Praise and Worship in the Revelation
In Revelation 4-5, God graciously grants us insight into John’s amazing vision of the throne room of heaven. Around God’s throne are four living creatures and 24 elders, who continually break out in spontaneous praise of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Their praise builds in a stunning crescendo over these two chapters, giving us a picture or template of how we too should worship our glorious God both privately, in our time with Him alone, and corporately with others in church.
Let’s look at each of these five instances of praise and see what we can learn about how to truly experience God in our private and corporate worship.
What Worship Looks Like in Heaven
We Worship Our God Who is Holy
The first statement of praise comes from the four living creatures, who “do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!'” (Revelation 4:8). The threefold repetition of “holy” highlights God’s supreme holiness and unmatched perfection (Isaiah 6:3). As we begin our time with God, reflecting on His utter holiness humbles us, reminds us of His greatness, and causes us to approach Him with reverence and awe. We should meditate on verses about God’s holiness like 1 Samuel 2:2: “No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You.”
We Worship Our God Who is Worthy
The second statement is from the 24 elders, who “fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.'” (Revelation 4:10-11). Focusing on God’s worthiness helps us realize we owe everything to Him as our Creator and Sustainer (Col. 1:17). As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “Our chief purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” We glorify Him by proclaiming His supreme worth.
We Worship Our God Who Redeemed Us by His Blood
The praise reaches a new height when the Lamb (Christ) takes the scroll from the hand of the One on the throne. The four living creatures and twenty-four elders break out in a new song of praise, highlighting Christ’s worthiness to open the scroll because of His sacrificial death on the cross.
“You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” – Revelation 5:9-10.
As we reflect on Christ’s atoning sacrifice for us, we cannot help but praise Him for redeeming us with His shed blood.
We Worship Our God for His Attributes
The crescendo continues building as countless angels now join the living creatures and elders, praising the Lamb with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive (1) power and (2) riches and (3) wisdom, and (4) strength and (5) honor and (6) glory and (7) blessing!” (Revelation 5:12). Meditating on Christ’s seven-fold worthiness elevates our worship as we focus on His worthiness and not on our own merits or accomplishments.
We Worship Our Triune God
Finally, every creature in heaven and on earth joins the chorus: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13). Our praise should likewise recognize that both the Father and the Son are equally worthy of our worship. We glorify the Triune God – Father, Son, and Spirit – as three persons yet one God, worthy of all blessing and honor and glory and power.
As in Heaven, So on Earth
Just as praise builds to a beautiful crescendo in Revelation 4-5, so too should our personal and corporate worship move through recognizing God’s supreme holiness, praising Him for His creative power and sustaining worthiness, exalting Christ for His redemptive work, and fully celebrating the infinite worth of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This pattern takes us deeper into the presence of God. Our worship should echo the powerful praise resounding ceaselessly in the throne room of heaven, never stopping day or night! As we worship, may our hearts and minds be filled with God-glorifying praise, culminating in the ultimate crescendo of forever praising the infinite worth of our glorious God.
Going Deeper: Practical Tips for Worship Based on Revelation 4-5
The following are some practical tips to help us apply the examples of worship modeled in Revelation 4-5 to our own times of personal and corporate praise so that our lives might resound with worship worthy of our infinitely glorious God.
• Focus on God’s holiness and perfection. Spend time meditating on verses about God’s holiness like Isaiah 6:3. Approach Him with humility, awe, and reverence.
• Reflect on God’s worthiness and His work as Creator. Read passages like Psalm 104 that highlight His creative power. Praise Him for giving you life and sustaining you
• Dwell on Christ’s sacrifice for your redemption. Sing songs and hymns about Christ’s death and resurrection. Thank Him for His incredible, undeserved grace.
• Consider Christ’s seven-fold worthiness from Revelation 5:12. Reflect on His power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing. Let this elevate your praise.
• Worship the Triune God equally, just as all creation does in Revelation 5:13. Glorify the Father, Son, and Spirit in prayer, song, and meditation.
• Let your worship build and grow. Follow the pattern of increasing crescendo modeled in Revelation 4-5. Don’t rush your time with God.
• Worship together with other believers. Praise God through prayer, Scripture, song, testimony, praise, communion, and fellowship.
• Be consistent in worship. The four living creatures worship God ceaselessly day and night. Set aside regular worship time.
• Express your praise through song, Scripture, prayer, writing, service, giving, and any means that honor God. Use your unique creative gifts He gave you to praise Him.
• Above all, worship in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Engage your mind, will, and emotions fully as you glorify your worthy God.
May our worship, both personal and corporate, echo the powerful praise surrounding God’s throne. Let’s honor His infinite worth with an ever-increasing crescendo of praise.
And let’s begin today and continue together this Sunday.