Worship: A Glimpse into Heaven
Read Revelation 4:1-11
“The twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne and will worship Him who lives forever and ever.”
Revelation is hardly a book we would think about when we think of worship. When someone mentions the book of Revelation, our thoughts go to judgment and plagues and the final destruction of Satan and his followers. We may think of many things, but worship and praise are hardly one of them. When someone mentions worship our thoughts turn to the Psalms and the songs of praise that are offered on the lips of the psalmist. Yet when we look closer, we find that a central theme, if not the central theme of the book of Revelation, is worship. Over half of the New Testament references to the word “worship” are found in the book of Revelation. The book begins with a declaration of worship (1:4-8) and ends with a call to worship God alone (22:9). Before the outpouring of judgment, there is first the description of the heavens worshiping God (5:8-14) and afterward there remains the anthem of praise to the God who executes his justice upon the world with a four-fold call to worship (19:1-6).
In the midst of the description of God’s terrifying judgment on earth, we also find ourselves transported to the wonder of heaven. In a rare glimpse, we are given the privilege of hearing and seeing the constant theme of heaven: The praise of the glory of God. The words we find in verse 8 echo the same anthem that Isaiah recorded being sung in heaven in Isaiah 6. Day and night the angelic beings encircle the throne singing the praise of God. But their worship was not just in their pronouncement of praise, but in their submission to him to sits upon the throne. In verse 10 we find that the twenty-four elders, which are angelic beings given special authority in heaven, casting down their crowns before God as an act of worship and acknowledgment of God’s unparalleled supremacy. Then, in a thunderous anthem of praise, all the angels, beyond human ability to number, join in singing the praise of God. The sound must have been deafening as the halls of heaven reverberated with the confession of God’s infinite glory.
When we read these words, it thrills us to reflect upon the scene that John recorded. We wonder what it would be like to join in that declaration of God’s praise. We long for an experience like John, the privilege of being in the presence of heaven. Yet, this is the wonder of praise. When we proclaim the praise of God, our worship elevates us into the presence of God to join with these angelic beings in proclaiming God’s wonder. To praise God is to be transported into the company of angels. The reason heaven seems so distant to us is because praise is so far removed from our lips. As a result, our vision becomes blinded by the dullness and mundane of our daily existence. When praise is absent, life becomes hell on earth, for hell is where the praise of God is silent.
The more we praise God the more we experience the joy of our salvation. If your Christian life seems routine and joyless, look no further than our thoughts and words of God. When you keep your mind upon God and proclaim his praise to others, it elevates us from the mundane to the sublime.