Are both the Father and the Son worshipped in Revelation 5:14?

In Revelation 5:13, the whole creation praises both “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb.” The next verse continues: “And the elders fell down and worshiped” (Rev 5:14) but it does not say who they worshiped. Did they worship both the “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb,” as mentioned in the previous verse?

Summary

This article argues as follows that the elders worship only “Him who sits on the throne,” namely, the Father:

1) Other instances of Divine Worship

In Revelation, in addition to 5:13-14, there are five other instances of divine worship by heavenly beings and, in all five, the Father alone is worshiped. In four of those instances, “God” is worshiped (Rev 7:11; 11:16; 15:3-4; 19:4) and this article shows that Revelation NEVER refers to Jesus as God but consistently maintains a distinction between “God” and Jesus Christ. For example:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
which God gave Him” (Rev 1:1; cf. Rev 1:2, 9; 5:9; 7:10, 17; 12:5, 17; 14:4, 12; 20:4, 6; 21:22, 23; and 22:1, 3).

In the fifth instance, “Him who sits on the throne” is worshiped (Rev 4:10-11) and that title also always refers to the Father. For example:

The Lamb” (Jesus) “came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne” (Rev 5:6-7; cf. Rev 5:13; 12:5; 6:16; 7:9-10).

In conclusion, in five instances of divine worship by heavenly beings, the Father alone is worshiped. The sixth instance, which is 5:14 and does not say who is worshiped, therefore, should also be understood as worship of the Father.

2) The Praise-Worship Pattern

In 5:13-14, both the Father and the Son are present and both are praised in 5:13. Then, in 5:14, the elders worship.

We find this pattern of praise followed by worship also in Revelation 7. In Revelation 7:9-11, both the Father and the Son are present (see Rev 6:16) and both are praised but only the Father is worshiped. This is significant. If we apply this pattern of praise followed by worship to Revelation 5:13, only the Father is worshiped there as well.

3) Worship the Creator

The message of the three angels, which will be proclaimed in the end-time, warns us to worship only the Creator (Rev 14:7) and Revelation identifies the Father as the Creator:

Firstly, that verse (14:7) commands us to both “fear God” and worship the Creator, implying that the Creator is “God.” And, as argued, in Revelation, “God” always refers to the Father.

Secondly, Revelation 4:10-11 identifies “Him who sits on the throne,” who is also called “God,” as the Creator. Both these descriptions always refer to the Father in distinction from the Son, for example:

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Rev 7:10; 5:13; 6:17; 4:9-10; 19:4)

Further Conclusions

Twice John attempts to worship the angel and in both instances, he is instructed to “worship God” (Rev 19:10; 22:9). Since Revelation always refers to the Father alone as God, and never refers to the Son as God, this is an instruction to worship the Father alone.

– End of Summary –


Purpose

In Revelation 5:13, the whole creation praises both “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb.” The next verse continues: “And the elders fell down and worshiped” (Rev 5:14) but it does not say who they worshiped. Did they worship both the “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb,” as mentioned in the previous verse? For the following reasons, the elders worshiped only “Him who sits on the throne,” namely, the Father:

1) Other instances of Worship

In Revelation, there are many instances where people on earth worship false gods, for example, “worship demons” (Rev 9:20) or “worshiped the dragon” (Rev 13:4). In addition to 5:14, there are five other instances of true worship in heaven and, in all five, it is the Father alone that is worshiped (Rev 4:10-11; 7:11; 11:16; 15:3-4; 19:4).

The five instances are as follows:

The twenty-four elders will fall down
before Him who sits on the throne,
and will worship Him …
for You created all things
” (Rev 4:10-11).

All the angels …
fell on their faces before the throne
and worshiped God
” (Rev 7:11).

The twenty-four elders …
fell on their faces and worshiped God
” (Rev 11:16).

O Lord God, the Almighty …
all the nations will come and worship before you
” (Rev 15:3-4).

The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne” (Rev 19:4).

In four of the five instances, “God” is worshiped and, in Revelation, “God” is ALWAYS somebody other than Jesus Christ, namely, the Father. For example:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
which God gave Him” (Rev 1:1)

There are many other such verses that make an explicit distinction between God and Jesus. For example:

Salvation to our God who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb” (Rev 7:10).

