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MAY, 2012



Author: Philippe P. Viguier
Degree: Master of Divinity
Date : May, 2012
Adviser: Michael J.Vlach

Can Gods glory truly be understood and known, or is it transcendent? Gods
glory is without doubt one of the most important concepts of the Bible. From creation to
new creation, it saturates the pages of both testaments. Terminology relating to Gods
glory is also commonly employed in theological and devotional discussions by both Jews
and Christians. This wide-ranging usage of glory terminology, in time, has generated
confusion on the subject, especially in regard to its comprehensibility. In our thesis we
proved that Gods glory is not a distant, confusing and esoteric reality, but is
approachable, knowable, applicable, and immanent, especially through the revelation of
Jesus Christ.
Because of the ambiguity that is associated with Gods glory, the aim of this
thesis is to provide a biblical theology of the subject, beginning with a study of key
biblical terms, to discern the principle aspects of Gods glory in Scriptures. We thus look
at the main synonyms of glory in Hebrew before specifically looking at kabod, the
main term used for Gods glory in the Old Testament, and doxa, the principal one used in
the New Testament. Following the study of biblical terms we look at the extra-biblical
definition of Shekinah, which proves to be an unfitting synonym of the Hebrew kabod,
especially in the context of its rabbinical usage.
Following our introduction, we then turn to two of the most comprehensive
passages of Scripture in relation to the subject, in both testaments, and see how our
theological foundation can be applied to give insight into the exegesis of the pericopes.
Thus we cover Exodus 33:1234:35 and John 1:118, unfolding the eight major
characteristics of the glory of God retrieved from our introductory study, in both the
revelation of Yahweh and in that of the Person of Jesus Christ. We look at Gods kingly
glory, Gods beaming gory, Gods essential glory, Gods revelatory glory, Gods praise-
worthy glory, Gods messianic glory, Gods participatory glory and Gods eschatological
Thus we define Gods glory as the ever-increasing revelation of His essence and
purposes, displayed through His Word, His works and His felt-presence, which calls for
the receivers unity and reflection, and tells of His incomparable goodness, beauty, and
praise-worthiness as perfect King, Savior, Judge and Creator, and of the unequaled
reputation attached to His name.



ABBREVIATIONS .......................................................................................................... vii

INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................................. 1

The Need for This Thesis ...................................................................................... 1
The Approach of This Thesis ................................................................................ 4

CHAPTER ONE: KEY BIBLICAL TERMS ..................................................................... 6

Secondary Terms in the Old Testament ................................................................ 6
The Cloak and the Crown ........................................................................ 7
The Throne ............................................................................................... 9
Gods Outstretched Arm ........................................................................ 13
Summary ................................................................................................ 15
Kabod .................................................................................................................. 15
Secular Usage......................................................................................... 16
Gods Weighty Reputation .................................................................... 17
The Revelatory Kabod ........................................................................... 18
The Theophahic Kabod .......................................................................... 21
The Ever-Increasing Kabod ................................................................... 22
Summary ................................................................................................ 23
Doxa .................................................................................................................... 24
Gods Praise-Worthy Doxa .................................................................... 25
The Trinitarian Doxa.............................................................................. 26
The Participatory Doxa .......................................................................... 27
Shekinah .............................................................................................................. 29
A Proper Definition................................................................................ 29
Non-Biblical Semantics ......................................................................... 30
Summary ................................................................................................ 34
A Concise Definition of Glory ............................................................................ 34


Introduction ......................................................................................................... 37
General Context ................................................................................................... 37
Gods Kingly Glory ............................................................................................. 38
Gods Beaming Glory ......................................................................................... 40
Gods Essential Glory ......................................................................................... 42
Gods Revelatory Glory ...................................................................................... 45
Gods Praise-Worthy Glory................................................................................. 48
Gods Messianic Glory ........................................................................................ 50
Gods Participatory Glory ................................................................................... 52
Gods Eschatological Glory ................................................................................ 54

Summary ............................................................................................................. 55


Introduction ......................................................................................................... 57
General Context ................................................................................................... 57
Christs Kingly Glory .......................................................................................... 59
Christs Beaming Glory....................................................................................... 61
Christs Essential Glory....................................................................................... 62
Christs Revelatory Glory ................................................................................... 65
Christs Praise-Worthy Glory .............................................................................. 68
Christs Messianic Glory ..................................................................................... 69
Christs Participatory Glory ................................................................................ 71
Christs Eschatological Glory ............................................................................. 73
Summary ............................................................................................................. 74

CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................. 76

Summary ............................................................................................................. 76
How Then Shall We Live? .................................................................................. 80

BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................. 83



AB The Anchor Bible
BDB Brown, Francis, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs, eds.,
The BrownDriverBriggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Peabody, Mass.:
Hendrickson, 1906.
BECNT Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
BSac Bibliotheca Sacra
EBC The Expositors Bible Commentary
EDNT Horst Balz and Gerhard Schneider (eds.), Exegetical Dictionary of the
New Testament, 3 vols, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990.
ICC International Critical Commentary
JETS Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
JOAS Journal of the Oriental American Society
JPSTC The JPS Torah Commentary
JTS Journal of Theological Studies
HALOT Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, (eds.), The Hebrew and
Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 5 vols. Rev. by Walter
Baumgartner and Johann Jakob Stamm. Trans. and ed. by M. E. J.
Richardson. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 19942000.
HCOT Historical Commentary on the Old Testament
ICC International Critical Commentary
IDB George Arthur Butrick (ed.), The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, 5
vols. New York: Abingdon Press, 196276.
NAC The New American Commentary
NCB New Century Bible
NIBC New International Bible Commentary
NICNT The New International Commentary on the New Testament

NIDOTTE Willem A. Vangemeren (ed.), New International Dictionary of Old
Testament Theology and Exegesis, 5 vols, Grand Rapids: Zondervan,
NICOT The New International Commentary on the Old Testament
OTL The Old Testament Library
PNTC Pillar New Testament Commentary
RE Review and Expositor
TB Tyndale Bulletin
TDNT Gerhard Kittel (ed.), Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 10
vols., trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans
Publishing, 1964.
TDOT G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren (eds.), Theological
Dictionary of the Old Testament, 15 vols, trans. John T. Willis, Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 19742006.
TLOT Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament, 3 vols, ed. Ersnt Jenni and
Claus Westermann, trans. Mark E. Biddle. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson,
TOT Walther Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament, 2 vols, trans. J. A.
Baker, Philadelphia: Westminster, 1967.
TMSJ The Masters Seminary Journal
TWOT R. Laird Harris (ed.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vols,
Chicago: Moody Press, 1980.
VT Vetus Testamentus
WBC Word Biblical Commentary
Works The Works of Jonathan Edwards. 26+ vols., edited by Perry Millry, John
E. Smith and Harry S. Stout, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press,
WTJ Westminster Theological Journal



The Need for This Thesis
Christians often summarize the ultimate purpose of the believer with the glory of
God (1 Cor 10:31). But what is this glory? How does it help us understand who God is
and how we are to relate to Him? What is implied by this concept?
Terms relating to Gods glory are very frequent in the Scriptures, to the extent
that many fail to see how significant the particularities of each term in their contexts can
be understood.
In both theological and devotional writings, words pertaining to Gods
glory are heavily used, yet seldom are they precisely defined. Consequently, many have a
vague and ambiguous understanding of Gods glory.

But is it possible to set forth a working definition of Gods glory that would do
justice to its meaning? According to Culver, it is almost impossible. The closer comment
he gives to a definition is a disclaimer,
The glory of God has several biblical senses. The glory which was the Sons
before the foundation of the world was is the essential or uncreated glory so
mysterious that no one of the several sources I have consulted seems to know
what to say about it.

John Eadie, Eadies Biblical Cyclpaedia (London: Charles Griffin, 1901), 308.

A. M. Ramsey, The Glory of God and the Transfiguration of Christ (New York: Longmans,
Green and Co, 1949), 5.

Robert Duncan Culver, Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical (RossShire, England:
Christian Focus Publications, 2005), 111718.

Systematic theology books, such as Berkhofs and Ericksons do not even
mention the word glory in their index.
Others, like Grudem, attempt to define it, but in
a manner far from being conclusive: Gods glory is the created brightness that surrounds
Gods revelation of Himself.
One would simply need to combine the definition of
Grudem with the first affirmation of the Westminsters catechism to show the desperate
need for more depth of definition: The chief end of man is to be a brightness that
surrounds Gods revelation of Himself and to enjoy Him forever.

Words fall short, but not without reason. Gods glory is too active to fall into a
simplified man-made compartmentalization of the subject. Indeed, we see in the
Scriptures that this glory is very active and diversified. It comes (Isa 60:13; Ezek 43:2, 4;
Mic 1:15), departs (1 Sam 4:2122; Hos 10:5), passes (Exod 33:22) goes down (Ps
49:18), goes up (Ezek 11:23), goes out (Ezek 10:18), arouses oneself (Ps 57:9), arises
(Ezek 3:12; 10:4), flies away (Hos 9:11), stands (Ezek 3:23; 10:18), dwells (Ps 85:10),

As well as James Garrett, Systematic Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Evangelical, 2
(Noth Richland Hills, TX: Bibal Press, 2000); Stanley Grenz, Theology for the Community of God, (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2000); Herman Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics, (Grand Rapids: Reformed
Free Pub. Association, 1966); Gordon Lewis and Bruce Demarest, Integrative Theology, (Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1996); Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology, trans. by Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1991); Robert Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith,
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing, 1998); Helmut Thielicke, The Evangelical Faith, trans. by
Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974) and Otto Weber, Foundations of Dogmatics, trans.
and annoted by Darell L. Guder (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 198183).

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Leicester: InterVarsity, 1994), 220.
John Whitecross, The Shorter Catechism From Christian Biography and History (London:
Banner of Truth Trust, 1968), 7.


sends (Zach 2:12), shines (Isa 60:1), fills (Exod 40:34,35; 1 Kgs 8:11; 2 Chr 5:14; Ezek
43:5; 44:4; 2 Chr 7:1,2), rejoices (Ps 16:9) and sings praise (Ps 30:13).

Jonathan Edwards, the American theologian giving some of the best discussions
on the subject, could not find satisfaction in a simple straight-forward definition. Roland,
in his dissertation on Jonathan Edwards definition of glory, concluded:
There is evidence that Edwards employs the term glory with a complex
meaning so carefully detailed that it becomes more of a doctrine than a definition.
Such intense reflection as Edwards devotes to the term, indicates that it is much
more than a simple word-concept to him and something significant will be lost if
we treat it with a common understanding.

Jonathan Edwards knew that Gods glory was a deep subject that needed to be analyzed
and broken down into sub-categories to be understood.
This indeed will be the aim of
our study. Like a diamond, the glory of God is a treasure with many facets. And as much
as these are diverse, they are still connected. The goal of our thesis, in consequence, will
be to identify the key aspects of Gods glory, in order to break down the generality of the
term that leads to ambiguity and confusion. And as we polish the frame, the divisions and
the angles of the diamond, we hope that its brightness and beauty will only shine more.

David J.A, Clines, ed., dwbk, in The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (Sheffield, England:
Sheffield Academic Press, 19932010), 4:353.
James W. Roland, A Diamond in the Sun: The Idea of Glory in the Theology of Jonathan
Edwards (M.A. diss., Deerfield, IL: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2006), 7.
He summarizes some of his categories in this paragraph, Sometimes [kavod ot doxa] is used to
signify what is [1] internal, what is within the being or person, inherent in the subject, or what is in the
possession of the person: and sometimes for [2] emanation, or exhibition or communication of this internal
glory: and sometimes for the [3] knowledge of sense, or effect of these, in those who behold it, to whom the
exhibition or communication is made; or an [4] expression of this knowledge or sense or effect; see
Works, 8:513; quoted with emphasis and enumeration by Roland, A Diamond in the Sun, 33.

Gods glory is a complex subject, but we believe that it is definable and
understandable. As we analyze Scriptural evidence, we will prove that Gods glory is not
a distant, confusing and esoteric reality, but is approachable, knowable, applicable, and
immanent, especially through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Approach of This Thesis
We believe that the glory of God, if not understood well, can have some major
ramifications in ones understanding of the purpose of life and the hope of heaven. If
truly the hope of believers is that of glory (Col 1:27), then it is paramount for the
followers of Christ to understand what are the Scriptural implications in relation to this
term. Gods glory is essential as it is prevalent in the Scriptures, but it is also important
because without a keen understanding of it, glorifying God, the principal aim of the
believers, also remains ambiguous.
Because of the limited length and scope of this thesis, we will focus mainly on
developing an introductory understanding of Gods glory based on key biblical terms and
passages from both the OT and the NT. In the first chapter, we will look at seven
secondary Hebrew terms used as synonyms of glory in the Old Testament, as well as
the main Hebrew term kabod, the Greek term doxa, and the extra-biblical term Shekinah.
By bringing into light the different nuances associated with the words relating to the
concept of glory, we hope that our work will help to lay a theological foundation.
In the next pages and paragraphs, we will work toward the identification of Gods
glory according to the following definition: Gods glory is the ever-increasing revelation
of His essence and purposes, displayed through His Word, His works and His felt-

presence, which calls for the receivers unity and reflection, and tells of His incomparable
goodness, beauty, and praise-worthiness as perfect King, Savior, Judge and Creator, and
of the unequaled reputation attached to His name.

The many facets of this statement will also be broken down into eight main
categories, that of Gods kingly glory, His beaming glory, His essential glory, His
revelatory glory, His praise-worthy glory, His messianic glory, His participatory glory
and His eschatological glory. As we develop our argument in the next chapters, we will
show that Gods beaming glory, which is often found at the center of the discussion on
Gods glory, is only one of many aspects of the subject, and not necessarily the most
important. We will unfold two key passages, one from the Old Testament, Exodus 33:12
34:35, and one from the New Testament, John 1:118, both narratives. As we exegete
those texts, we will see how God reveals His glory in multi-faceted ways, painting a
picture which is accessible, comprehensible, attractive and immanent. The summary of
our studies will be gathered in the conclusion, where we will also expand in the
application of glorifying God. We understand that Gods glory is a broad topic which
cannot be fully assessed in this study, but we hope that the theological foundation laid in
the following chapters will help for further work on the subject.

Hamilton gives a very similar definition, The glory of God is the weight of the majestic
goodness of who God is, and the resulting name, or reputation, that he gains from his revelation of himself
as Creator, Sustainer, Judge, and Redeemer, perfect in justice and mercy, lovingkindness and truth. See
James H. Hamilton, Gods Glory in Salvation Through Judgment: A Biblical Theology (Wheaton, IL:
Crossway, 2010), 56. As subtle as the differences may seem, they are significant. Indeed, to Hamiltons
definition we add the key aspect of Gods progressive and continuous revelation, as it explains best His
beaming glory, messianic glory and eschatological glory. Gods praise-worthy glory and His participatory
glory need also to be mentioned as Gods revelation of Himself always demands a response.



Secondary Terms in the Old Testament
One of the major problems with the usage of glory terminology is that of over-
simplification. But with a concept as complex as Gods glory, no definition can be given
without a thorough study and a judicious choice of words, lest we end up with an
unfitting statement like that of Grudems. The western mind loves to systematize,
compartmentalize and finalize definitions in finite frames that prevent change and
growth. This was also the tendency of the Greeks. When the LXX was compiled, one
Greek term, doxa, was used for the rendering of no fewer than twenty-five Hebrew words
describing nuances of the concept of glory.
The systematized Greek mind, in translating
the Hebrew, did exactly what its natural inclination led it to accomplish: simplify and
organize. The aim of the following will thus be to rediscover the seven principal
secondary Hebrew terms and the imagery of Gods glory associated with them.

G. Henton Davies, glory in IDB, ed. by George Arthur Butrick (New York: Abingdon Press,
196276), 2:401.

For a similar study, see Steven Boyd, The Progressive Revelation of the Concept of the Glory of
God; a theological essay presented to Dr. Eugene Merrill; (Th.M. Research Paper, Dallas, DX: Dallas
Theological Seminary, 1981).

