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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 5

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Verse 1

Revelation 5:1

Chapter 5 - Continues The New Testament Throne Scene

The Search for One Worthy to Open the Book, vv. 1-5

The Lamb At the Right Hand of God, vv. 6-7

The Subjection of Heaven and Earth To the Lamb, vv. 8-14

Ch 5 title: "Worthy Is the Lamb"

The Revealer of the Sacred Book "The Scroll and the Redeemer"

- - - - -

the right hand . . represents God’s gracious authority and power (see Revelation 1:17, Revelation 1:20). - NLTSB

in the right hand . . Lit. on the right hand—lying on the open palm. - CBSC

and I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne . . A better translation of this phrase would be “on the right hand of Him” (Peshitta translated into English by Lamsa and the Amplified Bible). It is not the idea of God holding tightly to the book, but God holding it out for someone to take and open. The phrase “the right hand of Him” is a biblical anthropomorphism to describe God’s power and authority. God does not have a physical body; He is a spiritual being (cf. John 4:24), uncreated and eternal. - Utley

book . . The Greek term is “biblion” which later was used to refer to a codex (book). Most commentators agree that books did not appear until the second century, so what we have here is a papyrus or parchment scroll (NKJV, NRSV, TEV and NJB). - Utley

There are several theories as to the meaning of this book: (1) the book of woes found in Ezekiel 2:8-10; and Revelation 10:8-11; (2) the events of the end-time (cf. Daniel 8:26); (3) a Roman last will or testament, which was traditionally sealed with seven seals; (4) the book of life which is mentioned so often in the book of the Revelation (cf. Revelation 3:5; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:12, Revelation 20:15); (5) the Old Testament (cf. Colossians 2:14; Ephesians 2:15); (6) the heavenly tablets of 1 Enoch 81:1-2.In my opinion a combination of #1 and #2 seems to be best; the scroll is a book of the destiny of mankind and God’s culmination of history. - Utley

written within . . A complete full book. This seems to be Daniel’s book Daniel 12:4; Daniel 12:9; Revelation 5:9 (Daniel 7:13-14)

written inside and on the back . . This was very unusual in the ancient world because of the difficulty of writing on the back side of papyrus, although it is mentioned in Ezekiel 2:8-10 and Zechariah 5:3. - Utley

written ... sealed . . Both of the PARTICIPLES (written and sealed) that describe this scroll are PERFECT PASSIVES. The first is a special grammatical form used to describe Scripture as being inspired (i.e. Matthew 5:45; Matthew 8:17; Matthew 10:34, etc). The second is a way of expressing that the scroll was protected, preserved, and reserved by God. - Utley

In John’s vision of the throne of God, John saw "in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals" (Revelation 5:1). This is interesting. God had a scroll in His hand that was completely full. It was sealed with seven seals signifying His complete and full approval of the scroll and its content. Jesus Christ, the Lamb found worthy to open the book and loose its seals, came to the right hand of God and received the scroll. All of heaven and earth then bowed before Him in honor and praise of Him. - Ogden

sealed . . Contents unrevealed. Daniel sealed it, but Jesus "unsealed" it. Daniel 12:4 ; Daniel 12:9 ; Revelation 5:9.

Seals authenticate a document. Roman law provided for wills to have 7 seals of 7 witnesses.

#Isaiah 29:10-11; Ezekiel 2:9-10; Daniel 12:4 (Matthew 24:15)

Daniel sealed the book, but Jesus un-seals it (Revelation 5:9).

Seals . . have been used throughout history as indicators of authority, identity, and approval. The earliest known seals date from the fourth millennium bc. They often took the form of necklaces or rings and were closely guarded. The seals were impressed upon wet clay or hot wax. The images on each seal were unique to their owners and served to identify property, safeguard against fraudulent transactions, and ratify official documents and rulings. - FSB

