Carpenter's Gallery

Chapter 20

Glory to God!

“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power:  for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  Revelation 4: 10, 11

The title of this chapter is important.  It is vitally important because, as we discussed in the first chapter, bringing glory to God with our lives is THE function of the temple.  If we fail to bring glory to God, the whole purpose of our lives is a failure.  If we fail to glorify God with our lives, what value does God receive from the purchase of our lives?  A mold that cannot produce parts is nothing but an expensive boat anchor.  The title of this chapter is the whole reason we were placed on earth.  No matter how big I could write the words, they could not be emphasized enough.  If a choir with a million voices could sing the words in triple forte, it still could not be proclaimed loudly enough.  No wonder the psalmist announced, “The heavens declare the glory of God…” (Psalm 19:1a).  Nothing but the heavens on their infinitely grand scale could come close to adequately declaring God’s glory!  Whatever we do in word or deed, bringing glory to God should be our top priority. 

“What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  I Corinthians 6:19-20

This verse tells us that we have the ability to glorify God, and the responsibility to glorify God.  Even though I am so little, I can do something significant with my life to glorify God.  Glorifying God is not something that is left just for the heavens or for the angels to do.  Glorifying God is something that we all can and should do every day.

So just what exactly is God’s glory and how can I glorify Him?  John Piper gave a wonderful description of God’s glory, “I believe the glory of God is the going public of His infinite worth.”  Piper goes on to say that God’s holiness is the “infinite value of God”1.  It is when this infinite value of God is publicized, that God is glorified.

God is glorified when His creative handiwork is seen and appreciated.  God has infinite worth because nothing would even exist without His work.  The things God has made in creation amaze when viewed at every scale.  God has made it very obvious that He is glorious.  The seraphim in Isaiah 6 cries, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts:  the whole earth is full of His glory.”  God’s glory is everywhere, Oh God help us see it!  “The heavens declare the glory of God…” Ps 19:1. The vast heavens, sized far beyond what we can comprehend proclaim that He is infinitely glorious.  We see his glorious power in the untold numbers of spiraling galaxies.  We see mathematical precision and beauty in the solar system.  We see incredible beauty in the ever changing hues of a sunset.  The nebulous shapes of clouds spark our imagination.  

Continuing down in scale we see beautiful landscapes, trees, and plants each with a unique purpose, animals, birds, bugs, soil and oceans teaming with life.  God is the Master of ecology as living things interact with each other.  

We see the human body so simple and elegant, yet wildly complex.  In the body, God demonstrates His absolute mastery of all the sciences: physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, micro machines, psychology, materials science, optics, mathematics, manufacturing…  Each of our trillions of microscopic cells has so much going on inside, it is like a crazy complex city.  It takes scientists decades to figure out what some of the molecules are even doing.  How does each molecule know what to do?  How are molecules inside the cell animated?  How do all these cells come together to form a conscious being?  God wrote the instructions for it all in DNA, but the code is so blurringly complex, no one has a clue how to really read and understand it.  It is all a wonder of intellect and skill so glorious!  The body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.  God understands the intricate amazingness of the human body.  The body is by far a more glorious, complexly wonderful place for God to dwell in, than any building could ever be.  What a fitting temple.

Our God also has complete mastery of time.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He hath made everything beautiful in his time…”. God is glorified when people realize that He works providentially throughout time to accomplish His purposes.  As much of this book discusses, He works with each of His children throughout our lives to mold us to be more like Himself.  Glorify God for His work in your life. 

God also works in time to fulfill prophecy completely.  When this is made known, He is glorified.  Our God has infinite worth because he created time and has complete control over it.  Without time, nothing would happen, and we would not exist.  There would be no event when we were born.

God has given us His Word.  God is glorified when we love His Word and live out our lives in faith and obedience to it.  The Word of God is so simple that a child can understand the way to salvation.  Yet, so full of complexity that a person can study it for a lifetime and still feel like a little child that knows nothing.  God’s Word reveals what God is like and what God likes.  God’s Word is infinitely valuable.  Without it, we would not know our God.  We would not know the way to life.  God should receive glory for giving us His Word. 

God forgives sin.  He accomplished this through the sacrifice of His Son.  God’s Son was an infinitely valuable gift to us.  We should glorify God for His great sacrifice to bring us life.  

God is glorified when we proclaim His wonderfulness to the world.  Meditate on God’s incredible character, His amazing attributes, and His wonderful works.  Proclaim all this to others that all the world may know the beauty of our infinitely valuable and holy God.

God is glorified when He is worshipped.  Before I can worship God, I must discover the glory of God for myself.  As I search the Scriptures and observe creation I behold the uniqueness and wonder of my God in detail.  It makes me rejoice to know this wonderful person unlike any other.  I meditate on who He is, His character, and what He has done for me.  Then I seek to show others the wonder of it all.  

