In 1977, Meredith Kline published two articles in Westminster Theological Journal, “Creation in the Image of the Glory-Spirit” and “Investiture with the Image of God.” In the process of writing those articles, Kline testified that new exegetical paths came into view and led him to write a third related Westminster Theological Journal article in 1978, “Primal Parousia.” He pulled the three articles together and added a new chapter on the story of creation in the image of the Glory-Spirit for his 1980 book, Images of the Spirit.

Kline stated that his goal in Images of the Spirit was to show through exegetical studies in a biblical-theological manner that the idea of creation in the image of the Glory-Spirit is a foundational and pervasive theme in the Scriptures. He maintained that, once it is seen that God the Spirit in his theophanic presence is the divine paradigm in the creation of the image of God, “a conceptual overlap, if not synonymity, will be recognized between the imago Dei and concepts like messiahship and the Spirit’s filling or baptism of God’s people.”[1]

But what Kline also noticed in writing Images of the Spirit was that he continually returned to the Book of Revelation. He stated,

Over and again in the following chapters, usually at a climactic point, attention turns to the Book of Revelation. From the way these studies evolved it will be obvious that I cannot claim that any semblance of a symphonic quality that might be produced by this recurrence of the Apocalypse theme is the premeditated product of conscious artistry. My constant returning to the Apocalypse is just a natural by-product of a love for this fascinating capstone of biblical revelation that goes back to student days.[2]

The movement in each chapter of Images of the Spirit would be from man’s creation in the image of God in the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis through redemptive history, most often Moses and the prophets in the Old Testament and the witness of the Gospels and the Apostle Paul in the New Testament, to the Book of Revelation and the consummation. In this redemptive-historical sweep, Kline endeavored to show how in Christ the church was being formed into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

The Glory-Spirit and His Human Image

In the first chapter, “The Glory-Spirit and His Human Image,” Kline set out to answer from Scripture the question, “What is the image of God?” Kline concluded that the divine model used in the creation of man in the image of God was the theophanic Glory-cloud present in the form of the Spirit in Genesis 1:2.

Genesis 1:2a announces that the earth, the visible world that God created,[3] was in a state of unbounded deep and darkness. Light shines in the darkness, and bounds to the waters are set by God the Creator. This is affirmed in the “remarkable” statement of Genesis 1:2b: “The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

In Scripture after Adam’s fall into sin, the Glory-Spirit witnesses to scenes of re-creation that both mirror the creation as described in Genesis 1:2 and define the legal nature of the redemptive action of God. That is, the Spirit that overarched creation as a divine witness to the covenant of creation is the Spirit that gives witness to the new day promised in the old covenant.

As an example of this witness, God’s Glory-Presence in the exodus was seen in the pillar of cloud and fire that went before Israel so that Israel might make its way through the waste howling wilderness (Deut. 32:10) to the promised land of Canaan. In the same way that the Spirit “hovered” over the deep in Genesis 1:2, God hovered in the pillar of cloud and fire over Israel protecting them as an eagle protects her own (Deut. 32:11). Kline concluded that Moses’s interpretative reuse of the verbal imagery of Genesis 1:2 in Deuteronomy 32 showed that “Spirit of God” in the creation record is to be understood as a designation for the theophanic Glory-cloud.

In the New Testament at the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit descends as in Genesis 1:2. It is a divine witness that the new creation has arrived with the Son given by the Father. But it is in the Book of Revelation where messianic redemptive re-creation, that is, the re-creation of the new man in God’s likeness, is prominently displayed. Kline proclaimed that the Glory-figure is apocalyptically revealed in Revelation 10 at the consummation of the new covenant with its new exodus-creation. Clothed with a cloud, rainbow haloed, a face like the sun and feet like pillars of fire, the Glory-figure stands astride creation with his hand raised in oath to heaven. He is swearing by him who lives forever and ever, who created the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all their hosts, that in the days of the seventh trumpet the mystery of God will be finished.

These redemptive reproductions of Genesis 1:2—the exodus re-creation and Glory-cloud, the beginning of the new creation at the baptism of Jesus with the Spirit descending, the consummation of the new covenant, the Glory-figure—testify to the Glory-Spirit’s role and witness.

