His Glory Manifested

The Prologue of the Gospel of John presents key themes that are expanded in its later chapters, most critically, that Jesus is the “Word become flesh” in whom life and light are found. He is the true and final “Tabernacle” where the presence of God dwells and His glory is manifested for all men to see. Jesus of Nazareth is the means by which men access God, the Temple where true worship of the Father takes place “in the Spirit.”

Access to His “glory” is no longer confined by the physical walls of a building “made-with-hands” or the geographical boundaries of the city of Jerusalem. Jesus is the “Word made flesh that TABERNACLED AMONG US. We beheld his glory, the glory as of an only born from a father, full of grace and truth” - (John 1:14, 1:47-51, 2:13-22, 4:20-24).

Tent at Night - Photo by Cindy Chen on Unsplash
[Photo by Cindy Chen on Unsplash]

The 
LIVING WORD of God is embodied in this flesh and blood human being from Nazareth for all to see the Divine nature writ large. In the words, his deeds, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the nature, purpose, and glory of God are displayed before the entire world.

The description of the Word or Logos that “tabernacled among us” echoes the incident at Mount Sinai when God inscribed His ten “words” on stone tablets. In Jesus, the Word of God has now “become flesh.” It is inscribed in a flesh and blood man who was subjected to human mortality and death.

The Greek verb rendered “tabernacled” is skénoō, which means “to tabernacle; to pitch a tent.” It is related to the noun skéné for “tent,” the same term used in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Book of Exodus for the “Tabernacle” carried by Israel in the wilderness. Thus, in Jesus, God is “tabernacling” with his people.

In Exodus, Yahweh commanded Moses to “construct a sanctuary for me THAT I MAY DWELL AMONG THEM,” a portable structure fashioned “according to all that I am going to show you, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings.”

In obedience, Moses “proceeded to take a tent and pitch it by itself outside the camp… and he called it, the TENT OF MEETING… it came to pass, that when Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud came down and stood at the opening of the tent.” This portable “tent” was the place where Yahweh’s presence “met” Israel - (Exodus 25:8-9, 33:7-11).

GRACE AND TRUTH


In the Septuagint version, the “Tent of Meeting” is the skéné martyriou or “tent of witness,” the place where the presence of Yahweh was seen in the pillars of cloud and fire. Just as He revealed His presence among the people in the Tabernacle, now, He makes His habitation among His people in Jesus - (Exodus 40:34-35, Numbers 9:15-23).

John also states “We beheld his glory… FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH.” This employs further imagery from Exodus and echoes Yahweh’s self-description.

Moses asked God to show him his “glory.” He responded that neither Moses nor any man “can see my face and live,” and therefore, He placed Moses in the “cleft of a rock” when He passed by, permitting him only to see the “backside” of Yahweh. As He descended in the cloud and passed by Moses, He proclaimed, “Yahweh, Yahweh, a God of compassion and grace, slow to anger and abundant IN LOVING-KINDNESS AND FAITHFULNESS” - (Exodus 33:17-23, 34:1-6).

From now on, the glory of God is revealed in Jesus, a proposition that John expands on in his gospel account. Unlike Moses, the disciples saw the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and not just His “backside” but a glory comparable to that of “an only born from a father” - (John 17:24).

The glory manifested in the Nazarene is “FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH,” a statement that corresponds to the proclamation by Yahweh as he passed by Moses - “abundant IN LOVING-KINDNESS AND FAITHFULNESS.”

The glory glimpsed briefly by Moses, and from a distance, is now revealed fully and continually in Jesus. He is the True and Greater Tabernacle in whom God dwells, the one through whom He manifests His UNFILTERED grace and truth.

Ever since his death and resurrection, God’s presence is no longer restricted to the ancient Tabernacle in the wilderness or any manmade structure in Jerusalem. It is no longer limited to a geographic location or only to brief periods during certain phases of the Moon - (2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:4-6, Hebrews 8:7-13).

The old Tabernacle was glorious and revealed much about the nature of God. Nevertheless, its glory and access to it were always limited. In contrast, the glory found in Jesus is full, visible, and available for all men to see, comprehend, and believe.


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