The Historical Metanarrative of the Gospel

Many people and religions teach vastly different things about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, so how do we choose which, if any, to listen to? Surely we should first consider what the Bible itself says about them; for it provides the only historical accounts we have of Christ. And it presents and interprets his life with unmistakable purpose and clarity—not just through the gospel accounts themselves but also through the grand historical narrative of all of Scripture. For what begins with creation in Genesis (the first book of the Bible), climaxes with the resurrection of Christ, and then ends with the new creation in Revelation (the last book of the Bible) all points to one purpose. And so to fully understand the resurrection we must grasp this big picture. We will look at the metanarrative in four different storylines that weave together:
• as a tale of creation
• as a tale of two cities
• as a tale of revelation
• as a love story
Written over a span of sixteen centuries (about 1500 B.C. to 100 A.D.) by 40 authors (from statesmen to fishermen) in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) on three continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe), the Bible presents a single message of astonishing depth and complexity.
It is entirely appropriate that we tell it first as God’s plan to create heaven on earth.

A Tale of Creation
The first thing we know about God in the Bible is that he is both creative and hard-working. He expresses his joy through the creation of the heavens and the earth and all of nature. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
The last thing God made was people, whom he put in charge of the earth. He said that he created man in his own image, which might refer to our being moral creatures, rational creatures, and romantic creatures, among other things. Surely it also refers to our being creative: we create engineering, government, art, business, an endless supply of stories, etc. No other animal demonstrates such ability. Many scientists have searched carefully for it in other species, and some have claimed to find evidence for it. Yet there is always room for the skeptic to argue that the animals are only doing what they were programmed to do, even if that programming includes adapting to a changing environment. It is undeniable, however, that we humans have the unusual ability to imagine and construct new things and ideas.
If only people are able to create, that includes the ability to make choices either in compliance with or contrary to the Creator’s commands. And from early on (Genesis 3), with encouragement from the accuser, Satan, man disobeyed. This lead to the murder, theft, and destruction that still pervades the world today: as people multiplied on the earth, they moved further and further from the Author of life. No other animal creates the kind of horror of which man is capable, and God’s punishment for this rebellion is death. And since he had given man stewardship over all the rest of the earth, it suffers as well.
Then God began something new. He began creating a new people—a kingdom to which all other peoples of the earth would be invited to join. He chose a man named Abraham and miraculously allowed him and his wife to conceive a child in old age. And when Abraham’s son Isaac finally had his own son, God again made it clear that it was his doing, a miracle he created. Later when Isaac’s grandson was sold into slavery in Egypt and soon joined by his entire extended family, 70 people in all, it was all by God’s design. He was setting apart a people who would grow into a nation for his purposes.
They multiplied rapidly over the generations but they also fell victim to heinous racism and were forced into slave labor for the Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt. The Egyptians oppressed the Israelites for four centuries before God stepped in again. As a nation, the only identity they had ever known was slavery. And just as a child is delivered through a series of painful and violent contractions, so also Israel was delivered out of Egypt through a series of violent judgments. And they who had been born in slavery were then born again into God’s promised blessings. Whereas their days had previously been defined by the misery of making bricks for their oppressors, now their lives had a whole new meaning.  They were the people God chose to create in order to reveal his name and his salvation to the world.
When they entered into their Promised Land of Palestine, God made it very clear to them that it was not because they deserved it. Indeed, they did not even deserve to live any more than their Egyptian slave-masters had. No, God was introducing himself to the world who he was: he is the Redeemer of the oppressed and afflicted and enslaved.
He created every aspect of Israel’s identity and culture. He taught them how to work, how to rest, how to play (i.e. their various feasts), how to eat, how to run a fair economy and justice system, how to relate romantically, etc. In particular, he taught them how to relate to himself: at the center of the nation of Israel, inside their Temple, inside the Holy Place, inside the Holy of Holies, on top of a golden ark that contained the promises and the laws which told them how to be holy, there was the Mercy Seat.
Once a year a lamb was slain and its blood sprinkled over the Mercy Seat, symbolizing how some day God would provide a way for the people’s sins—their unholiness—to be paid for. So at the center of their identity and their relationship with the Creator was the exaltation of both his perfect holiness and his perfect mercy. Holiness, because God desired his people to be holy as he himself was holy; and mercy, because God provided an alternative way for his people to attain this holiness, first through the sacrifice of animals, and ultimately, of Jesus Christ his son.
That mercy was going to be important for the Bible said they were, like all peoples, rebellious, persisting in both worshipping idols and oppressing the poor. (The two activities always went hand-in-hand for these acts are all about gratifying the self—an idol being something we create with our own hands.) No matter what God did to provide for peace and prosperity the people would corrupt it. He kept chastising them for their wrongdoing as a loving father with his children, but the rebellion continued until most of the nation had been destroyed by war or exile and only a remnant was left. They were a small, oppressed vassal state of the Roman Empire.
That was when a poor carpenter started a preaching ministry around the Sea of Galilee. He said and did the most outrageous things. Yet as uncommon as he was he made the most common of people feel comfortably welcome, including traitors and prostitutes and lepers. He taught about God’s holiness and his love for a fallen world, and told his followers that they were slaves of sin (John 8:31-36) and therefore “must be born again.” (John 3:1-21)
That is to say that if we look at the world and ask why there is so much evil, then we must also look at our own hearts and ask why we do selfish and proud and rebellious things. For example, why do we sometimes lie? Is it God’s fault? The message of the gospel is that it is not, but that he created us and he loves us and he will take all of the blame. That is why Jesus took up the cross, despised the shame, and lay down his life.  If we believe in him, he will make us free. As he promised Israel centuries before: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27) This promise was fulfilled in Christ: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
But for those who do not accept the new life, for those who do not let Jesus take the blame for their sin, they will have to bear it themselves. In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, God brings a series of violent judgments upon the world for its persistent rebellion. The imagery is similar to that of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, for through it all God’s people are preserved and delivered into a new creation. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,” said Jesus, “and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.” (Matthew 24:7-8)
The last thing we know about God is that he has created something awesome—a people free from sin and able to walk with him. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.’” (Genesis 21:1, 3)
The New Creation will not be without diversity, for it will be populated by people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Let us look at the narrative again, a bit more closely, and see how God unites people from every tribe on the earth.