The Cloak and the Crown
Gods glory, in the Hebrew language, is described with vivid images of nobility
and kingship. For instance, while the verb rda means to be majestic, to be exalted,
and to make glorious,
the noun trda (adderet), can be used in reference to both
glory, or cloak.
Thus the same root, found in the praise of Moses in Exodus 15:11
Who is like you, majestic
in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
also found in the beautiful cloak coveted by Achan (Josh 7:21) and the miracle-
working mantle of Elijah (2 Kgs 2:8). The imagery conveys the idea of glory in the
nobility, greatness, reputation and majesty of the one who carries it.
In the context of
Exodus 15:11, it speaks of a glory that is set apart, so high in esteem that it is dissociated
from the unclean. It mirrors Gods holiness, by being totally other and full of perfection.

It tells of unequaled works, accomplished by a King, who does what He desires. It is a
superior glory, even the most beautiful and fearsome images of nature cannot match its
standards (Ps 76:4), and the most powerful phenomena of nature cannot stand in
comparison (Ps 93:4). Gods cloak, is the symbol of Gods rule, which is absolute, but

Clines, ed., The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, rda, 1:136.

Leonard J. Coppes, rda in TWOT, ed. R. Laird Harris (Chicago: Moody, 1980), 1: 13.

Translated as glorious in the KJV and magnificus in the Vulgate.

Unless notified, all Scriptural quotations will be made from the English Standard Version.

Coppes, rda, 1: 13; HALOT, rda, 1:16.

Coppes, rda, 1:13.


not of a despot on the contrary, it speaks of a God who is addressed directly, known
personally, and worshipped in genuine songs of praise.

Gods kingship, symbolized by His cloak of majesty, is also illustrated with His
headdress, a crown symbolizing the beauty and authority that are due to Him. Thus rap,
which means ornament, turban, beauty is also a verb for I glorify, beautify,
The secular usage of the noun always denotes a headdress (turban), as seen
with priests, bridegrooms, women, and people in general (Exod 39:28; Ezek 44:18; Isa
3:20; 61:3, 10).
But for God, it refers to the esthetic beauty of His glory, and to the
authority of His reign. David stood in such awe of Gods beautiful glory that he wanted it
to fill up his mind throughout the day (Ps 71:8).
Those who claim this beauty without
depending on the Lord are arrogant and prideful (Judg 7:2; Isa 13:19; 28:1, 4; Jer 48:17;
Zech 12:7).
Although God is the only righteous source for this glory,
He rejoices in


Hamilton, rap, in TWOT, 2:713. It is translated as doxa in the LXX; see Neuendettelslau J.
Hausmann, rap, in TDOT, 11:46667.

Hausmann, rap, 11:464.

The word is often used in relation to the praise of Gods glory (Pss 71:8; 89:18; 1 Chr 29:11, 13;
Jer 13:11); see Hausmann, rap, 11:46667.

Hausmann, rap, 11:465.

HALOT, rap, 3:908; the term is used 13 times in the OT, only in the piel and the hithpael.
See Hamilton, rap, 2:71314; In the piel (x7), it means to glorify, and in each instance of this verb the
subject is God (Ps 149:4; Isa 55:5; 60:7, 9, 13; Ezra 7:27). In the hithpael (6x), it is used of God for the
displaying of His glory (Isa 60:21; 61:3), and also for boasting (Judg 7:2; Isa 10:15). It is especially true in
Proverbs 17:6, the childrens glory in the their father, 20:29, the glory of the young is their strength,
28:12, when the righteous triumph, there is great rejoicing.


making beautiful those that He loves, as the Psalmist wrote, For the Lord takes pleasure
in his people, he adorns the humble with salvation (Ps 149:4).
Thus, when Israel was
still not a people, He put a beautiful crown on her head (Ezek 16:12).

The Throne
The picture communicated with our next two terms is that of a throne. hag
means to rise, to be high, or to grow tall, and as a noun can mean eminence,
illustriousness, exaltation, majesty or pride.
It is the glory of the King that has
no pretenders, no other opponent worthy of seating on His throne. As Moses penned, In
the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury, it
consumes them like stubble (Exod 15:7). This glory is one that God deserves as the only
true ruler on earth (Exod 15:1; Deut 33:26; Ps 93:1). It speaks of His exalted, elevated
and superior position, something worthy for Him to boast in (Isa 13:3). When God is
perceived with this glory, it is a fearsome sight of majesty, power and beauty (Job 37:4;
40:10; Ps 68:35; Isa 2:10; 26:10) and inspires songs of praise (Exod 15:1; Isa 12:5). But
with man it is viewed as arrogance (Pss 31:19; 36:12; 73:6; Prov 29:23; Isa 9:8; 13:11;
16:6; Jer 48:29)
and accompanied with severe warnings (Job 22:29; Ps 31:24; Prov

God is also seen to bestow glory to places (Jerusalem, Isa 52:1; Jer 33:9; Ezek 16:12, 17; Zion,
Isa 60:7, 9, 19, 21; 62:3), people (Deut 26:19), and to Himself (Isa 44:23; 49:3; 60:21); see
Hausmann, rap, 11:46566.

HALOT, hag, 1:168; Victor P. Hamilton, hag in TWOT, 1:143.

HALOT, hvag, 1:168.


15:25; 16:1819).
Neither Israel nor any foreign nation will be able to snatch the throne
of God.
It belongs to Him, rightfully, and only those who humble themselves will
receive honor (Prov 29:23).

Similarly, hbg means to be high, elevated, haughty
and was used by David in
Psalm 113:5 to refer to the throne of God Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated
on high? (cf. Ps 103:11; Isa 55:9; Job 11:8; 22:12). When used of God, it depicts His
absolute superiority, His incomparability and infinite majesty.
In conjunction to mans
heart it implies pride (Ezek 28:2, 5, 17; Ps 131:1; Prov 18:12; 2; 2 Chr 26:16; 32:25), and
is always used in a negative sense.
The antonyms of the word are lpv (to be lowly,
humble; cf. Isa 2:11; 5:15), jjv to bend down (Isa 2:17), enk to humble oneself

H. P. Sthli, hag, in TLOT, ed. Ersnt Jenni and Claus Westermann, trans. Mark E. Biddle
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1977), 1:28687.

Hamilton, hag in TWOT, 1:143. The term, in effect, is especially used by the major prophets
(Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) and in the poetic books (Psalms, Proverbs and Job), in which we see 53
examples of accusations, mainly to Israel (Ezek 16:49; Ps 10:2), but also towards noncovenant keeping
nations such as Moab (Isa 16:6); Egypt (Ezek 30:6), the Philistines (Zech 9:6) and Assyria (Zech 10:11).

Sthli, hag, 1:287.

Ibid., 1:29697; Most of the 94 occurrences of the root appear in the prophets (Ezek 22x, Isa
14x, Jer 7x), in Psalms (7x) and in wisdom literature (Job 8x, Eccl 5x, Prov 4x). The qal stem indicates the
growth of a tree (Ezek 31:10, 14), or a branch (Ezek 19:11), the elevation of the heavens above the earth
(Isa 55:9; Ps 103:11), or the clouds (Job 35:5), or Sauls height superior by a head to all those around him
(1 Sam 10:23).
The adjective gaboah describes objects of a certain elevation such as mountains (Gen
7:19; Isa 30:25; 40:9; 57:7; Jer 3:6; Ezek 17:22; Ps 104:18), hills (1 Kgs 14:23; 2 Kgs 17:10; Jer 2:20;
17:2), gates (Jer 51:58), battlements (Zeph 1:16), towers (Isa 2:15), gallows (Esth 5:14; 7:9), horns (Dan
8:3), and also of tall people (1 Sam 9:2; 16:7).

Ibid, 1:298; although it is used primarily for other descriptions.

Ibid., 1:29798; except in 2 Chr 17:6 when Jehoshaphat is high-spirited in obeying the Lord
and destroying the high places.


(2 Chr 32:26).
But while God abhors pride and will not share His dominion with the
wicked, the righteous and humble are elevated to seat on thrones like kings (Job 36:67;
cf. Amos 6:8).

The Splendor
As the God-King, Yahweh is not only arrayed in beauty, but He is the source of
beauty. Not only is He endowed with royalty, but He can assume a perfect practice of
kingship through His glorious deeds (Ps 111:3).
Thus we see rdh, which literally
means magnificence, that is ornament or splendor,
and is used by David in Psalm
145:5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will
meditate. It reflects the idea of honor and of kingship, along with Gods universal and
powerful reign.
Mostly used in the Psalms, it is used in relation to the glory of nature as
it reflects the glory of God (Lev 23:40; Isa 35:2), of man as Gods magnificent creation
(Ps 8:6) and as the suffering servant (Isa 53:2).
Its awe-inspiring splendor is terrifying

Ibid., 1:298.

Hamilton, rdh, 1:207; as illustrated with Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:34, 37) and Belshazzar
(Dan 5:23).

HALOT, rdh, 1:240.

HALOT, rdh, 1:240; Hamilton, rdh in TWOT, 1:207; Kiel G. Warmuth, rdh, in
TODT, 3:337. While hadhar is the garment which God puts on (Ps 104:1), it is also heard in the voice of
thunder in a storm (Ps 29:4, 5). For other references see Pss 29:4; 90:16; 96:6; 104:1; 111:3; 145:5, 12,
149:9; Job 40:10; 1 Chr 16:27; Isa 2:10. 19, 21; Ezek 16:14; Mic 2:9.

Hamilton, rdh, 1:207; it is also used to describe a certain earthly beauty in with the elderly
mans gray hair (Prov 31:25), the ideal wife (Prov 31:25), and finally of cities and tribes (Isa 5:14; Lam
1:6; Ezek 27:10; Deut 33:17; Dan 11:20).

for the proud, making him hide in dark places (Isa 2:1011, 19, 21);
but for the
righteous it gives the beaming light of Yahweh, and leads to songs of praise, (Ps 104:1-4;
cf. Ps 96:6ff).
Often associated with Gods kabod (Ps 21:5; Isa 35:2), this splendor is
also juxtaposed to His holiness (Ps 29:2; 96:9; 1 Chr 16:29; 2 Chr 20:21; Ps 110:3).

Indeed, it reflects the excellency of both Gods inner character and visible deeds.
Similarly, dwh
means grandeur, splendor, vigor, glory, or honor.
also refers to God as being beyond the reach of human standards and capacities, as Elihu
described it in Job 37:2223 God is clothed with awesome majesty. The Almightywe
cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not
violate. In many passages, it is found in juxtaposition with rdh, always in the order of


Warmuth, rdh, in TDOT, ed. by G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-
Josef Fabry, trans. by David E. Green et al. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 19742006), 3:337.

Hamilton, rdh, 1:207; see also P.R. Ackroyd Some notes on the Psalms, JTS 17: 39299;
F. M. Cross, Notes on a Canaanite Psalm in the OT, BASOR, 117 (1950), 1921 for the connection of
the word with Gods holiness. The term is also uses in other parallel ideas, such as power (Ps 29:4),
work (Ps 90:16; 111:3), wondrous works (Ps 145:5), mighty deeds (Ps 145:12), beauty (Ps 96:6;
Prov 20:29), form (Isa 53:2), strength (Ps 96:6, 1 Chr 16:27), joy (1 Chr 16:27), majesty and
dignity (Job 40:10); see Warmuth, rdh, 3:336.

The etymology of the term is debated. Attempts have been made to connect it with hodh and
nehodh or the Arabic nahuda, to be beautiful, strong, or also with the Arabic awada, to be hard,
difficult or with the Akkadian addu, thunder. See Warmuth, dwh, 3:352; F. Zorell, Lexicon
Hebraicum et Aramaicum Veteris Testamenti (1966), 186a with additional references; J Barth,
Wurzeluntersuchungen zem hebr. and aram. Lexicon (1902), 11.

Hamilton, dwh in TWOT, 1:209; The noun is used 24 times in the OT, most often in the


rdh dwh (Pss 21:6; 45:3; 96:6; 104:1; 111:3; Job 40:10; 1 Chr 16:26). Like rdh, it
reflects the majesty of God perceived in creation and especially in light of the high
heavens (Ps 8:2; 148:13; Hab 3:3).
It denotes Gods lordship over creation and history,
which results in the praise of His name from the whole world.
The majesty that
surrounds God also describes the judgment that follows His presence, that of pestilence
and plague (Hab 3:35) and with a sense of incomprehensibility (Job 37:2223).

Gods Outstretched Arm
Finally, Gods glory is also seen through the outstretched arm of God, the strength
that belongs to him as King but that He uses benevolently to help and save the needy.
Thus we find ze which means might, strength,
as in Psalm 93:1, The Lord reigns
as king; he is robed with majestyhe is girded with strength. This strength is primarily

Ibid., 1:209; it is also paired with greatness (gedulla), power (gebura), glory (tiperet) and
victory (neshah) in 1 Chr 29:11. Although the root dwh does not appear in many Semitic languages other
than Hebrew, there are other words worth noting that express an awe-inspiring splendor. These can be
compared in Babylonian by consulting A. L. Oppenheim, Akkadian pul(u)h(t)u and melammu, JOAS 63:
3134. Elena Cassin, La Splendeur divine: introduction la mentalit msopotamienne (Paris : La Haye,
Mouton & Co, 1968) ; see also Jerusalem Weinfeld, dwbk, 28, quoting the inscription of Esarhaddon:
This crown clothed with terrifying radiance (melammu), surrounded with dignity, surrounded with
brilliance, wrapped in radiance.
Warmuth, rdh, 3:353.

HALOT, ze 2:805. Also often used in parallel with kabod (Pss 29:1; 63:3); see Weinfield,
dwbk, 7:25.


described as Gods (Pss 29:1; 59:17; 68:29; Deut 32:43),
and is revealed in His works
(Exod 15:13; Deut 33:26; Ps 21:14; 66:3; 74:12; 78:26). As the generous and protecting
King, it is also bestowed to man in times of need (1 Sam 2:10; Pss 29:11; 68:35; 86:16),
and can be known and experienced on a personal level (Ps 77:15). This outstretched arm
is filled with the greatest power in existence, as it leads to the very salvation of God (Ps
140:7; 1 Chr 16:2735),
given to the righteous (Ps 84:5).
The prideful will try to use
this strength arrogantly, but they will be brought low by the Lord (Lev 26:19; Ezek
24:21; 30:6, 18; 33:28).
This source of refreshing power can be known on a personal
level, God being often called my strength (Exod 15:2; Pss 28:7; 59:10, 18). Its
remembrance is that of praise and worship, as it tells of Gods care and deliverance.
has both edifying and destructive potential, the hand of God is gracious to all who seek
him, but his power and his wrath are against all who forsake him (Ezra 8:22).

Carl Schultz, zze in TWOT, 2:660; It is an essential attribute of God (Pss 62:11; 63:2), found
in His voice (Ps 68:33) and His arm (Isa 62:8; cf. Isa 51:9; Ps 89:10). It is symbolized by the ark of the
covenant (2 Chr 6:41; Ps 78:61: 132:8; cf. Num 10:35,36) and is also observable in the heavens (Ps 150:1).

The term can also mean refuge or protection; see HALOT, ze, 2:806.

Ibid., 2:805.

Leipzig S. Wagner, zze, in TDOT, 11:8.

Schultz, zze 2:660. The term, appearing 94 times in the OT, is used primarily in the Psalter
(44x); see Wagner, zze, 11:4.

Wagner, zze, 11:9.


A first glimpse at Gods glory helps to confirm our definition. Most evident in
these terms is the aspect of Gods kingly glory. As the perfect ruler, God is given the
arrayal and the throne of authority and honor. His reign is one of goodness and strength,
of beauty and majesty, and words cannot suffice to sing of His praises. Gods glory is
also luminous and attractive, something which is often described in poetic language.
is completely different from any human standard, as it is perfectly holy, exalted and
divine. In many ways it is revealed through His works, and it reflects a heart that gives
generously. Most revealing however, is Gods desire to share this unique glory to His
own. While the throne belongs to Him, He gives thrones to those that are humble. While
the crown is His, He bestows crowns of beauty to those that He chooses. Judgment awaits
the proud, but salvation flows for the righteous.

Kabod is the most important term in the Bible defining Gods glory, as it has
preeminence in the Old Testament and from it is shaped the doxa of the New Testament,
a Greek word which had very little to do with the concept of glory until the translation of
the LXX.
This glory is unique and revealing because it is seen in theophanies, when
Gods manifestations of Himself are most vivid and memorable. As the evidence from

The secondary term studied in this section are especially used in poetic and prophetic passages,
which, indicates that there must be a measure of discernment in employing these images of glory literally.

