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No. 38: The Hymn of the Revelation

Rite Reasons, Studies in Worship, No. 38
Copyright (c) 1995 Biblical Horizons
March, 1995

The Book of Revelation is a gold mine of liturgical information. The various hymns and exclamations in Revelation have always been used in Christian worship. As I have been studying Revelation this year, it occurred to me that make a complete hymn out of the various hymns in the book.

I have set it up first as a responsive or antiphonal reading. The minister can read the first line with the congregation reading the second, or you can divide the congregation in half and read it back and forth (see Deuteronomy 27:11-26).

The sequence of the stanzas as a whole is covenantal, so you could use it all at once any time in the service, or break it up:

Stanza 1 (Rev. 4:8, 11) praises God for who He is in Himself and for creating the world. It would go well at the very beginning of the service.

Stanza 2 (Rev. 5:9-10, 12, 13; 7:10, 12) praises God for salvation, and would go well after the confession of sin and after the absolution, the declaration of forgiveness.

Stanza 3 (Rev. 11:15, 17; 12:10) praises God for the reign of Christ, and would go well in the ascent of praise that follows the absolution.

Stanza 4 (Rev. 14:7, 13) calls on us to fear God and worship Him. I would use this as a call to prayer after the sermon and offering.

Stanza 5 (Rev. 15:3-4) praises God that all nations will come and worship Him. I would use this in connection with the prayer after the sermon and offering.

Stanza 6 (Rev. 19:1-2, 5-7, 9) praises God for the marriage supper of the Lamb, and thus goes with the Lord’s Supper.

An alternative way to use the hymn is for everyone to read it together. To bring out the wonderful rhythm of the words and thoughts, I like to set out the lines of the hymn in such a way that people know when to pause. If you read the hymn for several weeks in a row, people will begin to feel the rhythm, which is part of the Word of God itself, since the Word was written to be read aloud. Responsive and unison readings should be done in a strong, loud voice. It should be “called out,” not mumbled, or just “read out loud.”

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