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6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. 8When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 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;

10

you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God,

and they will reign on earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12singing with full voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,

“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb

be blessing and honor and glory and might

forever and ever!”

14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

 


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6. I beheld, and, lo—One oldest manuscript, A, omits "and, lo." Another, B, Cyprian, &c., support, "and, lo," but omit, "and I beheld."

in the midst of the throne—that is, not on the throne (compare Re 5:7), but in the midst of the company (Re 4:4) which was "round about the throne."

LambGreek, "arnion"; always found in Revelation exclusively, except in Joh 21:15 alone: it expresses endearment, namely, the endearing relation in which Christ now stands to us, as the consequence of His previous relation as the sacrificial Lamb. So also our relation to Him: He the precious Lamb, we His dear lambs, one with Him. Bengel thinks there is in Greek, "arnion," the idea of taking the lead of the flock. Another object of the form Greek, "arnion," the Lamb, is to put Him in the more marked contrast to Greek, "therion," the Beast. Elsewhere Greek, "amnos," is found, applying to Him as the paschal, sacrificial Lamb (Isa 53:7, Septuagint; Joh 1:29, 36; Ac 8:32; 1Pe 1:19).

as it had been slain—bearing marks of His past death wounds. He was standing, though bearing the marks of one slain. In the midst of heavenly glory Christ crucified is still the prominent object.

seven horns—that is, perfect might, "seven" symbolizing perfection; "horns," might, in contrast to the horns of the Antichristian world powers, Re 17:3; &c.; Da 7:7, 20; 8:3.

seven eyes … the seven Spirits … sent forth—So one oldest manuscript, A. But B reads, "being sent forth." As the seven lamps before the throne represent the Spirit of God immanent in the Godhead, so the seven eyes of the Lamb represent the same sevenfold Spirit profluent from the incarnate Redeemer in His world-wide energy. The Greek for "sent forth," apostellomena, or else apestalmenoi, is akin to the term "apostle," reminding us of the Spirit-impelled labors of Christ's apostles and minister throughout the world: if the present tense be read, as seems best, the idea will be that of those labors continually going on unto the end. "Eyes" symbolize His all-watchful and wise providence for His Church, and against her foes.

7. The book lay on the open hand of Him that sat on the throne for any to take who was found worthy [Alford]. The Lamb takes it from the Father in token of formal investiture into His universal and everlasting dominion as Son of man. This introductory vision thus presents before us, in summary, the consummation to which all the events in the seals, trumpets, and vials converge, namely, the setting up of Christ's kingdom visibly. Prophecy ever hurries to the grand crisis or end, and dwells on intermediate events only in their typical relation to, and representation of, the end.

8. had takenGreek, "took."

fell down before the Lamb—who shares worship and the throne with the Father.

harps—Two oldest manuscripts, A, B, Syriac and Coptic read, "a harp": a kind of guitar, played with the hand or a quill.

vials—"bowls" [Tregelles]; censers.

odoursGreek, "incense."

prayers of saints—as the angel offers their prayers (Re 8:3) with incense (compare Ps 141:2). This gives not the least sanction to Rome's dogma of our praying to saints. Though they be employed by God in some way unknown to us to present our prayers (nothing is said of their interceding for us), yet we are told to pray only to Him (Re 19:10; 22:8, 9). Their own employment is praise (whence they all have harps): ours is prayer.

9. sungGreek, "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].

11. I beheld—the angels: who form the outer circle, while the Church, the object of redemption, forms the inner circle nearest the throne. The heavenly hosts ranged around gaze with intense love and adoration at this crowning manifestation of God's love, wisdom, and power.

ten thousand times ten thousandGreek, "myriads of myriads."

12. to receive powerGreek, "the power." The remaining six (the whole being seven, the number for perfection and completeness) are all, as well as "power," ranged under the one Greek article, to mark that they form one complete aggregate belonging to God and His co-equal, the Lamb. Compare Re 7:12, where each of all seven has the article.

riches—both spiritual and earthly.

blessing—ascribed praise: the will on the creature's part, though unaccompanied by the power, to return blessing for blessing conferred [Alford].

13. The universal chorus of creation, including the outermost circles as well as the inner (of saints and angels), winds up the doxology. The full accomplishment of this is to be when Christ takes His great power and reigns visibly.

every creature—"all His works in all places of His dominion" (Ps 103:22).

under the earth—the departed spirits in Hades.

such as are—So B and Vulgate. But A omits this.

in the seaGreek, "upon the sea": the sea animals which are regarded as being on the surface [Alford].

all that are in them—So Vulgate reads. A omits "all (things)" here (Greek, "panta"), and reads, "I heard all (Greek, "pantas") saying": implying the harmonious concert of all in the four quarters of the universe.

Blessing, &c.—Greek, "the blessing, the honor, and the glory, and the might to the ages of the ages." The fourfold ascription indicates world-wide universality.

14. said—So A, Vulgate, and Syriac read. But B and Coptic read, "(I heard) saying."

Amen—So A reads. But B reads, "the (accustomed) Amen." As in Re 4:11, the four and twenty elders asserted God's worthiness to receive the glory, as having created all things, so here the four living creatures ratify by their "Amen" the whole creation's ascription of the glory to Him.

four and twenty—omitted in the oldest manuscripts: Vulgate supports it.

him that liveth for ever and ever—omitted in all the manuscripts: inserted by commentators from Re 4:9. But there, where the thanksgiving is expressed, the words are appropriate; but here less so, as their worship is that of silent prostration. "Worshipped" (namely, God and the Lamb). So in Re 11:1, "worship" is used absolutely.




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