HERVEY BAY GOSPEL CHAPEL

JUDE’S DOXOLOGY – PART 5

JUDE.

24. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 

We have been considering this portion of Jude’s doxology and have seen that one day in heaven we will be completely faultless without even one small blemish or stain. No being, either earthly or spiritual will be able to point the finger and say, “But look at that!” Because there will nothing wrong to be found. Our corruptible bodies will have been made incorruptible, with the curse of sin finally removed. As a result the penalty of sin will have been removed as well, that penalty being death and so we will no longer be subject to death, we will in fact be immortal. Death no longer will have any hold on us and we will live for ever.

In such a state we are told that we will be presented before God in all His glory.

If that is the case it will be good for us to consider a little about what that might be like. So let us do that now.

We will need to commence from this starting point, something that Job realised when he said

JOB.
CHAPTER 9.

32. For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, that we should come together in judgment;

God is not just some super human, a person like me but with some supernatural powers. He is a Being far beyond anything I could, with my poor finite mind, even begin to understand.

So how do I begin to comprehend this God and what He is like? It could only be by describing Him in terms that I understand. So the Bible uses terms familiar to us to help us understand. It attributes human characteristics to God.

We read about the following –

1 CHRONICLES.
CHAPTER 21.

7. And it was evil in the eyes of God as to this thing. And He struck Israel.

MATTHEW.
CHAPTER 4.

4. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

DEUTERONOMY.
CHAPTER 33.

27. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And He shall throw out the enemy from before you; and shall say, Destroy!

ISAIAH.
CHAPTER 43.

13. Yea, before the day was, I am He; and no one delivers out of My hand; I will work, and who will reverse it? 

2 SAMUEL.
CHAPTER 22.

7. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.

GENESIS.
CHAPTER 6.

6. And Jehovah repented that He had made man on the earth, and He was angry to His heart.

PSALMS.
PSALM 27.

8. When you said, “Seek my face,” my heart said to you, “O LORD, I will seek your face.” 

We also read the following –

PSALMS.
PSALM 2.

4. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; Jehovah shall mock at them.

PSALMS.
PSALM 29.

10. Jehovah sits on the flood; yea, Jehovah sits as King forever.

 ISAIAH.
CHAPTER 3.

13. Jehovah stands up to plead His case, and stands up to judge the people. 

He has a voice that speaks in language that earth’s people can understand.

DEUTERONOMY.
CHAPTER 4.

33. Did people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire as you have heard and live? 

And it is a voice that speaks with authority.

PSALMS.
PSALM 29.

3. The voice of Jehovah is on the waters; the God of glory thunders; Jehovah is above many waters.
4. The voice of Jehovah is in power, the voice of Jehovah is in majesty.
5. The voice of Jehovah breaks the cedars; yea, Jehovah breaks the cedars of Lebanon. 

But let me repeat with Job “God is not a man.” In fact God is a spirit.

JOHN.
CHAPTER 4.

24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

And being a spirit He is not defined by a particular shape

DEUTERONOMY.
CHAPTER 4.

15. Therefore take good heed to yourselves, for you saw no kind of likeness on the day Jehovah spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire,
16. lest you act corruptly and make yourselves a graven image, the likeness of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 

ISAIAH.
CHAPTER 40.

18. To whom then will you compare God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him

But it seems that we can’t help giving Him a shape, often in the form of an old man.

And in addition God is an invisible spirit. Speaking about Jesus we read –

COLOSSIANS.
CHAPTER 1.

15. Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

So how can we know such a God? He has always desired to have a relationship with his creature, man. Therefore He chooses to make Himself visible and approachable to His creatures, to allow them to see expressions of His glory.

One way He has done that is in His appearance as one of us. These appearances are known by a special term called theophanies, which means appearances of God.

Wikipedia says this, “A theophany is a personal encounter with a deity, that is, an event where the manifestation of a deity occurs in an observable way. Specifically, it “refers to the temporal and spatial manifestation of God in some tangible form.”

So, a theophany is a physical appearance of God to a human being. Several theophanies are described in the Old Testament, but all had one thing in common. They were not the full expression of the glory of God. Instead His true glory was veiled and God appeared as a man or an angel or spoke out of a burning bush.

