Texts: Revelation 1:13-18, Job 42:1-6, Revelation 19:1-5, Revelation 13, Revelation 14:6-12
This week is the last of the progression we have been following for the last 13 weeks, all on the subject of worship, looking at worship from various perspectives and times in history. Today, we will look at worship as it is depicted in the book of Revelation.
The book of Revelation is both difficult and fascinating. In a grand way, it is not so hard to understand because it begins with people on earth and ends with the same people in heaven. But all the particulars between those points can be challenging to understand. But whatever the challenges, one thing is very clear in the book, and that has to do with worship. Worship is central to the flow and function of the book. Several passages are informative:
- Revelation 1:13-18 – this is widely seen to be a composite description of Jesus.
- Notice how all the descriptors have links to parallels elsewhere in the Bible.
- Notice John’s reaction to this vision of Jesus. Why do you think his reaction is as it is?
- Notice the reassuring hand placed on him, and the comforting words.
- Revelation 13 – in this chapter are depicted two great beasts that act in a beastly manner, forcing their ideas and protocols onto the inhabitants of earth.
- Notice the place of worship in this chapter.
- Notice how the activities of the beasts impact both earth and heaven.
- The worship depicted in this chapter is a forced worship that has penalties attached if there is failure to worship. Think about the impact this would have on worship.
- Revelation 14 – this chapter sits in apposition to Revelation 13. Instead of depicting beasts at work, it depicts those who have been faithful to God up in heaven in a scene in which they encounter the Lamb. The early part of the chapter seems to depict a worship event. After depicting the scene in heaven, the chapter’s focus returns to earth:
- Notice the themes that appear particularly in vs. Revelation 14:6-12 – creation, redemption, judgment, salvation, the commandments, faith, mission, obedience.
- How come worship and judgment are linked here?
- Why do you think worship features so prominently here?
- Notice how worship and creation are linked, too.
- Revelation 22:8-9 – here is recorded a very interesting little incident where John attempted to bow down to the angel who was showing him the things of heaven.
- How did the angel respond?
- What was the instruction of the angel?
- What comments could you make about worship as surrender?