The very first of the Ten Commandments which the LORD gave to Moses for the house of Israel is, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exo 20:3) HE explains this further to Moses saying, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exo 34:14) and then “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” (Deu 4:24) He reveals the same thing to the prophet Isaiah where HE says, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” (Isa 42:8)
So when Stephen mentioned “the GOD of glory”, there was no mistaking which GOD he had in mind. Though the men of this world have gods a plenty, there is but ONE true and living GOD. HE is “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy.” (Isa 57:15) HE is that one to whom Nebuchadnezzar was introduced and made this confession,“I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Dan 4:34-35)
HE is that same one of whom David speaks saying, “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psa 115:3) HE revealed HIMSELF to Isaiah saying, “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isa 46:9-11)
Now if we speak of HIM as the “GOD of glory” we must also speak of “the glory of GOD”. This is the essence of that which separates HIM from all of HIS creation. HE may see fit to impart a certain glory unto HIS creation but HE will not share the essential glory of HIS person with any (see Isaiah 42:8.) In fact when Moses asked to see HIS glory HE told him“Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Exo 33:20) It was necessary that Moses be hidden in a “CLEFT of the ROCK” and covered with HIS hand as HE passed by just so that Moses might see a glimpse of HIS back parts. (see Exo.33:21-23)
The idol gods of men can be seen and handled, yet have no power, but the “GOD of glory” cannot be seen and yet has all power in heaven and earth. Men desire a god whom they can control through their prayers, obedience, morality, etc., yet the scripture plainly tells us that the “GOD of glory” changes not and is not influenced or controlled in any fashion. HE sovereignly controls all events and dispenses HIS favor to men according to HIS own will.
We are therefore struck with amazement when we behold, the eternal SON, emptying HIMSELF of HIS glory in order to walk among men. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phi 2:6-8)
It is impossible for HIM, who is the Eternal GOD, to be anything less than GOD, yet to fulfill HIS purpose to redeem, those whom the FATHER gave HIM before the foundation of the world, the SON clothed HIMSELF in flesh and blood, essentially hiding HIS glory as the eternal GOD from the view of men. Otherwise those for whom HE came would have been slain by the glory of HIS presence.
John says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) CHRIST JESUS is the “only begotten of the FATHER” as a real MAN who dwelt among us, John speaks of seeing HIM full of grace and truth as that perfect MAN who was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin. He saw HIM as that MAN who being GOD, laid down HIS life for the purpose of redeeming HIS people from the curse of the law and the power of sin.
It is in CHRIST alone that we can now behold the “the GOD of glory”. Even as Paul says, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2Cor 4:6) Yet while we have the knowledge of HIS glory, we have not yet beheld HIS glory in all of its unbridled splendor. Again, Paul says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” (1Cor 13:12)
Sinful mortals cannot behold that glory. Hence, we see this same John who speaks of beholding HIS glory (1:14) falling at HIS feet as a dead man when HIS presence was revealed to HIM in Revelation 1:17. A similar experience was had by Daniel (see 10:7-10) and Isaiah (see 6:5). Yet we read in the same book of Revelation that “the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it.” (Rev 21:24) It is clear that that “heavenly city” which is a “bride adorned for her husband” enjoy the light and glory of HIS presence, after the completion of the covenant of redemption “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1Cor 15:28)
Through the ages to come we shall have the unending privilege of dwelling in the glory of HIS presence as we praise the LAMB that was slain. Gone is the veil of flesh that hampered our vision, gone is the mortality and corruption that separated between us. We shall praise and worship the SON of GOD who is one with the ETERNAL FATHER and SPIRIT. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom 8:29-30)
HE is now seen as the “GOD of glory” because HE has finished the work which HE came to do. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” (John17:4)
Though HE laid aside HIS glory for a season yet now HIS prayer is answered, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5)
HE is able to give glory to HIS own and cause them to be united, “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:22)
HE will yet manifest HIS glory in them in the ages to come. “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.” (John 17:24) “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2Cor 1:20)mam