Collins, dbk, in NIDOTTE, 2:586; Gerhard Kittel, ooo, in TDNT, ed. by Gerhard Kittel
and transl. by Geoffrey Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1964), 2:23334.

Scriptural passages is analyzed, the kabod of God proves itself to be much more
immanent than transcendent. Gods glory becomes more specifically defined with the
Hebrew term kabod. dwbk, meaning glory, is used nearly 200 times in the Old
Testament, and comes from a root meaning weight.

Secular Usage
The root dbk, literally means weight. Thus we find it in Scripture to speak of
Elis fatness (1 Sam 4:18) and of Absoloms hair (2 Sam 14:26).

Often used in an abstract
manner, it can also refer to the weightiness of something difficult or burdensome,

carrying the semantics of importance and gravity.
When applied to a person, it tells
of ones wealth and good reputation. Thus Abram was very rich [literally weighty] in

51 occurences of kabod are in the Psalms. The root itself appears 376 times with its derivatives;
see John N. Oswalt, dbk, in TWOT, 1:426. According to Collins, all other applications related to this
root find their central meaning in the concept of weight; see C. John Collins, dbk in NIDOTTE, ed. by
Willem A. Vangemeren (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 2:577. We see a parallel development in the
English language from the Latin root gravis having given us the words grievous and grave.

Collins, dbk, in NIDOTTE, 2:57778; for instance: a yoke (1 Kgs 12:4, 10, 11, 14; 2 Chr
10:4, 10, 11, 14; Isa 47:6), a rock (Isa 32:2), a chain (Lam 3:7), Gods hand (1 Sam 5:6; Ps 32:4), human
power (Judg 1:35); and in the abstract it gives the idea of something serious or grievous: famine (Gen
12:10; 41:31; 43:1; 47:4, 13), various sin words (Gen 18:20; Ps 38:4; Isa 24:20; Isa 1:4), labor (Exod 5:9;
Neh 5:18), battle (Judg 20:34; 1 Sam 31:3, 1 Chr 10:3), a plague (Exod 9:3), hail (Exod 9:18, 24), vexation
(Job 6:3; Prov 27:3), lamentation and mourning (Gen 50:1011), matter (Exod 18:18), pressure (Job 33:7)
and debt (Hab 2:6).

Weinfeld, dwbk, 7:2324. Concerning the manifestation of glory in human affairs, Davies
lists a biblical usage of the term as seen in riches (Ps 49:16; Isa 61:6; Hag 2:7), in the army of Assyria (Isa
8:7; 17:34; 21:16), in the trees of Lebanon (Isa 60:13), in royal figures alive (Esth 1:4; Ps 45:3; Dan
11:20) or dead (Isa 14:18). It is also seen in reputation (Job 29:20; Ps 4:2; 49:17), in spiritual status (Ps
8:5), in priestly garments (Exod 28:2, 40; cf. Ps 45:13) and in the first temple (1 Chr 22:5). Davies, glory,
in IDB, 2:401.

livestock, in silver, and in gold (Gen 13:2).
It also speaks of ones soul, and of the
inner being of man, as David penned, my heart is glad, and my whole being [kabod]
rejoices (Ps 16:9; cf. Gen 49:6; Pss 30:13; 57:9; 108:2).
Pharaohs heart, being heavy,
meant spiritual hardening and unresponsiveness to Gods Word (Exod 7:14; 8:15. 21; 9:7.
34: 10:1).

Gods Weighty Reputation
As it relates to man, dwbk denotes that which makes someone impressive and ask
for recognition. As it relates to God, it implies what makes God impressive to man and
the force of His self-manifestation: a great God deserving honor and respect.

In contrast to the secondary terms described previously, the kabod of God is
unique in that it refers to Him personally, and something that He will not share with
another (Isa 48:11).
Gods temple was built for the sake of His name (2 Sam 7:13; 1

See also Gen 31:1; 45:13; Isa 10:18, 22:24; Ezek 31:18; Hab 2:16; Dan 11:39.

Clines, ed., dwbk, in The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, 4:353; Davies, glory, in IDB,
2:401; in Akkadian, kabattu, denotes the idea of violent emotions and blind passions, while libbu that
of sentiments and manifestations of the moral and intellectual life; see Bonn C. Dohmen, dbk, in
TDOT, 7:15.In Hebrew heart represents also personal identity, vital center, affective center (elemental
and individual emotions, wrath, love, hate and gratitude), noetic center (cognition, memory, wisdom),
voluntary center (driving force, conceiving and planning), religious and ethical realm (the locus of Gods
influence, conscience, vices virtues); see G. Johannes Botterweck, bl, in TDOT, 7:41233.
Collins, dbk, in NIDOTTE, 2:578; it can also be used for unresponsive eyes (Gen 48:10), the
ear (Isa 6:10; Zech 7:11) and the mouth (Exod 4:10; Ezek 3:56).

Weinfeld, dwbk, 7:2324.
In Exodus 33:18ff Gods self-understanding of His essence in His glory, as He responds to
Moses plea to see His glory by responding that Moses cannot see Him. In Isa. 52:2 and 58:8, the God of

Kgs 5:19; 8:18), and the His glory associated with it is personal and incorruptible.
person may be dethroned of his glory when he loses honor, reputation or wealth, and still
remain human; however Gods glory is a necessary aspect of His existence and cannot be
taken from Him.
This kabod is used in conjunction to His majesty and rule, with which
He appears to people (Ezek 1:28; 3:23; 8:4), and to His temple above the cherubim where
He is enthroned (Ezek 9:3; 10:4; 11:22).
God deserves kabod because of high status of
As far as Israel is concerned, the glory of God, which signifies Gods
importance, must be respected, something which is done primarily through right

The Revelatory Kabod
As Jesus instructed, out of the abundance of the hearth the mouth speaks (Matt
12:34). While ones heart and its desires cannot be seen with open eyes, the state of the
heart can be determined by the kind of words and deeds that it produces (Matt 12:33;
Luke 6:4344). So it is with Gods glory: as it is revealed, the hidden beauties of His

Israel and the glory of the Lord are both the nations rear guard, showing that they can be used as
Weinfeld, dwbk, 7:37.

Gordon, glory, 2:771.

Westermann, dbk, in TLOT, 2:602.

Weinfeld, dwbk, 7:26.

Westermann, dbk, 2:598.


nature produce fruits that can be observed, touched and tasted.
And just like fruits come
in their season, Gods manifestation of glory is always timely and efficient in
accomplishing its purpose. Indeed, the knowledge of God, given during each appearance
of glory, serves to shape, inform, inspire, motivate, and confirm the identity of His
people, and clarify Gods expectations on their behalf. Without Gods kabod, Israel
simply would not have been a people set apart, for without it there would not have been a
full knowledge of Gods character and purposes.

The authors of Scripture who described Gods glory were people who
experienced the phenomena as the real presence of God (Exod 33:1820), and who
cognitively sensed its appearance.
During Israels wanderings in the desert, the kabod
was revealed to guide the Israelites under the direction of Gods will.
It was manifested
to redirect the rebellious people after their revolts against their leaders, with a divine
message from Yahweh to Moses in the tent of meeting (e.g. Exod 16:10; Num 14:10;

Works, 8:515; Gordon also describes this glory as intrinsic to God (1 Chr 29:11), not as a
peripheral manifestation of Gods character but as an essential quality of His personhood, as related to His
name (Ps 8:1; 29:2; 102:15). See M.R. Gordon, glory, in The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed
Merril C. Tenney (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 2:7716. Gods revelatory is seen from creation. The
Psalmist was truly inspired when he penned the opening of the Psalm 19: The heavens declare of the glory
of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. The heavens have a lot to tell. The stars recount the
might of God and His greatness, the sun reveals His light, colors tell about His taste for beauty, the clouds
show His love for diversity and His sense of humor, the rain reminds of His sovereignty and of His
faithfulness; in it can perceived His peace, His passion for perfection, His softness and even His wrath and
anger. In fact, the Hebrew word translated as declare in this passage means to tell or recount, finding its
original root in the word book or scroll. The glory that we see in nature is not simply one of a fixed
picture. It is a story, which develops, unfolds, and narrates majestic surprises, details, splendors and turn of

Abrahams, The Glory of God; Three Lectures, 24.

Eichrodt, TOT, 2:30.

Weinfield, dwbk, 7:34.

16:19; 17:7; 20:6). The heaviness of the cloud in Exodus 19:16, medium of Gods glory
in the wilderness, conveys that the Ten Commandments given in the following chapter
are as much a part of Gods gracious self-revelation as the other aspects of His glory.

Not only Gods glory is revealed through His Word, but His kabod often stands in
association with the miracles and signs through which He manifests His strength and
power and make Himself known (Num 14:22; Pss 24:8; 66:2; 79:9; 96:3; Isa 42:8;

The portrait of kabod is also painted in revelations of future events in the Psalms
and the Prophets concerning the future deliverance of the people in Zion. One can recall
the imagery of the Exodus narrative in the words of Isaiah 4:5, The the Lord will create
over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke
and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy.

Collins, dbk, in NIDOTTE, 2:578; As Paul wrote, Gods truth abounds to his glory (Rom
3:7). Indeed, the world and its revelation of Gods glory came to existence through the spoken words from
Gods mouth (Ps 19:1; Gen 1; Heb 11:3). Like God, his Word is eternal and unbreakable (Isa 40:8; Matt
5:18); it is imperishable (1 Pet 1:2325), perfect, sure, right, pure, clean and true (Ps 19:79); and God gets
glory from it (Acts 13:48). This Word is the media to salvation, the way that God chose for people to be
saved, as they hear it, believe it, and as it is implanted in them (Rom 10:1315; James 1:21; 1 Pet 1:23).
Without exception, all theophanies are accompanied with Gods spoken Word, given at the very moment of
the event or closely (Gen 3:810; 15; 26:24; 35:1, 9; Exod 3; 20; 3334; Num 16:4244; Josh 5:1415;
Judg 13; 1 Kgs 89 ; 19:1213; Isa 6; Ezek 1:28; Matt 17; John 1; Rev). Gods glory comes with Gods
Word, and His Word also results in glory, as the prophet wrote: And the glory of the Lord shall be
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken (Isa 40:5).

Eichrodt, TOT, 2:35; Gods manifestation of glory and strength cannot be separated to His
judgment, according to Hamilton. Indeed, it is through the judging of sin and of sinners that deliverance
from this present age can be attained; see Hamilton, Gods Glory in Salvation through Judgment, 359.


The Theophahic Kabod
Gods theophaic kabod is certainly one of the most intriguing aspects of the term.
In theophanies Gods revelation of Himself is made fuller, as His presence is felt, His
words are heard, and His greatness is manifested. There heaven and earth meet, and
transcendence meets immanence. While Gods glory fills the heavens (Ps 29), in
theophanies it comes down and meets mankind, as we see at Sinai and in His diverse
tabernacles (Exod 40:34, 38; 1 Kings 8:11; Eze 43:5). In this we see indeed that Gods
will, in revealing His glory, is for the purpose of dwelling with men, to be known and to
enter covenantal fellowship.

The tension between the comprehensible and the indescribable is pictured in
theophanies with the phenomena of thunderstorms.
Thus we see in Psalm 29 the
lavishing of Gods kabod with thunder and flooding. In Psalm 97, this glory is manifested
with clouds, lightning bolts and fire which melt the hills like wax. In Exodus 24:15ff,
God is seen as a consuming fire coming from a fearsome cloud. In his visions of glory,
Ezekiel describes the appearance of brightness, fire, and rainbow in audible motion (Ezek
1:28; 9:3; 10:4, 1819).
Another reality of the existing tension lies in the fact, that when

Oswalt, dbk, in TWOT, 1:427.

Kittel, ooo, 2:239.
Davies, glory, IDB, 2:401; Eichrodt, TOT, 2:30; Eichrodt concludes, based on these
manifestation that Gods glory can be summarized as the striking radiance which proceeds from Yahweh
whenever he appears in the thunderstorm, the blinding light which proclaims the approach of God in the
fire, and compels men to cast down their eyes.


the kabod is manifested, it can sometimes be a manifestation of favor, but most of the
time it connotes wrath.

The Ever-Increasing Kabod
The tension wrought in the theophanic kabod creates a void that is filled by hope.
Indeed, the concept of kabod, awe-inspiring, powerful and unapproachable, precedes the
element of future expectation, when God will call a new world into being, and when His
kabod will be visible and accessible throughout the whole created realm.

Gods glory, initially revealed to Israel, was meant to be manifested ever
increasingly. In the book of Isaiah, Gods kabod takes on a magnitude far greater than
what was described in Exodus, and it is seen to display universal dimensions.
plans for His glory are told to extend from the Israelites to reach a worldly impact, The
glory [kabod] of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the
mouth of the Lord has spoken (Isa 40:5; cf. Pss 102: 16f; 97:6f).
This idea of Gods
kabod filling the whole earth is found throughout the Old Testament (Isa 6:3; Num 14:21;
Hab 2:14; Ps 72:19), as an expression based on the notion that the whole human race will

Davies, glory, 2:401.

Eichrodt, TOT, 2:31.

Ibid., 2:3435.
It is interesting that the LXX renders the second part of the verse as and all flesh shall see
the salvation of God. Cf. Weinfield, dwbk, 7:35.

be subject to Gods rule, and that there will be a time when the salvation of God becomes
universal amongst those that dwell on earth.

Indeed, this revelation of God is not only manifested as kabod, but also as
righteousness (tsedek) and salvation (yeshua), For Zions sake I will not be silentuntil
her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. The
nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory (Isa 62:1; cf. Isa 58:8).
This is why another important aspect of the glory of God, insists Abrahams, is that it
tends, in the Old Testament to become a Messianic concept.
Gods glory is used to
depict future salvation, and its eschatological significance is greater than the present one.
As Gods promises unfold in future events, deserts will know the glory of Lebanon (Isa
35:2), and glory will come from the nations to the temple (Isa 60:13; 66:12; cf. 60:11).
The New Jerusalem will possess much glory (Isa 66:11; Zech 12:7), which will be seen
and proclaimed in the world (Isa 66:1819).

Gods kabod is unique in that it reflects His very presence, character, and His
unquenchable desire for fellowship with mankind. On one side it depicts a God of infinite
renown, sovereign over nature and matchless in grandeur, and on the other side it tells of
a God who cares and reaches down. As Gods kabod is revealed, it is employed to

Weinfield, dwbk, 7:36.
Abrahams, The Glory of God, 42.
Davies, glory, 2:402.


construct a bridge between the divine and the created, to make the Almighty known, and
to enable man to participate in His plans through salvation and obedience. Because it is
revelatory of an infinite source, the knowledge of Gods glory is ever-increasing, as the
dispensations of God allow.

Gods doxa, in the New Testament, is more than a continuation of the OT kabod,
as it takes on shades of meaning associated with secondary terms. While the LXX is
unequivocal in that is uses the term doxa to translate kabod (177 times out of 199),
is also used 81 other times. Even though the non-biblical use of doxa was different,
usage in the LXX translation gave enough weight so that the meaning of doxa became
very close to that of kabod.
Thus the additional meaning of radiance and glory
absent in secular Greek appeared in the New Testament (Matt 4:8; 6:29; Luke 4:6; 12:27;
Rev 21:24, 26; see also quotations from Isa 40:6; 1 Peter 1:24).

Weinfield. dwbk, 7:2425.
Kittel, ooo, 2:23334; Found as early as Homer and Herodotus, this word is seen in sources
outside of the Bible with a basic meaning reflecting its connection with dokea, namely, what one thinks,
or opinion. In a subjective way, the term can be applied in many ways, implying expectation or
philosophical opinion or mere conjecture. In an objective way, it denotes good standing or
reputation, renown. It is agreed, however, that the old meaning of opinion disappeared completely
from the biblical understanding of the word, as well as its usage by the post-apostolic fathers, while the
objective connotation of the word, repute or honor is found in Scriptures (Luke 14:10; 1 Cor 11:15).

Ibid., 2:242; although it is true that the biblical word doxa differs from the secular usage, its
additional nuances are not only rooted in kabod, but also in the other Hebrew terms used in this semantic
domain, especially words such as rdh, dwh, and rap discussed previously; see Collins, dbk, in
NIDOTTE, 2:586.
Ibid., 237; H. Hegermann, ooo, in ECNT, ed. by Horst Balz and Gerhard Schneider. (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 199093),1:34546.

