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1, Sermon 5 - 2Corinthians 4:6
... the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
This sermon is a follow-on to sermon 4. Dear reader, to grasp what I say here the reader must first read sermon 4 ... which begins with (in black print) ---
Romans 14:9,11 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived (i.e. 'lived again'), that he might be Lord both of the dead and living... For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me (i.e. the Lord), and every tongue shall confess to God.
Before my comments are forthcoming for this passage, we must first spend considerable time in Isaiah 45 to see what Paul is saying in Romans when referring back to what Isaiah had said; for consider -
Isaiah 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
In Romans 14:9,11 instead of using the term "Jesus", Paul identifies the One having 'sworn' in the Isaiah passage as 'Christ' (i.e. who 'both died, and rose, and' lived again). What directly follows may seem odd to the reader, but I am going to very briefly explain the scriptural differences between "God" and "Lord". And then I shall delve into Romans 14:9,11.
Sermon 4, then, goes at length into Isaiah 45:23 because that is where Paul studied for his sermon in Romans 14: 9,11. In Sermon 4, I had also meant to include that which follows here (i.e. the topic of 'the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ') which varies somewhat from sermon 4 but significantly adds to it. I repeat, it is related to the Romans 14:9,11 passage. However, Sermon 4 had become longer than at first I thought it would ... and so I continue now in sermon 5.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:27 'All things are delivered unto me of the Father: … '
To say this a little differently: 'All things of the Father which specifically have to do with the Father's children, and to do with the world in which they live.' Thus, Christ Jesus (soon to be crucified and resurrected in total obedience to the Father) had received 'all things' from the Father -
Indeed, in Sermon 4, we saw that the Lord Christ (of the Old Testament) had accomplished the Father's Creating of Things. That is, the Lord Christ created the earth, the world, and subsequently he created the nation of Israel; such that the Lord Christ, the Son, the Prince, became Israel's 'God'. This is why Israelites through the ages have worshiped the Lord the Christ (i.e. the Messiah) who had promised them that he would come as their king to set up a world kingdom. Through the prophets (like Isaiah, which the Lord Christ sent to Israel) the Lord Christ foretold many things concerning himself when, as their king, he would come to tabernacle with them.
At the time of this passage, the governmental leaders in Judea rejected the First Coming of the Lord Christ Jesus which was to free his people in all ways (including to 'set the prisoner free from prison, the blind to see', etc.), but especially to set them 'free from their sins'. In fact, the Law and the Prophets had provided everything for this ruling-class and the studied-ones to recognize their Messiah; they had no excuse. Ah, but the First Coming required the Blood Sacrifice (as pictured for them in the blood-sacrifice of the Law). Nevertheless, they were looking for the Coming that would set up the kingdom for the people. For they were not interested in 'release from sins' since they were quite satisfied within their own self-righteousness. You see, they were especially fed up with foreign rulers: first the Greeks and then replaced by the crude Romans.
To really comprehend Jesus in his First Coming one needs to become somewhat familiar with the blood-sacrifice. For it is pictured also for Gentile Christians in the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament. The book of Hebrews by a New Testament writer (some say it was Paul) helps us interpret (i.e. make the connection) between Mosaic Law and Christ Jesus who fulfilled it. All things of God, then, (from the Initial Creations to the Final Solution for all of those creations) have been given unto to Christ Jesus, the Son, who continually rules over the 'all things'. The Lord Christ, the Son, had been working all things for the Father up to this point in time, but at the time of this passage the Lord Christ Jesus, the Son, received rule over them.
