Praising Him with the Hosts of Heaven
The Book of Revelation contains some of the most vivid and awe-inspiring pictures of God’s divine glory and the worship He rightly deserves. In Revelation chapter 5, the apostle John has an encounter with the risen and exalted Jesus Christ that highlights specific ways we should praise and worship the Lord.
The setting is the throne room of heaven, where all creation is gathered to worship God and the Lamb. The scene is marked by majesty, splendor, and reverence as a scroll with seven seals is presented before the throne. Jesus alone is found worthy to open the scroll, which prompts an outpouring of praise.
John then hears a mighty chorus of voices from angels, the living creatures and the elders, and all created beings praising Christ for His wonderful attributes. The scene unfolds like this:
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
And 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, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” – Revelation 5:11-13.
This powerful doxology provides a pattern for how we ought to worship Jesus Christ here on earth like He is glorified in heaven. And by reflecting on each praiseworthy attribute, we gain insight into the proper focus and posture of worship.
Worthy is the Lamb Who Was Slain
The stanza begins with praise for Christ’s sacrifice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.” Even in the heights of heavenly glory, the focal point of worship is the Lamb and the sacrifice He made for our redemption and salvation. The angels and elders are caught up not with Jesus’ omnipotence but rather with His sacrificial death on the cross.
This reminds us that at the heart of our worship must be awe and gratitude for Christ’s substitutionary atonement (Heb. 10:12, 1 Pet. 2:24). As the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus willingly went to the cross to die for our sins so we could be forgiven and reconciled to God (John 1:29, 2 Cor. 5:21). His victory over sin and death is the basis for our salvation and the reason we have eternal life (1 Cor. 15:54-57, Rom. 4:25).
When we fix our eyes on the Lamb who was slain, it leads us to deep worship characterized by humility, grace, and surrender. We exalt Jesus not merely for His power but for His merciful redemption. We worship Him for who He is— the Lamb who was slain for us.
To Receive Power and Riches
The stanza continues with praises for the power and riches that belong to Christ: “to receive power and riches.” Though Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross, He has been highly exalted and given the name above every name (Phil. 2:8-11).
Seated at the right hand of God, Jesus possesses all power and authority over heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). He upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3), and one day every knee will bow to Him as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16).
Not only that, but the inexhaustible riches of Christ are lavished upon us through faith in Him (Eph. 1:7). Though He was rich in heaven’s glories, He became poor so that we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). As adopted children of God, all spiritual blessings are ours in Christ— forgiveness, redemption, wisdom, and grace beyond measure (Eph. 1:3-8).
When we worship the all-powerful, endlessly rich Lamb, it prompts deep reverence and awe for who God is. We stand in wonder at the majesty and might of the risen Savior. And our worship should overflow with thanksgiving for the riches of redemption we have in Him.
Wisdom, Strength, and Honor
The doxology continues with praises for Christ’s wisdom, strength, and honor: “to receive…wisdom and might and honor.” In His deity, Jesus possesses the very wisdom and knowledge of God (Col. 2:3). No one counsels the Lord or instructs Him (Isa. 40:13-14). His knowledge is perfect, His judgments are flawless, and His ways are unsearchable (Rom. 11:33-36).
Not only is Christ all-wise, but His strength is without limit. He spoke the universe into existence (Gen. 1:1-3, Psalm 33:6). He upholds and sustains all of creation by His mighty power (Heb. 1:3). He stills storms (Mark 4:39), heals diseases (Matt. 4:23), casts out demons (Luke 4:35), forgives sins (Luke 7:48), and conquers death (1 Cor. 15:54-57). Jesus exemplifies the perfect strength that arises from true meekness (Matt. 11:29, Phil. 2:7-8).
Because of who He is and what He has accomplished, Jesus alone deserves all honor and praise. He is the King of Glory (Psalm 24:7-10). The Son is to be honored just as the Father is honored (John 5:22-23). When God the Father speaks from heaven, He commands us to worship and glorify His Son (Matt. 17:5; 2 Pet. 1:16-18).
So the right response when we grasp Christ’s divine wisdom, limitless strength, and complete honor is to fall down in worship before Him. Our worship should magnify and echo the honor and glory that belong to Him alone.
