The Object of Our Worship
Unto him that sits on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the dominion, for ever and ever.
To worship the creature rather than the Creator is an inbred tendency with us. In this even John himself had to be pulled up. For all the conflict depicted in this book of Revelation turns on this issue. All the war in heaven, all the tribulation on earth, stems alike from Satan’s attempt to steal to himself God’s praise. But here in Revelation 5 on this great coronation day, all in heaven and earth and beneath the earth and on the sea unite to proclaim Christ as supreme. The chapter closely matches Philippians 2 with its “every knee should now..,every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” The death of the cross has brought this outcome; it is the newly slain Lamb who is worthy.
Were you to give someone a priceless gift and they in turn seized it and forgot that you had given it to them, especially if they knew it cost you everything you had, how would you feel? To be sure you didn’t give it to them demanding they honor you or become obligated to you. You gave them the priceless gift simply because you loved them, but wouldn’t it be the correct response for them to express their appreciation and since they were the recipient of your lavish love wouldn’t it become them to at least like you?
Paul, writing to the Colossians says:
“He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation. For by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, [things] visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [that is, by His activity] and for Him. And He Himself existed and is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [His is the controlling, cohesive force of the universe.] He is also the head [the life-source and leader] of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will occupy the first place [He will stand supreme and be preeminent] in everything. For it pleased the Father for all the fullness [of deity—the sum total of His essence, all His perfection, powers, and attributes] to dwell [permanently] in Him (the Son), and through [the intervention of] the Son to reconcile all things to Himself, making peace [with believers] through the blood of His cross; through Him, [I say,] whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
Colossians 1: 15-20
We read that God has created all things and they receive their value not from themselves but from their Creator. Just as a work of art finds its value in the artist, so also all of creation. The conflict stems from one of God’s created beings- Lucifer- thinking that he could exist apart from God and that he was all-sufficient in himself. In his foolish thinking, he never considered how he came into being. That philosophy was passed on to humans as Adam and Eve were enticed to believe that if they obtained the knowledge of good and evil, they could rule their world.
In our world today, even Christians are lured into elevating creation above the Creator. It’s easy to think that we have accomplished great things on our own- the evidence of great inventions, cities, and monuments seem to stand as testimony to such. Those who rise to great heights are often exalted by those around them perpetuating the myth that they or their achievements are worthy of praise.
We are inundated with commercials that elevate the status of humans- “you deserve it, it’s your right, you are the most important person on the planet.” To be sure, I’m not suggesting that we are worthless-that’s the strategy Satan uses to convince us we need what the world offers. Hidden in almost every advertisement is the idea that the product you’re being convinced to buy will make you more valuable. This concept would sound foolish if someone would attempt to use it with a valuable painting. While the painting certainly could be enhanced by a frame, that frame doesn’t affect its value. Indeed its value stems from its creator more than anywhere else. What makes a Picasso valuable is the painter and not the painting. The painting is viewed as an expression or extension of the artist. Those who stand in awe of the painting are doing so in admiration of the artist.
There is no question that creation is amazing. One only has to stand on the mountains and view the majestic creation of God or hear the perfect pitched notes of a song bird, or stand on the beach overlooking the mighty seas, or stand at Niagara Falls or Grand Canyon, or any of the other mighty wonders of nature to be reminded of the incredible gifts God has given. We marvel at the intricacies of the human brain and body and how all the various parts work together in such coordination that has never in a small way been replicated. We may view the Egyptian pyramids or the colosseums of Rome or Stonehenge or Mayan pyramids with awe at human achievements. We might stand in wonder at human achievements in medicine, engineering and space travel. But let us never forget that all these things were brought into being by God the Creator who alone is worthy of our worship. The works of humans, whether art, pyramid, or space travel did not come from human effort and wisdom alone. The truth is they stem from the root source of God for He created and gave abilities and knowledge to those who accomplished such things.
The summation of it all is depicted in the passage of Revelation 5 as all the hosts of heaven proclaim “You (alone) are worthy to receive glory and honor and praise” as they bow before the Lamb in worship.
We don’t have to wait for that day. By choice, with heartfelt gratitude, we can, today bow before the Lamb and worship Him. We can recognize that our breath, our next heartbeat, any of our accomplishments or possessions are gifts of a loving God. We can choose to look past creation as wonderful as it may be and behold the Creator who made such wondrous things.
One day all we see now will be gone. Scripture says that this whole earth will pass away and the current heaven will pass away. Every natural or man made wonder will vanish. And then God who created what we see now will make a new heaven and a new earth. Our current bodies with all their amazing construction will perish and return to dust and then this incredibly amazing Creator will make for us brand new bodies that will never experience throughout eternity age, sickness or death.
Those who worship creation will have nothing left to worship but those who choose to worship the Creator will find they have Someone to worship forever.
There lies within every created being the need and desire to worship. When that becomes distorted and corrupted, created beings worship creation. When Christ redeems us and transforms us and renews our minds, then we are returned to our original purpose of worshipping the Creator.
“For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. For even though they knew God [as the Creator], they did not honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
If for some reason today you find yourself as John found himself- bowing before an angel- another created being- open your heart to behold the Lamb of God seated upon the throne and worship Him.
Dr. John Thompson