Worship in the Book of Revelation and the Eastern Orthodox Liturgy

The Revelation to John makes dramatic use of the rich symbolism of the sacrificial ritual of the Jewish temple. A comparison of the language and imagery of the book of Revelation with the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox churches suggests that in the Revelation we see an early stage in the development of Christian liturgy, especially that of the Eastern churches.

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Covenant Worship in the New Testament

In the New Testament, the concept of covenant is often subsumed under other metaphors that describe the relationship between the Lord and his people. The most important of these is the “kingdom of God,” which was the primary theme of Jesus’ teaching and preaching. The new Israel is also called God’s temple (Eph. 2:21; 1 Cor. 3:16–17), Christ’s body (Rom. 12:4; 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:12–27; Eph. 2:16; 4:15–16), and the city of God (Matt. 5:14; Rev. 21–22). The numerous references to God as Father, to believers as brothers, and to the church as a household portray the church in terms of a family. There are, however, many references to the covenant itself. The brief covenant formulary of the Old Testament—I will be their God and they shall be my people—is applied to the church by several New Testament writers (Heb. 11:16; 1 Pet. 2:10; Rev. 21:3).

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Words Relating to Visionary Worship in the New Testament

In addition to the vocabulary of worship actually being offered in the church, the New Testament contains references to worship that may be described as “visionary”; that is, worship is described in images that seem to transcend the actual practice of the nascent church and which place its worship in an eternal and glorious context.

A Prayer from the Revelation of John

This passage reveals the hymns of praise that will be sung when the great choir of heaven rejoices in God’s judgment against the evil of the world and announces the glorious wedding feast that will take place when the church is presented as the beloved bride of Christ.

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A Prayer from the Revelation of John

First recorded in Exodus 15:1 (and believed to be the oldest song that has been preserved), this hymn-prayer originally celebrated Israel’s freedom from Egypt’s bondage. In heaven it will be sung to honor the infinite and holy glory of the Lord and His victory over the shackles of sin and death.

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