The term “the kingdom, the power, and the glory” in biblical Scriptures is best remembered from the prayer Jesus gave in His Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew, the Lord’s Prayer focused on God’s kingdom and repeated these words in the last sentence: “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13).
Glory is a recurring theme throughout the Bible that reveals and defines God’s attributes and provides measures to give reverence and praise for the glory of God and His kingdom (see Romans 11:36).
The Doxology, prayed by Jesus, appears to have been drawn from David’s praise of God, documented in 1 Chronicles:
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all” (29:11).
Moses asked the Lord to reveal His glory in the earliest biblical reference to the glory of God (Exodus 33:18; see also 16:7).
In his prophetic book Daniel observed,
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:14).
Moses, David, Daniel, and Jesus: Throughout the Bible, God’s glory and power and kingdom are celebrated and hoped for among His people. Let’s take a deeper look at this glory.
Aspects of glory
Philippe Paul-Luc Viguier’s thesis The Glory of God: A Biblical Theology draws attention to two books of the Bible that especially contain comprehensive scriptural passages about God’s glory. These passages (Exodus 33:12—34:35 and John 1:1-18) address eight aspects of God’s glory:
- God’s kingly glory
- God’s beaming glory
- God’s essential glory
- God’s revelatory glory
- God’s praiseworthy glory
- God’s messianic glory
- God’s participatory glory
- God’s eschatological glory
This scriptural analysis shows that God’s glory is knowable and relevant, especially through the revelation of Jesus Christ.1, 2
These passages in Exodus and John also reveal that the fundamental content of divine glory is God’s abundant mercy, grace, longsuffering, goodness and truth (Exodus 34:6; John 1:14). Notably, in both John and Exodus, the presence of the glory also signals that God is shaping a kingdom people by His power (Exodus 19:6; 32:11; John 3:3; 1:12).
This leads to another important aspect of glory: its universality. “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3).
Psalm 19:1-4 continues this thought, describing how all of creation recognizes the need to glorify God for who He is and what He has done:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
Attributes of glory
Psalms, the praise book of the Bible, provides a list of God’s attributes. The psalmists pointed out characteristics that exclusively belong to God. These allow us to see who He really is and provide a basis for our ascribing glory and worship of Him.
Attributes of God3
Psalm 24:8 asks, “Who is this king of glory?” and then answers, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” Daniel also expresses some of God’s attributes that contribute to His glory: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His” (Daniel 2:20).
David Wilkerson notes, “Glory is the fullness of God. . . . When God gives His glory, He gives Himself.”4 And Joshua Mills explains, “The glory of God is his character and his divine nature; it is the very essence of his presence.”5
Praying the glory
We cannot take prayer lightly when it comes to God’s glory. Theologian Steve Lawson observes that, “. . . as Jesus Christ taught His disciples, the primary focus of prayer is for one to be riveted upon the supreme glory of God. . . . He was unequivocal in teaching us to ascribe all glory to God.”6
Theologian John Hamby noted that in the closing portion of the Lord’s Prayer, “the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” can be said of God alone. 7 These core facets of God’s self-revelation are the essence of the prayer.
Every prayer should acknowledge the glory of God. The term forever shows His glorious kingdom and power are without end. Thus our praise should be without ceasing. Amen comes from a Hebrew root meaning “verily” or “truly.” Closing a prayer with this word indicates acceptance as truth to the preceding message. The use of amen assures that the glory belongs exclusively to God forever.8
Singing the glory
The word glory has also been used in music to give praise to God through hymns. Hymn is derived from a Greek word meaning “a song of praise.” Charles Wesley summarized praise for God well with his hymn “O For a Thousand Tongues.
O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy name.
The hymn “To God Be the Glory” succinctly shows the praise due to Him. Many verses in another hymn, “Glory to God Forever,” reprise this message.
Whether the words “For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen” are given through prayer or song, they teach us to take our encouragement only from God. Our prayers and hymns should praise Him and ascribe kingdom, power, and glory to Him. And when we say, “Amen,” we know our prayers will be heard.
- Philippe Paul-Luc Viguier, The Glory of God: A Biblical Theology (Lexham Press, 2013).
- Blue Letter Bible, https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/attributes.cfm. Web accessed 6-24-16.
- David Wilkerson, “The Glory of God,” http://www.tscpulpitseries.org/english/undated/tsglory.html. Web accessed 6-24-16.
- Joshua Mills, “Experiencing the Glory of God,” http://revivalmag.com/article/experiencing-glory-god. Web accessed 6-23-16.
- Lawson, Steve. “For Thine Is The Kingdom” http://www.onepassionministries.org/blog/2015/3/4/for-thi,ne-is-the-kingdom. Web accessed 6-23-16.
- John, Hamby, “A Study of the Lord’s Prayer” http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/for-yours-is-the-kingdom-the-power-and-the-glory-forever-john-hamby-sermon-on-prayer-how-to-35943.asp. Web accessed 6-24-16.
- “The Biblical Meaning of Amen,” http://www.gods-word-first.org/bible-study/meaning-of-amen.html. Web accessed 6-24-16.