Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them, and came down [from the altar of burnt offering] after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings. Moses and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory and brilliance of the Lord [the Shekinah cloud] appeared to all the people [as promised]. Then fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell face downward [in awe and worship]. – Leviticus 9:22-24

The first question of the Westminster Confession asks: “What is the chief and highest end of man?” To which the following answer is given: “Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.” [emphasis added] Like God’s sovereignty, the theme of God’s glory stretches from Genesis to Revelation. His manifest presence among His people is His abiding glory (Shekinah). – Anthony Garland

Related designations of the shekinah are the word, the spirit, the glory, the light and the wings of the shekinah. From the Tannaitic and Amoraic literature it is clear that these designations of the shekinah refer to none other than the Lord. As Urbach has observed, a survey of all the passages referring to the shekinah leaves no doubt that the shekinah is no hypostasis and has no separate existence alongside the deity.

However, the New Testament presents the Christ as the word, glory and light of God and speaks of the spirit of God. The shekinah motif helps to explain the oneness and separateness within the Godhead. The New Testament authors employed this language to explain the mystery of the incarnation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. At Jesus’ birth the shepherds saw the glory of the Lord. John observed Jesus’ glory and identified Him with the word of God —

And the Word (Christ) became flesh, and lived among us; and we [actually] saw His glory, glory as belongs to the [One and] only begotten Son of the Father, [the Son who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, who is] full of grace and truth (absolutely free of deception). – John 1:14

At Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit descended and remained on Him. The Messiah’s glory was especially transparent on the mount of transfiguration. In the context of giving sight to a blind beggar, Jesus Himself declared, “I am the light of the world.” Shortly before His death Jesus prayed the high priestly prayer, in which He stated that the Son shares in the glory of the Father and prayed that believers may also share in this glory.

The counterpart of that glory in our lives today is the beauty of the character of Jesus. The New Testament says that the Spirit of God is at work in our hearts to produce glory unto glory. And Paul says that the glory of God is found in the face of Jesus Christ. So it is God’s character, the character of Jesus, appearing in you and in me in our daily encounters with people.






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