The Word and the Glory
As believers, we use the term “the Word,” and we refer to the Bible, yet we know it means so much more. Rarely do we preach on the Word to explain what this Name means. Throughout the Old Testament, the Lord revealed Himself through various Names that revealed different aspects, characteristics, personality, and heart of the Lord God. One of those Names is the Word. In fact, the term “the Son” is also used in the Old Testament, which is another Name given to Jesus Preincarnate.
“God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 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, having become so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellence Name than they.”
Hebrews 1: 1-4
The terms are used widely in Aramaic, which was read by the people in those days. Aramaic is a sister language to Hebrew. The Targum is an Aramaic translation in which there is included commentary and is accepted as authoritative. The Targum Neofiti says:
“From the beginning by means of the Word the Lord created and perfected the heavens and the earth”
Genesis 1: 1
In the time of Jesus, the Jewish teachers would quote the first part of a passage in the Bible, and the students would quote the rest of the verses. So, as we look at what John or the writer of the Hebrews is saying as they quote from the Old Testament, we are called to look further and review the rest of the verses. Further, they sought to reveal Jesus in those verses and encouraged us by the Holy Spirit to take hold of the revelation of Jesus in all those verses.
In the Targum, we learn that man was made in the image of the Word and:
And the Lord God created man in two formations; and took dust from the place of the house of the sanctuary, and from the four winds of the world, and mixed from all the waters of the world, and created him red, black, and white; and breathed into his nostrils the inspiration of life, and there was in the body of Adam the inspiration of a speaking spirit, unto the illumination of the eyes and the hearing of the ears.
Genesis 2: 7
When we think of all Creation, God simply said, ‘Let there be” and there was. The various living things were instantly created with life in them, but man was made in His image, and He breathed into man His Spirit. When the Lord would come to meet with man, it was His Word, and His Word came in His Shekinah glory.
We can see in the story of Creation and throughout the Old Testament the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Godhead, while One, has unique roles and operations.
Understanding the Glory
The Word was Jesus pre-incarnate. Where you see the Presence of the Lord, you always find the glory, and when you look on the Face of the Lord, you see the Shekinah glory.
John’s Gospel is unique and has such a powerful beauty to it. Listen to these words:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1: 14
This powerful and life-changing verse is available to all, but only those who choose to see Him and His glory will. The Lord God came and abided amongst men in Jesus, and all who would choose to see Him were changed. With the abiding Presence of God, He is either veiled or unveiled. Through what Jesus, the Living Word, did during His earthly ministry and the finished work of the Cross, we have been invited to go beyond the veil and truly experience the abiding Presence and His glory. In fact, Jesus’s life manifested the glory of the Father.
In the Old Testament days, the Lord ‘s abiding place among men was in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. That Tabernacle was covered in goat skins so that from the outside, it was unappealing. But once you went inside, it was an actual experience and beautiful.
Like those looking on the outside of the Tabernacle, most, when they looked at Jesus, only saw a man. But to those whose eyes were open, they saw Jesus, and for those who pressed into the deeper waters like John, they saw the Shekinah glory.
In the account where the Lord came to Abraham to discuss judgment on Sodom, after Abraham finishes negotiating, it says:
“So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.”
Genesis 18: 33
The Targum reads:
“And the majesty of the Shekinah of the Lord went up when he had ceased to speak with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.”
Genesis 18: 33
Again, we see the Shekinah glory associated with the abiding Presence of the Word. If we move forward to the account of Jacob and the vision of the ladder. The event occurred on what is now the Temple Mount. It reads:
And, behold, My Word is for thy help, and will keep thee in every place where thou shalt go, and will bring thee (again) to this land; for I will not leave thee until the time when I have performed all that I have told thee. Gen 28:16 And Jakob awoke from his sleep, and said, Verily the Glory of the Lord’s Shekinah dwelleth in this place, and I knew it not.
