WORSHIP SONG FIVE
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
and of his Messiah,
and he will reign forever and ever.”
Then the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, singing,
“We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty,
who are and who were,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
The nations raged,
but your wrath has come,
and the time for judging the dead,
for rewarding your servants, the prophets
and saints and all who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 11:15-18
Westminster Abbey is England’s coronation church where for a thousand years kings and queens have been crowned. Over the Abbey’s high altar at which royalty kneels, the opening words of today’s worship song are inscribed in the King James Version: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” The words are placed there as a reminder to sovereign and subject alike that authority and power belong to the Lord God and His Messiah.
The words on the Abbey’s high altar are also the words to which Handel turned for writing the “Hallelujah Chorus”. Along with two other texts from The Revelation, Handel’s Chorus hails Messiah: “Hallelujah; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Revelation 19:6), and proclaims Him, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16).
The angel’s trumpet and loud voices announce the fulfillment of the Lord’s Prayer for God’s Kingdom to come. Power passes from the usurper to the Imperator who will reign forever and ever. Up to this point in salvation’s story, God has sovereignly allowed evil powers to rule on earth, but now He has taken His “great power and begun to reign”. The moment the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of our Lord “…is so certain that throughout this section it is repeatedly spoken of as already having taken place.” (Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation) Today as we face trouble and tribulation God wants us to taste and live into the victory of the Lamb and of His cross.
While the King James Version translates the opening words of today’s Scripture as, “the kingdoms of this world”, better Greek manuscripts show it as singular, “the kingdom of this world”. It matters that we understand there is one singular kingdom, united in endless hostility against God and against His people. This one kingdom is commanded by Satan operating as “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2), “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31), and “the evil one” (John 17:15). What this means is that, all national, ethnic, cultural and political factions of this world continue “under the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).
C. S. Lewis said that one of the things that surprised him when he first read the New Testament seriously “was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe – a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin.” Lewis concluded that as followers of Jesus we live in “Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.” (Mere Christianity)
Today the rightful King, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, calls us to this campaign of sabotage! “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33), He commands. The days of the kingdom of darkness are numbered. Jesus is coming! We saboteurs worship Him and we pray, “Maranatha, Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).
READ ALOUD Revelation 11:15-18
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.