Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Glory of God?

Posted by robf on April 9, 2010

As I continue to ponder 2 Nephi 2, I’m wondering about this line in v.4:
thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory
What is it that Jacob has beheld, and what does it mean to behold it? What actually is the glory of God?

Does this happen in an open vision of God? Continuing the theme of being roughed up by the rudeness of his brothers/threatened with sacrifice at the hands of enemies (?) and being spared as Abraham or Isaac on the altar, does this indicate again that Jacob has had a similar experience, and been “filled…with the vision of the Almighty” (Abraham 1:15)?

What more can we know about the Glory of God from the Book of Mormon? Old Testament? Modern Scriptures?

Some references from the Book of Mormon:
Nephi “beheld” it (2 Nephi 1:15)
All the holy prophets have a hope of it (Jacob 4:4)
We can “grow in the knowledge” of the glory of our creator (Mosiah 4:12)
The Son shall come in glory (Alma 5:50, repeated five other times in the BoM)
It will “shine forth” when Christ comes (Alma 5:50)
Lamoni’s mind is enlightened by its light (Alma 19:6)
When we are brought to see it at the judgement, and we are wicked, it will “kindle an unquenchable fire” in us (Mormon 9:5)
Moroni prays that we may have a hope of it rest in our mind forever (Moroni 9:25)

So we can behold it, it shines, it comes from God, a knowledge of it can grow in us, it can enlighten our minds, but what is it?

The English word glory appears 402 times in the King James Version of the Bible. Can anyone help out with some idea of what this might have meant in Hebrew? I’m finding glory as a translation of the Hebrew kabowd (honor, riches, abundance, splendor), that seems to be based on some notion of heaviness. I found one explanation online, that seems to indicate that this notion of God’s glory has to do with what God has, including and especially (?) an abundance of posterity.

Does this tie in somehow to what we read in Moses about God’s glory? That it is tied to his works (Moses 1:5)?

What about connections to the temple? We read that the “fulness of his glory” is “his presence” and “his rest” (D&C 84:24). The temple is a “house of glory” (D&C 88:119) and the new and everlasting covenant is instituted for the fulness of glory, and Celestial glory is a fulness and continuation of seeds forever (D&C 132:19).

I think my initial take was that glory is some kind of light that shines from God, but really it is something else? Or the light is just a part of it? Maybe it goes beyond words? But it is connected to the temple, covenants, eternal seed, continuation, creation…and to behold it is to have all of this revealed, to have it shine forth into your mind from the presence of God?

Glorious indeed!

9 Responses to “Glory of God?”

  1. Blake said

    It seems to me to reflect the language reminiscent of Stephen vision of the Son at the right hand of glory in Acts 7: “55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” It should be noted that in the Greek it actually says that the Son of man was standing on the right hand of doxa or glory.

  2. robf said

    More on kabowd and doxa.

  3. larryco_ said

    I love posts like this. Now I have a new word to examine and ponder on – Glory.

  4. Robert C. said

    Rob, I’ve been reading Brueggemann on the theme of “the day of the Lord” in the minor prophets, and how this is used to mean either the day of judgment and the day of blessing, and how sometimes these are one and the same day (Adam M. has made this argument before as a way of reading Romans, esp. Romans 1:16-19).

    If we take past-present-future chiasm in verses 2ff that I suggested in the previous thread, then the beholding of glory is parallel to Jacob’s being born (and afflicted) in the wilderness. What might this juxtaposition, if considered/warranted, imply?

    Suffering and glory often go together in scripture, no? Does suffering prepare us to behold glory? Is it a prerequisite that gives us sufficient humility (faith precedes the miracle)? Is it one and the same thing so that suffering and feeling God’s comfort is to behold God’s glory? Hmmm…..

  5. kirkcaudle said

    Rob, the list of scriptures you give regarding those who have experienced and/or hoped for the glory of God in the BOM is fantastic. I will have to keep this as a reference for later.

    Blake, I was not aware that Acts 7:57 uses doxa and not theos (God). That is fascinating!

    I will have to look up “glory” and Acts 7:57 when I get in some of the Greek lexicons/dictionaries I have. This has really peaked my interest.

  6. Jim F. said

    Robf: I’d be wary of the site you link to in the original post for “glory.” There is a lot of strange stuff there. But the link you give in #2 looks pretty reliable.

    Blake, perhaps you are looking at another edition, but the Nestle-Aland 27th edition (the most recent critical edition) as well as the Textus Receptus (the edition of the manuscripts used by the translators of the KJV) have “he saw the glory [doxa] of God [theos]” and “standing at the right hand of God [theos].” Neither of them translates doxa as “God.”

    Here’s what The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says of kabod: “This root with its derivatives occurs 376 times in the Hebrew Bible. It is especially prominent in Ps (sixty-four occurrences) and Isa (sixty-three), as well as Ex (thirty-three), Ezk (twenty-five) and prov (twenty-four). Of the total number of occurrences, 114 are verbal. The root is a common Semitic one, occurring in all except Aramaic where yāqār seems to take its place. The basic meaning is ‘to be heavy, weighty,’ a meaning which is only rarely used literally, the figurative (e.g. ‘heavy with sin’) being more common. From this figurative usage it is an easy step to the concept of a ‘weighty’ person in society, someone who is honorable, impressive, worthy of respect. This latter usage is prevalent in more than half the occurrences.” The entry goes on, but this is the most relevant part.

    The Bauer & Gingrich Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Greek Literature says that doxa is (1) the condition of being bright or shining; (2) a state of being magnificent; (3) honor, fame, prestige, and (4) a transcendent being deserving honor. For the fourth definition, they refer to 2 Peter 2:10, where doxa is translated “dignitary.”

  7. kirkcaudle said

    I would echo the thoughts of Jim F. on the Acts 7:55, “he saw the glory [doxa] of God [theos]” and “standing at the right hand of God [theos].” However, I found the word “standing” interesting. According to “The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament” the word for standing is “estora”. After seeing the glory of God then Stephen see Christ “standing as advocate to plead Stephen’s cause before God and to welcome him into God’s presence.”

    I am not sure how related this is to the original question, but perhaps there is a relation to beholding the glory of God and Christ welcoming us home directly afterward.

    • Jim F. said

      The verb used there is “histemi,” which conjugated (a perfect, active, singular participle) is “estota.” I don’t know of any verb “estora.” It doesn’t appear in the lexicons I’m acquainted with.

      According to the standard A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, the basic sense of “histemi” is “to be in a place” or “to be fixed in place,” and that seems to be the meaning here. It can also mean “to set up,” but that doesn’t work in this context.

      It is reasonable to infer that Jesus is at the right hand of God in Stephen’s vision to plead Stephen’s–and our cause–but that interpretation moves beyond the language of the text.

      • kirkcaudle said

        I am sure this is all beyond confusing for anyone else reading the conversation that does not do the Greek thing. Sorry about that.

        However, Jim, I am bad with translateration, I was just sounding the word out and taking a guess at the spelling. I missed the rough breathing mark over the epsilon when spelling the word. I should have wrote “hestota,” which is written in the perf act ptcp in my version (as you pointed out). I guess I should have just wrote out the root “histemi,” not sure why I didn’t.

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