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The Revelation of God’s Glory
“And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. (Leviticus 9:22-24)
I once heard Bro. E. W. Johnson make a statement that had a profound effect on me. He said, “A lost man can see everything a saved man can see, except this: He can’t see the glory of God. We do!” The lost man can see doctrine (Sovereignty, Predestination, Election, Limited Atonement, etc.); but he can’t see the glory of God. The unregenerate can see Bible facts; but he can’t see the glory of God. The unbelieving can see good works; but he can’t see the glory of God. The lost soul can see many, many things taught in the Bible (Prophecy, Church Order, Baptism, Prophetic Teaching, etc.); but he can’t see the glory of God. — We can. Believers do.
It is the revelation of the glory of God in the face of Christ that produces saving faith in Christ. If ever you see the glory of God in the face of Christ, you will be saved, you will believe on the Son of God.
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-7)
Commonly, when talking or writing about the glory of God, men tend to make it either a very emotional thing with lots of glitter and little or no substance or a very mystical thing no one can really get hold of. It is neither.
The words translated “glory,” in both the Old and New Testaments, mean “abundance, wealth, treasure, and honor,” “dignity, splendor, brightness, and majesty.” When the Scriptures speak of God’s glory, they sometimes refer to the perfection of his nature (his attributes) and his worthiness as the object of our faith, praise, and worship, — the greatness, supremacy, and excellence of his eternal Being.
Yet, the revelation of God’s glory is always represented as one specific thing. The Scriptures everywhere associate the revelation of God’s glory with the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Moses prayed, “Show me thy glory,” the Lord God showed him Christ our Redeemer. When Manoah and his wife saw the Angel of the Lord do gloriously (Judges 13), that was the revelation of Christ crucified to them. When Isaiah saw Christ in his glory and spoke of him (Isaiah 6; John 12:41), he saw Christ enthroned by virtue of his redemptive accomplishments. The throne of grace is called “the throne of thy glory” (Jeremiah 14:21), because Christ sits upon his throne in his glory as our Redeemer. — Here is the way to plead your cause with the Almighty.
“We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee. Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.” (Jeremiah 14:20-21)
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the revelation of glory of God. The glory of God is revealed in the Jesus Christ, our crucified, risen, enthroned Savior.
When the God of Glory appeared to Abraham, it was Christ who appeared to him. And if the God of Glory ever appears to you, if the God of Glory ever makes himself known to you, it will be in and by the Lord Jesus Christ. The glory of God is in him. The glory of God is revealed in him. And he (and he alone) is the glory of God.
The Mount of Transfiguration
God the Father and God the Holy Ghost give all glory to the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as our Mediator and Savior. And true faith puts all the honor and glory of salvation on God’s beloved Son, because God himself has placed it there (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14). God the Father gives all glory to the Son (Colossians 1:18-19). And God the Son glorifies the Father (John 12:28). God the Holy Ghost gives glory to the Son (John 16:14). And God the Son glorifies the Spirit (John 6:63; 7:38-39). It is in his beloved Son that God the Father is well pleased. And he is pleased with us in his Son. That is what Peter, James, and John saw on the Mount of Transfiguration (1 Peter 1:5-7).
“Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (2 Peter 1:15-17)
Saving faith causes believing sinners both to imitate and obey God. It causes us to be well pleased with him in whom God is well pleased, the beloved Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
To the eye of nature, Jesus of Nazareth appears as a mere man, in abject poverty and the lowest abasement, as Isaiah puts it, “a tender plant, a root out of dry ground, with neither form nor comeliness that we should desire him.” Yet the Triune God gives him the highest honor and glory, because he magnified his holy law and made it honorable, thereby satisfying divine justice, and bringing in everlasting righteousness as our Representative, giving honor and glory to every attribute and perfection of the holy Lord God. So that now, God is just and the Justifier of every sinner who believes on Christ.
Let us, then, with a sight and sense of our ruined nature, innumerable sins, and horrid apostasies from God, put honor and glory upon the Son of God. With him, with his person, his work, and his salvation, God is well pleased. He has satisfied heaven for our sins. Let our consciences, therefore, be satisfied with Christ and glory in him alone.