Genesis 28: 15- 16
Face to Face, Eye to Eye
There is something in humans that we long for and need face-to-face encounters. The most powerful relationships are built upon rich face-to-face encounters. Remember, Jesus explained the eye is the lamp of the soul. When we stand face-to-face with someone, it is harder to lie. Whey, because people can read your body language and look into your eyes.
The site where the Lord met Jacob was holy to the Lord, and it is here that the Tree of Life once sat and the glory of the Lord dwelt (Genesis 3: 24- Targum). Now if we go forward to the Exodus and the account of the burning bush, the Lord said to Moses:
And I was revealed unto Abraham, and to Izhak, and to Jakob, as EI-Shaddai; but My Name Ye-ya, as it discovereth My Glory,* was not known to them. *Or, in the face of My Shekinah
Exodus 6: 3
Here we are introduced to the term “the face of My Shekinah.” If we go to Paul’s writings, we see:
“For it is the God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God IN THE FACE of JESUS CHRIST.”
2Corinthians 4: 6 Emphasis added
Did you catch what Paul said regarding Jesus, the Word, and the glory or Shekinah in His face?
The Fire of His Glory
We also see in the account of the Exodus:
“And the glory of the Shekinah of the Lord went before them by day in the column of the Cloud to lead them in the way, and at night the column of the Cloud removed behind them to darken on their pursuers behind them; but to be a column of fire to enlighten them before, that they might go forward by day and by night.”
Exodus 13: 21
The manifestation of the cloud and the pillar of fire was part of His Shekinah glory. Then when we go to Mount Sinai, was consumed by the fire of God, and Moses went up to receive the Law, we read:
“And the glory of the Lord’s Shekinah abode upon the mountain of Sinai, and the Cloud of Glory covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the Cloud. And the appearance of the splendor of the glory of the Lord was as burning fire with flashes of devouring fire; and the sons of Israel beheld and were awe-struck.”
Exodus 24: 16-17
It is hard to imagine this incredible and yet terrifying sight as the Lord revealed something that shuck everything inside of those who beheld it. Now turn to Isaiah and his encounter. The King James version reads:
“I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.”
Isaiah 6: 1
Now the Aramaic version reads:
“I saw the glory of the Lord resting upon a throne, high and lifted up in the heavens of the height; and the temple was filled by the brilliance of His glory.”
Isaiah 6: 1 Targum
“The Word of the Lord sits upon His throne, high and lifted up, and hears our prayer.”
Isaiah 6: 1 Targum-Pseudo-Jonathan
This incredible encounter that Isaiah had and forever changed him was with the Word, pre-incarnate Jesus, seated on the throne. Here he saw the Word and the Shekinah glory, and he was overwhelmed and filled with the conviction of the Holy Spirit. You will always find that when you encounter His Shekinah glory, it comes with great conviction and holy fear. We must remember His Word is an all-consuming fire that is manifested in His glory.
Show Me Your Glory
In the Book of Judges, chapter six, the Lord visits Gideon.
“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon said to Him, ‘O my lord, if the Lord is with us…”
Judges 6: 12, 13a
In verse twelve, the Aramaic records, “The Word of the Lord is for your help,” and Gideon’s response was, “If the Shekinah of the Lord is our help…”
Looking at Moses’ request to see the Lord’s glory:
‘And he said, Please, show me Your glory! Then He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the Name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. ‘ But He said, ‘You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live. And the Lord said, ‘Here is a place by My, 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 be. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
Exodus 33: 18-23
We have all heard and know these powerful verses on the glory. But I want to share some powerful insight from the Aramaic in which the Lord’s response to Moses is, “the glory of my Shekinah’ passes by, “you will see the Word of the glory of my Shekinah, but it is not possible for you to see the face of the glory of my Shekinah.”
So, there is a strong connection between the Word and the Shekinah glory. We read the Word so casually and think we can make it bow to our opinions and our ways. Such ignorance shows that we fail to recognize and receive the Word for who He is! No wonder we don’t see the glory in our lives and churches!
In Exodus chapter thirty-five, we see:
“Now the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.”