Why sealed? What are the seals upon the book? Consider the words of Jesus on the night of His betrayal. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now" (John 16:12). Jesus gave His chosen apostles the words of God during His ministry (John 17:8; John 17:14), but He had not given them all of it. The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus would send from the Father, would complete the revelation of God’s word (John 14:16, John 14:26; John 15:26). Jesus said, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you" (John 16:13-15). - Ogden

sealed with seven seals . . Modeled after the doublesided scroll containing “words of lament and mourning and woe” in Ezekiel 2:9-10 and the sealed books in Isaiah 29:11; Daniel 12:4. - NIVZSB

ascroll written within and on the back . . is like the scroll given to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:93:3) but is atypical of most ancient manuscripts, since the irregular texture of the reverse side of either vellum (leather) or papyrus made them hard to inscribe. However, such a doubly inscribed scroll would resemble a Roman will or contract deed, with the contents written in detail inside and summarized briefly outside, then sealed with seven seals. The scroll John sees could symbolize a will that is to be opened and its contents executed; - ESVSB

written inside and on the back . . This is typical of various kinds of contracts in the ancient world, including deeds, marriage contracts, rental and lease agreements, and wills. The inside of the scroll contained all the details of the contract, and the outside—or back—contained a summary of the document. - MSB

sealed with seven seals . . Romans sealed their wills 7 times—on the edge at each roll—to prevent unauthorized entry. Hebrew title deeds required a minimum of 3 witnesses and 3 separate seals, with more important transactions requiring more witnesses and seals. - MSB

Verse 2

Revelation 5:2

strong . . = mighty in Revelation 10:1 and Revelation 18:21

strong angel . . The identity of this angel is uncertain, but it may refer to the angel Gabriel, whose name means “strength of God” (Daniel 8:16). - MSB

Some see a connection etymologically to the name Gabriel, which means “God’s strong man.” Another strong angel is mentioned in 10:1 and 18:21. Angelic mediation is common in Jewish intertestamental apocalyptic literature. - Utley

proclaiming with a loud voice . . He was addressing all creation. - Utley

worthy . . Speaks of ability and spiritually worthy. We sing it also, “Worthy of praise is Christ our Redeemer.”

Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals? . . The term “worthy” is a commercial term relating to a pair of scales. It came to mean “that which corresponds to.” Something is put on one side of the seals and what is put on the other is equal. It could be used in a negative or positive sense.

Here, it is the inestimable value of the sinless Savior. Only Jesus was equal to the task of redemption. Only Jesus was equal to the task of consummation. Only Jesus is worthy (cf. Revelation 5:7; Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 5:12). - Utley

Verse 3

Revelation 5:3

5:2–3 At first, no one in the entire universe seemed to have the divine authority or power to answer the angel’s call.

No one in all creation had authority to open the sealed message [Cf the promise of Revelation 4:1 ] in the scroll.

No created being (cf. Philippians 2:10) had authority to break the seals or even to learn of God’s plans contained in the scroll—no one in heaven, on earth, or in the place of departed spirits.- Constable

heaven or on the earth or under the earth . . A common biblical expression denoting the entire universe and not intended to teach 3 precise divisions.- MSB

neither to look thereon . . Which would have enabled him to read some fragments of its contents, viz. as much as was written on the outer fold of the back of the roll. - CBSC

Verse 4

Revelation 5:4

"I" . . - John.

Do we weep and hunger to know God’s will?

And I . . The pronoun is emphatic: “no one could open it: I for my part wept for the impossibility.” Why he wept will be variously explained, according to the view taken of the meaning of the Book. If it be the Book of Life, the reason is obvious: if it be the future purposes of God, the impossibility of opening it threatened to disappoint the promise of Revelation 4:1. - CBSC

wept . . John laments like the OT prophets (Isaiah 22:4; Jeremiah 9:1). - NIVZSB

I began to weep greatly . . This meant “loud wailing,” so characteristic of the ancient near east. - Utley

I began to weep loudly . . If the scroll could not be opened, John would not be able to see the events that were to come (see Revelation 4:1). - FSB

John wept because even though the revelation had been promised to him, he thought he would be denied knowledge of the divine script—God’s plan for history (Revelation 4:1; see Revelation 10:4). John’s weeping highlights the significance of the anticipated revelation. - NLTSB

Verse 5

Revelation 5:5

Identity is by an Old Testament description of Jewish Messiah. Hebrews 7:14; Genesis 49:9; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Luke 3:31; Romans 15:12

