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If Hebrews 1:3 describes God's Glory as [Jesus] when referencing "ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης" (Who being the brightness of His glory). - Then Jesus the Nazarene [was/is/will be] the radiance of our Father, and the glory of YHVH.

And if the radiant glory of YHVH can only be observed in the human form of Jesus the Nazarene, why does the prophet יְחֶזְקֵ֨אל Yechezqel see the כְּבֽוֹד יְהֹוָה֙ "Glory of YHVH" - but as a Cloud instead of a man?

[Ezekiel 10:4] "Then the glory of YHVH lifted itself from upon the cherub onto the threshold of the House, and the House was filled with [the Cloud], and the court was filled with the splendor of the glory of YHVH." ( וַיָּ֚רָם כְּבֽוֹד־יְהֹוָה֙ מֵעַ֣ל הַכְּר֔וּב עַ֖ל מִפְתַּ֣ן הַבָּ֑יִת וַיִּמָּלֵ֚א הַבַּ֙יִת֙ אֶת־הֶ֣עָנָ֔ן וְהֶֽחָצֵר֙ מָ֣לְאָ֔ה אֶת־נֹ֖גַהּ כְּב֥וֹד יְהֹוָֽה )

[Question] : In Ezekiel 10:4, Why does Ezekiel see a Cloud (instead of a specific human form) as the כְּבֽוֹד יְהֹוָה֙ Glory of YHVH - when Hebrews 1:3 definition of God's Glory refers to a specific human form (not a Cloud)?

  • No contradiction inferred, just seeking understanding about the כְּבֽוֹד Kevod.
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Ezekiel 10:

4 Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the LORD.

Hebrews 1:

3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Both verses refer to the radiance of the glory of God. In the NT, we know that Jesus is the exact representation of God. In Ezekiel, he saw the cloud which was an inexact representation.

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  • 1
    How is the author of Hebrews able to see Jesus, but an actual Navi of YHVH is not? Sep 10 at 15:42
  • What's Navi? :)
    – Tony Chan
    Sep 10 at 15:45
  • Navi נָבִיא is a "Prophet" Sep 10 at 15:50
  • Different times, different purposes, different revelations. The revelator held the key and not the receivers.
    – Tony Chan
    Sep 10 at 15:55
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We have to be very careful in not identifying the glory of God with the cloud. But at the same time, to those who cannot see the naked glory - which is all flesh -- the cloud is identified with God's glory.

The cloud represents oclusion. It is what prevents you from seeing the glory of God. God hides his glory in that cloud.

The glory of God is a multi-layered term, but for this discussion we should think of it as light, or brightness, that is partially hidden by the cloud. But because the cloud accompanies the glory, it becomes associated with it, in the same way as a glove is associated to a hand, or a covering garment is associated with the man who wears it.

Going back to Ezekiel 10.4 (LEB)

And the glory of Yahweh rose up from on the cherub toward the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the courtyard was filled with the brightness of the glory of Yahweh.

Someone who sees clearly sees the light directly. But for the congregation as a whole, they always see the cloud and at best brief flashes of light coming out of the cloud.

We can see this elaborated in the theophany on Sinai. The congregration of Israel saw a cloud and lightnings (brief flashes of light, rather than the constant source of light) over the mountain. Moses went up directly. When Moses descended, there was a light on his face so bright that he needed to put a veil over his face (here the veil plays the role of the cloud).

Why is a cloud needed? Because if we see the glory of God directly than we will die. But spiritually, this corresponds to the necessary death of the flesh as a result of seeing God. Thus the cloud is both merciful and also a judgement, as it allows the old life to remain but also prevents the new life from taking root. We can think that the veil will remain over our face until such time as we ready to see God or until such time as God chooses to tear the veil.

So if the cloud accompanies the brightness of the glory in the Old Testament, what is the corresponding cloud to accompany the brightness of the glory of God as revealed in Jesus? It would be God choosing to hide the glory by making Jesus a lowly man with no apparent glory at all:

Isaiah 53.2 (ESV)

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.