Further, God created man in the likeness of the Glory-Spirit to be a spirit-temple of God. According to Kline, this theme of the re-creation of man by the Lord of Glory in his own likeness “is prominent and, in fact, foundational” to the message in the Book of Revelation. He stated,

This book as a whole depicts the messianic re-creation in symbolism drawn from the Mosaic reenactment of creation in the exodus, but that layer of the Apocalyptic representation overlies a foundational conceptual structure derived from the original creation event.[4]

In Kline’s judgment, this was inevitable in that creation provides the basic mold filled by redemption. All the elements of the hope set before Adam in the garden are realized at the close of Revelation through Christ and his Spirit. Those joined to Christ, the “overcomers” (Rev. 2:11), enter sabbath-rest in the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 21:1). Unlike the first creation with its chaotic darkness, there is no more sea in the new world. Answering to the Spirit-cloud, the archetypal temple over the earth in Genesis 1:2, is the temple-city of Revelation 21:2.[5]

This temple-city, transfigured in the light of the glory of God (Rev. 21:11, 23; 22:5), is the ultimate likeness of the Glory-Spirit. It is a holy of holies where God sits enthroned (Rev. 21:5, 6). Shining with the glory of God, this temple-city has the church-body of Christ engrafted into it. “For while the church is the temple where God dwells, God is the Spirit-Temple where the church dwells (Rev. 21:22).”[6] It is in this radiant temple-city, the New Jerusalem, that all the promises of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 find their Amen in Christ.

A Priestly Model of the Image of God

In the second chapter, “A Priestly Model of the Image of God,” Kline declared that God, the Creator-King, established heaven and earth as his holy palace. Eden, by virtue of the Glory-Spirit canopy, was a holy temple, a house of God in miniature.[7] Created in the image of God, Adam was called to worship God and serve him in a priestly fashion in the temple-garden that was Eden, the site of God’s throne-presence.

The construction of the tabernacle at Sinai replicates Eden. In this redemptive reenactment of creation, the Glory-cloud hovers at the top of Sinai over the wilderness and reproduces its likeness in the world below. At the bottom of Sinai, the tabernacle is built according to the pattern seen on the mount, a Glory-Spirit-temple. Moses and Aaron are also fashioned in the image of the Glory-Spirit. The Lord speaks to Moses face to face (Exod. 33:11) so that Moses’s face reflects the likeness of the Glory-Spirit (Exod. 34:29–35). Aaron also shares in the investiture of the Glory-Spirit (Exod. 39–40).

The prophet Ezekiel also connects creation with the tabernacle/temple. In Ezekiel 47, the same verb is used as in Genesis 2 for the issuing forth of the eastward flowing river. Further, in Ezekiel, the river emerges from under the lintel of the temple entrance, which was a reflex in the temple’s architectural symbolism to the Glory-cloud. 

The tabernacle-temple symbolism and the prophecy of Ezekiel 47 of the eschatological sanctuary with the river and tree of life reappear in Revelation 21 and 22. Moreover, “the cosmic symbolism of the tabernacle is afforded by the coalescence of the eternal holy of holies, the tabernacle-city, New Jerusalem, with the heaven and earth in John’s apocalyptic vision of the new creation (Rev. 21 and 22).”[8]

Aaron’s Robes—A Replica of the Glory-Tabernacle

Kline then moved from an examination of the broad parallelism between the creation accounts in Genesis and Exodus to a focused examination of Aaron’s priestly investiture. Aaron’s robes are a replica of the tabernacle, symbolically testifying that Aaron and the priesthood partakes of the Glory-Spirit also. Kline wrote, “Moses’ transfigured countenance was his glory-reflection, but for Aaron the holy vestments were appointed as a symbolic equivalent, imaging the Glory-beauty of the fiery Shekinah.”[9]

Aaron’s investiture points back to Genesis 1 and the creation of man in the likeness of the Glory-Spirit as the personal image-temple of God. Aaron’s vestments show that those who are to minister in the presence of the Glory of the Lord in the tabernacle must reflect his holy beauty.

