The word “Shekinah” is the transliteration of a Hebrew word not found in the Bible but used in other Jewish writings. The term means “that which dwells.” Bible teachers and preachers often use the word in reference to the visible presence of the glory of God.
For instance, it was the Shekinah Glory that met Moses at the Burning Bush. Moses had spent forty-years shepherding in Sinai when he saw a most unusual sight. The fact that a dry dessert shrub was burning was probably not that uncommon, but this bush was not being consumed by the fire. “So Moses thought, ‘I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up?’ When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ ” (Exodus 3:2–4). The Shekinah Glory of God lit up the landscape.
The Shekinah Glory met Moses on the Mountain. “Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke because the Lord came down on it in fire. Its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. As the sound of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him in the thunder” (Exodus 19:18–19) “All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the ram’s horn, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled” (Exodus 20:18).
We see the Shekinah Glory again, after the Tabernacle was constructed. “The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the (Shekinah) glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle... the cloud rested on it, and the (Shekinah) glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34–35).
Generations later, Solomon led the National celebration at the dedication of the Temple. “When Solomon finished praying, fire descended from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests were not able to enter the Lord’s temple because the (Shekinah) glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 7:1–2).
In the New Testament, the Apostle John witnessed and recorded the glory-filled life of the Messiah. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
As Saul (later called Paul) was wreaking havoc on the church, “a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul ...’ ”The Shekinah Glory intervened, inviting Saul into a life-changing relationship and
transforming the persecutor into a preacher! (Acts 9:3–4).
Here’s the good news. Today, right where you are, wherever you are, you’re invited to enter His glorious presence. We’re all invited to “approach the throne of grace (and glory) with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.