This is the last of our "Horizons",
and the series ends just where it ought to end; that is, on the
note of glory.
We will all be ready to admit
that the Bible is bounded by the Triune God - Father, Son and
It is therefore impressive that
each Person of the Divine Trinity has the term 'Glory' as a
God the Father is called "the
God of Glory" (Acts 7:2); and "the
Father of Glory" (Ephesians 1:17).
"Father" means source. So, the "Father of Glory"
is the Source, Spring, Origin, Generator of Glory. Glory begins
and springs from Him.
His Son, Jesus Christ, is
called "the Lord of Glory" (1
Corinthians 2:8). This means that He governs all things with
glory in view.
The Holy Spirit is
"the Spirit of Glory" (1 Peter 4:14),
meaning that, as the Custodian and Executor of the Divine
purpose, He jealously operates in the interests of the Divine
glory, and to bring us to glory.
This threefold activity is seen
at the beginning of the Bible, in creation: "In the
beginning God created...."
Of the Son it says that 'all
things were created through him and unto him' (John 1:3;
Of the Spirit it says:
"The Spirit of God brooded on the face of the waters"
The result of the Divine
'combined operation' was that God said "Behold, it is very
good" (Genesis 1:31). When God can say that, then it must be
a state of glory.
That is the beginning of the
Bible. When we move to the end and behold the climax of God's
work in the New Creation, we again find a state of glory. Between
the beginning and the end we have an immense explanation of what
glory is. We shall therefore proceed to answer the question: What
There are two aspects of glory.
One is its expression; the other is its nature or basis.
As to the expression, in the
Bible it is usually something that is registered on the senses,
especially sight. A radiance, a glow, light, splendour, and this
in force and power. Some have thought and suggested that before
their sin and disobedience there was a radiance about the bodies
of Adam and Eve, and it was the departure of this glory which
resulted in their awareness of being "naked", so that
God provided covering. Nothing is actually said about this, but
we have a great deal in the Bible which indicates that the full
effect of redemption will mean glorified bodies. Moses' face did
shine when he came from the presence of God. Stephen's face was -
in the hour of martyrdom - "like the face of an angel".
The body of Jesus was glorified on the mount of transfiguration.
Much could be added to this from Scripture. So often at the time
of new birth a new light comes into the eyes and face of the one
concerned. The same is true when a victory has been gained or
given over some dark thing in a Christian's life, or when some
controversial matter with God has been cleared up.
How often, when there has been
a departure from the Lord, a loss of spiritual zeal, a touch with
something contrary to God, we have said that 'the light has gone
out of So-and-so's face. They have lost something, the brightness
(glory) has gone.' So also it is the case in a church, a company
of Christians, when the level has dropped or there has been more
of man than of the Lord.
So much for the expression; but
what about the meaning, the basis, the reason?
Glory, in the Bible, is the
expression of the satisfaction of God's nature. God is holy. God
is righteous. God is truth. God is love. God's nature is utter
and exact, without mixture, compromise, or duplicity; and so on.
When things are as God wills them to be there is glory whether in
a sentient way, or in a spirit of glory. This is seen in
creation. When God had finished His work, He was able to say
"It is very good", and everything speaks of a glorious
state. When, in the making of the Tabernacle, all things were
meticulously 'made according to the pattern shown', the glory
filled the tent of the Testimony. The same was true of the Temple
of David and Solomon.
The glory filling demanded the
absolute exclusion of man by nature. Even the Priests had to go
out of the Temple when the glory entered. Why was God so exact
and particular to a detail in all this, both as to the general
conception, the every part, the people, the sacrifices, and the
service? For one reason only. God knew that the lost glory in man
and creation could only be recovered by the satisfaction of His
own nature. That satisfaction would alone be restored to Him by
His own Son in incarnation, life, death and resurrection. Glory
for Him was bound up with His Son. Therefore, everything to a
detail must represent His Son, and the glory would return -
through redemption - in Him who was able to say: "Father,
glorify thou me... with the glory which I had with thee before
the world was" (John 17:5).
Christ, in person, and in work,
wholly satisfied the Divine nature. When, therefore, a point of
climax was reached, He could be transfigured and the glory could
shine forth; the Father attesting Him as "My beloved Son, in
whom I am well pleased". In person, in work, in suffering,
God's nature was satisfied, hence the next thing: "Jesus...
crowned with glory" (Hebrews 2:9). It is therefore supremely
important to always bear in mind that the all-inclusive purpose
of the Incarnation of the Son of God was for the glory of God in
this sense of answering the requirements of the nature of God in
humanity. John it is who, among the Gospel writers, underlines
this truth. By the beginning of "signs" Jesus
"showed forth his glory" (John 2:11). In the consummate
"sign", the raising of Lazarus, Jesus made glory the
all-governing factor: "This sickness is... for the glory of
God" - "Said I not unto thee that thou shouldest see
the glory of God?" (John 11:4,40).
The book of "Acts"
could rightly be named "The Book of the Glory of Christ".
The Church is born and comes in in glory. Pentecost was the glory
descending. Stephen, in martyrdom, had the glory on his face and
in his heart. Saul of Tarsus was struck down and saved by the
James was slain by Herod, but
the glory struck Herod dead "because he gave not God the
glory.... But the word of God grew and multiplied" (Acts
12:23,24). Peter was seized and imprisoned, but the glory acting
in sovereignty delivered him. So, on the story goes to the end
when, by the combined operation of Satan, Jews and Gentiles, Paul
is imprisoned and has his travelling oral ministry cut off. Then
the glory decides that a wider and richer ministry to the next
two thousand years shall issue from the imprisonment, and be the
answer of Christ in glory to all adverse forces and conditions.
It becomes evident from this
whole process of the glory that, as in the Old Testament in type
and figure, so in the New in spiritual reality, the reduction of
man naturally is made effective in order to make room for Christ
in glory. Men are in weakness, limitation, and discredit as
It can be seen in the whole
Bible that, when the glory, of life, joy, fulness, power, departs
or is limited, it is because man's hand is laid on Divine things,
or man's nature has asserted itself. Man's mind, reason, will,
touching the Testimony means death and shame, as in the case of
Uzzah. So human weakness and dependence are always the way of the
We close with the reminder that
the prize and reward of faithful devotion at cost is the
"Crown of glory" (1 Peter 5:4). This crown is the
symbol of Divine approval; the attestation that God is satisfied;
the answer is given to His nature.
"The riches of his glory"
(Romans 9:23) will be the blessedness of God's satisfaction in