That is, there was nothing in the flesh that would indicate the glory of God was there.

Luke 17.20-21

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

It was only to those to whom the Father revealed it that the glory of God could be seen in Jesus, and this caused their death (but also allowed for them to be born of the Spirit). An example of such a revelation can be seen in the transfiguration:

Matt 17.1-8 (LEB)

And after six days Jesus took along Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became bright as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with him.

Now Peter screws up and starts thinking of worldly matters again...

So Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here! If you want, I will make here three shelters, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

At this point God intervenes, but appears again hidden in the cloud:

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” And when the disciples heard this, they fell down on their faces and were extremely frightened.

And Jesus also sees that they have had as much as they can handle, so his glory is now hidden again:

And Jesus came and touched them and said, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they lifted up their eyes they saw no one except him—Jesus alone.

This can also be seen with the idea of parables, and why Jesus taught in parables. The parables are not understood by those with a veil over their hearts, who see only the cloud.

Luke 8.10 (LEB)

And he said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest they are in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’

The meaning of the parables is revealed to those selected by the Father, but in understanding the parables their old life dies. Thus the revelation of the glory happens only with the destruction of the flesh. This is the full passage Jesus was alluding to:

Is 6.10-13 (LEB)

Make the heart of this people insensitive, and make its ears unresponsive, and shut its eyes so that it may not look with its eyes and listen with its ears and comprehend with its mind and turn back, and it may be healed for him.”

Then I said, “Until when, Lord?”

And he said, “Until the cities lie wasted without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is ruined and a waste, and Yahweh sends the people far away, and the abandonment is great in the midst of the land. And even if only a tenth part remain, again she will be destroyed like a terebinth or like an oak, which although felled, a tree stump remains in them. The seed of holiness will be her tree stump.”

So while most of us would love to have the cloud part and reveal the glory, being confronted by the possibility of seeing the brightness of God's spirit, makes us shrink back from the death of the flesh, even though this is the process by which we are transformed into the image of God.

2 Cor 3.12-18 (ESV)

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened.

For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

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Ezekiel's Vision
The prophet had a vision which was first described in Hebrew:

וירם כבוד־יהוה מעל הכרוב על מפתן הבית וימלא הבית את־הענן והחצר מלאה את־נגה כבוד יהוה

But when the Presence of the LORD moved from the cherubs to the platform of the House, the House was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the radiance of the Presence of the LORD. (Ezekiel 10:4 NJPS)

Marvin A Sweeney understands God's presence as both the cloud and the radiance:

4 God's presence is signified by the cloud (Exodus 19.9; 1 Kings 8:10-11) and radiance of the Presence of the LORD as it moves about the Temple complex.1

That is not how the Hebrew scholars who translated this vision chose to convey it in Greek:

καὶ ἀπῆρεν ἡ δόξα κυρίου ἀπὸ τῶν χερουβιν εἰς τὸ αἴθριον τοῦ οἴκου καὶ ἔπλησεν τὸν οἶκον ἡ νεφέλη καὶ ἡ αὐλὴ ἐπλήσθη τοῦ φέγγους τῆς δόξης κυρίου

Then the glory of the Lord departed from the cherubs to the porch of the house; and the cloud filled the house, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord. (LXX-Ezekiel 10:4)

The court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord; brightness being the English rendering of φέγγος, which means light, radiance of the moon (cf. Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24), or from a candle (cf. Luke 11:33).2In other words, the presence of the LORD is the cloud which is departing from Jerusalem and that departure is marked by "faint" light.

The light is not like the sun but like the moon or a candle. This light can hardly be considered to be the glory of God or YHVH. Rather, the Greek text describes a diminished type of light consistent with the context: God is leaving the Temple in a cloud and the court is filled with "faint" light.

