Ever wondered what worship in heaven looks like? You're in luck. Author Rory Noland points us to eyewitness testimony in this excerpt from Worship on Earth as it is in Heaven: Exploring Worship as a Spiritual Discipline.
The Testimony of John
In eternity, people of all races, from different cultures, will stand together as one and worship our great God. John describes this beautiful tapestry of multi-ethnic worship in Revelation 7:9–10:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" ...
The heavenly choir isn't divided into separate ethnic groups. John witnesses a glorious mix of people — a blur and blend of color and custom — standing side by side worshiping God.
The Four Creatures
Revelation 4:8 reveals [another] fascinating tidbit concerning the four living creatures around God's throne: "Day and night they never cease to say, 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!'" (emphasis added). Because these four creatures live every minute in God's immediate presence, they never grow tired or bored of repeating the same thing over and over: "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" A similar description can be found in Isaiah 6:1–3, written several hundred years earlier, thus confirming the fact that this worshipful scene occurs over and over again in heaven.
The Testimony of Isaiah
"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
What The Testimony Means for Us
Thanks to the vivid firsthand accounts from John and Isaiah, we can close our eyes whenever we want and picture worship in heaven: the magnificent colors, the glorious voices, the bright light. Those stunningly intriguing four living creatures and the elders clothed in pure white falling down before the Lamb. Myriads of angels and that great multitude, stretched out as far as the eye can see, from every nation, tribe, and tongue — all with faces to the ground. The sheer beauty of it all takes my breath away.
God is inviting [us] to join in heaven's worship, to add [our voices] to the celestial choir.
Sometimes as I'm poring over a psalm and my heart is stirred by a certain attribute of God, I remember that at that very moment, worship in heaven is in full swing. It happens at church too. While singing along with God's people, I'll realize that the most glorious worship of all is resounding throughout heaven at the same time. In those moments, I sense the Lord inviting me to do more than just gaze heavenward. God is inviting me to join in heaven's worship, to add my voice to the celestial choir. In fact, Ephesians 2:6 states that, because of Christ, we are already “seated ... in the heavenly places."
So let's worship as if we're already there. Let's worship God with a mighty voice as if we're already with him in paradise.
- Rory Noland
Question: Are you surprised that the creatures worship God constantly?
A related personal confession: When I see human beings doing the same thing over and over again on earth -- reading, or skiing, woodcarving, anything -- then I think, "They must really enjoy that!" But when I hear about intelligent creatures doing the same thing over and over again in heaven, I think, "That sounds so boring."
Any thoughts on this? Leave your comments on this post.
- Adam Forrest, Zondervan
(Images & some styling above are web-exclusive features not included in the text of Worship... Image attribution: Matthias Gerung [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Painted 1530-32. This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer's personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)