Originally Delivered on 9/13/17
Today we’ll be looking at a song written 2004 by Jennie Lee Riddle. In an interview with Jennie, she said that Revelation Song was birthed out of a “decade-long prayer”, referring to a song written in 1995 by Garrit Gustafson. I Hear Angels had the beginning line,
I hear angels singing praises
I see men from ev'ry nation
Bowing down before His throne
Jennie meditated on that line and formed as a prayer, asking the Lord that more and more people would be a part of the glorious worship in heaven.
While she was dealing with all of these thoughts, she penned the words to Revelation Song. Her prayer became that there would be one bride, lifting up one song, to one King. Because of its popularity, she has been thankful that her prayer, in a certain way, is being answered.
The theme of the song is set mostly in the book of Revelation, where angels, heavenly creatures, and people are singing the glory of God. The lyrics, while speaking of a future event, are suppose to be sung by the church in the present day. So these lyrics are just speaking about a day to come, but with anticipation, we’re to sing of His glory now.
One of the reasons we sing this song at FBC Bonham is because it is filled Scripture. You’ll see as we work through the lyrics that almost every word has a tint of Biblical inspiration.
The first verse starts off with these lyrics,
Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain
Holy holy is He
Sing a new song to Him Who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat
Verse one starts off with a direct quote from Revelation 5:12. As we just read, the mighty angel asked “Who is worthy to open the scroll?” and it was met with weeping because no one was found worthy. Yet in the midst of the weeping, one of the elders told John that the only one worthy was the Lion of Judah. However, what John and the others saw was a Lamb that had look like it had been slain.
We don’t have a sufficient amount of time to discuss the implications of this scene, but for our purpose, it’s important to note that the lamb being displayed here is Christ Jesus, the Son of God. The reason the Lamb looks like it had been slain was because Christ Jesus died on the cross, paying the price for our sins. His atonement was the only possibility for redeeming His people and also bringing in the new Heaven and Earth. Revelation Song rightfully describes Him as holy because His sacrifice was unique.
While David the Psalmist speaks many times about singing a new song to the Lord (33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1), this reference is actually from Revelation 5 as well. This new song transitions from the song in chapter 4, which is directly quoted in the chorus, to the song in chapter 5:9-10. The reference to the mercy seat is from verse 13, speaking about the throne where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
The chorus then comes in saying,
Holy holy holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings
You are my ev'rything
And I will adore You
The chorus starts off with the song from Revelation 4. While it’s mentioned in verse 1 of a new song that we will sing when the Lamb opens the scroll, in our day and age, we are suppose to sing this song, which particularly says that Christ is coming again. This breeds the anticipation that was desired for this song.
The second half of the chorus simply states that we are not alone in this worship of the Lord. One of the items that Jennie mentions in writing this is the need for corporate praise and worship. While it’s good to have songs that are individual in nature, it’s important to keep tabs on the fact that we are not alone in our worship of God. We worship with those in our church, in the churches around us, and those all over the world.
These last two lines, “You are my everything and I will adore You” are important because they give application to the declaration of God’s character. Because God is holy and everlasting and almighty, we are able to say that He is all we need, and that just as Christ alone is worthy to open the scroll, He alone is worthy of our adoration.
The second verse contains the lyrics,
Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lightning rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor strength and glory
And power be to You the only wise King
These first two lines come from Revelation 4:3-6. The purpose of this was to communicate the glory and splendor of the King on the throne. The author of Revelation wrote in these similes to magnify the holiness of God. There was nothing like the beauty of God and nothing could accurately portray His grandeur. This is one of the only times when description of something proves to be of no avail.
The second two lines comes from 4:11. The wisdom mentioned in our song comes from the last part of 4:11 where it says, “You created all things and because of Your will they existed and were created.” God in His wisdom did create everything that is created. This allows us to respond again with the chorus.
The third and final verse follows,
Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power breath and living water
Such a marv'lous mystery
This verse has two lines of response, followed by two lines of declaration. The response is reflective of the person viewing the Lord and His character. Although we do not see the Lord like Isaiah and John did, we do have enough to be awestruck because His character is truly amazing.
The declarative lines mainly address the power of Jesus’ name. While this is a commonly, and probably poorly, understood concept in our day and age, this is truly a wonderful thing. Many times throughout the New Testament was the name of the Lord used to do miraculous things. Jesus cast out demons in Mark 16:17-18, people were healed in Acts 3:6, 16, but most importantly is we are justified by the power of His name. 1 Corinthians 6:11b says, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” This Gospel allusion speaks to the marvelous mystery.
So in conclusion, we sing this song because it is filled with Scripture and Biblical belief. It’s singable in a certain key with a very consistent and decent range, and it’s meant for a church congregation to sing. So when you sing this song, be thinking about the wondrous glory of God. Not only do we worship Him as King now, but we’ll worship Him forever as Lord over all.