The Glory of God and Our Inheritance

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by Steve Moody

God has many attributes. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, incorruptible and immortal. He is also glorious. What does the Bible reveal about God’s glory?

The prophet Ezekiel gives us an impressive description of God’s glory:

“And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD” (

26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.

So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Ezekiel 1:26-28
).

But this awesome vision was only an appearance of God’s glory and not His actual glory, for no one can actually see God face-to-face in His full glory and live.

What does glory mean?

The word glory, in relation to God, has two aspects. First, the Hebrew word transliterated as kabowd or kaw-bode’ (primarily translated as “glory” in the Old Testament) can refer to praise and honor and at times even abundance and riches (

So you shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen; and you shall hurry and bring my father down here.”


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Genesis 45:13
;

On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Ezekiel 20:6
). Secondly, it can also refer to the brilliant splendor of God’s appearance.

The Greek word doxa, which is primarily translated as “glory” in the New Testament, also has these two aspects.

Doxa is translated as “honor” in

41 “I do not receive honor from men.

44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>John 5:41 and 44
. The King James Version translates it as “praise” in

So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>John 9:24
and

for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>12:43
. It can refer to the glory or praise that is due to God (

4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>John 17:4
;

9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Revelation 4:9
). For more on this important aspect of God’s glory―the praise due God―please read our article “Praise God.” Doxa is also used to refer to the material abundance of the kings of the earth in

24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Revelation 21:24
.

But doxa can also refer to the brilliant splendor of God’s appearance. The writer of Hebrews records that Jesus is “the brightness of His glory” (

3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Hebrews 1:3
). Jesus, who is now at the right hand of God, possesses the glory that He had with the Most High when He was the Word (

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>John 1:1-2, 14
;

5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>17:5
).

In

8 The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Revelation 15:8
we read of an effect of God’s glory: “The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”

We also read in

23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Revelation 21:23
, “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.”

Therefore, an important attribute of God’s very being is that He is glorious—shining with brilliant splendor.

More descriptions of God’s glory

After God delivered Israel from their bondage in Egypt, Moses led them to Mount Sinai. After speaking the 10 Commandments, God told Moses to come up on the mountain to receive the tablets (

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.”


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Exodus 24:12

). The account continues in

16 Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>verses 16-17

:

“Now the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.”

The people of Israel saw God’s glory as a devouring fire on the top of the mountain. But this was not God’s full glory.

Later in the account Moses asked to see God’s glory (

18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Exodus 33:18
). God replied in

20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>verses 20-22
: “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live. … Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

The One who was speaking with Moses was the Word who became Jesus Christ (

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>John 1:1, 14, 18
;

58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>8:58
;

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Exodus 3:14
;

4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>1 Corinthians 10:4
;

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Colossians 1:15-17
).

The apostles Peter, James and John were given the opportunity to have a vision of Jesus in His glorified state when He was transfigured before them on a high mountain.

2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Matthew 17:2
tells us: “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” This is similar to the description given in

16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Revelation 1:16
 of the glorified Jesus, whose “countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.”

In addition to teaching us about an attribute of God’s being and helping us praise and reverence Him, knowing about God’s glory actually helps us understand our own future!There are many other scriptures that refer to the brightness of God’s glory. But what does this mean to us? In addition to teaching us about an attribute of God’s being and helping us praise and reverence Him, knowing about God’s glory actually helps us understand our own future!

We are to inherit the glory of Jesus Christ

God created humankind to give us the opportunity to become the very sons and daughters of God (

17 Therefore

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>2 Corinthians 6:17-18
). If we are to become members of God’s own family, one of the attributes we will receive is the very glory of God.

Paul records that we are to “walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (

12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>1 Thessalonians 2:12
). What does it mean to be called into God’s glory?

Paul further writes in

14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>2 Thessalonians 2:14
, “He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus Christ now has the very glory of God. He is the “brightness of His glory” (

3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Hebrews 1:3
). We are to obtain the same glory (

14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>2 Thessalonians 2:14
) as sons or daughters of God.

Paul emphasizes this in

16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>Romans 8:16-18
: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (King James Version, emphasis added throughout).

The apostle John further explains in

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.


New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version ©1982 by Thomas Nelson“>1 John 3:1-2
, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

If we are counted worthy to enter into the family of God, we will become the very children of God—children of God who will be just like God’s firstborn Son Jesus Christ—having the same glory He has now.

To receive the very glory of God is a part of our inheritance as children of God. Read more in our article “Children of God.”

About the Author

Steve Moody

Steve Moody

Steve Moody graduated from Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, in June of 1971. He met his lovely wife and lifelong companion, Vivian, while in college. They married a few days following his graduation.

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