Some people say Revelation is all literal? Lion and Root in heaven?

one of the elders said to me . . Here we find one of the elders acting in the role of an angelic interpreter, as in the book of Daniel. - Utley

do not weep . . John is occasionally corrected or rebuked by bystanders (e.g., Revelation 19:10). - FSB

Stop weeping . . This is a PRESENT IMPERATIVE with the NEGATIVE PARTICLE which meant to stop an act which is already in process. - Utley

the tribe of Judah . . The royal tribe, or the tribe from which Israel’s rulers would come (Genesis 49:9-10). - FSB [cf. 2 Esdras 12.31 NRSVA]

the root of David . . An allusion to the prophecy of Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah 11:10 (see Revelation 22:16). - FSB

OT metaphors for the Messiah (see Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 30:9; John 7:42). - NLTSB

Jesus is not only the royal descendant (Revelation 22:16) but also the source of David’s rule (Mark 12:35-37; cf. “root of Jesse,” Romans 15:12). The Lion is worthy to open the scroll because he has conquered. The OT promise of a conquering Lion is fulfilled in the NT reality of one who is also the slain Lamb (Revelation 5:9). - ESVSB

prevailed . . = overcome, Revelation 3:21

Because Jesus won the victory at the cross (John 16:33), he is the only one worthy to open the scroll and reveal God’s purposes (Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:2, Revelation 5:12). God’s plan for history centers around Jesus and what he has done. His relationship to the scroll indicates his control of history. -NLTSB

has overcome . . This is an AORIST ACTIVE INDICATIVE, which implies it was an accomplished fact. Notice that the Lion is not going to conquer by His power, but by His sacrifice (cf. Revelation 5:6). - Utley

Verse 6

Revelation 5:6

Lamb standing as though slaughtered . .[Isaiah 53:7; Acts 8:32] John hears about a lion, but turns to see a lamb. Lamb imagery relates to Jesus’ death on the cross.

The tradition of viewing His death as a sacrifice—like the sheep sacrificed in the ot—arises out of Isa 53 (see Isaiah 53:4-8, Isaiah 53:10-11). The early church applied the title “Lamb of God” to Jesus, understanding His death to substitute for their sin (e.g., John 1:29, John 1:36; 1 Peter 1:19). The victory spoken of in Revelation 5:5, then, was brought about through sacrifice. This concept would have instilled hope in those being persecuted; victory for them would likewise come through sacrifice. - FSB

Lamb . . The Jews expected the Messiah to appear as a conquering lion. Instead, Jesus came as a Lamb (John 1:29, John 1:6; Acts 8:32-35; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19). [ the suffering prophet - Jeremiah 11:19; Luke 11:50]

The Lamb that had been slaughtered but was now standing refers to Jesus’ death and resurrection. - NLTSB

as though it had been slain . . The scars from its slaughter are still clearly visible, but it is standing— it is alive. -MSB

as it had been slain . . The true construction calls attention to the paradox, a Lamb appearing with its throat cut, yet not lying dead or dying, but standing. It serves to typify “Him that liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18). The risen Christ bore, and doubtless bears, the wounds of His Passion unaltered—unhealed, though apparently not bleeding, John 20:25, John 20:27. - CBSC

horns . . = Zechariah 1:18-20; authority, ( omnipotence ) Matthew 28:18 all authority and all knowledge.

The Lamb’s seven horns symbolize great power (Psalms 18:2; Daniel 7:24; Zechariah 1:18-21). - ESVSB

seven horns . . In Scripture, horns always symbolize power, because in the animal kingdom they are used to exert power and inflict wounds in combat. Seven horns signify complete or perfect power. Unlike other defenseless lambs, this One has complete, sovereign power. - MSB

seven horns and seven eyes . . Horns symbolized power and eyes symbolized wisdom. Christ is completely powerful and wise. - FSB

The Lamb’s seven horns represent his complete power, and the seven eyes represent his complete knowledge (see Zechariah 4:10). - NLTSB

“Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24) unities both. - CBSC

seven eyes . . = Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:10; ( John 3:34 )

seven eyes, which are the seven spirits . . His seven eyes, identified with God’s “seven spirits” (cf. note on Revelation 1:4-6; also Zechariah 4:10), show that the Lamb’s knowledge extends through all the earth. - ESVSB

Hebrews 1:7 "maketh his angels spirits" - ministering angels, 7 angels of God, OR an indication of the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

seven eyes . . refers to God’s omniscience (cf. Revelation 4:6; Revelation 4:8; Ezekiel 1:18; Ezekiel 10:12; Zechariah 3:9 and Zechariah 4:10). This symbolism is similar to Daniel 7:13-14. - Utley

which are the seven Spirits of God . . See note at Revelation 4:5.