You (the Lamb – Jesus) were slain,
and purchased for God with Your blood
men from every tribe …” (Rev 5:9).

The Lord God the Almighty and
the Lamb are its temple
” (Rev 21:22).

For similar statements, see Revelation 1:2, 9; 7:17; 12:5, 17; 14:4, 12; 20:4, 6; 21:22, 23; and 22:1, 3. Revelation NEVER refers to Jesus as God.

In the fifth instance, “Him who sits on the throne” is worshiped. That title also always refers to the Father. For example, the following verses make a distinction between Jesus and Him who sits on the throne:

The Lamb” (Jesus) “came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne” (Rev 5:6-7).

Every created thing … I heard saying,
To Him who sits on the throne,
AND to the Lamb” (Rev 5:13; cf. Rev 12:5; 6:16; 7:9-10).

In conclusion, there are 6 instances of divine worship by heavenly beings in Revelation. In five, the Father is worshiped. Therefore, the sixth, which is 5:14 and which does not say who is worshiped, should also be understood as worship of the Father.

Furthermore, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never explicitly worshiped in Revelation.

2) The Praise-Worship Pattern

In 5:13-14, both the Father and the Son are present and both are praised in 5:13. Then, in 5:14, the elders worship. We find this pattern of praise followed by worship also in Revelation 7 and 11. The only difference is that, in these two instances, it is explicitly the Father who is worshiped. To explain:

Revelation 7:9-11

These verses read:

9 I looked, and behold,
a great multitude which no one could count …
10 … cry out with a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

11 and all the angels … fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God.”

The great multitude praises both “God who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb.” Here, the One sitting on the throne (the Father) is explicitly identified as “God.” In the next verse “God” is worshiped. No mention of the Lamb being worshiped. If we apply this pattern of praise followed by worship to Revelation 5:13, only the Father is worshiped there as well.

In Revelation 4, the Father alone is worshiped. That can be explained as that the Son is not present in that chapter. He only enters the throne room in Revelation 5:6. In contrast, in Revelation 7, both the Father and the Son are present (see Rev 6:16). It, therefore, is significant that only the Father is worshiped.

Revelation 11:15-16

In these verses, we find a similar pattern. First, in verse 15, “loud voices in heaven” say:

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom
of our Lord and of His Christ;
and He will reign forever and ever
” (Rev 11:15).

The phrase, “our Lord and of His Christ,” means that “Lord” in this verse refers to the Father. Therefore, both the Father and the Son are mentioned in 11:15. Then, in the next verse, “the twenty-four elders .. fell on their faces and worshiped God” (Rev 11:16). There is no mention of the worship of the Son.

3) Worship the Creator

Another place where we are told WHO to worship is in the message of the three angels (Rev 14:6-12). The first angel commands:

Fear God, and give Him glory …
worship Him who made the heaven and
the earth and sea and springs of waters” (Rev 14:7).

This commands us to worship the Creator. So, who is the Creator? In the New Testament, we read that God created all things “through” His Son (e.g., Heb 1:1-2). Is Jesus the Creator? For the following reasons, in Revelation, the Father is the Creator:

Firstly, the first angel commands us to both “fear God” and worship the Creator. This implies that the Creator and God are one and the same Person and, as argued, in Revelation, “God” always refers to the Father, 

Secondly, in Revelation 4:

The twenty-four elders will fall down
before Him who sits on the throne … saying,
‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God … 
for You created all things,
and because of Your will they existed, and were created‘.”

For the following reasons, this Person is the Father:

1) This person is identified as “Him who sits on the throne” and, in Revelation, this title always refers to the Father in distinction from the Son, for example:

Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Rev 7:10; 5:13; 6:17; 4:9-10; 19:4).

2) This person is also described as God and, as stated, in Revelation, only the Father is God.

3) The Son is not present in Revelation 4. He only enters the throne room in Revelation 5:6.

The three angels, therefore, command us to worship the Father. Their message will be proclaimed to the world with a mighty voice during the end-time persecution of God’s people (Rev 13:16-17). The many times that the word “worship” appears in that context (Rev 13:4, 8, 12, 15, 14:7, 9, 11) means that that will be a conflict over worship. We should, therefore, regard the message of the three angels as very important.

