ANGELS IN THE REVELATION PART TWO: THEIR WORHIP

 

KEY VERSES:

 

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.  (Revelation 7:9-12)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The meaning of the New Testament Greek word most often translated “worship” (proskuneo) is “to fall down before” or “bow down before.”  Worship is an attitude of submission, awe, and reverence to God.  Worship is an expression of praise and gratitude from the depths of your heart for who God is.

 

True Believers are to worship “in spirit and in truth”  (John 4:23-24).  Worshipping in spirit requires being born-again with the Holy Spirit resident within and centering your heart, soul, and spirit on the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worshipping in truth is a positive response to the truths of Scripture.  To truly worship God, you must understand His attributes and His works–who He is and what He does–and His Word is where He reveals Himself to mankind:

 

“When you see God as He really is, you will worship Him as He desires to be worshiped.  When Moses saw God and worshiped Him, he ended up giving us the Law.  When Job saw God and worshiped Him, his whole family was restored to him and he got his second start.  When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, he was inducted into the role of a prophet.  When Saul was struck by the holiness of God, he became Paul, the greatest missionary evangelist who ever lived.  And when John saw God and fell down before Him as dead, he got up and wrote the book of Revelation…Worship is not a noun; it’s a verb.  Worship is your whole life dedicated back to God.”  Dr. David Jeremiah

 

The subject of worship in general is beyond the scope of this study, but we can learn much about worship by observing how the angels worship in some tremendous scenes described in the book of Revelation.  That is the subject of this chapter.

 

IN THE THRONE ROOM OF GOD

 

From time to time throughout Scripture, we are given a glimpse into the throne room of God.  There we will find that…

 

-Angels worship God because He is worthy:  Revelation 4-5.

 

In the throne room, worship continuously occurs because God is worthy. The Prophet Daniel described the throne room of God in vivid detail:

 

I behold till thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days sat: His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like clean wool: His throne like flames of fire: the wheels of it like a burning fire. A swift stream of fire issued forth from before Him: thousands of thousands ministered to Him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before Him: the judgment sat and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9-10)

 

Isaiah added to this description:

 

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

 

And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.  (Isaiah 6:1-7)

 

According to the book of Revelation, the Apostle John was caught up in the Spirit into heaven through an open door and entered the  throne room of God:

 

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thundering and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal… (Revelation 4:1-6a)

 

Encircling God’s throne, John saw a rainbow which glowed like an emerald. The brightly colored hues of the rainbow–emerald green, sapphire blue, and ruby red–all reflected in what John described as a crystal sea of glass spread out before the throne. In front of the throne were seven lamps of fire representing the seven Spirits of God. As John stood there, flashes of lightning shot out from the throne and he heard the roar of thunder.

 

John’s gaze turned from the throne to an even more glorious sight, the One seated on the throne. John did not see a form with a face, arms, and legs. He saw a brilliant light reflecting colors, which he compared to precious jewels. John said: “And there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the One who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian” (Revelation 4:2-3, NIV).  The carnelian (“sardine stone” in the King James Version) is a red stone, representing the blood of Jesus Christ.

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John saw elders around the throne.  The office of elders originated in the Old Testament (Exodus 4:29;12:21; Numbers 11:25; 1 Kings 8:1).  Elders were also leaders in the New Testament Church (Acts 14:23;15:6).  The 24 elders here are not identified, but they may represent the 12 tribes of Israel from the Old Testament and the 12 apostles from the New  Testament.  Thus, these elders could be symbolic of the people of God in both Old and New Testament times.

 

Clothed in robes of righteousness and wearing crowns of glory, the twenty-four elders were seated in an exalted position before the throne of God.  They are continually before the Lord giving praise, thanksgiving, and offering up the prayers of the saints to God:

 

The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:10-11)

 

Worship occurs here to honor God as being worthy as the divine Creator of Heaven and earth.

 

In a prominent place around the throne, John saw four “beasts”.  The original Greek word for “beasts” is translated as “living creatures”, also described as “angels”.  These living creatures appeared to Ezekiel in a vision by the river Chebar. He identified them as cherubim who served God. Isaiah saw similar living creatures in a vision and referred to them as seraphim.  (See Isaiah 6:1 and Ezekiel 1:1).

 

…and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within… (Revelation 4:6-8)

 

The living creatures in Revelation are described as a lion, a calf (or lamb), a man, and a flying eagle.  Each of these creatures reflect one of  the attributes of Jesus Christ:

 

-He is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah–a victor.