It is not that we can make Him any more infinitely glorious by doing any of the things that I have listed, but that we can begin to help others comprehend a bit of the unique wonderful Person we are beholding.  Our heart fills with gratitude and our relationship with Him thrives.  We long to live a holy life, a life that emulates him.  Tell God how valuable He is to you.  Tell Him how you marvel at the gift of salvation.  He is worthy of our worship.  “…Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”  Revelation 5:12. 

God is also glorified when His people turn from sin and work together with Him to build His house.

 “Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Consider your ways.  Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.”  Haggai 1:7, 8

Haggai wrote this passage when the people of Israel needed to rebuild the temple.  The people of Israel had rebuilt their own houses but they had become complacent about building the house of God.  Haggai told Israel what they could do to please and glorify God.  Today we have the same task before us, but we are helping God to build a spiritual temple, not one made of wood and stone.  

God says we should “consider our ways”.  Are we complacent about doing God’s work?  Are we focused on fulfilling our own needs and wants?  God wants us to stop thinking about just ourselves and consider what is really important.  Pleasing God and bringing Him glory is the most important thing we can do with our lives.  

In order to accomplish glorifying God, he wants us to “go up to the mountain.”  God wants us to leave our place of complacency; quit thinking about just our own self interest; stretch out of our comfort zone; and do something special just for Him.  Often times the way up the mountain becomes difficult, but God wants us to go up, and take the path that brings us closer to Him.  Going up to the mountain takes faith in God that He will supply our needs so that we might accomplish something glorifying to Him.   

Next notice in the verse that God wants us to “bring wood.”  We can draw the parallel, that if we would glorify God with our lives we need to be lumberjacks who are fishers of men.  Bring wood to God and He will be glorified.  God wants us to help him gather the souls of men into the safety of God’s house.  God wants us to show others the “infinite beauty and greatness of his manifold perfections.”2

The final thing that this verse says is to “build the house.”  We can help shape other people’s lives for God’s glory.  Don’t be someone who tears others down; build them up in love.  We can help others to become more like Jesus.  We can help them find their place in God’s house where they can rest on the great Foundation.  These are the things we can do to please our Lord and glorify Him.  Go up to the mountain; bring wood; and build the house.

Now I would like to turn your attention to the book of Zechariah where there is a fascinating view of Christ being crowned and glorified.  Let’s go through the passage and discuss what it means to us, and how it relates to our function of contributing to the glory of God.  At first, it seems that the passage is talking about primarily a rescue of some captives from Babylon, but then later on we can tell that the passage is also talking about the glorious work of Christ.  Is the rescue of the captives descriptive also of the work of our Lord?  It seems that there is some shadowy double meaning at first, but then like a sunrise the passage breaks forth with glorious clarity.  

“And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;”  Zechariah 6:9,10

What is the significance of Babylon in this verse?  In Isaiah 14:4, Isaiah is instructed to take up a proverb against the King of Babylon, but in verse 12 it appears that the same person is called Lucifer.  Isaiah, seems to equate Lucifer to the king of Babylon.  It follows then that in Zechariah it is very possible that Babylon may also be equated to Satan’s kingdom.  In verse 17 of Isaiah 14 we see Lucifer described as one “…that opened not the house of his prisoners.”  Those who are in Satan’s kingdom are slaves to sin; he will not let them go.  In contrast to this, God  “…hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;”  (Psalm 102:19,20)  God has a rescue plan.  His plan is to bring those held captive to Satan’s kingdom out of that place and into His glorious kingdom.  It is the Lord who plans and initiates this rescue.  God is the one who reached out to help us.

Notice that the same day these people are brought out of captivity in Babylon, they are told to go “into the house” of Josiah the son of Zephaniah.  It is interesting to note what this man’s name means.

  • Josiah means “Yahweh gives, cures, or brings forth”3
  • Zephaniah means “God has concealed or preserved”4

The names of this man seem to be an interesting commentary on what has just happened.  The prisoners were brought forth out of Babylon and hidden in Josiah’s house.  There is an interesting parallel in that when God saves us, He brings us forth from Satan’s kingdom and hides us.  He hides us from the devil who, “…as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (I Peter 5:8b).  Satan can no longer get at us to ruin our soul.  Satan no longer owns us. Christ has purchased us and has hidden us safely away in His house. 