The Lamb also had seven eyes representing the fullness of His divine wisdom and discernment (Zechariah 4:10). His eyes are the seven Spirits of God (i.e., the seven principle angels of God). That is, they communicate to Christ all that transpires. The Lamb is, nonetheless, omniscient as well as omnipotent. - Constable

Verse 7

Revelation 5:7

right hand ... on the throne . . God’s right hand. Mark 16:19.

5:7 Next John saw God the Father on the throne and the Lamb (evidently now in human form) coming and taking the scroll out of His right hand. Clearly this symbolizes a transfer of authority from the Father to the Son to reveal the future and to execute judgment (cf. Revelation 1:1).

“It has been frequently recognized that the vision of chapter 5 gives us a Christian prophet’s version of the enthronement ceremony known to the ancient world, when its potentates ascended their thrones. Here the king is the Christ, his domain the universe, and his throne the throne of God [cf. Philippians 2:6-11]. . . . The steps of the ancient enthronement are commonly described as exaltation, presentation, enthronement. If we apply these to chapter 5, the exaltation must be seen in the conquest of the Lamb referred to in Revelation 5:5, the presentation in verse 6, and the bestowal of authority in verse 7.” - Constable

Verse 8

Revelation 5:8

book ... (scroll) . . Revelation 5:1-2; Revelation 1:1

fell down before the Lamb . . The crucified and risen Christ has divine authority to initiate the events of this age; he is fully worthy of worship. - NLTSB

fell down before the Lamb . . When the Lamb receives the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders, who had praised God for his perfection and his creation, now sing a new song that celebrates the Lamb’s redemption. As they had previously fallen before God’s throne (Revelation 4:10), now they prostrate themselves in worship before the Lamb, an affirmation of his deity. - ESVSB

While the four living creatures and 24 elders prostrated themselves in worship, only the elders had harps (lyres) and bowls. They used the harps to praise God in song (Psalms 33:2; Psalms 98:5). - Constable

harps -- A common instrument used in Old Testament temple worship, Psalms 33:2; 1 Chronicles 25:6; 2 Chronicles 9:11; Psalms 43:4; Revelation 14:2; Revelation 15:2; [ cf also 1 Samuel 10:5]

Harps . . - each one had one. OT picture of praise to God.

[If this sanctions instrumental music in the church, then each one must have one. ]

This symbolizes those around the throne as taking their praise and prayers before the Lord.

bowls full of incense . . These golden, wide-mouth saucers were common in the tabernacle and temple. Incense was a normal part of the OT ritual. Priests stood twice daily before the inner veil of the temple and burned incense so that the smoke would carry into the Holy of Holies and be swept into the nostrils of God. That symbolized the people’s prayers rising to Him.

golden bowls full of incense . . Here and elsewhere, incense symbolizes the prayers of God’s people (e.g., Revelation 8:3-5; Psalms 141:2). - FSB [Luke 1:10]

lncense ... prayers . . = Psalms 141:2

The prayers of God’s people become a significant basis for the judgments and plagues which God dramatically answers in Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 8:2-5 Revelation 15:7-8;

... their pleas for relief are heard and will be answered in God’s providential judgments (Revelation 8:3-5). - ESVSB

prayers of the saints . . Specifically, these prayers represent all that the redeemed have ever prayed concerning ultimate and final redemption. This becomes a major theme throughout the book (cf. Revelation 11:17-18; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 13:9-10; Revelation 14:12; Revelation 16:6; Revelation 17:6; Revelation 18:20, 24; Revelation 19:8; Revelation 20:9). - MSB

John explained that the bowls contained the prayers of God’s people that are as the fragrant aroma of burning incense to Him (cf. Psalms 141:2; Luke 1:10). In the Old Testament the offering of incense was a priestly prerogative (Numbers 16:6-7), so these angels were functioning in a priestly capacity. The Jews believed that angels carried human prayers to God (cf. Revelation 8:3).

