is a term used by theologians to indicate that
Son of God,
took on human flesh
This is similar to the hypostatic union.
The difference is that the hypostatic
union explains how
Jesus’ two natures are joined,
and the Incarnation
more specifically affirms His humanity.
The word incarnation
means “the act of being made flesh.”
It comes from the Latin version of John 1:14, which in English reads,
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”
Because of the near-exclusive use of the Latin Vulgate
in the church through the Middle Ages, the Latin term became standard.
Biblical support for Jesus’ humanity is extensive.
The Gospels report Jesus’ human needs including sleep (Luke 8:23), food (Matthew 4:2; 21:18), and physical protection (Matthew 2:13-15; John 10:39). Other indications of His humanity are that He perspired (Luke 22:43-44) and bled (John 19:34). Jesus also expressed emotions including joy (John 15:11), sorrow (Matthew 26:37), and anger(Mark 3:5).
During His life, Jesus referred to Himself as a man (John 8:40), and
after His resurrection His humanity
was still recognized
But the purpose of the Incarnation
was not to taste food or to feel sorrow.
The Son of God
came in the flesh in order to be the
Savior of mankind.
First, it was necessary to be born “under the law” (Galatians 4:4).
All of us have failed to fulfill God’s Law. Christ came in the flesh, under the Law, to fulfill the Law on our behalf
(Matthew 5:17; Galatians 4:5).
Second, it was necessary for the Savior to shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). A blood sacrifice, of course, requires a body of flesh and blood. And this was God’s plan for the Incarnation: “When Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering [under the Old Covenant] you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me’” (Hebrews 10:5). Without the Incarnation, Christ could not really die, and the cross is meaningless.
God did an incredible work in sending His only begotten Son into the world and providing us with a salvation we do not deserve. Praise the Lord for that moment in which “the Word became flesh.” We are now redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19).
was both human and divine.
The phrase King of glory is found in a series
of verses in Psalm 24:
“Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty--
he is the King of glory” (Psalm 24:7–10).
The Hebrew word translated “glory” in Psalm 24 is kabod,
which means “weight,” but it is used figuratively,
as in “his argument carries weight” or “the
of that book is weighty.”
Kabad carries a connotation of solemnity and power.
the “King of Glory”
means He is the most awesome,
most powerful king and should be
Using a type of personification known as apostrophe, the psalmist speaks to the “gates” and the “ancient doors,” calling them to attention and commanding them to “be lifted up” or raised to admit the King of glory. However lofty these ancient doors are, they must be loftier still to admit such an august presence as the Lord Himself.
There is a connection to be made between the King of glory in Psalm 24 and the Shekinah glory in Exodus 33. When God gave Moses instructions for building the Ark of the Covenant, He said, “I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover [mercy seat]” (Leviticus 16:2). The mercy seat was to be seen as God’s glorious “throne” on earth (see 2 Samuel 6:2; Psalm 80:1; 99:1). And it was from the mercy seat that God spoke to Moses: “There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites” (Exodus 25:22).
Psalm 24 pictures
coming of the King of glory
time of celebration.
Given the Hebrew association of the
cloud of glory with the
Ark of the Covenant, it is quite possible
that Psalm 24
was written to commemorate the
entrance of the Ark into Jerusalem
during David’s time
(2 Samuel 6:12–17)
or into the temple during Solomon’s time
(2 Chronicles 5:7).
The King of glory
came through the gates of Jerusalem
and through the doors of the temple with a
as the Ark of the Covenant was
its permanent home on
Jesus is called “the Lord of glory”
in 1 Corinthians 2:8.
His entrance into Jerusalem
amid the shouts of a jubilant crowd
could be seen as another
fulfillment of Psalm 24.
Jesus is the One with
“clean hands and a pure heart”
“ascend the mountain of the Lord”
Jesus “will receive blessing from the Lord”
Jesus is the“King of glory,
Lord strong and mighty,
Lord mighty in battle”
The first chapter of John’s gospel elaborates on the incarnation of Jesus Christ more than any other passage in the Bible. John wanted his readers to know that Jesus was the absolute revelation of God in human form: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, NKJV).
“The Word” is the Logos, Jesus Christ Himself. He became “flesh,” meaning the divine Son of God became human, like us (Romans 8:3; Philippians 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 4:2; 2 John 7). God revealed Himself to the people of the world through His Son, Jesus. Christ showed us God’s glory. “We have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son,” states the New Living Translation. The author of Hebrews further illuminates: “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God” (Hebrews 1:3, NLT).
The statement that “we beheld His glory” links Jesus to the Old Testament wilderness tabernacle. At this earthly tent of meeting, Yahweh’s divine presence and glory dwelled and visibly manifested among the people of Israel. They saw His glory in the fire, pillar of smoke, and cloud (Exodus 40:34). In the New Testament, God’s glorious presence was made visible in the living Word, who was clothed in flesh and “tabernacled” among us in the person of Jesus Christ. John 1:14 actually uses a form of the Greek word for “tabernacle” to describe Jesus’ taking on human flesh.