The parallelism between the Glory-tabernacle and Aaron’s garments and their fulfillment in the holy tabernacle-temple city in heaven as pictured in Revelation 21 is seen in Aaron’s shoulder pieces. The shoulder pieces of the ephod represent the “shoulders” of the gate where one entered the tabernacle and temple. As such, they are associated with the name-banner lintel (Ezek. 47:1–2). Precious stones, engraved with the names of the sons of Israel (Exod. 28:9), are on Aaron’s shoulder as he enters the tabernacle gates wearing the mitre. This headpiece, between and above the shoulder pieces, has a golden plate with the inscription on it, “holy to Yahweh.” In Revelation 3:12, Christ, the incarnate Glory, promises his people that they will enter the gates of the holy city bearing the name of God, and in that temple-city they will all be priests and pillars.

Glory-Investiture in the Book of Revelation

Having worked through the Old Testament, Kline moved to an elaboration of Glory-Spirit investiture in the New Testament, particularly in the Book of Revelation. In doing so, he returned in the main to the thesis of his student paper, “A Study in the Structure of the Revelation of John.” There Kline argued that Christ was at work through his Spirit transforming the church into his image to be his heavenly bride. Now, in Images of the Spirit, Kline added exegetically how John used the symbolism of the priestly investiture to put forth the corporate renewal of the church as the new man in the image of Christ. Christ in Revelation 1 is the archetypal Glory-Spirit-temple; the church, renewed by Christ in his Glory-image in Revelation 21 and 22, is an ectypal temple in the Spirit. It is the church in Revelation 21 and 22 that is re-created in the likeness of Christ, the Glory-robed priest of Revelation 1.

Christ’s royal-priestly ministry stands central to the church’s transformation. In Revelation 1:12–13, Christ’s priestly function is indicated by the location of his ministry—he stands amid seven golden lampstands of the sanctuary. Revelation 1:18 discloses that he is a royal priest with the keys of office, the authority to open and close, received by holy ordination. He is clothed with a long robe and a golden sash around his chest (Rev. 1:13). The term used for his long robe is the same as that which is used in the Septuagint for the high priest’s robe and ephod and its breast-piece. The golden sash brings into remembrance the sash of the ephod with its flame-colored material interwoven with threads of gold. Kline declared, “Christ appears in the opening vision of Revelation as an incarnate Glory-Spirit, but the figure seen by John is also the antitype of Aaron invested with the holy garments emblematic of the divine Glory.”[10]

The bridal adornment of the church in Revelation 21 consists of priestly garments made after the pattern of the church’s bridegroom presented in Revelation 1. This is especially brought out in the imagery of Revelation 21:2. There, the holy city, New Jerusalem, is the symbol of the “bride adorned for her husband.” Since the bride is identified with the holy city, urban adornment is interchangeable with bridal adornment, especially seen in the twelve precious stones constituting the foundations of the wall and bearing the name of the covenant people. 

In Kline’s judgment, additional confirmation that the church-bride of Revelation 21 is also a priest-figure arrayed in holy tabernacle-vestments of glory is found in Isaiah 61–62. In Isaiah 61:1–3, the Spirit of the Lord transforms Zion through the Messianic Servant into a thing of beauty, joy, and glory. In that day, the people of Jerusalem shall be called priests of the Lord (Isa. 61:6). The prophet then declares in 61:10, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

In Isaiah 62:1–5, the marriage imagery is continued. The bride-city is characterized by shining glory, the same description used of Aaron’s priestly garments. The double symbol of the city-wife, Jerusalem-Hephzibah, over whom God will rejoice as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, is the same double symbolism of the bride-city of Revelation 21.

This dependence of Revelation 21 upon the prophecy of Isaiah informed Kline’s view that the church-bride of Revelation 21 is portrayed as a priest figure, arrayed in holy tabernacle-vestments of glory.[11] Kline concluded, “Thus, the Book of Revelation, in making its symbolic statement that the church glorified is a church renewed in the image of God revealed in Christ, equates this image renewal with a priestly investiture in the Glory of God.”[12]

In Revelation 22:4, the re-created covenant community will see God’s face and his name will be on their foreheads. This marks the fulfillment of Christ’s promise in Revelation 3:12 to include the overcomer in his temple and write on him his new name, the name of God and the name of the holy city coming down out of heaven, the New Jerusalem. Kline wrote, “The church’s bearing of Christ’s new name is exponential of its new nature as the new city-temple, the priest-bride arrayed in tabernacle-glory, the image of the Glory-Spirit-Lord, the glory of the bridegroom-Son.”[13] Christ takes his church in covenant to bear his glory and his name, to be the fullness of him who fills all in all.