4) Worship in the Temple.

The examples of divine worship above are instances where heavenly beings worship. There are also instances of divine worship in Revelation by humans:

Revelation 11:1 refers to people who worship in “the temple of God.”

In Revelation 15:3-4, they sang the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty … You alone are holy; For all the nations will come and worship before you.”

In both instances, the title “God” identifies the Person who is worshiped as the Father. The second instance also identifies this Person as “the Almighty.Another article analyses all instances of this term and shows that this term is used for the Father in distinction from the Son. For example:

The Lord God the Almighty
and the Lamb are its temple
” (Rev 21:22)

Further Conclusion

Twice John attempts to worship the angel and in both instances, he is instructed to “worship God” (Rev 19:10; 22:9). Since Revelation always refers to the Father alone as “God” – never to the Son, this is an instruction to worship the Father.


Other Articles

Worship sounds and songs in God’s throne room (Revelation 4 & 5)

This is an article in the series on the vision of the book with the seven seals (Rev 4:1-8:1). The first part of the article is a summary.

Summary

Purpose

The previous articles in this series discussed (1) Revelation 4:1-8 and (2) The 24 elders in God’s throne room (Rev 4:4). While the first part of Revelation 4 describes God’s throne room VISUALLY, the purpose of this article is to discuss the last part of Revelation 4, which describes the SOUNDS in God’s presence.

Holy

The four living creatures say “day and night,” without ceasing:

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God,
the Almighty
” (Rev 4:8).

God is holy because He is the Uncreated Source of all things. All else exists BECAUSE He exists. He created all things, and they exist BECAUSE OF His will (Rev 4:11).

Note that Jesus does not appear in Revelation 4: It describes only the Father.

Day and Night

Both the four living creatures and Satan talk “day and night” without ceasing ABOUT GOD. However, while the four living creatures praise God (Rev 4:8), Satan, by accusing the people whom God has chosen for eternal life (Rev 12:10), effectively accuses God of unfair judgment. (See – Overview of Revelation 12.) The four living creatures, therefore, seem to be opposing Satan.

Almighty

The four living creatures describe “One sitting on the throne” as “the Almighty” (Rev 4:2, 8). Of the 10 instances of this phrase in the New Testament, 9 are in Revelation. The Bible never refers to Jesus as “the Almighty.” On the contrary, Jesus is explicitly distinct from “the Almighty“ (Rev 21:22; Rev 19:15). For further discussion, see – Is Jesus the Almighty?

Who Was
And Who Is
And Is To Come

The four living creatures describe the Almighty also as the One “Who was and Who is and Who is to come” (Rev 4:8). This may be related to the “I AM“-title in Exodus 3:14 and may also be another way of saying that God is always the same (cf. Heb 13:8).

In Revelation, the Son is eternal (Rev 1:17; 22:12-13) but only the Father:

    • Is called God (cf. Rev 1:2);
    • Is described as Almighty (e.g., Rev 21:22),
    • Sits on the throne (e.g., Rev 12:5; 3:21; 4:2),
    • Lives forever (e.g., Rev 4:9),
    • Willed and created all things (Rev 4:11) and
    • Was and is and is to come (e.g., Rev 1:4-5).

Lives Forever and Ever

Jesus is “alive forevermore” (Rev 1:18) and “will reign forever” (Rev 11:15), but only the Father “lives forever” (Rev 4:9, 10; 15:7). The Father “alone possesses immortality” (1 Tim 6:16). As the only begotten Son of God, Jesus derived His eternal nature from the Father but the Father is the Unbegotten Source of all things. He, alone, has inherent (essential) immortality.

This is not one specific event.

WHENEVER the four living creatures offer their triple praise to God (Rev 4:9), the twenty-elders fall down and worship God (Rev 4:10). The word “when” or “whenever” implies repetitive action. This confirms that this fourth chapter does not describe one specific event, but the general condition in God’s presence.

Explosion of Worship

Worship explodes outward. The four living creatures, in the inner circle around the throne (Rev 4:6), with their astounding perceptive abilities (Rev 4:6), become full of the wonder of God’s holiness (Rev 4:8), and burst into praise. That worship overflows to the next circle around the throne – the 24 elders (Rev 4:9-10), then to the billions of angels around the 24 elders (Rev 5:11-12), and, finally, to “every created thing” (Rev 5:13).