The prayers offered are probably all those as yet unanswered petitions that people have prayed asking God to judge unrighteousness including, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (cf. Revelation 5:10; Revelation 6:10; Revelation 8:3-5; Matthew 6:10; Luke 18:7-8). - Constable

which are the prayers . . If the strict grammar of this sentence is to be pressed, it is the “vials” not the “odours” which are identified with the “prayers.” - CBSC

[The metaphor however refers to the contents of the bowls, just as when there is a reference to the "cup" in the Lord’s supper the reference is to the "contents" and its symbolic meaning. Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 10:21; 1 Corinthians 11:26] - WG

Verse 9

Revelation 5:9

When the Lamb receives the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders, who had praised God for his perfection and his creation, now sing a new song that celebrates the Lamb’s redemption.

5:9–10 The whole created order joins in a new song of praise to the Lamb (cp.Revelation 5:11; Revelation 14:1-5;

new song . . = cf. Revelation 4:11, Song of Redemption. cf Revelation 5:11 ff. The OT is filled with references to a new song that flows from a heart that has experienced God’s redemption or deliverance, Psalms 33:3; Psalms 40:5; Psalms 46:1; Psalms 96:1-2; Psalms 144:9-10; Psalms 149:1; Isaiah 42:10). 1 Peter 1:18; Acts 20:28

And they sang a new song . . (cf. Revelation 14:3). In the OT there are many allusions to the new song (cf. Psalms 33:3; Psalms 40:3; Psalms 98:1; Psalms 144:9; Psalms 149:1 and Isaiah 42:10). At every major event in the OT, the people of God were encouraged to sing a new song praising God’s activity. This is the ultimate song about God’s revealing Himself in the Messiah and the Messiah’s work of redemption on behalf of all believers (cf. vv. 9, 12, 13). - Utley

The gospel is for all. ; 1 Corinthians 6:20

You are worthy . . Answers the question in Revelation 5:2 and echoes praise to God in Revelation 4:11 (cf. Revelation 5:12). - NIVZSB

One popular commentary on Revelation is titled "Worthy is the Lamb"

worthy . . The Lamb is worthy because, through his sacrifice, he won the right to break the seals of the scroll and enact God’s purposes in history. • The song summarizes the implications of the Good News about Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-25). - NLTSB

Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals” This is a fivefold description of the worthiness of the Lamb: (1) substitutionary death (cf. 5:6, 12; 13:8; 1 Peter 1:18-19); (2) redemptive price paid (cf. 14:3–4; Mark 10:45; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; 1 Timothy 2:6); (3) purchased men from every nation (cf. Revelation 7:9; Revelation 14:6); (4) made the believers a kingdom of priests (cf. Revelation 1:6) and (5) they will reign with Him (cf. Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:4). - Utley

purchased . . Commercial metaphor for emancipating slaves (cf. Revelation 14:3-4; 1 Corinthians 7:23). - NIVZSB

every tribe and language and people and nation . . God’s universal people transcend ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and national boundaries (Revelation 7:9; Daniel 7:14); contrast the nations’ false worship in Revelation 13:3-8; Daniel 3:4-5. - NIVZSB

This is a recurrent metaphor of universality (cf. Revelation 7:9; Revelation 11:9; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 14:6).

