THE RADIANCE OF GOD’S GLORY
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful world. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
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” (Heb. 1:3 NIV)
When the Lord Jesus Christ was physically present in the world He did not merely radiate or manifest God’s glory, nature or character; rather, He was the brightness or radiance of God’s glory and the express image of God’s person.
The Scripture clearly states this truth.
Hebrew 1:3 – NIV
3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful world. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
The Lord Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. While Jesus was in the world, He was not in any way less than God except that He was God veiled in the flesh.
The Lord Jesus said, “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30 NKJV).
The Scripture testifies that Jesus was God manifested in the flesh.
1 Timothy 3:16 – NKJV
16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate or supreme revelation of God to mankind; “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9 NKJV).
Without any doubt, the patriarchs, saints or prophets of old manifested or reflected God’s glory in varied degrees. God manifested Himself in and through them in diverse and undeniable ways.
When Moses returned from God’s presence after spending forty days and forty nights with God on Mount Sinai, the skin of his face shone, reflecting God’s glory (Exo. 34:29). But that glory never continued all throughout his life, it gradually diminished and vanished after some time.
Whatever glory, character, wisdom or power of God the patriarchs or prophets of old manifested is infinitely minute when compared with God Himself manifested to us in the flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ.
Unlike the saints or prophets of old, Jesus Christ did not just manifest God’s glory and character; He was the glory and person of God manifested to us. It was only in and through Jesus Christ that all the fullness of the Godhead was made known to us.
The Scripture refers to Jesus Christ as “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” (Heb. 1:3 NIV).
It was only in Christ Jesus that God’s glory was perfectly revealed to us!
Similarly, Jesus Christ did not simply manifest God’s power and wisdom to us; He was the power and wisdom of God manifested to us.
Paul explains that to “those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1:24 NKJV).
Jesus Christ did not just manifest God’s grace to us; He was the grace of God that brought salvation to all men.
Titus 2:11 – NKJV
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
Jesus Christ did not just bring us eternal life; He was the eternal life which was with the Father and manifested to us in due time.
1 John 1:1-2 – NKJV
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life–
2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.
While in the world, everything that Jesus Christ said, taught, and did was a perfect revelation of God’s person, mind, will, nature or character. This cannot be said of any of the patriarchs, prophets or saints of old.
All the supernatural manifestations of God seen in the lives of the saints of old or in the ministries of the prophets of old are infinitely or immeasurably small in comparison with Jesus Christ who was the very image of God’s substance, person, or essence.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate or supreme revelation of God’s love, glory, wisdom, truth, power, nature or character to mankind. His lifestyle, mindsets, values, attitudes, words or teachings are God’s perfect standard for us.
No one else, living or dead, is God’s perfect standard or example for us to measure up to or follow in everything.
Therefore, you must ensure that you are not blindly following any religious, church or spiritual leader. Whatever any leader says, teaches, or does that is not totally consistent with that of Christ must be vehemently rejected.
The Scripture admonishes you to withdraw from heretical and rebellious person or people (Jud. 1:3, 2 John 1:9-11).
1 Timothy 6:3-5 – NKJV
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,
4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,
5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
While it is absolutely true that every scripture whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament is inspired by God and undoubtedly profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness; however, there is a great difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The difference is much more than a blank page that separates them in your Bible. Unfortunately, many believers and even preachers today still don’t recognize the remarkable differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament is a true Word of God. All that it reveals or teaches about God is the truth, but not the final, complete, perfect, supreme or ultimate truth and revelation of God.
Until Jesus Christ came, we did not have a perfect or complete revelation of God’s person, nature, character, mind, will, and truth to mankind.
None of the saints or prophets of old had a complete revelation of God. All that they had and documented for us was a partial revelation of God.
This does not in any way discredit the Old Testament or diminish the validity or the divine inspiration and authority of any of the Old Testament scriptures. However, it calls for a caution today in the interpretation and application of the Old Testament.
Knowing that the Old Testament is not a complete, final or supreme revelation of God’s person, glory, power, wisdom, nature or character you must therefore be careful not to practice, adopt, follow, or abide in any of the teachings or truths written in the Old Testament if it does not totally, perfectly or completely conform to that taught by Jesus Christ and His early apostles written in the New Testament.
As a New Testament believer, you are called to abide in the word, teaching or doctrine of Christ and not that of any patriarchs, prophets or saints in the Old Testament.
This is why the Lord Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” (John 8:31 NKJV).
While there are many good lessons to learn from the patriarchs, prophets or saints of old, they are however not God’s perfect standards, models or examples for you, for they were not and did not have a perfect or supreme revelation of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only supreme revelation or manifestation of God to mankind. Therefore, He is the only true standard, model, or example to follow in all things.
The entire body of teaching taught and delivered personally by Christ or through the Holy Spirit to the early apostles of Christ is the divine, authoritative, perfect, supreme, ultimate or final truth about everything. It is God’s mind perfectly revealed to us on every issue or subject!
While it is true that God in time past has spoken to us in various ways, by various prophets or saints of old; however, in these last days God has spoken to us by Jesus Christ, His Son, who was the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.
Hebrews 1:1-2 – BBE
1 In times past the word of God came to our fathers through the prophets, in different parts and in different ways;
2 But now, at the end of these days, it has come to us through his Son, to whom he has given all things for a heritage, and through whom he made the order of the generations.
The word or teaching of Jesus Christ on every issue or subject is the final, supreme, or ultimate truth or authority on the issue or subject.
Therefore, whatever truths about God that Moses or any of the great prophets of old had and taught written in the Old Testament must be examined or judged in the light of the character, word or teaching of Christ. If they go contrary to Christ’s character, word or teaching; they must be cast aside!
Beloved, why would you still want to hold fast to or seek to conform to imperfect truths when Christ has brought to you the perfect truth or revelation of God?
1 Corinthians 13:10 – BBE
10 But when that which is complete is come, then that which is in part will be no longer necessary.
If you are holding to, following, or abiding in any teaching or doctrine that is different to that of Christ, you simply don’t know or have God.
2 John 1:9 – NKJV
9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, teach and help me to discern and shun all distractions so that I may constantly behold the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in the mirror of God’s Word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.