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 Land!
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 “...is 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 can ‘see’ God in the face of Jesus Christ because He IS God come in the flesh!
- How can we ‘see’ Him 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 ‘see’ Jesus 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: ...as many as received [Christ]...to 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 Version): 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 God. ➔ Galatians 5:16 and 17 (International Standard Version): 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 14: 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:
...as 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 victory.”
- 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 can ‘see’ “…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.”