Doxa as related to the Godhead.

Leona Glidden Running, Andrews University

The Son. Christ said, "I receive not honour from men" (John 5:41). For this instance of doxa Moffatt uses "credit." The idea is recogni­tion and reputation or praise. Christ makes His meaning clearer in John 8:54: "If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God." In verse 50 He had said: "And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth." In John 7:18: "He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him." In these texts also, Moffatt has "credit."

However, human beings did recognize divinity in Jesus and gave Him honor, though He did not seek it. When He was riding on a colt to enter Jerusalem before His sufferings and death, the acclaiming multitude of disciples "began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest" (Luke 19:37, 38). The context makes it clear that it was recognition of attributes manifested in "mighty works."

There are a number of doxologies to Christ, as well as those to the Father al­ready mentioned. Paul has (Rom. 11: 36): "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen"; and in 2 Timothy 4:18 and Hebrews 13:21 the same phrase, "to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Peter varies it (I Peter 4:11): " whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." It is expanded in Jude 25: "To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." Two in the Revela­tion pertain clearly to Christ, besides 5:13 which includes Him with the Father; Revelation 1:6 has "to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen," as written by John, and "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and hon­our, and glory, and blessing" (Rev. 5:12) as loudly spoken by "many angels" and heard by John in vision.

The apostle Paul teaches that men may bring glory not only to the Father (2 Col-, 4:15) but also to Christ (chap. 8:19): "with this grace [in this gospel], which is admin­istered by us to the glory of the same Lord." Paul is here speaking of a companion of Titus. In verse 23 he refers to Titus and his companions as "the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ"—bring­ing recognition, praise, and honor to Christ by their work of preaching the good news about Him.

The attributes of Christ are especially involved in the use of doxa in the follow­ing four texts: "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and mani­fested forth his glory; and his disciples be­lieved on him" (John 2:11). ("Power" is the attribute here that manifests His char­acter and wins belief.) "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ [literally, "of the gospel of the glory of Christ"] who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor. 4:4). (His very character and essence underlies the word here.) "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the (glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (verse 6).

It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which "seeketh not her own" has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the char­acter of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto?

The fourth text stressing "attributes" is 2 Thessalonians 1:9: "Who shall be pun­ished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power"—the manifestation which, on its "dark" side (as the "smoke" and ''thick darkness" that were present in Old Testament times in the Shekinah, as well as brilliant light) means wrath and de­struction to unrepentant sinners.

Christ was, indeed, the supreme manifes­tation on earth of the attributes of the Godhead. In relation to the Father, the Son is referred to in Hebrews 1:3 as be­ing "the brightness ["brilliant radiation"] of his glory, and the express image ["exact impression"] of his person ["essence, sub­sistence"], and upholding all things by the word of his power," who "when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."

As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father's glory, "and the express image of His person," was on earth found in fashion as a man. As a personal Saviour He came to the world. As a personal Saviour, He as­cended on high. . . Christ, the Light of the world, veiled the dazzling splendor of His divinity and came to live as a man among men, that they might, without being con­sumed, become acquainted with their Creator. No man has seen God at any time except as He is re­vealed through Christ. . . .

Not from the stars or the ocean or the cataract can we learn of the personality of God as it is revealed in Christ.

God saw that a clearer revelation than nature was needed to portray both His personality and His character. He sent His Son into the world to reveal, so far as could be endured by human sight, the na­ture and the attributes of the invisible God.2

Thus John writes in his Gospel: "And the Word was made 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" (chap. 1:14).

John, with Peter and James, had the wonderful privilege of witnessing the Trans­figuration scene, which is recorded in Matthew 17:1-8, Mark 9:2-10, and Luke 9: 28-36.

