Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.Psalm 24:9-10
What is glory?
The word appears 225 times in the King James Version of the Old Testament, 181 times in the New Testament, and 78 times in the Book of Mormon.
In the Old Testament, it is usually a translation of the Hebrew word kavod (כָּבוֹד), which literally means weight or wealth, but which is generally used metaphorically to mean honor or respect.
In the New Testament, it is usually a translation of the Greek word doxa (δόξα), which means a high opinion or expectation. It always has a positive connotation, so it could be rendered praiseworthiness, something with inherent value which deserves our admiration.
In the Book of Mormon, the term is used in several ways:
- To emphasize God’s supernal power. The phrase “with power and great glory” is used multiple times to describe God’s works. (See 1 Nephi 11:28, 1 Nephi 14:14, 1 Nephi 22:24, 2 Nephi 6:14, 2 Nephi 33:11, Moroni 7:35.)
- To reference human wealth and power. For example, Captain Moroni criticized government leaders for their “love of glory and the vain things of the world.” In contrast, he said, “I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God” (Alma 60:32, 36). (See also 2 Nephi 20:3, 12, 16, 18, 2 Nephi 27:16, Helaman 7:5, 3 Nephi 13:2, 29, Ether 8:7, 9.)
- To describe the magnificence of the divine presence. Lehi said to his sons, “The Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory” (2 Nephi 1:15), and he said to his son Jacob, “Thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory” (2 Nephi 2:4). (See also Alma 12:29, Mormon 9:5.)
- To describe the salvation we can eventually receive through God’s grace. Aaron told the Lamanite king that the sting of death is “swallowed up in the hopes of glory” (Alma 22:14). And Alma testified, “I know that [God] will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory” (Alma 36:28). (See also Jacob 4:4, 11, Alma 14:11, Moroni 9:25.)
- To represent God’s grace which is active in our lives today. When King Lamoni experienced his miraculous conversion, “the light of the glory of God” lit up his mind (Alma 19:6). And when another group of Lamanites were converted, “they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory” (Helaman 5:44).
- To depict the magnificence of the Savior’s Second Coming. Alma testified at Zarahemla and Ammonihah that the Son of God would come “in his glory” (Alma 5:50, Alma 9:26, Alma 13:24). And when Jesus visited the American continent, He also spoke of a future time when He will come in His glory. (See 3 Nephi 26:3, 3 Nephi 28:7-8.)
- The word is sometimes used as a verb, meaning “to rejoice.” Nephi said, “I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus,” (2 Nephi 33:6). (See also Mosiah 23:11, Alma 26:16, Alma 29:9, Alma 48:16, Ether 9:22.)
- To give glory means to praise. Jesus ended the Lord’s prayer with the words, “thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory forever” (3 Nephi 13:13). During His visit to the American continent, the multitude gave glory to Him (3 Nephi 20:9-10).
- To seek for God’s glory means to prioritize God’s approval over the approval of other people. Nephi didn’t seek for power and authority but for “the glory of God” (2 Nephi 1:25). Moroni said that the translation of the Book of Mormon must be done “with an eye single to his glory” (Mormon 8:15).
- In Zenos’s allegory of the olive tree, there is another use of the term. The Lord of the Vineyard talks about patiently working with his tree until it produces good fruit. After many disappointments, he says, “I may yet have glory in the fruit of my vineyard” Jacob 5:54. In this context, the word seems to convey the accomplishment of a goal.
When Moses saw God face to face, “the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence” (Moses 1:2). He later explained that he could not have survived the experience if he had not been transfigured by the glory of God (Moses 1:11). The experience was so powerful that he could not deny God’s supremacy. “This one God only will I worship,” he vowed, “which is the God of glory” (Moses 1:20).
At that time, God said to Moses, “This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). What does the word “glory” mean in that sentence? I think it is analogous to the usage in the Allegory of the Olive Tree. It think He means to say that this is His primary objective, His focus, and that He will take delight in accomplishing it.
Today, I will worship the God of glory. I will remember that His power is superior to anything on this earth, that He offers us grace in this life and in the next, and that He delights in giving His children the gift of eternal life.