Cast their crowns before the throne

The crowns of the 24 elders (Rev 4:10) are crowns of victory (Greek: stephanos); not royal crowns (Greek: diadêma).

They cast their crowns before the throne (Rev 4:10), meaning that they acknowledge that they owe their victory completely to Him. In a sense, they feel unworthy to wear their crowns in the presence of the One who gave them their victory.

The Creator

In Revelation 5, Jesus Christ will be declared “worthy” because He was slain and purchased people for God with His blood (Rev 5:9). But, in Revelation 4, the One sitting on the throne is declared “worthy” BECAUSE He created all things (Rev 4:11).

All things were created because of the will of the Father (Rev 4:11). But for the will of God, the universe would not exist. Elsewhere in the New Testament, we read that God created all things THROUGH His Son (John 1:3; Col 1:15; 1 Cor 8:6; Heb 1:2), but here, at the end of Revelation 4, the Father alone is identified as the Creator. For a further discussion, see – God created all things, but He created through His Son.

Our Lord

The one seated on the throne is addressed as “our Lord” (Rev 4:11).

The Greek word translated as “Lord” is kurios. The L is capitalized, not because of the word itself, but because of the context, namely, because it refers to God, the Father. The same word, for example, is also translated as “master” or “owner” or “lord” (e.g., Matt 10:24; 20:8; Mark 13:35; Acts 25:26).

The New Testament uses the title kurios very often for Jesus, but Jesus is not present in the throne room in Revelation 4. The current verse describes His Father as “Lord.”

The Old Testament often uses God’s name (Yahweh). This name never appears in the New Testament. It is possible that, in some instances, the title kurios in the New Testament serves as a name for God. However, in the current verse, the word “our” in the phrase “OUR kurios” implies that kurios does not serve as a name. Rather, it is a statement that the Father is OUR MASTER or OUR OWNER.

Our God

The one seated on the throne is also addressed as “our God” (Rev 4:11). The word “God” translates from the Greek word theos. This word, actually, means “god.” In ancient Greek culture, theos was used for the many gods (pantheon) of the ancients. It is translated here as “God,” not because of the word itself, but because it refers to the Father.

However, the title “God” means something VERY DIFFERENT from theos. The title “God” functions like a name of one specific being; whom dictionaries describe as the Supreme or Ultimate Reality. Therefore, in the Christian context, the title “God” has come to mean more or less the same as the name Yahweh in the Old Testament. For a further discussion, see the article theos.

Is Jesus equal with the Father?

There are five songs of praise in Revelation 4 and 5:

      • The first two (Rev 4:8, 11) are sung in honor of the One on the throne, “for You created all things” (Rev 4:11).
      • The next two songs (Rev 5:9-10, 12) praise the Lamb (Jesus), “for You … purchased for God with Your blood men” (Rev 5:9-10).
      • The final hymn, as the climax of the series, is sung to both “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb” (Rev 5:13).

Since, in this last hymn, all creation bows down to praise BOTH the Father and the Son, some claim that this attributes to Jesus Christ EQUAL STATUS with His Father. However:

Firstly, the Father is the One on the throne (Rev 5:13) and, therefore, the ultimate Ruler.

Secondly, as discussed above, only the Father is Almighty (e.g., Rev 21:22), has essential immortality (Rev 4:9-10), and is called God (cf. Rev 1:2).

Thirdly, Philippians 2:6-11 describes the same event as in Revelation 5, namely, what happens in heaven when Jesus arrives after His ascension. It explains that Jesus is worshiped
(1) because “God highly exalted Him” (Phil 2:9) and
(2) that He is worshiped “to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11).
For a discussion, see the article on Philippians 2.

Head of ChristGod is the Creator, but He created all things THROUGH His Son (e.g. John 1:3; Heb 1:2; 1 Cor 8:6). God is the ultimate Ruler, but He GAVE all authority to His Son (Matt 28:18). Similarly, God alone is to be worshiped, but “all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (John 5:23), because that is God’s will (Phil 2:9; Heb 1:6). For a further discussion, see, “God is the Head of Christ” (1 Cor 11:3).

