Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."
And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."
And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped (NASB).
I. THE VISION OF ANGELIC WORSHIP OF THE LAMB VV. 11-12
After John had witnessed the worship of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders (v. 10), he looked again and heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of them. In this vision, John sees multitudes, innumerable, infinite angels. What John is telling us is that the angelic hosts that he saw in the vision cannot be counted. This makes the atoning death of Christ all the more remarkable and something we are forever to be grateful. You recall when the soldiers were coming to arrest Jesus and Peter drew his sword and cut one man’s ear? After Jesus healed the ear of this man, Jesus told Peter to put his sword in its sheath and said to him, if I were to fight, I could call legions of angels to come to My defense. The vision of John here reveals that Jesus was not bragging or exaggerating when He said that He could command angels to come to His defense, but His death was a divine necessity for our sins. Here we see angels worshiping Jesus, who was rejected by the religious leaders. We see angels worshiping Jesus who was blasphemed by the Pharisees. We see angels bowing before Jesus who was spat upon. We see angels falling down before Jesus who was ridiculed by opponents. We see angelic hosts paying obeisance to Jesus to whom they said, “He saved others but cannot save Himself.” We see infinity of angels worshiping Jesus who was scourged, whose beard was pulled, and finally nailed to the Cross. This passage is a vindication of the Lordship and Kingship of Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian and you are entertaining some doubts in your Christian life, pay heed to what the Book of Revelation is teaching you. Jesus is worthy and deserves your loyalty and worship.
John’s eyes that had seen Jesus spat upon, slapped, scourged, stripped, and crucified were now the eyes that were seeing the millions of angels encircling the throne of the King of kings in adoration and worship. The same ears that had heard Jesus blasphemed, falsely accused, mocked, and convicted of blasphemy were now the ears that heard the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders join the millions of angels in thunderous praise of the Lamb Who alone is worthy! Hallelujah!
If Jesus alone is worthy of all praise—and He is—why do we seek praise for ourselves? Why are we offended when others do not give credit for what we have done?
Ann Graham Lotz tells a story about a beautiful woman who spoke dynamically and with humor for one hour and forty-five minutes about herself. When she finished, the tired audience politely applauded as she went to her seat. The master of ceremonies stepped into the pulpit, motioning with her hands for the audience to rise for the benediction. The speaker did not see the MC’s gesture, and thought the audience had risen to give her a standing ovation! So she stepped back up to the pulpit to take the bow!
How many times do we do privately what that speaker did publicly? We seek to bask in the limelight, craving the applause of men, accepting an ovation that in reality is not ours. Those who cash in on God’s glory will experience a “power shortage” and ultimately wind up cheating themselves and others of the fullness of His blessing.
In verse 12, John states the content of the praise and worship that are going on in the presence of the exalted and enthroned Christ. The angelic hosts extol the worthiness of the Lamb to receive "power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." These seven attributes leave nothing wanting in the ascription of praise to the Lamb. All that belongs to God the Father also belongs to the Lamb because of His redemptive work. The first four of the seven attributes are qualities the Lamb possesses. The last three express the attitudes of people to the Lamb. Let us break them one by one. Power and wisdom—The Scripture says, “But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). Wealth—“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Strength—“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10). Honor—“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9). Glory—“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Blessing—“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Mark 11:10).
II. THE UNIVERSAL WORSHIP OF THE LAMB VV. 13-14
In verse 13, now all creation joins with the angelic hosts in praise and worship of the Lamb. Verse 13 is a poetic language that should not be taken to mean that the devil and his demons were also praising and worshiping Christ. John is describing the universality of the redemptive work of Christ. Sometimes if you want to share your faith with somebody he would say something to this effect; “Why should someone who died thousands of years ago affect my salvation?” If you reject the death of Jesus on the cross for you, you have cut yourself completely from God’s saving grace. It is only the finished work of Christ on Calvary’s cross that gives you the hope of eternal life when you receive Him as your Lord and personal Savior. For if you reject Jesus’ offer of salvation for your life; you have the devil for a friend and your doom is sealed. These days not every tongue confesses Jesus as Lord. These days not every knee bows before Him but a day is coming when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11).
