The Theo-logic of Heavenly Worship

From creation to consummation, the corporate worship of God’s people is a memorial.

This picture of the worship of heaven has significance for Christian worship for several reasons. First, since earthly worship, both in the OT and NT, is said to be patterned after the worship of heaven, how heavenly worship takes place should inform earthly Christian worship. Second, consequently, Christians since the first century have taken careful notes of the pattern of worship presented in Revelation 4–5.


In the book of Revelation, God granted the apostle John a look into the temple of heaven. As with Isaiah during the reign of King Uzziah (Isaiah 6), it is no accident that this vision of heavenly worship came at a time when worship on earth was in chaos.

In his vision, John observed God himself, sitting on his throne in all of his majestic splendor, surrounded by spectacular heavenly beings. Among other things that occupy their attention, they are singing to God “day and night” (4:8). Chapter 4 describes angels surrounding the throne of God, and it relates two songs that those angels are singing to God day and night. The first is “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” (the Trisagion ) and the second is “Worthy are you, our Lord and God.” But then in Chapter 5 John saw “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of Jesse,” a “Lamb standing, as though it had been slain.” He saw the Son of God, Jesus Christ, proclaimed as the only one worthy of opening the scroll that would establish his right to rule the Kingdom of God. And in response to this revelation, verse 9 tells us that the angels and the elders sang “a new song,” saying:

Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

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