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KÂBÔD: Weighty, Glory

This is a revelation from Jesus Christ… standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across His chest. His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in His right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from His mouth. And His face was like the sun in all its brilliance. Rev 1:1, 13-16

Here we have an unveiling of Jesus Christ in His glory drawn from several OT passages. Just as the OT priest trimmed the lampstands, so Christ is among the lampstands that represent His churches (Rev 1:20). He oversees the condition of His churches by His presence among them.

He possesses the undiminished glory of God in His person and is compared to the “Ancient of Days” whose hair is like pure wool in Dan 7:9 (symbolizing His eternality and wisdom). The prophet Daniel speaks of a vision of a glorious being whose “eyes are like flaming torches” (Dan10:6). In Daniel 10, Daniel loses all his strength when he sees this vision (Dan 10:8,10). Here in Revelation, Christ is described as one with “eyes like flames of fire”.

The image of “feet like polished bronze” points to His moral purity as he walks among the churches that are to reflect His purity of life. The roar of His voice “like mighty ocean waves” is taken from Ezekiel’s vision of God where His coming is described:

Behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. Ezek 43:2

The impression is of power, majesty, vastness and even mystery. Revelation tells us later that the stars He holds in His hand are the angels of the churches (Rev 1:20). He rules over both the visible realm and the invisible realm. The fact that Jesus has a sword in His mouth speaks of Him as judge (Isa 11:4). This king fights for His people and is the One who all the nations will all ultimately answer to. The final picture of Christ is of radiance too glorious to look at—a great magnification of His glory on the mount of transfiguration! (Matt 17:2)

This vision is intended to create both fearful awe and great comfort in believers. Fearful awe, because Christ’s divine nature, when encountered, overwhelms us just as it did Daniel (Dan 10:7-10). Comfort, because this Mighty One walks among the churches that He redeemed! We are not alone. Christ’s glorious and awesome presence is with us!

Pastor Tim Kerr

 

KÂBÔD: Weighty, Glory

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory….”When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Matt 25:30-31

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Habb 2:14

The glory of God the radiant manifestation of His divine presence is most clearly seen in Jesus Christ. He has “great glory” and sits on a “glorious throne”. The glory He manifests is “HIS glory”. It belongs to Him by right, because it is the overflow of His essence and being.

The gospel message is, in the end, a message about the glory of Jesus Christ. One day the earth will be filled with this message. All people, from every nation, will know about the glory of the Lord, who is Jesus Christ!

The gospel is not a privatized message that just defines believers; it is not simply what we believe. It is a statement about ultimate reality. It concerns the true and living God–the only God. The God who seeks to save us by dying on a cross as a man. The God who will come again and judge the nations by that same man. The Man of glory! This is who we worship. This is who we proclaim to others.

Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Isa 40:9

 

Pastor Tim Kerr

KÂBÔD: Weighty, Glory

The glory of the LORD went up from the cherub to the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD….Then the glory of the LORD went out from the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim….And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city. Ezek 10:4, 18; Ezek 11:23

These chapters tell us of the shocking departure of God’s presence from the temple and Jerusalem. His protective presence over the people is lifted, even while the leaders of the city tell everyone they are still safe and protected.

Ezekiel lives in a time when most of God’s people have been sent into exile to Babylon for their sins—they have lost everything of value, save their own lives. The rest remain in Jerusalem. But those who remain do not repent of the sins that caused the exile, but continue in worldly idolatry with stubborn indifference. But because they are still in Jerusalem, they think they are still living under God’s favour, and that it is the exiles who are the ones “lost” to God.

In Ezek chapters 8-11 what we find, instead, is that God’s presence leaves the temple (and Jerusalem) and goes to dwell among the exiles! (Ezek 11:16)

Ian Duguid in his excellent commentary on Ezekiel suggests the following application for our day:

“We assume that things are as they appear and that we can easily identify those on whom God’s favour rests. We may place our trust in numbers: if many people attend a particular church or type of church, then surely God’s blessing rests on it and we should model our church after that style. But God’s presence is not so easily discerned. God’s presence can be removed from a church, just as it abandoned the temple. Outwardly, everything may still seem to be in place, but without the internal reality of God’s presence it is merely a matter of time before the whole edifice collapses…It is the presence of Christ that constitutes the church”. Ian Duguid, NIV Application Commentary on Ezekiel, chp 10-11

KÂBÔD: Weighty, Glory

The heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God…there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. Ezek 1:1, 26-28

This vision of God comes to the prophet Ezekiel while God’s people are in exile. Everything precious to them has been stripped away—their homes; their place of worship; and, seemingly, even their God. The time of victories is over—now they are simply living in survival mode. Hope seems lost. And yet, God speaks to His people in exile, while they are far from where they should be.

Ezekiel reminds us that part of the Christian journey is living in defeat and disappointment. It is partly grey skies, and living with things not as they should be. It is living with loss—sometimes even brought about by our own sin. Ian Duguid speaks to this issue with precision and insight:

“Why do we neglect the study of Ezekiel? Perhaps it is because in our culture we prefer heroes and idolize success; our models are strong, can-do’ types….The primary paradigm we have adopted is that of the victorious Christian life. How do we live with the reality of life in a different world, where victories are frequently hard to come by and right living does not always lead to success? How do we speak encouraging words to those not living the victorious Christian life but to whom it is an achievement simply to live the surviving Christian life? What does God have to say to those of us who frequently find ourselves, like the prodigal, far away from where we should be, suffering the deserved consequences of our actions? The answer is to balance the Biblical models of Exodus and conquest, with the equally biblical models of wilderness and exile” Ian Duguid, Ezekiel (NIV Application Commentary), Chapter 1

God’s glory is likened to a rainbow, taking us back to the hope of God’s promise given to Noah in the midst of a complete re-write of everything around him. Hear the message of hope for us in this for our day—in those times of deep sorrow and uncertainty, God still speaks and reveals His glory to us. God never abandons His people. And whenever God is still speaking, it means there is still grace available to us!