Those who refuse to bow before Jesus Christ today will be compelled to bow before Him on that day. Whether they like it or not, they will bow before the King of kings and the Lord of lords. The sad thing is that although these unbelievers will bow before Christ, it will be too late for them to have a place in the Kingdom of God. Their rebellion against Christ has sealed their eternal destiny. There are some people today who despise and oppose the name of Christ. Nevertheless, in the consummation of time there is no creature, wherever found, which does not recognize the superior worth of the Lamb. All creation in heaven, on earth, and under the earth will bow before Christ—the Lamb of God. The question is do you have a place in your heart for Jesus Christ today? Is Jesus Christ the priority of your life?
The White Supremacist, the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis, the Black Panthers, and all racists will be excluded from this assembly of joyful worshipers, because they cannot stand this multicultural, multi-racial, and multi-national worship. Heaven will be an international community in a real sense. The worship that John describes for us in this chapter is an assurance that through Christ, God will restore order and peace to His fallen universe. The majestic song of creation is addressed both to God the Father and to the Lamb, “To Him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb.” Revelation 3:21 reminds us that the exalted Christ with His Father has sat down upon His throne. Here the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity is even more evident. The Lamb (Christ) is with God and is God (John 1:1).
With thrilling crescendo, the climax and grand finale of the worship is reached. Not only do the four living creatures, the elders, and the angels unite, but all creation joins in adoration and praise to God and to the Lamb. The chapter concludes with a great “Amen!” as the elders fall down in worship. The entire universe rocked in praise! The entire universe roared in acclamation of the Lamb Who alone is worthy! Because the One Who is unequaled in position and undisputed in power also receives universal praise. It is noteworthy that the four living creatures kept saying “Amen” and the elders fell down and worship. These were the ones who began the worship in the first place.
Do you recall when Jesus and the disciples were returning from the Garden of Gethsemane, they were met by Judas the traitor and the Roman soldiers. They said, we are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, and as Jesus stepped forward and responded, “I am He.” The Bible says that the soldiers fell down. They fell at the feet of Jesus. Whether they were awestruck by His majestic presence they knew they were in the presence of someone greater than Caesar.
The question is what individual do you know who has set himself or herself against Christ? What school or business? What organization? What nation has set itself against Christ? What political leader or religious leader has set himself/herself against Jesus? What religion opposes Christ today? One day the entire world will set itself against Christ! But sooner or later, those who set themselves against Him will find themselves on their faces before Him, because God gives you and me the right to choose Jesus as Savior or reject Him. However, God does not give us the right to choose whether or not we will acknowledge Him as Lord. One day everyone will acknowledge Him, whether they want or not, and the entire universe will resound with thunderous praise of the One who alone is worthy as the sovereign Lord and the all-sufficient Lamb!
Therefore, with these glorious affirmations of the goodness and mercy of God Almighty and of the Lamb ringing in John’s ears, he can endure every persecution with confidence, despite the terrors about to be let loose on the world described in chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation. The purpose of the Apocalypse (Revelation) is not so much to describe the worship of heaven, as to give hope and a sense of victory to His people on earth in the struggles that lie ahead.
In the beginning of Revelation 4, I told you that chapters 4 and 5 are essential for the understanding of the Book of Revelation. Chapters 4 and 5 proclaim in vivid and confident terms that the world’s destiny is not under the control of some blind fate. It is not under the control of Cho Seung Hui the mass murderer of Virginia Tech, Usama bin Laden, or the terrorists who are terrorizing our world today. The destiny of the world is not in the hands of Boko Haram, ISIS, Hezbollah, or Al-Qaida. We are in the hands of a loving Father and a Savior who died for us. He is in perfect control of the universe.
Are you discouraged by the evil that we are witnessing today? Are you discouraged by the natural disasters that are taking place at rapid rates? Are you discouraged by the killings and burning of Christians by Boko Haram and ISIS? Are you discouraged by the pervasiveness of pornography today? Are you discouraged by gang activities and bullies in schools today? Then fix your eyes on Jesus and turn your heart to worship Him and open your mouth to praise Him. The vision of His glory gives us hope that one day, the godly minority will join the rest of the universe and become a majority of those who praise and worship the Lamb forever and ever and ever! If you would like to give your life to Christ, all that you need to do is to admit that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself. Acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Believe in your heart that He died for you on the cross and ask Him to forgive your sins. Drop me a note when you do that.