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Week 11 The Worship of Christ (Revelation 5:1-14; 19:1-8)

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Revelation 5:1-14 Then I saw in the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne a scroll written on the front and back and sealed with seven seals. 5:2 And I saw a powerful angel proclaiming in a loud voice: “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals?” 5:3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look into it. 5:4 So I began weeping bitterly because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered; thus he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 5:6 Then I saw standing in the middle of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the middle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been killed. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth 5:7 Then he came and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne, 5:8 and when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders threw themselves to the ground before the Lamb. Each of them had a harp and golden bowls full of incense (which are the prayers of the saints). 5:9 They were singing a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were killed, and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. 5:10 You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” 5:11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels in a circle around the throne, as well as the living creatures and the elders. Their number was ten thousand times ten thousand – thousands times thousands – 5:12 all of whom were singing in a loud voice: “Worthy is the lamb who was killed to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise!”5:13 Then I heard every creature – in heaven, on earth, under the earth, in the sea, and all that is in them – singing: “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory, and ruling power forever and ever!”5:14 And the four living creatures were saying “Amen,” and the elders threw themselves to the ground and worshiped. NET

Revelation 19:1-8 After these things I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a vast throng in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 19:2 because his judgments are true and just. For he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality, and has avenged the blood of his servants poured out by her own hands!” 19:3 Then a second time the crowd shouted, “Hallelujah!” The smoke rises from her forever and ever. 19:4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures threw themselves to the ground and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne, saying: “Amen! Hallelujah!”19:5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God all you his servants, and all you who fear Him, both the small and the great!” 19:6 Then I heard what sounded like the voice of a vast throng, like the roar of many waters and like loud crashes of thunder. They were shouting: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the All-Powerful, reigns!19:7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 19:8 She was permitted to be dressed in bright, clean, fine linen”(for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints).

Intro:

Last year during the week before Easter, the girls and I put on a Palm Sunday play. Now, I’m not usually the crafty blow-it-all-out kind of mom—especially in another country where there are no craft stores with ready made Jesus displays. Yet for this occasion we decorated praise shakers, cut out make-shift palm branches, made our own paper bag donkey (who barely survived the day), and colored a path to welcome Jesus as He rode. When my husband (our resident Jesus) arrived home from work, the long-awaited drama commenced. We allowed a bit of creative license, as Kathryn insisted upon serving soup as the only proper welcome for Jesus’ arrival. The event has impacted their hearts, as a year later the girls still rave about our efforts.

Easter season plays often depict Jesus’ festive welcome 2000+ year ago, but what about His praise in heaven? I was taken back when I noticed the saints who worshiped at Jesus’ throne in heaven carry palm branches too, reminiscent of that joyous parade long ago. This time, not on a lowly beast of burden, but as a victorious ruler upon His throne. Can you imagine the scene? How should these scenes in Revelation depicting God’s worship in heaven inform our worship of Him today?

Context for Revelation 4 & 5; 19:1-8

Both of these passages detail scenes of Christ’s worship in heaven. Revelation 5 records John’s vision in heaven just before the Lamb opens the scroll containing the seven seals of judgment to be poured out upon the earth.

Revelation 19:1-6 comes after these judgments, before the return of Christ to the earth to wage war against His enemies (last week’s passage.) It opens with the praise of God for condemning the “great prostitute,” Babylon, which was seen in Revelation 18. Babylon historically is thought to be the empire of Rome. In the future Babylon is believed to be the world system in rebellion against God.

Suggested Study Schedule

Day 1: Read Revelation 5; 19:1-8 and the context information paragraph

Day 2: Read Revelation 5 again, and the verses in discussion question 3b and appl. question 2.

Day 3: Read Revelation 18 (context for 19) and 19:1-8.

Day 4: Focus on Revelation 19:6-7 and look up the verses in application question 6.

Day 5: Answer the “discussion questions”

Day 6: Answer the “application questions”

Day 7: Spend time in prayer and meditation on your application

Discussion Questions: Grasping the Meaning

1. In 5:1-2, what is the scroll with 7 seals? Why is John weeping?

2. Who is found worthy to open it? Why doesn’t the Father open it? Why is Christ uniquely ‘qualified’ to open it? Why do you think Christ is called by this title—”the Lion of the Tribe of Judah1“?

3. How is the Lamb2 described in 5:6-7?

4. Why do you think the two titles (Lion and Lamb) are brought together here3?

5. What might be meant by the 7 horns and 7 eyes? (See how “horns” and “eyes” are portrayed in these verses: Deuteronomy 33:17; 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalms 75:4-5; Psalms 132:17; Zechariah 4:10; 2 Chronicles 16:8-9; Psalms 11:4-5.)

6. What is the response of the following groups when He takes the scroll?

  • …of the 24 elders and the living creatures?
  • …of the angels?
  • …of every creature?

7. These verses in 5:1-14 also image another similar scene in Revelation7:9-144. Who are the ones mentioned in these verses and what are they saying?

8. Revelation 19:1-8 follows the “Fall of Babylon” in chapter 18. How are 18:20 and 19:1-3 related?

9. There are 3 praise utterances given in this section. What are they? What phrase begins each section?

  • (19:1-2)
  • (19:35)
  • (19:6-86)

10. In Revelation 19:5, what exhortation is given to the worshipers? How are the worshippers addressed7?

11. Who is the “great prostitute who was corrupting the earth with her sexual immorality” (19:2)? And what is meant by “The smoke rises from her forever and ever” (19:3)?

12. What is the contrast shown in 18:23, 19:2, and 19:7-8? (We will explore more of this marriage metaphor next week.)

13. Summarize what we learn about Christ and His praise in 5:1-14 and 19:1-8.

Application Questions: Grasping the Heart

1. In the first section of 5:1-14, it might seem strange that Christ is both found worthy to open a scroll of judgment, yet His worth is due to the fact He shed His blood which saved men from judgment. How would you explain this? (See John 5:22; also Hebrews 10:29.)

