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Revelation of Worship, Part 2

Do not allow what you do not have to steal the focus of your worship but rather praise God for what you have and will have, that is proclaiming God’s goodness in all times, whether good or bad. 

 

Revelation 5:8-14 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints,  And they sang a new song, saying,

 

“Worthy are you to take the scroll

and to open its seals,

for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God

from every tribe and language and people and nation,

and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,

and they shall reign on the earth.”

 

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.

 

How many of you know about George Müller? He operated several orphanages in England in the 1800s.

 

One morning there was no food, but Müller had the children sit for breakfast anyway. Then he prayed this prayer, “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.”

 

By the time the prayer was done, there was a knock at the door. It was the baker who could not sleep the night before for he was sure God wanted him to bake bread for the children and bring it over. Soon after that, they heard another knock. It was the milkman. His milk cart broke down outside the orphanage, so he wanted to donate all the milk to the orphanage.

 

The element of the story that stands out for me is the prayer itself. Müller did not pray for what they did not have but praised God for what they will have. In doing so, he proclaimed God’s goodness in all times, whether good or bad. 

 

The problem is that people often pray for what they do not have. What they need to do is to praise God in prayer for what they will have. In doing so, proclaiming God’s goodness at all times, whether good or bad. 

 

Revelation 5:8-14 was originally written, by and large, to the persecuted church. Their prayers may have been for what they did not have as opposed to what they will have in heaven. Therefore, perhaps the Revelation of Worship was given to turn believers’ prayer into praise and proclamation for what they will have. 

 

Last time. I shared that the big idea in the Revelation of Worship is that whether good or bad, nothing should ever deprive God of our full attention, adoration, and admiration. The need for food for children didn’t deprive God of Müller’s full attention, adoration, and admiration. And God didn’t deprive His children of their daily bread. 

 

Revelation 5:8-14 reveals three essentials of worship: worship through prayer, praise, and proclamation.

 

We already looked at the first essential, worship through prayer in verse 8. As we continue our series Uncovering Revelation, verse by verse, let’s look at the second and third essentials today.

 

Worship through Praise

 

 Revelation 5:9 starts, “And they sang a new song.” The question is, why a new song? Was the old song not good enough? I do not think it was about the comparison between the two. I think they sang a new song because of three reasons.

 

It was the long-anticipated progression of the old song. Just as the New Testament and the new covenant in Jesus’s blood is the long-anticipated progression and fulfillment of the Old Testament and covenant, similarly the new song was the long-anticipated progression of the old song. It was only new because it had never been sung before any time in eternity past up until this point in Revelation 5:9 where for the very first time the Lamb who was slain but is living is worshiped. The focus of the old song was God the Father, and the focus of the new song is God the Son.

 

Psalm 40:3 says, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” God put a new song of praise in their mouths, and God puts new songs in our mouths when He does new things in our lives. What new things is God doing in your life? Perhaps God has done something new, but you gave the praise to your boss, colleague, friend, yourself, or someone else. God paves the path, God draws us near, God starts, supervises, and brings forth the results. Therefore, God deserves our praise.

 

Psalm 33:3 teaches, “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” I cannot play skillfully on the string but if you come and stand next to me in church once, you will never do it again because as my wife says I sing too loud. So, yes sometimes loud shouts of joy are the new song we need to sing to worship through praise. 

 

In Joshua 6:1–27, the Israelites marched around the city of Jericho once a day for seven days as they worshiped God and on the seventh day, they shouted together as one voice praising God and the mighty walls of Jericho fell down. Are there walls in your life that seem too high to climb or too mighty to face? There are no walls that Jesus cannot tear down if you praise Him in spirit and truth. If you joyfully shout in the name of Jesus, every wall will crumble.

 

It was the long-anticipated collaboration of two unlike creatures. Verse 8 tells us that the worshipers were the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. The twenty-four elders represent all believers from Jewish and gentile backgrounds and the four living beings in Revelation 4:7 were described as four cherubim with the faces of a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle in flight.

 

When we studied Revelation 4:7, Mishnah, the Jewish rabbinic writings, says, “the mightiest among the birds is the eagle, the mightiest among the domestic animals is the bull [ox], the mightiest among the wild beasts is the lion, and the mightiest among all is man (S Bk)”.

 

So, in the Jewish mind, a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle are the primary forms of life in God’s creation. They represent the entire form of life in the creation of God. Never before in eternity past up to this point in Revelation 5:9 did humans and angels together in heaven sing a song to praise God the Son together.

 

For eternity ever since God created angelic beings, they were given a job— a job to worship God day and night. So they sang Holy, Holy, Holy, but for the first time, human beings with their free will in collaboration with angelic beings were worshiping, not because this is their job but because this is what they wanted to do. Why do you worship? Do you sing and praise because you have to or is it because you want to?

 

It was the long-anticipated event that changed everything forever. The content of the song in verse 9 says, “saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain,” It may sound cheesy but look over the five words in verse 9: sang, song, saying, scroll, seals, slain. They represent the Sin, Savior, and salvation.

 

The redemptive story from Genesis to Revelation is that sin separated man from sovereign God. Thus, while subjecting the entire humanity to the just wrath of God, it also generated the need for salvation, opening the flood doors of God's immeasurable love, mercy, and grace to fulfill the need for a savior that had to be fully man and fully God.

