The word ‘glory‘ is an important word in the Bible.* You will find the word in many places. You will also find that the Bible uses the word in more than one way.
When God led Moses* and the people out of Egypt*, they did not have enough food. God decided that he would provide food for the people. But first, he showed them that he was present among them. He appeared to the people in a bright cloud. The light that surrounded God when he appeared is called the glory of God.
Later, this bright cloud led the people through the desert. It was like a cloud of fire. When Moses went up on the mountain to talk to God, this cloud covered the mountain. Many years later, this cloud surrounded God’s tent in the camp where God’s people lived. Then, this bright cloud came into the temple* that Solomon* built. When the cloud entered the temple, this was a sign that God had come to live among the people. When the people saw this, they described it as the glory of God.
In the New Testament*, we read about the glory of God in this way as well. When Jesus came, he was God living among them. One day, Jesus took some of his friends up on a mountain. Moses and Elijah* appeared to them. And Jesus’ clothes began to shine like a bright light. God had shown himself to his people in the past in this way. Now, these men saw this glory in the person of Jesus.
Some day, God will make a new heaven* and a new earth. This new heaven and new earth will need no sun. The light of the glory of God will be the only light that will be needed there.
The word glory can also describe the great things that are true about God. In English, we can use the word ‘see’ to mean ‘understand’. Sometimes, when someone says, ‘I see’, they are saying ‘Now I know. Now I understand.’ So, when we come to know how excellent God is, we can say that we see his glory.
The writers of the New Testament use the word glory in this way most often. They ‘saw’ the glory of God in Jesus. They did not see Jesus in a bright cloud in the way Moses saw God. Jesus was God in human form. They saw God’s glory in the way Jesus lived among them. They understood God’s glory in what Jesus said to them. They saw God’s glory in the way he died. They saw God’s glory in Jesus when God raised him up from the dead. They saw God’s glory when he went up to heaven to be with the Father again. They came to understand who God was in a new way when they saw him in Jesus. When they saw Jesus, they could see in him God’s goodness and beauty and wisdom. They saw that God was just and merciful* when they saw those qualities in Jesus.
Some day, Jesus will return to the earth. He will sit to judge all people. Jesus will punish evil.* He will bless* his people. In those days, ‘the whole earth will be filled with God’s glory’. Everyone on earth will see God for who he truly is. Everyone will see his glory.
The word glory can also mean value or honor.* So the Bible tells the people who follow God that they should ‘give God glory’. That means that they are to show God the respect* and give him the praise* that he deserves.
‘God made all things for his own glory.’ That is, God made all things as a way to show himself to us. When we see God in what he has made, we will give him the honor that he deserves.
‘The heavens tell about the glory of God.
The skies show that his hands made them.‘
God made all things. And all of the things that he made help people see him for all that he is. When people truly see God in the things he has made, this brings him glory.
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