What is the promise? That the knowledge of the glory of God will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. How completely do the waters cover the sea? It’s a wonderful way of illustrating total coverage. The sea is entirely made of water; therefore, the waters absolutely and completely cover the sea. There is no part of the sea that isn’t covered with water! And so, just as surely as the waters cover the sea (says God), so surely and completely and totally and thoroughly will the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God.
Is this not a profound statement? We are not told how this will be accomplished, or when. But we know what, and we know Who, and we know why: because God has declared it. It shall be so, therefore it will be so!
The implication here is that the earth is presently not filled with the knowledge of the glory of God. There is only one place that is completely, totally filled with the knowledge of the glory of God: heaven. There in the spiritual realm of heaven, God’s glory is fully and completely known. The Scriptures says that when Stephen was about to be stoned that “he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts. 7:55). Notice that Stephen had to look up (away from earth) to see the glory of God. Similarly, Isaiah prayed that God would “look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of Your holiness and of Your glory” (Isaiah 63:15).
Clearly, the knowledge of the glory of God completely fills heaven. But here on earth there is a gap between what God has declared and what currently exists. As with many prophetic declarations, this declaration brings the future into focus and describes something that has not yet occurred. This means that we currently live in an imperfect world that does not enjoy the full knowledge of the glory of God. Stated simply, some know this Glory; others do not. But God is not satisfied with this discrepancy – and neither should we. Together with the Psalmist, we may pray, “Blessed be His glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen” (Ps. 72:19).