Volume 13, No. 10 (October 2018)
ETERNAL PRAISE AND HUMAN HISTORY
(Revelation 4 & 5)
In Revelation 4, we saw Eternal Praise offered up to God as Creator. In Revelation 5, He is given Eternal Praise because He is also the Redeemer.
Then I saw in the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
Then Christ is introduced:
And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain.
Here we see something of the wonder and mystery of the Incarnation: One who is Lion and Lamb, who is God and man, who died yet who is alive forevermore.
And not only that, but as God and man, He is both worshiped but is also Himself a worshiper. In Hebrews 2:12, the writer tells us that Jesus says to His Father:
I will proclaim Your Name to my brethren,
And the midst of the assembly I will declare Your praise.
When we gather for worship, the Lord Jesus has promised to be in our midst, taking our imperfect expressions of worship and offering them as part of His perfect offering to the Father. As our great High Priest, Jesus takes us with Him into the very presence of the Father. Christian worship is in Christ, through Christ, by Christ, even with Christ!
WORTHY OF WORSHIP
But as God, Jesus is of course also worthy of worship, and that is what we see here in Revelation 5. He is worthy of Eternal Praise because:
You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. (v. 9)
The tremendous scene continues:
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!”
And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Look at all the affirmations of God’s worthiness in Revelation 4 and 5:
glory, honor, thanks, glory, honor, power, power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, blessing, blessing, honor, glory, might
Not even the angels of heaven can find enough ways to declare God’s worth!
All are gathered around the throne, all focused on God and His glory, all lifting up Eternal Praise to Father and Son. What we see here is an utter preoccupation with God and His glory, which is what true worship is. There are no side conversations, no distractions—no announcements! Everything is focused on exalting the Lord.
That kind of worship is the business of heaven, and is a model for our earthly worship.
In fact, it is important that we recognize that this picture of worship in heaven is not just what awaits us in the future; it is something that we can take part in even now. Paul says in Philippians 3:20 that
our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
As believers in Christ, we are all citizens of heaven, and have all the rights and privileges that come from that. And that includes taking part in heavenly worship.
You see, when we gather in this place for worship, or in church for Sunday, we don’t begin and end worship. We enter into that worship that is always going on around the throne of God in heaven, and we join with believers all over the world in taking part in that Eternal Praise.