Worship in Heaven
I consider chapters four and five the center of the Book of Revelation upon which all else rests. No doubt, the last few chapters provide the climax for which we all hope, but even those chapters are predicated upon what is taught in these two. And why is this? In chapter four, we see our Sovereign God, Lord of history and all creation, worshiped by His creation. Dominion is His. All creation serves Him—angels and men—both good and evil. In chapter five, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world makes his appearance and his is as awe-inspiring as his Father’s though in a different way. So yes, chapters four and five provide the foundation for the chapters which came before and those which follow, and I might even add, for the entire Bible. And so before we go into the specifics of these two chapters, let us make a few points about them.
1) As was already said, they show us that our God reigns over heaven above and earth below. Nothing is outside His control. His will and way reign supreme. He does not simply know all things before they happen; He brings all things to pass. Daniel 2:44-45 and 7:26-27 were fulfilled with our Lord’s resurrection and ascension, are being fulfilled now in the growth of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:31-33), and await their consummation with our Lord’s return (1:7).
2) Because He is Sovereign God, His saints stand secure in Him. Though tribulation, persecution, and death will come, they need not fear but stand firm. They know their God and that He brings His reward. They are on the winning side. They have every reason to conquer—which in this case means to persevere unto the end. Like the martyrs before them, they gladly embrace their tormentors hoping they too follow after them to life eternal.
3) And finally, there is worship in heaven—oh, and what worship! This worship has ever been since God created angelic beings. These are the angelic beings in attendance when we go to church on Sunday mornings. And if I may be so bold, Revelation 4-5 and Isaiah 6:1-8 provide the model for the worship churches should be doing today. Please note that all the senses are used: sight, sound, smell, touch (prostrations), and later taste. The word is proclaimed and people respond with praise. It is liturgical and spontaneous at the same—the people must respond yet do so with full and willing hearts. To sum: This is the kind of worship that makes martyrs. Does ours?