But when God’s end-time people are called to “Fear God, and … worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters” (Rev 14:7), it is a call to worship the Father.

The Christology of this Website

This website defends the view of God and Christ that was maintained by the church during the first three centuries. They believed that the Son ALWAYS existed and that He was the MEANS through whom God created all things, but that He always was and always will be SUBORDINATE to the Father. (See – The Apologists.)

– End of Summary – 

This is the end of the summary. If you would like to skip the detailed discussion below, the next article in this series is – Revelation 5 is Christ’s enthronement after His ascension to heaven. Alternatively, see the list of the articles in the series on the sealed book.


Purpose

Previous articles in this series discussed:

The current article continues the discussion of chapter 4, namely, the SOUNDS and the songs of worship in God’s presence, as we find in Revelation 4:8-11 as well as in the last part of Revelation 5; after Jesus appears in the throne room (Rev 5:5-6).

Revelation 4:8

and day and night they do not cease to say,
“HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY,
WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.

Holy

To be holy means to be separate:

      • Things are holy when consecrated to God.
      • People are holy when God assigns specific tasks to them.
      • God is essentially holy (meaning, it is an inherent part of His being) because He is distinct from all creation. He is the Uncreated Source of all things. He is that which exists. All else exists BECAUSE He exists. He created all things, and because of His will, they exist (Rev 4:11).

Day and Night

Day and night” means continual or ongoing.

To continually say “holy, holy, holy” may seem boring, but the four living creatures have been created with the ability to understand something about God’s immeasurable holiness. Therefore, their intense emotions explode into these words of exaltation. It is not their duty; it is their joy!

Both the four living creatures and Satan keep talking “day and night” about God. However, while the four living creatures praise God, Satan, by accusing the people whom God has chosen for eternal life “day and night” (Rev 12:10), effectively accuses God of unfair judgment. (See – Overview of Revelation 12.) The four living creatures, therefore, seem to be opposing Satan.

As discussed, the main word in Revelation 4 is “throne.” The reason for the great focus on the throne of God is possibly because the throne symbolizes God’s authority, and because Satan challenged God’s authority; specifically; His judgments.

The Almighty

This verse describes God as “the Almighty” (Rev 4:8). Of the 10 instances of this phrase in the New Testament, 9 are in Revelation. The Bible never refers to Jesus as “the Almighty.” On the contrary, Jesus is explicitly distinct from “the Almighty,“ for example:

The Lord God the Almighty
and the Lamb are its temple

(Rev 21:22; cf. Rev 19:15).

For a further discussion, see:

Who Was
And Who Is
And Is To Come

The four living creatures also describe the Almighty as the One “Who was and Who is and Who is to come” (Rev 4:8). This three-fold description of God occurs four times in Revelation (Rev 1:4; 1:8; 4:8; 11:17). However, Revelation 11:17 omits the “is to come”-part because He has already come (Rev 11:15).

Who is and who was and who is to come” may be another way of saying God is always the same (cf. Heb 13:8). It may also be related to God’s “I AM“-title in Exodus 3:14.

In Revelation, all four uses of this phrase apply exclusively to the Father (e.g., Rev 1:4-5). Titles such as “the first and the last,” “the beginning and the end,” and “the Alpha and the Omega” seem to be applied to Christ in Revelation 1:17 and Revelation 22:12-13 and do mean that the Son has always existed. Nevertheless, in the book of Revelation, only the Father:

      • Is God (cf. Rev 1:2);
      • Is Almighty (e.g., Rev 21:22),
      • Sits on the throne (e.g., Rev 12:5; 3:21; 4:2),
      • Lives forever (e.g., Rev 4:9),
      • Is the One who willed and created all things (Rev 4:11) and
      • Was and is and is to come (e.g., Rev 1:4-5).

See the articles referenced above for further discussion.

Revelation 4:9

And when the living creatures give
glory and honor and thanks
to Him who sits on the throne,
to Him who lives forever and ever

When the living creatures give

The word “when” implies repetitive action and can also be translated as “whenever.” This confirms that, as discussed previously, that Revelation 4 does not describe one specific event.