Glory and Blessing
The doxology goes on to praise Jesus for the glory and blessing He receives: “to receive…glory and blessing.” Though Jesus laid aside His heavenly glory to come to earth, He now reigns in magnificent splendor at God’s right hand (Heb. 2:9; 12:2).
Myriads of angels and saints surrounding the throne erupt into praise for the glory and majesty of the Lamb (Revelation 5:11-14). All things were created for His glory (Revelation 4:11). So our worship on earth should resound with praise for His divine glory.
Not only is Christ glorious beyond measure, but He lavishes spiritual blessings upon us as His people (Eph. 1:3). His grace abounds to us, and His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:23). All good gifts come from His hand (James 1:17). He supplies our every need (Phil. 4:19), protects and guides us by His Spirit (Psalm 32:8, Isa. 58:11), and gives eternal life to all who believe (John 3:16, 1 John 5:11-12).
As those immeasurably blessed by Jesus, our worship should overflow with thanksgiving. We should continually exalt Him for who He is and all He has done for us. And our grateful praise should echo the blessing, honor, and glory due to His name.
To Him Who Sits on the Throne
The crescendo of praise builds as the voices proclaim, “To him who sits on the throne.” Here our worship focuses on Jesus’ position of highest authority as the exalted King now seated on the throne of heaven (Rev. 5:6-7; Heb. 12:2).
The crucified and risen Lamb who redeemed the chosen unto God now reigns as the sovereign Lord over all (Rev. 5:9-10). Though He walked the earth in humility (Phil. 2:8), Jesus now rules the universe in divine majesty. He is the King of Kings whose kingdom will endure forever (Rev. 11:15).
When we worship Christ as the enthroned Lord, it should prompt awe and allegiance as we join the heavenly chorus in deep reverence for His reign. And when we bow down before His supreme authority as citizens of His unshakable kingdom, our worship should magnify the reigning Christ who sits on the throne forever and ever.
He Lives Forever and Ever
The chorus reaches its peak with the climactic praise, “Blessing and honor and glory and power
be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Not only is Jesus enthroned in heaven, but He lives and reigns forever. Though He was crucified, He conquered death and rose in mighty triumph. He is the Firstborn from the dead who lives eternally (Rev. 1:18; Rom. 6:9).
The risen Lamb who was slain now lives forever as the enthroned King. His years will never end (Heb. 1:8,12). He holds the keys of Death and Hades (Rev. 1:18), and His dominion is everlasting.
When we worship Jesus as the living, eternal King, it should move us to persevere and endure suffering with hope. No earthly trials or struggles can dethrone Him and all enemies will be put under His feet (1 Cor. 15:25, Heb. 10:13). And our hope and worship declares with the faithful martyrs that Jesus is “the ruler of kings on earth” who is alive forevermore (Revelation 1:5, 18).
As those ransomed by Christ’s blood, you and I are called to join the heavenly chorus in worshipping Jesus as revealed in Revelation 5. When the church gathers, how can we echo this heavenly praise?
First, our worship must revolve around Christ as the Lamb who was slain (Rev. 5:12). We should exalt Him for His atoning sacrifice that brought us forgiveness and eternal life (Rom. 3:24-25, John 10:10).
Second, we should stand in awe of Jesus’ divine power as we praise Him for the riches of His grace (Phil. 2:9-11, Eph. 1:7-8).
Third, we need to honor the Son for His perfect wisdom (Col. 2:3), matchless strength (Isa. 40:28-29), and complete worthiness of our worship (Rev. 5:2).
Fourth, our worship should resound with praise for the glory Jesus possesses (John 17:5) and the blessings He pours out on us because of His grace and mercy (Eph. 1:3).
Fifth, we should bow down before Christ as the sovereign King seated on the throne— the Lord of lords who rules the nations (Rev. 19:16).
And finally, sixth, we proclaim with joy that Jesus is alive forever as the eternal reigning King (Rev. 1:18).
May our worship as God’s people faithfully reflect the heavenly praise found in Revelation 5. And may it enlarge our vision of the glory, wisdom, power, and love found in our risen Savior and Lord.
Worthy is the Lamb!