There is a shift and a change, a modification, even a quiet revolution taking place. God's people are hungering and thirsting for His Presence, impacting upon the pattern and experience of worship. Throne-room worship is not really a mystical thing. It is quite simple really.
The thirst in the Church is causing a shift as our hearts and minds lift from earth to heaven. The King of kings is our focus and the throne-room has our attention more than the earth! Worship on earth ichanges as we seek to align with and replicate the worship of heaven rather than what we have learned on earth! Heaven’s pattern for worship becomes our pattern for worship. We find we love what God loves and hate what He hates. His priorities become ours. His values become our values. The most difficult part for us is letting go of our desire to be on the throne and from us being the focus.
In 2008 we hosted a Worship School in Sydney. One Prophetic Word to that gathering highlighted what the Lord is saying and doing in regards to worship in the nations at this time.
“Now is the time for Australia to worship in Spirit and truth. Australia will worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Australia will honour the holiness of God. We will join the angelic hosts in crying out...HOLY is the Lord.” Worship will change in the nation in that it will be released from, inspired by, centered around and linked to the throne of God...God has given us a key and that key is worship. And it’s going to bring revival to this nation if we continue to worship like this….heaven and earth was in sync. What was happening in heaven was happening on earth. And what was happening on earth was happening in heaven. We were joined as one.”
Hosea's marriage to Gomah was a prophetic Word to Israel. The Lord said He would allure His bride into the wilderness to stir and awaken bridal love. (Hosea 2:14) He has been doing the same again in His Church. It is in the wilderness we come to the throne and bow in worship. It is there we find comfort, peace, satisfaction, meaning, reality, strength, healing, grace and love. Even when the rest of the world around us is in chaos, turmoil and mayhem, the throne room is where His presence is found. In His presence idols fall, mountains melt, the earth heaves, the rain falls, curses are broken and the sting of death, pain and sorrow are removed, tears are bottled and there is fullness of joy!
Aligning With Heaven
When our worship follows the pattern of heaven, we become aligned with heaven. At this point heaven and earth come into perfect harmony and synchronization. What is happening in heaven is happening on earth. And what is happening on earth is happening in heaven. Heaven and earth are joined as we come into total agreement. The sounds of heaven are being heard upon the earth. The sounds of heaven and the sounds from earth melt into one harmonious and glorious sound. Voices of men and angels are united in proclaiming the most important characteristic of God’s nature: holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty. We may or may not hear the angelic choir and orchestra, but when our theme, our focus, our objective and our pattern is the same as heaven’s, then they do join with us.
In the tumultuous times and seasons we now live, we need an even greater alignment with heaven. As the antichrist spirit intensifies, the Bride needs the comfort, protection, the rejuvenation and strategies that are only found in His presence. The adjustments being made in worship are not just something that are expedient; they are necessary and indispensable for the days we have entered.
In some places the shift has seen the river that flows from the throne just starting to trickle. In other places it is becoming a mighty stream as adjustments have been wholesale. Some are up to their ankles while others are swimming. Some are curious and wondering what this stream is about, while others are critical, judgmental, even mocking. History shows that man does not always respond favorably to what God is doing. Sometimes it takes us awhile to adjust but neither response have ever stopped the Lord.
Heaven’s atmosphere: “custom built” for His habitation
We all like to fill our homes with things that make us comfortable and where we can be at ease. We choose colours, furniture and decorations that reflect our personalities, tastes and lifestyle. Royalty do the same with their palaces only without the constraints of cost. Heaven is God’s home and earth is His footstool.
The environment that surrounds God’s throne, i.e. non-stop worship, is something that He has chosen and created. It is the exact setting, surrounding and atmosphere that He likes. It is the atmosphere that He gravitates to and where He likes to be.