Have a look at the next verse:

“Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;”  Zechariah 6:11

Joshua means “Yahweh saves”5.  The name Joshua catches our attention because it is the Old Testament equivalent of the name Jesus.  This verse also catches our attention because the godly high priests in the Old Testament can be looked at as a picture of Jesus, the Great High Priest.  The office of high priest was passed down from father to son.  We see then a man with a name like Jesus who was one day destined to become the high priest being honored with crowns for his head.  One would assume that since he was being honored, Joshua the son of the high priest must have played the key role in rescuing the captives from Babylon.   There are some interesting similarities here.  The Bible indicates that we can honor Jesus, who has so valiantly rescued us, by making crowns to give to Him.  It is important to note that for us to give our crowns to Jesus; He must be the King of our lives.  If we want to be in control of our own lives, we will not end up glorifying God with our lives.  For us to glorify God, He must be our Master, to whom we would willingly give our crowns.  Notice that the crowns were to be made of silver and gold.  Jesus deserves the finest materials.  Notice also that in this verse the making of crowns is not optional, it is a command.  Our purpose in life is to glorify God.  If we refuse to carry out the activities that make the crowns that bring glory to God, it is not only disobedient, but it goes against our whole purpose for being.    

Now let’s have a look at the next verse:

 “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place…”  Zechariah 6:12a

Who is this man with the peculiar name of “The BRANCH”?  Let’s look to another passage of Scripture where this word is used:

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  Jeremiah 23:5, 6

This verse reveals that “The BRANCH” is “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  Jesus is our Lord; He is our righteousness.  We have no righteousness in ourselves.  Jesus is the righteous Branch of David’s genealogy who will one day reign as a King.  When verse 12 of Zechariah 6 speaks of “The BRANCH,” it is speaking of none other than Jesus Christ.  

Jesus grew up out of His place.  His place was in heaven, but He left that place and grew up on earth.  

There was a second way that He grew up out of His place.  When Jesus began His ministry and went back to preach to the people in His homeland, they rejected His message and were offended at Him because they thought His place was being a carpenter’s son.

“And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?  Is not this the carpenter’s son?…”  Matthew 13:54, 55a

Jesus set an example for us.  He was in a job that seemed to be insignificant, a carpenter, but He grew up out of that place to serve God and touch the lives of many multitudes.  Never let your present place in life be an excuse for not reaching out to others.  Are you growing?  Are you stretching toward service for our Lord?  Now look at the next phrases in Zechariah:

“…and he shall build the temple of the Lord:  Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory…”  Zechariah 6:12b, 13a

Here we see with thrilling clarity the grand work of the Branch who is none other than the Master Carpenter.  He is at work in hearts and lives even today, building those whom he rescued into a glorious dwelling place for the Lord.  The Master Carpenter is the One who alone is to bear the glory, for it is He who has so cunningly worked our salvation.  It is He who has carved life into the lifeless logs.  It is He who, though forsaken by all, courageously bore our sins to rescue us.  What a marvelous Lord we serve!  No wonder even the rocks want to cry out in praise to our Lord!  Every page of the Bible reveals how glorious He is.  Every part of the temple displays the beauty of His person.  The whole earth is full of His glory!!  

Glory to God!  

Glory to the Branch!  

Glory to the Carpenter of the temple!

“…and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne:  and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”  Zechariah 6:13b

This verse describes the coming glorious reign of Jesus, when He shall come to earth and reign as King and Priest over the entire world.  The Carpenter shall become the King.  He shall build a glorious material temple building during that time.  

Don’t get discouraged about the ugly events that happen so often in our world today.  Our God loves stories.  Throughout the Bible, God gives us stories that show how He works in the events of the world.  God is firmly in control of what happens.  In our day, God is creating a very interesting story, a grand and incredible, intricately woven, story to display His glory.  The darker things may get, the more glorious will be the contrast of the brilliance of Christ’s leadership as King.  The more corrupt and full of deception the leaders of this world become, the more Christ’s pure, righteous, truth and judgment will shine.  The more Satan tries to reverse God’s laws and upend the natural order, the more thrilling the day when Christ will reestablish His order on this earth.  The more foolishly mankind devastates the environment, the more glorious when Christ by His wisdom as Creator restores the environment to harmony.  The more enslaved the world becomes, the more wonderful it will be when Christ, heroically frees the world from Satan’s dominion.  The more control the wicked gain over the world and the more powerful their destructive engines of war become, the more glorious it will be when Christ defeats them as nothing and brings true peace to this earth.  The more hideous the enemy, the more beautifully the radiance of our Lord will shine in contrast.  As the hymn writer penned about the power of Christ over the enemy, “one little word shall fell him.”6   How glorious when Satan shall be defeated by Christ for good!  

Do you see that the events of the world, which on the surface appear to be appalling and horrible, are a gain for the potential energy of the glory of God?  When Christ someday comes, He will brilliantly straighten out a terrible, impossible mess that no one else could begin to untangle.  We know that during the tribulation things will get much, much worse.  How bad must the situation get?  I ask you, what will it take to adequately challenge the capabilities of Christ’s leadership skills, and thereby display the infinite glory of Christ?  

