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THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST

Previous: Revelation 5:8-10

The Saying 5:11-14

Then I looked, 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, saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!"
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
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"
Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. - Revelation 5:11-14

The conclusion of this glimpse into the glorious throne room in heaven is a great symphony of all creation expressing a doxology (from the Greek word doxa, "glory"). This offering of praise and honor and glory and power was given to Him who sat on the Throne (God the Father) and to the Lamb (God the Son). The impact of this scene is to prepare the reader to trust God's righteousness and love as the awful events of the Tribulation unfold in the following verses.

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders. In this most-dramatic vision of worship, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders (See notes on Chapter 4, verse 4) are joined by a multitude of holy angels. It is as if a video camera, which had been focused on this tight group around the throne of God, began to pan out, revealing hundreds, then thousands, and finally an unimaginable gathering of angels joining this extravaganza of praise.

And the number of them (Greek arithmos) was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. The Greek word for ten thousand is murias ("myriad" in English). It literally means ten thousand, but it was also used in a figurative sense to denote a number too large to count. I remember a tongue-in-cheek comment by a professor in Bible college that this verse shows that there are at least one hundred and four million angels (10 thousand times 10 thousand equals one hundred million, plus another 4 million [thousands-at least 2000-times thousands-at least 2000]). It is a symbolic representation of an uncountable cast of heavenly worshippers. Perhaps all of Heaven joined this greatest doxology. However, the narrative does not expressly say that all of the holy angels were present. Other heavenly messengers might have been busy with assigned tasks in the far reaches of God's incomprehensible universe.

The Bible teaches that angels and demons are involved in the spiritual warfare that believers experience (Matthew 4:1-11; 5:10-12; Luke 22:31-34; Ephesians 6:10-19; 1 Peter 5:8-10; and James 4:7-10: See notes in Volume 1, Chapter 2, verse 10 and Chapter 3, verse 1 "Need for the Holy Spirit"). One episode in the life of the prophet Elisha illustrates this fact:

15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"
16 So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. - 2 Kings 6:15-17

This chorus of angels and men were saying something very important. The Greek word lego is the normal word for speaking, and is used thousands of times in the New Testament. What is significant in the context of this vision-and the reason we call this section "The Saying"-is that this common word originally meant to "lay down to sleep," and later meant the "laying of an argument to rest," or making a strong conclusion to a matter.
(HELPS Word Studiescopyright 1987,2011by Helps Ministries, Inc., http://biblehub.com/greek/3004.htm)

They were making this great statement with a loud voice. The Greek words translated "loud voice" are megale ("great") and phone ("sound"). These words come together in our own vocabulary as "megaphone," a simple cone-shaped instrument used to amplify the sound of one's voice. They proclaimed, worthy is the Lamb who was slain (see notes above in Chapter 5, verses 4-9).

This Lamb, who is God the Son, the Creator, the Messiah, and Savior, is worthy to receive a long list of attributes, including power (Greek dunamis, from which we get "dynamite." See notes in Chapter 4, verse 9), and riches. This brings to mind this promise:

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:19

The list continues: and wisdom... The whole Bible shows that real wisdom comes from God (1 Kings 3 and 1 Kings 10--Solomon's wisdom; Proverbs 1:7; 4:11 etc.; James 1:5). It also includes strength and honor and glory (See Chapter 4, verse 10) and blessing (Greek eulogia, "good word"/ "to say good things about"). When God blesses us, as in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-11), the effect of His words is to make us feel secure and happy, and when we bless Him, by speaking His praise, He is pleased as well.

And every creature... (Greek ktisma, "created thing"). In the Greek language the word can mean inanimate things, but in the Bible it is only used for living creatures (James 1:18; 1 Timothy 4:4; Revelation 5:13; 8:9). ...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... Bible stories mention some talking creatures: the serpent in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-5), and the donkey that rebuked Balaam (Numbers 22:22-30). It also predicts a time in the future when the trees will clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12 - this could be either literal or symbolic).

God might even enable the inanimate elements of His creation to praise Him. When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He said that if His disciples-who loudly heralded Him as king- did not shout their praises, the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:37-40). God told Job that, at the Creation, the stars sang together (Job 38:7 cf. Psalm 148:3). (An interesting YouTube video by Louie Giglio superimposes sounds gathered by SETI of "singing stars" plus the music made by whales, to accompany the praise song, "How Great is our God."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zWKm-LZWm4)

In his commentary, Albert Barnes says that this verse means all of the universe is interested in the earthly drama of salvation and joins in the chorus of praise. He says, "The universe is one; and what affects one portion of it really pertains to every part of it." (Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: Revelation, p. 132.)

I heard saying... In summary, John the Beloved reported hearing a worshipful repetition by the whole creation of the same praises already uttered by the angelic host. This was not a dull recitation of some ritual, but an enthusiastic echo of what had already been said about The Lamb, the Son of God. This was similar to our sincere worship, when we sing the chorus of a worship song repeatedly. This pattern began at least at the time of David's Psalms, if not before.

Blessing and honor and glory and power... The short list of attributes ascribed earlier to the Lamb, were offered to God the Father-Him who sits on the throne and , once again, to God the Son-the Lamb, forever and ever!

Again, like a video camera, the scene pans back to the center of the throne room. Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" Amen means "so be it," or "let it be."

And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped (See Chapter 4, verse 10). The object of their worship was Him who lives forever and ever. They worshipped "Him," (Singular)-the One True God-who existed eternally as The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

The scene was now set. John the Beloved, and we in turn, his audience, are prepared to learn the awful truth about the Tribulation, all the while trusting our great and loving God to do what is right and necessary.



Next: Revelation 6



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