Magnifying the Lamb
In Revelation 5, we find a divine pattern for praise and worship laid out through John’s glimpse into the heavenly throne room. As the Lamb takes the scroll to unleash God’s plans for returning the kingdom to the King (Rev. 5:7), the inhabitants of heaven erupt in exultant worship focused wholly on Christ. As we seek to praise God with the type of worship He desires (John 4:23), this passage offers a template to shape our adoration of the One worthy of all blessing, honor, and glory.
Singular Focus: Centering on the Lamb
John directs our attention to the central figure of the Lamb as the anchor point of praise. The myriads around the throne— living creatures and elders representing all God’s redeemed— turn their worship toward “the Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:12) and no one else. Their hymns exalt the redeeming blood of Christ, His unmatched worthiness, and His supreme authority over all things. In this heavenly chorus, Jesus alone takes the spotlight.
As we lift our songs of praise to Him on earth, Christ must also occupy the principal position. Our praise falls short if we fail to magnify the Son. “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36). Likewise, our worship must be focused on the rightful role of Jesus at the center of our redemption and the center of our lives. Anything less is not true worship.
Proclaiming the Gospel: Singing of Christ’s Sacrifice
The content of the chorus in Revelation 5 focuses intensely on the Person and work of Christ. The elders praise the Lamb for this one momentous act: “For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (5:9). Their words retell the old gospel story of Jesus sacrificing His life to redeem those who are in bondage as slaves to sin. He willingly shed His blood to pay redemption’s price for undeserving sinners like you and me to experience grace, mercy, forgiveness, and eternal life.
Our praise should likewise overflow with celebrating what Jesus has accomplished for us. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). As we declare the wonders of the cross through word and song, we echo the truths surrounding our salvation. Our worship proclaims the lengths Christ went to save us and the sufficiency of His atonement. And this alone is worthy of an eternity of praise from His redeemed people.
Recognition of True Authority: Falling Before the Lamb
When Christ appears, John sees the twenty-four elders prostrate themselves before the Lamb in recognition of His supreme authority (Rev. 5:8). Their posture confesses His worthiness to take the scroll and break its seals ushering in the tribulation, which initiates God’s plan to return the kingdom to the King, His Son. Physical bowing accompanies their words of praise. So too, our praise must be rooted in our submission to Christ’s lordship over all creation and the church. Remember what the future holds: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11). Therefore, our worship must submit to His sovereign reign as we honor the King in a way pleasing unto Him.
Freedom and Expression: Harps and Incense
Heaven’s chorus employs musical and artistic embellishments to create a tapestry of praise worthy of the Lamb. The elders hold harps and golden bowls of incense “which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev. 5:8), and the strings and sounds intertwine together to craft a symphony of adoration for the One worthy to take the scroll (Rev. 5:5-7). Our earthly praise should likewise incorporate creative elements to enrich our worship. As Paul says, we can teach and admonish “one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16; see also Eph. 5:19). Artistic gifts can deepen our worship, but the gifts cannot be the focus of our worship. That belongs to the Lord alone.
United Community: Saints and Angels in Harmony
The epic anthem in Revelation 5 comes not from a solo heavenly voice, but from the blended chorus of the community of faith. Elders and living creatures together raise the new song to the Lamb (Rev. 5:9). Their combined voices testify to the multiethnic diversity of the redeemed united in Christ. So much so, that in Revelation 5:13, we see “every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them” praise His name together. By God’s design, those who praise the Lamb in heaven will come from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9) showing to the world that our shared identity united under Christ’s blood (John 17:21) is greater than any of our cultural or racial differences.
Our Future Hope: His Victorious Reign
As the elders praise the crucified Lamb, they proclaim that His blood-purchased saints from every nation will be made “kings and priests to our God” and will “reign upon the earth” (Rev. 5:10). Their victory song bursts with joy and hope in the sure promises of God to be fulfilled in Christ. Our praise should rise from the same assurance that the Lamb who secured our redemption will consummate His kingdom and usher us into glorified life with Him forever. Remember, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” (Rev. 21:4). Our worship should flow from hearts anchored in this future hope because “These words are true and faithful” (Rev. 21:5).
As we seek to praise God with the type of worship He desires (John 4:23), Revelation 5 stands as a guide for us to emulate, both privately and with other believers. The heavenly chorus before the throne sets a pattern for our earthly worship. With Christ at the center, the gospel on our lips, reverence in our hearts, unity among all brethren, and confident assurance for the future, let us lift our heartfelt hallelujahs to the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16). May our worship resound with the same elements that adorn the praise before the eternal throne. And in this way, we can join our voices with the unending hymns that magnify the Lamb who alone is worthy. “To the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim. 1:17).