The story is about Him.  Christ is the hero of the story.  Our mission is to glorify Him.  The worst problems of today, though they seem to us to loom large, are but an insignificant sputter in history when compared to the eternal, mighty, glorious, Rock, Jesus Christ, the King!

Notice the many descriptions of Jesus contained in Zechariah 6:13.  He is not only a King and Architect of the new temple, but at the same time He is also a Priest.  He is the One who is the Mediator between God and man, who brings reconciliation through His sacrifice.  His spiritual leadership will be brilliant.  There is no way to God but through Jesus.  He is the “Counselor.”  No one else will have a clue about how to bring peace to the earth, but Christ in His wisdom will give brilliant direction.  He is the “Prince of Peace.”  By His leadership, the world, which is so torn with war today, will at last know peace for a thousand years; not only political peace, but spiritual peace, and peace in creation as well.  (Isaiah 9:6)

Let’s look at another verse:

“And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.  And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.”  Zechariah 6:15

God has brought us from afar.  We were far away from God in our sin.  It is His wonderful love that has brought us to Him and saved us from a horrifying end.  One last time, if you have not trusted in Jesus, do it now.  Turn from sin and trust in the Master Carpenter while you can.  Though you are far away from God, He can bring you near.  

Jesus wants those who are far off to come build with Him.  Recall our theme verse:

“For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”  I Corinthians 3:9 

The Carpenter wants us to labor together with Him, building lives into the temple for His glory.  Christian, if you have wandered far away from Christ, draw near today; come diligently in obedience and build with the Master.  Christian, for the glory of Jesus Christ, reach out to the lost and bring them into the temple.  Teach others about Him and how to live a life that would exalt God.  Help Him carve lives that would be pleasing in His sight.

The work of the carpenter is difficult, especially the way it was done in Jesus’ day.  There were no power tools.  It was all manual labor with hand held tools.  Wood and stone are not easy materials to shape.  As you work together with the Master Carpenter, you might get some slivers in your fingers; you might get some blisters.  You might get tired from carrying the heavy load.  When that happens, remember that we are laboring together with God.  He is there beside us.  When the load gets heavy, He will be there to lift us up.  When we feel that we lack ability, we can look to Jesus knowing that we are working along side the Master who can do anything.  His work is perfect and He can show us what to do.  When we feel that we are weak and just can’t do it, Jesus will supply the grace that we need.  When we feel that we have botched the job, the Master is able to cover our mistakes.

As you have read this book, have you been able to see that over and over again the theme of the temple is our relationship to Jesus?  Everything in the temple in some way relates to Him.  Since we are the temple of God, it should be that way in our lives.  Everything that we do and think and are should somehow relate to Jesus. 

When we look at the picture of the temple in the Bible, we are able to see what Jesus is like.  When others look at us, God’s temple today, are they able to see what Jesus is like?  

If we desire to bring glory to God with our lives, we need to make Him look good.  If Christ were represented by a picture, we need to be the frame that shows off the picture.  The frame is nothing; the masterpiece within the frame is everything.  The building is nothing, but the One who dwells within the building is everything!  Everything the building is points to Jesus.  Jesus is what the building is all about.  Jesus is the life of the building.  He has done so much for us.  Worship Him with all of your heart.  Marvel in His love.  Hold up the golden love of Christ and let God’s resplendent glory reflect to shine forth the brilliant Words of life, that all the world may know the beauty of our Savior.

“…and the house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries.”  I Chron 22:5b  

“Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the Lord God.”   I Chron 22:19

Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. Psalms 33:8  

“…and in his temple doth everyone speak of his glory.”  Psalms 29:9b

“we have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God in the midst of thy temple.”  Ps 48:9

“O sing unto the Lord a new song:  sing unto the Lord, all the earth.  

Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.

Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.  

For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised:  he is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the nations are idols:  but the Lord  made the heavens.  

Honour and majesty are before him:  strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name:  bring an offering, and come into his courts. 

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.  

Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth:  the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved:  he shall judge the people righteously.  

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.  Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice 

Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth:  he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”   

Psalm 96

Picture of Ed Brill
Ed Brill

Mr. Brill has spent many years as a tool engineer for plastic injection molds working closely with craftsmen. This experience has given him unique insight into the character traits involved in craftsmanship. His engineering background has taught him to sort through things not readily apparent and get to the heart of the real issue. Mr. Brill has done a good deal of work on buildings, having remodeled an old house and having been on the board of trustees and then as a deacon at his church for many years. He has been a student and teacher of the Bible for many years as he serves in his local church.

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