Summary: Attention deserved (or not deserved) seems to be in our mind when we think of glory today. The Hebrew word for glory has a different history, however. It originally meant weight, heaviness.
Revelation Chapter 15
v 5 and after these things I saw, and the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony was opened in heaven
v 6 and seven angels came out of the temple having the seven plagues, clothed in clean linen, light and wearing around their chests golden sashes.
v 7 and one of the four Living Ones gave to the seven angels seven golden shallow bowls, full of God’s wrath, the One who lives forever and ever.
v 8 and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power, and no one had the ability to enter into the temple, until the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled/completed/finished.
v 5 after these things. Please see 1:19 & 4:1-this is a structural element for John-another one of the many sevens in the Revelation. So we are moving into a new section-the end of the judgment of God poured out on the earth.
v. 7 bowls see 14:9-11.
v. 8 smoke The glory of God: Exodus 40:34; 1 Kgs 8:10-11; 2 Chr 5:13-14; Is 6:4; Eze 44:4.
Glory (The Greek, doxa-classical Greek kleos. The Hebrew, Chabowd)
What do we think of when we think of glory? Maybe credit, honor, like a tickertape parade in New York, or 15 minutes on TV with the whole world watching as you do your thinking, tell your tale, or show your skills. Attention deserved (or not deserved) seems to be in our mind when we think of glory today. Even in the Bible, when the angels brought the message of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, “the glory of the Lord shown round about them, and they were very frightened”. It seems to be describing some kind of light, or glowing radiance associated with the presence of God (Luke 2). When Isaiah saw God in the temple, high and exalted, and the train of His glory filled the temple, he fell down as dead (Isaiah 6). The Greek words for glory are similar to ours.
The Hebrew word for glory has a different history, however. It originally meant weight, heaviness. In a fun irony of linguistics, glory, which means light, and light which can mean not heavy, is associated with glory, while the old concept of glory means heavy or weighty. When the Temple of Solomon was inaugurated, the priests could not enter the temple because the glory of God was there (2 Chronicles 5 & 7). Nothing is said about their eyes not being able to adjust to the light. It seems they were simply not able to deal with the weight of God’s glory. No one could even stand in that presence, let alone serve there.
Today, sometimes, we’ll talk of something that is profound, or difficult to wrap our minds round, as heavy. Maybe I’m showing my age, but when I was a kid I remember hearing people say (in California) “Whoa! That’s heavy, dude” (this must be said with an appropriate surfer panache, like the sea turtle in Finding Nemo). Why would the glory of God be in the Temple in heaven in such a way that even there, no one but God could stand? It seems we are witnessing the final judgment of the earth, His wrath poured out. This is not a time for frivolity. It is not a time to take lightly.
We live in a world, and a generation, that embraces light, but balks at weight. Maybe this has always been our human nature. But the light of God’s glory comes along with His weight. If we want to know and experience His light and goodness and love and truth, we’ll have to embrace His glory-His heaviness-as well. Maybe a good dose of glory is just what the world needs today.
Prayer for Today
Show us Your glory. Let us feel the weight of Your presence upon us. Let that Weight press the bitterness and sin out of us. Let us know the humility of being overwhelmed. And from this time forward, let us never be impressed with the glory of any human.
In the name of Your glorious Son, Jesus