5:9–10 There is a significant Greek manuscript variant related to the pronoun “us.” The NKJV has the pronoun “us” in Revelation 5:9, “have redeemed us to God,” and in Revelation 5:10, “and have made us kings and priests to our God.” Most modern translations (NASB, NRSV, TEV, NJB) omit “us” in both verses. If “us” is present in both verses then Jesus’ sacrificial death includes the twenty-four elders who seem to be angelic creatures. Nowhere in the Bible is Jesus’ death related to angelic redemption. Also, the presence of “them” (autous) in Revelation 5:10 grammatically excludes the possibility of “us” being original. The United Bible Society’s fourth edition rates its omission as certain. - Utley

The Common Version [KJV] is incorrect, as is now admitted by all scholars. The song does not sing of what Christ has done for those who are singing, but of what he has done for men. The singers are not of those redeemed. - PNT

Verse 10

Revelation 5:10

kings and priests . . The description of God’s people as a Kingdom of priests who will enjoy ultimate victory and will reign with Christ reflects the images of Jesus as both King (Romans 1:3) and High Priest (Hebrews 6:20). - NLTSB

This terminology is now used for the Church, the new evangelistic people of God (cf. Revelation 1:6; Revelation 20:6; 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9). - Utley

Kings were anointed by the Prophets, Jesus was anointed of the H.S. 2 Corinthians 1:21. The Greek = a kingdom of priests. Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 61:6; 1 Corinthians 4:8; 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 5:17; Revelation 1:6; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 3:21; As priests, Christians are now a royal priesthood serving God and offering their sacrifices, 1 Peter 2:5 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 12:1-2;

When are Christians said to reign as kings? Revelation 1:6 ; Revelation 20:4; Matthew 5:5;

reign on the earth . . Christians reign by overcoming Revelation 3:21; 2 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 4:8; Romans 5:17;

they . . not "we", as in the KJV.

they will reign . . Some manuscripts read they are reigning. - NLTSB

they will reign upon the earth . . Some translators see this in a future sense and some see it as a present reality. There is a Greek manuscript variant between the FUTURE TENSE in MS à and the PRESENT TENSE in MS A. If it is in a PRESENT sense it is similar to Romans 5:17 and Ephesians 2:6. If FUTURE it possibly deals with the reigning of the people of God with Christ (cf. Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30; 1 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:10). - Utley

we shall reign . . Authorities are nearly evenly divided between the readings “they reign” and “they shall reign.” Perhaps the present is to be preferred, . . . If we accept the present, it can hardly be used for a future, every one must feel that Revelation 2:22, &c. are not really parallel: rather, we may say that the faithful on earth are, even in their exile, kings de jure, as David was “when he was in the wilderness of Judah” (Psalms 63:1 ff Psalms 63:11. cf. title). - CBSC

Verse 11

Revelation 5:11

I beheld . . = saw and heard. See on Revelation 4:1.

The sense is, of course, that he saw the Angels whose voice he heard. - CBSC

round about . . We cannot tell if they formed a complete circle round the Throne, or a semicircle between it and the Seer, or a semicircle on the side away from him. But though we cannot answer these questions, it is worth while to ask them: for it is plain that St John did see a definite picture. - CBSC

many angels . . This verse lists three groups of angels: (1) many angels; (2) living creatures; or (3) elders; or possibly just two (cf. Revelation 5:14). - Utley

ten thousand times ten thousand . . Lit. “myriads of myriads.” The number is to express an amount beyond calculation. The Gr. expression can also be translated “innumerable” (Luke 12:1; Hebrews 12:22). - MSB

myriads . . = 100,000,000 + , NASV

Psalms 68:17 ; Daniel 7:10 ; Hebrews 12:22 ;

their number . . Rather than taking this as a precise number, this was probably John’s way of saying they were innumerable (compare Daniel 7:10).- FSB

A huge angelic chorus numbering thousands and millions provides an antiphonal response; all heaven responds to creation’s confession of Christ’s sacrifice. - NLTSB

The choir expands to include myriads of myriads (hundreds of millions) and thousands of thousands of angels, who acclaim the Lamb worthy of sevenfold tribute (power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, blessing). The worship of the Lamb in this chapter testifies to his deity. - ESVSB

Verse 12

Revelation 5:12

A third song

Revelation 5:12 ; Song of a Universal Chorus ( Revelation 4:11 ; Revelation 5:9 ) Three songs are mentioned. Notice there are seven traits or qualities ascribed to the Lamb.

Both the Lamb and God (Revelation 7:12) receive sevenfold praise. - NIVZSB

This doxology ascribes to Jesus divine honors that are reserved for God alone (see Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:13; Revelation 7:12). - FSB

[The] angels, who acclaim the Lamb worthy of sevenfold tribute (power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, blessing). The worship of the Lamb in this chapter testifies to his deity. - ESVSB

The repetition of “and” (Gr. kai) between each quality brings special emphasis to each one individually.