The Glory of Jesus
This is how the writer of Hebrews describes Jesus:

He is the radiance of the glory...(Hebrews 1:3 ESV)
ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης

The NT writer avoids the LXX's language of Ezekiel's vision; describing it instead as the radiance, ἀπαύγασμα, a NT hapax legomenon, and a word not used in the LXX. One could say, this radiance is indescribable or incomparable to anything found in the LXX or the New Testament.


1. Marvin A. Sweeney, The Jewish Study Bible, Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 1060
2. Some manuscripts have φῶς, "light."

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In Eze 1 we have:

26 Above the expanse over their heads was the likeness of a throne with the appearance of sapphire, and on the throne high above was a figure like that of a man. 27 From what seemed to be His waist up, I saw a gleam like amber, with what looked like fire within it all around. And from what seemed to be His waist down, I saw what looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded Him.

28 The appearance of the brilliant light all around Him was like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell facedown and heard a voice speaking.

Note the "continuation" of the same scene (Eze 1-10 is the same vision) in Eze 10 -

1 And I looked and saw above the expanse, above the heads of the cherubim, the likeness of a throne of sapphire. 2 And the LORD said to the man clothed in linen, “Go inside the wheelwork beneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” And as I watched, he went in.

3 Now when the man went in, the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple, and a cloud filled the inner court. 4 Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim and stood over the threshold of the temple. The temple was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD.

To me, the cloud appears as separate from the glory of the LORD which is helpfully clarified in Heb 1:3.

There is another sense here as well. "Glory", whether כָּבוֹד in Hebrew (see appendix below), or δόξα in Greek (see BDAG), both mean "reputation of character" more than "brightness. That is, Jesus as the Son of God is the revelation of the glorious character of God. See Phil 2:11, John 11:40, 2 Cor 1:20, 4:6, Rom 15:7, and 1 Cor 10:31, Col 1:27, etc.

APPENDIX 1 - כָּבוֹד = glory from BDB

1 abudance, riches Genesis 31:1 (J), Isaiah 10:3; Isaiah 61:6; Isaiah 66:11,12; Nahum 2:10; Psalm 49:17; Psalm 49:18.

2 honour, splendour, glory, of external condition and circumstances:

a. of men: of Joseph in Egypt Genesis 45:18 (E); of Job Job 19:9; Job 29:20; of Ephraim Hosea 9:11, Samaria Hosea 10:5; עשֶׁר וְכָכוֺד wealth and splendour 1 Chronicles 29:12,28; 2Chronicles 17:5; 18:1; 32:27; Proverbs 3:16; Proverbs 8:18; Proverbs 22:4; ׳עשֶׁר (וּ)נְכָסִים וְכ2Chronicles 1:11,12 = ׳גם כ ׳גם ע 1 Kings 3:13; Ecclesiastes 6:2; "" עשֶׁר Proverbs 11:16; man was crowned with וְהָדָר ׳כ at his creation, Psalm 8:6; the king is given ׳כ "" הוֺד וְהָדָר Psalm 21:6.

b. of things, עָשְׁרוֺ ׳כ Esther 5:11 splendour of his wealth, of a throne 1 Samuel 2:8 (poem), Isaiah 22:23; Jeremiah 14:21; Jeremiah 17:12; a kingdom Esther 1:4; chariots Isaiah 22:18; priestly robes Exodus 28:2,40 (P); Lebanon Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 60:13; forest Isaiah 10:18 (figurative of royal might); trees Ezekiel 31:18; temple Haggai 2:3,9; restored holy land Psalm 84:12; Isaiah 4:2,5; Jerusalem Isaiah 62:2.

