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What Does it Mean to Glorify God?

used by permission of
by revelation illustrated


What does it mean to glorify God? A good illustration for our instruction is given in the picture of the tabernacle.

And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys. - Ex. 40:31-35

By putting His shekinah glory stamp of approval on the tabernacle, God is telling us the acceptable way to glorify Him so that we might receive of his glory.

Only those authorized to serve Him could give God glory. But first they needed to turn from the camp around them, have their sins atoned for by the blood of a sacrificed lamb, and finally have their hands and feet washed with water. This reminds us that only those who have: 1) turned from the world  2) been washed by the blood of Jesus and 3) a walk and service devoted to the word of God can truly glorify God.

One of the duties of the priests was to make incense offerings to God. This tells us that Praise and thanksgiving  is one way that we give glory to God. But the other tabernacle service shows a further way to glorify God. Jesus told of this way in what is commonly referred to as His high priestly prayer:

In John chapter 17, God has given us the privilege of listening in on a prayer of Jesus to his Father. This prayer emphasizes the giving and receiving of glory between Jesus and the Father. Two things about glory come into focus:

Jesus gives glory to the Father by accomplishing the work given to him.The Father gives glory to Jesus by granting him even more authority to do more work. And so we are given a glimpse of the cycle goes on throughout eternity.

The Cycle of Glory in John 17: 1-5

Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,  vs1

Summary of the cycle
of glory


even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.   vs 2


Authority is given to  Jesus to die for all men and to give life to "the many"

"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.   vs 3


The ultimate purpose of the work of Jesus

"I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.  vs 4

Glory of Father involves accomplish- ment of His plans


"Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.   vs 5


The give-and-take of glory between the Father and Son is synergistic *

*by synergistic we mean a harmonious working together, like a head and a body, so that the more Jesus is glorified by receiving authority and dominion, the more the Father is glorified by having his plans accomplished.


Jesus had been given much authority in eternity past. He was given authority to create the angels and then more authority to rule over them.  The Father then gave Jesus authority to create the world.

Authority was given to man to rule on earth forever as long as he obeyed God's simple commandments. We all know the story about how Satan hoodwinked Eve, causing the fall of man.

Most recently in the eon of eternity, Jesus was given authority to accomplish the Father's plan to reclaim man---body and soul---through the work of salvation. It was an awesome work requiring that the Father give Jesus authority to:

  • Spread the Father's word during his three year ministry
  • Perform miracles to prove where he came from
  • Have charge over "the twelve" chosen to be pillars of the Father's spiritual house
  • Die for the sins of the world
  • Give eternal life to whosoever responds favorably to the Father's drawing
  • Be head over the church---his Body on earth---that continues His work of ministering the Father's word
  • Judge the world at the end of time

All this Jesus has done, is doing or will do. At every step along the way God is being glorified because it is accomplishing His plan.

you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR {God's} OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  - 1Peter 2:5,9

The shekinah glory of God dwelled in the tabernacle among God's people as the priests offered up incense and as they ministered at the Table of Showbread and Golden Candlestick, both pictures of service to God's people.

As part of Jesus' spiritual body we have received great authority and privilege to partake in the augmentation of glory between Father and Son. That is to say, believers glorify God in Christ by furthering Christ's work of ministering the light of the Father's word to others amid earth's dark wilderness. And to the extent we are faithful in that service, the Lord will give us crowns of glory. These crowns represent the authority of Jesus that he rewards us with so that He might receive increasing glory in us.

So as important as praise and thanksgiving is as a worship service to God,there is much more glory to offer God as we serve Him by serving others in Jesus, for Jesus and through Jesus.
                                                               by Steve Popovich