The Worship of the Lamb

Revelation 5:8-14
The End Times

In my last post, we began to explore Revelation 5.  In this post, we conclude our journey in Revelation 5 joining it with the worship of the Lamb of God.

 8 When He took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down in front of the Lamb. Each one held a harp and gold bowls filled with pieces of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people; 9 and they sang a new song, “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals; because you were slaughtered; at the cost of blood you ransomed for God persons from every tribe, language, people and nation.  10 You made them into a kingdom for God to rule, cohanim to serve him; and they will rule over the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the sound of a vast number of angels — thousands and thousands, millions and millions! They were all around the throne, the living beings and the elders; 12 and they shouted out, “Worthy is the slaughtered Lamb to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength,  honor, glory and praise!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth and on the sea — yes, everything in them — saying,  “To the One sitting on the throne  and to the Lamb  belong praise, honor, glory and power  forever and ever!” 14 The four living beings said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshipped.” ~ Revelation 5:8-14 (CJB)

 In Revelation 4:8-11 the songs of praise were sung to the Creator.  Here, the first two are to the Redeemer, and the third one to both the Creator and the Redeemer.  A new song (v. 9): the song of redemption relative to the song of Creation.  It is a scene of transcendent grandeur: the living creatures, the elders, million angels, and the whole created universe, in ecstasy over the redemption of humanity.  The prayers of God’s people (v. 8) are part of this grand doxology!  It is at this point that Philippians 2:9-11 will be fulfilled: “Therefore God raised him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name; 10 that in honor of the name given Yeshua, every knee will bow — in heaven, on earth and under the earth — 11 and every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai —  to the glory of God the Father.”
When he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down in front of the Lamb. Each one held a harp and gold bowls filled with pieces of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.  Oliver Greene writes about prayer:

In verse 8, all the beasts and the elders fell down before the Lamb (that term “Lamb” is used 28 times in Revelation, the term ‘Lion’ is used only once).  The beasts and the elders all have harps and golden vials full of precious odors which are the prayers of the saints.  Did you know, dear Christian, that God bottles up prayers, and these prayers are sweet perfume in God’s nostrils?  Did you know that true prayers are sweet odors to the nostrils of God?  According to this verse in Revelation, the prayers of the saints will be used in worshiping the Lamb after He is declared worthy to open the seals on the scroll.

And they sang a new song, “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals; because you were slaughtered; at the cost of blood you ransomed for God persons from every tribe, language, people and nation.  10 You made them into a kingdom for God to rule, cohanim to serve him; and they will rule over the earth.  The redeemed sing a new song.  In this verse, they sing a song of redemption, directed toward the Lamb; Yeshua our Redeemer.  Yochanan very carefully points out the reason for this melodic response: Yeshua has redeemed us to God by His own blood (see Romans 5:11; Hebrews 9:22; and 1 Yochanan 1:7).  The scope of His salvation is universal: every tribe, language, people and nation.   Add to this, the fact that we will one day rule over the earth (during the millennium). Warren Wiersbe writes this concerning the new song:

To begin with, it was a worship hymn, for they said, “Thou art worthy!” But this song was also a gospel song! “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.” This song was also a missionary song. Sinners were redeemed “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” This heavenly hymn was also a devotional hymn, for it announced our unique position in Christ as “a kingdom of priests.” Finally, this song was a prophetic hymn: “We shall reign on the earth.”

Then I looked, and I heard the sound of a vast number of angels — thousands and thousands, millions and millions!  I do not believe that in our wildest imagination we can begin to capture the praise, the singing, the jubilation that will characterize that moment in heaven.  The angels who apparently cannot sing still join in:  and they shouted out, “Worthy is the slaughtered Lamb to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and praise!”

And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth and on the sea — yes, everything in them — saying, “To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb belong praise, honor, glory and power forever and ever!”  There was a time in the past when many churches opened every Sunday morning worship service with the singing of the Doxology. It is interesting to compare the doxologies in this text and to note their progression. In Revelation 1:6 we find a twofold doxology: … to him be glory and rulership forever and ever.” In chapter 4:11 there is a three-fold doxology: You are worthy, Adonai Eloheinu, to have glory, honor and power…” Then in Chapter 5:13 we find a four-fold doxology: “To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb belong praise, honor, glory and power forever and ever!”  Finally, in Chapter 7:12 (which we will study later), it appears an apex of worship is reached in a seven-fold doxology: Praise and glory, wisdom and thanks, honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever!  William Newell explains the difference between a confession for salvation and a confession of worship:

No creature will be left out. This great universal confession will not be for salvation, but it will be the fulfilling of Philippians 2:9-11: “therefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name, which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

The four living beings said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.  Worship will be our eternal delight. One day we will join all the saints of all times and these four living creatures and the elders and we will pronounce our own doxologies of praise!

As you read through the Four Views below, I would highly encourage you to listen this song based on this passage.  Every time I listen to it, I am transported into the heavenlies.  By the way, the guitarist is none other than Lincoln Brewster.

Blessing and Honor Lyrics

Special Comparative Note on Chapter 5:8-14 [1]

 Historicist Approach:

Adam Clarke writes that “the whole Church of God…acknowledges that Jesus Christ is alone worthy and able to unfold and execute all the mysteries and counsels of God.”  The celebration of redemption is linked with the celebration of those redeemed.  The phrase rule over the earth is taken either in the post-millennial sense to mean an ascendancy of Christianity in this world prior to the Second Coming or in the amillennial sense of a spiritual reign of the saints over their own spirits now.  Clarke further observes that Christ receives the same praise as does God, which would be idolatry if He were not God Himself.

Preterist Approach:

By and large, Preterists agree with the observations made above in the commentary on this passage.

Futurist Approach:

Most Futurists view the appearance of the Lamb to open the scroll as the beginning of the end of the present age.  The breaking of the seals paves the way for the fulfillment of our prayers to see the Kingdom of God established.  The saints rule over the earth is a reference to the millennial reign of the saints with Yeshua after His return to earth to establish His Kingdom.  Per dispensational expectations, any unsaved people will live on earth during the Millennium and the saints will reign over these people from the headquarters in Jerusalem.  With respect to the head count in the choir, thousands and thousands, millions and millions simply means countless or innumerable.  The language recalls Daniel 7:10 and Psalm 68:17.

Idealist Approach:

Idealists view this passage as fulfillment of Daniel 7:9-14, where the One like the Son of Man approaches the Ancient of Days to receive dominion and a Kingdom.  The new song is the response of the redeemed to God’s new redemptive acts in Christ in establishing the New Covenant as the older song of Moses was in the establishment of the Tanakh.

In my next post, the Seals are broken beginning in Chapter 6.

 Click here for PDF version.

[1] Material in this section is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg

3 thoughts on “The Worship of the Lamb

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s