Moreover, we need to understand that Jesus firstly is Israel's Messiah [and only secondly that he is the Lord Christ Jesus also of each believing non-Israelite (i.e. Gentiles of the Nations)]. For the Vine that is from God the Father in heaven unto His children on earth was from the Beginning; it began when the Vine accomplished the Creation of things and then anciently the Vine created the nation of Israel (beginning with ancient Abraham and then through chosen Jacob and Jacob's sons). Indeed, that same Vine has always been the Father's method of implementation of the beginnings of His children and of their world. And indeed, the Princely Vine had continued caring for the children (Israelites). Moreover, Jesus said of them that they were his children, his people. Thus, when he came 'in the form of a babe born of a virgin', he grew and walked and worked among his people 'as pleasing to the Father'. In this, as 'the Second Adam', Jesus the Christ demonstrated to his people and to the world what is the 'new life' of a 'new adam (man)'. Each child of God shall experience IT in due time.
On earth when Jesus was nearing the end of his assignment for the Father he spoke to the Apostles (each an Israelite) of his overall throughout-the-ages work as the Princely Vine. Moreover, he identified these apostles as 'branches in the Vine'. In fact, 'branches in the Vine' had been assigned to similar Israelites down through the ages ... Moses, priests, psalmists, prophets, etc. And now the Christ was assigning these branches to be apostles. Also there would be teachers, bishops, etc.
Moreover, Paul explained regarding 'the mystery': that there would be more 'branches' assigned to individual called ones of the Gentiles of the nations, which Paul identified as 'wild branches grafted into the Vine'. For the Vine had always had 'sheep of another fold' (John 10:16).
Dear reader, if you are not an Israelite (as I am not), then know that if you are a Christian you are of 'spiritual Israel'. Paul pointed this out clearly to the churches, which contained both (i.e. Israelites by nature and also by spirit) living in harmony. Yet, Paul also made it clear that 'wild branches' should be eternally grateful to have been grafted in. I fear that we of the Gentile Church are not nearly as grateful as we should be.
Sadly, through the ages the Gentile Christian Church has evolved into a "Jesus-only" religion ... ignoring the Princely Vine of the Olden Ages since for a large part we have abandoned the Old Testament as meaningful Scripture. Albeit, Jesus proved who he was by the many Promises to Israel mentioned in the Olden Scriptures. Indeed, we of today have become familiar with a "churchly Jesus", instead of being awestruck with an Eternal Princely Vine ... the Son always with God the Father, except for his short tenure on earth for thirty three years.
Now let us define some of the words in our main text -
In the Old Testament, let us consider the word translated from Hebrew to English that means the 'weight' of something: for instance gold and silver. Yet, the word more correctly refers to attributes 'of value'. Thus, something with this particular attribute has 'splendor' and thus usually it is 'honored'. The New Testament Greek adds to this attribute the concept of being 'very apparent'. Thus, 'glory' and anything described with 'glory' or as 'glorious' is 'very apparent' in its 'value'; or it 'stands out' in its 'value'. Therefore, when it is observed it 'cannot be missed by anyone'.
The word 'glory' is often used in scripture to describe attributes of things that are of 'outstanding value'. In Genesis 31:1 and in Matthew 4:8, both use the word to describe the 'glory' of kingdoms of the world. We see 'glory' attributed to God, to His throne, and to His kingdom. Moreover, we see 'glory' attributed even to the grass and flowers of the field (as having been created by the Lord Christ), etc.
I was nine years old when a friend of my mother came to our house with her child of eighteen months. Amid the changing of his diapers the boy broke loose and began dancing about in our living room. Everyone laughed and Mother said, “There he goes in all of his glory!” Of course she also could have said, “... in all of his splendor”. With the very same meaning as this, the word is used in the Bible.
The descriptive word 'glory' carries with it a 'very apparent weight' of 'value', and the object of such 'glory' is surely 'outstanding' in its 'splendor', and no one in its presence can miss its 'glory' ... even if the object is a dancing naked child full of joy at having escaped his mother's grasp for a moment or two. The concept of 'glory' in its meaning depends upon the context of when it is used.