What does He like? He loves truth, righteousness, purity, justice, love, honour, praise to name just a few things. The environment of heaven reflects who He is. Nothing is allowed in heaven that is not in harmony with Him. Anything that will contaminate and pollute the holy atmosphere is refused entry. “…there shall by no means enter it [the holy city] anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie…” (Revelation 21:27)
If in our lives, our homes and our churches we create the same atmosphere that God is used to in heaven, He will come and abide there. Throughout the whole of scripture His one purpose is clearly indicated; He wants to “tabernacle” or dwell with man. That was the purpose of the cross. Our sinful nature cannot dwell in the presence of God. The ability to exchange our sinful nature for His holy nature was made possible when Jesus came to earth in the flesh and conquered death and hell at the cross. We can now partake of His holy nature. In order to dwell with Him we must partake of His holy nature. He is attracted to holiness. He dwells wherever the atmosphere is charged with worship created in the beauty of holiness. He is attracted to an atmosphere of anointed praise. When we build according to heaven’s pattern, then His tangible presence will be manifested.
Throne room worship is when the praise and worship released on earth is directed from, inspired by and focused upon the one who sits upon the throne: Almighty God.
Four characteristics of heaven’s worship
The order of these four characteristics is as important as the elements themselves. The pattern is progressive; line upon line, precept upon precept. If the first precept is not established the next will not be possible. Throne room worship (all aspects of it) involves a progression of ascending to the throne.
1. God is on His throne.
On earth there are pretenders and contenders for God’s throne. There is a “battle” for the throne. BUT God just laughs at the kings of the earth who plot such vain things. (Psalm 2:4) His throne is never in danger. In heaven He sits upon His throne where rebellion and take-over cannot succeed.
In the heavenlies Lucifer proudly boasted that he would exalt his throne above God’s creation. (Isa 14:13) BUT God who created the heavens and the earth and who holds the universe in the span of His hand, will consume the evil one with one breath of His mouth. (2 Thess 2:8)
In heaven, everything is based around God’s throne which is exactly in the centre. When John had his vision of heaven he was taken through an open door. The first thing he is shown is the throne and the One sitting on it. Everything he sees and describes is said to be around the throne. “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones… in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures (Rev 4:4,6) Everything is either in the throne or in a circle around it. Both the twenty four elders on thrones and the four creatures are around the throne. This is quite a different concept to most of our churches that are in rectangles with a stage up the front!
God’s throne is central to everything. It is central to every decision, every purpose, every function, every direction, and every judgment. All who are there give way to His will, His desires and carry them out with His methods and at His direction. Those around the throne do not question, argue or contend with His will. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is not just a wonderful sounding religious slogan but something that must become a reality. He IS Lord!
Jesus set the example when He was on earth. He said He only did what He saw the Father doing. He only did the Father’s will. Jesus was not influenced by the opinions of man or the latest trends. He was in total synchronization with the Father. Doing the will of the Father is important for every part of our Christian walk and especially in regard to worship.
The first “battle for the throne” is personal. At the start of the worship journey, personal and corporate issues of surrender to the will of God are foundational. Throne room worship will not even get to base camp if the will of man wants to be in control. As a worshipper King David set us an example. He received praise from God because he did all of God’s will. There is an important application for this principle when it comes to praise and worship. His will is needed as we select songs. His will is needed as we appoint psalmists and worship leaders. His will is needed as leaders determine how much time to allocate when we gather. His will is needed when we fill our diaries and our future planners!
2. He is honoured 24/7
The four living creatures “do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” (Rev 4:8)`Verbally and musically He is honoured and revered for who He is. The wonders of His character and nature are proclaimed, stated, announced, broadcast and decreed. Such declarations and songs exalt and honour Him. It is all about Him. He is the focal point.
If you think about earthly relationships, when we focus totally upon an individual it is usually a fairly intimate setting. Maybe a wedding or funeral or just with the one we love. To honour and praise somebody’s personality and character is an aspect of intimacy. Throne room worship is intimate. The subject of adoration is the Lord. His name is honoured. His personality and nature are exalted. Love songs fill the air.
In practical terms, nothing that is said or done should shift attention anywhere else. Whether it is our introductory remarks, the lyrics, the music, the atmosphere, our conversations, our prayers, the focus must be off us and onto Him. He must increase and we must decrease.
