We have already observed that Paul emphasizes God’s glory in his letter to the Ephesians. I believe this was an intentional contrast/comparison to the praise often lavished on Artemis and her temple by her worshipers. Her temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The riches stored within her chambers were probably unmatched anywhere else in their world. And the legend of her ancient visitation to Ephesus in the form of a powerful meteor led many to seek her help and favor even into the 1st Century.
But Paul had taught the believers in Ephesus that Artemis was not a real god, and in fact was not real at all (Acts 19:23-27)! Likely he is now also reminding them of what he had previous taught them in person: that at the power, riches and glory really resided in the One True God in which they now believed.
Today we want to make some additional comments about the glory of God – a topic I think we all lack a good understanding about.
- When the Scriptures refer to the “glory” of God, this actual a figure of speech referred to as a metonymy.
- What is metonymy? Roughly, it is when a word (or occasionally a phrase) associated with a larger concept is used to stand for the whole. Some simple examples in other areas:
- Speaking of food, we may say, “This dish is delicious.” In fact, it is not the container that tastes so good, but the contents.
- In the 19th Century British play Richelieu, Cardinal Richelieu states that, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Therein are two metonymys: the “pen” is referring to the written word, while the “sword” stands for military might and action.
- Now think of God’s “glory.” It really represents the creative power, eternity, omniscience, holiness, justice, mercy, compassion, grace, activities and purposes. All of these are so superlative in Him that the mere contemplation of them, and especially any actual exposure to them should produce the deepest reverence, awe and appreciation on our part.
THE LIGHT OF HIS GLORY:
- While literal “light” is associated with His presence, it is only a small part of His “Shekinah Glory” – the glory of His presence.
- This is seen in the passages in Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1, Daniel 7 & 10, at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19), and the Book of Revelation 4 & 5 among other places.
- All who experienced His Shekinah Glory in those passages were filled with great fear, dread, worship and a sense of unworthiness! THAT IS HIS GLORY!
THE SON OF HIS GLORY:
- Hebrews 1:1-3 says that Jesus “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” Even clothed and disguised within human flesh, the glory showed forth.
- John 1:14 – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
- John 14:8-9 – “Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’ Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father”?”
- Therefore, Jesus was truly “the light of the world” – John 8:12; 9:5; 1:4, 9 – because He was the radiance of God’s glory!
- John 17:1-5 – He has now returned to that glory He had with the Father since before the creation.
THE DELINEATION OF HIS GLORY:
- To “delineate” is to point out or describe precisely. So let’s now hear Paul in Ephesians describe precisely what attributes of God he wants the Ephesians to see as glorious. (But he is not saying these are the only glorious attributes and actions of God.)
- Ephesians 1:6 – “the glory of His grace” which freely predestined us to be adopted as His children.
- Ephesians 1:11-12 – It is “to the praise of His glory” when we come to hope in Christ.
- Ephesians 1:13-14 – It is”to the praise of His glory” that we are sealed with His Holy Spirit and have Him as a deposit of our inheritance until our final redemption will take place.
- Ephesians 1:18 – He has reserved for us “the riches of His glorious inheritance.” Just as human heirs in a family are due to receive the material wealth of their father, so we have all the riches of an inheritance awaiting us in Christ.
- Ephesians 3:16-17 – “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Also out of His riches of glory He will strengthen us by His Spirit within us.
- Ephesians 3:21 – “To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” Our glorious Father is not just glorified, and His glory seen, in what He has done:
- He is also proven glorious by and through His Son, Jesus.
- And wonder of all wonders He is also proven glorious through us! The major message of Ephesians is God’s great plan. It was and is to redeem us and reconcile us back to Himself. Those who are the redeemed and the reconciled are the church! God’s plan has worked… and He is glorified and seen to be glorious because of it!
In closing, consider Romans 8:15-19. The glory we presently enjoy is only a foretaste of all that He still has in store for us in the age(s) to come!
Our image is comes from The Tabernacle Powerpoint package from Rose Publishing which of which I own a copy. It represents the Glory of God above the Tabernacle and the Camp of Israel in the days of their wilderness wanderings.