WORSHIP SONG THREE
Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sing a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God,
and they will reign on earth.”
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,
“To the one seated 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.
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 5:1-14
Occasionally I say to someone, “You just had to be there!” It might be a sunset I’m trying to describe, a Milky Way sighting, or a beautiful choir concert. “You just had to be there! I don’t have words!”
Surely the apostle John has similar feelings as he tries to describe the sights and sounds around God’s throne! Here are, “the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders” face down before the little slaughtered Lamb. The joy! The jubilation! Beyond even the abilities of a Bach or Handel to express! You just had to be there!
But John is there! He sees the living creatures and he hears them absorbed in worship of the little Lamb. Along with the living creatures he sees the elders with harps and golden bowls of incense worshipping the Lamb. John tells us what the incense is: “the prayers of the saints”. “It’s the prayers of God’s people, that is, you and me.” (N. T. Wright, Revelation for Everyone) Glorified saints in heaven minister on behalf of saints here on earth as we pray. “We are, so to speak, not left to pray alone. No prayer can be altogether heavy-footed and leaden-winged which has all the citizens of heaven behind it to help it rise to God.” (William Barclay, Revelation: Daily Study Bible)
N. T. Wright emphasizes how worship around the throne in heaven is “umbilically related” to our worship here:
“The ordinary, faithful, humble prayers of Christians here on earth appear in heaven as glorious, sweet smelling incense. I suspect the same is true of the music, with the heavenly harps corresponding to the song, however feeble and out of tune, which we sing to God’s praise here and now. (Revelation for Everyone)
As we worship here we are harmonizing with the living creatures and elders in heaven as they sing a “new song”. The Revelation is filled with newness: a new heaven, new earth, new life, a New Jerusalem. God’s new acts call for newest songs and expressions of praise.
There are two words in the Greek New Testament translated as “new”. There is neos, denoting “new” as relates to time as the latest, the most recent. Then there is kainos, meaning “new” is its very essence and nature. John uses the word kainos as hearing a song that is “new” in its very essence and nature. It isn’t just the latest song to be sung, but a song totally new in nature, a song befitting Almighty God and the little Lamb.
Here is worship surpassing anything we have ever experienced! It will be so sublime, so satisfying to our new, glorified natures that we will be forever refreshed singing: “Worthy is the Lamb.” As the dazzling living creatures never tire of singing “Holy, holy, holy”, so we will never tire in worshipping God and the Lamb.
READ ALOUD Revelation 5:1-14
HOW TO USE THIS DAILY DEVOTIONAL
This daily Lenten devotional takes up eight songs of worship from The Revelation. It is significant that this is the only book in the Bible promising a blessing on those who read it, specifically: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy” (Revelation 1:3 NRSV). Each section of this devotional presents a song for your audible reading, reflection and worship. Each day you will:
- PRAY asking God to bless this time you devote to Him
- READ ALOUD the worship song and text for the day
- REFLECT on the daily reading
- READ ALOUD again the worship song and text for the day
- WORSHIP God each day in a way that is meaningful for you. The way in which you worship might vary day to day. Depending on the day, you might choose to talk with God about what you are thinking and feeling about the song, or meditate on the worship song, or intercede for others, or sing, or be silent before God. Ask God to guide you.
We pray that God use these worship songs of The Revelation to reveal His glory to you and bless you as you center your life in Him.