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Will all Nations come and Worship God? (Revelation 15:4)

In recent days, I have been thinking about Revelation 15:4. I am currently attending a study at which we are reading through Revelation. Many times the lecturer and the homework has stated that ‘worship’ and ‘praise’ mean the same thing. So when we read Revelation 15:4 we may assume that when we are told all nations will come and worship, that means the nations will come and sing to God. They will stand before Him and sing happily.

That doesn’t really fit with the word “fear” though, does it? “Who will not fear…” Fear is linked to awe – respect – reverence – and so on. If we dig a little bit and pull back that word ‘worship’ in Revelation 15:4 we find this:

Revelation 15:4 “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (ESV)

Here is that word ‘worship’ in the original language:

προσκυνήσουσιν (proskynēsousin) | proskuneó | From pros and a probable derivative of kuon (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore).

In the Greek, ‘worship’ in this verse (and many other verses) basically means: bow down. In fact, it implies an even lower stance of complete and total submission before God, in a prostrate position on the floor. We see the same thing happening throughout Revelation with the elders who continually fall on their faces before a Holy God – worshiping Him. It is the same word used again and again in Revelation.

When I read this verse from the viewpoint of the original language, it makes far more sense. The nations will come to bow before God (lower themselves) because they will realize He is Holy! He is God and they are not! He is in control and always was! He is eternal, everlasting, sinless, merciful, and HOLY!

Knowing this, and admitting that He is God and they (we) are not, will secure their humility. And in response – they will bow.

I personally link bowing to rest. I link worship to rest. When we rest in God and give up our striving, when we bow in humility before the One who is eternal, when we submit to His holiness and righteousness – we find rest. People used to call Sunday the “day of rest” remember? That was our “worship day” and it was linked to rest. That sentiment seems to be gone now. For many folks, Sunday’s main attraction is the singing. We have turned singing into an idol.

The other day I went out praying at a few locations and when I arrived home, I desperately needed to rest in God. I got on the floor and laid flat out before God, asking Him to take the struggles and the pain and to crucify them to the cross. The weight lifted from me and I was free again.

I believe that’s what Revelation 15:4 is trying to tell us. That one day, people will find their rest in God. Their shalom peace. They will give up the fight of ‘self’ and admit that God is God – they will be humbled and in turn – worship Him in a lowered position – and find rest.

Of course we do not need to wait for the nations to do this. We can do it now. Are you struggling with the concept of lowering yourself and of surrendering? Rather than view it as a giving up of self-strength, consider viewing it as overcoming the enemy in the mirror. What sins do you continue to struggle with? Pray, lowered to God, and ask Him to crucify those sins to the cross (Galatians 5:24). Ask Him to take them from you and to carry your heavy yoke in exchange for the light burden of His.

“Lord, give me the gift of bowing down to You. Give me the gift of rest in Your finished work on the cross! Amen.”

Note: The word ‘serve’ is used in Scripture a few times, too, as ‘worship.’ In Matthew 4, satan tempts Jesus by offering him the kingdoms of the world. Satan says that if Jesus will worship him, he can have it all. Here, satan is not saying that Jesus must sing to him in order to gain the lot. He is saying that Jesus must bow down to him. Jesus replies by saying that we worship (bow to) God alone and serve Him only. In other words, Jesus is linking worship (bowing down) and service together. Simply put: those who bow down to God serve Him. If we are people willing to bow to God, we will actively serve Him, also.

Where does this leave praise? I view praise and worship as different: not words that mean the same thing. In fact, the Greek word for praise is a word with a different meaning altogether (more on that at another time). I view praise as a sacrifice that ‘goes up’ (Hebrews 13:15) and worship as a humility that ‘comes down’ (Revelation 7:11 among many others.)

Much more could be said about this but I’ll end there. God promises to rebuke the arrogant (Psalm 119:21) but to lift the humble (1 Peter 5:6). May God give us each the gift of bowing to Him as we humbly seek to serve Him and reach the broken for The Kingdom of Light. Amen.

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Published by Shara Weiss

Shara is a writer, social media marketer, content provider, and marketing consultant. In addition to the work she does alongside Rick, she has run since 2009. Shara has a background in education, early childhood, teaching, ministry, and volunteerism.

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