The word translated 'face' in both Old and New Testaments almost always implies 'the person' and not simply the person's face. In Genesis there is 'face of the deep, face of the waters, face of all the earth, face of the ground, in the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread and, from thy face shall I hide (i.e. from Adam)'.
But also, 'Judah washed his face and went out'. Thus, the meaning can be specific to the body part. But mostly it is used to 'represent' something and it is with the implication of 'the whole of it'. Or, in regards to a person, it means 'the whole of the being of him or her'. Indeed, in scripture, God sees 'the whole' of a person.
In Gen_46:30 'And Israel (i.e. Jacob) said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.' Make note that 'face' represents the person as 'alive'.
Also, Gen_50:18 'And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.' I.e.. the brothers, in proper fear, accepted Joseph as the ruler of all Egypt ... and not only as the ruler in the special relationship of family. But also they accepted him in gratitude that they were his family to be 'specially cared for'.
Exodus_2:15 'Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.' I.e. Moses fled from 'the whole' that was 'Pharaoh and all that he ruled and all of his forces that would be searching for Moses'.
Exodus_3:6 'Moreover he said (i.e. the one God who created Israel, and thus the Lord Christ of the Creation of all Things), I am the God (i.e. the One who promised, and thus the Lord Christ who promised) of thy father (note singular), the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (note plural). The singular Promise incorporated the plural of all three mentioned; that is, they as One Line represent the One Promise to God's people Israel. And (therefore) Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon (Israel's) God.'
(( I.e.. as with the brothers falling down before Joseph, thus, greatly more so here with Moses. And so in this verse; here is Moses represented in his entire being ... which included all that had been revealed to him, all that was now going to be revealed to him, and all that God was going to do with the nation of Israel in using Moses. In other words, Moses in all of his potential is before God with his face to the ground in reverence and fear. ))
Note in this verse that the Lord Christ (who was to come to Israel in the form of a man, Jesus) was '... the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'. This does not mean God the Father of Everything. Rather, he is the God (i.e. the father and creator) of Israel's founding fathers. Note also that 'thy father' (single) is summarized or represented by the group (plural) of these men of the Promise. To the nation of Israel, they are 'one father' ... and by this verse we see that the Lord Christ (who Promised all of this to his people) is Israel's father-God by creation ... that is, the Lord Christ birthed Israel.
Indeed, in scripture, God sees (i.e. He knows) into the past of a person (his heritage), into the person himself (all that is the person) and into the future of the person (all that God has for the person).
But there is more to consider regarding the usage of the word 'face': It always implies the 'front' of a person (or something) and that the person is 'facing' you, 'seeing' you, and thus he is 'confronting' you, and that you are 'before' him. And ... if your eyes have been opened ... then you can observe the person and his 'countenance'. (Numbers 22:21-35)
Depending upon the context of a passage, 'face' can indicate 1) the person is 'observing' you or 2) you are observing the 'person' (i.e. his 'front' or 'countenance'). An example: Paul operated as pleasing 'before' God; which means that God was 'observing' Paul; and Paul by the Spirit was 'sensing' God.
Therefore, consider the passage -
2Corinthians 4:6 ... the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
God's Glory (the 'outstanding value' of it ... the 'very apparent weight' of it ... the 'splendor' of it) is 'in' the whole of everything that Jesus (the Christ having come to Israel his people) had accomplished 'in' the PURPOSE of God the Father. This includes the whole of everything in Jesus' 'life' on earth and the whole of everything that was and now is his 'life' in heaven with the Father. Moreover, it includes the whole of everything that Christ the Son accomplished for the Father 'in' the work of Creating all things ... which all things then and now have been given to the Son: not just as when Creating them, but as forever now Ruling over them.
I trust dear reader that you "see it" ... if not the Glory now, then you shall have some comprehension of it when you do "see it" up close and personal. Here I am expressing some small "Biblical comprehension" of it, but I know when I "see it" that my present comprehension will matter little because I will be struck with its ... well, I do not have any words to express what I and you will then experience. Therefore, it may seem foolish for me to try to express these things to my brothers and sisters in the Lord since a child of God need not know what the Word says about it because the very experience of it will supersede any foreknowledge of it. Indeed, if you are his sheep then you will 'see him as he is' (1John 3:2).