c. of God, glory, (1) in historic theophanies: to Moses Exodus 33:18,22 (J); "" אֹתֹת Numbers 14:22 (JE); "" גָּדְלוֺ Deuteronomy 5:21. P uses יהוה ׳כ for theophanies of the Exodus Exodus 16:7,10; Exodus 24:16,17; Exodus 40:34,35; Leviticus 9:6,23; Numbers 14:10; Numbers 16:19; Numbers 17:7; Numbers 20:6, compare 2Chronicles 5:14 = 1 Kings 8:11; 2 Chronicles 7:1,2,3; so Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1:28; Ezekiel 3:12,23; Ezekiel 10:4 (twice in verse); Ezekiel 10:18; Ezekiel 11:23; Ezekiel 43:4,5; Ezekiel 44:4; with the variation אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל ׳כ Ezekiel 8:4; Ezekiel 9:3; Ezekiel 10:19; Ezekiel 11:22; Ezekiel 43:2, and הַכָּבוֺד Ezekiel 3:23; the sacred tent was sanctified by the Glory Exodus 29:43 (P), and the temple was ׳מְקוֺם מִשְׁכַּן כ Psalm 26:8; when the ark was captured, the Glory went into exile from Israel 1 Samuel 4:21,22. (2) in historic and ideal manifestations to the pious mind Yahweh's, name is a name of glory Psalm 72:19; Nehemiah 9:5; his eyes eyes of glory Isaiah 3:8; in the temple his glory is seen Psalm 63:3; it is על השׁמים Psalm 113:4; על כל הארץ Psalm 57:6; Psalm 57:12; in a thunderstorm he is אֵל הַכָּבוֺד Psalm 29:3; his glory is לְעוֺלָם Psalm 104:31; it is great Psalm 138:5; above all the earth Psalm 108:6; the whole earth is full of it Isaiah 6:3 the heavens are declaring כְּבוֺד אֵל Psalm 19:2; with reference to the divine reign הֲדַר מַלְכוּתוֺ ׳כּ, Psalm 145:12; ׳הֲדַר כ הוֺדֶ֑ךָ Psalm 145:5. (3) he is מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבוֺד Psalm 24:7; Psalm 24:8; Psalm 24:9; Psalm 24:10 (twice in verse); he will appear in his glory Psalm 102:17, his glory will be revealed in a march through the wilderness to the holy land Isaiah 40:5, the land will see it Isaiah 35:2, shine with it Ezekiel 43:3, and it will dwell in the land Psalm 85:10; it will be to the rearward of Israel Isaiah 58:8; it will arise and be seen upon Jerusalem Isaiah 60:1,2; Yahweh will be the glory in the midst of her Zechariah 2:9; the temple will be filled with it Haggai 2:7; the earth will be filled with a knowledge of it Habakkuk 2:14, and with it Numbers 14:21 (JE) Psalm 72:19; it will be declared among the nations and all will see it Isaiah 66:18,19 (twice in verse); Psalm 97:6 and peoples and kings revere it Psalm 102:16; Isaiah 59:19; ׳י will reign before his elders in glory Isaiah 24:23; the resting-place of the Messiah will be כָּבוֺד Isaiah 11:10.

3 honour, dignity of position ׳מנע מִכּ withhold from honour Numbers 24:11 (E); ׳ירד מִכּ descend from Jeremiah 48:18; ׳שׁלח אחר כ send after Zechariah 2:12; ׳רוּם בכ Psalm 112:9; ׳שׁכב בכ Isaiah 14:18; ׳תמך כ Proverbs 29:23; ׳יַרְבֶּה כ Daniel 11:39; ׳לקח כ take me to honour Psalm 73:24; not becoming to fools Proverbs 26:1; ׳לפני כ ענוה before honour (goeth) humility Proverbs 15:33; Proverbs 18:22; antithesis קלון Hosea 4:7; Habakkuk 2:16; Proverbs 3:35, קִיִקָלוֺן Habakkuk 2:16; כָּבוֺד is used as collective, of honoured men, dignitaries, nobility כבוד ישׂראל Micah 1:15; elsewhere as construct before various nations or with suffixes only Isaiah 5:13; Isaiah 8:7; Isaiah 10:16; Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 17:3,4; Isaiah 21:16; Isaiah 22:24.

