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The Glory of the Lord

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
November 1, 2021 4:00 am

The Glory of the Lord

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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November 1, 2021 4:00 am

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The whole concept of the glory of the Lord surrounds the Christmas scene at the birth of Christ. The Bible says that angels require such a focus as they shouted. Glory to God in the highest glory of the Lord was the owner that invaded the scene isn't imposed upon the Christmas story. It is the Christmas story got some important detail. You left the door unlocked door window open that might get your blood pressure going a bid, or at least bring on a headache.

Amazingly, though millions forget about something far more important. In fact, they do it like clockwork every year without experiencing a single physical symptom. What have they forgotten.

Simply put, it's the real meaning of Christmas. That's the topic and title of the study. John MacArthur begins today on grace to you now course John today is only the first day of November, so let me acknowledge the elephant in the room and say why are we airing a series on Christmas so many weeks before December 25. There really is a good reason for there is a good reason because we like to prepare people, God's people with some insights into the Christmas story so they can use those insights during the season. That is to come. So this is kind of a pre-Christmas season training and working to begin a study today titled the real meaning of Christmas and considering how easy it is to become distracted from what's important during the Christmas season. The fact it's almost difficult to find your way to the real truth about Christmas in the middle of all the chaos we want to get a jump from a biblical perspective on helping you equipping you to be able to meaningfully discuss the realities of the glorious incarnation of the son of God. So now is a great time to prepare for a meaningful Christmas opportunity to witness in a meaningful celebration as well. We want you to understand the true meaning of Christmas and we want you to prepare all the folks in your world for what is to come by being trained yourself and that's the reason we're doing the real meaning of Christmas starting this early in November, rather than taking the typical look at the narrative of Christmas, the familiar Christmas story can take a deeper look below the surface to uncover the spiritual dynamics at work in Christ coming to earth.

In other words, instead of looking at the gospel accounts of the story itself. When you look at Hebrews chapter 1, and the glory of the one who came into the world that we celebrated Christmas and then we can look at Philippians 2, the incarnation of the son and the triune Godhead. It's going to be a theological look at Christmas that will give you much much biblical truth that you can use effectively to make your worship this Christmas even more significant, and to tell other people. The real meaning of this holiday so stay with us for the whole series. That's right, and friend. Let me encourage you to follow along with John these next few days is study can help you prepare for your best Christmas ever.

Here is to show you the real meaning of Christmas. Isaiah chapter 40 as we prepare our hearts for making this Christmas season most meaningful. I want us to focus on this very phrase in verse five and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. Now, if you know me at all you know that the glory of God and the glory of the Lord is a tremendously important and urgent theme in my own teaching ministry. I speak of it often because the Bible speaks of it often, and you might think that perhaps were forcing this very very beloved theme onto the issue of Christmas, but that is not the case at all for the word of Isaiah in chapter 40 verse five and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed is in fact the Christmas story is the Christmas message. The birth of Christ was the revelation of the glory of the Lord, just as Isaiah had promised the whole concept of the glory of the Lord surrounds the Christmas scene at the birth of Christ. The Bible says that angels require such a focus as they shouted. Glory to God in the highest and Luke 29 it says the shepherds in meeting the angel were instantly aware that the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were very much afraid of the glory of the Lord was the angelic focus at the birth of Christ, the glory of the Lord was the all right that invaded the scene isn't imposed upon the Christmas story. It is the Christmas story. Let's focus if we can just on that first part of verse five the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. What is at me.

What kind of name is this what kind of title is its what kind of thought is this what is the truth, bound up in the message of the spirit of God here to give you simply this. To begin with the glory of the Lord is the expression of God's person is any manifestation of God's character. Any manifestation of his attributes in the world and the universe is his glory. In other words, the glory is to God what the brightness is to the sun. The glory is to God what is to water the glory is what he is to fire. In other words, it is the emanation is the effulgence is the brightness is the product of his presence is the revelation of himself. Any time God discloses himself is the manifestation of his glory. That really refers to his presence. Now we know that everything that exists in the universe is a manifestation of God's glory because all things are made by here and everything that is in existence then is some what the result of his nature. Therefore it projects is person the heavens declare the glory of God the beast of the field gives him glory everything he ever made speaks of his nature everything he ever did speaks of his essence so that the whole of all created things and all things in existence are revelations of God's glory. They are disclosures of his person see his glory and the smallest flower see his glory and the butterfly see his glory, and a tree to see his glory in the sky see his glory and everything all our reference points to his nature now Moses having seen all of that wanted more. In Exodus 33.