A Prophetic Model of the Image of God

In the third chapter, “A Prophetic Model of the Image of God,” Kline showed that Adam’s creation as an image-reflector of the glory of the Creator-Spirit is recapitulated in the history of the prophets. In the formation of a prophet, the critical event is the prophet’s transforming encounter with the Glory-Spirit in which the prophet is caught up in the Spirit and received into the divine assembly. Thus, the hallmark of the true prophet is that he stands before the Lord in the heavenly court to receive the divine message. The prophets serve as God’s authoritative spokesmen who have been sent from heaven to earth speaking the very words of God. More still, the prophet “took on the glory that diffused the heavenly court. He was transformed into the likeness of the King of Glory whom he beheld there on his throne high and lifted up, the train of his Glory-robe filling the royal temple.”[14]

The prophets also reflect the judicial, ethical, and physical glory of the imago Dei. Judicially, Moses, the prophet supreme in the Old Testament (Num. 12:6–8), exercises authority on behalf of the Lord. Deuteronomy 18:15–22 points to the role Moses performed at the Sinai covenant-making as paradigm. That is, “Moses’ authoritative administration of God’s covenant lordship over Israel was to be carried on by the prophets.”[15] A prophet’s heavenly authority is a renewal of the task given to Adam of dominion over the world, adapted to the redemptive situation. It was, in Kline’s words, “an act of re-creation in the glory-image of God.” [16]

Ethically, man’s creation in the image of God is a likeness to the glory of the divine holiness and righteousness.[17] Kline maintained that biblically a prophet had to be ethically qualified, conformed inwardly to the Lord of the heavenly council, before he could be sent as the Lord’s authoritative representative. Isaiah recognizes the problem of his spiritual disqualification in Isaiah 6:5. Before he can be sent as the emissary of the King in the prophetic image of God, he must be redemptively cleansed, Isaiah 6:6–8.

Physical glorification is contemplated only in eschatological hope at creation, but it is a feature present in the prophetic model of the image of God. Moses’s shining face after meeting with God at Sinai and Elijah’s bodily translation from this world in the Glory-chariot were earnests of the eschatological rapture that is promised. It is the ultimate stage in the redemptive renewal in the image of God that the prophets declare, but it is also their life experience as they are caught up in the Spirit that presents a glimpse of the believer’s predestined future.

Jesus Christ and the Prophetic Image

In the New Testament, Jesus is the antitypical Moses-prophet. Kline maintained that Peter in Acts 3:22 had grasped the significance of Jesus’s transfiguration as a counterpart to Moses’s transfiguration under the Glory-cloud at Sinai. The command from heaven to listen to the Son is the ultimate application of the requirement in Deuteronomy 18:18 that Israel obey God’s prophet.

A connector in seeing the fulfillment of Moses’s prophetic role in Jesus is via Isaiah’s proclamation of the Servant of the Lord. In speaking of the Servant, Isaiah speaks of Christ; in speaking of the Servant, Isaiah speaks of a new Moses-prophet. Raised up by the elective call of God and Spirit-endowed (Isa. 42:1), the Servant is cognizant of the divine council and made a mouth for the Lord (Isa. 50:4). He is the mediator of the redemptive covenant in fulfillment of the covenantal promise (Isa. 42; 53:4–12).

