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This Page enlarges on the Study notes for Isaiah 40:5 - the Glory of the Lord




The Glory of the Lord



Isaiah 40:5 - "the glory of the Lord will be revealed"

What is the glory of the Lord? It is the revealed wonder of God's presence. In the Bible it is seen as:

a) The Unique Glory of God

          - appearing as a cloud in the wilderness - Ex 16:7,10

          - appearing on Mount Sinai - Ex 24:15,16

          - filling the newly completed Tabernacle - Ex 40:34,35

          - filling the newly completed Temple - 1 Kings 8:10,11

b) The Handiwork of God

           Here it is sometimes used to refer to the expression of praise that we will give to God because of His greatness seen through His works:

            - the praise to God because of His dealings with Pharaoh  Ex 14:4,17,18 

            - God referred to as the Glory of Israel - 1 Sam 15:29

            - the acclamation of God's greatness, to be ascribed to Him - 1 Chron 16:28

            - the heavens that declare His glory - Psa 19:1

            - His greatness seen throughout His Creation - Isa 6:3

            - The heavenly brightness of Jesus when he returns - Mt 16:27, 24:30, 25:31

            - The greatness of Jesus in the flesh - Jn 1:14, 2:11, 14:13, 17:4


The Glory Revealed

       The glory of the Lord, therefore, is seen either as:

             - the manifest presence of God in shining brightness, or

             - as the ascribed greatness of God through His works.

The bright glory of Tabernacle and Temple revelation was not seen again in subsequent Biblical history, yet God's glory was subsequently revealed in history in:

                - the work of God as seen in judgement and restoration of Israel

                - the Exile and restoration

                - the person of Jesus

                - the creation of the Church and

                - the individual members of it.

                      - see Eph 3:21, Phil 1:11, 2 Thess 2:14, 1 Pet 5:1, Jn 17:10,22 - which is,

                         in fact, His Holy Spirit in us, e.g. 2 Cor 3:18, 4:6,7

So when Isaiah prophesies that God's glory will be revealed, it could mean that the manifest presence of God will literally appear, or it may mean that the work of God will so obviously be seen that glory will be attributed to Him because of it.


The Glory to be Seen

One of the key things about the glory of the Lord, from the Lord's point of view, is that He wanted it to be seen. 

His intention in verse 5  was that "all mankind together will see it"

In chapter 41 when He speaks of restoration  it is (v.20) "so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this".

In chapter44 he calls the heavens to sing, the earth to shout because (v.23) "he displays his glory in Israel".

Of the servant (49:3) he says, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendour."

When He speaks of bringing back their children, the result of it will be that (49:26), "Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord,  am your Saviour."

When He speaks of His coming salvation (52:10) He declares, "The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God."



Isaiah 60 speaks an answer:  "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you (v.1).... but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn (v.2,3) .... for he has endowed you with splendour" (v9)

As the glory of the Lord is revealed in the people of God, so others are attracted and come to Him.  So it happened on the day of Pentecost, when the glory came (Acts 2:1-4), a crowd gathered (v.6) wondering what was happening.  The fruit of that was that three thousand more were added that day (v.41).

The glory of the Lord as He worked in His people (Acts 2:43-47) meant the world looked on in wonder and approved what they saw.

A little while later Peter and John are instruments of God to bring healing to a cripple who brings glory to God (v.8,9) and the crowd are amazed and many are attracted, giving yet a further opportunity for Peter to preach and declare the glory of the Lord.


More of Isaiah

As the chapter 60 prophecy develops there comes an eternal dimension that declares (v.19), "the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory."

In chapter 61 as He speaks of the wonder of what He will do for Israel, the chapter concludes (v.11), "so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before nations."

The prophecy continues in chapter 62 declaring (v.2) "The nations will see your righteousness and all kings your glory."

In the final chapter, chapter 66, the Lord declares in the face of ungodly unrighteousness (v.18), "I.. am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory."

In verse 19 He continues, "I will send some of those who the distant lands  that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations."


More in the New Testament

As we have noted above, the glory of God's presence comes into every Christian by the presence of God's Holy Spirit at new birth - see for example 2 Pet 1:3,4,  Rom 8:9-11 - so we have His glory within us.

When we allow Him to lead us (Gal 5:16,25), His activities through us will be seen, His light shining (Mt 5:14-16) and in this sense the glory of the Lord is intended to be seen in and through each Christian as they are led by God.

When we come together to worship as the body (see 1 Cor 12 & 14), then there is an additional dimension of revelation of the glory of God as the Holy Spirit expresses Himself through the body.


Concluding Comments

The glory of the Lord is His natural splendour.   His desire is that His creation know Him and in knowing Him will see His splendour.

When He reveals Himself, He reveals His splendour. When we see His splendour our hearts will be revealed.   We will either bow and worship and exalt Him as His people, or we will flee and receive His judgement as those who have rejected the truth.

As we seek the Lord, the goal of our seeking must be to see His glory (Ex 33:18). Should He permit us something of that revelation, we will never be the same again.  As we learn of His greatness our response should be to declare His greatness and glory. As we do that, we align ourselves with the truth or reality of what is - He is all glorious!  Praise and worship Him!