Glory and honor and thanks

Glory, literally, is the brightness or radiance that surrounds a divine figure. Here, it is used in an extended sense of HOW WONDERFUL GOD IS.

Honor, literally, is an expression of reverence or respect toward another.

Thanks – To give thanks is the foundation of true worship. Those who are mindful of all that God has done for them will express themselves with gratitude and this gratitude will keep them FOCUSED ON GOD.

In Revelation, worship is all about God and His mighty acts on our behalf. For example:

God is worthy to “receive glory and honor and power” “because” (NIV) He created all things (Rev 4:11).

Both “Him who sits on the throne, and … the Lamb” receive honor “because” (NIV) the Lamb was slain (Rev 5:13, cf. Rev 5:9).

God is given thanks “because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign” (Rev 11:17).

The same principle applies throughout the Bible: Worship is talking about, singing about, and repeating what God has done (Deut 26:1-11; Psa 66:3-6; 78:5-15; 111:4).

Worship is NOT about us, our feelings, or our duties. Worship is NOT a recital of what WE need to do; it is a recital of what GOD HAS DONE.

Understanding and practicing this truth will unleash God’s power in a local church. If worship often seems powerless, it is because it is rarely centered on God. In Bible times, when people rehearsed what God had done for them in the past, the power of God’s original act was unleashed in the worshiper’s present (2 Chron 20:5-22; Dan 9:15). Worship focuses attention away from us and toward God. Our weakness takes hold of His strength.

Him who lives forever and ever

Jesus is “alive forevermore” (Rev 1:18) and “will reign forever” (Rev 11:15), but only the Father is “Him who lives forever” (Rev 4:9-10; 15:7). The Father “alone possesses immortality” (1 Tim 6:13-16). As the only begotten Son of God, Jesus derived His eternal nature from the Father but the Father is the Unbegotten Source of all things. He, alone, has inherent (essential) immortality.

Revelation 4:10

the twenty-four elders will fall down
before Him who sits on the throne,
and will worship Him who lives forever and ever,
and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Explosion of Worship

This verse repeats much of the previous verse. In that verse, it was the 4 living creatures (Rev 4:8). Here, the 24 elders worship God.

WHENEVER (Rev 4:9) the four living creatures offer their triple praise to God, the twenty-elders fall down and worship God. Worship explodes outward. The four living creatures, in the inner circle around the throne (Rev 4:6), with their astounding perceptive abilities (Rev 4:6), become full of the wonder of God’s holiness (Rev 4:8), and burst into praise. That worship overflows to the next circle around the throne – the 24 elders – and then to the billions of angels around the 24 elders (Rev 5:11-12) and, finally, to “every created thing” (Rev 5:13).

Fall Down … Worship

This verse translates the two key words for worship in Revelation as “fall down” (Greek: pesountai) and “worship” (proskunêsousin). Both these words mean to prostrate oneself in obeisance toward a god or an exalted person such as a king.

To translate the second word as “worship” goes beyond the meaning of the Greek word, for, as defined by dictionaries, the English word “worship” implies that the one receiving obeisance is a god or godlike. However, given the context, the word “worship” is appropriate. For a discussion, see – Jesus is worshiped.

Cast their crowns before the throne

The crowns of the 24 elders (Rev 4:10) are crowns of victory (Greek: stephanos); not royal crowns (Greek: diadêma).

They cast their crown before the throne (Rev 4:10), meaning that they acknowledge that they owe their victory completely to Him. In a sense, they feel unworthy to wear their crowns in the presence of the One who gave them their victory.

Revelation 4:11

“Worthy are You,
our Lord and our God,
to receive glory and honor and power;
for You created all things,
and because of Your will they existed,
and were created.”

Worthy are You

In Revelation 5, Jesus Christ will be declared “worthy” because He was slain and purchased people for God with His blood (Rev 5:9). But, in Revelation 4, the One sitting on the throne is declared “worthybecause He created all things.

Our Lord

The one seated on the throne is addressed as “our Lord and our God.” 