Jesus Christ is the ultimate realization of a biblical prophet. He participates in the Glory of the heavenly council of the sons of God. He possesses the Spirit without measure. He is sent forth from the Glory-council on covenantal mission. He is the living prophetic Word of God, the priest-king builder of the kingdom of God, and the righteous judge-destroyer of Satan’s kingdom. According to Kline, everything that constitutes the prophetic imago Dei and had prototypal expression with Moses is present in antitypical fullness in Jesus Christ.[18]

Messianic Re-creation in the Image of God

Kline turned next to the Book of Revelation to show how Christ’s creation of the church in his prophetic image is also fundamental to the structure of the book. In Revelation 1, the Lord and the church are both conveyed as luminous figures. Kline observed, “Jesus, wrapped in Glory, the light of his face as intense as the sun, stands in the midst of seven golden lampstands symbolic of the church. Christ is the original light; the church which he creates in his likeness is a reflective light.”[19]

The light-bearing objects in Revelation 1, rich in Old Testament imagery of the lamps found in the tabernacle and temple, symbolize the covenant community’s light-bearing witness of God’s majestic name and glory to the nations. This is brought out clearly in the vision of Zechariah 4:6 where “the message of the chapter is that the covenant people will be empowered by God’s Spirit, symbolized by the oil, to accomplish its prophetic light-bearing witness in the world.”[20]

Kline saw this connectedness between Christ and his church in prophetic witness-bearing coming to expression throughout Revelation. In Revelation 1:2, there is the testimony given by Jesus; In Revelation 12:17 and 20:4, there is the testimony given by Christians. In Revelation 1:5, Jesus is the faithful witness; in Revelation 1:9, the Apostle John is the one devoted to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 19:10, the testimony of Jesus is identified as the Spirit of prophecy; In Revelation 22:9, those who keep the words of this book stand in the company of God’s servants, the prophets.

This theme is also developed in Revelation 10. In Revelation 10:7, where reference is made to God’s servants the prophets, the Angel-Lord stands as witness and prophesies the completion of the mystery of God. He then eats the little scroll, which indicates the prophetic nature of his assignment to prophesy before many peoples and nations and languages and kings (Rev. 10:8–10). The commissioning of John, the apostle-witness, by the by Angel-Witness in Revelation 10:11 is a fashioning of John in the prophetic image of his Lord.

That prophetic commission is then extended to the church in Revelation 11. The two witnesses, who share in the authoritative power of the apostle and are symbolic of the church, carry forward the message to all who dwell on earth, to peoples and tribes and languages and tongues. The nations rage against the two witnesses, gazing upon their dead bodies, but God vindicates and rewards his servants, the prophets, those who fear his name both great and small (Rev. 11:9, 18). It is not just John in Revelation 10, then, who Christ conforms to his prophetic image; it is the also the church in Revelation 11.

The consummation of the church in Christ’s prophetic image is the subject of the closing vision of Revelation. The cloud veil that hides the heavenly council from the eyes of mortal men removed, John “in the Spirit” in Revelation 21 sees the church perfected in the New Jerusalem. There all of God’s people are “in the Spirit.” Kline rejoiced, “Entrée into the council that had been the peculiar privilege of prophets and apostles caught up in the Spirit is now the normal joy of everyone, and so the longing of Moses is fulfilled: all the Lord’s people are prophets.”[21] Even more, all of God’s people through union with Jesus, the divine paradigm prophet, enjoy a level of intimacy with God previously unknown.

The Spirit-Presence and His Parousia-Day

A central thesis that Kline emphasized in Images of the Spirit is the connection between the creation account in Genesis and the realization of new creation in Revelation. In the last chapter, “The Spirit-Presence and His Parousia-Day,” Kline expanded upon this theme once more.

Following the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden, God comes to prosecute his lawsuit against the covenant-breakers and to announce the damnation of the serpent, which turns out to be an account of primal parousia, what is known later in Scripture as the day of the Lord. Kline maintained that the sound that Adam and Eve heard in Genesis 3:8 was not the Lord calling them. Rather, it was the sound of the Lord’s approach. Frighteningly loud, it was the thunder of God’s coming in judgment.

This understanding is reflected later in Scripture in such passages as Psalm 139:7 where the psalmist asks, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence” (NKJV). Then when the psalmist confesses in 139:12 that for God the darkness is as light, he clearly evokes Adam and Eve seeking to hide in the shadows among the trees of Eden. Despite their efforts, the guilty pair is exposed by the coming of the Spirit in the day of the Lord (Genesis 3:9).

