By Diane Caston
In the 1967 during the 6 day war in Israel a young soldier named Arie ben David had a miraculous experience. Arie was the grandson of Bulgarian holocaust survivors. His father was a highly intelligent man who when young was on a search for the meaning of life. Through all of his studies he couldn’t find what he was looking for. While in Switzerland studying, one day in his room, he was distracted by a parade. As he went outside to view this marching band, one of the trumpet players put a booklet in his pocket. It had a simple gospel message, and through it Arie’s father was saved.
After his studies Arie’s father settled in the newly formed country of Israel. Being possibly the first Messianic Jew in Israel, his father set about to share the good news about Yesua.
Fast forward to 1967 and Arie was fighting in a war to continue the independence of the young state of Israel. He was stationed in the Sinai desert, and his unit was fighting against the Egyptians. Suddenly the UN called a cease fire, and his unit was ordered to immediately stop fighting and return to the rest of their unit, never mind the fact that the Egyptians didn’t get the memo, and Arie and his men had no idea where they were. Arie was a strong believer in Yeshua and had made sure that all of his companions knew it, so his commanding officer told him to ask his God to lead them back to their base. Arie had no previous experience leading and since there are no street signs in the desert, and the sky was blackened with the smoke of fighting, he thought this an auspicious task. He prayed and immediately felt that he was indeed supposed to lead them back. He looked into the smoke-filled air wondering where on earth to go, and he saw a light. He didn’t know what it was, but he sensed that he should follow it. He told his men that they should, without question, obey every command that he made to them, and off they went. At his command to run, they ran like they had never run before, and right behind them the explosions started. Further along he saw some holes in the ground, and Arie commanded them to jump in. He himself was blown in the air by the following cascade of military strikes. All alone the way, they were miraculously saved by an intuition that rested on Arie. All the way the light, as a singular presence, guided Arie. He was the only one who saw it.
To this day at 70 years old, Arie says that light is in his mind. The light and the experience of deliverance changed him, and he felt an awesome responsibility to lead men to the light. He had been saved for a reason. He bore a weight of glory. He had been set apart for the purposes of the Lord.
Now those of us who have come to the Lord have had this same light shine on us. Somewhere along our journey Jesus intersected our road and changed the rest of life for us as we began to follow Him. We have this same calling as Arie. Maybe our encounter with the Lord was not as dramatic as Arie’s, but we know we have been changed, and we know we have a responsibility once we accept the price Jesus paid to save our lives.
Our theme this weekend is a Spectacle of Glory. As we begin, what exactly is glory?
(Heb. kabhod; Gr. doxa).
Glory is an expanse word and hard to define, but some of its connotations are:
(1.) Abundance, wealth, treasure, and hence honor.
(2.) Honor, dignity; of God; of the mind or heart of God
(3.) Splendour, brightness, majesty
(4.) The glorious moral attributes, the infinite perfections of God. Jesus is the "brightness of the Father's glory"
Hb 1:1-3; 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[a] purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
(5.) The bliss of heaven
6.) The wonder of God’s creation
Ps. 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
It is sometimes stated that God’s glory is the external manifestation of his Being. God’s glory is something that appears (Ex 16:10) Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. ,
is revealed (Is 40:5) And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it .,
or can be seen (Num14:22) Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice ;.
There is also a more fundamental sense in which God has glory prior to any external manifestation of it. As we will see as we continue there are aspects of God’s nature that are revealed to Moses (his name, or “back”), and there are other aspects that are not manifest (His glory, “his face”). Thus, God’s glory exists prior to and apart from any manifestation of it.
. 1. The Glory of the Name of the Lord
Moses is the central character of our story this weekend. Miraculously saved at birth, called to lead the Jewish people out of bondage in Egypt, embarrassed and shunned by trying to do this in his own strength, cloistered in the desert with a probable question of what had happened to what he thought was his calling, he had his own experience with the light & glory of God when God spoke to him out of the burning bush.
When the God of heaven began speaking with Moses out of a burning bush, Moses was reluctant at first, he had all kinds of excuses, but once he had encountered the glory of God, it changed him. He still didn’t feel that he was the one for the job, but he obeyed. Fast forward through his return to Egypt, the plagues, the Passover, and Moses has led millions of Jewish people out of the land of Egypt! What a tremendous responsibility! What an incredible mass of humanity!
If you think it’s bad when your few children are whiney and complaining, imagine millions of unthankful, grumbling people who were hungry, who were thirsty, who wanted to go back to Egypt, who said they never should have left! But what kept Moses on the path? He had seen the glory of God. And as Moses followed and obeyed he wanted to know more and more about this God he was following!