4 honour, reputation, of character, of man ׳וְלֹאלְֿךָ לְכ2Chronicles 26:18 neither will it be for thine honour; "" חכמה Ecclesiastes 10:1; צדקה Proverbs 21:21; antith. כְּלִמָּה Psalm 4:3; וְחֵקֶר כְּבֹדָם כָּבוֺד Proverbs 25:27 and searching out of their glory is (not) glory לאישׁ ׳כ Proverbs 20:3; אֱלֹהִים ׳כ מְלָכִים חֲקֹר דָּבָר ׳הַסְתֵּר דָּבָר וכ Proverbs 25:2 the honour of God is to conceal a thing, but the honour of kings is to search out a thing.

5 my honour, poetic of the seat of honour in the inner man, the noblest part of man "" נפשׁי Genesis 49:6 (poem) Psalm 7:6; לִבִּי Psalm 16:9; Psalm 108:2; it is called upon to זמּר Psalm 30:13 (read כְּבוֺדִי for כָּבוֺד); עוּרָה Psalm 57:9.

6 honour, reverence, glory, as due to one or ascribed to one:

a. of men, due to a father Malachi 1:6; honour done to David by Nathan's prophecy 1 Chronicles 17:18; לְ ׳עשׂה כ2Chronicles 32:33 do honour to; לְ ׳נתן כ Proverbs 26:8; "" ישׁע Psalm 62:8.

b. of God, כְּבוֺדִי the honour due to me (Yahweh) Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 43:7; Isaiah 48:11 שְׁמֶ֑ךָ ׳כ Psalm 79:9; לְ ׳נתן כ 1 Samuel 6:5; Jeremiah 13:16; Malachi 2:2; Psalm 115:1; לְ ׳שׂים כ Joshua 7:19 (J), Isaiah 42:12; ׳שׂים כ תהלתוֺ Psalm 66:2; ועז לְ ׳יהב כ Psalm 29:1; Psalm 96:7 = 1 Chronicles 16:28; שְׁמוֺ לְ ׳יהב כ Psalm 29:2; Psalm 96:8 = 1 Chronicles 16:29; שְׁמוֺ ׳זמּר כ Psalm 66:2; סמּר כבודו בגוים Psalm 96:3 = 1 Chronicles 16:24; אמר מלכותך ׳כ Psalm 145:11; נתן כבודי בגוים Ezekiel 39:21; אֹמֵר כָּבוֺד Psalm 29:9 say Glory; ׳יִעְלְזוּ בְּכ exult with (ascriptions of) glory Psalm 149:5.

7 glory as the object of honour, reverence and glorifying, כְּבוֺדִי Psalm 3:4 my glory (the one whom I glorify); כְּבוֺדָם Psalm 106:20 their glory; כְּבוֺדוֺ Jeremiah 2:11.

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I'm not very good with giving long answers and quoting plenty Scriptures, but if you look at any scripture with the mind of the Gospel, you'll understand certain things in the Scriptures. Now this was a vision the prophet saw... and he had to express or communicate it in a way for people reading to have an idea..... sometimes things seen can be indescribable if your mind isn't trained . For example, John the beloved in the vision showed to him of the end time, ( missiles, crafts or war, and these modern day technology,) but his mind wasn't trained in today's world so when he wanted to write it down in the book of revelations he used expressions combining insects with animals and metals based on their characteristics to kinda describe what he saw..... (imagine he saw a car, how would he identify or understand or even name it?? Or know it's function, but to a man born today, he'sunable to imagine not knowing what a car is..... we se same issue with Ezekiel when he saw beings riding strange things to him and having swift movement (in ezekeil chapter 1) what we call today UFO and "Alien" but the spirit man knows better that their just heavenly being and fallen angels trying to entice men)

Now, We know Jesus was never apart from the father, he was in him and wasn't revealed until the appointed time, so there's no way he would have seen him except it related to the expected comingn of the Messiah as written by other previous prophet's. And moreover Glory can simply mean light, Brightness, excellence, , indescribable, brilliance, splendor, beauty..... etc... but definitely in this case its has to do with light

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