Exodus 35: 5, 6
Here we see the abiding Presence of God descend, and if we look at the Aramaic, it reads, “the glory of the Shekinah was revealed,” (Targum Neof.) and “The Lord revealed Himself in the clouds of the glory of His Shekinah,” (Targum Ps. J).
In Leviticus chapter nine we see the ordination and anointing of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood. This was clearly a powerful and glorious event. In verse four, Moses told Aaron:
“For today the Lord will appear to you.”
Leviticus 9: 4
In the Aramaic, it reads:
“For today the Word of the Lord will be revealed to you.”
Leviticus 9: 4 Targum Neofiti
Now go forward to verse six:
“And the glory of the Lord will appear to you.”
Leviticus 9: 6
The Aramaic reads:
“The glory of the Shekinah of the Lord will be revealed.”
Leviticus 9: 6
Clearly, we see the Word came to Aaron and the Shekinah glory is associated with the Presence of the Word. We see that the Word and the Shekinah are equated.
The Character of His Glory
Today companies are guided by their core values which help define them. His glory is His core values, and because of His glory, He never changes. That is why on the Cross, despite it all, He never changed.
Understand that there is a powerful connection between the Mercy Seat, the abiding Presence, and the Shekinah glory! Remember the Lord’s Presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies above the Mercy Seat.
“And the Lord said to Moses: ‘Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.”
Leviticus 16: 2
In the Aramaic, it adds: “In my cloud, the glory of my Shekinah, My Word, is revealed over My mercy seat.”
Going back to what John wrote:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1: 14
Here, John ties together Jesus the Word appearing in the flesh and the glory. Jesus, the Lord God, had encapsulated His Word and His glory in a human. Now for those who had eyes to see, they saw His glory, and for those who didn’t, His glory remained behind a veil. To see Him and His glory, we must understand the Mercy Seat and what He did for us at Calvary.
So, often the way in to experience His Presence and glory is through a baptism of tears because of deep conviction and repentance. Those who know His glory must be people who are always quick to truly repent.
Vessels Filled with His Glory
But what about now that Jesus has ascended back to Heaven?
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4: 6, 7
We have this treasure in earthen vessels:
“Do you not know that you are the temple (Holy of Holies) of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
1 Corinthians 3: 16
The enemy, the world, and our flesh always want us to be fixated on the outer flesh man. We never see ourselves as perfect, and we never see the glory. False religious spirits will come to condemn and accuse so that you are held looking at your imperfections. But, if we press on to know Him, He wants us to see His glory in our frail earthen vessels. As I explained, He longs to fill every empty vessel and to reveal His glory through the broken vessels. That is broken of themselves so that they no longer look to them or seek validation from man, but they fix their eyes on Him. As they do, His glory lifts them and begins to transform them.
In life, if we want to see ourselves, we look in a mirror. But mirrors don’t tell the full story and, depending on the lighting can provide a wrong image of us. But we are called to look into His face, His glory as we would look in a mirror so that as He is, so too are we in this world.
The Holy of Holies
Today the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in us and makes us a “Holy of Holies” for the Presence of God to dwell in. Now remember why it was called the Holy of Holies- because it was a place of absolute holiness. If we are to see Him face-to-face, then we must be holy and come in His holiness. Going back to Second Corinthians, we see:
“But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”
2 Corinthians 3: 7, 8
Paul, in Second Corinthians chapter three, talks about the face of Moses glowing because of the impact of being with the Lord. As new creations, we have been brought into something so beyond anything on this earth. You have become a vessel in which His glory dwells. In the Old Testament, the glory made Israel the chief nation and undefeatable. In the same way, His glory will lift you. Listen to this:
And it was at the time when Mosheh came down from the mountain of Sinai, with the two tables of the testimony in the hand of Mosheh, in his descending from the mount, that Mosheh knew not that the visage (form) of his face shone with the splendour which had come upon him from the brightness of the glory of the Lord’s Shekinah in the time of His speaking with him.
