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2And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the one hundred forty-four thousand who have been redeemed from the earth.

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2. fromGreek, "out of."

voice of many waters—as is the voice of Himself, such also is the voice of His people.

I heard the voice of harpers—A, B, C, and Origen read, "the voice which I heard (was) as of harpers."

3. sungGreek, "sing."

as it were—So A, C, and Vulgate read. It is "as it were" a new song; for it is, in truth, as old as God's eternal purpose. But B, Syriac, Coptic, Origen, and Andreas omit these words.

new song—(Re 5:9, 10). The song is that of victory after conflict with the dragon, beast, and false prophet: never sung before, for such a conflict had never been fought before; therefore new: till now the kingdom of Christ on earth had been usurped; they sing the new song in anticipation of His blood-bought kingdom with His saints.

four beasts—rather, as Greek, "four living creatures." The harpers and singers evidently include the 144,000: so the parallel proves (Re 15:2, 3), where the same act is attributed to the general company of the saints, the harvest (Re 14:15) from all nations. Not as Alford, "the harpers and song are in heaven, but the 144,000 are on earth."

redeemed—literally, "purchased." Not even the angels can learn that song, for they know not experimentally what it is to have "come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb" (Re 7:14).