Even so, Paul thinks upon it a great deal. Indeed, perhaps (by the Spirit) he was in its Presence in heaven for a short time. (2Corinthians 12:2). Moreover, Paul tries to invigorate Christians to contemplate upon how very MUCH the Person (i.e. 'face') of Jesus Christ IS (i.e. all that IT entails). We tend to think that God's Glory is some vastly brilliant thing; and, indeed, in numerous scripture passages it is so written. Yet, I have not seen it, nor viewed it, nor been in such a 'presence'. Yet, I have experienced the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in lesser ways as I continue in the Word. At times I find myself caught up in the revealing of scriptural words, phrases, sentences ... words often that I have even studied before. Thus, it is neither the words themselves nor my comprehension (as little as that is); it is when God, in some manner, reaches out just a little of Himself to touch me (and so with you).
And you see, like Paul's Olden Scripture (and now all of Scripture) it tells me ... gives me some idea of what it is that is touching me. And, what little 'glory' that may be, it is 'in' the 'face' or person 'of Jesus Christ'. For everything that is God's Plan regarding mankind (men, me, you, the world, my world, your world ... is Expressed unto mankind, to men, to me, to you, to the world, to my world, to your world) 'In' His Son.
And ... we cannot know him ('no one knows the Son except the Father'). 'Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.' Thus, the loving Father can be revealed unto a child of God; but, we can only know about the Son; in that, the Father has Expressed Christ Jesus to us all ... from Creation to the Cross, and by His Spirit to each person born, and also within each true child of God saved by Grace.
Here then is our main text in 2Corinthians -
4:3,4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image (i.e. the physical manifestation) of God, should shine unto them.
4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts (i.e. the Apostles' hearts), to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We see that the 'light' is the 'glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God'. The 'good news' is the 'light'; Christ is the 'image' of God; and both and much more is Christ-with-God before the foundations of the world. Note that the Father projects His Son before mankind. The Father expresses Himself through and by means of the Son, and thus by means of the Son a little sheep can come to know the loving Father. And now and forever it is Jesus Christ the Risen Son abiding with the Father.
commanded the light to shine, not
but instead 'out
That is, in its fit time God placed a 'holy
1:35) within the dark womb of a woman; thus, Christ arrived in
the form of a
babe born of a virgin; whose
Father, however, was God. He was conceived (the Greek meaning is
'produced') out from the womb into the midst of a very dark world in
which his people were floundering about confused and too often
The world was and is darkness; and therefore in this passage Paul indicated that people are blind in a dark and blinding world and that the 'light' was directed unto Jesus' Apostles (verse 6). This 'light' (which is Christ), among other things is for illumination regarding knowledge ... 'the knowledge of the glory of God'.
And where, and only where, is the 'glory of God'? IT is 'in the face of Jesus Christ'. Indeed, all of IT is 'in the face of Jesus the Christ'.
I wish to know as much as I can (as much as God allows me) about my Savior; for, indeed, 'God's Glory is in the face (or 'person') of Jesus Christ'. Therefore, even some little learning about Jesus Christ exposes me to some little of 'God's Glory'. This is why I am trying to encourage everyone to get into their Bibles ... which is God's Garden, through which, as one walks, he or she can experience time with His Spirit. Indeed, He often visits His Garden. If you are there, He will visit with you. If you are not there, you will miss Him.
Yet, God is Great and God is Good, for He continues to visit with His children in ways other than within the Word ... because He is compassion and does not abandon His sheep.
And Moses verily was faithful in all his house (i.e. the house of Israel to which he had been sent), as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Hebrews 3:5,6
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness (requirement) of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:3-5