Gods Praise-Worthy Doxa
Gods doxa cannot be dissociated from His praise. The reason why the word
doxology exists is because doxa is the most significant and common attribute for which
God is praised.
Much like kabod, the term doxa implies the majesty, divine and
heavenly radiance of God. It describes God, both in character and in actions,
and the
honor ascribed to God by man as the affirmation of His nature.

In the verb form ooo,o,
its predominant usage in the NT is applied to the
giving of honor to God, which is expressed in doxologies (Matt 9:8; Rom 15:6, 9; 1 Pet
2:12; John 21:19) or also as a deeper manifestation in a life and death consecrated to God
(1 Cor 6:20; John 21:19).

The word also denotes continuity with the kabod of Ezekiel as it relates to
heavenly beings endowed with glory (Luke 2:9; 9:31; Acts 22:11; Rev 18:1). Angelic

Lewis R. Donelson, I & II Peter and Jude, a Commentary, New Testament Library (Louisville,
KY: Westminster John Knox, 2010), 204; It is used as such especially in the synoptic gospels (Matt 5:16;
6:13; Luke 2:14; 19:38), in Pauls letters (Rom 4:20; 2 Cor 1:20; Phil 1:11; 2:11; and especially his
doxologies, Rom 11:36; 16:27; Gal 1:5; Eph 3:21; Phil 4:20; 1 Tim 1:17), and in Revelation (1:6; 4:9, 11;
5:1213; 7:12; 19:1, 7) ; see Davies, glory, 2:4023.
Kittel, ooo, 2:244.
Ibid., 2:237, 244.
H. Hergmann, ooo,o, in EDNT, 1:34; it is found 60 times in the NT, with 22 instances in the
Gospel of John, 12 in Pauls letters, 9 in Luke, 5 in Acts, 4 in Matthew and 1 Peter, 2 in Revelation and 1 in
Mark and Hebrews. In a secular usage it can be employed to express the giving of honor to people in
relation to each other in a positive sense (Matt 6:2; Luke 4:15; 1 Cor 12:26) or negatively in the context of
self-exaltation (John 8:54; Heb 5:5; Rev 18:7).

Ibid., 1:348.


powers are even called doxai in Jude 8 and 2 Peter 2:10.
In the book of Revelations,
both angels and men give glory to God in unison (Rev 7:1; 19:1).

The Trinitarian Doxa
The New Testament, in contrast to the Old Testament, made a decisive
breakthrough by applying the full weight of the term to the person of Jesus Christ. In
effect, the attribution of doxa to God (Luke 2:14; 19:38; Rev 4:9) finds parallels in
relation to Jesus Christ (Heb 13:21; 1 Pet. 4:11; Rev 5:12f).
The birth, acts, miracles
(John 1:14, 2:11; 11:4, 40; Col 1:11), transfiguration (Matt 17; 2 Pet 1:17), resurrection
(Rom 6:4) and ascension (John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32, 34) of Jesus speak undeniably of the
glory which belonged to Yahweh in the Old Testament.
The same glory that was
manifested to Isaiah in his vision of God (John 12:41; cf. Isa 6) is now given to Jesus
(John 1:14).

Gods glorification is also seen in terms of inter-Trinitarian works of love, as John
depicts the reciprocal glorification of the Father through the Son (13:31; 17:1, 4) and of
the Son through the Father (7:39; 12:16, 23; 13:31; 17:1, 5). The Spirit is also said to

Sverre Aalen ooo in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology,
Colin Brown and trans. with additions and revision from the German Theologisches Begriffslexikon Zum
Neuen Testament, ed. by Lothar Coenen, Erich Beyreuther and Hans Bietenhard, (Grand Rapids:
Zondervan Publishing, 1976), 2:46.
Ibid., 2:248.
Davies, glory, 2:402; Hegermann, ooo,o, 1:348.

Davies, glory, 2:402; W. E. Vines, The Expanded Vines: Expository Dictionary of New
Testament Words (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1984), 483.


glorify Christ (John 16:14), which is seen by His work implementing the salvivic power
of Jesus (John 14:12).

The Participatory Doxa
In the New Testament there is clear sense in which the believers are involved with
Christ in the sharing of His glory. Not only will the righteous shine like the sun (Matt
13:43; cf. Dan 12:23), but they will also share in Christs glorious appearing (Col 3:4)
and will be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17), which is the hope of the believers (Col
1:27). The faithful are to reflect Gods glory in an increasing manner (2 Cor 3:18; 4:6).

Indeed, because Christ is glorious and because the Christians are found in Him, they also
partake of His glory (Rom 8:18, 21; Phil 3:21; 1 Pet 5:1, 10; Rev 21:11).
Men were
created for the purpose of giving glory to God (Rom 1:21, 24; 1 Cor 11:7; 12:31; Eph
1:6, 12; 14), but they failed to participate by sinning and therefore lost the doxa (Rom
3:23). The recovering of such participation in Gods glory sums up the hope of salvation
(Rom 5:2; 8:21; Eph 1:18; Col 1:27),
and is only possible through the free grace of God

H. Hegermann, ooo,o, in EDNT, 1:34849; see also John MacArthur, John 1221, The
MacArthurs New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody, 2008), 10607. MacArthur writes on John
14:12, in the context of the promise of Gods Holy Spirit given to the believers, When the Lord spoke of
His followers performing greater works, He was referring to the extent of the spiritual miracle of salvation.
Jesus never preached outside of Palestine, yet His followers would spread the gospel throughout the world.
Jesus had only a limited outreach to Gentiles (cf. Mark 7:26ff.), but the disciples (particularly Peter and
later Paul) would reach the Gentile world with the gospel; see also Joong Suk Suh, The Glory in the
Gospel of John: Restoration of Forfeited Prestige (Oxford, OH: M. P. Publications, 1995), 7173.

Vines, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 483.

Davies, glory, 2:4023. Davies describes the hope of glory for believers as a partial reality
and as an eschatological experience, which is progressively known by believers (2 Cor 3:18; Rom 9:23; 2
Thess 2:14); Vines, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 483.

Hegermann, ooo, 1:345.

(Rom 3:23f; 9:23; Eph 2:89) manifested in the person of Jesus Christ, who was taken
up in glory (1 Tim 3:16; cf. Jas 2:1; 1 Pet 1:21; 2 Pet 1:27) and will lead many sons to
doxa (Heb 2:7, 9; 3:5; 1:2f; 2:10).
Yet just as Christ suffered to attain glory, so will be
the path of the faithful (1 Pet 1:612; 2:20f; 4:13; 5:1).
Ultimately, true salvation is
participation in Gods glorious nature, which is found in Christs image formed into the
believers (Phil 3:21; 1 Cor 15:43f). At the end, the entire world will be renewed and
transformed, to obtain freedom in the glory of God (Rom 8:21).
What is found in the New Testament is a bond, even stronger, between the
revealed glory of God and the fulfillment of salvation history. Union in Gods glory
becomes union with Christ.
In Christ, through the presence of His Holy Spirit, the
believers not only have an eschatological hope of glory, but also for the present life, as
Paul encouraged the saints to pray so that according to the riches of His glory God may
grant you His Spirit, that you may become strong in the inner man (Eph 3:16). The
filling of God in the believers is only the extension and continuation of this particular
aspect of Gods glory.
This union in Gods glory begins the process of knowing God,
which is indeed eternal life (John 17:3).

Ibid., 1:346.


Kittel, ooo, 2:250.
The glory of God is one that fills. It filled the tabernacle (Ex 40:34), Solomons Temple (1
Kings 8:10), the heavenly Temple seen by Isaiah (Isa 6:1), the millennial Temple of Ezekiels vision (Ezek
43:5), Jesus Christ (John 1:14), the believers (1 Peter 1:8), and He promised will one day fill again the
entire earth (Num 14:21) as it has been the prayer of the saints since the Old Testament (Ps 72:19). This
glory, through the Person of the Holy Spirit, also fills believers (Luke 1:15,41; 67; Acts 2:4; 4:8; 9:17;

While Gods Shekinah is not a term found directly in the Scriptures, its usage in
theological discussions has been profuse. This, as we shall argue, has been detrimental to
a clear understanding of Gods glory. Any word that is found with significant usage in the
books of the Bible comes with a rich context, which helps to define the boundaries of its
meaning. Extra-biblical terms, however, come with semantics that cannot be regulated by
the authoritative Word. As a result, if not used wisely, they can be misleading in the
context of theological discussions.

A Proper Definition
The term Shekinah can be a very helpful one, when it is used in its proper context.
The word, in effect, comes from the Hebrew root ,kv which as a verb means to settle,
or dwell, and as a noun dwelling place, place, tabernacle, or also neighbor.

When God is used as the subject, the verb occurs in relation to God who is said to dwell
on Mount Zion (Joel 4:17), and among His people (Exod 25:8; 29:4546; Num 5:3;

13:9; Eph 5:18) in unity with Christ (Col 2:910). Gods purpose from the beginning was for His glory to
spread through the earth, creating a cosmic temple, where he placed His image, whose task was to fill the
earth and to subdue it in such way that the glory of God would over the land as the waters covers the sea;
cf. Hamilton, Gods Glory in Salvation Through Judgment, 73.
Gerald H. Wilson, ,kv, in NIDOTTE, 4:111.


35:34; 1 Kgs 6:13; Ezek 43:7, 9; Zech 2:1415).
Walter Kaisers association of the term
with Gods dwelling with Israel gives a perfect definition of how it should be used,
The word for dwell is related to the later concept of Mosaic theology of the
Shekinah glory of God wherein the presence of God over the tabernacle was
evidenced by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

From the biblical record, Gods Shekinah represents His dwelling place and continuous
presence with mankind, manifested with theophanic evidence of glory. Its relationship
with Gods glory is valid, but the limitation of its semantics cannot render it a fitting
synonym for Gods kabod or for His doxa, which are used in much broader contexts,
bearing many more implications.

Non-Biblical Semantics
The term Shekinah gained importance as it replaced kabod in later Jewish
When in the thirteenth century discussions with Jews revived, many Christian
scholars turned to early Jewish literature, such as the Targums, the Talmuds and Midrash,
to find elements that could further their understanding of their own Christian doctrine,
assuming that faithful unprejudiced Jewish students had insight on the Old Testament.


Walter Kaiser, Toward an Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, Zondervan Publishing,
1978), 82.
Weinfield. dwbk, 7:32.

George Foot Moore, Intermediaries in Jewish Theology: Memra, Shekinah, and Metatron.
Analecta Gorgiana (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2007), 2.

These studies continued in the following centuries, down to the eighteenth, and many
aspects of these writings became used in developing biblical theology, such as the usage
of Memra for the Word (logos), recognized of speaking of Gods own name and
character, and of Shekinah referring to the second person of the Trinity.
The dangers of
drawing parallels with such sources, however, lie in the fact that the Jews used
intermediaries, not as direct descriptions of God, but as necessary substitutions to His

While bearing a close meaning to the glory of God, Shekinah is somehow
understood differently in rabbinic writings, where it stands as the visible sign of the
divine presence, an appearance of reflected radiance from above, and in particular to
bless the pious at their prayers and study of the Law in the synagogue and Rabbinic

In the Targums the kabod of God is always rendered as honor, worth, or
splendor, a notion that eventually became supplemented by the addition of the word
Shekinah, which grew to be recognized as the key term to describe the brightness
associated with Gods appearing.
This subtle terminology did not come only as a
primitive association with God and the visible manifestation of Himself, but as a
sophisticated substitution, made in the interests of a delicate antipathy against the

Moore, Intermediaries in Jewish Theology, 2.
Eichrodt, TOT, 2:34.

Kittel, ooo, 2:245.

material presentations of deity.
Since the writers of the Targums reacted against the
anthropomorphism and anthropopathy of the Bible, they began to use different words to
avoid suggestions of human descriptions of God. So while we read in Exodus 24:10:
there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire the Aramaic version
(Onkelos) reads Under the throne of His glory.
Thus we see in Cassutos
commentary on Exodus that Gods kabod displays such superiority that it is beyond
mans understanding in his early state.

As a result., the glory of God became understood in the Aramaic Targums with
three major words: Memra, meaning word, which expresses the invisible presence of God
in man; Yeqara, meaning glory, which expresses the visible appearance of God; finally,
Shekinah, which applies to both the visible and invisible presence of God, especially
when it is conceived not only as a momentary revelation, but as a continuous religious

Eventually, the three words gave vogue to Shekinah, as it best described the
diverse shades of meaning of the term, being equally applicable to spasmodic and
continuous, to local and universal, to earthly and heavenly, to visible and invisible. It is

Abrahams, The Glory of God, 50.
Ibid., 5051.
U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Exodus; trans. by Israel Abrahams, (Jerusalem: The
Magnes Press, 1987), 436; Umberto Cassuto was a rabbi who moved from Florence to teach at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem during the middle of the 20

Abrahams, The Glory of God, 5152.

also for this reason that the Shekinah in Hebrew, like the doxa in Greek, becomes mostly
associated with light.

While there are many similarities between the rabbinical understanding of
Shekinah and the biblical usage of kabod, there are however some strong differences that
cannot be ignored. For instance, very rarely does rabbinical Judaism speak of the
participation of man in the kabod of God.
True blessedness, in the rabbinical
understanding is the contemplation of the glory of the Shekinah, not participation in it,
even though it is understood that the redeemed one will shine with God in the
As a rabbi wrote concerning the life of the righteous in the world to come,
they sit with their crowns on their heads and are refreshed by the radiance of the
shekinah, for it is written (Exod 24:11): They see God, and therefore ate and drank.

Ibid., 52; see also Alan Unterman Shekinah in Encyclopaedia Judaica, edited by Cecil Roth
(Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1972), 14:135051; Interestingly, the concept of light is also found in
other Mesopotamian thought, but in a definitely less exclusive sense, as Cassin writes, Dans la pense des
Msopotamiens, toute forme intense de vitalit [] se manifeste par une emanation blouissante de
lumire (in Mesopotamian thought, all form of intense vitality [] is manifested by a blinding emanation
of light); see Cassin, Splendeur Divine, 121. Concerning the relation between doxa and light, it is
important to notice that the Greek term was used as an amalgam of many Hebrew terms describing Gods
glory, many of those secondary terms being used primarily in poetry. Thus to read in the Greek doxa a
beaming glory which was not fully emphasized in Gods kabod is precarious.
Kittel, ooo, 2:246.
Ibid., 2:250; bBer., 34a.

The usage of Shekinah in Jewish writings does not fit our Biblical definition of
Gods glory. On the contrary, we believe that it is partly because of the grafting of such
concept into Christian theology that Gods glory has become vague. In effect, the
Shekinah emphasizes greatly the transcendental aspect of God, found in His light and
sublime appearance, and not as much His immanence and mans ability to know Him
personally. The God of the rabbinical Shekinah is distant, difficult to understand, and
uneasy to describe. This, as we have studied and proven, is contrary to the God of
Scripture who manifests Himself not to confuse people, but to make His character and
purposes known.

A Concise Definition of Glory
A study of key terms concerning the glory of God reveals many common threads
which help us define the concept more precisely. First, the glory of God is similar to the
power of a king. It marks His superiority, authority and legitimacy. Because of His glory,
God enjoys a certain reputation, an unequaled importance, and honor and fame are due to
Him. As king He is the possessor of everything good and lovely, which is manifested in
His beautiful and exalted array. As the God-King, His glory denotes a power beyond
understanding and measurement, yet available to His servants who live humbly before
Second, Gods glory is also associated with brilliance and light, which display His
purity, otherness and independency. God is the source of radiance, and the manifestation
of His presence is too great to be fathomed. He is awe-inspiring, wonderful, beautiful,

elevated and worthy of praise. Its pursuit is the most honorable cause, and in it is found
joy, fulfillment, and unequaled bliss.
Third, seen in His manifestations, Gods glory is ultimately the reflection of His
character and essence. It is who He is, and it cannot be taken from Him. In this regard,
His glory is exclusive. Only the prideful and the arrogant dare to challenge Gods exalted
status by refusing to attribute the honor due to His name, which results in their judgment
and fall. As the reflection of Gods inner being, this glory is also personal. To enjoy it is
to enjoy God, and to know Him personally. As seen in the Trinity, this glory is
communal, relational, and self-giving.
Fourth, Gods glory is Gods self-revelation. It is revealed in Gods appearances,
through His works, His Word, and His felt-presence. When God displays His glory, it
makes Himself known. In this sense, it is cognitive, purposeful and relational. While the
popular usage of the term Shekinah has emphasized the revelation of God through His
felt-presence, it is important to note that Gods glory is also associated with signs and
with His revealed Word.
Fifth, Gods glory demands a response. As the created realm enjoys the world
made by God, which displays His glory through its beauty, order and continual up-
holding and providence, a rightful expectation of praise and righteous living is awaited
from mankind.
Sixth, Gods glory became greater at the revelation of Jesus Christ, who displayed
uniquely the essence of God, performing the works of God and speaking the Word of

Seventh, Gods glory begs for participation. Gods purpose in showing His glory
was always to connect with mankind, to dwell with them and be known by them. Gods
glory is to be enjoyed and reflected. Through unity in Christ, believers can grow in their
participation in His glory as they increase in their likeness to Christ and are filled with
His Holy Spirit to obey His Word and work deeds worthy of Him. Participation in Gods
glory begins with salvation.
Finally, Gods glory is eschatological. Although it is revealed to some degree in
this world, it is veiled to some degree because of sin. The hope of believers stands in the
knowledge that they will one day be able to perceive and reflect this glory more fully,
after the return of Christ and the judgment of this world.



