There is no getting away from the fact that the idea of glory that is prominent in the Old and New Testament scriptures, is constantly associated with palms, crowns, white robes, thrones, and splendour like the sun and stars. However on closer inspection I was surprised to find some christian expositors taking heavenly glory to mean having the sense of fame or good report. But not fame conferred by our fellow man, but fame with God, approval or “appreciation” by God.
The basic Hebrew Word for glory is: ‘kabod,’ it means heavy or weighty.
Primarily it refers to a ‘weighty ‘ person in society, someone who is honourable, impressive, worthy of respect. Such a usage is prevalent in more than half the occurrences in the O.T.
The reputation of the individual is of central importance to the use of this word. Thus a person of high social standing and wealthy was considered honourable. However it was also concluded that the individual was expected to merit the honour of his exalted position. The book of Proverbs makes it clear that the trappings of ‘glory’ without accompanying weightiness of character was an offence to life. (21:21, 22:4, 26:1 etc)
The accoutrements of ‘glory’ were commonly impressive in their beauty. The garments of High Priests and Kings were deliberately designed to convey some of the great dignity and importance of the office. (Ex.28:2,40.) It is apparent that the particular beauty of man is his capacity for rational and moral response. Yet such dignities accorded to men are nothing to be compared to the devastatingly brilliance of God’s glory. Any impressiveness or noteworthiness which man has created or gained for himself is doomed to destruction, (Is.16:14, 17:4, 21:16)
The New Testament word translated glory is doxa, which means: assumption, judgment, view, estimate, a good opinion concerning someone, resulting in praise, honour, and glory
What the crucial element is with regard to the respect, recognition, deference, esteem that such person is accorded is that they themselves are actually conscious of the ‘weight’ of honour given to them, because of the position they find themselves in. This conscious weight of glory has a double affect. Firstly such a status usually provides sufficient to live relatively comfortably, a sense of wellbeing, of peace and freedoms from fear and anxiety where they have the ability to control these issues. Secondly the responsibility of such a position, as indicated above, requires a high moral character and clear moral and rational decisions, of how that person not only conducts his or her own life in private and public, but in their attitude to those who accord them such ‘glory.’
Isaiah declares that nowhere is the reality and glorious splendour of God’s presence and his character more revealed than in his son. (Is.4:2) Here the glory of God is fully portrayed, ‘Here we beheld his glory, the glory of the only son of the Father, full of grace and truth.’ (Jn.1:14.) Through him and through his presence in his people, the church, God’s glory is indeed covering the earth. No other human being epitomises these two elements than Jesus Christ. In fact Jesus actually refers to this conscious ‘weight’ of glory he carried as something that was accorded to him by his Father….such was the opinion of his son by his Father. (Jn.1:14)
God said of Jesus at his baptism, ‘this is my son in whom I am well pleased.’ For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things.
Jesus said, ‘I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gave me to do.’ Jn.17:4 KJV. In other words he displayed the God’s presence and character before all me in the earth and finished the work he was given to do which was precisely that of redeeming God’s image and likeness in all mankind.
What is quite amazing is what Jesus said about his glory… “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one.” Jn.17:22 NKJV He is able to give this glory away! Give this good opinion that God had of him to his disciples.
Have you ever had a ‘heavy conscience?’ A conscience weighed down by some matter, misdemeanour, decision or thought process that for a while overwhelms any other thoughts? I am sure you have well, this is the meaning of glory…whereas the weight of an overburdened conscience is a heavy one to carry, the weight of a conscience fully and totally aware of God’s good opinion of me, is of another altogether.
An example of this meaning in Paul’s letter to the Colossians 1:11, ‘being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully.’
‘You are empowered in the dynamic of Gods strength, his (opinion) mind is made up about you! He enables you to be strong in endurance and steadfastness with joy.’ (Mirror Bible)
So are you saying that God’s opinion of me is exactly the same of that with which he regards his son? yes. Further the glory believers are bestowed with is pthe consciousness of being His image and likeness in this earth, just like Jesus, who was an example of us not for us.
John defines this perfect unity believers have in Christ, ‘ Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.’ 1Jn.4: 17-19