Can We Behold God’s Glory?

II Corinthians 4:6

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Can we see the glory of God? Two Scriptures come to mind concerning this question:

  • Exodus 33:18 – Moses beseeched God,Please, show me Your glory.
     ✡   Israel’s leader was angry, frustrated, and hurt 
          because the Jewish people, recently delivered 
          from slavery in Egypt, had now made an image of 
          Apis, the Egyptian god in the form of a bull 
          that symbolized fertility, sexual power, and 
          physical strength.

     ✡   Moses had been on Mount Sinai’s summit for forty 
          days receiving the Ten Commandments.Broken-hearted, exhausted, and angry, Moses 
          needed God’s strength, encouragement, and the 
          assurance that the LORD would remain with them 
          as Israel’s God, leading them into the Promised 

But what was God’s answer when Moses asked to see His glory?

     “You cannot see My face, for no man shall see Me 
     and live....Here is a place by Me, and you shall 
     stand on a 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 by. Then I will take away My hand, and you 
     shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” 
     (Exodus 33:20 through 23).
  • I Timothy 6:15 and 16 – Paul, writing about Jesus Christ in His heavenly glory, said,
     ...He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the 
     King of kings, and Lord of lords, who alone has 
     immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light,
     whom no man has seen or can see.......unapproachable light...! Light that cannot be approached!

Apparently, humankind, in our sin-tainted mortal bodies, cannot abide, or even remain alive, in the presence of the full manifestation of God’s glory! His righteous glory would so overcome our sinful person, that we would immediately die!

So how can we ever get to know who God really is if we can’t see Him? It is not a problem that we can ever solve……….but God did! He sent His Son to become a human being, a fully human being who veiled the divine glory, so we could abide in His presence!

But He was still fully God!

  • The Bible proclaims Jesus’ divinity multiple times! Here are a few Scriptures:
     John 1:1 and 14 – “In the beginning was the 
         Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word 
         was God...And the Word was made flesh, and 
         dwelt among us....John 14:7 through 9: 

           Jesus told His disciples, “If you had known 
           Me, you would have known My Father also; and 
           from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” 
           Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, 
           and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to 
           him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet 
           you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen 
           Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 
           ‘Show us the Father’?” 

      Philippians 2:6 (Contemporary English Version) – 
         “Christ was truly God.Colossians 1:15 – Jesus the image of the 
         invisible God....Hebrews 1:8 – “But to the Son He [the Father] 
         says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever
  • On that basis, that Jesus is truly God come in the flesh, Paul wrote in II Corinthians 4:6 (our featured Scripture):
     For it is God who commanded the 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.

We canseeGod in the face of Jesus Christ because He IS God come in the flesh!

  • How can we seeHim when He departed the earth almost two thousand years ago? I agree that we can’t physically see the face of Jesus (unless He gives us the rare occurrence of a vision of Himself). However…
  • We seeJesus through the Bible’s presentation of Him! The more we get into the Word, and the Word in us (see Colossians 3:16), the more real He becomes, and the more clearly we will see His face, and the glory of God in His face (His person)!

Above, I said, “…in our sin-tainted mortal bodies, [we] cannot abide, or even remain alive, in the presence of the full manifestation of God’s glory! His righteous glory would so overcome our sinful person, that we would immediately die!

In I Thessalonians 4:17 we read, “…and thus we will ever be with the Lord.How can this be, if His glory will destroy us? The answer is it will only destroy our sinful selves! When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are given a new nature! We become a new person in Him! As it says in II Corinthians 5:17, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.

  • The new nature is from God, a copy of the perfect human nature that Jesus had!
     John 1:12 and 13:

  many as received [Christ] them he 
           gave the right to become the children of God, 
           to those who believe in His name; who were 
           born, not of blood, nor of the will of the 
           flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

     John 3:3 and 5 – This is why Jesus told Nicode-
         mus, “...unless one is born again...born of...
         the Spirit...he cannot see the kingdom of God
         ....he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.This new nature is described as being born of 
         God, and is mentioned twice in I John:

         ➔   I John 3:9 – “Whoever is born of God does 
              not sin, for His seed remains in him; and 
              he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

         ➔   I John 5:18 – “We know that whoever is born 
              of God does not sin; but he who has born of 
              God keeps himself, and the wicked one does 
              not touch him.”

