Before we look at some ways the Bible says we can glorify God today, I want to examine some instances of God being glorified in heaven, where His will is done perfectly. All of these examples come from the book of Revelation, and they include accounts of various beings in heaven giving glory to God. Although the focus of this paper is on human beings glorifying God, there are truths we can learn from all of these scenes that will help us to glorify God more effectively.
The first such instance is described in chapters 4 and 5. Seven times in those two chapters we are told that various groups of beings in heaven give glory to God, proclaim that He is worthy to receive glory, express the desire that He receive glory, or exhort others to glorify God. Chapter 4 begins with John being invited up to heaven (4:1), where he sees the throne room of God (4:2-6a) with a heavenly court surrounding the throne (4:6b-8). Then we read that various beings around the throne give glory to God and also proclaim that He is worthy to receive that glory. “And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”” (Revelation 4:9–11, ESV) They give Him glory, and they proclaim that He is worthy to receive it. The reason why He is worthy to receive glory is that He created everything that exists. Everything and everyone that exists owes that very existence to God, the Creator. He certainly deserves to receive our glory and praise for that fact as well.
The worshipful scene in chapter 4 is interrupted in chapter 5 by something John beheld. He saw a scroll, sealed with seven seals, in the hand of God, but no one was found who could break the seals and open the scroll. (Revelation 5:1-4) We know, from reading the rest of Revelation, that unless the seals were opened, the judgments contained in the rest of the book and the blessings at the end of the book could not take place. The seal judgments would lead into the trumpet judgments, which in turn would lead into the bowl or vial judgments, which would lead to the destruction of the enemies of God and the establishment of the New Heavens and the New Earth. Everything depended upon the scroll being opened. Then it was proclaimed that a Lamb, standing as though it had been slain, who was also the Lion of the tribe of Judah, could open the scroll. (Revelation 5:5-7) God’s plan for the culmination of history would be fulfilled. In response to this discovery, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders sing a new song, praising the Lamb for redeeming multitudes of people from all over the world by shedding His blood for them. Next, John hears the living creatures, the 24 elders and multitudes of angels proclaim that the Lamb is worthy to receive glory, “saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”” (Revelation 5:12, ESV) Then John said, “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”” (Revelation 5:13, ESV) It was because of the work of the Lion/Lamb that God’s plan would be completed. It is no wonder that John hears every creature everywhere offering glory to the Father and the Son. God will bring to a conclusion His great plan for all of time! How could those who love the Lord have any other response to this news than offering praise and honor and glory (which are synonymous terms here) to God?
In the second scene, a multitude that no one could number, from every people group on earth proclaims that salvation belongs to God and to the Lamb (Revelation 7:9-10). (That multitude is later identified as a group of people who have come out of the great tribulation and have “washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14)). Next, we read, “And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”” (Revelation 7:11–12, ESV) God and the Lamb are here given glory, praise, and worship because of the salvation they have accomplished for these multitudes of people.
The last scene in Revelation in which it is stated that glory is given to God is in chapter 19. Chapter 18 recorded the destruction of the enemies of the Lord on earth. In response to that victory there is great rejoicing in heaven. John writes, “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,” (Revelation 19:1, ESV) Then, a few verses later, as the rejoicing continues, we read that John heard “what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” (Revelation 19:6–8, ESV) The victory over the enemies of God has been won. The time for the marriage of the Lamb has come. All of heaven rejoices and gives glory to God for vanquishing evil. God’s plan for all of time is about to be concluded.
When put together, these here scenes tell us that God deserves glory for several reasons. He created all that exists. He made it possible for guilty sinners to be made right before Him. He brought to a conclusion His plan for all of time so that the New Heavens and the New Earth will be all that God intended for His creation to be.
So far, we have looked at various ways in which God was glorified in the past and ways in which He will be glorified in the future. Now we will look at some ways in which the Bible teaches that we can glorify God today. That will be the topic addressed in the next chapter.