There was Manoah

JUDGES.
CHAPTER 13.

21. The angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD.
22. And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”

There was an appearance to Joshua

JOSHUA.
CHAPTER 5.

14. And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”
15. And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Then there was the fiery furnace.

DANIEL.
CHAPTER 3.

24. Suddenly the king jumped up and shouted, “Weren’t only three men tied up and thrown into the fire?” “Yes, Your Majesty,” the people answered.
25.But I see four men walking around in the fire,” the king replied. “None of them is tied up or harmed, and the fourth one looks like a god.”

The image of the nations is explained to Daniel.

DANIEL.
CHAPTER 10.

14. I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the last days, because the vision is about times still to come.”
15. When he said this to me, I bowed down with my face touching the ground and was silent.
16. Then someone who looked like a human touched my lips. I opened my mouth and began to talk. I said to the person standing in front of me, “Sir, because of this vision, pain has overwhelmed me, and I’m helpless. 

But some might argue that Jesus is God, and He is, and didn’t many, many people spend time in His presence? Yes, they did. But we need to pay attention to the following passage.

PHILLIPIANS.
CHAPTER 2.

6. Although from the beginning He had the nature of God He did not reckon His equality with God a treasure to be tightly grasped.
7. Nay, He stripped Himself of His glory, and took on Him the nature of a bondservant by becoming a man like other men.

Another translation says that he divested Himself of His glory.

Never at any time was the full glory of God revealed to men. God is absolutely holy and the curse of sin which all men carry would make such a revelation fatal.

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 19.

21. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish

1 TIMOTHY.
CHAPTER 6.

16. Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

ISAIAH.
CHAPTER 2.

10. Go in among the rocks and hide underground because of the LORD’S terrifying presence and the honour of his majesty. 

Moses wanted to see God’s glory.

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 33.

18. Then Moses said, “Please let me see your glory.”
19. The LORD said, “I will let all my goodness pass in front of you, and there I will call out my name ‘the LORD.’ I will be kind to anyone I want to. I will be merciful to anyone I want to.
20. But you can’t see my face, because no one may see me and live.”
21. Then the LORD said, “Look, there’s a place near me. Stand by this rocky cliff.
22. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a crevice in the cliff and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
23. Then I will take my hand away, and you’ll see my back, but my face must not be seen.” 

So let me repeat with Job

JOB.
CHAPTER 9.

32. For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, that we should come together in judgment;

So ascribing to Him human characteristics does not reveal His glory because God is a Spirit. But not just any spirit. He is a special, a mighty and a powerful Spirit.

He is an awesome God. We sometimes sing, “What a mighty God we serve!”

DEUTEROMNOMY.
CHAPTER 10.

17. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.

 DEUTERONOMY.
CHAPTER 33.

26. People of Israel, no god is like your God, riding in splendour across the sky, riding through the clouds to come to your aid.

1 CHRONICLES.
CHAPTER 29.

11. You are great and powerful, glorious, splendid, and majestic. Everything in heaven and earth is yours, and you are king, supreme ruler over all.

1 CHRONICLES.
CHAPTER 16.

25. For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised. He also is to be feared above all gods.
26. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but Jehovah made the heavens.
27. Glory and honour are in His presence, strength and gladness in His place.
28. Give to Jehovah, O kindred of the people, give to Jehovah glory and strength

The Psalmist saw Him as a mighty fighter.

PSALMS.
PSALM 24.

8. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

PSALMS.
PSALM 45.

3. Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O mighty one, with Your glory and Your majesty

This is what we read in Ezekiel.

EZEKIEL.
CHAPTER 44.

4. Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face. 

So how was that awesomeness, that glory, made visible to man without destroying him?

Firstly, I believe, it is shown in God’s works.

PSALMS.
PSALM 96.

3. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

And those works include His great work of salvation.

2 CORINTHIANS.
CHAPTER 4.

6. The God who said, “Out of darkness the light shall shine!” is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of Christ.

And it is revealed in a benign yet wonderful way in creation.

We see His glory in the power of the lightning, the cyclonic wind, the raging seas, the earthquake and the volcano. We see it in the beauty of a flower, the scales on the wings of a butterfly, gemstones from the earth. We see it in the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. We see it in the vastness of the universe or the large dimensions of an ancient tree, or large land and sea creatures. We see it in the intelligent design of myriads of different lifeforms. We could go on and on. But let the Bible speak.

