August 28, 2015
Last week's Coffee Break kind of scratched the surface in dealing with the four Hebrew letters that make up the name, the onoma, the shém, the very character and nature of the Lord God. I would really like to expand more on that picture, and perhaps we can take another look in the weeks to come, but this week let's consider the very nature of the Glory.
Let’s begin today's sharing by looking at some of the specific prophecies that have been given to us throughout the Word.
Numbers 14:21: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
Habakkuk 2:14: For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Isaiah 40:3-5: The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
We get something of a picture of these statements in John the Baptist’s preaching in the wilderness as he quotes from Isaiah’s prophecy:
Luke 3:4-6: As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
The Greek text of Luke uses a word which most English translations render as “salvation” rather than “glory,” but J.H. Thayer, in his Greek-English Lexicon renders the word, soterion (which comes from soteria, which in turn is extrapolated from sozo) like this (and I’ve edited it a bit to reflect the present tense): The sum of benefits and blessings which Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, enjoy [in] Christ in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God.
That “sum of benefits and blessings” is illustrated in the Hebrew word, kabod, which is often rendered “weighty.” But it goes beyond that. You may remember how Abraham was described as he left Egypt:
Genesis 13:1-2: And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
Dr. William Gesenius, in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, defines kabod like this: to be made heavy, be honoured, enjoy honour, be made abundant, to be glorious, to have splendor; numerous, rich, honorable; to make weighty.
To these definitions, we could add: to be made highly visible, to provoke awe and great respect.
The description of Abraham indicates a weight of great wealth and abundance. Where the KJV uses the word “rich” to describe Abraham, the Hebrew uses a derivative of kabod: kabad: which adds to the meaning of kabod: to be promoted to honor, to have been made weighty [with nobility].
All of these terms are defining of the word, glory, but there’s a whole lot more that words don’t capture. There's an old cliché you've all heard, and this is one place it really applies: "A picture is worth a thousand words." When you have seen the Glory of the Lord -- even one time -- there are not enough words in the dictionary to really adequately describe what you've seen.
That said, consider a picture in words that Isaiah draws when he begins to prophesy concerning the Glory of the Lord being revealed in the earth. I will begin with the conventional KJV translation, and then expand upon that translation from the Hebrew.
A quick note before we get there -- and it seems like I've shared this before -- rabbinical scholars have told me that there are not less than seven layers of interpretation and depiction in every prophetic utterance in Scripture. One rabbi recently suggested to me that there were not less than twelve. In any case, this prophecy is filled with metaphors, as you will quickly see.
Isaiah 60:1-7: Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD.
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.
This prophecy is filled with Hebrew metaphors that get lost when translated literally, word by word. We’re going to run long, but let’s take this step-by-step and amplify this prophecy out of the Hebrew.
Stand up! Accomplish, confirm and decree the dawn, the break of day — that moment when light overwhelms the darkness! That light has been introduced to the world and reached maturity in you and the splendor, the weight, the glory and honor of the Lord now irradiates you!
See and consider the misery, the destruction, the sorrow, the wickedness, the ignorance and death that will cover the earth, and the impenetrable gloom the people: but God Himself will manifest on you irradiating and exposing His light, His life, His character and makeup; and His splendor, His weight, His glory and His honor will be visible and discerned as inhabiting you.
That will cause the masses, the heathen, the nations of the world to be drawn and come, desiring to be conversant with that brightness, that revelation of the Lord that is in and upon you; and kings, royalty, heads of state and leaders of every kind will come, desiring to receive the light of the revelation now coming forth from you.
[Forget the past! Stop focusing on what was, and what you have seen in the past!] Pay attention now to what is taking place around you. See? They are all gathering around and assembling before you! They are coming to you! Do you see them? Your sons, your grandsons, your great-grandsons — all those whom you have nourished in the past — are coming from remote and distant places; your daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters are returning to receive the impartation of faith and trust [so there will be a permanence of that revelatory character they see in you.] (Isaiah 60:1-4, RAC Translation & Amplification)
When that takes place, you will see and be utterly astounded at the overflow of joy that will flood all of you; your heart, your soul, your understanding will be awestricken, and your mental restrictions — (your religious boxes) — will be broken; [the scope of your understanding will be greatly enlarged] because the masses and wealth of many peoples will suddenly turn to your favor (those who have opposed you will be overturned, and the attitudes of those who’ve doubted who you really are (and your integrity in God) will utterly change as they are converted; the wealth, the power, and the efficient might of the nations will turn to you, resorting to you as their strength.
Companies of laborers with their burden-bearers will cover [your needs]; the young, burdened with contention and gloom will come; they of the Covenant will bring you their gold and their sweet-smelling incense; all of these will come together, publicly giving thanks and singing the praises and adoration of the Lord.
All those flocks who have been in darkness and gloom will gather and assemble around you; [at the same time] those who are strong and abound with fruit will attend to your needs, ministering to every aspect of your life: with joy and pleasure will they come to offer sacrifices (of praise), and I will embellish, vaunt and beautify the family — MY family — whom I shall honor with majesty. (Isaiah 60:5-7, RAC Translation and Amplification)
The Glory of the Lord is NOT passive by any means. Not only does it change the atmosphere and environment around us, it has a very creative, drawing power. It draws people into the presence of the Lord.
One thing I have found as a constant, and that is that God’s Glory always becomes visible. Consider for a minute a couple of statements that Jesus made.
John 14:12-14: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
The works that Jesus did brought Glory to Father, but that Glory was also revealed in the Son, Jesus Himself. Jesus made it clear that our asking for ANYTHING in Jesus' onoma (not simply in His name, using the name, Jesus, (or Yeshua) like some kind of magic formula) was His purpose and desire, and that the very asking -- accompanied by the answer -- would manifest God's Glory.
You realize, of course, in what Jesus just stated that the works that He did were almost a foretaste of that which is to come in the people of God! Greater works? Greater than what everyone saw Jesus do? Yessiree!! Buckle your seatbelts, folks! You ain't seen nothin' yet!
Then there is the statement He made as He prepared to ascend into Heaven:
Mark 16:15-18: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
The visibility of the Glory is manifested in the signs, the wonders, the displays of healing, of miracles, of communication. But it goes beyond the realm of the miraculous — at least that which we treat as miraculous.
A year ago last fall, as Rich Warren and I were leading worship at the Miracle Ranch men’s retreat over on the Olympic Peninsula, the presence of the Lord became tangible in the room. Because the weather was cool, the very large fireplace near the center of the main wall was lit, and logs were burning.
The room began to fill with what at first appeared to be a haze. There was no smoke odor, however, and a careful glance at the fireplace made clear the fact that what we were witnessing was not smoke. The haze remained just that. It was fairly light — not thick and overpowering — but we became aware that what we were seeing was a manifestation of the presence of the Lord. A peace flooded the atmosphere such that it quieted the whole place. No one moved and no one uttered so much as a word for a good ten minutes. You could have heard a pin drop.
Not until the men left the building later that night did they begin to talk about it. It was the first time any of us had ever witnessed anything like it, and yet we hadn't even scratched the surface of where God is taking us.
There is another aspect of the Glory of the Lord as it is seen in the Word, as well as in the events that are about to take place in the Bride of Christ in the coming days, weeks and months. That's where we will go next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Again, the number to call for healing is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#. We also want to alert you to the fact that come September 14th, our prayer call number is going to change. Our current conference line has experienced drop-outs and periodic audio quality issues, so this is needed! We will keep you apprised of the new number in the days ahead.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (559) 726-1300, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (559) 726-1399, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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