How can one define the word “glory” in a way that will do justice to its true meaning and help us get a glimpse of what is meant by the glory of God? Glory refers to an intrinsic worth and to the manifestation of the essentiality of the majesty of that being. In relation to God, it is an outshining of His inward greatness and of His excellencies and perfections.
The Glory of His Power
In Psalm 19:1, we read that “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (NKJV). David had contemplated the work of God’s fingers (Psa 8:3 – the sun, moon and stars) and saw a sermon in the skies, preached by the Great Creator. Later in the psalm he presented a sermon in the Scriptures. In the former, the universe is seen as a great exhibition of the wisdom and work of God.
The Glory of His Presence
It is interesting to see that when “all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation [was] finished” (Exo 39:32), and Moses had, in its construction, been faithful in all God’s House (Heb 3:2), and had done all things as God commanded him (Exo 40:32), the “cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (v34). We refer to this as the Shekinah glory, which is, literally, the glory of His presence. David’s desire is an example for us: “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple” (Psa 27:4-5). In Psalm 96:8 we are enjoined to “give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering and come into his courts.” The house of God today is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1Ti 3:15).
The Glory of His Perfections
Romans 3:23 (“all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”) evidently refers to the excellencies of God. We cannot attain to His holy standard. The consequence of this failure is the condemnation of God on all mankind without distinction. The letter to the Romans presents a gospel in which God can be just and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus (Rom 3:21-26). The perfections of the character of God were seen by Isaiah when he saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, with His train filling the temple (Isa 6:1). The seraphim cried, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isa 6:3). John refers to this incident as follows: “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory [that of the Lord Jesus] and spoke of him” (Joh 12:41 ESV).
These perfections of God’s character are seen in so many ways, and we are enjoined: “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1Pe 1:16). His perfections are imperfectly emulated by His people now, but we will be like Him morally, when in His appearing we see Him even as He is (1Jn 3:2).
The Glory of His Preeminence
David wrote, “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations” (Psa 145:10-13). The psalmist was describing the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus – the 1000-year period when a King shall reign in righteousness (Isa 32:1). Zechariah wrote of this time: “Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne” (6:13). There is glory associated with the Rapture, the revelation and the reign of Him who is called the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16; Titus 2:11-13). Peter referenced this time of the preeminent glory of Christ when he mentioned that the prophets wrote beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow (1Pe 1:11). Peter had been shown a preview of the glory of the kingdom on the Mount of Transfiguration (compare Mat 17:1-9 and 2Pe 1:16-21). The Lord Jesus referred to this millennial throne as “the throne of his glory” (Mat 19:28).
The Glory of His Praise
There is glory associated with His praise. “Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Psa 29:1-2). Elsewhere we read, “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven” (Psa 148:13). At the cleansing of the ten lepers, where only a Samaritan returned to give Him thanks, the Lord Jesus said, “There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger” (Luk 17:18). David wrote, “All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD” (Psa 138:4-5).
Consider the many doxologies (ascriptions of praise) in the Bible. These are expressions of a heart that is caused to overflow because of its contemplation of the greatness of God. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jud 24-25).
The Glory of His Provision
Abraham was dramatically changed when he experienced the preemptive, preserving ministry of Melchizedec as the latter spoke of the Most High God, the Possessor of Heaven and Earth (Gen 14:18-24). Abraham did not need the wealth of Sodom, for God would be his shield and his exceeding great reward. Similarly, Paul told the Philippians of a God who would supply all their need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Php 4:19-20).
“I am the Lord; that is my name, and my glory I will not give to another” (Isa 42:8).
 All Scripture quotations in this article are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.