Jesus revealed His glory
for the first time
publicly at the wedding in Cana,
and, as a result,
"his disciples believed in him”
(John 2:11, NLT).
Mathew and Luke recorded the scene of Christ’s transfiguration
when Peter, James, and John beheld a
of His unveiled glory
(Matthew 17:2; Luke 9:32).
Peter testified firsthand
“For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy’” (2 Peter 1:16–17, NLT).
When John said, “We beheld His glory,”
he was giving eyewitness testimony to the incarnation--
that God Himself had
come to earth embodied in the Son:
“We proclaim to you
the one who existed from the beginning,
whom we have
heard and seen.
We saw him with our own eyes and
touched him with our own hands.
He is the Word of life”
(1 John 1:1, NLT).
Not only John, but all the disciples had seen Jesus and beheld His glory with their own eyes. These apostles could all testify that the Father had sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14). Other teachers were likely spreading false ideas about Jesus and contradicting the truth of the incarnation. But the teachings of John and the other disciples were trustworthy because these men had firsthand experience hearing, seeing, and touching Jesus (John 19:35).
The miracles of Jesus revealed God’s glory (John 11:4, 40). The word for “glory” in John 1:14 means “a state of high honor.” Those who witnessed Christ’s miracles—those who beheld His glory—saw and understood that God was worthy of the highest honor and praise (John 4:53; 9:38; 20:29). The suffering and death of Jesus also revealed God’s glory (John 17:1, 5; Romans 8:18). Everything Jesus did brought praise and honor to God so that all who beheld His glory and believed in Him received His gift of salvation (John 12:16; 13:31–32; 20:30–31; Philippians 2:9–11; Ephesians 1:12).
Paul taught that Satan blinds the eyes of unbelievers so they cannot behold God’s glory or understand the message of salvation in Jesus Christ. They “are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4, NLT). But praise God, who through Jesus Christ our Lord lets His light shine in our hearts so we can “know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6, NLT).
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB).
With those few words--
"from glory to glory”--
Paul sums up our entire
from redemption and sanctification
to our glorious eternal
welcome into heaven.
There is a great deal of content packed into those few words. It’s all so important that Paul labors at great length, from 2 Corinthians 2:14 through the end of chapter 5,
to open his readers’ eyes to a
Let’s see why that truth
matters so much.
The same Greek word for “glory” is used twice in the phrase from glory to glory, yet each usage refers to something different. The first “glory” is that of the Old Covenant—the Law of Moses—while the second is that of the New Covenant, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Both have astonishing splendor.
The Old Covenant was given to Moses directly from God, written by God’s own finger (Exodus 31:18). That root of our Christian faith is glorious indeed; it’s the glory we’re coming “from.” Yet the New Covenant, the glory we’re going “to,” far surpasses that of the Old.
The transformation is from the glory of the Law. Like the stone it was written on, the Law was inflexible and absolute, applying to all Israelites without much regard for individual circumstances (Hebrews 10:28). Though holy, good, and righteous in itself (Romans 7:12), the Law was, for us sinners, the letter that kills us (2 Corinthians 3:6). The Law was an external force to control behavior. In addition, stone, despite its strength, is earthly and will eventually wear away. The Law was merely a temporary guardian (Galatians 3:23–25) until something better came along.
is to the
glory of the New Covenant,
which far surpasses the Old in every way.
It forgives us of our sin
and gives us sinners
It is written on believers’
hearts by the Holy Spirit
(Jeremiah 31:33; 2 Corinthians 3:3),
obedience to God
springs up from within us by
rather than by threats of
In place of a cold set of writings as a guide for pleasing God,
we now have Father, Son and Holy Spirit
making their home with us,
fellowshipping in loving intimacy,
teaching us everything we must know and do
(John 14:23; 16:13).
That position in Christ is as permanent,
eternal, and spiritual as God Himself,
rather than temporary and earthly.
Paul is intent on
directing Christians to focus on the
spiritual glory of the New Covenant
rather than physical glory of the Old,
as many Jews in his day refused to do.
He compared the two types of glory by recalling how Moses absorbed and reflected God’s glory for a time after being in his presence
(2 Corinthians 3:7–11, 13; cf. Exodus 34:29–35).
Though Moses’ glow had a spiritual cause, there was nothing spiritual about the effect—any person, regardless of his relationship with God, could see the glow on Moses’ face, which he covered with a veil.
Not so the glory of the New Covenant. That can be seen only with a believer’s
spiritual eyes--what Paul
is doing his best to open,
so that we
discern the gospel’s glory
So he writes, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
But, as we move from glory to glory, there’s something even more important about the glory of the New Covenant that Christians must understand: its supernatural power to transform us. And that brings us to God’s ultimate purpose and destination for every believer, to transform us into the image of his own beloved Son (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:28–30; Philippians 3:20–21).
Before he finishes with the topic of being
transformed from glory to glory,
Paul presents yet one more astonishing claim:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a
the old has gone, the new has come!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17).
This is the invitation the Lord makes to all Christians, to have our lives radically transformed here and now,
by opening our eyes to see the
journey He is taking us on
"from glory to glory.”
Jesus Christ, the suffering servant