One of the titles of Christ is “the brightness of His glory” indicating that Christ is the brightness of the Father’s glory.
In Hebrews 1:1-4 (NKJV) we read:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
When I was in Israel, one of the most intriguing places for me to visit was Caesarea Philippi. It is in the northern tip of Israel, near Mount Hermon. Caesarea Philippi practiced pagan worship to Baal as well as a Greek god Pan or Panus. From this terrible god we get our word panic, and their pagan temple was built around a “bottomless” pit of water where they threw offerings to Hell.
The name of the whole place was something to the effect of “the gates of Hades”. It was probably at Caesarea Philippi where Jesus said, (roughly translated into English, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”. It brings some new perspective into that saying with the symbolism of the evil there and the temple revolving around the gates of Hell. However, the next story we encountered after this incident is the transfiguration.
Caesarea Philippi, a place of darkness, bondage, immorality and fear -at the base of a mountain- is contrasted by our Lord Jesus who took three of his disciples up to a high mountain. At the transfiguration we have these accounts in the gospels…
- Matthew 17: 2 He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
- Mark 9: 3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
- Luke 9:29 As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.
At the transfiguration we have an earthly glimpse of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will have forever in heaven.
At the transfiguration we also have one of the recorded accounts where the Father spoke from a bright cloud that overshadowed them, and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” Usually the clouds block the light of our earthly Sun, but God’s clouds make the sun seem dim…
Peter words it this way:
2 Peter 1:16-19 (NKJV) For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
Saul of Tarsus
Saul of Tarsus was presented with the “Brightness of His Glory”, and was blinded for days until divine healing gave him his sight. We too were once blind, but now can see the glories of the Lord, although veiled. What a day it will be when we will be with Him in Heaven, whose bright glory fills the place, and we will have the spiritual ability to endure the brilliant radiance of Him.
Caesarea Philippi was a dark place of pagan worship and fear. Peter reminds us that our Lord Jesus is a light that shines in a dark place, and we have a glorious Saviour who is the “brightness of the Fathers” glory.