Kline believed that the difficulty encountered with the translation into English of the adverbial phrase Irwh hyywm (AV, “in the cool of the day”) in Genesis 3:8 had led traditional exegesis away from the natural meaning of the first part of the verse. He asked, “are we really prepared to accept the anthropomorphism of the Lord’s seeking the relief that might be afforded by the evening air from the burden of the day?”[22] He proposed that the words that the phrase qualified, the ruah of the day, had the meaning of a mission of judgment.

The Day of the Spirit

Spirit and day are joined in a close connection in the record of the first day of creation at the start of Genesis 1, but Kline saw a significant relationship existing between the Spirit and the seventh day. He wrote,

It will in fact appear that the seven-day pattern of the creation record as a whole was so constructed that while it was figuratively indicating the temporal dimension and especially the sabbatical structuring of the creation history, it should also serve as a seven-panelled portrait-paradigm—a prototypal model—of the day of the Lord, which was to be of such great importance in the unfolding biblical revelation of cosmic-redemptive history.[23]

The day of the Spirit is a time when God acts and pronounces a judicial assessment as seen in the sevenfold refrain, “God saw it was good.” The seven acts of Spirit-Creator “seeing” are seemingly the ultimate source of the imagery of both Revelation 5:6, the seven eyes which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth from all the earth, and Revelation 4:5, the seven burning torches of fire before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. Additionally, Revelation 4:11 with its focus on God’s creation of all things, strengthens the likelihood that the seven eyes of the Spirit sent on judicial missions in Revelation 5:6 are related to the seven acts of the Spirit’s seeing in Genesis 1. 

Kline also endeavored to show how John’s experience in Revelation 1 was related to Genesis 3:8. He said, “Describing the circumstances of his vision of Christ as the Glory theophany incarnate, John writes, ‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a great voice’ (Rev. 1:10), a voice as a trumpet or mighty waters (v. 15). Here is a striking reminiscence of the combination of features encountered in Genesis 3:8—the Spirit, the day, and the voice.”[24] But, according to Kline, the greatest tie to the Genesis text at the beginning of Revelation is the coming of the Glory itself in the person of Christ. Present as Lord of the Covenant, Christ’s words, identified as what the Spirit says to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3, echo the words of God in Eden as he pronounces judgment on the works of his servants.

Kline continued, “As was the case in the Spirit of the day at the Fall of man, so the parousia (or day) of Christ, with its purpose of exposing and sentencing the guilty, has as its effect a panic of terror manifested in frantic, futile attempts to hide from the eyes of the divine Presence.”[25]

The kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountain and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Rev. 6:15–17

These similarities clearly show that the parousia of Jesus is the New Testament realization of the Old Testament Glory theophany in the primal parousia of Genesis 3:8. His coming again brings vindication to the saints during cosmic cataclysm, which is reflected in Revelation 6:12, and in Revelation 20:11, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.” Kline declared that “like the prototypical day of the Spirit in the Genesis Prologue, the parousia of Christ entails creation of heaven and earth, and Sabbath consummation.”[26]

Isaiah and Revelation and the Spirit-Raised Standard

Kline finished Images of the Spirit by tying together the prophecies of Isaiah, in which Isaiah speaks of the Glory-Spirit as a banner, and the fulfilling of the prophecies in Revelation with the appearing of Christ in his coming Glory. In Isaiah 59:19b, the prophet declares that when the enemy comes in like a flood, “the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him” (NKJV). This Spirit-raised standard is the theophanic cloud, for it is denoted in the first part of verse 19 as the “Name” and the “Glory.” This military banner inscribed with the name of God will be a radiant gathering point drawing Zion’s far-off sons and daughters from among the nations (Isa. 60:1ff.). And, in that day, Isaiah 66 declares that the Lord will come with fire and whirlwind-like chariots (Isa. 66:15) for judicial proceedings with mankind (Isa. 66:16) and will set up a standard of God’s glory against the idolaters (Isa. 66:19).

In Revelation 19, the military metaphor of the standard is quite explicit in the description of the parousia of the Word of God. Kline wrote,

In this picture of Jesus as the incarnate Glory, leading the armies of heaven to war, he is portrayed as a veritable living name-banner, inscribed on both Glory-robe and Spirit-body with the name that belongs to him alone (Rev. 19:12): “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Rev. 19:16).[27]

Invested with the Glory-Name, the exalted Christ comes in the day of the Lord as the Spirit of the day. He is the messianic warrior on the white horse who the heavenly armies follow to the final judgment.


