In Genesis 15, Abraham sees a vision of a smoking fire pot and a blazing torch moving between the sacrificial animal pieces – a vision of “the glory of the Lord.”
This combination of fire and smoke appears in various forms throughout the Old Testament – in the burning bush, in the pillar of cloud and fire in the wilderness, in the thunder, fire and smoke on Mt. Sinai when God gives the Ten Commandments, in the bright cloud that filled Solomon’s temple – in the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel, in the breathtaking scenes of Revelation – and in the New Testament account where the Savior appears transfigured in radiant glory with Moses and Elijah – cloud and fire, dark yet bright, hidden yet revealed – like the God who hides Himself and yet throws open the window to His fatherly heart through Jesus, His Son.
“We have seen His glory,” said the apostle John in the first chapter of this Gospel, “the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
This is what God’s Old Testament people hung their hearts on – that day when, as the prophet Isaiah foretold: “The glory of the Lord will be revealed.”
You and I who have seen the glory of our Savior’s coming at Christmas, Good Friday and Easter now hang our hearts on that hour when Christ shall come again in glory.
Now and then, even in the divine restraint of His humble march to the cross, Christ Jesus gave us a peek behind the curtain. Such is the famous account of our Lord’s transfiguration in the Gospels.
In that moment on the mountain, we are given a vision of glory – His and ours.
We are given a sneak preview of that day when He shall change our vile bodies and fashion them like unto His own glorious body.
We are given a glimpse behind of the curtain of that day when we shall see Him as He is.
Trumpet-like, the Son of God shall fling His voice across the graveyards of earth. He will raise us. He will change us. He will join our glorified bodies with our souls already in His arms.
Like Moses and Elijah on the holy mountain, we shall stand beside our Savior in glory.
Knowing this, you and I need not go forth to the battles of each day haggard, depressed or defeated.
Instead, as happy warriors, we can add our voices to the battle cry of St. Paul: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”