Worthy Is the Lamb
And now this glorious service of worship in heaven races to the climax for which it was destined—to which all worship on earth should be directed—the praise and adoration of the Lamb who purchased and thus reconciled a people unto the Father.
John records that the Lamb “went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne,” describing the movement and action of the Lamb as if it were done without fear and as easily and effortlessly as a beloved son approaching a loving father to receive a gift.
And it is here that heaven, earth, under-earth, the sea, and everything in them—that is, all creation—break out in exclamations of such praise and adoration that makes the heart of every true Christian jump. And just as in chapter four when the heavenly court praised the Father for creation, here all creation praises the Son for his work of redemption. And just as then in chapter four worship was liturgical with the four living creatures leading and the twenty-four elders responding, here the creatures and elders lead and all creation responds (antiphonally). We should note that the elders hold “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” The Psalmist said, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you” (141:2), showing that although the word must accompany, there are other biblically-based elements of worship that even the Reformed might employ.
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,” the cherubim and elders cry. And why? “For you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God.” Although as one God all three Persons work in every event, yet creation is primarily attributed to the Father, redemption to the Son, and regeneration to the Holy Spirit. Here, worship is directed to the Son who gave himself in sacrifice to ransom a people from every tribe and nation to reign on earth and serve as a kingdom of priests to God. (The Apostle Peter spoke of the same in his first letter [2:9-10] in fulfillment of Exodus 19:6.) And upon this blessing bestowed on a people who were once not a people (1 Peter 2:10), literally all creation explodes in praise of the Lamb just as Paul said would happen in Philippians 2:10. The Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5 & 7) has made us his priests, and the King of kings has made us his viceroys to reign on earth now in his invisible kingdom, but also in the future millennial kingdom on earth. Trees, stars, animals, and even the wicked praise him now and will on that great day—as is proper.