the New Testament “GLORY” is regularly linked with God’s display of power, wisdom and love in the death, resurrection, enthronement and miraculous ministry of Jesus. It can also mean “reflection of an ‘image’” (1 Cor. 15:40). Likewise it is so in 1 Cor. 11:7 where “man is the glory of God and woman is the glory of man.”

What does all this mean to me? When GLORY is pictured of as seen in people it is in response to their wealth, position or power (Gen. 31:1; 45:13; and Isaiah 8:7). The GLORY that God shows, however, is the reality of His active presence linked with the quality of His acts themselves. The giving of GLORY to God in worship is called doxology (of which the Psalms reflect). Glorifying God is man’s divine calling and his highest joy, both now and in “GLORY.”

Since GLORY is used synonymously with other attributes to God and for God, the result is that it is a divine trait, and as humans we find it difficult to adequately define or fully comprehend.

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