         Because the new nature comes from God, it is per-
         fect, without sin, and cannot sin!
  • If we are given a new nature, a copy of Christ’s godly nature, how come there is an ongoing battle against sin in the Christian’s life?
     ✞   We still have the old sinful nature! Paul calls 
         that nature the flesh’ in Galatians 5:19. Then 
         through verse 21 he gives examples of the nasty 
         stuff that comes out of that sinful nature: 

           Now the works of the flesh are evident, which 
           are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewd-
           ness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, 
           jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambi-
           tions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, 
           drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which 
           I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you 
           in time past, that those who practice such 
           things will not inherit the kingdom of God.             

     That old nature is called by other names in the 
         Bible – none of them good!

         ➔   Romans 8:3 – “...sinful flesh....”

         ➔   Romans 8:7 – “...the carnal mind....”

         ➔   I Corinthians 2:14 – “...the natural man....”

         ➔   Ephesians 4:22 – “...the old man....✞   The old nature and the new nature are constantly 
         at war!

         ➔   Romans 8:6 through 8 (Eastern Standard 

                For to set the mind on the flesh is death, 
                but to set the mind on the Spirit is life 
                and peace. For the mind that is set on the 
                flesh is hostile to God, for it does not 
                submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 
                Those who are in the flesh cannot please 

         ➔   Galatians 5:16 and 17 (International Standard 

                So I say, live by the Spirit, and you 
                will never fulfill the desires of the 
                flesh. For what the flesh wants is op-
                posed to the Spirit, and what the Spir-
                it wants is opposed to the flesh. They 
                are opposed to each other, and so you 
                do not do what you want to do. 

         ➔   Read Paul’s description of the battle in 
              Romans 7:14 through 24.

        So we are to ally with the new nature, and fight 
         the old nature, as it says in Romans 6:11 through 

           Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to 
           be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God 
           in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do 
           not let sin reign in your mortal body, 
           that you should obey it in its lusts. And 
           do not present your members as instruments 
           of  un-righteousness to sin, but present 
           yourselves to God as being alive from the 
           dead, and your members as instruments of 
           righteousness to God. For sin shall not 
           have dominion over you....

An interesting thing happens at the rapture’s resurrection of those who are “…dead in Christ…” (I Thessalonians 4:16), meaning those who have died believing in Jesus Christ as Savior:

  • I Corinthians 15:49 through 54: we have borne the image of the man of dust 
     [Adam, our first parent], we shall also bear the 
     image of the heavenly Man....flesh and blood can-
     not inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corrup-
     tion inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a 
     mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all 
     be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an 
     eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will 
     sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, 
     and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must 
     put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on 
     immortality....then shall be brought to pass the 
     saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in 
  • Philippians 3: 20 and 21:
     For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we 
     also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus 
     Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it 
     may be conformed to His glorious body, according 
     to the working by which He is able even to subdue 
     all things to Himself.
  • I Thessalonians 4:16 and 17:
     ...the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then those 
     who are alive and remain shall be caught up together 
     with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. 
     And so we shall ever be with the Lord.
  • I John 3:2:
     Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has 
     not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know 
     that when He [Jesus] is revealed, we shall be like 
     Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

These Scriptures reveal what occurs when, at the rapture, the Lord claims His faithful ones, both living and dead. Here is what happens:

  • The believing dead whose souls are already in heaven with Jesus (see II Corinthians 5:6-8), will have their bodies raised and reunited with their souls! Those Christians who are alive when the rapture occurs, will have our bodies changed into eternal bodies!
     It won’t be the old fleshly bodies that are 
         raised, the bodies that are wracked by sin. 
         We will be given a glorious body like Jesus’ 
         resurrection body!

     ✞   That glorious body...
...will never be subject to sickness, 
              and will never die!...will never be tainted by sin – or 
              even temptation to sin! 
  • Revelation 22:3 through 2 (International Standard Version):
     There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God 
     and the lamb will be in the city. His servants will 
     worship Him and see His face, and His name will be 
     on their foreheads. There will be no more night, and 
     they will not need any light from lamps or the sun 
     because the Lord God will shine on them. They will 
     rule forever and ever. He told me, "These words are 
     trustworthy and true....”

It is in that heavenly state that we will behold the full glory of the Triune God with no negative effects! Until then, we cansee’ “…the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ…” (II Corinthians 4:5). We can do this by getting into the Bible, and letting …the word of Christ dwell in [us]…richly…” (Colossians 3:16).

So immerse yourself in the Word, and the Word will immerse itself in YOU!

More and more you will see,
…the light of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ.