Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Romans 9:4:Glory (2 of 6)

NOTE: This is  the second in a 6 part series of articles I will be posting  based loosely off of a book I almost wrote which was based loosely off of a class I almost taught. Please stay tuned for the entire 6 part series. Part one is available here:

"Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;"  Romans 9:4

  In addition to adoption, Israel received ‘glory’.  Out of all the things on the Romans 9 list, this is the one that comes closest to being intangible and spiritual in nature and while there are certainly parallels with what the church receives, they are not the same thing, and the easiest way to  establish this is  to define what ‘glory’ was or was not in the Old Testament.
  Exodus 16:7 says “And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?”. The fulfillment of that proclamation comes a  few verses later, when “…they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.”  Similar language shows up in Ex 24:16-17, “And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.  And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.” This glory was something that people could see with their eyes of flesh, and it has other physical properties in that it takes up space.  Exodus 40:35 says “And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle”.  Now I don’t claim to have an exact understanding of what that was, but it wasn’t a feeling or a condition, it was something that showed up and could be seen.  We will contrast that with New Testament glory later on in this work.
  Carrying this idea forward, the Bible never claims that God glories himself in mankind in general. After all, how can he? Instead, his glory manifests itself in one location to one people. Isaiah 44:23 tells us “Sing , O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout , ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.” Referring to his tabernacle in Exodus 29:43, it says “And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.” That glory seems directly tied to the  physical presence of the ark in Israel, which is why the Bible says  in 1 Sam. 4:22 “..The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken” I submit to you that, in all of human history (outside of the glory revealed in creation) no other group of people saw the physical, displacing presence of God except the  descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  God chose for himself a people who had nothing to brag about. They were (and are) stubborn and rebellious , stiff-necked and  hard-hearted.  Their history is not of a history of great accomplishments and great victories; their history is one of whining complaining slaves who were handed more than anyone else on the face of the earth and still repeatedly lasped into idolatry. They, as a people have been conquered and scattered and chased to the ends of the earth.  They have never mounted a successful military campaign without God’s direct intervention, and they have always existed at the mercy of their enemies. They have no glory of their own, and so God gives them his. Over and over again he delivers them, and over and over again they return to their foolishness.  Over and over again they are willing to trade the uniqueness of their relationship with God for the idolatry of the nations around them. That’s why the Bible says in Psalm 62:7 “God is my salvation and glory”; they have none of their own.
  Furthermore God had promised that the glory of Israel (himself) would not only manifest itself through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and not only in a certain piece of land, and only in a certain city but  also through a certain kingly line. Zech 12:1-7 says   “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.  Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.  And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces , though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.  In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.  And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. 6In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.  The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.”
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