The Greek word translated as “Lord” is kurios. The L is capitalized, not because of the word itself, but because of the context, namely, because it refers to God, the Father. The same word, for example, is also translated as “master” or “owner” or “lord.” For example:

    • The owner of the vineyard” (Matt 20:8);
    • The master of the house” (Mark 13:35);
    • A slave (is not) above his master” (Matt 10:24); and
    • I have nothing definite about him to write to my lord (the Roman emperor” (Acts 25:26).

The New Testament uses the title kurios very often for Jesus, but Jesus is not present in the throne room in Revelation 4. The current verse describes His Father as “Lord.”

The Old Testament often uses God’s name (Yahweh). This name never appears in the New Testament. Since, in the Greek Old Testament, the name of God (Yahweh) is nearly always translated with kurios, the title kurios in the New Testament may, in some instances, serve AS A NAME for God. However, in the current verse, the word “our” in the phrase “OUR kurios” implies that kurios does not serve as such. Rather, it is a statement that the Father is OUR MASTER or OUR OWNER.

And our God

The word “God” translates from the Greek word theos which, in the Greek culture, was used for the many gods (pantheon) of the ancients. Similar to the word kurios, the G is here capitalized, not because of the word itself, but because it refers to the Father. The same word theos, for example, is translated as “god” in the following instances:

    • Satan is described as “ho theos of this world” (2 Cor 4:4) and
    • The gods of the nations (e.g., 1 Cor 8:5), or
    • People “to whom the word of God came” (John 10:35).

In First-Century Asia Minor, the emperor Domitian was known as “lord and god.” The word theos, therefore, was used for any being whose power is far beyond that of ordinary people.

Ancient languages did not distinguish between lower- and upper-case characters. The Bible, similarly, was written only in CAPITAL letters. The word “God,” with a capital G, is a modern invention that, over the centuries, has attained a VERY DIFFERENT meaning from the Greek word theos:

If you asked an ancient person who theos is, he would not know because, at that time, there were “many gods and many lords” (1 Cor 8:5). That person would have asked which theos you are referring to.

Today, if you ask who God is, the average educated person would be able to answer. Dictionaries define “God” as the Supreme or Ultimate Reality.

Therefore, in the Christian context, the title “God” has come to mean more or less the same as the name Yahweh. It functions like the name of one specific being; the Ultimate Reality.

In the current verse, the Father is addressed, literally, as “the theos of us” or “our theos.” Given the context of the time, when hundreds of theoi (gods) were professed, this seems to identify the One sitting on the throne as the one specific theos WE worship. In other words, the phrase DOES NOT INCLUDE A NAME. For that reason, and since the title “God” functions like a name, to retain the original meaning, it might have been appropriate to translate the phrase as “our lord and our god,” rather than “our Lord and our God.”

Paul wrote similarly:

There are many gods and many lords,
yet for us there is but one God, the Father …
and one Lord, Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 8:5-6).

Would a lower case “god” and “lord” not have been more appropriate also in this verse? Why are the words capitalized?

For a further discussion, see the article – theos.

To receive glory and honor and power;
for You created all things,
and because of Your will, they existed,
and were created

In verse 9, the four living beings ascribed “glory and honor and thanks” to Him. The current verse repeats the same concepts but replaces “thanks” with “power,” for this verse also identifies Him as the Almighty Creator. All power belongs to God but He restrains His power (Rev 11:17) for God never forces anyone to comply with His will. Rather than using His power, He seeks to win the love of His creatures (Rev 15:3-4). See, God’s creatures are free to rebel against Him.

The words “for” and “because” indicate cause and consequence. In other words, God is worthy to receive our “glory and honor and power” BECAUSE He created all things.

All things” means the entire universe (Rom 11:36; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 1:10; 3:9; Heb 1:3; 2:10); the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.

All things were created “because of Your will.” But for the will of God, the universe would not exist. Jesus prayed similarly: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). It was the Father’s will that Jesus should suffer the torment of the cross. For a discussion, see – Why Jesus had to die to open the book.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, we read that God created all things THROUGH His Son (John 1:3; Col 1:15; 1 Cor 8:6; Heb 1:2), but here, at the end of Revelation 4, the Father alone is identified as the Creator (Rev 4:11). See – God created all things, but He created through His Son.

Worship in Revelation 5

Five Worship Hymns

Five hymns are sung in Revelation 4 and 5:

      • The first two are sung in honor of the One on the throne.
      • The next two songs praise the Lamb.
      • The last hymn offers praise to both.