In our first chapter, we looked at key biblical terms throughout the whole of
Scripture, for the purpose of understanding the key elements present in Gods glory. In
the following chapter we turn to an in-depth study of a single passage, in the context of
the book of Exodus, to confirm our initial conclusions. As we look at the kabod of God in
this pericope, we will continue to show evidence that Gods glory is understandable,
knowable, personal, relational, tangible and again centered on the very Person of Jesus
General Context
Within the Old Testament, the most revealing manifestations of Gods glory are
found in the books of Exodus and Ezekiel.
Indeed, both books are important, as in the
first we see Gods glory coming down to dwell with mankind, and in the later we see this
same glory departing.
The book of Exodus serves as an important landmark in biblical

Oswalt, dbk, TWOT, 1:427.

Gods glory, visible in nature (Ps 19:1), had also been in the Garden of Eden, a Temple
Garden as Kline phrased it; see Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a
Covenantal Worldview (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2006), 48. Indeed, for God the whole earth is a
sanctuary (Isa 66:1). Beale describes, The same Hebrew verbal from (stem) mithallek (hithpael) used for
Gods walking back and forth in the Garden (Gen 3:8), also describes Gods presence in the tabernacle
(Lev 26:12; Deut 23:14; 2 Sam 7:67); see G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Churchs Mission: A Biblical

theology as herein we find God expressively stating His desire to dwell with Israel. Gods
purpose was to have a place where He could speak to His people and be met, in His Most
Holy Place (Exod 25:22; 26:34), as part of a covenant ratified with Israel (Exod 24). The
covenant was quickly jeopardized by Israel who had failed to be solely consecrated to
Yahweh in Egypt (Ezek 20:110) and sinned again by creating a Golden Calf (Exod 32).
God, who had manifested Himself and His glory at Sinai (Exod 24:1618), was now
telling Moses that He would send an angel to give them the promised land, but that He
Himself would not go up with the people, lest He would consume them (Exod 33:3).
Confused and heart-broken, the coming section unfolds Moses desperate plea to the
Lord to find assurance of His presence with His people and the true identity of this angel
that will lead the people.
Moses plea, Show me your glory! is found at the center of
one of the most informative sections of the OT concerning Gods revelation of His glory.

Gods Kingly Glory
The kingly glory of Yahweh is seen in this section in the very plea of Moses. The
prophet, in his request, displays both his trust in Gods lordship, as well as his confidence

Theology of the Dwelling Place of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 66; cf. Dan Lioy,
Axis of Glory: A Biblical and Theological Analysis of the Temple Motif in Scripture. New York: Peter
Lang, 2010, 1011. Abraham also experienced Gods heavy presence during his sleep (Gen 15:12);
Wenham describes the deep sleep, fear and darkness as all suggesting awe-inspiring divine activity
(cf. Gen 2:21; Isa 29:10; Exod 10:21, 22; 14:20; 15:16; 23:27; Deut 4:11; Josh 2:9); see also Gordon J.
Wenham, Genesis 115, WBC (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1987), 33132. Gods presence was known and
feared by Job (23:15), and God also manifested Himself by appearing to Isaac and Jacob (Gen 26:2;

Martin Noth, Exodus, a Commentary, OTL (Philadeplphia: Westminster Press, 1962). 257;
Nahum M. Sarna, Exodus, JPSTC (Philadelphia : The Jewish Publication Society, 1991), 213.


in the benevolence of the suzerain. The very posture of Moses, at the appearing of the
King, in bowing down, confirms his understanding of his relationship with God, that of a
servant (Exod 34:8).

Early in the book of Exodus, Gods kingship was called into question by another
ruler, Pharaoh. He asserts, arrogantly, Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him by
letting Israel go? (Exod 5:2). The Egyptians provocative challenge is taken up by God,
as the next chapters unfold a battle of the kings in which Yahweh proves to be victorious,
and Pharaoh to concede (Exod 10:16).
Gods triumph is then recorded in a chorus, which
concludes, The Lord will reign forever and ever (Exod 15:18).
The Lord will reign indeed. But for Israel to be blessed, they would need to
submit to His rule, something with which they struggled. As we turn to Exodus 3334,
we see Moses, as the ambassador of the people, come to God to plea for grace and mercy,
because of the rebelliousness of Israel. Gods kingly glory is then displayed in His power
to renew the covenant made with His people; not a covenant between equals, but very
much like other ancient ones where an alliance would be stipulated between a suzerain
and vassals.

Thus we see reiterated in the renewal of the covenant (Exodus 34:1417) the first
commandments of Exodus 20:36 affirming the idea of absolute faithfulness as necessary

Edwin Yamauchi, hwj, in TWOT, 1:26768.
Eugene H. Merrill, Everlasting Dominion: a Theology of the Old Testament (Nashville, TE:
Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2006), 43.

F. Charles Fensham, Clauses of Protection in Hittite Vassal-Treaties and the Old Testament,
VT 13, No.2 (April 1963), 134.


for the continuation of the alliance.
The Kings military power and protection are also
asserted and acclaimed, with the promise of conquest of foreign nations (Exod 34:11),
under the stipulation of continual obedience and submission (Exod 34:32).
As the God-
King, Yahweh not only displays the authority and status sufficient to promise military
victory and protection, but also reminds Moses of His true benefactor nature, that of a
good King (Exod 33:10)
, and of His power to do marvelous works, awesome (or
in nature and unprecedented in history (Exod 34:10). As the supreme King
His rule guarantees the richest blessings on earth, on the grounds of undefiled

Gods Beaming Glory
The second aspect of Gods glory that we see is that of His beaming glory,
although the flow of the text puts it in such a way that it is proven to be of secondary
importance in contrast to Gods revelatory glory. The passage does not focus as much on
the physical aspect of Gods manifestation as it does on the message announced,
even Moses face is said to shine not because of the Shekinah, but because he had been

Ibid., 13839.

Ibid., 14243.

Interestingly, this is the only occurrence of the notion of Gods goodness in a theophany.
According to Hyatt, it probably refers to the goodness of God in giving salvation (Isa 63:7; Ps 25:7; 145:7;
see J. Philip Hyatt, Commentary on Exodus, NCB (Paulton, England: Purnell & Sons, 1971), 317; for
covenantal benevolence, see also Gen 32:10, 13; Deut 23:7; Josh 24:20; 1 Sam 25:30; 2 Sam 2:6; 7:28; Jer
18:10; 33:9).

William H. C. Propp, Exodus 1940, AB (New York: Doubleday, 2006), 612.

Ibid., 709.


talking with God (Exod 34:29). Certainly, the fact that God descended in the cloud to
meet Moses suggests that His beaming glory was present (Exod 34:5). However, the total
lack of description of such cloud in our pericope proves that it was only of secondary
importance in light of the other aspects of His glory manifested.
One could stipulate from Exodus 33:20 that the reason why Moses could not see
this glory fully (i.e. Gods face and not His back), would be because the pure and
unveiled radiance of God would destroy him.
Indeed, this glory, coming down again in
the cloud (Exod 34:5), had a fearsome appearance. Earlier, the vision of the cloud on
Sinais mountain top had been that of thunders and lightnings and a very loud trumpet
blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled (Exod 19:16; cf. 20:18). The cloud
was thick and filled with smoke, because the Lord had descended on it in fire, and the
very mountain trembled greatly (Exod 19:18). Later, this cloud had covered the entire
mountain, so that Moses had to enter in the midst of the cloud, as the appearance of the
glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the
people of Israel (Exod 24:17).
The effect of Gods beaming glory, although not described in details in this
passage, is seen in Moses face, shining upon his return from his encounter with God
(Exod 34:2935). The use of the Hebrew ,rq sent out horns of light, glow rather than
ryah shine, give light could suggest that the light was separate from Moses own

Houtman writes, It is not unlikely that the manifestation of it was thought to be accompanied
with blinding glory; see Cornelis Houtman, Exodus, HCOT (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 2000), 701.


person, an exterior light given to him by God as a sign,
so that something of the Divine
glory remained with him.

Gods Essential Glory
When Moses asked God for a vision of His glory, He responded by telling Him
that He would appear to Him and proclaim before him His name, Yahweh (Exod
This name, found 9 times between Exodus 33:1934:7, and proclaimed directly
from the mouth of God, is defined in such a manner as to lay a foundation for the rest of
It incorporates in itself the nature of who God is: The I AM; a God ever
present, actively involved and accessible to those who know Him.
Gods name is
personal, relational, and communicable. The God appearing to Moses is the same who
appeared to his forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exod 3:15). This same God
continues to be present, caring and reachable. The covenant He had made with Israels
ancestors never evaded His mind. His remembrance of this covenant was continual, and
He would continue to fulfill His promises.
Gods revelation of His name as the I AM is

John I. Durham, Exodus, WBC (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1987), 46567.

Cassuto, Exodus, 449.

To see an argument of distinction between Gods glory and His name, see J. G. McConville,
Gods Name and Gods Glory in TB 30 (1979): 14963.

Durham, Exodus, 39.

Ibid., 3940.

Cassuto, Exodus, 39.


a promise, one that He will never fail to be true to His Word.

God had a very close relationship with Moses, one unique in its kind. Indeed,
The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Exod
33:11). Even Moses plea beginning in Exodus 33:12 displays a sense of camaraderie.

The idiom used in this same verse, I know you by name is used nowhere else in the
Bible. It connotes a close, exclusive, and unique association with God.
Moses had
found favor with God in an unequaled manner. Gods inner glory, reflected in His name,
indeed, that of His essence, reflects personhood and personality. Similarly, Israel was
uniquely favored by God in terms of His covenant with them. They were to be known as
His people, distinct from all others on the face of the earth (Exod 33:16).

Gods glory is related to His very person. When Moses asked for a sight of the
divine glory, God answered, you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live
(Exod 33:20; cf. Gen 32:30; Deut 4:33; 5:24, 26; Judg 6:22f; 13:22). For God, the
revelation of His glory is the revelation of Himself.
Ultimately, the expression of Gods
inner glory is manifested in His character. Gods response to Moses, with the passing of

Ibid., 38.

Ibid., 432.

Nahum M. Sarna, Exodus, JPSTC (Philadelphia : The Jewish Publication Society, 1991), 213.

Hyatt, Exodus, 317.

Abrahams, The Glory of God, 50.


His bwf (goodness), was much more a recital of His character than a display of beautiful

The following revelation of Gods character, in Exodus 34:67, is both timely and
At the moment of Gods appearing, Israel is still uncertain of what will
happen to them in terms of their covenant with Yahweh, as they had been unfaithful and
betrayed their God. Gods revelation, at this moment, is one of comfort and hope, as it
communicates to Israel His readiness to forgive those who repent, and to even give them
a period of grace to do so.
Thus God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and
abounding in steadfast love (dsj) and faithfulness (tmh) (Exod 33:6). The list begins
with Gods mercy, which denotes loving compassion and readiness to relieve those in
His grace, ,nj, speaks of His affection and favor towards people in particular.

Gods slowness to anger is also a reflection of His intention to deal patiently with sinners,
wishing for them repentance and salvation.
Much could be said concerning the later two
terms, steadfastness and faithfulness, as they do serve as a great summary of Gods

Durham, Exodus, 452.

Cassuto, Exodus, 439; God indeed reveals the qualities that Moses requested on behalf of the
people (Exod 33:19).


George Bush, Notes on Exodus (1852; repr., Minneapolis, MN: James and Klock Publishing
Company, 1976), 2:244; HALOT, (.jr), 3:1217

Bush, Exodus, 244; HALOT, (,nj), 1:334.

Cassuto, Exodus, 439.


In a secular usage dsj is active, social and enduring,
and in a divine
usage, it speaks of the constant and reliable kindness of Yahweh,
something often
connected to His covenants.
Paired with His faithfulness, Gods steadfast love is
unshakable and unbreakable. While He still punishes the guilty, His judgments are still
limited compared to the scope of His love (Exod 34:7). Overall, Gods revelation of His
name and character is given to show Moses that a relationship with Him is possible, that
He is truly accessible, even by sinners.

Gods Revelatory Glory
As Abrahams insisted, every theophany or manifestation of Gods glory in the
Scriptures is accompanied by revelation.
This revelatory glory, as we understand it, is
constituted of three parts: Gods Word, Gods works, and Gods feltpresence.
To some

Sarna defines the pair of terms as the expression of Gods absolute and eternal dependability in
dispensing His benefactions; Sarna, Exodus, 216; the combination of terms is found all throughout
Scriptures (Gen 24:27; 32:10; Exod 34:6; 2 Sam 2:6; 15:20; 1 Kgs 3:6; Pss 25:10, 26:3; 36:5; 40:10, 11;
57:3, 10; 61:7; 69:13; 86:15; 88:11; 89:1, 2, 14, 24, 33, 49, 92:2; 98:3; 100:5; 108:4; 115:1; 117:2; 138:2;
Prov 3:3; 14:22; 16:6; 20:28; Isa 16:5; Mic 7:20).

Greifswald Zobel, dsj, in TDOT, 5:51.

Ibid., 5:62

BDB, 339

Abrahams, The Glory of God, 24.

According to Ladd, revelation must happen with a combination of word and deed. He states,
The deeds could not be understood unless accompanied by the divine word; and the word would seem
powerless unless accompanied by the mighty works. Both the acts and the words are divine events, coming
from God. In fact, it would better to speak of the revealing deed-word event, for the two belong together
and form an inseparable unity; George E. Ladd, The New Testament and Criticism (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans Publishing, 1967), 27; quoted in Clark H. Pinnock, Biblical Revelation The Foundation of
Christian Theology (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), 34. To this we add the concept of Gods felt-presence.

extent, this revelation was also something that Moses longed for. One must not forget that
the plea to see Gods glory (Exod 33:18) only came after his plea for God to show him
His ways (Exod 33:13). And while one must understand why the sight of Gods external
glory could not be fully grasped by humans, Moses plea to know Gods ways shows that
they are comprehensible and accessible.
As the Psalmist penned it, He made known
his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Ps 103:78). Moses only saw a veiled
version of Gods external and beaming glory; yet he received sufficient revelation of
Gods will performed through His acts and His Word. The anthropological vocabulary
used by God Himself during the theophany, speaking of His face, His hand and His back,
implies Gods desire to be understood (Exod 33:19, 23).

Gods revelatory glory was first given to Moses in the form of the cloud, where
Moses experienced the felt-presence of God. As God literally descended in the cloud
He then proclaimed His name, symbolizing the real continuity of this very presence
(Exod 34:5; cf. Isa 52:6). There is no question that the weight of the dwbk must have
been experienced by Moses. But while Gods manifestation of glory could have be
absolutely transcendent, it was there reduced to a spatially and temporally limited
medium of self-manifestation, to make His personal presence visible to his own.

Sarna, Exodus, 213.

Hyatt, Exodus, 316.

Eichrodt, TOT, 2:31.


Second, the Lords revelatory glory was given to Moses through Gods spoken
words. The fact that God decided to display His glory through a spoken revelation rather
than simply by a blinding appearance shows that His Word was the main object of the
Indeed, all of Exodus 33:1234:35 relates to Gods Word. From the
beginning of the passages to Exodus 34:27, there is a continual dialogue between God
and Moses. It concludes with God giving Moses the words of the covenant, the Ten
Commandments (literally, the ten words).