Exodus 33:12-23 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “ My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”
You can almost hear the pleading in Moses’ voice. He didn’t want to go anywhere with these people, unless the Lord Himself went with them. He needed the light, God’s presence, God’s glory to go with them. With all that Moses had seen, the burning bush, the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, he wanted to know this God he was following more intimately. He knew only then he would find the strength and power to complete the work that God had called him to do.
33:17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” 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 Me, 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 by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
1 Timothy 6:16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
The full glory of God is something that man in his human flesh cannot fully see. So God revealed to Moses what He could and Moses could still live. The Lord loved Moses. He accommodated his request in the best way He could.
Exodus 34:4-7 Then Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him; and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone. Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And 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…
Many people like to make a division between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the new. They say that when Jesus came the faith was reformed, making it nicer. People don’t like the OT stories that talk of the judgements of God. But we see here that God reveals His very person to Moses, who He is – merciful, gracious (full of grace), longsuffering (not willing that any should perish), abounding in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, making a way for unrighteous man to come to Him. What more could we ask for? A God who knows us each by our name, and reveals all He can of Himself to us, for He longs to also meet face to face with us. The God of the bible does not need to be reformed. We just need to understand Him more clearly. He is the truest form of the love – the balance between justice and mercy. Mercy for those who repent and call on Him to forgive their sins and justice for those who will not and continue in their wicked ways.
2. Expound on the example of Moses reflecting God’s glory
There was an actual physical result of these encounters that Moses had with the Lord. After meeting with the Lord his face actually shone with the glory of God.
Exodus 34: 29-35 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out; and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded. And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.
The glory of the splendor of God was so bright that Moses had to veil his face after speaking with God. Moses was reflecting the brightness of the Lord on his very face! It made the people afraid, so that after being in the Lord’s presence Moses would veil his face to not frighten the people!
Think of this encounter of Moses with the living God as actual historic event not just a bible story. Try to imagine it. When since the garden had God revealed Himself in such a personal way to man? Yes, he revealed Himself to Abraham and Jacob, but when in history are we told of a time when God came so close to a man?
Ex. 33:11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
3. How we can practically reflect God’s goodness to the world
Jesus came and now we get to have a whole different dimension of relationship to Him, one the prophets of old longed for.
2 Cor. 3:7-18 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, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 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. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
This is amazing! This is cause for the highest praise and worship! The veil is lifted and we now come boldly to His throne! We see Him face to face! We see His glory, it lives inside us, and we reflect His light into a dark world.
Encountering the True and Living God should change us, even our appearance! Ex. Paint store, Brother, work, people in car in front of house. ( Examples:
Paint store, brother, work) Are we reflecting Him?
Now there is a price to pay for this glory. Yes, He paid the price for all of our sin, but we need to take up the cross to follow Him. He is our example. He went to the cross for us. We crucify our lives through Him.
2 Corinthians 4:7-18
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke, ”we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Let’s face it ladies, we are in a struggle, and that struggle is becoming fierce, because the wicked one knows his time is short. We have given our lives to Jesus, and we will bear the reproach He bore. We will be taunted ridiculed, even punished for our belief in Jesus even by the ones we love the most and have sacrificed the most for.
However, the manifestation of God’s glory comes through in our weakness, in dying to ourselves, in submitting our lives to Him, then it is not of ourselves, but by Him. His glory shines through us. And that is the great reward! The suffering is temporary; the joy will be eternal. Like any good story there would be no pleasure in the telling if it wasn’t about how the central figure of the story overcame the difficulties and triumphed in the end. We each have our own story.
The New Testament is full of references concerning Jesus as the full expression of the glory of God--the God who makes His home among His people. And part of the glory of God’s plan is that we all come to know Him, that we all like Moses want a deeper relationship with Him as is His desire also.
John 1:14-18 And the Word became flesh and dwelt [or tabernacled] among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'" And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Isn’t that precious? No one can see God while in this flesh and still live, but God in His eternal plan sent His Son to earth to make the ultimate sacrifice, so that we could have that deeper relationship with Him.
Colossians 1:15-19 "[Jesus] is the exact image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For through Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell"
And to those of us who have seen His light and are drawn to it, not repelled by it, we become His own special people.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
God intersected each one of our lives with a purpose that we would reflect His glory and shine it all around. Just as Arie felt it at the light in the desert, just as Moses felt it at the burning bush, just as Paul the apostle realized it in the light he saw on the Damascus road, we also should feel the responsibility of the revelation of His light to us.
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Romans 13:11-12 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
If Paul said this over 2000 years ago, how much closer are we now? The end of this age is fast approaching, but it is not the end. We will have all of eternity with Him, to see His glory in a body that can withstand the wonder of it. We will bask in His glory for eternity.
Rev. 21:1-4 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Rev. 21:22- 23 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life .
Perhaps you are here tonight and you haven’t yet encountered this light of world, the glory of the invisible God, this person Jesus Christ, who came from heaven in the form of a man to die a criminals death for you.