His Glory Revealed

The Prologue to the Gospel of John presents key themes that are expanded in the body of the book; most critically, that Jesus is the “Word become flesh” in whom life and light are now found. Moreover, he is the true “Tabernacle” where the presence of God dwells. John employs imagery from the history of Israel to illustrate what He has done in His “only born Son,” and ever since his resurrection, Jesus is the place where the glory of God is manifested for all men to see.

Moreover, the “Word become flesh” is how men now access God - the greater Tabernacle and the Temple where true worship of the Father takes place “in spirit.”

Tent Sunrise - Photo by Daan Weijers on Unsplash
[Photo by Daan Weijers on Unsplash]

Access to God’s “
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 of Nazareth is the “Word made flesh that tabernacled among us, and 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).


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

The description of the Word or Logos that “tabernacles 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, one who was subject 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” in the wilderness. Thus, in the man from Nazareth, God is “tabernacling” with his people.

In Exodus, Yahweh commands 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 and temporary “tent” was the place where Yahweh’s presence “met” Israel - (Exodus 25:8-9, 33:7-11).


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. And just as He revealed His presence among the people in the Tabernacle, now, He makes His habitation among His people in Jesus, the “Word become flesh” - (Exodus 40:34-35, Numbers 9:15-23).

And John states that “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. He descended in the cloud and passed before Moses, proclaiming, “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).

But from now on, the glory of God is revealed in Jesus, a proposition that John expands on in his gospel. And unlike Moses, the disciples saw the full glory of God, not just His “backside,” and a glory compared to that of “an only born from a father” - (John 17:24).

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

Thus, the glory briefly glimpsed 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 or to any manmade structure. It is no longer limited to a geographic location or only to brief periods during certain phases of the Moon. The wilderness structure was made obsolete by what God did in Jesus - (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 the entire world to behold, comprehend, and believe.


The Suffering Servant

The Living Word