Finally, Gods revelation and glory are seen through Gods speaking of His deeds
to come (cf. Ps 103:78). As David wrote, The Lord is known by the judgments which
he executeth.
Here we see God making a covenant with Israel, so that all the people
among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will
do with you (Exod 34:10). These works include the destruction of enemy nations (Exod
34:11), the judging of the guilty (Exod 34:7), but also the choosing of a people and the
forgiving of sin unto salvation (Exod 34:6; 9; cf. the last words of Moses, Deut
33:29).Thus, salvation and judgment balance one another, giving together the best
understanding of Gods revealed character through His works.

Collins, dbk, in NIDOTTE, 2:578.

Propp, Exodus 1940, 617.

Quoted from the King James Version.

Hamilton, Gods Glory in Salvation through Judgment, 57.

Gods Praise-Worthy Glory
None can see Gods glory and remain unmoved.
Following the powerful
revelation of God in the theophany of our passage, Moses had no choice but to hastily
prostrate himself in worship. Indeed, it was the only appropriate response.
Thus we see
that, Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped (Exod 34:8). Bush
writes on this,
No doubt the effect of this overpowering display at once upon the sense and the
soul of Moses was a kind of rapture, which while it left him in the possession of
his reason, still prompted him with the utmost expedition suitably to acknowledge
and improve the amazing manifestation of mercy now vouchsafed to him.

The action of Moses, that of bowing down, was very common in ancient times to display
humility, submission to a superior, and ultimately worship.
In the book of Exodus, we
see Israel bow down in worship to God as they hear that Yahweh spoke to Moses (Exod
4:31), as they receive instructions for the Passover (Exod 12:27) and when they see the
pillar of cloud (Exod 33:10).

The pleas for rendering glory to God are many in Scriptures. Mainly it refers to giving Him
praise (Josh 7:19; Isa 24:15; 42:12; Rev 4:9; 19:7) but some other times it alludes to giving renown (Ps
115:1; Isa 48:11), to pay homage (1 Sam 6:5), to repent (Jer 13:16; Rev 16:9), to fear God (Rev 14:7) and
to recognize Gods good works displayed in faithful believers (Matt 5:16). The giving of glory to God does
not imply the adding of something to Him, but simply the acknowledging of what rightfully is His; see
Kittel, ooo, 2:248.

Durham, Exodus, 455.

Bush, Exodus, 248.

Edwin Yamauchi, hwj, 1:26769; Zodhiates also wrote concerning the different degrees of
greetings, The ancient Oriental (especially Persian) way of greeting between persons of equal ranks was to
kiss each other on the lips. When there was a difference of rank that was slight, they kissed on the cheek.
But when there was a great difference, the person fell on his knees and touched his forehead to the ground
or prostrated himself, throwing kisses at the same time towards the superior; see Spiros Zodhiates, The
Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMB Publishers, 1992), 123334.


Worship, in the OT, while often symbolized by the position of the worshiper
(hjv, to bow and prostrate oneself in worship
), is also described as proclamation
(llh praise,
]rb bless,
hlht giving renown, praise and glory,
praise and exultation,
and rmz celebrate in song and music
), as service (dbe
trv cultic service,
,hK serve as a priest
) and as attitude (ary
,nr rejoice
). The many facets of worship in the OT demonstrates that
contrary to the NT, more centered on devotion to the person of Jesus Christ, worship
before the coming of Messiah was truly inseparable from cultic rituals and commitment
to Gods Law.
In consequence, Gods stipulations, specific to His worship and the

William Holladay, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand
Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988), 365.

Ibid., 80.

Ibid., 49.

Ibid., 387.

Ibid., 358.

Ibid., 89.

Ibid., 26162.

Ibid., 384.

Ibid., 152.

Ibid., 14243.

Ibid., 341.

Allen Ross, Recalling the Hope of Glory (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2006), 285390.


practice of the feasts (Exod 34:1826), become only more significant in light of the
theophany. If indeed God was to come to dwell among Israel and not simply send an
angel, the worship of His name would be absolutely necessary. The fact that Gods
renewed covenant emphasizes Israels call to faithful worship more than anything else
makes the connection between Gods glory and the praise of His name undeniable.
Israels calendar was to be based on the worship of Yahweh. If God were to dwell with
His people all year-round, and His glory was to be given to them continually, then
consequentially it would only make sense for His praise to fashion the daily life of Israel.

Gods Messianic Glory
Gods messianic glory is revealed in this passage in a beautiful manner, as Moses
plea for Gods presence is answered by the coming of the Angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ,
who led the people into the promised land (Josh 5:1415).
When Yahweh had first appeared to Moses in the bush, it had been a
manifestation of the angel of the Lord (Exod 3:24). This angel, speaking as God, is also
to be identified with one of the three persons of the Trinity.
Since God the Father has
not been seen (John 1:18; 1 Tim 6:16), but was revealed through the person of Jesus
Christ (Matt 11:27), it must be understood that theophanies are indeed Christologies.

Daniel Finestone, Is the Angel of Jehovah in the Old Testament the Lord Jesus Christ? BSac,
95, No.379 (July 1938), 37475; the angel of the Lord is divine in claiming deity (Exod 3:24; Judg 13:17
18), is addressed as deity (Gen 16:13; Judg 6:22), is paid divine honors (Exod 3; Gen 22:12), has divine
attributes as it carries Gods very presence (Exod 3334), and does what only deity can do (Gen 2122,
Exod 30).

Ibid., 376.


The absence of the angel of the Lord in the NT, His connection to the root of David
(Zech 12:8), and the many parallels between the angels activity and Christs activities on
earth bring further evidence that Jesus Messiah was indeed this very angel.
Moses plea
for Gods angel to be the angel of the Lord was a plea for Gods very presence to be with
Israel (Exod 33:15). God answered positively, and as we see in the NT, it was Jesus
Christ who led the people (1 Cor 10:14).

The second main messianic theme related to Gods glory in our passage concerns
the feast of the unleavened bread. Gods readiness to dwell with Israel, a sinful people,
was made on the condition of their faithfulness to keep the feasts, the first one mentioned
being the Passover (Exod 34:1820). In order for Israel to truly be in the right status to
enjoy Gods glory, they needed to keep the Passover, this feast instituted by God in
Exodus 12 before the deliverance from the Egyptians. Every year, the Israelite men were
to each take a lamb to be slain, whose blood symbolized protection from divine wrath.

These lambs, however, were only shadows of things to come, and of Jesus Messiah who
would come as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world on the day of
Passover (John 1:29; 18:39; Heb 8:5; 10:1; cf. Isa 53:45; Rom 3:2336; 2 Cor 5:21; 1
Pet 2:24; 3:18).
Finally the messianic glory is also seen with the person of Moses, a prophet
prefiguring in many ways Jesus Christ. The prophet had a unique relationship with

Ibid., 377.

F. F. Bruce, The Gospel and Epistles of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1983), 42.

William Barrick, Penal Substitution in the Old Testament MSJ 20, No.2 (Fall 2009), 157.


Yahweh, unequaled in the history of Israel, as God knew him face to face, and sent him
to perform unmatched signs and wonders (Deut 34:1011; cf. John 1:18). Yet God had
promised that another prophet would rise to be like him, fulfilling a similar role as
mediator (Deut 18:15).

Gods Participatory Glory
As Paul Ramsey explained, If there is any such thing as a creatures knowledge
of God, this must be the creatures participation in Gods knowledge of himself.
glory is to be reflected, enjoyed, and known. In our pericope, we see Gods desire to
extend fellowship with Israel in many ways, first through salvation and then through
continual unity.
When Moses began speaking with God, He had made it clear that Israel was
unworthy of His presence (Exod 33:13).
But then a dialogue begins, in which God
reveals Himself to be someone who forgives and gives grace, and who listens to the pleas
of His servant. In effect, as Moses intercedes, God grants mercy and spares Israel.
the incident of the golden calf, Moses and his people had no claims, no rights, and no

Duane L. Christensen, Deuteronomy 1:121:9, WBC, (Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson
Publishers, 2001), 409 ; J. Philip Hyatt, Commentary on Exodus, NCB (Paulton, England: Purnell & Sons,
1971), 316.

Paul Ramsey, Editorial Note, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Ethical Writings, vol. 8
(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995), 20; quoted in Roland, A Diamond in the Sun, 75.
Cassuto, Commentary on Exodus, 426.

Bruce K. Waltke, An Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 298; Durham,
Exodus, 455.


merit whatsoever as far as Gods covenant was concerned. They were guilty, and only
through forgiveness could they renew their relationship with God.
God had given a
portion for Israel to participate in His greatness, promising them, if you will indeed obey
my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples,
for all the earth is mine, and you shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exod
19:56; cf. Exod 34:9). The changes of pronouns in Exodus 3334 are revealing. In the
beginning of the chapter, God addresses Moses and calls Israel the people whom you
have brought out of the land of Egypt (33:1), distancing Himself from them, for most of
the dialogue.
Only as the covenant is renewed, He becomes once more the God of
Israel in the context of their gathering three times a year before Him in worship festivals
(Exod 34:23). The privileged people could only participate in Gods glory through
fellowship with Him. Israel was to be a distinct people, not so much because of Gods
blessings upon them, but because of His very presence in their midst.

Second, the simple fact that Moses could glow from his encounters with God
confirms the reality that Gods glory is to be reflected. By his own strength Moses could

Cornelis Houtman, Exodus, HCOT (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 2000), 711.

It is interesting that in the time of their grumbling, it would be for Moses to refrain from
identifying himself with the people, And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden
of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? (Num 11:1112); see Durham, Exodus, 447;
Concerning Exodus 33:5, Durham writes, he began by asking Yahweh to consider what he was
commanding, and he ends by asking Yahweh to consider that Israel, deftly referred to as hzh ywgh this
people, a designation with overtones of generality, is ]me your people, which is placed first in the
clause, for emphasis, and gives the intimate phrase your very own people.

Hyatt, Commentary on Exodus, 317.


never have produced that light emanating from himself: it was from God, and an
extension of His grace.

Gods Eschatological Glory
Gods eschatological glory, in the book of Exodus, remains at a preliminary stage
in terms of revelation.
Glimpses of Gods eternal and future glory are nevertheless
present, and can be found in the fact that Gods promises are eternal and His covenants
The reality of Gods name stands as the most important aspect of eschatological
hope. In effect Gods glory is synonymous with His name, which is still known by people
who no longer live on earth, as God pronounced, I am the God of your father, the God
of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Exod 3:6). As Jesus commented
on this verse, there can be hope in the resurrection, for God is the God of the living (Matt
22:32; Mark 12:2627; Luke 20:3738). For God to be in a present tense the God of the
patriarchs, could only mean that they are alive.
Not only were the blessings of Gods
covenant to be everlasting for the patriarchs (Gen 17:7, 13, 19), but His covenantal

Durham, Exodus, 46567; for a fuller description of mans participation in Gods glory, see
Roland, A Diamond in the Sun.

Weinfield, dwbk, 7:3435; in the prophets and the Psalms, the future deliverance of Israel is
depicted as new revelations of Gods glory.

Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, PNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 561.


relationship with them appears to remain unbroken even long after their death, indicating
that they are still in fellowship with Him.

As Solomon penned, I perceived that whatever God does endures forever (Ecc
3:14). Indeed, what God blesses is blessed forever (1 Chr 17:27). The French Bible
depicts well the name of Yahweh in their translation, as He is called Lternel (the
Eternal One). This God who is ever present, in making a covenant, not only binds
Himself to bring His promises to fruition, but also to keep His covenantal relationships
unbroken for those that He chooses, And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious,
and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy (Exod 33:19). Ultimately the fact that
Moses could see some of Gods glory, even in a limited aspect, raises hope that this glory
is not only accessible now, but will eventually be even more so in the future as God calls
into being a new world.

In the study of Exodus 33:1234:35, the many faces of Gods glory are displayed,
giving proof that He is not a distant and uncaring God, but ever-near, and knowable on a
very personal level. As the glorious King, He chooses to manifest His goodness to His
people, even upon their rebellion, by renewing His covenant and extending grace. As the
God of light, He also displays His glory in bright array, yet making efforts not to
overwhelm His recipients. His display of glory to Moses is very much like the prophets

Robert H. Stein, Mark, BECNT (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008), 2:555.

Eichrodt, TOT, 2:30.


glowing face: at times Moses face was veiled, but his people could still know him and
fellowship with him. Revealed in His name, Gods essential glory depicts a God of
relationships. As God knew Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He desires to know Moses and
Israel, and to be known by them. The giving of His name is the proof that His longing for
fellowship is even stronger than death and sin, as God manages to give grace and still
punish iniquity. In our passage, we also saw that Gods glory is revelatory, being
purposeful and timely, and also diverse. Indeed, Gods glory is not only a manifestation
of a felt-presence, but is also found in the giving of His Word, and in the signs and deeds
accomplished by His right-hand. Gods glory, as the sum of all goodness, is also praise-
worthy all year-round. While timely events of deliverance and salvation inspire songs of
praise and worship, the continual presence of God among His people begs for a lifestyle
of praise. Gods messianic glory, as it is manifested in Jesus Christ, bridges the
transcendental aspect of Gods nature into a fathomable knowledge of the holy. Gods
glory also begs for participation. As it is revealed and accepted, it makes its recipients
Gods own treasured possession, who partake of His presence, His purposes and His
nature in a vibrant fellowship. Finally, Gods eschatological glory is seen in His name,
that of the God of the living, and in His desire for relationships that are eternally enduring
through salvation.
Indeed, Gods glory is the ever-increasing revelation of His essence and purposes,
displayed through His Word, His works and His felt-presence, which calls for the
receivers unity and reflection, and tells of His incomparable goodness, beauty, and
praise-worthiness as perfect King, Savior, Judge and Creator, and of the unequaled
reputation attached to His name.



The argument of this thesis becomes even clearer as we look at the revelation of
Gods glory through the Person of Jesus Christ. With the coming of the Incarnate One,
the revelation of Gods glory not only increases in scope and magnitude, but also in its
tangibility and immanence. As both God and man, Jesus becomes the fullest, finest and
final picture of Gods glory. Through knowledge of Him and union with Him, those who
believe become heirs of Gods very glory.

General Context
In Exodus, God had revealed His desire to dwell with Israel. Yahweh had desired
to have a people holy and set apart for Himself, and had extended grace to the sons of
Israel, although they were a stiff-neck people (Exod 33:3; 14). Israel, however, did not
remain faithful to Gods covenant, to the point where God had to retire His presence from
their midst and Solomons Templealthough very reluctantly (Ezek 911).

Robert B. Thieme, III, A Panorama of the Shekinah Glory (B.A. diss., Portland, OR: The
Faculty of Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, 1987), 29.

describes the unfolding of events:
Gods presence would continue to be with His prophets, His promise, the
remnant, and His kingdom to come; but His presence would leave its place of
residence where he had dwelt since the days of Israels wonderings. When
Ezekiel was transported in a vision to the temple in Jerusalem (8:24), and there
witnessed firsthand the horrible sins of Judah done right in the house of God, it
was clear that Gods glory could stay there no longer [].
The only possible sequel to such confusion was that of Ezekiel 10:18: Then the
glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house. Indeed, for Judah,
her government, her religious pretense, and her religious institutions, it was
Ichabod: The glory had departed!

Although by Gods provision the resources were given to rebuild a new temple
under Zerubbabel, upon the return of the exiles deported by the Babylonians, it never
reached the magnificence of the first one, as the rabbis pointed out later: The Second
Temple lacked five things which the First Temple possessed, namely the fire, the ark, the
Urim and Thummim, the oil of anointing and the Holy Spirit.
Josephus in his days also
attested of the emptiness of the Holy of Holies.
Beckwith concludes: So the Second
Temple contained none of the visible tokens of Gods presence that were in Solomons
Temple: his presence was now purely a matter of faith.

Kaiser, Toward an Old Testament Theology, 238.
These items are listed in the Jerusalem Talmud (Taanith 2:1; Makkoth 2:48) and the Babylonian
Talmud (Yoma 21b); quoted from Roger T. Beckwith, The Temple Restored, in Heaven on Earth: The
Temple In Biblical Theology, ed. by T. Desmond Alexander and Simon Gathercole (Waynesboro, GA:
Paternoster, 2004), 72.
Josephus, War, V:219; he writes concerning the Herods temple, The innermost recess
measured twenty cubits, and was screened in like manner from the outer portion by a veil. In this stood
nothing whatever: unapproachable, inviolable, invisible at all, it was called the Holy of Holy. [Emphasis
Beckwith, The Temple Restored, 73.