Look at Peter, the man who wrote the words above. He was with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. He saw his Lord’s transfiguration and heard these words from the excellent glory. Yet, he later denied that he knew the man whom God the Father had honored and glorified before his very eyes and did so with the oaths of a drunken sailor! Still, there is such an infinite, inexpressible fulness of grace in Christ that his sin was not imputed to him and could not be, for Christ died for him. Even for Peter, there was immediate, free, full forgiveness through him who is the glory of God. Out of Christ’s fulness Peter received grace upon grace and was recovered from his horrible fall, restored to repentance, and preserved to everlasting salvation!
O may the Son of God our Savior so look our hearts (yours and mine), as he did Peter’s, into godly sorrow and holy love, that we may say, “This is my beloved Savior, in whom I am well pleased.”
Leviticus 9 portrays the revelation of God’s glory in Christ. Oh, may God the Holy Spirit be pleased, by the word of the gospel, to reveal in our hearts “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!” When we read this chapter, let us always leave it saying with John, “And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father — full of grace and truth!”
When Aaron and his sons were consecrated as God’s priests, as the ceremonial sacrifices began, the Lord God made a promise, a promise directly connected with the priesthood, the sacrifices, the altar, and the holy place, a promise directly connected with that which the things spoken of in this chapter portrayed. It was the very same promise that is given in the preaching of the gospel today. We read the promise in Leviticus 9:6. — “And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you.” — In other words, “Believe and you shall see the glory of God” (John 11:40). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” That is the thing God has commanded. And, believing, you shall be saved, you shall see the glory of God in the face of his dear Son.
That command was given, and the promise was made early in the morning, as the day of sacrifice and worship began. In verses 22-24, we see the promise fulfilled at the end of the day.
“And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” (Leviticus 9:22-24)
In all these things, the Lord God gave Israel a picture of redemption. He was telling his people how he would accomplish his salvation and make his glory known in all the earth by his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Aaron came down from the place of sacrifice, and lifted up his hands, hands that were that day made wet with blood, and blessed the people for whom sacrifice had been made. In Luke 24 we see the fulfilment of this picture.
“And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.” (Luke 24:50-53)
The Lord Jesus Christ, our great Savior, came down. We cannot imagine how far down he came. — “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7)
The Son of God came down from heaven and entered into this world to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, that the blessing of God might be upon his elect forever. It is written, “Now, once, in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). And that which he came here to do, the Son of God has done.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:13-14)
Next, Aaron went in. We are specifically told that Aaron and Moses went into the tabernacle together. They went out of the outer court, away from the altar of the burnt offering, into the holy place. There, in the holy place stood the altar of incense, the table of showbread, and the golden lamp stand.
Moses, representing the holy law of God, went in with Aaron, God’s high priest, and turned over to him all things pertaining to the worship and service of God. What a great picture this is! Aaron represents our Savior. Moses was saying, “If you would come to God, Christ is the way. If you would worship God, Christ is the way. If you would find forgiveness with God, Christ is the way. If you would be accepted of God, Christ is the way. If you would be righteous, Christ is the way.”
Moses went with Aaron, taking him as it were, into the holy place to make intercession for his people Israel, to make intercession on the grounds of the sacrifice offered. Aaron went into the tabernacle, into the holy place, praying for the people, praying, I am confident, for one specific thing. — He went in to pray that God would fulfil his promise and reveal his glory, that the Lord God would send his Son to his people and save them. That is exactly what the Lord Jesus is doing today.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:11-12)
“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Hebrews 9:24)
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)
Then, Aaron came out again. Moses (the law) is still with him. Late in the evening of the 8th day, Aaron and Moses (God’s Priest with God’s Law) came out together and blessed the people together. Soon, very soon, our great Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, shall come again. And when he comes, then we shall fully see the glory of God revealed to wandering worlds in the salvation of sinners by Christ.
“Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:26-28)
Soon, everybody is going to see the glory of God in the saving of his people by Christ our Substitute (Ephesians 2:7; Revelation 1:7). But this is a twofold picture. It pictures both our Lord’s second coming at the end of the world and his coming to sinners in the exercise and operation of his saving grace. As the fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the sacrifice here, so the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost as cloven tongues of fire, manifestly declaring God’s acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice. And that is exactly what happens when God saves a sinner (John 16:7-11).
“And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.” — So Christ will come again and bless us with all the fulness of salvation, salvation obtained by the blood of his own sacrifice, our sin offering and our peace offering. And today when Christ comes in saving grace, he comes to bless, to bless guilty sinners with the full authority of God’s holy law.