Pastor Tim Kerr

 

 

KÂBÔD: Weighty, Glory

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. Isa 60:1

In Isa 59, we find that God is living at a distance from His people because of their many sins (vs 2). These sins are catalogued in this chapter and the net result is a polluted thought life (Isa 59:7), resulting in a lack of inner peace (vs 8) and dark hopelessness (vs 9-10). But God promises to send a Redeemer to save those who cannot help themselves (Isa 59;16, 20) and He promises to give His Spirit to change their hearts and words (Isa 59:21). This is what immediately precedes the promise of Isa. 60:1.

The picture is of a person (representing the people of God) who is stooped down in shame because of their many sins. But God calls this person to rise up! He calls them to shine with the glory of God! (Eph 5:8): Two impossible commands! Yet possible, because God first rises upon them—God first shines Hislight upon them (Isa 60:2). And what is the glory of the Lord that rises upon them? It is the fruit of their redemption—the pouring out of the Spirit of God on His people! What hope!

“My Spirit that is upon you” Isa 59:21

“His glory will be seen upon you” Isa 60:2

Pastor Tim Kerr

 

KÂBÔD: Weighty, Glory

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Isa 58:8

Isa 58 is all about God’s people seemingly humbling themselves, seeking His face, and fasting to seek His favour. God responds to their “spiritual devotion” by telling them Hewould rather see love in action toward those in need than simply “private spiritual exercises of devotion”. On top of that, these people were engaging in self-love and loveless actions toward others, even while appearing “devout” in their religious activities.

In the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Isa 58:3

The promise in Isa 58:8 is offered to those who will stop serving themselves, and move from a harsh to a compassionate approach to other people: Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Isa 58:6

To those who serve others this way, God promises that the glory of the Lord will be their rear guard. So … what does this mean? It literally says “the glory of the Lord will gather you up”. It implies protection from behind; God caring for the weak and stragglers who are vulnerable to attack from behind. The picture is of God’s glorious presence protecting us from enemies that attack us when we are most vulnerable.

It is the same word used in Psalm 27:10: Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. Ps 27:10 NLT

The transcendent glory of God is said to carefully gather us, protect us, hold us close—that we may have no fear of the enemy; especially when we are weary, exhausted, lagging behind and therefore vulnerable. A wonderful promise! We take care of others and God takes care of us! When weak and tired, it is easy to seek “me time”. But this Scripture encourages us to continue to reach out to others even when we feel depleted. God will protect us in such times with His supernatural presence.

Pastor Tim Kerr

 

 

KÂBÔD: Weighty, Glory

It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God…..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 35:2, 40:5

The first passage, from Isa. 35, occurs after a chapter depicting God’s fierce judgement on the nations. Just when we are convinced everything is over and there is no hope, the promise of Isa 35:2 appears. The rest of the chapter goes on to describe the effects of seeing God’s glory: strength to the weak; courage to the fearful; the blind seeing; the deaf hearing; the lame leaping; water breaking out in the desert; and great joy for God’s people!

But it is not until we get to chapter 40 that we get a clearer view of what exactly the glory of the Lord is! Mark 1:1-3 quotes from Isa 40:3 and tells us that this glory is none other than Jesus Christ. He is the living hope, in the shadow of God’s fierce judgement. He is the dispenser of joy to God’s people!

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Pastor Tim Kerr

 

KÂBÔD: Weighty, Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork…..May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works,….and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD. Ps 19:1, 104:31, 138:5

God’s creation points away from itself to its Creator and artistic designer. His glorious being is revealed in His actions. We understand the person in the art they produce. The masterpiece is just a small piece of the Master. God’s glory, when encountered, is clearly designed (sometimes) to produce gladness and happiness. It is a means to joy. It gives God joy. It fills our mouths with singing. And it reveals a very important truth to us—happiness is not derived primarily from within our experience, but from our experience of God!

Pastor Tim Kerr

 

KÂBÔD: Weighty, Glory

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 2 Chron 7:1-3

Before Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the new Temple, the Scriptures tell us that they sacrificed “so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered” (2 Chron 5:6). Then immediately after his prayer, the Scriptures tell us that, “Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the LORD. King Solomon offered as a sacrifice 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.” (2 Chron 7:4-5). The sheer number of blood sacrifices are astounding!

The point must not be lost to us. God’s presence and glory cannot abide with His people without MANY dying in their place for their MANY sins. It is sin that keeps God from us and it is only when sin is dealt with that God can draw near to us. Christ’s death is greater by far than thousands upon thousands of blood sacrifices—“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb 10:4) and “You were ransomed with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! Oh, precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

Pastor Tim Kerr

 

 

KÂBÔD: Weighty, Glory

And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. 1 Kings 8:10-11

These verses were written at the dedication of the temple that king Solomon built for the Lord. Two items stand out in this chapter: Atonement through massive sacrifice (1 Kings 8:5, 63), and much prayer. In this atmosphere of blood atonement and prayer, we find God drawing near to His people—His glory—as a cloud—filling the temple.

Christ was the temple of God in whom all the fullness of God dwelt in bodily form (Col 2:9) even as His body offered the blood atonement that we needed for God to draw near (Heb 10:19-20). And so as Scripture says: 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 Corth 4:6

Pastor Tim Kerr