This is a literary device called polysyndeton. It “produces the impression of extensiveness and abundance by means of an exhaustive summary” (F. Blass and A. Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, par. 460 [3]).- Constable

the Lamb that was slain to receive power . . “Was slain” is a PERFECT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE (cf. Revelation 5:6; Revelation 13:8), which implies “slain in the past” with the marks of the slaying remaining.

When we see Jesus He will still have the marks of the crucifixion. They have become His badge of honor! The concept of the cross is implicit and central in Revelation (cf. Revelation 1:5; Revelation 5:12; Revelation 7:14; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 14:4; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:9, Revelation 21:23 and Revelation 22:3).

The concept of a purchased redemption is a recurrent NT truth (cf. Mark 10:45; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

In this verse seven attributes are given unto the Lamb: (1) power; (2) riches; (3) wisdom; (4) might; (5) honor; (6) glory; and (7) blessing. All creation (the largest choir possible) blesses the Father and the Son (cf. Revelation 5:14; Psalms 103:19-20; Philippians 2:8-11). - Utley

Verse 13

Revelation 5:13

And every creature . . All animated creation gives glory to the Lamb. - PNT

every creature . . cf. Philippians 2:10; Everyone magnifying God.

The second antiphonal response resounds from every creature, even those under the earth (the place of the dead) and in the sea (usually associated with evil), possibly implying a mandatory response even by those in rebellion against God (Isaiah 45:23-25; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10-11). - NLTSB

Eventually, every knee “in heaven, on earth, and under the earth” will bow and “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11). - ESVSB

under the earth . . See Revelation 5:3. It seems harsh to understand the words of an unwilling cooperation of the devils in glorifying God and His Son, - CBSC

such as are in the sea . . Read simply on the sea: including those in ships, and marine animals: see Psalms 104:26. - CBSC

In his vision John saw every creature giving praise to God and to the Lamb. The creatures in view must be intelligent beings who can appreciate God and the Lamb, not the stars, planets, and animals. This probably involved a forward (proleptic) look to the end of the history of planet earth when every creature will bow the knee to Jesus Christ (cf. Revelation 5:10; Philippians 2:8-11). - Constable

In these two chapters [4 and 5], the sequence of hymns shows that the first two are addressed to God, the next two to the Lamb, and the last one to both. There is also a gradual enlargement in the size of the choirs. The internal movement also builds as the last hymn is sung by ‘every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth’ to ‘him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb’ (5:13).” -

Constable [quoting Johnson.]

Verse 14

Revelation 5:14

Lesson: Jesus is Divine. No angel or good creature ever accepted worship.

Parallel to Revelation 4:10

And the four living creatures said, Amen . . They, then, though they may be in sympathy with, are different from the animated creation. Four orders join in these honors to the Lamb: (1) The Living Creatures; the Cherubim; (2) the Twenty-four Elders; (3) the Angels; (4) all Animate Creation. - PNT

Amen . . Their Amen affirms the truth of what John had seen, as the twenty-four elders prostrate themselves in worship. - NLTSB

And the four and twenty … for ever and ever . . We should read simply, “and the elders fell down and worshipped”—in silence. The brevity of the phrase, imitating their silent adoration, is really grander than the completer sentence of the A. V. - CBSC

The worship culminated in John’s vision with the four creatures saying “Amen” repeatedly after the vast crowd fell silent. The elders worshipped by prostrating themselves before God’s throne (cf. Revelation 4:10).

These chapters (4–5) present heaven, God’s dwelling place, as a real place. John saw God receiving great honor there surrounded by innumerable angelic worshippers. Even though John saw a vision, it was a vision of something that truly exists. We may be able to see it and the individuals said to be there someday. - Constable

[In chapters 4-20 John described what he saw in heaven and on earth. Ch 4 &5 seen "in Heaven" But take note where the following chapters are seen. See Constable’s notes, but note his premillennial view on ch. 19-20 in his chart.]

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Revelation 5". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/revelation-5.html. 2021.
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