A Tale of Two Cities
One of the many radically unique characteristics of the God of the Bible is that he reveals himself to us not just rationally, emotionally, morally, and romantically, but also politically. He introduced himself to the world as the God of a nation of former slaves who were delivered by his power. And when Jesus came he identified himself as King of the Jews. In fact, when he was crucified the main reason given for it by those who did it was that he claimed to be king. So one of the other major storylines in the Bible is a political one—a tale of two cities.
Early on, when people began to multiply on the earth, they quickly realized the great potential of political power, yet their self-righteous ambition got the better of them: “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4)
To make for ourselves a great name in the heavens is not just irrational; it is nonsensical. It implies not just that we can measure ourselves against God’s standards, but also measure God against ours. God’s response to this incoherent babble was to strike the people with confusion and scatter them with many languages. Nevertheless, the city of Babel had begun.
God then chose a man named Abram and promised him the very same thing which the people building the Tower of Babel had wanted—a great name, and not just a great city but a great nation.

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)


In short, through Abram and his descendants God would show the world how to be reconciled to him and find a stairway to heaven. And soon after Abram (whose name God changed to Abraham) obeyed God we are introduced to the city of shalom, peace. The beginning is quite cryptic and we don’t get full understanding of it until 2000 years later when a letter (Hebrews) is written to the Jewish Christians of the dispersion. But what is clear is that the king of the City of Peace is greater than Abraham and is also priest of God Most High.
Jerusalem later became the capital of the nation of Abraham’s descendants. For God gave them the land of Palestine complete with cities and farms and vineyards—again, not because they deserved it but because he was using them to show the world who he is. He is a God of mercy and grace and peace.
However, the Israelites proved to be in their hearts like all other people—unworthy stewards of God’s name. No matter what he did for them they continued to rebel by worshiping idols and oppressing the poor. No matter how many times he rescued them from their enemies they continued to both insult him and provoke his jealousy. They were supposed to be a light to the nations, showing them how to have peace with God; instead, they wanted the glory for themselves.
So God finally gave them over to their enemies, and allowed Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon (i.e. city of Babel), to conquer them and take them into exile. Jerusalem was destroyed, the Temple was crushed to pieces, and the poor who remained had to pay tribute to the heathens. The message was loud and clear: oh, how they needed a Savior. Although God many times had saved them from their enemies, healed their diseases, protected them from disaster; nevertheless, what could be done to save them from their own sin?
For seventy years the Jews wallowed in exile, but eventually they were allowed to return. They first rebuilt their Temple, and then the wall around Jerusalem. Although within a one generation they began compromising again, God allowed them to survive. As a vassal state they were passed from the Babylonians to the Persians to the Greeks (under Alexander the Great). Then for a time they are a sovereign nation again, only to be taken over by Rome.
That is when a humble miracle-worker appeared on the scene, showing himself to be the long-awaited Messiah. He spoke very clearly and fulfilled all the prophecies, yet the religious leaders were astonished at his meekness and non-combativeness. They had wanted a messiah who would lead them in military conquest and restore Israel’s former glory; instead, they got an itinerate preacher who traveled with a band of rednecks and befriended outcasts, rejects, and sinners.
They could not stand him. They wanted him to dazzle them with signs but he refused. They wanted to control him but he put them to shame. So they crucified him just outside the walls of Jerusalem.
But then the most amazing thing happens, and we see the reversal of the Tower of Babel.
Three days after he was crucified he rose from the dead, and forty days after that he ascended into heaven. He told his followers to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them. They waited ten days in Jerusalem:

And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. they And were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:2-4)

The Gospel—the Good News of how to be made right with God—was proclaimed in many languages. And then the people were scattered and sent out to proclaim it. The church was born.
For the past 2000 years the church has continued to grow all across the globe. The Gospel translates into any culture and brings with it not just reconciliation with God but also among people. And it introduces very little unique culture with it: it does not require a particular kind of food or dress or language or music. The only practices common to all churches are communion and baptism—neither of which are necessarily cultural and both of which are very unusual.
And in the end, according to the last book of the Bible, people “from every tribe and language and people and nation” are worshiping together. (Revelation 5:9) God said that as this time approaches and the end of this age draws close, his church would suffer great persecution, for the city of Babylon would hate them. But he will rain down a series of judgments on the earth that culminate in the fall of the city of chaos:

For all nations have drunk
    the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
   and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living." (Revelation 18:3)

As the one city is destroyed forevermore, the other is re-established for eternity. An angel shows John (who writes Revelation) the new city of peace: “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Revelation 21:2)
Heaven on earth has begun.

What an unusual history. What an unusual God. As a matter of fact, the most common attribute that the Bible ascribes to God is uncommonness.  He is not like us.  He is set apart and different—as different from his creation as a potter is from one of his clay vessels.  One way Christian theologians have described this attribute of God is to say that He is totally and completely other.  It would literally take eternity past and future to objectify any aspect of His character.
That is to say that we cannot objectify him. We cannot study him. We cannot figure anything out about him or deduce his nature. According to the Bible, we can simply ask and listen. So it is appropriate to look at the metanarrative again, this time as the history of God revealing his name to a lost, confused, enslaved, fallen world.

A Tale of Revelation
To call God “other” just a mechanical, academic way of saying he is holy. That is the Bible’s term for his awesome, fascinating, overwhelmingly beautiful and majestic otherness. In particular, God’s holiness means that he is separate from sin and wickedness. He is the very definition of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and as such is completely separate from any imperfections in these qualities. To be mechanical again, just like the definition of the word blue cannot include any red in it, so the author of life does not know decay. And so the Bible says he is a holy, holy, holy God.
And yet as holy as God is, the Bible also says that He was fully manifest 2000 years ago in Jesus—a common name (Greek for Joshua) for a seemingly very common man. Jesus made the outcast of society feel respected and comfortable. Born to a peasant girl in a small town of an oppressed minority people in the Roman Empire, he was a friend of beggars, prostitutes and thieves. More at ease with poor fishermen than with the religious elite, he drew a very large following.
And yet those closest to him did not really understand who he was until the end, really until he was gone. In fact, when Jesus rose from the dead that first Easter morning, it scared them silly and totally freaked them out. When Peter, one of Jesus’ most radical disciples, saw that he really had risen from the grave, he thought about it for a while and then responded, “…I am going fishing.” And several of the other disciples said, “We will also come with you.” (John 21:3) They were dumbfounded and had not a clue what else to do. They had followed Jesus for three years and watched him perform many awesome miracles and make many bold claims to be God, yet they still did not understand him. On the very first day they met him they had said all the most profound theological and historical truths about Him (John 1:35-37, 41, 45, 49), and yet did not really grasp what they were saying.
He turned out to be very, very different from anything they had assumed.
But Jesus went and called them back from their fishing boats again, gathered them together and told them to go and tell the whole world about who he was. Then he left.  Slowly but surely over the next several months the disciples caught on. It would still take several years for them to comprehend the fullness of the good news they were sent to preach.
So who was he?  Many people asked him that question, just as many people continue to ask that question of God today.  To fully understand Jesus’ answer we must go back to the first time the question is recorded in the Bible, in the book of Genesis. It came from a Shepherd named Jacob about twenty centuries before anyone ever heard the name Jesus Christ.
Jacob was the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, the father of the Jews. Jacob’s name was later changed to Israel, and his 12 sons’ names became the names for the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. The name Jacob means, literally, “one who takes by the heel” or, by derivation, “one who supplants.” He was a trickster.
Although from before his birth God had promised to bless him greatly, Jacob had a very hard time taking God at his word. As a young man he swindled both his older brother and his father, and then left home to seek his fortune. He then attempted to swindle his uncle out of several herds of sheep by using some silly folklore magic. He was willing to try anything and everything except to simply trust God, to whom he struggled to give credit or thanks for his prosperity. He preferred to rely on his own shrewdness, and even give credit to magic if he had too.
According to the Bible, leading such a life will either harden a man’s pride or break him. Jacob broke. It happened when one day God showed up in person.