There is a crescendo in the size of the groups singing these hymns:

Song Sung to: Sung by:
(1) Rev 4:8 “Holy, holy, holy The One on the throne 4 living creatures.
(2) Rev 4:11 – Praising Him as the Creator 24 elders
(3) Rev 5:9-10 – Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals The Lamb 4 living creatures
AND the 24 elders
(4) Rev 5:12 – Worthy is the Lamb to receive power, riches, wisdom … 4 living creatures
AND the 24 elders
AND millions of angels
(5) Rev 5:13 – blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever Both EVERY CREATURE

So, the whole sequence of Revelation 4-5 moves forward to the great climax in which “all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (John 5:23).

Jesus receives the same honor as the Father.

In Revelation 5, all creation bows down to praise BOTH the Father and the Son:

Then I heard every creature … singing:
– ‘To him who sits on the throne
– and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power!
” (Rev 5:13)

Because of this, it is often stated that this attributes to Jesus Christ EQUAL STATUS with His Father. However:

Firstly, since, in this verse, the Father is the One on the throne (Rev 5:13; 12:5; 3:21; 4:2), He is the ultimate Ruler.

Secondly, as discussed above under verse 8, in Revelation, only the Father:

          • Is Almighty (e.g., Rev 21:22),
          • Has essential immortality (Rev 4:9-10),
          • Has willed and created all things to exist (Rev 4:11).
          • Is called God (cf. Rev 1:2);
          • Was and is and is to come (e.g., Rev 1:4-5).

Thirdly, Philippians 2:6-11 describes the same event as in Revelation 5. It also explains what happened in heaven after Jesus ascended. In that passage:

        • Jesus is worshiped because “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil 2:9) and
        • He is worshiped “to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11).
          For a discussion, see the article on Philippians 2.

God is the Creator, but He created all things THROUGH His Son (e.g. John 1:3; Heb 1:2; 1 Cor 8:6). God is the ultimate Ruler, but He GAVE all authority to His Son (Matt 28:18). Similarly, God alone is to be worshiped, but “all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (John 5:23), BECAUSE that is God’s will (Phil 2:9; Heb 1:6). For a further discussion, see, “God is the Head of Christ” (1 Cor 11:3).

Amid the end-time crisis, God’s people are called to:

Fear God, and … worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters” (Rev 14:7).

In Revelation’s language, this is a call to worship the Father for, in Revelation, ONLY the Father is called God and ONLY the Father is the Creator. In Revelation, God is also Jesus’ God (Rev 1:6; 3:12). To elevate Jesus to the same level as the Almighty God is to DISTORT the Word of God! For further discussion, see – In the Trinity theory, God is three Persons in one Being, but Jesus is not God.

The Christology of this website

This website defends the view of God and Christ that was maintained by the church fathers during the first three centuries; particularly the doctrine as clarified by Origen (184-253).

Most of the delegates at the Nicene Council of 325 were disciples of Origin (bible.ca). They believed that the Son ALWAYS existed and that He was the MEANS through whom God created all things, but they also believed that He was and always will be subordinate to the Father. (See – The Apologists.)

Origin’s views are also reflected by the Nicene Creed, except for the concept of homoousios (same substance), which Emperor Constantine forced the meeting to add (See – Millard Erickson).

During the first three centuries, the church was persecuted by the Roman authorities. Early in the fourth century, Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity. Later in that same century, Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the ONLY LEGAL religion in the empire. However, what he enacted as law was SPECIFICALLY THE TRINITY DOCTRINE. In his Edict of Thessalonica, he decreed as follows:

Let us believe in the one deity
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity.

Concerning people with different beliefs, he commanded:

In our judgment they are foolish madmen … heretics …
They will suffer … the punishment … we shall decide to inflict.

When Theodosius rose to power, the church was strongly Arian. But Theodosius implemented his law with a heavy hand, making an end to all non-Trinitarian Christologies in the Roman Empire. Later rulers, including Emperor Justinian in the sixth century, ensured compliance. Consequently, the church entered the Dark Ages professing the Trinity doctrine and the mainstream church still does.


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