Does everything always participate in a cosmic liturgy? Maybe. But that’s not the picture we get from Revelation 4-5. 

Instead, we get a progression. Initially, only the four living creatures worship (4:8), then the twenty-four elders (4:10), then both together (5:8), then myriads of angels (5:11), then everything created in heaven and earth (5:13). 

From what we can see in Revelation, the turning point is the appearance of the slain Lamb in heaven. Prior to His appearance, only the four creatures and elders worship. The Lamb is the pebble dropped in the pond that sets off the radiating concentric waves of praise.

The four creatures and the elders don’t worship together until the Lamb appears. Not even all the angels join in until the Lamb appears, much less created things. 

It’s the Lamb that fills the cosmos with worship. It’s His ascent that spreads the heavenly liturgy out to include everything. And thus it’s the Lamb who unites every creature everywhere in a single work.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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