And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
Then he said, "Let me go, for the day has broken."
But Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
And he said to him, "What is your name?"
And he said, "Jacob."
Then he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."
Then Jacob asked him, "Please tell me your name."
But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him.
So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel [face of God], saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” (Genesis 32:24-30)

Now this is a rather cryptic account of a spiritual transformation in Jacob. As wealthy and prosperous as he had become, he finally realized that nothing else would satisfy him but God himself. And though he had a reputation for tricking others he still had the boldness to ask God for his blessing.  So God gives him a new name, Israel, which means either “he strives with God,” or “God strives.” He is the God of a people who struggle to surrender their pride and ask for abundant life rather than try to earn it by their own strength.
Then Jacob, a.k.a. Israel, responded, “Please tell me your name.” He was asking for some kind of introduction—in effect, “Who are you?”
God’s answer: “Why is it that you ask my name?” What name could Jacob possibly understand? He had no context whatsoever that would give any meaning to any name. He did not even have a language for it. For example, if when you first meet someone and he introduces himself as Joshua, that name will already carry some weight. But consider that it would mean something different if he introduced himself as Иисус, 约 书 亚 记, or يشوع.
So what difference would it make what God said? Jacob and his family would have to wait about 400 years to get a better understanding of who he was. It would be four centuries of extremely significant historical context orchestrated by God. At the end of it the Hebrews would be called a nation. Israel had started as a single man, a shepherd who changed from a life of swindling to a life of worship. His descendants would be a holy people—a light to the world, the stewards of God’s testimonies to the nations.
That all started when Jacob’s 12 sons cruelly sold one of their youngest brothers, Joseph, into slavery in Egypt. Later, due to outrageous circumstances, all 11 brothers joined him there along with their families—70 persons in all. They grew rapidly over the generations, but they also fell victim to heinous racism and were forced into slave labor for the Pharaoh.
The Egyptians oppressed the Israelites for about 400 years before God stepped in again. That was when he told a shepherd named Moses to lead the Israelites to freedom. In response, as had Jacob four centuries earlier, Moses asked God his name.
The only things Moses knew about God were his dealings with his ancestors Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. He had no other context for understanding what was happening. So when this God began speaking to him through a burning bush, telling him to march into Egypt to ask that the Israelites be allowed to worship, Moses asked a very understandable question:

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and he said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.”’ (Exodus 3:13-14)