He said the God show me your glory. It wasn't as if he had never seen any of it. It was as if he wanted to see more of it. And God said to him, no man shall see me and live. I cannot display to you the fullness of my glory are you would be consumed, but I'll allow you to see my afterglow document rock and revealed some of his glory. So there were times when beyond the general revelation of his creation beyond his glory manifested in what we see in nature. Beyond that, God gave some very special revelations of his glory that day to Moses when he was tucked in the rock later to the people as he came down from the mountain had the glory of God emanating from his face. God gave some special manifestations of glory in the garden. For example, Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in the cool of the day. His presence was there in an emanating, ineffable cloud of light, and they saw his glory in Leviticus chapter 9 in verse six Moses told the people that the glory of the Lord was going to appear to them and it did when they were in the wilderness. In Exodus chapter 16 God was feeding them with manna and is the man I came in was provided for them.

The Bible says the glory of the Lord was seen at Mount Sinai when Moses went up to commune with God. The glory of the Lord covered the mountain and covered Moses so that the people could not see either Exodus 2415 we find that in Exodus chapter 40 at the completion of the tabernacle, the glory of the Lord filled the tent of the congregation and in Leviticus chapter 9 when the priesthood was initiated in the priestly ministry defined and it first was set apart on the God at that very initiation of the priesthood, the glory of the Lord was seen in Numbers 14 in verse 10, when the people it reached Cadiz Bonilla and instead of entering into the promised land. By faith he began to murmur and complain and rebel.

The Bible says the glory of the Lord appeared later on after God established the priesthood. There were three men Cora dates and in a Byron who decided that they would take upon themselves the priestly function and they defiled that holy office and the ground opened up and swallowed them according to number 16 and it says in verse 19, that the glory of the Lord appeared in the same chapter later on when the people rebelled against Moses and Aaron, the glory of the Lord was manifest in it says it threatened to consume them in a moment in their wanderings in the wilderness, according to the 20th chapter of numbers. They became thirsty at Marable and in the midst of their thirst. Moses and Aaron fell prostrate before the Lord to pray on their behalf in the glory of the Lord was there in first Kings 811 it says when they completed the temple the glory of the Lord came and filled it. When they offered the first offering second Chronicles chapter 7 verse one the glory of the Lord was seen in the people fell down and worship. So you see God not only revealed his glory in creation. But God revealed his glory, and very special way in the ineffable Shekinah now. I grant you that. As I read these things again and again all of the appearances of God's glory have about them a certain amount of mystery matter how many times you go over and how many times you think it through.

There is connected with the glory of God. A certain amount of marvelous mystery, a cloud, a pillar of fire blazing light, very difficult for us to understand what this must've been like is only one place we can go in the Old Testament to get a description of it and it's in the first chapter of Ezekiel, would you look with me for a moment that Ezekiel chapter 1 Ezekiel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gives us the only description of what it was to see the Shekinah and just to give you an idea of what he says let me run down through this text to solicit Ezekiel 1 verse four. And I looked, and behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud of fire and folding it in a brightness was about an out of the midst of it like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also, out of the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance they had the likeness of a man and everyone had four faces, and everyone at four wings by the way this has to do. I think with angelic attendance to the Shekinah and their feet were straight feet in the soles of their feet were like the soles of a cabs foot and they sparkled like the color of burnished bronze, and they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides and they four had their faces and their wings their wings were joined one to another, they turned not when they went they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man in the face of a lion on the right side and they for the face of an ox on the left side and they four also had the face of an eagle, thus were their faces and their wings were stretched upward two wings of everyone were joined one to another and to covered their bodies and they went every one straight forward whenever the spirit was to go, they went and they turned not when they went.