While Gods felt-presence departed from His artificial dwelling place, His Spirit
never left the remnant of Israel. Eventually, Gods promise to remain faithful to His
chosen ones came to fruition. The ark never returned, but the Son came: full of grace and
truth and of the glory of God (John 1:14).
As Verhoef penned, In essence the OT
temple finds its ultimate fulfillment in the Lord of the Temple, who is greater that the
temple (Matt. 12:6), namely Jesus Christ (cf. John 2:1322).
Thus we turn to John 1:1
18, one of the most important passages dealing with the glory of God in the NT.

Christs Kingly Glory
Christs kingship is in many ways the fulfillment of Gods kingship in the Old
Testament. With God on their side Israel had victory over their earthly enemies; but with
the presence of Christ comes the ultimate overtaking of the worse opponents, death and
sin. In Johns prologue, Jesus is not mentioned directly as the king, but His introduction

The Gospel of John, and the ministry of Jesus as a whole, argues Hengel find their centrality in
John 1:14 ; see Martin Hengel, The Prologue of the Gospel of John as the Gateway to Christological
Truth, in The Gospel of John and Christian Theology, ed. by Richard Bauckham and Carl Mosser (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2008), 268.

Pieter A. Verhoef, The Books of Haggai and Malachi, NICOT, ed., by R. K. Harrison and Robert
L. Hubbard, Jr, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1987), 106.
Hengel qualifies this passage as the most influential Christological text in the New Testament;
see Martin Hengel, The Prologue of the Gospel, 289. Stephen Kim describes the prologues as one of the
most profound passages in all of Scripture; see Stephen S. Kim The Literary and Theological
Significance of the Johaninne Prologue, in Bsac 166, No.664 (OctoberDecember 2009), 421. Brown also
makes a similar claim, No passage in the New Testament compels more interest that the prologue of
Johns Gospel; see Raymond Bryan Brown, The Prologue of the Gospel of John in RE 62, No.4 (Fall
1965): 429439.


is certainly a majestic proclamation.
As the Word of God, He is introduced in terms
of the knowable and personal God-King. Indeed, the title of Word of God, only used
once more in Scripture, comes in kingly arrayal, He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood
and the name by which he is called is The Word of God [] on his robe and his thigh he
has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:13, 16).

The title of The Word of God is fitting for the God-King, as it speaks of His
eternal reign; in effect, His existence began before the beginning of Genesis 1:1.
only was the Word of God the author of the old creation, but He is also the author of the
new creation.
As author, He has authority, which is displayed through His couoiov,
His power, liberty, right or authority to welcome sinners into the family of
His rule is legitimate, established, and powerful.
Christs superiority is also seen in contrast with John the Baptist. Although Christ
spoke highly of John, as the greatest man born of women (Matt 11:11; Luke 7:28), John
could only reflect the light, whereas Jesus was the true light. Even though John the

J. H. Bernard, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John, ICC
(Edinburgh: T. & T Clark, 1962), 2; interestingly, besides Nathanael, who recognized Christ as the king
early on in His ministry (John 1:49), Jesus is only mocked or acknowledged as king by those who did not
understand who He truly was (John 6:15; 12:13; 18:33, 37, 39; 19:3, 12, 14, 15, 19, 21).

Grudem, Systematic Theology, 47.
Raymond Bryan Brown, The Prologue of the Gospel of John, 430431.

F. F. Bruce, The Gospel and Epistles of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983), 2829.

G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: T&T Clark,
2005), couoiov, 16162.

Baptist was a man of reputation, Christ ranks far above him in power and glory.

Christs kingly glory is also seen in His benevolence. From Him the goodness of God is
given to the people, far behind what any other king or benefactor could ever implement,
for from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1:16). As Morris put
it, Gods grace to his people is continuous and never exhausted.

Christs Beaming Glory
In the Gospel of John, Christs beaming glory is not emphasized. On the contrary,
it is put in the shadow of His revelatory glory, one that truly reaches the senses, not one
that is unfathomable and incomprehensible. The glory of Christ is one that the disciples
saw with their own eyes (John 1:14), and stands in contrast with the inapproachability of
the Father (John 1:18). While Christs ministry was one of light, it was nevertheless one
that is visible by all people (John 1:9).
Christs glory on earth is different from that
which He possessed from eternity passed (John 17:5). On earth, He took on flesh,
symbol of human nature (Rom 1:3, 8:3; 1 Tim 3:16; 1 John 4:2),
weakness and

William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, NTC (Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, 1953), 88.

Leon Morris, The Gospel according to John, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing,
1995), 98.

Hendriksen, John, 77.

Morris, John, 90.

Brown, The Prologue of the Gospel of John, 437.


It is interesting that while the apostle John in his Gospel emphasizes and defines
Gods glory more than any other writers of the NT, he willingly skips over the event of
the transfiguration. Contrary to the other Gospels, in which Christ is seen with a face
shining like the sun in the midst of the heavy cloud, John emphasizes Jesus glory as
internal and always present (John 1:14; cf. Phil 2:611; Col 1:15; Heb 1:3).
Only after
His return in heaven, after having been glorified, is Christ seen in the fullness of His
beaming glory, as the bright morning star (Rev 22:16), with feet of burnished bronze
(Rev 1:15), being a lamp of light (Rev 21:23).

Christs Essential Glory
While Yahwehs name means the Eternal One, Jesus name means God
saves. To Moses, God had revealed a name speaking of His eternal goodness to man;
through Jesus death and resurrection, He defined the extent of this goodness for all
When Moses had beseeched the Lord to show him divine glory, Yahweh
responded by reminding His prophet of His name, one portraying His character and His
desire to extend grace to sinners in order to be in fellowship with them. In John 1:118,
we see Gods final and most perfect illustration of this grace. In effect, even the phrase
grace and truth (pleres chariots kai aletheias) is used as a deliberate reference to

Lioy, Axis of Glory, 54.

Exodus 33:1834:6.

Gods love was proclaimed at Sinai, but was manifested at Golgotha (John
Ultimately, the greatest display of love appeared at the cross, where it was
demonstrated to its maximum capacity through the physical death of the second person of
the Trinity, God made man: In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that
God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9). In
the context of 1 John 4:9-10, the evangelist does not only describe love in this passage, he
defines it.
In this is love (1 John 4:10) is literally this is love, or this is the essence
of love or love consists in this.
The fact that God sent his only Son to die for His
children and to reconcile them with Him through the propitiation of their sins, is the
definition of love, its highest display and its most profound exhibition. As Jesus Himself
attested, Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his
friends (John 15:13). At the cross, the divine glory contained in the name and essence of
God was revealed in the Son to the fullest, as John Owen penned, Herein is He glorious,
in a way and manner incomprehensible; for in the glory of divine love the chief
brightness of glory consists.

Collins, dbk, NIDOTTE, 2:586; the Hebrew words steadfast love and faithfulness are
translated as grace and truth in the LXX.

Hendriksen, John, 83; he writes, The incarnationthe realization of its purpose, the
crucifixionis the climax of Gods condescending grace.

Rodney Whitacre, John, IVP New Testament Commentary (Downers Grove, Il : InterVarsity
Press, 1999), 404.
Thomas F. Johnson, 1,2 and 3 John, NIBC (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993), 104.
John Owen, The Glories of Christ, 110.

The love of God in John is manifested from the inside out, as we see the love
existing in the Trinity reach out to sinners. The Word was with God, (John 1:1) in the
opening of the prologue, only begins the process of revealing the treasures found in one
understanding of glory within the Trinity, and the extent of the love therein.
without the inter-relational reality of a love within the Godhead, the only logical God that
could have existed before Genesis would have been a selfish one.
But as John unfolds
His Gospel, we see the Three Persons of the Trinity full of self-giving love, expressed in
their relationships to one another. The Father loved the Son before the foundation of the
world (John 17:24), and even though the Father is worshipped for creating the world
(Rev 4:11) the object of His creation is the Son (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:23). Jesus
will be worshipped in heaven as the slain Lamb (Rev 5:12), yet the worship attributed to
Him is a result of a sacrifice of which the end was the glory of the Father (John 17:1). As
Carson pens, From Jesus perspective, even the glorification of the Son is not an end in
itself. Jesus offers his petition (he says) in order that your Son may glorify you.
will was not one focused on Himself but on His Father. Kstenberger affirms of the death
of Christ, in the cross the heart of God is revealed more clearly. Selflessness and humble

Bruce, The Gospel and Epistles of John, 30.

Graham Cole and John Feinberg. He Who Gives Life: the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Wheaton,
IL: Crossway Books, 2007), 88; Ultimate self-denial would be idolatry in God wrote John Piper in
Desiring God (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 2003), 47. While this statement is true in view of the Trinity
as a whole, one should use it very carefully in context of the Persons of the Trinity and their deeds of love
to another and to the world. Jesus did come as a servant.
D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, PNTC (Leicester, England: Eerdmans Publishing,
1991), 554; in the Gospel of John we see Jesus constantly seeking to glorify the Father first and not
Himself separately (7:18; 8:50, 54; 11:4).

self-sacrifice are seen to be divine attributes.
Even the Holy Spirit exercises a self-
giving ministry, one glorifying the Son (John 16:14).
Only because the essence of God
is love, those who believe in Him and who know Him taste of His love (John 3:16; 4:42;
12:47; 17:2426).

Christs Revelatory Glory
While both psalmists and prophets portrayed Gods Word with vocabulary close-
to-personified (Pss 33:6; 107:20; 147:15, 18; Isa 55:1011), none of the other inspired
writers went as far as John went in his description of the Word appearing in space-time
history as an actual person.
Gods revelation of Himself was superior (Heb 12), best
represented, most condensed and most intense in the incarnation.
Bruce explains, as
the prologue to the Gospel puts it, Jesus is the eternal Word or self-revelation of God,
expressed in many ways at various times, but finally incarnated in a human life.
contrast between John the Baptist is one of degree in revelation: The mission of John
was prophetic; the mission of Jesus that of the Word incarnate.
Jesus role, indeed, was

Andreas Kstenberger, John, BECNT (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004), 310.
H. Hegermann, ooo,o, in EDNT, 1:34849.

Andreas J. Kstenberger, John in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old
Testament, edited by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 421.
Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998), 215.
F. F. Bruce, The Gospel and Epistles of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983), 14.

Edwyn Clement Hoskyns, The Frouth Gospel, ed. F. N. Davey (London: Faber and Faber
Limited, 1940), 143.


to communicate Gods character and will to man.

His ministry was to make the Father known (John 1:18), not only as an
ambassador of God, but as the path unto Him (John 14:6). In Christ is found the
knowledge needed for mankind to have their sins removed and to gain a relationship with
a holy God through forgiveness.
Without Christ, the logos and the light, there could be
neither illumination nor glory, as Paul described, 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 (2 Cor 4:6).
Christs revelatory glory is seen first through His title as the Word of God. As F.
F. Bruce phrased, A word is a means of communication, the expression of what is in
ones mind.
Gods Word indeed, is seen throughout Scripture as the main means of
The world came into being through Gods Word (Gen 1; Ps 33:6; John
1:13; Heb 11:3), and only through this very Word can life be found (John 1:118; Rom
10:1315; 1 Cor 1:18; 15:12; Jas 1:21; 1 Pet 1:23). As the incarnate Word in the flesh,
Christ fully participated in the realm of mankind, making Gods revelatory glory more

Grudem, Systematic Theology, 47.
Brown, The Prologue of the Gospel of John, 435.

Bruce, The Gospel and Epistles of John,29.

Henry Clarence Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
Publishing, 2006), 49; In the OT, there are about 3,800 claims of God speaking to man through phrases
such as Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying (Exod 14:1; Lev 4:1; Num 4:1; Deut 32:48), For the Lord
speaks (Isa 1:2), The Lord said to Isaiah (Isa 7:3), Thus says the Lord (Isa 43:1), the word of the
Lord came expressively to Ezekiel (Ezek 1:3), The word of the Lord which came to Hosea (Hos 1:1).

evident, discernible and visible than ever before in history.

Christ also manifested His revelatory glory by His works. The glory that He bore
was clearly visible as manifested through His grace and truth (John 1:14). As Gods glory
had been seen through the passing of His goodness, Christs ministry also was marked by
His good works.
This incarnational glory manifested by Christ was accomplished
through sign-works, leading to faith (John 2:11; 11:4, 40).
Christ performed the very
works of God; not only as a deputy sent from Him, but as the One in whom the Father
was at work (John 5:36; 10:25; 14:10).
As Barrett put it, The deeds and works of Jesus
are the deeds and works of God; if this is not true the book is blasphemous.

Finally, Christs revelatory glory is seen in the felt-presence that He carried with
Him, that of God. When Jesus took on flesh, He dwelt or tabernacled (skenoo) with
As Gods glory had been in the midst of His people through the tabernacle in the

Gerald L. Borchert, John 111, NAC (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1996),

Martin Hengel, The Prologue of the Gospel of John, 287.

Robert Cook, The Glory Motif in the Johannine Corpus. JETS 27, No.3 (Sept 1984): 295. .

Murray Rae, The Testimony of Works in the Christology of Johns Gospel in The Gospel of
John and Christian Theology, ed. by Richard Bauckham and Carl Mosser (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
Publishing, 2008), 295.

C.K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes
on the Greek Text, 2
ed. (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1978), 156.

D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, PNTC (Leicester, England: Eerdmans Publishing,
1991), 127; the term skenoo literally means pitched his tabernacle or lived in his tent. The word for
tabernacle in Hebrew (miskan) is translated with the Greek skene in reference to Gods tabernacle (Exod
25:9), a word with the same root as the verb used to describe Christs sojourn on earth.


wilderness, so would it be again through the presence of Jesus Christ.
Ramsey explains,
The place of His dwelling is the flesh of Jesus.
But while all the other temples of God
had been transitory and incomplete, Christ came as eternal perfection, with a presence
enduring until the end of the age (Matt 28:20).

Christs Praise-Worthy Glory
Jesus praise-worthy glory, in Johns prologue, is much like that of Yahweh in the
Old Testament, as it demands much more than sporadic attention. Because Christ is
worthy, He deserves undivided commitment. While Yahweh was worshipped in the Old
Testament through a year-round calendar of feasts, celebrations and Sabbaths, through
submission to His Law and to His established religious system, Christ in the New
Testament is also worshipped through ones full consecration unto Him.
In Johns prologue, the praise-worthiness of Christ is seen in that those that truly
belong to Him receive Him (John 1:1112), a term implying total obedience and faith,
and which incorporates the definition of New Testament spiritual worship (Rom 12:1).

The contrast between verses 11 and 12, where Jesus own rejected Him while others
accepted Him, shows that Christs appearing came with a claim, that of calling ownership

A. M. Ramsey, The Glory of God and the Transfiguration of Christ (New York: Longmans,
Green and Co, 1949), 5960.

Ibid., 60.


Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 163.


on people. His own in verse 11 literally means his own property,
and must be
understood in light of Gods own in the Old Testament, referring to the people of
Israel, whom He had set apart and redeemed (Exod 19:5).
Jesus, as the Word of God
and Creator of this world, deserved fully to be welcomed and accepted as God by Israel,
with faith and commitment.
In Johns prologue, life is found in him (John 1:4).
Unity in Christ not only
precedes any true spiritual blessing (John 15:5; 2 Pet 1:3), but also includes the notion of
ownership. To be in Christ implies ones surrender to His Lordship, as unity with Him
is only achieved through the process of redemption, in which slaves of sins become
simultaneously children of God and slaves of God (Rom 6:22; Tit 2:14).
This worship
of Christ, mainly in action, is also worship in proclamation, as He is attributed Gods
doxa both on earth (John 1:14) and in heaven (Rev 5:12).

Christs Messianic Glory
The first chapter of the Gospel of John leaves no room for confusion concerning
the identity of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Son of God (1:14), the Word (1:1, 14), the
Life (1:4), the Light of the world (1:9), Christ (17), the only begotten in the
bosom of the Father (1:18), the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world

Ibid., 163.

Kstenberger, John, 37.

Cf. John 3:16; 5:40; 6:47; 10:10, 28; 11; 14:6; 17:2.

John MacArthur, Slaves (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 175.

