The Glory of God

 I found the following word studies from the NLT Illustrated Study Bible (Tyndale Publishers) to be very interesting.  It is true that we often get the wrong idea about the meaning of the “glory of God.”  We have learned this misconception by the way our culture understands the word “glory.”  For those who were a part of our Ecclesiastes study, this will be especially interesting.

Glory has a different connotation in the OT than it does in English usage.  The English word suggests something thin and passing – the glory of a sunset, the glory of last year’s winning team.  The root idea of the Hebrew word for glory is ‘heaviness’ or ‘solidity.’  It connotes ‘significance’ or ‘worth,’ the absolute opposite of ‘vanity’ or ‘nothingness.’  When God’s glory appears, it is not merely a bright light or a glittering cloud, but a visible expression of his absolute reality.

God’s glory is the manifestation of his person, his power, and his majesty (see Ezek 1:28; 10:4).  God’s glory may be revealed in nature . . . To ‘give glory’ to God (Josh 7:19; Isa 24:15; Jer 13:16) means to speak or act in a manner that acknowledges who God is . . . Christ is the glory and image of God (2 Cor 4:4).”

From Ecclesiastes:

“The key word in Ecclesiastes is the Hebrew word hebel (‘vapor,’ . . .).  This word expresses the core of the Teacher’s judgment concerning life in this world.

At root, hebel means physical ‘breath’ or ‘vapor’ . . . The term is often used to describe the insubstantiality, unreality, and worthlessness of false gods (Deut 32:21; 2 Kgs 17:15; Isa 30:7).  In this sense, hebel is the opposite of ‘glory’ – the substantial, weighty, and lasting presence of God . . . Sometimes the word hebel stands for the way life is fleeting and momentary, like vapor (Job 7:16; Ps 144:4).  In other cases, it refers to the meaninglessness and frustration of life (Pss 78:33; 94:11; Isa 49:4).”

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).

Now that is weighty!