I wonder if it occurs to most people who exactly God is, and how incredibly wonderful He is. Because we see with human eyes—because He doesn’t show Himself to us as He is—most of us have absolutely no idea of who we’re really dealing with.
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6)
Because of the limitations of our humanity, God reveals Himself in increments in Scripture—in bits and pieces—sometimes through language, sometimes through imagery. The places where we are given a glimpse into heaven it seems strange—but, how do you describe the spiritual to beings whose primary mode of operation is physical?
The sixth chapter of Isaiah records such an occurrence:
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I [the Old Testament prophet Isaiah] saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy,, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’ and the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.’” (Isaiah 6:1-7)
The holiness of the Lord God of heaven and earth was such that Isaiah feared for his life because of what he had seen.
Another revelation of the awesome presence of God was recorded by John the Apostle in the fourth chapter of Revelation.
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
‘Holy, holy, holy. Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
“You are worthy, o Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.’” (Revelation 4:1-11)
The image of the casting down of crowns is a recognition on the part of the elders that everything they have achieved, which, by virtue of their being recognized as elders must be substantial, is God’s. If we think about it, this is equally true for everyone. It is only by the grace of God that we have accomplished anything in life at all, because He created the circumstances that allowed us to become who we are, gave us the intellect and physical health to pursue the things we did, and decides when we ultimately must give everything, including our lives, back to Him. As Romans 11:36 tell us, “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
The disciples Peter, James, and John received a foretaste of the true glory of Jesus when He was transfigured in their presence: “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. ..” (Matthew 17:1-2)
The word translated “glory” is “doxa,” meaning “glory.” According to The Complete Word Study New Testament:
“Doxa embraces the excellence and perfection of the divine nature. It comprises all that God will appear to be in His final revelation to us. God’s glory made itself manifest in and through Jesus Christ. His Second Coming is spoken of as the blessed hope and the appearing of His glory. It is…the appearance of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. At Christ’s Second Coming He will be truly recognized for all that He is.”
As humans we can only begin to scratch the surface of a rightful comprehension of who and how glorious God truly is, but the Holy Spirit gives us glimpses. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10a says, “But as it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” Even seeing the magnificence of all He has created, we understand but a fraction of His glory now, but as we continue to fellowship with Him through His Word and by praying, may He enlighten our understanding to an ever-increasing degree!
I can’t even begin to comprehend how incredible You are. It is as 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see in a mirror, dimply, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” Thank You for Your Holy Spirit. Please continue to reveal Yourself to me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.