No problem with Revelation Song

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I love “Revelation Song” by Jennie Lee Riddle, but there’s this one line that I wonder about.

All the lines but one contributes to the feeling of being overwhelmed by the incredible vision the Apostle John describes in the heavenly throne room where innumerable voices of the heavenly choir sing,

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Rev. 5:15

and

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come. Rev. 4:8

It also includes similar images and language from the Old Testament including Psalm 98:1

Sing to the Lord a new song

and

Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. Psalm 96:13

The reference to the “mercy seat,” which is the cover on the Ark of the Covenant–the seat of God, relocates the mercy seat to heaven and links the reverence of the Old Testament Father to the eschatological Son. Other lines have a similar feel when they echo Ephesians 1: 20-21 where Paul reminds us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God “in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” The splendor of the scene is reinforced with multi-sensory images of “living colors,” flashing lighting and “rolls of thunder.” The song is so good it takes me there, and I even get to join the choir with all creation. I love that!

The last time I was in Revelation, I didn’t just read it, I experienced it. At least a part of my experience was enhanced by just having read Discipleship on the Edge by Darrell W. Johnson, which is a commentary on the book of Revelation. The combination of this book, The Book and the Holy Spirit was incredible. I felt that I was in the heavenly throne room.

The “Revelation Song” brings me back to that place until I get to the line “You are my everything and I will adore You.”

That line evokes a feeling that was not a part of my original experience in the throne room when I read it.

The splendor of the scene before me evokes so much awe that subjective self is almost lost in the object of worship. Then comes the adoration line, and I shift the focus to my own feelings of adoration, which, is inconsistent with what the song so excellently expresses in every other line.

Let me say again, I love this song.

I think the line is fine–why not have a personal and individual reaction to the sight before us?

 

2 Comments

  1. SteveO

    The song evokes worship with 4 chord and lyrical simplicity, making it inviting and easy to remember. The only detriment is theological: the Scriptures teach that Jesus sits on the right hand of the Father (Matthew 22:44; Hebrews 8:1; 12:2), not on the mercy seat as the lyrics state. The mercy seat is not a sitting apparatus, but the lid to the ark where substitutionary atoning blood was sprinkled, making it a propitiation for sin by justice being rendered. This is the glory of the Gospel. The Scriptures teach that Jesus Himself is our mercy seat (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2, 4:10). Unfortunately, error is being taught by this phrase in the song, but apparently no one challenges it. The Holy Spirit is grieved by this imagery being perpetuated through millions that get their doctrine and theology from fables rather than truth, even though they be unintentional.

    • Trent

      Thanks for the comment, Steve. What you say is correct, but I wonder if the mercy seat of the arc is symbolic of the throne of God, so when Jesus sits on it in heaven he is sitting on the throne of God. I wonder if the symbol is complex enough for both you and the song to be right, and the Holy Spirit to be pleased by both the song and this discussion. I want to thank you for reading and engaging with the song in this way.

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