The hymn, Behold the Glories of the Lamb, was written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748). Watts was a prodigy in many ways. In his youth he learned Greek, Latin, and Hebrew and became a tutor. His father was a “Nonconformist” Minister (a puritan and not an Anglican). At the time these Calvinistic churches only sang Psalms but Isaac desired to change that by adding New Testament teaching to the hymns and psalms being sung. So he composed a book of Hymns and Spiritual Songs which interpreted the Psalms of David in terms of the New Covenant fulfillment in Christ. In 1728, the University of Edinburgh awarded Watts a Doctor of Divinity degree. He wrote many books, including:
Speculations on the Human Nature of the Logos
Horæ Lyricae, 1706-1709
Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707-9
The Divine and Moral Songs for the Use of Children, 1715
The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament (London: J. Clark, 1719)
Reliquiae Juveniles: Miscellaneous Thoughts in Prose and Verse, on Natural, Moral, and Divine Subjects (London: 1734)
Remnants of Time (London: 1736)
The Improvement of the Mind, 1741
The World to Come, 1745
Catechisms, Scripture History, 1732
This particular hymn is a reflection of Revelation 5 when Christ is worship as God after He opens the sealed book of the history of redemption. All creatures worship the Father and the Lamb. Some of Watts original verses not included in our hymnal (note verses 2-3), make clear the heavenly context.
Behold the glories of the Lamb
Amidst His Father’s throne.
Prepare new honors for His Name,
And songs before unknown.
Let elders worship at His feet,
The Church adore around,
With vials full of odors sweet,
And harps of sweeter sound.
Those are the prayers of the saints,
And these the hymns they raise;
Jesus is kind to our complaints,
He loves to hear our praise.
Revelation 5:6–10 NRSV – Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 5:7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. 5:8 When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 5:9 They sing a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; 5:10 you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth. . . .To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 5:14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.