As we read Revelation this week, we see another song popping up in the midst of the apocalyptic activity that John experienced (Chapter 15). This made me think about worship throughout book of Revelation. As we have seen, this book is not really about things yet to come as much as it is an unveiling of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
My short definition of worship is this: worship is a revelation (God reveals himself to us) and a response (we respond to that revelation by bowing, adoring, singing, shouting, dancing, living, yielding, etc.) that leads to a relationship (we order our lives before God according to the revelation He has given us).
Consider the reaction of saints, beasts, elders and angels in this book:
- When John saw Jesus, he fell down and worshiped (Rev 1:17).
- The twenty-four elders seem to have no other job but to fall down and worship (Revelation 5:8; 5:14; 7:11).
- The angels, living creatures around the throne, and every living creature in heaven, on earth and under the earth sing praises to the Lamb (Rev 5).
- There are songs or declarations of praise in many passages in Revelation (4:8-11, 5:9-14: 7:10-12; 11:15-18; 12:10-12; 15:3-4; 16:5-7; 19:5-8). I have noticed a few characteristics of worship in heaven:
- The worship of heaven is throne-focused (Rev 4:2-6, 8-11). Jesus Christ is the supreme and final authority in heaven and on earth. He has absolute sway over all mankind and every created being. The songs of Revelation reflect that supreme authority that God has given Jesus and his place as ruler of everything that goes on in heaven and earth.
- The worship of heaven is Lamb-centered (Rev 5:1-14). The focal point of all of heaven’s worship is Jesus himself. He is in the midst of the creatures, in the midst of the elders, in the midst of the throng of angels and saints. The reasons are simple: first, He is worthy, because of who he is and what he has done. Second, when you see such love as he gave in buying our souls back to God, you can’t help but worship.
- The worship of heaven is characterized by the presence of God (Rev 21:13). At the end of the book, the dwelling place of God is with man. It has always been God’s heart to be with man. From the walks with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day in the garden to the incarnation of Jesus to this splendid scene when God declares that his final dwelling place is to be with the redeemed of all ages, God has always wanted to be in relationship with mankind.
At TCC, we strive to be intentional about our worship. We don’t just sing songs about just anything. We try to maintain a focus on the majesty and sovereignty of God and the person and work of Jesus Christ. And we place a great value on the presence of God in our meetings, our house churches and in our homes. In doing so we hope to experience worship on earth, as it is in heaven!