And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.
—Daniel 7:14 (NASB)
It was for this* He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
— 2 Thessalonians 2:14 (NASB)
[*verse 13: “…salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”]
C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Weight of Glory, one which I’ve never read. Maybe you don’t have to read it. The title is, to me, profound in itself.
We don’t, in our culture, have a real paradigm for understanding “glory.” We have the celebutante version of fame we see plastered on tabloid covers. Some of us can comprehend the dignity of a presidential office. We can imagine we grasp the eminence of the athletes who astound us in the Olympics, the World Series, etc.
Concordance synonyms: honor, majesty, brightness, abundance, wealth, dignity, bliss, the infinite perfections of God.
Revelation 19 gives us a preview of the ultimate full reveal of God’s glory:
1After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2for true and just are his judgments.
11I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
—Revelation 19:1-2 and 11-16 (NASB)
God’s glory is full and complete. There exists no glory on earth or in heaven to which He is not entitled, to which He is not the rightful heir. Glory belongs to Him. It is the fulfillment of Him, an extension of His Being. His existence is Glory personified.
Certain cults believe that our inheritance, as heirs of God, includes what is clearly stated in Daniel as belonging to Christ only: dominion and a kingdom. These cultists are misled to believe their legacy as sons of God is to rule, to be given authority over provinces — even planets — and made to rule as “mini-gods.”
Judas Iscariot, and perhaps even other followers of Christ, were disappointed by Christ’s “failure” to overthrow the Roman government and free the people of Israel politically. His concern for the temporal well-being of the Jews, while understandable, missed the point of the incarnation entirely. Christ’s goal wasn’t the earthly security (“in this world, you will have trouble…”) for one people group, even His Chosen people, it was the eternal fate of mankind. Judas never allowed his thinking to go beyond the box he put Jesus into and see what God had in mind: the full weight of glory, brought to bear on one little corner of the world but having implications that extended into the Eternity Past and Eternity Future for every generation, every nation, tribe and tongue. Judas’ narrow view of Christ stood in such opposition to God’s plan that he chose to betray Christ rather than to alter his perspective.
To Him belong the kingdoms, the dominions. It is His authority that will supersede the temporary powers of Satan on earth. Though God places us in positions of authority on earth — as parents, employers, stewards of His creation, etc. — it is not for His benefit, but for ours. God doesn’t need us to help “manage” His kingdom, or extend His authority. It is already His, wholly and completely.
Our role is not to be handed the keys to the kingdom so we can water the plants while God is on vacation. Our role is to be partakers of His divine nature and heirs to His glory. To become like Him, not in becoming gods ourselves and achieving our own divine natures, but in shaping our characters to conform with His. In doing so, we proclaim His sovereignty and glorify Him.
And yet, with His glory full and complete for all time, He shares it with us. Because of our salvation through sanctification in the Spirit, we may gain Christ’s glory, the glory of a once-prodigal son whose restoration testifies to the ultimate grace and love of his Father. We may stand with Him, as He exercises His dominion over a kingdom that will never pass away, crying:
Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God!