Lesson Nine • Worship
Dr. Randy T. Johnson
“Of all the things Christ wants for us, loving Him and focusing our attention on Him are the most important.” Charles Stanley
Revelation chapters 4 and 5 contain some of the most intense worship in all of Scripture. John is invited to peak into Heaven. He meets twenty-four elders. He spots four living creatures – one that looks like a lion, another that looks like an ox, a creature with the face of a man, and a living creature like an eagle. Even though they have six wings and are full of eyes, all attention is drawn to the throne. Everyone and everything worship the One on the throne.
1. What comes to mind when you think of worship?
These two chapters in Revelation, record at least five instances of worship.
First, four living creatures worship God the Father.
Revelation 4:8 says, “And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’”
There are several views of who or what the four living creatures are or represent. The thoughts include angels that display the attributes of God, animals that display certain characteristics of God, and the view that “they represent Christ as revealed in the four Gospels: in Matthew, the lion of the tribe of Judah; in Mark, the ox as the servant of Yahweh; in Luke, the incarnate human Jesus; and in John, the eagle as the divine Son of God” (John Walvoord, “The Bible Knowledge Commentary”).
The four living creatures were not to be the focal point then or now.
2. Who is the focal point?
3. Why do you think they use the word “holy” three times?
4. How often did they worship “the Lord God Almighty”?
“The heart of God loves a persevering worshipper who, though overwhelmed by many troubles, is overwhelmed even more by the beauty of God.” Matt Redman
Second, twenty-four elders worship God the Father.
Revelation 4:10-11 adds, “The twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.’”
Obviously, an initial question is, “Who or what are the twenty-four elders?” Alan Johnson, in “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary,” documents, “There are at least thirteen different views of their identity, ranging from the twenty-four ruling stars (or judges) in the heavens to the simple figure of wholeness and fullness.” In “Preaching the Word,” James Hamilton points out, “The twenty-four thrones are probably a symbolic number representing the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles.”
5. What was the posture of the twenty-four elders?
6. What was the next act of worship of the twenty-four elders?
7. Which of their statements jump out to you? Why?
“Worship is giving God the best that He has given you.” Oswald Chambers
Third, twenty-four elders and four living creatures worship the Lamb which is the Christ.
Before this next worship session begins, an angel asks in Revelation 5:2, “Who is worthy to open the scroll?” Initially, it appears there is no one who is able to do it. Revelation 5:5 gives the answer, “And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’”
8. How do these titles refer to Jesus?
9. As you are going through this study, have any worship songs come to mind?
Revelation 5:8-10 continues, “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.’”
10. What is the posture of those worshiping the Lamb?
11. What did the Lamb do that made Him worthy to open the scroll?
“Worship is an inward feeling and outward action that reflects the worth of God.” John Piper
Fourth, many angels worship the Lamb.
The Lamb is not an angel. He never was and never will be an angel. He created all angels. He is mightier and over all angels including fallen angels.
Revelation 5:11-12 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!’”
James Hamilton, in “Preaching the Word,” mentions, “The word myriad can mean ten thousand, or it can simply refer to an innumerable multitude.” “Myriads [ten thousand] of myriads [ten thousand],” would be well over a million. The immense roar must be tremendous.
12. When was a time you worshiped with a lot of other believers? What was it like?
13. The passage says that they worshiped “with a loud voice.” How could that be significant?
“To be used of God. Is there anything more encouraging, more fulfilling? Perhaps not, but there is something more basic: to meet with God. To linger in His presence, to shut out the noise of the city and, in quietness, give Him the praise He deserves. Before we engage ourselves in His work, let’s meet Him in His Word… in prayer… in worship.” Chuck Swindoll
Fifth, every creature worships God the Father and the Lamb.
Revelation 5:13-14 records, “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.”
My initial thought is that every person who ever lived ends up worshiping the Lamb. That would mean saved and unsaved individuals will eventually worship Jesus. Philippians 2:9-11 supports this scene, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
14. What emotions are stirred up as you read these passages?
15. What is the posture of those worshiping the Lamb? How many times have we seen this in this study?
16. After working through this study, what challenges are laid before us?
“When God is at the center of your life, you Worship, when He’s not, you Worry.” Rick Warren