The heavenly community is engaged in continuous praise day and night. It never stops! Our corruptible bodies might struggle with 24/7 worship or get bored with an unchanging theme but heaven doesn’t. Day and night the theme remains the same, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord”. Holiness is the one aspect of God’s nature that is proclaimed day and night. As important as love is, it is not the subject of heaven’s praise! Holiness is praiseworthy. Holiness is powerful. Demons addressed Jesus as “the holy One” and cringed at His presence. His holy pure blood destroyed all the works of the devil.
3. Corporate worship.
“Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11“You are worthy, O Lord” (Rev 4:9)
In response to the angelic proclamation of God’s holiness, all of heaven bows in worship. The Greek word used to describe the “act” of worship is Proskuneo (4352) and means to bow, prostate oneself in homage to a king, to reverence, to adore. Like intimacy in a marriage, the act of bowing and being prostrate does not take place in a void. Worship doesn’t just happen at that moment. There is a process. There is an ascent from a place of remoteness to a place of intimacy. There is a relationship and an attitude. Whether in marriage or friendship – you can have a relationship with someone, but each time we come close and really “connect” we have to spend time and communicate.
Worship takes place when we have really connected with God. And each time we come to “worship” there is a progression of acknowledging, verbalizing and refreshing relationship that provokes, stimulates, invigorates and stirs worship to take place.
In heaven the “act” of worship seems to always follow the “process” of proclaiming and singing the praises of God, and exalting Him for who He is. This whole process of ascending is what we usually refer to when we use the word worship. We could call it building an altar to the Lord. We present ourselves to Him as “living stones” and place our offerings of praise and exaltation there until He comes and “consumes the sacrifice” with His presence. At that point the only appropriate response is to worship.
Unfortunately we have often confused what worship is. And sometimes in our effort to “define” or “qualify” what we mean we have separated the act of worship from the process of worship. Hence it has been described as many things.
There is a view in some parts of Christendom that “worship” is equated with our works and actions. To honour and exalt God in all that we do is important. However, the act of worship, which literally means to bow down and pay homage, occurs in heaven after His throne is identified as central and after there has been a declaration and proclamation of His holy nature. Expressing gratitude though doing things is no substitute for exalting Him in proclamation and song. It is my opinion that equating worship with works provides people with an “escape clause” or justification to treat singing to the Lord as just one of many options you can choose from in which it is possible to express your praise and adoration.
While we can and should express our thanks and relationship with the Lord in many creative ways, these do not extricate us from the Lord’s choice of singing as a unique part of the process we call worship. And in corporate worship it becomes even more imperative than in personal worship. When millions of people in heaven and earth come to worship, “they sang a new song”. (Rev 5:9)
Music was a choice made by God at creation. God gave it a unique capability of drawing together and unifying multitudes into a singular expression of proclaiming His praise. The synergy of corporate praise and the “one sound”, as at the dedication of Solomon’s temple, produces an anointing and a manifestation of God’s presence that is not possible by any other means. I do not believe we will come into the pinnacle of worship or in alignment with heaven’s worship unless music is a part of this expression of praise. Though the songs themselves are not the worship, they are the vehicles or unique vessels through which we are corporately able to exalt and honour the Lord’s holy name. When this song comes from sincere lips and hearts that are in sync with heaven it causes the same individuals to respond in worship.
Throne room worship is personal before it is corporate. It must first be rather like a “royal command performance” but with an audience of one! It is not a performance, but there will be just you and Him. This is vital for all, but especially worship leaders and psalmists. They must come before Him and worship in private before approaching corporate worship. Entry to the throne room is personal. As individuals gather together to Him it becomes corporate. Where God dwells is a magnet drawing all the individuals who love Him. They gather corporately to worship. All of heaven and earth bow the knee. There are no exceptions. It is not an optional extra if we please. The whole community of heaven and earth responds to the revelation of who He really is. They join in the proclamations. And then they bow. Throne room worship sees everyone participating. It is not left to “professional” angelic choirs!
