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Worship Him for Who and What He Has Done

Worship Him for Who and What He Has Done

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Published by Eunji N Jeff
A survey of 'worship' in the book of Revelation
A survey of 'worship' in the book of Revelation

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Published by: Eunji N Jeff on May 10, 2012
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HALLELUJAH!: A SURVEY OF WORSHIPIN THE BOOK OF REVELATIONJ. Paul LenhartMay 4th, 2012
 
HALLELUJAH!: A SURVEY OF WORSHIPIN THE BOOK OF REVELATION
Preamble
Many people associate the book of Revelation with abstruse prophecy and vividsymbolism. There is a tendency to avoid thebook because it is thought to be inaccessible to thecommon student of the Bible. It is often assumed that in or der to understand the book, one needsto have professional training. This is actually contrary to the very nature of the book itself. The book describes itself as the ‘revelation of Jesus Christ’; it is meant to reveal or uncover truth, notcover it up and make it difficult to understand. On the contrary, the book does not requirespecialized training to understand. In fact, the book promises blessings to those who read, hear,and heed its contents (1:3; 22:7). As John Walvoord remarks in his excellent commentary, “(The book of Revelation) seems to anticipate that many would neglect this book or ignore its prophetic revelation. It is singular that the one book in the New Testament which invokes aspecial blessing on the reader should be often left unread.”
1
The book was addressed in letter form to “the seven churches in Asia (1:4).”
2
The Revelation was circulated among the churchesfrom an early date.
3
The churches were undergoing persecution under the reign of Domitian,
4
 and the book was meant to be an encouragement to these suffering Christians. Far from being a pie-in-the-sky piece of idealist literature, the Revelation was always meant to have tangible
1
1 
1
John F. Walvoord,
The Revelation of Jesus Christ 
(1966; repr., Chicago: Moody, 1989), 36. 
2
All Scripture quotations are from the NASB unless otherwise indicated. 
3
Robert H. Mounce,
The Book of Revelation
, 2nd ed
.
(Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998), 21. 
4
For a discussion on the date of the book, see Leon Morris,
 Revelation
, vol. 20 of 
Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
, 2nd ed. (1987; repr., Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988), 35-41; and Mounce, 15-21.
 
 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.
5
Merrill Tenneylists eleven in his commentary on Revelation.
6
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.
7
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 (
προσκυνέω
,
 proskune
ō
) appears twenty-three times.
8
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
2 
5
D. Edmond Hiebert,
The Non-Pauline Epistles
, vol. 3 of 
 An Introduction to the New Te stament 
(1981; repr.Waynesboro, GA: Gabriel, 2003), 262. 
6
Merrill C. Tenney,
 Interpreting Revelation
(1957; repr., Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988), 36. 
7
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. 
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 
προσκυνέω
(
 proskune
ō
) 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.

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