As for the likeness of the living creatures that their appearance was like burning coals of fire like the appearance of lamps. It went up and down among the living creatures and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning and the living creatures ran and returned like the appearance of a flash of lightning and got it clear all read more now as I beheld the living creatures, behold, one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures with its four faces the appearance of the wheels and their work was like the color of the barrel. It's a precious stone. They four had one likeness, their appearance and their work was as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel when they went they went upon their four sides and they turned not when they went. As for their rims. They were so high they were dreadful, their rooms were full of eyes round about them for and when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them and with living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up wherever the spirit was to go, they went there was to their spirit to go and the wheels were lifted up beside them for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. Frankly, folks doesn't get any better just keep going on like this and on and on we come to verse 26 and above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne like the appearance of a sapphire stone, and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness of the appearance of a man above upon it, and I saw like the color of amber, like the appearance of fire round about within it. From the appearance of its loins even upward and from the appearance of its lines, even downward. I saw as it were the appearance of fire and it had brightness round about like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud and the day of rain so was the appearance of the brightness roundabout stop he saved Mercy MacArthur help long-lost list people of asked me for years. What does all that mean I get with you very simply. I haven't got the faintest idea and I think that's the point.

Ezekiel really did the best he could do, but he was trying to describe the indescribable. He was trying, as one man said unscrew the inscrutable. He was trying to tell us something that was impossible to communicate. He saw the glory of the Lord. That's what he says in verse 28 middle the verse. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. I mean II gave you the best shot, but I just can't give you any more. It's too mysterious it's too much at best. He gave it a good effort he saw the glory of the Lord.

Later in chapter 3 he saw the glory of the Lord under chapter 8 chapter 9 chapter 10.

He sought and sought sought and still it had this incredible mystery. Now there's coming a day, says the prophet Habakkuk when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. But until that day of full knowledge we are dealing with limited perception. We just really don't understand and Ezekiel could and could not describe and the more he goes on the more tangled up we get creation reveal the glory of God. And beyond that the Shekinah those very special glory appearances revealed his glory. But even with those there was mystery. There was mystery if all we had was that our understanding of God's glory would be shrouded in confusion and yet God wants us to know him and he wants us to perceive him and he wants us to understand his self revelation. How can we ever know. That's all we have will fortunately Isaiah comes along and Isaiah says this the glory of the Lord shall be what revealed there's coming a greater disclosure of fuller revelation. Let's see how the New Testament speaks of its fulfillment.

Hebrews chapter 1 Hebrews chapter 1 is another text that deals with the true Christmas story. The true Christmas story verse one Hebrews 1 God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, and you can stop there. God spoke.

That's the subject and the verb God spoke God's self-disclosure.

He did it at different times and in different ways. That's what those two terms me at different times and in different ways.

God revealed himself primarily nonmarket unto the fathers, that is to historic progenitors of the nation of Israel, the godly men of the past. He did speak by the prophets now think with me was pulled together.

We learned up to now. God did not remain silent.

God did not remain invisible God did not leave himself shrouded in the clouds of darkness, but he shone the light of glory.

First of all, he shone the light of glory in creation and then he shone the light of glory and the Shekinah those very special ways in which he invaded the life of the people of the Old Testament, but most marvelously and most conclusively and most helpfully he disclosed himself beyond his creation and beyond the Shekinah in the word of God revealed to the prophets so that the greatest revelation in time past is not the vision of the Shekinah is not the comprehension of the creation is the understanding of the Old Testament that is the word spoken by the prophets. It says verse seven, of Amos three the Lord God will do nothing but that he revealed with his secret unto his servants the prophets, he has disclosed himself through the prophets in the writings of the Old Testament now was creation and the Shekinah is limited. The written word gives content to the creation it gives content to the Shekinah. We might even bother words of Job when Job contemplates the God who reveals himself in creation. He says this low Job 2614. These are but the outskirts of his ways and how small a whisper. Do we hear of him. She got only whispers in his creation got only whispers in his Shekinah, but he speaks in his word and in the Old Testament verse one. He spoke not a whisper but in full voice you know something even that was full of mystery did you know that I doubt whether there was ever in the Old Testament time a more godly man than Daniel.

He really knew what it was to pray knew it was to walk with God you knew it was to live a life of obedience. He had a sense of history.

He lived over 90 years and he saw God work through all of those years he had revelations from God that were not equaled by anybody else.

He saw the future like no one in the Old Testament sought incredible man, given all that he was given his personal relationship with God. Given all he was given through divine revelation given all those factors at the very end of Daniel chapter 12 verse eight he says this I heard but I did not understand in understanding you didn't understand noise that sounded if all you had was creation. You have a whisper if all you had was Shekinah you still have a whisper if you had the Old Testament you have God speaking in a full voice but even then there would be mystery. That's why first Peter 110 to 12 says that the Old Testament prophets searched what they wrote to see what person, or what manner of time it referred to but it was not revealed unto them, says Peter, but unto us. That's why in Hebrews 1139 and 40. It says that they were not perfected without us. The completion didn't come until the better thing, which is the new covenant. So with all that they had.

There was still mystery the fullness was still missing. They didn't get the fullest cruelest complete picture of what God was really like. Creation helped Shekinah helped the word helped with the was in incompleteness in middle until verse two, Hebrews 1 he hath in these last days spoken again, and how to speak this time by his what son now that is God shouting if he whispers in his Shekinah and he speaks in the Old Testament, he shouts in his son can't mistake it's unmistakable. He is God and you see all of God manifested in his judgment is just as his love is wisdom's power is omniscience. It's all out of them as we watch you walk to the world, working his work living his life fullness of God is seen as it was never ever seen in Jesus Christ. And that's why second Corinthians 120 makes a monumental statement that you are to remember and you are marking your Bible all the promises of God in him that is in Christ are yes and in him amen under the glory of God. Everything of the glory of God is yes and amen in Christ, he becomes that full revelation of the glory of the Lord. Look at verse two. For a moment.

It says in these last days. One of the last days. That is a term refers to the messianic. Last days began when the Lord Jesus came as a long period of last days were still in a 2000 years later John said my little children, it is the last time the New Testament says he has appeared once in the end of the age.

The last time the end of the age, the last days began when the Messiah came, it was the last days of revelation for the Canon.

The Testament the text was completed, then was the last time God spoke until he utters his voice again in his kingdom. So after God had given the whisper in the audible voice, he shouted in his son and the New Testament gives us that revelation is an interesting note that I just make to those of you look at the text, perhaps more closely it says in the Greek. He has spoken unto us by son Miss the word his and there by son Ness.

In other words, the article is absent in the past. He spoke by profit nests or he spoke through prophets. Now he speaks through son Ness and the emphasis then is not so much on the person of the son as the quality of being a son. In other words, being a son is better than being a prophet. He is stressing the quality or the nature of the term. He has elevated the quality of his spokesman and that fits into the text of Hebrews because the whole book of Hebrews basically compares Christ with everything else was he is greater than the property is greater than the Angels. He is greater than the précis is greater than Moses greater than area greater than Melchizedek and on and on and on. His covenant is a greater covenants of so he speaks by son. This speaks in the living son Lord Jesus Christ and that's John MacArthur agrees to use Bible teacher, and he's also Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary and showing you the glory of the Lord in human flesh.

It's part of the study John lunch today titled the real meaning of Christmas. You know something you may have noticed over the years around Christmas.

People are more open to hearing biblical truth than almost any other time to help you take advantage of that openness.

John has written a book called God's gift of Christmas. It's a beautiful hardcover book that explains the gospel truth that the heart of the Christmas story pick up a few copies of this great evangelism tool when you contact us today. Call toll-free anytime 855 grace or go to our website Jide Keep in mind the price of God's gift of Christmas is currently reduced by 25% and that's true for limited time for nearly everything we sell the price for God's gift of Christmas nine dollars and shipping is free to order God's gift of Christmas or a MacArthur study Bible, or any of our resources at 25% off the regular price. Call us at 855 grace or go to Jide TY.and while you're at Jide Take your time and come back often to read practical articles on issues affecting your life and your church on the grace to you blog. You can also read daily devotionals from John and follow along with the reading plan from the MacArthur daily Bible and don't forget all of John's sermons 3500 total are free to download on MP3. All of that and much more is ready for now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson. Thanks for listening today and be here tomorrow as John continues to help you avoid missing the real meaning of Christmas. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you

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