“…the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense… 9And they sang a new song…and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain… And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power….then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped” (Rev 5:8-14 )
Angels, elders, creatures (all that have been created by God) in heaven, on earth and under the earth and in the sea, ALL join together to proclaim, “Worthy is the Lamb”. There is not one silent voice! Imagine the sight and the sound! Every range and timbre of voice that has ever been created all coming into agreement in making one harmonious sound to Him! Millions without number singing His praises. Participation here is not the exclusive right of some and not others. Nor is it an optional extra. Every voice is activated. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. And the response to this sound is worship. The twenty four elders bow. Millions are jointly engaged in the process of worship. The book of Revelation reveals a wonderful and glorious time when we are in heaven.
At this juncture in history and while on earth, how does this insight help us? The reality is that many will choose not to engage in worship, even within the church. While that is sad it is a reality. Here on earth we are still contending with the world, our flesh and the devil. For this reason the order of these four characteristics is very important. We will struggle to join in corporate worship if the issues of the throne and God being the main focus are not resolved. We will not be free in corporate worship if it is not personal first.
While many on earth choose not to be involved in throne room worship, for those who do participate, being fully engaged is one of its distinctive components. In a sense it is “voluntarily obligatory”. This might sound like one of those tensions we so often find in our walk with God. In other words you have choice but you have no choice. You must because you want to. You must because you have come to such a place in Him that you can’t help yourself. He is now the centre and focus of your life and bowing to Him is part of that. Participation is not an optional extra if you want to be in sync with heaven. You have a choice but you have no choice. God has granted us all a free will. Therefore, His heart is so delighted and overjoyed when we the redeemed choose to worship Him.
4. God responds.
When we respond to His love in surrender, and give to Him honour, praise and worship, He in turn responds to us. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
In the book of Revelation it is interesting to observe that after every description of proclamations and praise toward the Lord, it is followed by an action from the Lord. Awesome things flow from the throne.
When we read the book of Revelation and see the “actions” of God, from our human perspective these seem to range from extremely wonderful to extremely “harsh”. But God’s thoughts and ways are above and beyond ours. Both the “good” and the “bad” reveal God putting things into their rightful place. Divine order is restored. He is love. Everything He does is from love. Even His judgements to restore things to their rightful place are from love.
Throughout the book of Revelation you will notice that there is a description of worship followed by a description of judgement. This pattern continues through the whole book, worship followed by judgement, more worship and more judgement. It is from the throne surrounded with the atmosphere of worship that judgement flows. All things are dealt with in accordance with God’s throne which is founded on truth, righteousness and justice. That which would contradict or violate God’s holy nature is removed. That which cannot co-exist with purity and love is excluded and expelled.
The first judgement is at the opening of the seven seals that seal the scroll containing God’s plan of redemption and all the written judgements. Next the seven shofars, representing the voice of God are sounded. And then the bowls containing the wrath of God are tipped out onto the earth. Before each of these is released we are reminded of the worship that surrounds the throne and permeates the whole atmosphere. Each of the seven seals, shofars and bowls are part of the process of bringing all of creation and all nations into His divine order. Seven being God’s number of completion, the judgements mentioned complete the sentence of God imposed on the world, thus preparing the way for all things to be brought back into line with God’s throne.
After these, the ultimate adjustment of all begins to unfold.
“Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.” (Rev 11:19)
Within a few verses “war broke out in heaven” and the “Devil and Satan…was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev 12:7-9) Revelation chapter 19 begins with a joyous celebration because Babylon is finally judged. All of heaven bursts into thunderous and rapturous praise and worship. Out of the throne comes the wonderful announcement; “the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:1-9)
Revelation concludes the description of the throne and confirms Ezekiel’s vision. Out of the throne, which is covered and surrounded by praise and worship, flows His River of life. The water coming out of the throne brings healing to rivers, sea creatures, ecology, peoples and nations. (Ezekiel 47:1-12, Rev 22:1-5)
The ultimate fruit of throne room worship on earth is that rivers of living water will flow. Jesus told us that “By their fruits you will know them”. (Matt 7:17-20) If we are ministering at the directive of the Holy Spirit, living waters will flow: angelicactivity is released, divine re-alignments take place and healings and restoration will follow.
