Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Worship God AloneRevelations 19: 1-10
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’
The book of revelation is written in the Roman imperial context as a resistance against the Empire, which is dominating and persecuting the ‘vulnerable’ Christians. The text is rich with metaphors and imageries with immense inherent meanings.
Verses 1-8 describe the fall of Babylon. Babylon is a metaphor used in Revelation to denote Rome, then the reigning Empire that persecuted Christians. We can listen to many voices from Heaven in the book of Revelation. In this chapter, we see the fourth one of such a kind. In verses 1-5, the full range of voices in heaven praise God for his judgment of Babylon and exhort God’s servants on earth to do so. Verse 3 is a clear mocking of Rome’s claim of the eternity of their Empire. Verses 6 to 8 illustrate the voice of a great multitude, which celebrates the positive consequences of judgment upon Babylon (Rome). God’s reign and Lamb’s marriage to his chaste bride the church are portrayed as a counter imagination to the Imperial reign.
Verses 9 & 10 compile a conversation between the writer and the angel. The common image of the eschatological banquet is here specified as a marriage supper. This conversation dramatizes the issue of true worship. Not the pretenders of divine status, like the beast, not even God’s heavenly servants (angels) may be worshipped, but only God. Jewish monotheistic view is also visible in the background of this thought. This is also an affirmation that Jesus is God and worthy to be worshipped. Verse 10 also affirms that when spirit inspires prophecy, its content is the witness Jesus bore and bore.
The text contains the hope of judgment against the enemies, which is ruling a powerful empire. It is a liturgical text that re-imagines the worship as a counter against the Empire by mocking it and attributing the same words of glorification to the Empire for glorifying God. The setting of heaven which is described itself is a counter against the imperial court. Among all these powerful content the most important affirmation is that God alone should be worshipped, which is clearly specified in verse 10.
In the world we live in, there are imperial structures around us that could be both visible and invisible. We may have a tendency to adapt to it and unknowingly ‘worship’ such structures. Appreciating and glorifying things for their worth is good but we need to discern regarding the level of ‘worship’ we need to maintain. We are fans of many people and things. Are we clear about the ‘worship’ we possess towards them? There are different kinds of worship around us when we live in a pluralistic context which even includes satanic worships. There are different kinds of worships among Christianity itself. Are we sure about the content and quality of worship around us? All worships may not lead us to the true understanding of God. Worship is not merely an experience, it is something beyond which transforms us to live liturgy in our day-to-day life. Let us fight against the imperial structures of our time through true worship, worship to God alone as a community to witness Jesus Christ in our day-to-day life. Especially In this Christmas season let us worship God meaningfully and joyfully for the goodness of whole creation.
Our Lord and our God, help us to worship you alone, in truth and spirit. Amen