Volume 18, No. 1 (January 2023)
We are unpacking in three parts John’s tremendous vision of the future around the throne of God in Revelation 7 (one of several in the book of Revelation). In November we considered “THE PEOPLE OF GOD: A Great Multitude (Revelation 7:9).” Last month we looked at “THE SALVATION OF GOD: A Great Redeemer (Revelation 7:10). This month:
THE WORSHIP OF GOD: A Great Praise (Revelation 7:11-12)
And all the angels . . . fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might
be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
The Praise of God in Revelation (chapters 1, 4, 5, 7, 19)
We find a multitude of ascriptions of praise to God in Revelation:
Glory 1:6; 4:9,11; 5:12,13; 7:12; 14:7; 19:1,7
Honor 4:9,11; 5:12,13; 7:12
Thanks 4:9; 7:12
Power 4:11; 5:12; 7:12; 19:1
Might 5:12,12; 7:12
Blessing 5:12,13; 7:12
The superlatives are piled up: there can never be too many ways to praise our great God!
And we see from the great angelic scenes of worship in Revelation that when we gather for worship, we don’t begin and end worship; we join in with the worship that is always going on around the throne of God!
God’s Desire for the Praises of All Peoples
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy. (Psalm 67:3–4)
Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
tell of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him;
strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name;
bring an offering, and come into His courts!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before Him, all the earth!
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 96:1–10)
The Way to the Praises of All Peoples
“Why did Christ come? Why was He conceived? Why was He born? Why was He crucified? Why did He rise again? Why is He now at the right hand of the Father?(A. W. Tozer, Worship: The Missing Jewel?)
The answer to all these questions is, in order that He might make worshipers out of rebels; in
order that He might restore us again to the place of worship we knew when we were first created.”
The Praises of All God’s People
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places . . . to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. . . . so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. . . . the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:3, 6, 12, 13–14)
. . . giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:12)
You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
The Call for the Praises of All Peoples
In the very last chapter of the Bible, the angel summaries for John what is in fact the thrust and focus of the entire Bible:
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation 22:8-9)
(see also “The Worship Trajectory and Goal of the Entire Bible” in Worship Notes 16.8 and 16.9)
The Mediator and Leader of the Praises of All Peoples
God’s desire and call is for the praises of all peoples; He has provided the way through the work of Christ. He is worthy to be praised by all peoples.
BUT: Who can praise God with a completely sincere and unstained heart?
Who can lead worship with a completely sincere and unstained heart?
Not I. Not you.
God deserves perfect worship. None of us is capable of that. But Jesus is!
Jesus, Our Worship Leader
[Jesus to the Father:] “I will tell of Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.” (Hebrews 2:12)
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19–22)
Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
See also the articles on this theme at www.worr.org/jesus-our-worship.
Led by Jesus, we join this “great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” and proclaim the uniquely human affirmation that “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”; and we join in with the angelic throngs, as they “fall on their faces before the throne” to worship God, and join in with the proclamation of the supreme majesty and worthiness of God the Creator.
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
(This was the third of three messages delivered at the National Praise and Worship Conference
in Bangladesh, November 17-19, 2022.)