World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
9They sing a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God,
and they will reign on earth.”
9. sung—Greek, "sing": it is their blessed occupation continually. The theme of redemption is ever new, ever suggesting fresh thoughts of praise, embodied in the "new song."
us to God—So manuscript B, Coptic, Vulgate, and Cyprian. But A omits "us": and Aleph reads instead, "to our God."
out of—the present election-church gathered out of the world, as distinguished from the peoples gathered to Christ as the subjects, not of an election, but of a general and world-wide conversion of all nations.
kindred … tongue … people … nation—The number four marks world-wide extension: the four quarters of the world. For "kindred," translate as Greek, "tribe." This term and "people" are usually restricted to Israel: "tongue and nation" to the Gentiles (Re 7:9; 11:9; 13:7, the oldest reading; Re 14:6). Thus there is here marked the election-Church gathered from Jews and Gentiles. In Re 10:11, for "tribes," we find among the four terms "kings"; in Re 17:15, "multitudes."
10. made us—A, B, Aleph, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read, "them." The Hebrew construction of the third person for the first, has a graphic relation to the redeemed, and also has a more modest sound than us, priests [Bengel].
unto our God—So B and Aleph read. But A omits the clause.
kings—So B reads. But A, Aleph, Vulgate, Coptic, and Cyprian, read, "A kingdom." Aleph reads also "a priesthood" for priests. They who cast their crowns before the throne, do not call themselves kings in the sight of the great King (Re 4:10, 11); though their priestly access has such dignity that their reigning on earth cannot exceed it. So in Re 20:6 they are not called "kings" [Bengel].
we shall reign on the earth—This is a new feature added to Re 1:6. Aleph, Vulgate, and Coptic read, "They shall reign." A and B read, "They reign." Alford takes this reading and explains it of the Church EVEN NOW, in Christ her Head, reigning on the earth: "all things are being put under her feet, as under His; her kingly office and rank are asserted, even in the midst of persecution." But even if we read (I think the weightiest authority is against it), "They reign," still it is the prophetical present for the future: the seer being transported into the future when the full number of the redeemed (represented by the four living creatures) shall be complete and the visible kingdom begins. The saints do spiritually reign now; but certainly not as they shall when the prince of this world shall be bound (see on Re 20:2-6). So far from reigning on the earth now, they are "made as the filth of the world and the offscouring of all things." In Re 11:15, 18, the locality and time of the kingdom are marked. Kelly translates, "reign over the earth" (Greek, "epi tees gees"), which is justified by the Greek (Septuagint, Jud 9:8; Mt 2:22). The elders, though ruling over the earth, shall not necessarily (according to this passage) remain on the earth. But English Version is justified by Re 3:10. "The elders were meek, but the flock of the meek independently is much larger" [Bengel].