 

Therefore, next in verse 9 says “and by your blood, you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." Not by sword, war, or works but by His blood Jesus saves. For this reason, God’s Son was found worthy to take the scroll from God’s hand and also open its seals. Starting in Revelation 6, the slaughtered but living Lamb that is crucified, risen, and coming again Christ will begin to break each seal.

 

See in verse10, “and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” This is the spiritual reality of every believer in Jesus. We are made a kingdom of God and His priests. Therefore, our job is no different than the priests in the Old Testament standing before God and worshiping God through praise— Praise him with hymns and songs. Praise Him with musical instruments and our voices.

 

Worship through Proclamation

 

 Revelation 5:11-14 says, “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!” All of this is worship through proclamation.


They were proclaiming that Jesus, and only Jesus, is worthy and only Jesus has the power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing. Humans seek after temporary worth, power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing. For that, they fight, kill, cheat, steal, rob, and lie.

 

But notice what verse 13 says about Jesus, “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!” ” Did you hear that it’s forever? Also notice it says even this proclamation was heard from under the earth, that is, the dead.

 

Psalms 6:5 says, “in the grave who will give you praise?” Yet John saw them worshiping through proclamation. While living, they may have sought after worth, power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing and denying God of their full attention, adoration, and admiration, but now, finally, they are proclaiming that Jesus is worthy and only Jesus has the power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.

 

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus told the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus. Just as the rich man finally, after his death, proclaimed God, many will worship Him through the proclamation of who Jesus is but it will be too late. All the God deniers, Jesus refusers, and hell rejecters will proclaim who sits on the throne but it will be too late. They, too, will see the glory of the risen Son and finally acknowledge His dominion and authority, but it will be too late.

 

Chapter 5 ends with verse 14, And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:8-14 started and ended with the idea of falling down and worshiping which has a profound implication for every soul. Either we bend our knees and acknowledge Jesus our Lord willfully or we will be brought to our knees on the day of judgement but then it will be too late. 

 

For the unsaved: bend your knee and acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and Savior, be saved forever, and live for Jesus by worshiping Jesus through prayer, praise, and proclamation.

 

For the saved: worship through proclamation so others may know only Jesus is worthy and only Jesus has the power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing. Proclaim publicly with words and life that Jesus sits on the throne forever which demonstrates that Jesus has complete control in heaven on earth, and under the earth.

 

Some say Satan rules hell. No! He rules nothing because Jesus defeated him in heaven, on earth, and by going on the cross, even under the earth, the world of the dead. Now Satan awaits his judgment, too. He knows his end and desires to drag as many as he can with him. Therefore, we must proclaim Jesus so more people can come to know Jesus and be saved. 

 

A man after a Sunday service came to the pastor and said, “I want you to know that I did not enjoy the service, the music was too loud, prayers were too long, and the sermon…

 

Before he could finish his sentence, the pastor said, “I am sorry to hear this, but it was not for you. It was for Jesus.

 

The Revelation of Worship in Revelation 5:8-14 showed that worship through prayer, praise, and proclamation is not for us, but it is for God. 

 

Pivot the focus of your worship whether through prayer, praise, or proclamation from your preference, need, and desire to Jesus, what Jesus wants and what He desires. Otherwise, you will risk depriving Him of your full attention, adoration, and admiration. 

 

Do not allow what you do not have to steal the focus of your worship but rather praise God for what you have and will have, that is proclaiming God’s goodness in all times, whether good or bad. 

 

Study Questions

  

1.       Revelation 5:8 talks about incense as the prayers of the elders. In the Old Testament, incense is an essential part of the worship system that God established on earth and was necessary even for the priests to approach God. 

               

a.        What can you learn about the connection of incense as intercession from Psalm 141: 2 and Luke 1:8-10?

 

b.       How is the Old Testament idea of incense burning, priestly intercession in the Tabernacle, and the whole multitude of the people interceding for their nation in Luke 1:8-10 relevant to us?

 

c.        How much of your prayer life is committed to intercessory prayers for God’s people, unsaved people, our nation, and the world?

 

2.       What is the New Song in Revelation 5:9, 10, 12, 13 that was sung for the Lamb? List the truths in the new song. Compare it with the song sung for God in Revelation 4:8,11.

 

Deeper Study Questions

 

1.       Revelation 5:9-10 focuses on a new song. Singing was also part of the worship system in the Old Testament. Psalm 33:3 calls God’s people to sing a new song for God. 

 

a.        Why do you think God calls His people to sing a new song? 

 

b.     Pastor shared why a new song was sung in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. Discuss some of the aspects of his explanation, especially if you see something new or different. 

 

2.     Praise is another form of worship depicted in Revelation 5:9-13. How do you praise God? Do you have a home culture of singing hymns and songs? How is praising God with hymns and songs part of your everyday life? See Psalm 108:2.

 

3.       How often do you share with others what is proclaimed in Revelation 5:1-14? Sharing is caring; how can we do more?

 

4.       How can prayer become praise and can praise lead to proclamation? Have you ever used prayer as a way to proclaim the gospel? How can praise (that is singing hymns and songs) be used for the proclamation of the gospel?


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