The Logos

The Prologue of the Gospel of John presents key themes that are expanded in the body of the Book. Most critically, Jesus is the Logos, the “Word become flesh” in whom life and light are revealed and received by penitent men and women. He is the true “Tabernacle” where God’s “Glory” dwells. Moreover, in his Prologue, John employs imagery from the history of Israel to illustrate what God now provides to mankind in His “only born Son.”

Since his death and resurrection, Jesus is the place where the presence of God is found, and His glory is unveiled for all men to see. The “Word become flesh” is the means of access to God, the greater Tabernacle in which the true worship of the Father takes place “in spirit and truth.”

Tent Sunshine - Photo by Hendrik Morkel on Unsplash
[Photo by Hendrik Morkel on Unsplash]

Access to the Divine “
glory” is no longer confined by the physical walls of the old Tabernacle “made-with-hands,” nor is it any longer centralized in the City of Jerusalem.

Jesus of Nazareth is the “Word made flesh that tabernacled among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of an only born from a father, full of grace and truth” - (John 1:14, 1:47-51, 2:13-22, 4:20-24).

The living word of God is embodied in this flesh and blood human being so all men may see the divine nature writ large in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In his words, deeds, death, and resurrection, the true nature of God is displayed before the entire world.

John’s description of the “Word tabernacling among us” echoes the incident at Mount Sinai when God inscribed His ten “words” on stone tablets. In Jesus, the Word of the God of Israel is now written in “flesh,” in the man from Nazareth.

The Greek verb rendered “tabernacled” in English versions of the passage is skénoō. It means “to tabernacle; pitch a tent.” It is related to the noun skéné for “tent,” the same term used in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Book of Exodus for the “Tabernacle” in the wilderness. Thus, in His Son, God now “tabernacles” with His people.

In Exodus, Yahweh commanded Moses to “construct a Sanctuary for me that I may dwell among them,” a portable structure fashioned “according to all that I am going to show you, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings.” In obedience:

  • Moses “Proceeded to take a tent and pitch it by itself outside the camp… and he called it, the Tent of Meeting… it came to pass, that when Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud came down and stood at the opening of the tent” - (Exodus 25:8-9, 33:7-11).

GRACE AND TRUTH


In the Septuagint version of Exodus, the “Tent of Meeting” is the skéné martyriou or “tent of witness,” the place where the presence of Yahweh was seen in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Just as He revealed His presence among the people of Israel in the Tabernacle, so He now makes His habitation among them in Jesus - (Exodus 40:34-35, Numbers 9:15-23).

Moreover, John declares: “We beheld his glory… FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH.” This clause employs further imagery from Exodus and echoes Yahweh’s self-description.

Moses asked Yahweh to show him his “glory.” He responded that neither Moses nor any man “can see my face and live,” and therefore, He placed Moses in the “cleft of a rock” when He passed by, permitting him only to see His “backside.” He descended in the cloud and passed before Moses, proclaiming:

  • Yahweh, Yahweh, a God of compassion and grace, slow to anger and abundant IN LOVING-KINDNESS AND FAITHFULNESS” - (Exodus 33:17-23, 34:1-6).

However, from now on, the glory of God is revealed in Jesus, a proposition that John expands on in his Gospel. Unlike Moses, the followers of Jesus see the full glory of God in His Son, and not just His “backside,” a glory that John compares to that of “an only born from a father” - (John 17:24).

Furthermore, the glory manifested in the Nazarene is “FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH,” a statement that corresponds to the proclamation of Yahweh as He passed before Moses - “abundant IN LOVING-KINDNESS AND FAITHFULNESS.”

Hence, the glory briefly glimpsed by Moses, and from a distance, is now fully disclosed and manifested permanently in Jesus. He is the True and Greater Tabernacle in whom God dwells, the one through whom He unveils His unfiltered grace and truth to humanity.

God’s presence is no longer restricted to the ancient Tabernacle of Moses or any later manmade structures, or to any geographical location. The wilderness structure and the later Jerusalem Temple “made with hands” have been rendered obsolete and superfluous by what God has achieved in His Son - (2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:4-6).

The old Tabernacle was glorious and revealed much about the nature of God. Nevertheless, its glory and access to it were always limited. In contrast, the glory found in Jesus is full, visible, and available for the entire world to behold, believe, and embrace.



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