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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 5 - Verse 9

Verse 9. And they sung a new song. Compare Re 14:3. New in the sense that it is a song consequent on redemption, and distinguished therefore from the songs sung in heaven before the work of redemption was consummated. We may suppose that songs of adoration have always been sung in heaven; we know that the praises of God were celebrated by the angelic choirs when the foundations of the earth were laid, (Job 38:7) but the song of redemption was a different song, and is one that would never have been sung there if man had not fallen, and if the Redeemer had not died. This song strikes notes which the other songs do not strike, and refers to glories of the Divine character which but for the work of redemption would not have been brought into view. In this sense the song was new; it will continue to be new in the sense that it will be sung afresh as redeemed millions continue to ascend to heaven. Compare Ps 40:3; 96:1; 144:9; Isa 42:10.

 

Thou art worthy to take the book, etc. This was the occasion or ground of the "new song," that by his coming and death he had acquired a right to approach where no other one could approach, and to do what no other one could do.

For thou wast slain. The language here is such as would be appropriate to a lamb slain as a sacrifice. The idea is, that the fact that he was thus slain constituted the ground of his worthiness to open the book. It could not be meant that there was in him no other ground of worthiness, but that this was that which was most conspicuous. It is just the outburst of the grateful feeling resulting from redemption, that he who has died to save the soul is worthy of all honour, and is fitted to accomplish what no other being in the universe can do. However this may appear to the inhabitants of other worlds, or however it may appear to the dwellers on the earth who have no interest in the work of redemption, yet all who are redeemed will agree in the sentiment that He who has ransomed them with his blood has performed a work to do which every other being was incompetent, and that now all honour in heaven and on earth may appropriately be conferred on him.

And hast redeemed us. The word here used—agorazw—means properly to purchase, to buy; and is thus employed to denote redemption, because redemption was accomplished by the payment of a price. On the meaning of the word, See Barnes "2 Pe 2:1".

 

To God. That is, so that we become his, and are to be henceforward regarded as such; or so that he might possess us as his own. See Barnes on "2 Co 5:15".

This is the true nature of redemption, that by the price paid we are rescued from the servitude of Satan, and are henceforth to regard ourselves as belonging unto God.

By thy blood. See Barnes on "Ac 20:28".

This is such language as they use who believe in the doctrine of the atonement, and is such as would be used by them alone. It would not be employed by those who believe that Christ was a mere martyr, or that he lived and died merely as a teacher of morality. If he was truly an stoning sacrifice, the language is full of meaning; if not, it has no significance, and could not be understood.

Out of every kindred. Literally, "of every tribe"—fulhv. The word tribe means properly a comparatively small division or class of people associated together.—Professor Stuart. It refers to a family, or race, having a common ancestor, and usually associated or banded together—as one of the tribes of Israel; a tribe of Indians; a tribe of plants; a tribe of animals, etc. This is such language as a Jew would use, denoting one of the smaller divisions that made up a nation of people; and the meaning would seem to be, that it will be found ultimately to be true that the redeemed will have been taken from all such minor divisions of the human family—not only from the different nations, but from the smaller divisions of those nations. This can only be true from the fact that the knowledge of the true religion will yet be diffused among all those smaller portions of the human race; that is, that its diffusion will be universal.

And tongue. People speaking all languages. The word here used would seem to denote a division of the human family larger than a tribe but smaller than a nation. It was formerly a fact that a nation might be made up of those who spoke many different languages—as, for example, the Assyrian, the Babylonian, or the Roman nations. Compare Da 3:29; 4:1. The meaning here is, that no matter what language the component parts of the nations speak, the gospel will be conveyed to them, and in their own tongue they will learn the wonderful works of God. Compare Ac 2:8-11.

And people. The word here used—laov—properly denotes a people considered as a mass, made up of smaller divisions—as an association of smaller bodies—or as a multitude of such bodies united together. It is distinguished from another word commonly applied to a people—dhmov—for that is applied to a community of free citizens, considered as on a level, or without reference to any minor divisions or distinctions. The words here used would apply to an army, considered as made up of regiments, battalions, or tribes; to a mass-meeting, made up of societies of different trades or professions; to a nation, made up of different associated communities, etc. It denotes a larger body of people than the previous words; and the idea is, that no matter of what people or nation, considered as made up of such separate portions, one may be, he will not be excluded from the blessings of redemption. The sense would be well expressed by saying, for instance, that there will be found there those of the Gaelic race, the Celtic, the Anglo-Saxon, the Mongolian, the African, etc.

And nation. eynouv. A word of still larger signification; the people in a still wider sense; a people or nation considered as distinct from all others. The word would embrace all who come under one sovereignty or rule: as, for example, the British nation, however many minor tribes there may be; however many different languages may be spoken; and however many separate people there may be—as the Anglo-Saxon, the Scottish, the Irish, the people of Hindustan, of Labrador, of New South Wales, etc. The words here used by John would together denote nations of every kind, great and small; and the sense is, that the blessings of redemption will be extended to all parts of the earth.

{b} "new song" Re 13:3 {c} "blood" Ac 20:28; Eph 1:7; Heb 9:12; 1 Pe 1:18,19

{d} "kindred" Re 7:9

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