When the disciples looked at the countenance of Jesus they looked at a refulgence that was as bril­liant as the sun itself. This extended to Jesus' en­ure form, for his very garments had the translucent whiteness of pure light. Instead of thinking of the radiance that shone on the face of Moses (Exod. 34:29; II Cor. 3:13), we have far more reason to think of John's vision of Jesus in Rev. 1:13-15. . . The human nature shared in the divine attributes but, during the days of the humiliation, used those attributes only on exceptional occasions, for in­stance, in the performance of the miracles. One of these occasions was the transfiguration when for a brief time the whole body of Jesus was permitted to shine with the light and the refulgence of its heavenly divinity. So Jesus now shines in heaven forever.3

Matthew alone remarks about the brightness of the cloud, which symbolizes the beneficent (and not the threatening) presence of the Father. He it is, as his words show, who speaks from this bright cloud.*

Luke 9:31 speaks of Moses and Elias, "who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Je­rusalem." Moffatt here uses "vision of glory." It brings to mind the brightness of the pillar of fire and the Shekinah. Verse 32 says: "But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him."

Peter refers to the Transfiguration scene in 2 Peter 1:17: "For he received from God the Father honour and glory [recogni­tion], when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory [splendor of the cloud], This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Through being overcome with sleep, the disciples heard little of what passed between Christ and the heavenly messengers. Failing to watch and pray, they had not received that which God desired to give them,—a knowledge of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. . . .

Yet they received great light.... They were given a clearer insight into the work of the Redeemer. They saw with their eyes and heard with their ears things that were beyond the comprehension of man. They were "eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16), and they realized that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, to whom patriarchs and prophets had wit­nessed, and that He was recognized as such by the heavenly universe.

While they were still gazing on the scene upon the mount, "a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him." As they beheld the cloud of glory, brighter than that which went before the tribes of Israel in the wilderness; as they heard the voice of God speak in awful majesty that caused the mountain to tremble, the disciples fell smitten to the earth. They remained prostrate, their faces hidden, till Jesus came near, and touched them, dispelling their fears with His well-known voice, "Arise, and be not afraid." Venturing to lift up their eyes, they saw that the heavenly glory had passed away.'

Ryle comments:

We have in these verses a striking pattern of glory in which Christ and His people will appear, when He comes the second time.

There can be little question that this was one main object of this wonderful vision. It was meant to encourage the disciples, by giving them a glimpse of good things yet to come. . . . The corner of the veil was lifted up, to show them their Master's true dignity."

The Transfiguration scene not only gave the disciples a glimpse of the future state of glory but let them see a little of the glory that belonged to Christ before His humiliation in human form. In His prayer recorded in John 17, Christ prays (verse 5): "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." And in verse 24: "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory [posi­tion of honor], which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." In verse 22 He declared of His disciples: "And the glory which thou gayest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." Blunt's comment on these verses brings out the thought of oneness of will in the Father and the Son:

The idea . . . of free and uncontrolled will seems to underlie the meaning of doxa and will help to clear the sense in many passages of the Greek Testa­ment. When our Lord said, "I have glorified Thee upon earth," He slims that He means the complete performance of the Father's will, by the words added, "I have finished the work that Thou gayest Me to do" [John xvii. 4]. "Glorify Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" [lb. 5], are words that mark the ORovotet of the Father and the Son. "The glory which Thou gayest Me I have given them; that they may be one as We are One: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfect in one" [lb. 22, 23]; the term again indicates unity of will and spiritual communion with the Father and the Son. The very nucleus of that glory is love: "That the love where­with Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" [ib. 26]. Thus the last words of prayer that are recorded of our Lord lead us back to the con­clusion that the determinate will of God, based in love, is that glory in which He has had subsistence from everlasting, and to which we hope to be ad­mitted hereafter, when our wayward will shall be made one with the will of the Absolute.

We thus gain an idea of the term that is eminently practical. The King of kings and Lord of lords is neither made more glorious by our praise nor dis­honoured by our rebellion. But in some degree the light of His glory may be reflected in the heart and conduct of His people, and so far they are said to "glorify" Him, to "live to His glory," and to be "to the praise of His glory." 7

Still concerning recognition and honor given to Christ, Hebrews 2:9 states: "But we see Jesus, who was made [has been made] a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, [haying been] crowned with glory and honour: that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." After He had tasted death, God "raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory: that your faith and hope might be in God," according to 1 Peter 1:21. First Timothy 3:16 also speaks of the aftermath of the humiliation: "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory"—the same position of honor, recog­nition, and splendid majesty that He had before His humiliation, with even greater recognition and honor added because of the manifestation He had given of the di­vine attributes.

