I had a strange dream last night, and while I don’t wish to go into all of the details, this particular dream did feature a song that I can’t seem to get out of my head this morning. I vaguely remember singing this once at church, though I didn’t know the name of it until last night when the title was scrawled across a scene in my minds eye. The song is called the “Revelation Song” and if you know it you probably heard the versions by either Hillsong or Philips, Craig and Dean.
I decided to blog on this in part because I want to share the song with you. It is beautiful and vivid in its imagery. The other reason for posting this here is that I was shaken to the core this morning by the simplicity and power of the Biblical passage cited in the words of the song. Hear the word of the Lord, from Revelation 4:8-11.
8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.”
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever,10 the twenty‑four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
It has become commonplace in the evangelical church to emphasize the love of God in theological discussions. While this is a good thing in many ways, my fear is that an emphasis on the love of God without an equal emphasis on the holiness of God quickly leads to a diminished view of the Godhead and of Christ. Though God is truly a God of love, it is not an earthly sort of fleeting love. God does not love us like brothers, for we are his good creation. God does not love us as a lover, for we are not his equals. As infinite, matchless, and perfect, God loves us with a holy-love, and indeed is holy-love. And so if we are to properly speak of the love of God, we must also speak of his holiness, his majesty. We must speak of him as God.
When I read the words of the passage above, I find such incredible hope and grace. It is precisely because God is holy, holy, holy that he loves us so deeply as to send his Son. And this gift is not some fleeting singularity in the history of humanity. His atonement and his resurrection are eternal as he is eternal…who was, and is, and is to come.
So, what is our proper response to God’s holiness and grace? I think we would do well to follow the lead of the 24 elders and fall on our faces proclaiming “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Or as a common doxology reminds us, ‘Praise him from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above, ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen!”
If you are unable to see the video below and would like to hear the Revelation song you can do so here.