-He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world–our Savior.

-He took on the form of man–deity made flesh.

-He is like a flying eagle–the high places are His habitation.

 

Concerning these creatures, John writes:

 

…and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which         was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to        him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever…The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever,   and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive            glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they            are and were created.  (Revelation 4:6-11) 

 

These angelic beings are pictured as leaders of worship. They do not rest, but offer up praise day and night unto God, saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8, NIV).The focus of their praise is the holiness of God.

 

At the beginning of Revelation chapter 4, John’s attention was drawn to a book in God’s right hand.

 

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?  And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. (Revelation 5:1-4)

 

This book was completely sealed.  For thousands of years, God’s end-time plan remained a mystery. God revealed a portion of it to His prophet, Daniel, but then sealed up the vision

(Daniel 12:8-9).

 

John waits patiently for the book to be opened.  Suddenly, a  mighty angel appears on the scene and proclaims in a loud voice that echoes throughout all of creation: “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (Revelation 5:2).  It is a futile search. No one can be found who is worthy and authorized to open the book and read its contents. The disappointment causes John to weep uncontrollably. As John wept, one of the twenty-four elders stepped forward to comfort him. He told John:“…Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof…”(Revelation 5:5).  The word “prevailed” in this verse means “to overcome” or “to conquer”.  There was a Conqueror–the Lion of the tribe of Judah–who could open the book. As the Lamb of God that had been slain, Jesus was led to the slaughter and sacrificed.  Here He is depicted as the Lion,  One who conquered Satan and won the victory over sin, death, and hell. As the mighty Conqueror, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, He alone has the right to open the book and break the seals.

 

All eyes in heaven were focused intently upon Him. The cherubim, the elders, and thousands of angels surrounding the throne all watched in holy reverence and anticipation.  Suddenly, a time of divine worship breaks forth in Heaven:

 

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;  And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. (Revelation 5:8-14)

 

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As Jesus took the scroll from the right hand of God, John witnessed one of the most glorious scenes recorded in the Bible. Tremendous waves of worship and praise swept throughout heaven.

First, the living creatures and the elders fell down before the Lamb (Jesus)  to worship.  The elders each had harps and golden vials–or bowls–full of sweet smelling odors representing the prayers of the saints.  Just think:  Your prayers are collected in heaven in bowls and are as sweet-smelling incense before God!

 

The hosts of Heaven praised Jesus because He was worthy to take the book and open the seals.  They worshipped Him because He had provided redemption for every kindred, tongue, people, and nation and established Believers as kings and priests to reign on the earth.  The song the elders and the Cherubim sang was a new song because Jesus established a new covenant through His sacrificial death on the cross. Jesus was the Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world(Revelation 13:8).  Even before the world was spoken into existence, God planned to give His only begotten Son as the perfect sacrifice to redeem mankind out of Satan’s deadly grip.

 

Next,  multitudes of other angels joined in worship, praising Jesus because He was worthy as the Lamb that was slain to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing.

Finally, all of creation joined in worship, saying, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”  (Revelation 5:13).

This spectacular worship scene ended as the cherubim cried “Amen” and, once again, the elders fell on their faces and worshipped Him who lives forever and ever.

 

-Angels worship the Lamb of God:  Revelation 7:9-12.

 

In another worship scene in the Revelation, John described the following:

 

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.  (Revelation 7:9-12)

 

Here, angels and all creation worship the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who has taken away the sins of the world.

 

-Angels worshipbecause of the works, the ways, and the name of God:  Revelation 15:1-4.

 

Before the seven vials of God’s wrath are poured out upon the earth,  John witnesses a great victory celebration in heaven.  There, before the throne of God on the crystal sea that looked like glass and fire, were thousands of saints who had endured the tribulation and won the victory over the Antichrist. These saints had harps and were singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb:

 

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. (Revelation 15:2-4)

 

This song is referred to as the “Song of Moses” because it relates back to when God delivered Israel from Egypt and they had a great victory celebration  (Exodus 15:1-21).  It is also called the Song of the Lamb because just as God supernaturally delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs, wonders, and miracles, He will manifest this same supernatural power to bring us to our Promised Land.  He purchased us with the blood of the Lamb and we will pass safely over into our promised land just as the children of Israel did.

 

-Angels minister in response to worship:  Revelation 15:5-8.