1:29), the Messiah (1:41), the one written about in the Law by Moses and in the
Prophets (1:45), the King of Israel (1:49), and the Son of Man (1:2951).

When Moses begged God: Show me your glory! God answered, No! (Exod
33:20). When Philip asked Jesus: Show us the Father! (John 14: 8), Jesus answered: I
am here! (John 14:9).
Interestingly, as we study both Exodus and the Gospel of John,
we realize that what Moses actually asked God for nothing else but Jesus Christ not
only as the Angel of the Lord but also as the visible glory of God, full of grace and truth.
Moses plea was one for grace and mercy on behalf of sinners, one which can
only find an answer through the person of Jesus Christ, described by John the Baptist as
the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Jesus, giver of
salvation (John 1:12), came to fulfill the prophecies of the awaited Messiah, taking on the
sins of men (Isa 53:47). He was rejected by His own (John 1:10), yet to those who
believe in Him the salvation of God is given (John 1:12).
In Johns prologue, Jesus messianic glory is revealed clearly through the title
given to Him as Son of God, as it is put in juxtaposition with His glory (John 1:14; cf.
Pss 2:78; 89:2029; Mark 1:1; John 20:31; Acts 9:20; Heb 1:5). When God had
promised David for an heir that would have an eternal kingdom, He also promised that
this King would be like a son to Him (2 Sam 7:1314). While the promise was made

Tom Thatcher, Remembering Jesus: Johns Negative Christology, in The Messiah in the Old
and New Testaments, ed. by Stanley E. Porter (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2007), 165.

See Cook, The Glory Motif in the Johannine Corpus, 296; see also Victor P. Hamilton,
Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011), 567.Hamilton observes that
the LXXs rendering of show me your glory (deixon moi ten seautou doxan) is close to the Greek of John
14:8, Show us the Father (Deixon hemin ton patera).


initially to Solomon, the prophecy goes beyond the bounds of his reign, as his throne was
not established forever, although he did build a temple for God (cf. Acts 7:47).
Jesus also claimed that He would build a temple (John 2:1922; cf. Matt 26:61; 27:40;
Mark 14:58; 15:20), and to possess an imperishable kingdom (John 18:36; cf. Luke
22:2930). Psalm 89:27 also refers to Davids heir as the firstborn, the highest of the
kings of the earth, a title which cannot be applied to Solomon. As the Son of God, Jesus
is portrayed as the righteous heir of David, the messiah who was to come. Only through
His reign will Gods glory truly fill the earth (Ps 72).

Christs Participatory Glory
The Gospel of John, very specifically, speaks of mans participation into Gods
glory. Indeed, Jesus came not as a distant god, uncaring and unreachable. He came
among us, to be close and seen by His very own (John 1:14).

In John, salvation occurs in ones adoption, out of the world, and into Gods
family (1 John 2:29; 3:9).
Those who believe in Him obtain the right to be called
children of God (John 1:12), a concept which finds its roots deep into Jewish thought.
In the book of Ezekiel, Gods children are those born among His covenantal people, and

Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel, NAC (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1996),

Hengel, The Prologue of the Gospel of John, 284.

William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, NTC (Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, 1953), 81.


are His own (Ezek 16:20).
The language of being born again into Gods family is
especially clear in John 3 (cf. Ps 87). This new birth, as pictured in Johns prologue,
involves the participation of the believers in faith, in response to the revelatory ministry
of the second Person of the Trinity (John 1:12; cf. 20:31).
Christ indeed came to give a
light that would be perceptible by mankind, an incarnate light, calling for reasonable
faith, and displaying the meaning of true sonship in God.
Belief in Christ becomes unity
with Christ, as the new life is found in his name (John 1:12; cf. 2:23; 3:18; 1 John 3:23;
Apart from Christ, there is nothing to be gained (John 15:5), but in Christ there is
abundant life (John 10:10; cf. 3:1516, 36; 4:14; 5:21, 26, 40; 6:35, 48; 8:12; 11:25; 14:6;
20:31). In consequence, union with Christ becomes the basis of every single aspect of
Gods relationship to believers.

The glory of God, through the person of Christ, is given to believers, as Jesus
prayed, the glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one as
we are one (John 17:22; cf. 5:44). As John was a witness to the light (John 1:68),
Christs glory is also given to His disciples so that the world may know that you sent me
and loved them even as you loved me (John 17:23). As Jesus came displaying Gods

Bernard, John, 16.

R. H. Lightfoot, St. Johns Gospel (London: Oxford University Press, 1956), 81.

Brown, The Prologue of the Gospel of John, 435.

Kstenberger, John, 38; in John 1:12, the present participle believing denotes a continual
belief. Those who have believed indeed entered a life that was not only transformed, but that continues to
stands out in opposition to the world and its darkness; see D. B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond Basics,
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 62122.

Grudem, Systematic Theology, 840.

glory to give light and call people into faith, so His glory is given to His disciples so that
through their deeds of love and their proclamation of the truth unbelievers could come to
saving faith (cf. John 13:35; 15:8).

Christs Eschatological Glory
Christs eschatological glory is made evident in Johns prologue in the simple fact
that while on earth this glory appeared to be veiled. Jesus putting on flesh, a concept
referring to weakness, can only be understood in light the Word of God existing before
creation. Thus we understand Jesus plea before His death, And now, Father, glorify me
in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed (John
17:5). The connection with the tradition of Jesus reception into divine glory (1 Tim 3:16;
Luke 24:26; Acts 3:16) is indicated in John (7:39; 12:16 cf. 2:22); Jesus was glorified
only at His resurrection.

But as we turn to the book of Revelation to see the unveiled Christ, we see a glory
that is in conflict with sin, and which demands a final judgment. Indeed, the doxologies
in Revelation concerning Gods glory are either in response to the majestic character and
gracious works of God, or else prompted by judgment (4:811; 7:12; 11:13; 14:7; 15:4;
19:12, 7).
The solemn observation of Johns prologue, that He was in the world, and
the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him (John 1:10), places

Hegermann, ooo,o, 1:348.

Cook, The Glory Motif in the Johannine Corpus, 296.


under the spotlight the tension of this whole world being in the power of the evil one (1
John 5:19) and needing judgment.
As Hamilton pens it,
This prologue so full of glory, salvation, and judgment introduces the Gospel
[] a story of the salvation through judgment for Gods glory accomplished by
Jesus the messiah. And this story is told so that people will be saved though its
proleptic announcement of judgment on those who do not believe in Jesus,
through its promise of salvation to those who do believe in Jesus, and through the
persuasion that comes by the description of the manifest glory of Jesus in these

In Johns prologue, we see the same elements found in Exodus 33:12-34:35, but
with the person of Jesus Christ as the center, making Gods glory ever more knowable,
enjoyable and bright. Jesus, as the Word of God, is the King of kings and the Lord of
lords, and displays the authority of His majestic glory in granting salvation. His beaming
glory is much like that of Exodus 33-34, veiled and hidden. As for His essential glory, it
is manifested in the depth of His love, a love that is truly divine and deeper than man
understands. Christs revelatory glory is depicted in Johns prologue as the most
enlightening source of truth given to man since the creation of the world. As Creator and
Redeemer, Jesus rightfully deserves worship and devotion. As the Son of God, He is also
crowned with messianic glory and is the rightful heir promised in the Davidic covenant.
Through Him and Him alone can believers know God and participate in His glory. In His
name is found life, abundant and eternal. Belief in Him is the key to salvation, but the
rejection of His light brings eternal judgment. Indeed, Christs glory, while veiled on

Brown, The Prologue of the Gospel of John, 435.

Hamilton, Gods Glory in Salvation through Judgment, 359.

earth, will be revealed in the future, as the world will be purified and saved through



Gods glory is one of the broadest topics that one could study, and our brief study
certainly cannot do justice to the depth the subject, nor to the importance of its many
ramifications into other areas of theology and biblical studies. The subject is infinite, and
its study is and will continue to remain never ending. But this should not restrain those
with a hunger to know God from fully embracing the quest of understanding Gods glory.
It is unfortunate that so many systematic theologies ignore the importance of the concept
of Gods glory and its centrality in Scripture, or pass over it without adequate thought and
depth. If our theme is the aim of the Christian life (Eph 1:6; 1 Cor 10:31; Col 1:27), then
its pursuit cannot be ignored. Though its study may be difficult and broad, the reward for
the Christian community is invaluable. By giving this theological foundation on the glory
of God, our hope is to provide a framework which will help future students on the topic
to plunge deeper into the riches and treasures hidden in Scripture.
Gods glory, as we have seen, is not as esoteric as some often portray it. On the
opposite, it is accessible and inviting. We see this in the first image communicating
through Gods glory, that of a King. As David wrote, Lift up your heads, O gates, and be
lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle! (Ps 24:78). Gods kingly glory
is one that begs to come. Although it is a superior, unique and authoritative glory, it is a

benevolent and praise-worthy glory. God, the glorious King, worthy of renown and fame,
is so because He is truly good, as provider, giver, and source of all good things.
Gods glory is also one that challenges the senses. Gods beaming glory surprises,
blinds, inspires awe, generates holy fear, and greatly attracts. There is a reason why this
aspect of Gods glory has been, to some extent, in the center of the discussions on the
subject both among Jews and Christians. Its mysterious nature and transcendence seduce
the heart. It speaks of beauties beyond words. While it has remained hidden to mankind
for the most of history, the hope of seeing this glory unveiled rejoices the soul, as John
described, we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him
as he is (1 John 3:2).
Gods glory is also marvelous in that it describes the very essence of God. Like
Him it is set apart, holy, and wholly divine. Gods glory is who He is, and seen in all that
He does. When Gods glory is manifested, His heart is displayed, one full of love and
faithfulness, seeking the good of those that He has chosen, and with a passion to know
and to relate to His people on a personal level. In Gods essential glory His perfections
and excellencies are seen and shared, for the greatest joy of those that have fellowship
with Him, as Edwards penned,
Christ will give Himself to you, with all those various excellencies that meet in
Him, to your full and everlasting enjoyment. He will ever after treat you as His
dear friend; and you shall ere long be where He is, and shall behold His glory, and
dwell with Him in most free and intimate communion and enjoyment.

Jonathan Edwards, Altogether Lovely: Jonathan Edwards on the Glory and Excellency of Jesus
Christ, collected and ed. by Don Kistler (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997), 53.

Gods glory is also progressive in its revelation and very much like a story. It is
revelatory, and as it is given, it grants understanding of who God is. In this is much hope,
as each chapter of Gods revealed glory concludes with an open ending, and the promise
of more glory to come. From Moses to Jesus, the narrative unfolds, and the glory
increases. From creation to the eternal state, Gods glory has, is, and will be revealed
through His Word. From the creation of the world with the utterance of a few words (167
spoken words of God from the Hebrew language in Gen 1), to the canon of Scripture
given to mankind to make him equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16), and finally to
the hope of Gods yet unspoken creative words, Behold, I am making all things new!
(Rev 21:5), Gods Word speaks of glory. Similarly, Gods deeds and works, purposeful,
powerful, awe-inspiring and without equal tell of a God who cares, who acts, who directs
and who loves deeply. He is also a God who desires His presence to be known among His
people, and thus continually manifests Himself through His felt-presence.
Gods glory is one that is praise-worthy. It is the center of worship in songs,
doxologies and deserves a full consecration. As the most precious entity in existence, it is
worthy of pursuit and undivided devotion. It emanates from God, and as it is bestowed on
men, it begs reflection. Gods glory must be rendered to Him. Men cannot claim it, keep
it, or arrogantly refuse to give it to God. When it is displayed, it demands a response, and
the only fitting one is that of total and uncorrupted worship.
Gods glory is also messianic. It is Trinitarian, but especially centered on the
Person of Jesus Messiah throughout Scripture. Gods glory in theophanies, in both
Testaments, has been the manifestation of Christ, who is the hope of glory (Col 1:27). It
is only through ones union with Him that Gods glory can be known and enjoyed. In

Christ is found life, light and glory. He is the messiah who was promised in the Old
Testament, the clearest and best revelation of Gods glory in history, and the only way to
Gods glory also incorporates the greatest hope of the believers in that it can be
reflected and enjoyed. For them, Gods glory begins to be truly known through salvation.
Through the forgiveness of sins and the faith of the recipients, God enters in a fellowship
with His children in which He promises His constant presence and direction. The
consequence of this relationship is the possibility for believers to glorify God through
works worthy of Him, works indeed prepared by God Himself (John 5:8; Eph 2:10). And
as Moses reflected the light of God, believers are to reflect Gods glory into the world for
the purpose of making Him known, for His utmost glory, as Paul wrote, For it is all for
your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase
thanksgiving, to the glory of God (2 Cor 4:15). Edwards describes the phenomena in
vivid terms,
The refulgence shines upon and into the creature, and is reflected back to the
luminary. The beams of glory come from God, and are something of God, and are
refunded back again in their original. So that the whole is of God, and in God, and
to God; and God is the beginning, middle, and end in this affair.

Finally, Gods glory is eschatological. Its intensity and importance will only increase as
time passes, from the judgments of the Great Tribulation to the reign of Christ in the
Millennium and to the eternal state. Indeed, in the book of Revelations Gods glory is
seen as unveiled and ever-increasing. Because of sin and of mans fallen state, Gods

Works, 8:531.

glory has only been revealed partially, as we saw with Moses and even Jesus Christ who
emptied Himself (Phil 2:68). At the end of the age, Gods glory through judgment will
finally be manifested (Rom 9:22-23), bringing eternal victory and salvation to the
redeemed. Then will follow an age of incomparable bliss, as Christs union with the
believers will be sealed in glory with the wedding of the Lamb (Rev 19:78), unleashing
at last the heights of Gods hidden greatness to the fullest. Thus we conclude with the
words of Jonathan Edwards, the beseecher of Gods glory,
Let the most perfect union with God be represented by something at an infinite
height above us; and the eternally increasing union of the saints with God, by
something that is ascending constantly towards that infinite height, moving
upwards with a given velocity; and that is to continue thus to move to all eternity.

Thus we conclude: Gods glory is the ever-increasing revelation of His essence and
purposes, displayed through His Word, His works and His felt-presence, which calls for
the receivers unity and reflection, and tells of His incomparable goodness, beauty, and
praise-worthiness as perfect King, Savior, Judge and Creator, and of the unequaled
reputation attached to His name.

How Then Shall We Live?
A study of the glory of God would not be complete without a discussion on what
it means to glorify God. If glorifying God is to give God the glory, then we must follow a
similar definition: to glorify God is to reflect the ever-increasing revelation of His
essence and purposes, displayed through His Word, His works and His felt-presence,

Works, 8: 534.


which calls for the receivers unity and reflection, and tells of His incomparable
goodness, beauty, and praise-worthiness as perfect King, Savior, Judge and Creator, and
of the unequaled reputation attached to His name. While the implications following this
definition could fill-up another thesis, a few key elements need to be briefly pointed.
If Gods glory is the revelation of Himself, then it is impossible to glorify God
without knowing Him. Since Gods glory is personal, knowing Him cannot simply be a
strictly intellectual undertaking, but must imply a personal relationship. Thus growing
unity and constant fellowship with God are necessary for His glory to be reflected. Since
Gods glory is perfect and holy, knowledge of God must also imply salvation, which is
found in Jesus Christ, as one submits his life to His Lordship in faith and obedience. As
God is infinite, the knowledge of Him is also infinite, and believers grow in rendering
Him glory as they increase in their understanding and obedience to His revelation.
Since God is the source, it is impossible to glorify Him apart from a total
dependence. And as God makes Himself known through His Word, works and felt-
presence, the reflection of Gods glory must be accomplished by the proclamation of His
Word, the implantation and practice of Gods very deeds, and the carrying of His felt-
presence. Since Gods glory is praise-worthy, a proper attitude of humility and
thankfulness is necessary for the reflection of His glory, as well as a lifestyle that is
prioritized around His purposes and His Word.
If, since the fall of Adam, Gods glory has been revealed for the purpose of
salvation, then the reflection of Gods glory must be evangelistic. Gods glory is indeed
purposeful, and in this age, Gods intention in the unveiling of glory has been centered on
the redemption of the lost. To glorify God, in consequence, is to be purposeful in

reaching out to those who are separated from Him. In effect, the glory of God tells of the
beauties and wonders of God, and to glorify God is to proclaim His greatness, to both
believers and unbelievers. Because Gods glory is self-giving, it is others-oriented and



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