PSALMS.
PSALM 19.

1. How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory! How plainly it shows what he has done!

PSALMS.
PSALM 97.

6. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.

But God also reveals His veiled glory in more spectacular ways and in these ways He shows Himself to men without destroying them.

Let us consider what the Bible says.

He appeared as fire.

DEUTERONOMY.
CHAPTER 5.

24. and you said, Behold! Jehovah our God has revealed His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire. We have seen today that God talks with man yet he still lives.
25. Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of Jehovah our God any more, then we shall die.
26. For who of all flesh has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived

DEUTERONOMY.
CHAPTER 4.

35. It was shown to you so that you might know that Jehovah is God, and no one else beside Him.
36  He made you hear His voice out of Heaven so that He might .teach you. And He showed you His great fire upon earth. And you heard His words out of the midst of the fire

PSALMS.
PSALM 97.

3. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. 

This is what is said of Mount Sinai.

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 24.

17. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

And about Moses.

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 3.

2. There an angel of the LORD appeared to him from a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up.

Then there is the tabernacle.

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 13.

21. During the day the LORD went ahead of his people in a thick cloud, and during the night he went ahead of them in a flaming fire. That way the LORD could lead them at all times, whether day or night.

In fact this is how God is described in the New Testament.

HEBREWS.
CHAPTER 12.

29. Our God is like a destructive fire!

But closely allied with that He reveals His glory through blinding light sometimes as bright as lightning.

Moses reflected this light.

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 34.

29. Moses came down from Mount Sinai, carrying the Ten Commandments. His face was shining brightly because the LORD had been speaking to him. But Moses did not know at first that his face was shining.

This is also is said.

PSALMS.
PSALM 97.

4. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled

There are the shepherds.

LUKE.
CHAPTER 2.

9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

Ezekiel tells us.

EZEKIEL.
CHAPTER 1.

28. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

EZEKIEL.
CHAPTER 43.

2. And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.

Daniel tells us.

DANIEL.
CHAPTER 2.

22. He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.

We are also told.

2 CHRONICLES.
CHAPTER 7.

1. Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.
2. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house.

Can you imagine what that would have been like?

Then there is Saul.

ACTS.
CHAPTER 9.

3. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 

ACTS.
CHAPTER 22.

11. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.

The Bible describes God’s appearance as a brilliant light because there is no darkness in Him at all. In fact we are explicitly told that God is light,

1 JOHN.
CHAPTER 1.

5. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

 So brilliant light describes God’s beauty, holiness, and purity. God is completely good and pure.

Then there was cloud indicating the presence of the glory of the Lord.

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 40.

34. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

1 KINGS.
CHAPTER 8.

11. So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

EZEKIEL.
CHAPTER 10.

4. Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory.

Then there is quaking,

MATTHEW.
CHAPTER 27

51. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

And in some cases it was a combination of elements.

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 24.

16. And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. 

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 19.

18. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

NAHUM.
CHAPTER 1.

5. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 

These revelations of His glory to men are not always for a short period but for an extended one. The best known examples would be Moses on Mount Sinai and the glory of God on and in the tabernacle.

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 24.

18. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 13.

21. During the day the LORD went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and during the night he went in front of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel night and day.

These revelations of God’s glory are known as the shekinah glory. Have you ever wondered what the word “shekinah” means? Well did you make the effort to check it out? That is the way we learn more about God and His Word, by checking things out like the Bereans did.

For those who haven’t made the effort, it is a Hebrew word which does not appear in the Bible but comes from the writings of the rabbis and its meaning is “dwelling” or “settling” and refers to the divine dwelling or settling of the glory of God in a particular place.

That same glory, though unseen, goes before us each day and night, as well. His presence is constantly with us. He dwells with us. He abides with us right where we are.

Time is up but we will consider more next time. For now let us go into this week with these twin thoughts.

JOB.
CHAPTER 9.

32. For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, that we should come together in judgment;

DEUTEROMNOMY.
CHAPTER 10.

17. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.

In the future we will stand not in His masked presence but in His unveiled presence. What a prospect to look forward to.