Songs of Heaven (1)

Songs of Heaven (1)

Songs of Heaven (1).

Please read Revelation 4.

In heaven, worship is what they do, and music is how they do it. Worship is heaven’s team sport, and music is the common language. Music fills the air of heaven, because there is unending worship of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

In Revelation, St. John’s book of the unveiling of Jesus Christ, there is reportedly worship and music 24/7, even though heaven exists outside of time. Surely when we get to heaven there will be work to do, relationships to deepen, fun to be had. For we all have a hand in joyfully maintaining Kingdom operations. But, according to Revelation, around every corner will be a song to sing, at a moment’s notice there will be worship to enjoy.

Our earthly ears have not come close to approaching the unlimited number and quality of notes to sing, the heavenly harmonies, the exquisite melodies. John meagerly attempts to describe the indescribable in Revelation 14: “I saw a heavenly door open before me, and the same trumpet-voice I heard speaking with me at the beginning broke the silence… A tremendous sound coming out of heaven, like the roar of a waterfall and like the ear-splitting sound of a thunderclap. The sound of music that I heard was like the sound of many harpists playing their harps. And they sung a new song…” (TPT).  This “new” song implies that it is the most perfect song ever played, totally unique, on instruments invented for heavenly worship. This new song, creating a whole new musical category, is better than perfect, sung in a heavenly key.

Worship on earth is literally participating with worship in heaven. The Christian church is primarily a worshiping community, during which we join with the angels around the throne. All other church activities are inspired and empowered by worship.

The original creation was sung into existence by God. In Revelation, it appears the new creation is sung into existence as well, by the occupants of heaven. We see a lot of different beings and creatures doing the singing. Because Revelation is full of symbolism and metaphor and analogy, these heavenly singers can be difficult to pin down. For instance, two important  choirs are:

The 24 Elders = Scholars differ over who these elders are. They could represent the uniting of Jews (12 tribes of Israel) plus the Church (12 apostles) to form the foundation of all the people of God, representing all the redeemed of God for all time, all those in God’s family. Or, the 24 elders could be a rank of angels serving as God’s chosen officers of His Court. Or, the 24 elders could be an actual council of believers who are subordinate to God but ruling with His authority and wisdom, clothed in white (purity) and wearing golden crowns (authority). The 24 elders spend a lot of their time adoring and praising God, whoever they are.

Four Living Creatures. Once again there is a wide variety of scholarly views of what they are, exactly. Because of the four winds, the four directions, the four seasons, the number four could be representative of all the cosmos, all of creation being included in the Kingdom of God. The creatures are very similar to Ezekiel’s vision of the angels in Ezekiel 1. Some in the early church depicted the four creatures as symbols of the four evangelists (Matthew = Man; Mark = Lion; Luke= Ox; John = Eagle). Some scholars believe that the four creatures represent the attributes of God (Man = Intelligence; Lion =Power and Majesty; Ox = Faithfulness; Eagle = Sovereignty). The four living creatures were of course not literal animals, but heavenly beings supporting God’s throne and leading worship. These four creatures were filled with eyes to see behind and in front, to the sides, all around the world in ongoing vigilance, guarding the throne. The four creatures were keeping a lookout everywhere, and were always active in worship and prayer.

As we continue looking at Revelation, this isn’t the last time we’ll see the 24 elders and the four living creatures. John first gazed upon them as they sang:

“Each of these living creatures had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on chanting:

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty

The One who always was, who is, and who is still to come.’

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the One sitting on the throne (the One who lives forever and ever), the 24 elders fall down and worship the One sitting on the throne (the One who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and chant,

‘You are worthy, O Lord our God,

to receive glory and honor and power.

For you created all things,

and by your will they were created

and have their being.’  (Rev. 4:8-11).

O, how that must be music to God’s ears.