When “God Moving” is not our focus
Unfortunately as humans we want to see the “God moves” bit and tend to bypass or loosely attend to the earlier elements. Benefits do occur when we flow in throne room worship. That is because it is the fruit. The result of having things in divine order and being in synchronization with God’s throne is that God responds.
As important as fruit is, it is the end of the sequence not the start of it. Children are the fruit of a marriage, a product of love. They will enrich the relationship but they do not define the relationship between two people. We tend to want to do things back-to-front. How often do we look at results and thus adopt the process as the latest fad or method? If results become our focus, rather than Jesus Himself, we have put the “cart before the horse” and will go no-where!
Throne room worship will only succeed when we are pre-occupied with Him and not the results. Worship itself is not the goal. And He Himself is not just a means to an end for us. We will only truly flow in throne room worship when He is the goal of our life. When we want Him just for who He is. We become “obsessed”, passionate, pre-occupied and be-sotted with Him. As worshippers we are totally abandoned to Him. We will follow Him wherever He goes and whatever he does!
What it is not
When trying to come to an understanding of a concept, sometimes it is helpful to look at the flip side or the “negative side.” This process can help eliminate any misconceptions or misunderstanding caused by the writer’s inability to clearly convey the thoughts and ideas intended. Since we have considered the pattern of heaven let us now consider what it is not.
- Throne room worship is not the status quo.
- It is not us copying the best worship technique known to man or the best worship team on the planet.
- It is not us trying to replicate a successful model of worship used by the ministry of “xyz”.
- It is not just singing songs, or singing them according to some formula.
- It is not choosing the favorite songs of the pastor or worship leader.
- It is not putting someone on the worship team just because they are gifted in music.
- It is not a place for musicians egos to compete.
- It is not putting a novice in charge of “worship” because they have potential or could draw a crowd.
- It is not ordering the songs to make them conform to the traditions of man.
- It is not dictated by the clock (though it does respect time restrictions of human need and those in authority.)
- Its liberties are not an opportunity for rebellion and licentiousness.
- It is not a warm-up to the “main event” even if that “event” is something as important and vital as preaching the word.
- It is not a new fad, nor should the term be a new advertising buzz word to catch a crowd.
- It is not something where you can be a spectator.
- It is not something where you can be apathetic, disengaged or half-hearted.
- It is not something where you can fake who you are or pretend sincerity and truth.
- It is not an optional extra where you can tick a box and go if you want.
- It is not in competition to the great commission /evangelism.
- It is not in competition to the pure Word of God flowing.
- It is not something we do to attract unbelievers.
- It is not entertainment.
- It is not a song whose aim is to “minister” to people, to bring comfort and edification
If the motive for having throne room worship is to exploit it for other purposes, is this not a defilement of something that is pure and holy? To produce it with other agendas is like exchanging the heavenly vision for an earthly one. Is this a type of spiritual “prostitution”?
Heaven’s Pattern Becomes Ours
Things on earth are getting darker and scarier and more insecure with each passing day but heaven continues to worship day and night. Heaven is unaffected by the calamities on earth. They know who is in charge! In the midst of insecurity, turmoil and fear a heavenly vision is necessary for stability. The redeemed of the Lord who connect to the worship of heaven will find a refuge to sustain them.
“For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5)
Hence the chorus on earth that is joining heaven is swelling, maturing and growing sweeter every day. The bride is arising to the secret place, not just as things are getting worse on earth but also as love is awakening. Concurrently to the earth reeling like a drunken man, the bride is falling deeper in love and increasing her preparations for His coming. With each day her focus upon the bridegroom becomes a greater priority. She is starting to agree with the Spirit saying “come Lord Jesus, come”. Not just to escape intolerable situations but to be with Him.
To worship at His throne is not just a good idea; it is the only place to worship!
Praise Alert Spring 2008
(C) 2008 Ruth Webb