Friday, March 28, 2014

Glory - 4

Genesis 1:1-5

Genesis 1

The Creation of the World

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Technically I guess this is not the first manifestation of God's glory, but maybe it is the first. 

God's Spirit is present, hovering over the face of the waters.

The word "kabod" or "glory" when used of God has to do with His abiding presence.  His glory has to do with His great great and weighty reputation and importance.

Light is shiny, as is the Shekinah glory of God.  Hmm.

So, since this post contains my thinking on the subject of "glory", I 'm going to say that this is the Bible's first mention of God's glory.  The problem is that the word "glory" is not in the text, but the concept is certainly there.

God's Word begins with the light of His glory shown on the face of the deep.

No, light is not God, but it is used over and over again as a symbol of God's work and presence.  Since God is spirit, having no physical body, He both creates and then uses physical things to show us what He is like.

This statement is true.:

1 John 1:5

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

In the context of 1 John 1, the Apostle is talking about God's sinless moral character.  It is about His holiness in contrast to our sinfulness.  Darkness is used as a symbol of sin, and light as a symbol of sinlessness. 

Some are tempted to turn the phrase "God is light"  around, but that is not correct grammatically in the Greek.  

Some also try to turn around the phrase "God is love", saying that "Love is God" in the same way.  That was a popular interpretation of the Hippies, as you can well imagine.  One of God's attributes is love, as in He is loving.  We dare not deify love itself, as many pagan religions do.

1 John 4:8

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

The first verses of the Bible found in Genesis 1  remind me of 2 Corinthians 4:6.  This verse supports the idea that the Bible begins with a manifestation of the glory of God.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

"We have here a further account of the first day’s work, in which observe, 1. That the first of all visible beings which God created was light; not that by it he himself might see to work (for the darkness and light are both alike to him), but that by it we might see his works and his glory in them, and might work our works while it is day. "

I love this Matthew Henry quote as well.:

"This was not only the first day of the world, but the first day of the week. I observe it to the honour of that day, because the new world began on the first day of the week likewise, in the resurrection of Christ, as the light of the world, early in the morning. In him the day-spring from on high has visited the world; and happy are we, for ever happy, if that day-star arise in our hearts."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Glory - 3

Okay, this is pretty complex, since God's glory has to do with His abiding presence as well as His fame, importance, and reputation. The word "Shekinah" is added to the word "glory" when it means God's presence, or God's manifest presence.  The term "Shekinah Glory" does not appear in the Bible, but the concept does.  I'll talk about that later.

There are some groups who want to see the Shekinah Glory as it appeared in Old Testament times.  They go through  weird rituals to try to get the Shekinah to appear.  I think that is very odd, and very occultic.  Nowhere in the Bible are we told to seek such an outward manifestation of God's presence.  We are to seek Him spiritually from the heart.

So, I am not trying to encourage people to look for strange manifestations.  My idea is to try to show, in my own inadequate way, how the Shekinah Glory of the Old Testament is fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ, who is Emmanuel, God with us.  Also, Christians are the temple of the Holy Spirit.   Therefore, we should not destroy that temple, but should glorify God with our bodies. Here is the entry from the Reformation Study Bible about that.

"3:16 God’s temple. God signified His presence in the temple by filling it with the cloud of His glory (1 Kin. 8:10,11). Now He lives in His people by filling them with the Holy Spirit. Paul’s focus here is on God’s people as a corporate whole; in 6:19 the emphasis shifts to the individual Christian’s body."

That is generally understood to mean that all we do, say, and think should be governed by God.  We are supposed to live to glorify God and show His presence in our lives by how we conduct ourselves in the world.

More later, but here are some Scriptures I'm thinking about in relation to God's abiding presence.

Matthew 1

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[e] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[f] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwillingto put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
cf. Isaiah 7:14

I Corinthians 3:16-17
16 Do you not know that you[a] are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

English Standard Version (ESV)
18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[a] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Glory - 2

A couple of months ago I went to Bible Gateway to search for passages with the word "glory" in them. I was preparing some power points for a conference I was participating in.  It was pretty amazing, since there are hundreds of verses containing that word.

I am no scholar, of course, so it will be clear that I am not trying to write a treatise on the subject of "glory" in the Bible. This is for devotional purposes, please understand.  I try to stay within orthodox Evangelicalism in what I say, but please forgive any mistakes of grammar, interpretation, or anything else that might be not quite right.

So, I looked at different passages to get a feel for how the word "glory" was being used.  Then I looked at a couple of dictionaries in Hebrew and in Greek.  I have never studied Hebrew.  Greek is somewhat more familiar to me.

I found that the Hebrew word is transliterated into English as kabod or kavod.  That's pretty simple. So far, so good.  Here is some of what I found out about the usage of that word in the Old Testament.

It was used for shiny things.

It was used for weighty things.  Then, figuratively as people  who were weighty in their importance - either an individual or a nation that deserved honor.  "Heavy" or "weighty" is evidently the most basic meaning of the word.  I am not sure of the etymology of the word "kabod", but I read something - that I can't find now - that gave me the impression that the first part of the word was an actual measure of the weight of something.
 Not sure.

It was used for glory in battle.

So, I like this photo of some ancient Canaanite swords. If I understand the usage correctly, these things had kabod!

It was used for the glory of God, especially at specific times in Israel's history when God manifested His presence in a cloud of glory.  This was especially meaningful to the children of Israel after they escaped from Egypt and God used the glory cloud to guide them.  Thus, God's glory is associated with His abiding presence.

God's glory was manifested, too, as judgment against sin, as well as salvation.

"Kabod" was used in reference to human beings who were famous and important.

"Kabod" was used in reference to famous or important nations as well.

So, honor and fame are also meanings of the word, depending on the context of the passage.

Below you will find links to some reference material in case anyone would like to research the meaning of the word "kabod."

Great entry.:  Holman Bible Dictionary.
Not so great, but helpful, I guess.  The format is awkward. : Strong's Hebrew

Simple and sweet: Ancient Hebrew Word Meanings - The author emphasized that "kabod", as in God's glory,  was something that could be seen.  I guess that should go without saying.  

Do what I did and enter the word "glory" into the search feature at Bible Gateway

Monday, March 17, 2014


I took this photo in Honduras last November.  The lake is the famous Lago Yojoa.  It was a pretty amazing sunset we witnessed.

Recently I have been looking into the meaning of "glory" in the Bible.  Basically, God's glory as seen in Scripture carries the meaning of God's abiding presence.

No, the sunset is not God.   The Bible does not teach pantheism or panentheism.  God is not part of His creation nor is His creation divine.

However, His creation should inspire worship of the One who made it all.  So, my next blog topic is "glory."