Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries


The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 02/10/08
The Shekinah Glory or the manifestation of Christ within us.
So far we have in ROM 9:1-3, “I am communicating a doctrine [the doctrine of emotions] but I have a great sorrow and constant pain in my right lobe, For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory.”
We have already noted the Biblical connotation of adoption based upon the Roman aristocratic function of adoption in the time in which the New Testament was written. But, what about the phrase to whom belongs the glory? What does this mean?
Well, the glory refers to the Shekinah Glory or the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s look at the word Shekinah first. Shekinah is derived from the Hebrew noun Shakan, meaning to dwell. It refers to the fact that Jesus Christ indwelt certain sacred buildings in Israel. Shekinah was coined by the rabbis who developed the technical word to speak of God as dwelling among His people. It was used to express the invisible presence of God with Israel. The Jews became familiar with this and completely missed out on this fantastic blessing, which is the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Hebrew word for glory is kabodhused for the visible manifestations of Jesus Christ as a theophany.
Shekinah itself represents the invisibility of Christ, the God of Israel, actually indwelling three sacred buildings during the age of Israel. He indwelt the Tabernacle, Solomon’s Temple, and Zerubbabel’s Temple. Glory represents the visible manifestation in Theophany form. A theophany is a manifestation of the person and work of Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate state. This is a theological category for the appearances of Jesus Christ before the First Advent.
A Theophany demonstrates the fact that Jesus Christ is the God of Israel.
– As the Angel of the Lord (the primary Theophany).
– As a man (Gen 18).
– In relation to clouds.
– As a pillar of fire.
To see what an important doctrine this is let’s look at JOH 17:22-26, “And the glory [the Shekinah Glory or the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ within us] which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee; and these have known that Thou didst send Me; and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them.”
So, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared throughout the Old Testament in visible forms such as the angel of Jehovah, or the angel of the Lord. There was rarely a generation of Old Testament times when Jesus Christ did not appear. Today, the Lord Jesus Christ still appears, however, today He appears in fallen mankind. As I have said many times; If you cannot see the Shekinah Glory or the manifestation of the Lord in fallen man, you will never be able to see God at all. This is why JOH 14:1-9 says, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, {there} you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and {yet} you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, Show us the Father?”
You must remember that Jesus Christ is the only visible member of the Godhead. Not only did our Lord appear as an angel, usually for the purpose of teaching and communicating doctrine, but sometimes He also appeared as a man. For example, He wrestled with Jacob and permanently injured him (GEN 32:24). The Lord also appeared to Abraham in his tent as a man, accompanied by two other men and He announced that Sarah was going to become pregnant (Gen 18). There are also inanimate theophanies of our Lord such as the cloud over the tent or the tabernacle, which was the visible sign that Jesus Christ was dwelling inside of the holy of holies as the Shekinah glory, or the burning bush, or the pillar of fire at night.
The point is there were many different manifestations of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament used to teach, instruct, to guide and direct the people of God. There was once in history, during the dispensation of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ actually dwelt inside of sacred buildings. Then of course there is the fact that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. The Bible actually says in JOH 1:14 that He tablenacled or tented before us.
To understand the Shekinah Glory or the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to look at JOH 14:19 which says“After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.” Our Lord was speaking at this time as the God-man, and as such, He is making a statement about His resurrection, ascension and session. He is talking to the disciples who would be the initial believers of the Church-age. The Church-age believers would live in the same power system with the same Divine assets as the humanity of Christ. Therefore what our Lord says in verse 19 is the prophecy of how they would see Him again. It is also a hint as to the purpose of the Shekinah Glory or the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ within us who have had faith alone in Christ alone. JOH 14:20 “In that day you shall come to know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
In His humanity, The Lord Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, but His deity of course is omnipresent. To be aware of the fact that you are indwelt by the Shekinah Glory or the manifestation of the Lord should make some dynamic changes in your life. Not all at once perhaps, but slowly and surely as we go through this marvelous subject.
Let’s note some interesting things concerning this subject.
In our Lords hypostatic-union, which is undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever, His deity was invisible to the crowd who heard this prophecy, but His humanity was very visible. This is the same pattern as the Shekinah Glory. Remember inROM 9:4 that Paul was speaking to the Israelites to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory. In the Old Testament, they saw the visible manifestation of the Lord in the realm of such things as the tabernacle. However, the Lord who dwelt in the holy of holies was not visible, and no one was allowed in to see Him in His glory. They could see the cloud, that was visible to all. They could see the walls of the tent and later on the temple. However, the walls actually hid Jesus Christ indwelling that tent and later on the temple. In like manner, the people who heard this magnificent prophecy could see the man, the humanity of Christ, but they could not see the glory, His deity, that was hidden from them. In other words, Jesus Christ as God dwelt with His people Israel in a unique way, invisible, they did not see Him. However, they saw the sign of His presence. We are going to see that the correlation is that when you claim such passages as GAL 2:20 to be true about your life, you are on the road to Spiritual Maturity. GAL 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”
In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identify myself completely with him. I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God by works. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not mine, but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
COL 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the glorious riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the confidence of the glory.
God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. The substance of the Shekinah Glory or the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ is within us. When these passages are true about you the Shekinah glory within your body, your temple, is being manifested and shining through. That is why it means to glorify God or have the glory within be manifested without. Then you are truly fulfilling such passages asMAT 5:14-16).
So, in the Old Testament, they saw a theophany, the cloud said He was there, the pillar of fire said He was there. They could see the cloud but they couldn’t see God. They could see the pillar of fire but they couldn’t see God. Today, people cannot see the humanity of Christ in you, but they can see the glory of God being revealed through you. Such glory like confidence, courage, strength, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; etc.
What happens when we live God’s way with the Shekinah Glory or the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ being revealed? Things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity happen. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion, and a conviction that a basic holiness or virtue permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life. We are able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Religion or legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. It is our privilege and responsibility to rest in Him where He is, because that is where we are positioned in Him. So we are to abide above. At the same time He abides in us here below, by means of the Spirit. JOH 15:4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither {can} you, unless you abide in Me.” Reciprocal union, we are in Him, He’s in us, the ultimate oneness. God has one main way of revealing Himself today, it is Christ in you. He has no better way of showing Himself to men except as Christ lives in us. Not by the Shekinah glory in the temple built with hands of men, but in lives redeemed and freed and cleansed as they walk about in this dark world with Christ living in them.
When our Lord performed His first miracle, what does it say about Him? JOH 2:11 This beginning of {His} signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifestedHis glory, and His disciples believed in Him. They didn’t see the Shekinah glory, but they saw the manifestation of His glory. When the Lord raised Lazarus from the dead, look what He said to Martha. JOH 11:40Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” She didn’t see the Shekinah glory, but she saw the manifestation of His glory.
Throughout the Bible the Lord Jesus Christ appeared in different forms to reveal the Shekinah glory. The day of the virgin birth of our Lord was the last day any overt manifestation of Him existed. Never again will there be a theophany, instead there are Christophanies which are manifestations of the humanity of Christ in resurrection body.
In the Old Testament, and in the days of Israel, there was a most unique thing, here was Jesus Christ invisible as God to Israel, but visible as a theophany. He indwelt the sacred building as a sign of blessing and security in Israel. The sign, by the way, was removed according to the book of Ezekiel, several times. There are passages which say that when the Jews went into the Babylonian captivity and that between the two cherub angels in the Temple, something happened, the Shekinah glory left. However, it (He) will never leave you. HEB 13:5 for He Himself has said, ”I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” (see alsoMAT 28:20). So our Lord Jesus Christ is visible but He’s also invisible. Today the Lord Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father where we can’t see Him until we go to heaven, but in the meantime He also indwells our bodies, invisibly. Just like the Jews could not see the Shekinah glory in the Old Testament, but could see a manifestation of His presence, so we can reveal the Shekinah glory or the indwelling of Christ to the world and to each other through our body, the temple of the living God.
The point again is that God has one primary way of revealing Himself today, it is Christ in you. 1PE 1:8 “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,” So, again we see that God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing, and there is where the Jews failed terribly (JOH 1:11).
ROM 11:25-30, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.’ From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.”
ROM 11:33-12:2, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him   be the glory forever. Amen. I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
To be left alone with God is the only true way of arriving at an accurate knowledge of ourselves and our ways. No matter what we may think about ourselves, or what others may think about us, the real question is what does God think about us? The answer to this question can only be learned when we are left alone with Him. By that I mean examining our own lives in light of Bible doctrine! This is one of the things that David said in PSA 26:2 “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart.” When a believer objectively examines his own life according to doctrine, he is alone with God.
In GEN 32:24 Jacob had arranged everything for meeting and appeasing his brother Esau, however, the Lord is going to intervene and reveal some very serious problems that Jacob has. To learn these lessons, Jacob must be humbled. He must be stripped from his own strength, lamed and made to limp. GEN 32:24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. Many individuals teach that Jacob wrestled with the man, who is really the Lord Jesus Christ, and that Jacob was the initiator or the one who started this wrestling match. However, actually, Jacob didn’t want to wrestle anybody. Remember that he has his Uncle Laban in back of him who took total advantage of him, and he has his brother Esau ahead of him whom he thinks is going to kill him. So the last thing he feels like doing is wrestling. The point is that he is caught between a rock and a hard place, and he doesn’t know which way to turn.
The attack begins with this seemingly mysterious antagonist starting the fight with Jacob and not Jacob starting it with him. Jacob needed to have his human-strength beaten out of him. Jacob has been relying on human strength, human power, human viewpoint, human gimmicks, to try and get blessings in life as well as to solve his problems. Jacob needed to be made conscious of his standing with God so that he would stop conniving, plotting, scheming, and using human solutions to try and solve his every problem. Therefore, I want you to note that God initiates this wrestling match which ends in the defeat of the old Jacob. It is God who will touch the socket of his hip, and Jacob’s hip will be dislocated while he wrestled with Him. It is God who breaks the stubborn, willful, self-reliant Jacob and brings him to his senses. Now, remember that these things were written for our instruction! So, let’s establish who this was the Lord Jesus Christ that wrestled with Jacob. To do this we need to go to the book of Hosea.HOS 12:2-5, The Lord also has a dispute with Judah, And will punish Jacob according to his ways [Jacob is a title for the nation of Israel here who has gone apostate]; He will repay him according to his deeds. In the womb he [Jacob] took his brother by the heel, And in his maturity he [Jacob] contended with God. Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed; He wept and sought His favor [a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ] He found Him [Jesus Christ] at Bethel, And there He spoke with us, Even the Lord, the God of hosts; The Lord [Jehovah] is His name.
So it was none other than Jehovah, the pre-incarnate Christ, who wrestled with Jacob that night. This means that Yahweh, Jehovah, the God of Israel, is dealing directly and personally with Jacob to change his life and to give him a new name. By the way, a new life is something that God wants to give to you. God wills his highest and best for every believer, but sadly not every believer receives this highest and best.
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