[1] Meredith G. Kline, Images of the Spirit (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1980), 11.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Kline believed that Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” should be understood as teaching that God created all things invisible and visible. For support of this conclusion that “the heavens” were the invisible heavens, he appealed to Nehemiah 9:5, Psalm 103:19, Psalm 148:1–4, and Colossians 1:16. From the invisible heavens, the Lord of Glory comes forth to reveal himself in history as the Alpha and Omega, the Creator and Consummator.

[4] Kline, Images of the Spirit, 24.

[5] Kline made clear on pages 25 and 26 that Rev. 21 also puts forth a cosmic re-creation, “a new heaven and earth are seen, replacing the first (Rev. 21:1a; Gen. 1:1),” that corresponds to the Genesis 1 account of creation.

[6] Kline, Images of the Spirit, 26.

[7] According to Kline, such was Ezekiel’s inspired interpretation of Gen. 2. Kline said, “In the passage where [Ezekiel] comes the Prince of Tyre to a figure in the original paradise scene (Ezek. 28: 14, 16), he speaks of a covering cherub as present there on the holy mountain of God. The Glory theophany thus located by Ezekiel in Eden is prominent in his apocalyptic vision of paradise restored and consummated” (36).

[8] Kline, Images of the Spirit, 41.

[9] Ibid., 43.

[10] Ibid., 48.

[11] In addition to Isa. 61 and 62, Kline appealed to Ezek. 16 in support of this contention. In Ezek. 16, the history of the exodus is recalled as Israel is a woman in the wilderness whom the Lord enters into covenant and takes as a wife. As a token of the marriage covenant, the Lord spreads the corner of his robe over her, Ezek. 16:8, an image that speaks to God’s sheltering of Israel under the Glory-cloud (Ps. 105:39).

[12] Kline, Images of the Spirit, 50.

[13] Ibid., 54.

[14] Ibid., 58.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid., 60.

[17] Kline connected the judicial and ethical aspects of man’s creation in the image of God in a very Vosian manner. He wrote, “If in his ruling function man was to be a true image of his royal Lord, his exercise of dominion must be informed by those qualities of rectitude and truth that were the very foundation of the throne of God. It was a lie of the tempter to suggest implicitly that the absence of the ethical element in the imago Dei was irrelevant to the development of man’s God-likeness in the area of judicial glory. The truth was that love of the holy will of the heavenly King of kings was essential to man’s advancement from glory to glory in his reflection of the glory of the divine majesty” (Ibid., 60). In his article, “The Doctrine of the Covenant in Reformed Theology,” Vos argued that an aspect of the covenant of works, which God put before Adam for the goal of advancement from glory to glory, was that in all his works Adam was to show forth the image of God and to be a means for the revelation of God’s virtues. Vos said, “Just as the blessedness of God exists in the free relationship of the three Persons of the adorable Being, so man shall also find his blessedness in the covenantal relationship with his God. It is not his bliss in itself, but his salvation as a reflection of the eternal blessedness of God, toward which he is disposed. Therefore, he must not immediately and prematurely possess the highest enjoyment, but be led up to it along a rational way. The image of God within him must be brought out in the full clarity of his consciousness. In a certain sense it must be extended, for in that he can still sin and die man is not God’s image bearer. In his life it must be formed by keeping the divine law. With deep moral earnestness he is immediately directed not to his own bliss but to the honor of the Creator, and assigned a task so that, by completing it, he might enter the full joy of his covenant God.” Geerhardus Vos, “The Doctrine of the Covenant in Reformed Theology,” in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos, ed. Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1980), 245.

[18] Kline, Images of the Spirit, 82.

[19] Ibid., 85.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid., 94.

[22] Ibid., 103.

[23] Ibid., 107–108.

[24] Ibid., 123.

[25] Ibid., 123–124.

[26] Ibid., 124.

[27] Ibid., 130.

Danny E. Olinger is a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and serves as the General Secretary of Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Ordained Servant Online, October 2021.

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