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they were loudly proclaiming,

“Worthy is the LAMB

who was slain,

to receive

power and riches and

wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.”


I also heard their voices, for they were loudly proclaiming, “Worthy is THE ONLY EFFICACIOUS SACRIFICE who was slain, to be acknowledged for possessing power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”

Songs and Praises as Natural Responses

Spontaneous expressions of praise are seen often in Revelation. This fits perfectly with the theme of persecuted and oppressed believers. I encourage you to look at all the words of praise or the songs of praise recorded in Revelation. As you do so take note of those that ascribe something to the Lamb, or list why He is worthy of praise (look for phrases like “worthy to receive,” or “to Him be . . .”). I believe you will notice, as I did, that an interesting pattern emerges (1:6 is an exception to the pattern, but it is part of the introduction, not the vision itself). All of the songs or words of praise in the vision that ascribe something to God or Jesus mention three, four, or seven reasons to praise Him. In this way all of these songs and words of praise are saying He is worthy of everything, it is impossible to list all of them, but by using the image of three, four, or seven, they are saying that He is worthy of everything else too.

5:9 – “by your blood you purchased for GOD men from every tribe, language, people and nation,” The symbolism of the numbers in this song reinforces the fact that His blood has been effective in purchasing some from every conceivable grouping of people. Specifically, there are four types of groups mentioned which indicates all possible groupings. The symbolism alone was enough to convey that message, but the meaning was multiplied by the use of the word “every.” Hence, salvation is available to all, and some from every possible group have taken hold of it.

5:12 – This word of praise[1] says: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power, and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.” Count them: there are seven. That means He is worthy to receive everything worth ascribing to someone, not just those seven things specifically listed.

5:13 – Here we have a song in which every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth is involved: “saying to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb, Praise and Honor and glory and power be yours forever and forever.”  This time there are four. Four is not less than seven; they are both symbols that mean the same thing. It is another way of saying that the Lamb is worthy of everything. The created beings are affirming what the angels just said—He is worthy of every type of praise or adoration possible.

– In 7:12 we have this word of praise: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God through the ages of the ages, Amen.” The words of praise are introduced with such words as “saying,” “cried,” “cried out,” or “shouting.” These show the same pattern as the songs that attribute something to the Father or the Son—if they attribute things to Him, it is either three, or four, or seven.

– In 19:1 we read, “Hallelujah! Salvation, and glory and power belong to our God.”

Whenever this pattern was employed it communicated that the recipient is worthy of every honor, every compliment, every type of adulation possible, not just those mentioned.

Would the Jews of John’s day have understood this? I am absolutely convinced they would have. They were used to noticing the numbers of things, that is why they mentioned the number of things. There is even a book of the Bible called “Numbers.” They taught their children about the importance of numbers so the children grew up looking for patterns like the one mentioned here. What I have described above was no accident, and the Jews of John’s day would have taken notice because, at least in the case of the songs and words of praise, they were listed together in ways that are easy to count. Yes, I’m sure they would have noticed the pattern; we are the ones who are slow to catch on.

Many of the worship songs we sing today, as well as older hymns come from Revelation (this is especially true of Handel’s Messiah). Just like spontaneous expressions of praise are common in the book of Revelation, it is healthy for us to incorporate them into our lives as well.

      [1] Was this a song of praise, or words of praise? Some translations call this a song, but the Greek specifically says they were saying these words, not singing them. Either way they were praising the Lamb.