The Book Of Revelation And The Subject Of Worship -- By: Tom Wells

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 09:3 (Summer 2000)
Article: The Book Of Revelation And The Subject Of Worship
Author: Tom Wells

The Book Of Revelation
And The Subject Of Worship

Tom Wells

In a previous article on worship, from the book of Hebrews, I pointed to two different ways a Bible book may affect our worship. First, it may give us materials for worship. Hebrews does that by lengthy descriptions of the glories of Christ. That is helpful in worshiping the Triune God. Second, a book may discuss worship. Hebrews does that by describing the Old Testament system of sacrificial worship.

When we come to Revelation we find much the same thing. The book shows us the persons of the Trinity, the very thing we need to admire and worship them. More than that, however, it shows us scenes of worship. Though often symbolic, these scenes (unlike those in Hebrews) are directly relevant to New Covenant believers. Worship, then, is very much a part of the book of Revelation.

Materials For Worship In Revelation

Descriptions of the Trinity appear already in the introduction (1:1–8). God is the one “who is and who was and who is to come” (1:4; cf v.8), an echo of his eternity. The name is based on God’s self-revelation when he was about to intervene in Israel’s history (Exodus 3:14). In adding the words, “who is to come,” John again shows God as active in history. There is no suggestion that God stands aloof from his world. His activity, however, is seen in the works of his agent, the Holy Spirit—he is alluded to in the phrase

“the seven spirits who are before his throne”1 —and in the works of a further agent, “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. [He is the one] who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father...” (1:5–6).

This summary of the person and work of Christ is loaded with good things for the believer, things that prompt worship. He faithfully witnessed to this fallen world in leaving it by death. That was not his last word, however. He rose again and now has all authority in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18). Not even the kings of the earth are excepted. He holds them in his hands. We are reminded that the New Testament commands us to honor the kings of the earth (Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17). How...

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