2. These passages help develop the Lion/Lamb metaphor more fully. How do these contrasting images impact you as you picture Christ?

  • Genesis 49:8-10
  • Judges 14:18
  • Proverbs 28:1
  • Isaiah 11:6
  • Isaiah 31:4
  • Isaiah 53:7
  • John 1:29, 36
  • 1 Peter 1:18-19

3. The sole ‘activity’ we observe of the saints, living creatures, and 24 elders in the presence of God is community worship. In Revelation 19:10, we see John spontaneously bowing down to worship the angel who showed him this vision. What do you picture it will be like to enter the presence of God? How do these images inform your impressions?

4. In 19:5, why do you think the worshipers are referred to as “His servants” and all those “who fear Him”? How might these titles inform the way we approach God even now? If a new Christian asked you how to approach God, how would you reply? What other Scriptures would you use to support your answer?

5. “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the All-powerful, reigns…” Is God currently reigning, or is His reign a future promise? Chew on this question for a bit before looking up these verses which highlight “reign”, “rule” or “kingdom”, paying attention to the verb tenses. Is His reign present, future, or both?

  • Genesis 1:28
  • Psalms 110:2
  • Psalms 145:11-13
  • Micah 4:7
  • Zechariah 6:12-13
  • Luke 1:32
  • Luke 17:20-21
  • 1 Corinthians 15:24-25
  • Ephesians 1:19-21

6. “…Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory!” Is this verse a reality to you? Does your heart rejoice and experience gladness in worshipping Him because of His current and coming reign? Does this comfort you? Why or why not? How can you grow in setting your heart on these present and future realities?

7. We have seen some of what worship looks like in heaven. How do we see it expressed by His children on earth? Are there “right” and “wrong” ways to do this? What activities most draw your heart to worship? What might be some creative, out-of-the-box expressions of delight and joy in the person and ways of God8?

8. Share with one another what truths have been most meaningful to you. Spend a moment writing down the insights you have heard from others during this study that have enriched your own perspective.

9. The Lion from the tribe of Judah; the slain Lamb worthy to open the scroll of judgment; the judge of the wicked and the purifier of His bride. What about this week’s lesson has made Him appear more beautiful or glorious to you this week? Spend some time meditating on these images and write out your own words of worship to God, as well as one application you will take away from this lesson.

Group prayer requests

Lord Jesus,

We love to see the beautiful diversity of your character—You are the fierce Lion and the gentle Lamb. Today in our hearts we join the scene in heaven as we bow humbly before your glorious throne. You are worthy to receive the praises of all saints throughout all of history! Help our hearts to rejoice even now as we anticipate that grand day.

Amen.


1 There are only three biblical references where we find “Judah” and “Lion” mentioned together: Genesis 49:8-12; Hosea 5:14, and Revelation 5:5. (Of the 12 tribes of Israel, Judah was the chosen tribe for the line of the Messiah.)

2Look up these other references to Christ as “Lamb”: (Isaiah 53:7; John 1:36; John 21:15.) See also the “Root of David”: (Isaiah 11:1, 10; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Matthew 22:42-45; Romans 15:12.)

3It is very interesting to note that Revelation 5:6 is the only time Christ is called “lion” in Revelation. Yet the title of “lamb” is ascribed 31 times. It seems that His sacrificial work is the primary imagery by which we are encouraged to remember Him at the end of the Bible.

4 There are only 2 references in the Bible to palm branches. One is found in John’s gospel at the Triumphal Entry, and the second is here. Can you picture John (who wrote both the gospel of John & Revelation) remembering that joyful day as Jesus rode into Jerusalem, even as He tells of the consummation of Christ’s worship seen here in heaven?

5As we see the elders fall down in worship in vs. 4, we find the same words used of the wisemen who fell down and worshiped the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:11.)

6Here is only time we hear we should “rejoice and be glad” in Revelation. We see the same wording in John 16:22 as Jesus comforts His disciples before His death. Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. John connects the two passages as if to relate that this specific Revelation scene is the time of rejoicing to which Jesus was referring!

7Other interesting references to saints as bondservants: 1) Mary’s response to the angel at his announcement of her impending pregnancy in Luke 1:38, “Behold, the bondservant of the Lord.” 2) Jesus’ words to the disciples in John 15:14-15, “I call you not bondservants…but I have called you friends.” As this passage makes clear that we truly are bondservants, what tremendous condescension that Jesus would call us friends!

8 “The principle that I am trying to illustrate and that makes Christ stand out as absolutely unique is this: beauty or excellence consists in the right proportion of diverse qualities. We admire him for his glory, but even more because his glory is mingled with humility. We admire him for his transcendence, but even more because his transcendence is accompanied by condescension; We admire him for his uncompromising justice, but even more because it is tempered with mercy; We admire him for his majesty, but even more because it is a majesty in meekness; We admire him because of his equality with God, but even more because as God’s equal he nevertheless has a deep reverence for God; We admire him because of how worthy he was of all good, but even more because this was accompanied by an amazing patience to suffer evil; We admire him because of his sovereign dominion over the world, but even more because this dominion was clothed with a spirit of obedience and submission; We love the way he stumped the proud scribes with his wisdom, and we love it even more because he could be simple enough to like children and spend time with them; We admire him because he could still the storm, but even more because he refused to use that power to strike the Samaritans with lightning and he refused to use it to get himself down from the cross.” John Piper, Christ: The Lion and the Lamb, Sermon on March 23, 1986 at http://www.desiringgod.org//, accessed April 3, 2007.

Related Topics: Character of God, Worship