Exodus 34: 29
So, the glory that shone from the face of Moses was the Shekinah glory. In Isaiah 53, we see the prophetic declaration of Jesus the Suffering Servant. He took your brokenness and poor self-image upon Himself and overcame it, so that His glory could dwell in us and amongst us. We are told about Him that:
“He had no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”
Isaiah 53: 2b
In the Targum, it adds: “As a man of sorrows and appointed for sicknesses; and as when the face of the Shekinah was taken up from us…”
Isaiah 53: 4
His glory was perfectly revealed on the Cross, but at that moment, the Lord poured out His wrath on sin:
“With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,’ says the Lord, your Redeemer.”
Isaiah 54: 8
The Targum says:
“For a brief hour, for a time, I took up the face of My Shekinah from you, but with everlasting benefits which do not cease I will have compassion on you, says the Lord.”
Isaiah 54: 8 Targum
To experience His glory and to be filled with His glory demanded a price be paid that, honestly, you could never pay. It was the depth of His mercy and glory that caused Him to pay the highest price for you. He didn’t barter to see how low of a price He could pay, but rather gave all for you.
A Revelation of His Glory
We are to be people who walk in living revelation. That is, eyes open to see and hears to hear so that the Holy Spirit can make known to us the riches of His glory. His death and resurrection mean nothing until you get the revelation of it, and that revelation grows so loud in you, you must confess it. The world around you may condemn and persecute you, but they don’t see what you see. Like Jesus, you now live your life on this earth to reveal that glory so others may taste and see His goodness.
To better understand the Shekinah glory, let us go back to the Garden of Eden. Here in the Aramaic, we gain powerful insight that it was the Word that came to visit Adam and Eve:
And he said, The voice of Thy Word heard I in the garden, and I was afraid, because I am naked; and the commandment which Thou didst teach me, I have transgressed; therefore I hid myself from shame.
Genesis 3: 10
Now, we know that the Lord commanded Adam and Eve to leave the center of the Garden and put cherubim to prevent them from having access to the Tree of Life.
“Therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So, He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Genesis 3: 23, 24 NKJV
Think about how Adam and Eve walked in the Shekinah glory, such that they never saw themselves. It was only after they sinned that they had to hide from God and one another. All men since the Fall have walked hiding from others until they come to the Cross. In the Old Testament, the Presence of God and His Shekinah glory abiding in the Garden before the Fall, then in the Tabernacle/ Temple in the Holy of Holies above the mercy seat. But what about today?
Well, we have seen He abides in us.
“For where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am in the midst of them.”
Matthew 18: 20
And if we go to Ephesians Paul says, quoting from the Psalms:
“Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity, and gave gifts to men.”
Ephesians 4: 8
He was quoting from Psalm sixty-eight:
“You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.”
Psalm 68: 18
So, it was the desire of God to dwell among His church and His glory. On the Day of Pentecost, the Lord God came through the Holy Spirit and dwelt in the believer and with the believer.
“to Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3: 21
And going back to Second Corinthians:
“For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what was passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious… unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ… Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veils is taken away.”
2 Corinthians 3: 10-11, 13 and 16
It is clear that holy fear is to be associated with the Presence and Shekinah glory. When we look at revivals and Awakenings in the Church, we see the Presence of God invade an area, region, or country. When the Presence and Shekinah of the Lord invade an area, it changes the moral and spiritual climate of that area. Those who would dare come to mock the Lord are struck down by the power of God. Holy fear fills the Church, and the Lord moves in power, transforming people.
In Paul’s discussion on the glory, he explains:
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3: 18
We are transformed, and He dwells in our midst. His desire is to fill us individually with His Presence and glory, then when we come together to abide with us in His Presence and glory. Oh, we need the fire and the glory. When His Presence is given honor, and we heed His Word, His Spirit transforms us, and as He is, so too are we in this world. If we are to impact this generation, it will not be in our skill and marketing prowess but in the manifestation of His glory. The glory on the Day of Pentecost shuck Jerusalem and caused a multitude to be brought into the Kingdom. We need the fire and the glory again so that we might reach our generation and see a mighty harvest.