In Hebrew a proper noun is formed from the third-person masculine singular verb prefix of the root for HWH/HYH, “be, happen, become.” In English we translate it Yahweh or Jehovah. (Instead of using “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” many English translations use “LORD.”  However, the title “Lord”, meaning master, is also common in the Bible.  So to distinguish the name “LORD” from the title “Lord” small caps are used.)
What’s in a name? That depends on what the name represents—what the person says or does. So, according to the Bible, God introduces himself to the world as the savior of the oppressed and afflicted, and the language in which he reveals his name—the language in which it is spoken, in which it is written, and from which it is translated—is the language of a people born in slavery.
This is not the first time the name Yahweh is used in the Bible, for it is used several times in the book of Genesis (passed down first in oral tradition and then written by Moses), even in dialogue. So, as with most people, we learn God’s name before we begin to understand who he is.
After Israel’s delivery from Egypt, there are still about 1600 more years of very significant historical context before Jesus Christ arrives on the scene. During these 1600 years God is telling them his name. He is Jehovah-Jireh, the LORD our provider. He is Jehovah-Mekaddesh, the LORD who sanctifies. He is Jehovah-Nissi, the LORD our banner. He is Jehovah-Rohi, the LORD our Shepherd. He is Jehovah-Rophe, the LORD our healer. He is Jehovah-Shalom, the LORD our peace. He is Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the LORD our righteousness. Other names are formed with El, the word for “God.” Still others are formed with Adonay, the word for “master/lord”. Still another name is unique:  when God warns the Israelites not to bow down to any idols he tells them, “for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Thus he is using history and the nation of Israel to reveal himself to the world.  For according to the Bible, God first shows us who he is, and then translates the revelation into a spoken language such as Hebrew or Greek.
When God sent his people into exile in Babylon, he still provided prophets to bring words of comfort and hope to them. But after they returned and rebuilt Jerusalem, he stopped speaking. For nearly four centuries the people did not have a revelation from him. They kept waiting, studying his word, looking and watching and hoping.
Then one day a surprisingly humble miracle worker showed up. He said and did the most unusual things. They asked him who in the world he thought he was. He answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58. See also John 6:35; 8:12; 10:9; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:5; Revelation 1:8, 17-18; 22:13)

 One of the things he claimed about himself was that he was the bridegroom of Israel. And he promised his church that one day he would present her to himself as his bride. So we should tell the story one last time, looking at the one who is love.

A Love Story
The night before Jesus died he prayed for his followers: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you haven given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24) The Bible makes it very clear that before God created the world he was full of love and joy, and that all his work was a labor of love.
When God created man in his own image, it was not sufficient and complete when a single man was alone. Although the man Adam walked with God in paradise, in a world without sin, God said that it was “not good” (Genesis 2:18). He didn’t say it was bad, but he wanted to create something good and it wasn’t good until he had created a marriage. That imaged the Creator: “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man [literally, “Adam”] when they were created.” (Genesis 5:1-2)
Then Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sin entered the world. The wages of sin was death, which was not a cessation of existence but rather a separation from the Author of life. Although we all sin and are all separated from God to some extent, death will not be complete and final for most people until they have lived many years. That is to say that God gives us time to think about our relationship with him, and about whom we are going to trust in—him or ourselves. His earnest desire is that we trust in him and his love and forgiveness.
When he created the nation of Israel, he did not only teach them how to repent of sin and offer sacrifices. He also taught them to sing song after song after song of praise, love and adoration for him.  For he is a God who desires the heart of his people in very personal, fervent way—even as a groom desires the heart and life of his bride. It was not because God was needy or because Israel was so special. Rather it was because he is full to overflowing with love. And no matter what Israel or the other nations did, and no matter what Satan and his minions tried, nothing could stop God from expressing it.
The Israelites did repeatedly provoke him to jealousy by worshiping idols, such that God finally sent them into exile. Yet he promised them that some day he would give his people new hearts so that they would no longer be slaves of sin and desert him. “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.” (Isaiah 54:4)
That promise was given in the 7th century B.C., and so the faithful had to wait many years for it to be fulfilled. But when the fullness of time came, when Rome was the world power and people could travel safely across the empire on Roman roads, a descendant of Abraham and Judah and King David appeared on the scene. A friend of sinners, he claimed of all things to be the bridegroom of Israel.
In response they tortured him to death.
Yet he rose from the grave, gathered his disciples together, and told them to go into the entire world and proclaim the good news of his salvation. For “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Several times Jesus compared heaven to a wedding banquet, and he promised that someday he would present the church to himself as a pure bride. And so at the end of the Bible, after the final judgment on Babylon, after the enemies of God are sent to their final death, after he has gathered people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation together, the real love story begins:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:1)


And all of Scripture, all of this history, all these storylines and themes unite in one conclusion.

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 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!” 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 5:11-13)

Solo deo Gloria.