Terry Cropper And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. John 17:5 (NKJV)Because Jesus appeared on earth in a physical body it is hard for some to imagine his promise “Parousia, without it. The ides is since Jesus came to earth in a body that was prepared for him Hebrews 10:5-7 he has to have that human body of man in heaven and when he returns. I do not believe it is necessary for Jesus to have a (human) body in heaven so in this article I will show the reasons why from scripture.
No man can rightly define God’s glory, any more than he can define God. Glory is the fullness of God, and that is a subject too high for our finite minds. Yet, we do know in part.Moses has already prepared us for the use of this term “glory,” for it has occurred a number of times already in Genesis and Exodus.
In Exodus the “glory” of God was the visible manifestation of His presence. The “glory of the Lord” first appeared in the cloud to Israel in the wilderness, when the people grumbled against Moses and the Lord, and asked for meat (Exodus 16:7, 10). In a similar form, the glory of the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, at the time the Mosaic Covenant was ratified (Exodus 24:16, 17). The altar, on which the sacrifices were to be made daily, God said would be sanctified by His glory (Exodus 29:43).Moses had a gnawing hunger and thirst to know who the great I AM was — to know what his nature and character were all about. Later, Moses’ request to see the glory of God (Exod. 33:18), And the Lord answered Moses’ prayer. First, he instructs Moses to hide himself in the cleft of a rock. Yet, as Moses waited for the glory of God to appear, he saw no thunder, no lightning, no shaking of the earth. Rather, God’s glory came to him in a simple revelation: “The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed. Exodus 33:19 “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
God was going to grant Moses’ petition to “see His glory,” but not without restrictions. These restrictions are for Moses’ own good. Verses 20-23 describe the restrictions which God must place on Moses’ request, along with His provision for Moses’ protection in the process of seeing His glory:
“You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:20-23).
No man can see God’s essence and live. The light would blind us and then it would consume us. So God told Moses he would hide him in the “cleft of the rock” so he would see God’s back as the Lord passed by. That alone would be overwhelming to Moses, but at least he would not die. The granting of Moses’ petition would include God’s causing of all His goodness to pass before Moses. As the term goodness is employed in the Old Testament, this meant that God’s benevolence, God’s graciousness and generosity would be seen by His servant Moses.God’s glory is the Hebrew word kabod, the word for goodness is tov, and the word for name is shem, whereas the word for presence is panim, the same word as “face.” Moses asked to see God’s kabod, and God said Moses could not see God’s panim, God’s presence or face.Moses has asked to see the glory of God in visible form. God speaks of the “form” in which He will manifest Himself to Moses in what theologians call an anthropomorphism, which is a sophisticated way of saying that God speaks of His self-revelation to Moses in man-like terms. Thus, God speaks of Moses as being able to see His back, but not His face. In the context of the passage this means that Moses will be able to see all of God’s goodness, but not some of His other attributes.
The Bible consistently teaches us that no man is able to see God face to face and live. If God granted Moses all he had asked for, Moses would have been struck dead by the presence of the living God. It is only in heaven, that we shall behold God face to face. We know from Scripture (e.g., John 4:24) that God is spirit. Could the words of God/Jesus be clearer? Spirits do not possess physical attributes.
The glory in which the Old Testament describes is the glory Jesus ask the Father to restore before the world was. (John 17:5).Jesus claimed for Himself the possession of the divine glory in His pre-existent state before the world was; and He claimed this in essence one with God. The Son of God, by becoming incarnate, is represented as “humbling himself” (Greek: kenosis, he “emptied himself”), Philippians 2:8. He laid aside for a time the glory he had pre-existent before the world was to become despised, and to assume the form of a servant. Romans 15:8; Philippians 2:7.
The context of Philippians 2 makes it very clear that what he emptied himself of was not his deity, not his divine attributes, but his honor and glory. He willingly cloaked his glory under the veil of this human nature that he took upon himself. It’s not that the divine nature stops being divine in order to become human. Now Jesus prays that God would raise him up to the dignity and honor which he had before his incarnation. It is a restoration to the glory He had enjoyed.
Now notice this: Notice what the Apostle Paul said about his encounter with the risen Jesus! Does he ever say he saw Jesus in the body of a man? I don’t think so … read for yourself: Acts 9:3-9 (NKJV):
“As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly A LIGHT SHONE around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do? ”Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do. ”And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.Acts 9:17 (NKJV) “And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, WHO APPEARED to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”Acts 22:13-17 (NKJV) “at midday, O king, along the road I saw A LIGHT FROM HEAVEN, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I HAVE APPEARED to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you.”
How did Jesus appear to Saul? In the glorious LIGHT FROM HEAVEN. There is no mention of Jesus appearing in a human glorified body. Remember this is after his ascension back unto heaven. (Act 1). 1 Timothy 6:14-16 (NKJV says): “That you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in UNAPPROACHABLE LIGHT, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.”
Jesus’s earthly body was perfectly suited to life on earth. He breathed air and was hungry and ate food. We know for sure that Jesus ate fish because Luke 24:41b-43. He asks, “Have you any food here? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” It is no longer necessary to have that body that was suited for life on earth in heaven. Jesus/God existed as a complete and divine living personality before his birth into the body that was prepared for him and the same can be said after his ascent back to the glory that he had before the word was made. (John 17:5) Jesus said He would come in the glory of the Father. Matthew 16:27 (NKJV): For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. His incarnation was in the flesh, not in glory of the Father.