“And the glory of the Lord appeared!” — This was God’s pledge of our Savior’s incarnation and the accomplishment of redemption by him. In the fulness of time Christ who is the Glory of God appeared and the glory of God is revealed in him.
The picture before us here in Leviticus 9 is a declaration that redemption and grace through Christ reveals the glory of God (Psalms 21:5; 85:9-13; Proverbs 16:6). Do you hear the picture? — God’s gracious and glorious presence with his people comes in consequence of (because of) the propitiatory sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Mercy-Seat. Sinners have acceptance and fellowship with the holy Lord God only by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:18; 3:12; 1 John 1:3).
When the glory of the Lord appeared, fire came out from the Lord and consumed the sacrifice. When the people saw this, they shouted and fell on their faces. When the glory of God is revealed in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, when the blessings of grace are bestowed upon sinners through the power and grace of God, when God himself comes to us and makes himself known to us, our hearts are flooded with reverence, joy, and holy praise (Psalms 4:6-7; 103:1-4).
The revelation of Christ in a sinner’s heart has two profound, lasting effects. It causes us both to shout for joy and fall on our faces in humiliation, reverence, and godly fear (Isaiah 6:1-8). And when the glory of God is revealed in the last great day, it will have the same effect. When Aaron left the altar and went into the holy place, Moses stood with him and, as representative of Jehovah, handed over to his care all the vessels of the sanctuary and committed the ordering of all to him. Even so, the Lord Jesus in his ascension, when he left the place where he had made the sacrifice, was given dominion over all things for the salvation of his people (John 17:3-5; Psalm 68:17-20).
Our all-glorious, ever-blessed Christ has been given authority and power as our God-man Mediator, as the Captain of our salvation now made perfect (Hebrews 2:10), authority and power to administer all the affairs of the sanctuary. It was in reference to this that he said, as he was entering into heaven, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). Satan has no power. — “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Moses has no power. — “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” The law has no power. — “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” The devil has no power. — “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” The demons of hell have no power. — “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Man has no power. — “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” No nation in the world has any power. — “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” All the nations of the earth combined have no power. — “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
See him yonder. There he is, seated on his throne in the holy place, managing all the interests of his people, managing all the affairs of the universe for us! — Preparing many mansions for us! The Father has committed all things to his hands for us!
This Christ is coming out again! His coming out again will be like Aaron’s. He is coming out again to bless the people anew. Try to picture the scene before us in Leviticus 9.
The people stayed in the tabernacle courtyard all day, expecting the reappearance of Aaron and Moses, expecting to see the glory of the Lord. Why shouldn’t they? They had done what God commanded. They came to him in the place he required, with the blood he required, in the way he required, looking to him for the mercy he promised. Now, they expected him to do what he promised. What could be more reasonable?
So we stand before God today as believing sinners, looking to Christ alone for all our salvation, in confident hope and expectation. Our eyes and hearts are fixed on the Altar, looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us unto himself. Yes, we look for and expect the second coming of the Son of God in all the splendorous glory of the Triune God, which is his own.
“And the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people” of Israel that day. — Some of the bright fire of that glory shot down on the altar and consumed the pieces of the sacrifice, giving one final, grand and glorious display of divine satisfaction. — What a sight that must have been!
In all this I see a clear picture of Christ’s second coming. “To those that look for him” his glory will thus appear. In the evening of the world’s day Christ shall come out again. The Lamb of God will give one final, indisputable display of the fact that God the Father is well-pleased with him and with all his people in him. He will appear “without sin, unto salvation.” The sin consumed by the fire of God’s holy wrath, forever put away, forever gone, there is nothing left for us but the completion of our joy and the experience of the fulness of it in heavenly glory.
What a shout of ecstasy shall burst from us then! Yet, how deeply awed and reverent we shall be. Forgiveness produces holy awe even now wherever it is known. The people shout and fall prostrate before him. To Christ every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Oh, what a day that shall be!
“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” (Revelation 19:1-6)
Believe and See
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall see the glory of God. Moses said, “This, the thing which the Lord commanded that you should do, do: and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you!” That is exactly what our Lord Jesus said to Martha in John 11:40. — “Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” Believe on the Son of God and you will see the glory of God in Christ. Being born of God and taught of God, this blessing of God shall be yours (Numbers 6:24-26; 2 Corinthians 4:6). And this blessing of God shall be yours in that great day when our God shall make all things new at Christ’s second coming.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:11-14)