Sunday, 29 December 2019
To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:11
Here, Peter pens forth a doxology of great praise and honor. But there is a question which arises, and which must be resolved right at the beginning of it. He says, “To Him.” Who is Peter speaking of here? If you review the previous verses, and if you are stuck in a particular theology, your answer may be biased. Or, if you are unsure, it may be hard to decide.
The previous verse said, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” So, is Peter speaking of God or of Jesus? Jesus is the nearest antecedent, but God is the main subject of the verse. Before reading further in the comments, think about it, decide, and have in mind why you made your decision.
With your decision in mind, be it “God” or “Jesus,” Peter says, “To Him be the glory.” If you chose “God,” is it because to Him alone belongs the glory? This is surely true. It is stated explicitly in Isaiah 42:8 and 48:11 –
I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;
For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another.
Peter is a Jew, writing to Jews (1 Peter 1:1). For Him to speak of the glory belonging to anyone but God would be the epitome of blasphemy. His recipients would quickly track him down, stone him to death, and then pile up a heap of stones over his broken body. So “God” is surely correct. And so, he continues with, “and the dominion.”
In 1 Timothy 6:16, Paul says –
“…who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.”
It is clear that Jesus has been seen, and that He can be seen. Therefore, Paul is speaking of God. But there he speaks of God’s everlasting power using the same word, kratos, as Peter does in this verse. Therefore, Peter must be speaking of God. For him to ascribe the “dominion,” meaning “power,” to Jesus would once again bring on the wrath of his fellow Jews for ascribing something which belongs to God alone to a mere mortal. This is certain.
And Peter continues next with, “forever and ever.” It is a Hebrew expression, derived from the words olam v’ed. Olam signifies to the distant horizon and thus “to the vanishing point.” By itself, it can signify eternity, but it can also mean “to the end of something,” such as when the Law of Moses would, at some point, come to its end. When it was given, that point was unknown. V’ed means “and again.” This is a stress which would extend the meaning of olam to “eternity” in the absolute sense. The Greek reads eis tous aiōnas tōn aiōnōn, or “to the ages of the ages.” It is comparable expression to the Hebrew, and therefore, a suitable English translation would be “Forever and ever.” Each signifies an unending time to this glory and dominion.
Again, Peter’s words must be speaking of God, because only God is eternal, and only God possesses the attributes which he is speaking of. However, the exact same words were written out by Peter just one chapter earlier –
“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
If God receives these things “through Jesus Christ,” and it is received “forever and ever,” then it means that Jesus Christ is the eternal means by how this comes about. It elevates Jesus to the position of deity within the Godhead. This is then further confirmed elsewhere in Scripture where one or more of the terms is again used when speaking only of Jesus. For example, Peter closes out his second epistle with the assured words that he is referring to Jesus –
“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17. 18
With the understanding now that Peter is referring to both God and Jesus, who is God, he finishes with, “Amen.” So be it. His doxology is complete and finished, and his “Amen” proclaims that it is so.
Life application: An Old Testament reference to the deity of Jesus is found in Daniel 7 –
The fact is that Peter is also speaking of Jesus, who is God. Glory and dominion properly belong to God, but the same terms refer back to the book of Daniel when referring to the Son of Man –
“I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 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 7:13, 14
God guards His glory and refuses to allow it to be shared with another. Jesus is the One who reveals to us the glory of the invisible God. Jesus is God. To Him then belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen!
What a marvelous story the Bible tells of Your love for us! Though You are infinitely beyond our comprehension, You came and clothed Yourself in the form of a Man so that we may know who You truly are in a way that we can understand. Thank You, O God, for our Lord Jesus! Amen.