 

The angels cannot participate in this song of worship, as they have not experienced salvation.  At the conclusion of this great time of worship however, John saw seven angels, clothed in pure linen with golden sashes across their chests. These seven angels, activatedby worship and God’s command, proceeded out of the opened sanctuary to empty their bowls upon the earth, pouring out the final wrath of God upon the wicked:

 

And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:  And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled. (Revelation 15:5-8)

 

One of the living creatures gives each of these seven angels a golden vial, bowls full of the wrath of God. As they prepare to pour out these vials of  wrath, John sees the temple filled with the smoke of God’s glory. The glory of His holy presence is so great that no one is able to stand or enter into the sanctuary until the seven bowls of His wrath are emptied out.

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-Angels worship because of God’s righteous judgments: Revelation 19:1-6.

 

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:  For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.  And again they said, Alleluia.  And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.  And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.  And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:1-6)

This passage begins with “after these things.”  After what things?  After the judgments that have come upon the earth as described in the previous chapters of Revelation:

-After the four horsemen.

-After the opening of the book with seven seals.

-After the outpouring of the seven trumpet judgments.

-After the outpouring of the seven vials of God’s wrath.

-After the thunders sound.

-After the testimony of the witnesses.

-After the destruction of Babylon.

 

Joining this great multitude in praise and honor for God’s righteous judgments are the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures–Cherubim angels–who fall on their faces before God seated on His throne. They cry out, “Amen, Hallelujah!”   A universal call is made to “…Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!” (Revelation 19:5, NIV)

 

Again the heavens resound with the voices of a great multitude. Like the roar of crashing waves of the ocean and loud clashes of thunder, the voices shout, “…Hallelujah! for our Lord God Almighty reigns…” (Revelation 19:6, NIV).

 

The original Greek word for “Almighty”  literally means, “one who holds all things in his control.”  The all-powerful, supernatural One who holds all things in His control is not an impersonal, detached being up in the sky somewhere.  He is the Lord of all!  Our God is on the throne, He alone is in control, and He is worthy of worship!

 

-Angels worship at the marriage supper:  Revelation 19:7-9.

 

The glorious praise and worship intensifies as all of Heaven focuses on the greatest celebration of all times, the glorious event that the Church–the Bride of Christ–has long anticipated. The time has come for which Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom, has patiently waited.  A multitude of voices joyously proclaim that the marriage of the Lamb is at hand:

 

Let us rejoice and shout for joy exulting and triumphant! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come and His bride has prepared herself.  She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white–for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God’s holy people). Then [the angel] said to me, Write this down: Blessed (happy, to be envied) are those who are summoned (invited, called) to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me [further], These are the true words (the genuine and exact declarations) of God.  (Revelation 19:7-9, AMP)

 

 

 

 

 

LEARNING FROM THE ANGELS

 

There are four major truths evident inhow angels worship that are applicable to our own worship of God:  The focus, fear, frequency, and freedom of their worship.

 

-The focus of their worship.

 

Their focus was on God the Father and the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.  In their worship, angels emphasize His holiness, His provision of salvation, His worthiness, His name, and they honor Him as creator of Heaven and earth.  They ascribe to Him power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing.  They praise Him for redeeming all people and nations.  They worship Him because He reigns over the nations and because of His righteous judgments.

 

-The fear of their worship.

 

The Bible uses the word “fear” at least 300 times in reference to God. To fear God is to regard Him with profound and reverent respect (Exodus 19:10–13; 20:20).  The Bible declares:

 

God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.  (Psalm 89:7)

 

Worship by the angels in Revelation is not flippant.  It is profoundly respectful of the awesomeness of God.  The Bible says:“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding”  (Proverbs 9:10).  If we want to worship wisely and with understanding, then we must develop a wholesome fear of the Lord.

 

-The frequency of their worship.

 

In the throne room of God, angels and elders do not cease to cry “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Revelation 4:8).  There is continuous worship as books are opened, judgments are poured out, prayers are lifted, and the redeemed are gathered.

 

-The freedom of their worship.

 

The angels are uninhibited in their worship.  They are liberated in God’s presence.  Throughout the book of Revelation there are frequent occasions of spontaneous worship—some loud, some quiet.  Outbursts of worship are interruptions that God treasures.  In worship scenes described in the book of Revelation, angels are standing, singing, shouting, falling on their faces, lifting their hands, and standing in His presence.

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