The last verse related to Christ's "glory," aside from the group to be discussed in the section on the Messianic kingdom and those in other connections, is Acts 22:11: "And when I could not see for the glory of that light [the splendor, the intense bril­liancy of the light", being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus." The setting for this verse is the experience of Saul of Tarsus in re­ceiving a blinding, dazzling vision of Christ, the Jesus whom he was persecuting in the person of His followers. The story is told by Luke in Acts 9 and by Paul himself in Acts 22 and 26. "It is one of the evi­dences of the genuineness of this report of Paul's speech that Luke did not try to smooth out apparent discrepancies in de­tails between the words of Paul and his own record already in ch. 9."9

The Lord Jesus, in his transfiguration on the mount, had been encompassed with that glory. . . To this glory he had returned when he left the earth. . . . If the Lord Jesus appeared to Saul, it would be in his appropriate glory and honor as the ascended Messiah. That he did appear is expressly affirmed. . . . This was an occasion when, if ever, such an appearance was proper. The design was to convert an infuriated persecutor, and to make him an apostle. To do this, it was necessary that he should see the Lord Jesus?

A miraculous light flashed out of heaven and enveloped him. It was noonday (22:6), and the light was brighter than the sun (26:13); it was not a momentary flash but, coming with a flash, shone around Saul for a time (26:13). . . .

Jesus then names himself and states only his personal name "Jesus," the one that had been given him on the day of his circumcision (Luke 2:21); for it is his identity that is to be established. Yet Saul received far more than this mere name. This was Jesus in glory, he whom the Jews had rejected and crucified, he whom God had exalted to the glory that now enveloped Saul. The tremendous reality and truth of this fact swept over Saul's soul like a flood,'

Mrs. White comments:

Saul understood the words that were spoken; and to him was clearly revealed the One who spoke—even the Son of God. In the glorious Being who stood before him, he saw the Crucified One. Upon the soul of the stricken Jew the image of the Saviour's countenance was imprinted forever.12

She further states: "As the light passed away and Saul arose from the earth and opened his eyes, he found himself totally deprived of sight. The glory of the light of heaven had blinded him" " for a period of three days, during which his life and character were transformed.

The Holy Spirit. Inasmuch as "the Spirit of truth . . . shall not speak of himself" (John 16:13), it is not surprising to find that there is only one verse in the New Testament that connects doxa directly with the third person of the Godhead: 1 Peter 4:14: "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified." Literally, it reads: "for the Spirit of Glory, that is to say, (the Spirit) of God, resteth upon you." Vincent comments: "The repetition of the article identifies the spirit of God with the spirit of glory, and therefore the spirit of God: who is none other than the spirit of God himself." " Goodspeed translated adjecti­vally, "glorious spirit." It would seem that the expression here is intended to convey the idea of the entire divine character and attributes of the third person of the God­head, "who rests upon" and dwells in the believer and is glorified by the believer's life.


1 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 20.

2 ______ , Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 265.

3 R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel, pp. 632. 653.

4 Ibid., p. 658.

5 White, The Desire of Ages, p. 425'.

6 J. C. Ryle, Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, vol. 1, p. 203.

7 John Henry Blunt, Dictionary of Doctrinal and Historical Theology, pp. 292, 293.

8 Albert Barnes, Notes, Explanatory and Practical, on theActs of the Apostles, vol. 3, p. 352.

9 Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 3, p. 390.

10 Barnes, op. cit., p. 173.

11 Li Lenski, The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles, pp. 352-334.

12 White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 115.

13 ______  Early Writings, p. 200.

14 Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the N eze Testament, vol. 1, p. 663.

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Leona Glidden Running, Andrews University

March 1963

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