practical import for the lives of everyday Christians.
The Importance of Worship in Revelation
While it is true that Revelation contains a hefty amount of prophetic writing, there areother themes that also dominate the book. One such theme is that of worship. Songs of worshipin particular are found throughout. In his survey of the New Testament (NT), D. Edmond Hiebertmakes mention of twenty songs of praise and worship in the book of Revelation.
Merrill Tenneylists eleven in his commentary on Revelation.
This essay will demonstrate that worship, as seenin the book of Revelation, is a response to the attributes and actions of God. To support thisthesis, a brief survey will be made of the eleven songs listed by Tenney grouped together in sixgeneral scenes of worship.
As stated above, worship is one of the great themes in the book. One of the purposes of John in writing the book seems to have been to contrast true worship with false worship. Theword worship (
) appears twenty-three times.
Of these, it is used eleventimes with the beast or some other satanic force as its object. John contrasts the worship of Satanwith the worship of God Almighty. The period described in Revelation is pictured as atumultuous time where peo ple choose directly whether they will worship God and His Messiah,or Satan and his beast. Throughout the book worship is often pictured in response to some great judgment of God against evil. This is an important point to bear in mind, as contemporaryChristians often bristle at the thought of God judging the world. When not in response to some
D. Edmond Hiebert,
The Non-Pauline Epistles
, vol. 3 of
An Introduction to the New Te stament
(1981; repr.Waynesboro, GA: Gabriel, 2003), 262.
Merrill C. Tenney,
(1957; repr., Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988), 36.
The eleven songs listed by Tenney are: (1) 4:8; (2) 4:11; (3) 5:8-10; (4) 5:11-12; (5) 5:13; (6) 7:9-10; (7)7:11-12; (8) 11:15; (9) 11:16-18; (10) 15:2-5; (11) 19:1-8. These will be grouped according to the ‘scene’ to whichthey belong: (1) 4:8-11; (2) 5:8-13; (3) 7:9-12; (4) 11:15-18; (5) 15:2-4; (6) 19:1-8.
Cf. 4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 9:20; 11:1, 16; 13:4a, b, 8, 12, 15; 14:7, 9, 11; 15:4; 16:2; 19:4, 10a, b, 20; 20:4; 22:8,9. The word actually appears twenty-four times. It also appears in 3:9, but is translated ‘bow down’ in the NASB.Because the object of
) is the church in Philadelphia, it is unlikely that the word means‘worship’ in this instance.
Worship is to be given to God alone, which is one of the themes of the book. It seems veryunlikely that the Lord would share His worship with His followers in light of this great theme of the book.