Christian Living, Q&A's



Question: What can we learn about worship through the book of Revelation?


Before I begin I must humbly submit that I find this book to be most difficult to grasp. I will quote John Calvin who himself did not choose to write a commentary on this book for fear of err. In his commentary on Galatians, Calvin said the following about the interpretation of Scripture: “Let us know then, that the true meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious meaning, and let us embrace and abide by it resolutely.” He even goes so far as to say “Let us not only neglect as doubtful, but boldly set aside as deadly corruptions, those pretended expositions, which lead us away from the natural meaning.”

I present this merely in humble agreement as to my abilities to understand Revelation in its entirety. That being said we can begin by simply looking at the examples of worship we see through John’s (son of Zebedee (Matthew 10:2)) apocalyptic accounts. Interestingly, if we err and think we may more clearly understand these visions if we witnessed them first hand (as John had) this may not be the case as John’s purpose was indeed to write down what he experienced in order to share it with others (Revelation 1:11) so we should be able to take this account and glean what God had intended for us.

What we see through Revelation (perhaps not coincidentally a vision that occurs on the Lord’s Day) is this constant veneration by all for the One – God. We see the breadth of the creation (Revelation 5:13) that worships the One who truly spans from “alpha to omega” (Revelation 1:8). We see the finite worship the infinite. We see that we, as once dead, (Ephesians 2:1) will worship the “Living One” (Revelation 1:18). Although we see the Trinity (Revelation 1:4-5) we see the focus of all worship is towards the Lamb of God which brings the Father glory.

As we continue to read, in chapters 4 and 5 we see the constant reverence towards God. Some have presented that this is only a future state of worship that we have yet to grasp. However, it is possible that since Jesus in Revelation 1:19 states that John should write this down based on “what is now and what will take place later” that this has both a present and eternal significance.

When I read through Revelation and ask myself what it teaches me about worship I come to two conclusions. Firstly, that all of creation is purposed in venerating the Lord of All – it is all about His supremacy and that of His Son. Secondly, that the repeated command for John to “write” conveys that we must take this understanding of reality as it is now and live it out. John saw these great visions and was told to write them for our benefit and understanding so that we may act/worship in accordance with the fullness of Truth (John 4:23-24). (Note: We do not worship by emotional sentiment or concert-like temporal euphoria but in accordance and acceptance of Truth lead by the Holy Spirit – notice again all three persons of the Trinity have a role in this process). As a side note as we read Revelation 19:10, we see John bow down to worship an angel and that angel tells him to get up and that they are both fellow servants and they should worship God – we can clearly see that worship must only be directed to the one true triune God.