287-THE GLORY OF JEHOVAH
Let us define glory according to the human conception. To men, glory is honor, fame, celebrity acquired through works, accomplishments, virtues, talents, etc. Artistic glory. Leonard da Vinci became famous through his art. Picasso did, too. Literary glory. Luiz de Camões was the greatest of all Portuguese poets, the author of the epic poem “OS LUSíADAS”, which focused the story and the glory of the Portuguese kingdom. Machado de Assis is one of the glories of the Brazilian literature, the great novelist of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil has a constellation of great poets. Olavo Bilac, Guerra Junqueira, Gonçalves Dias, and many others: the glory of the Brazilian literature.
The glory of a leadership is to keep the nation’s social and economic balance; to rule the nation always seeking the well being of the people, promote the intellectual, scientific and moral development of the people, and so on.
The governments, in general, place great value in the human life, whose non- alienable rights are: “LIFE, FREEDOM, ACQUISITION OF HAPPINESS”. Even the criminals have their rights respected. This May of 2004 there was a huge rebellion in the house of custody of Benfica, in Rio de Janeiro, in which 30 criminals were killed, slaughtered. The secretary of Public Safety made a pronouncement in the radio saying with great satisfaction: “No criminal was killed by the policemen; they were all killed by the very criminals”. He meant by this that the Rio de Janeiro Police respect the lives of criminals.
Let us talk about Jehovah god, who values his glory very much. He declared the following: “I am Jehovah. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to engraved images” (Is. 42:8). Jehovah means that the glory of his righteousness and kindness is such and so sublime in relation to man, that it cannot be shared. And he complements by saying: “I bring near my righteousness, it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not wait; and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory” (Is. 46:13). And more: “For as the belt clings to the waist of a man, so have I caused to cling to me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, says Yahweh; that they may be to me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear” (Jer. 13:11).
Jehovah gets special pleasure from showing his own glory. Solomon finished the building of a sumptuous temple in Jerusalem. In the day of the temple’s dedication the priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of Jehovah to its proper place, to the inner sanctuary of the house, to the most holy place, under the wings of the cherubim (1 Kings 8:6). “And it came about when the priests came from the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10-11). Moses wrote in a book the statutes and judgments of Jehovah, and read them to the people, who promised to keep them. Then Moses sprinkled the blood of the covenant on the people. The text says, afterwards: “Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up. They saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was like a paved work of sapphire stone, like the skies for clearness. He didn’t lay his hand on the nobles of the children of Israel. They saw God, and ate and drank” (Ex. 24:9-11).Then Jehovah told Moses to go up the mount. “Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of Jehovah settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. The seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The appearance of the glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel” (Ex. 24:15-17). There is one thing, though, that mars the glory of Jehovah: the fact that he connects his glory to the plagues of Egypt. He declares: “Because all those men who have seen my glory, and my signs, which I worked in Egypt” (Num. 14:22). Plagues have never increased the glory of anyone. More so as Jehovah was the one who changed the hearts of the Egyptians to hate Israel (Ps. 105:23-25). It is comparable to the policeman that protects and encourages the criminal through bribes, but afterwards, when the cheat is found, kills the criminal. Jehovah says, then, that to hurt the prefabricated criminal reveals great glory. This is unacceptable. Jehovah should have changed their hearts to love and not to hate, for John says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). And “Love does no wrong to a neighbor” (Rom. 13:10). How can a god live and teach love if he changed the love that the Egyptians had for Israel because of Joseph in hatred? Now, the true God is love, and because he is love, he wants to give eternal life to all men, and for this very reason the apostle John says: “This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). Jehovah declared another thing: “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will follow after them; and I will get honor over Pharaoh, and over all his armies; and the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah” (Ex. 14:4). And Jehovah commands Moses, saying: “Lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground. I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall go in after them: and I will get myself honor over Pharaoh, and over all his armies, over his chariots, and over his horsemen. The Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have gotten myself honor over Pharaoh, over his chariots, and over his horsemen” (Ex. 14:16-18). If Jehovah were not the author of the hatred of the Egyptians, even then there should not be any glory in destroying a spiritually blind people, but after turning their hearts evil, he hardens them to afterwards kill them. This shows a total lack of love and kindness.
The Bible reveals that darkness stand for the evil works. “This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil” (John 3:19). It reveals that darkness is connected to the evil power of Satan. Jesus said to Paul: “to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:18).
When Jehovah dictated the Law on Mount Sinai, Moses declared the following words to the people: “It happened, when you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; and you said, ‘Behold, Jehovah our God has shown us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God does speak with man, and he lives’” (Deut. 5:23-24). Does Jehovah manifest himself in glory in the midst of darkness? I always thought that the glory of the true God would be manifested in light. Jesus Christ manifested himself in light on the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-2). And Jesus said: “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). And John testified about Jesus, saying: “There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man” (John 1:9). And Paul tells us: “and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11). If the glory of God the Father is manifested in Jesus, who is the true life, certainly the glory of Jehovah, which was manifested in darkness, had nothing to with Jesus, but with Satan (Acts 26:18), or with the powers of darkness that want to destroy the Christians (Eph. 6:12).
We, on the other side, walk in the light with Jesus, for we do not hate anyone, pursue anyone, or revile anyone, for the mission of the Christian is to love the lost, just as God has loved them (John 3:16-17).
by Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira