A Bible Study on Worship: Revelation 5, 19 & 21

Opening Prayer

Introduction:  As we look at the book of Revelation, it is important to remember that it is written in apocalyptic language.  In this type of literature, there is a very prevalent use of symbolic language.  Most of the images and numbers are not meant to be taken literally, yet they refer to some other significant event, quantity, person or truth.  Therefore, the key to understanding the book of Revelation is understanding what is being referred to by the symbols and events being described and how that connects to the world in which we live.

Much of the book of Revelation (such as the passages we are studying today) describes worship in heaven.

Read Revelation 6:6-14

1.       Who is the Lamb looking as if had been slain (v. 6)?

2.      Who are the four living creatures?

(This question is a matter of debate amongst biblical scholars.  One of my professors, Dr. John Strelan, writes the following in his commentary on Revelation:

“Early in the history of the church (by the end of the second century) the four creatures came to symbolize the four evangelists:  lion=Mark; ox=Luke, man=Matthew; eagle=John.  But in Revelation the four creatures are meant to represent the whole created universe:  the people, the animals, the hills, the seas, the rivers, the stars and space. The four creatures parallel the twenty-four elders, who represent the whole people of God.

It is worth noting that the four living creatures lead the heavenly worship. They are nearest the throne; fittingly, the lead the praise.  The purpose of God’s world is that is praises him.  For that reason they praise him day and night without ceasing; their whole existence is one of praise.  God’s people respond with their own acclamation.”[1])

3.       Who are the twenty-four elders?

(Again Dr. Strelan writes:  “The twenty-four elders who surround the throne of the Emperor of all emperors have been variously identified as representatives of the twenty-four astral gods of the Babylonian collection of gods, or as a special class of angels, or-as seems most likely-the whole people of God (the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles).”[2]

4.      Where is the Lamb standing in relation to the four living creatures (all of creation) and the twenty-four elders (all of God’s people)?

5.      When the Lamb took the scroll from the One sitting on the throne, how did the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders respond (vv. 8-10)?

6.      According to this, does worship start with our action or with God’s action?

7.      John then describes a large number (almost an infinite number one might say) of angels.  Where are they and what do they do (vv. 11-12)?

8.      Then what does every creature in heaven and on earth do (v. 13)?

9.      How does this section of heavenly worship come to a close (v. 14)?

10.  What does “Amen” mean?

11.  Do you think our worship on earth should be similar to worship in heaven or do you think that does not need to be any correlation?

12.  Who should be at the centre of our worship here on earth?

13.  How can we arrange things on our worship platform to reflect that?

Read Revelation 19:9-10

14.  What did John start to do (v. 10a)?

15.  What did the angel say to him (v. 10b)?  Why?

16.  What do we want to avoid in our worship here on earth?

17.  How can we arrange things on our worship platform to avoid that?

Read Revelation 21:1-5

18.  Why is worship important?

19.  Why is the way we worship important?

It has been said that there are two critical elements to worship:  the object of our worship and the way that we worship.  In other words, it is vital that our worship is directed to the Three-in-One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that our worship in based on salvation by grace through faith.  He is the only God who saves and that is the only way that we can be saved.  Therefore it is important that our worship reflect those truths.

Closing Prayer

[1] John G. Strelan, Where Earth Meets Heaven:  A Commentary on Revelation (Openbook Publishers:  Adelaide, Australia, 1994) 103.

[2] Strelan, 100.


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