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Overwhelming Worship

Revelation 5:11-14
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: 'Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!' Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!' The four living creatures said, 'Amen', and the elders fell down and worshipped. (NIVUK)

John saw that the throne room of God, where the Lamb stood (Revelation 5:6) was filled with many angels. So many that it was impossible to count them, as in Daniel 7:10 and Hebrews 12:22. It was such an overwhelming sight and sound as they encircled the four living seraphic creatures, and the representatives of God's redeemed people. Their chorus was very loud, proclaiming the worthiness of the Lamb to take, open and read the scroll containing God's plans for eternity (Revelation 5:7).

None of the angelic worshippers was qualified to unseal the divine plan, for they had not conquered the devil and redeemed people who had been captured by him. But, in His death and resurrection, Jesus had done just that (Hebrews 2:15). His sacrificial death had ransomed those who trusted in Him. And so He is worthy of the highest accolades in seven areas: power, for nobody can overpower Him; wealth, for nobody can have more than Him; wisdom, for nobody can use knowledge more righteously than Him; strength, for nobody is mightier than Him; honour, for nobody is of higher reputation than Him; glory for He is crowned with glory by Father God; and praise for everybody must admit that He is greater than them, and fall down in worship.

That angelic chant was echoed by every part of creation (Luke 19:38-40). This scene is reminiscent of Psalm 148:1-14 which vibrates with the command for the inanimate and animate creation to praise the Lord. That praise is directed equally to the Father and the Son, the One who sits on the throne (Revelation 5:1) and the Lamb who stands in the midst of the throne (Revelation 5:6). All this praise by angels and creation is because Jesus has redeemed His people as is expressed in Romans 8:19-21: "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God." It is not only humanity that has been spoiled by sin, but creation itself which is eagerly awaiting its own renewal after sin and death have been finally destroyed (Revelation 20:10, 14). Such a cosmic outpouring of universal worship leaves nothing further for the living creatures to say except 'Amen'. The representatives of the church are speechless as they are overwhelmed in worship.

It is impossible to overestimate the grace of Christ in His death for us. But we often underestimate or even trivialise the cost and cosmic achievements of His passion. That is why we need this reminder that in heaven the magnitude of what the Lord Jesus has done for us is superlative and off every scale of measurement. How is that reflected in our worship? Do we come grudgingly, hurriedly, formally, traditionally, or humbly and gratefully? Are we motivated by the music and the rhythm, or the love which motivated Him to die for us? How we see His death will determine how we live our lives.

Almighty God. Thank You for the awesome victory Christ won for me and the church and all creation. Forgive me for my insipid worship compared to the chorus of heaven. Please give me a fresh view of my Saviour so that I might live for Him, and lead others to worship Him also. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams