Ever since the “word became flesh,” the glory and knowledge of God are found in Jesus by everyone who believes – John 1:14.
In the prologue to John’s gospel, Jesus is presented as the “word made flesh” in whom the “glory of God” is manifested. He is the Greater Tabernacle foreshadowed by the old tent in the wilderness. He is the place where Yahweh’s glory is beheld by all believers. This statement anticipates John’s later passages that link Christ inextricably to the Father.
During her sojourn in the wilderness, the nation of Israel carried the “tent of meeting,” the Tabernacle, wherever she went. That was where Yahweh visited His people through their priestly representatives, the temporary dwelling place where His presence was occasionally seen, though access was limited and sometimes rather fleeting.
MOSES AND THE TABERNACLE
Only Moses on one occasion was privileged to behold the presence of God, but he only saw Yahweh’s “backside.” Apparently, full exposure to the Divine glory would have ended the Great Lawgiver’s life then and there – (Exodus 33:17-23, 34:1-6).
The Tabernacle was always a temporary structure, and its various functions foreshadowed the True and Greater Tabernacle to come. And, as John confirms, that “tabernacle” is none other than Jesus Christ, the “word made flesh.” In fact, John applies the verbal form of the Greek word for “tent,” meaning that in His Son God now “tabernacles” among His sons and daughters.
In him, all believers behold the glory of God and experience the Divine presence. Access to Him is no longer confined by the physical walls of the Temple or Tabernacle, nor is it limited to the geographic boundaries of the land of Canaan or the city of Jerusalem– (John 1:14).
Both the ancient Tabernacle and the Jerusalem Temple foreshadowed the greater reality that is found in Jesus now and forevermore. In Him, the Father is seen and revealed, and apart from him, there is no accurate knowledge of God.
Thus, every man or woman who believes the words of Jesus “will see the glory of God.” The Son of God is the “way, truth, and life, and no one comes to the Father except through him” – (John 11:40, 14:6).
ONLY IN JESUS
The Father can only be known in His Son. Anyone who knows Jesus also knows his Father and “has seen Him.” The man or woman who beholds him “beholds Him who sent me.” No one can experience the presence and knowledge of God apart from the “word made flesh,” the only place where God’s “glory” is manifested openly to all men who believe in Jesus Christ – (John 12:45, 17:24).
When Philip asked Christ to reveal the Father, the Messiah of Israel responded, “he that has seen me has seen the Father! How can you say, Show us the Father?” Had he not declared earlier that “He that believes on me believes not on me, but on him, that sent me”– (John 2:44, 14:7-9):
Thus, in Jesus, the glory of God is revealed both now and forevermore. Unlike Moses and the Tabernacle in the wilderness, believers behold God’s full glory in His Son, not just His “backside” but the full presence of Yahweh.
Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God. And though John maintains the distinction between Jesus and his Father, they speak and act as one. Jesus only declares the words he first hears from his Father, and the glory that he manifests is the Father’s own glory; therefore, Christ declares that “he who has seen me has seen my Father!”