Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 14:3

And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Animals;   Celibacy;   Chastity;   Elder;   Heaven;   Music;   Praise;   Righteous;   Song;   Throne;   Vision;   Scofield Reference Index - Holy Spirit;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible, the;   God's Word;   Gratitude-Ingratitude;   Heavenly;   Holy Spirit;   Hymns;   Inspiration;   Inspired, Word;   Joy;   Music;   New;   Praise;   Singing;   Song, New;   Songs;   Victory;   Word;   Word of God;   Word, God's;   Worship;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Redemption;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Heaven;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christians, Names of;   Hades;   New Command;   New Heavens and a New Earth;   New Song;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Living Creatures;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Birthright;   Cuttings;   Turtle (Dove);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Predestination;   Redeemer, Redemption;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Angels (2);   Atonement (2);   Mediator;   Praise;   Redemption;   Redemption (2);   Self-Denial;   Type;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Elders;   Hymns;   Lamb;   Redemption;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Forehead;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ascension;   Creature, Living;   Innocents, Massacre of the;   Praise;   Ransom;   Revelation of John:;   Spiritual Songs;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for March 9;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

They sung - a new song - See on Revelation 5:9; (note).

No man could learn that song - As none but genuine Christians can worship God acceptably, because they approach him through the only Mediator, so none can understand the deep things of God but such; nor can others know the cause why true believers exult so much in God through Christ, because they know not the communion which such hold with the Father and the Son through the Holy Ghost.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-14.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And they sung as it were a new song - See the notes on Revelation 5:9. It was proper to call this “new,” because it was on a new occasion, or pertained to a new object. The song here was in celebration of the complete redemption of the church, and was the song to be sung in view of its final triumph over all its foes. Compare notes on Revelation 7:9-10.

Before the throne - The throne of God in heaven. See the notes on Revelation 4:2.

And before the four beasts - See the notes on Revelation 4:6-8.

And the elders - See the notes on Revelation 4:4.

And no man could learn that song, … - None could understand it but the redeemed. That is, none who had not been redeemed could enter fully into the feelings and sympathies of those who were. A great truth is taught here. To appreciate fully the songs of Zion; to understand the language of praise; to enter into the spirit of the truths which pertain to redemption; one must himself have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. He must have known what it is to be a sinner under the condemnation of a holy law; he must have known what it is to be in danger of eternal death; he must have experienced the joys of pardon, or he can never understand, in its true import, the language used by the redeemed. And this is only saying what we are familiar with in other things. He who is saved from peril; he who is rescued from long captivity; he who is pardoned at the foot of the scaffold; he who is recovered from dangerous illness; he who presses to his bosom a beloved child just rescued from a watery grave, will have an appreciation of the language of joy and triumph which he can never understand who has not been placed in such circumstances: but of all the joy ever experienced in the universe, so far as we can see, that must be the most sublime and transporting, which will be experienced when the redeemed shall stand on Mount Zion above, and shall realize that they are saved.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-14.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

and they sing as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders: and no man could learn the song save the hundred and forty and four thousand, even they that had been purchased out of the earth.

A new song ... The universal rejoicing of the saints in heaven is meant by this, indicating their joy unspeakable and their bliss eternal.

No man could learn ... save the 144,000 ... Could this possibly mean that some special group in heaven alone could learn this song? No indeed. All the redeemed are meant. The meaning is simply that, "none except the redeemed could join in the singing."[15]

Even they that had been purchased out of the earth ... This explains exactly the identity of the 144,000; it is the whole church of Christ that has been purchased with his own precious blood (Acts 20:38ff).

ENDNOTE:

[15] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 222.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-14.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And they sung as it were a new song,.... The song of redeeming grace; the same with that in Revelation 5:9; see the note there: this is to be understood of the 144,000, who sung it

before the throne, and before the four beasts and the elders; that is, publicly in the church, the ministers and members being present; of these; See Gill on Revelation 4:4; See Gill on Revelation 4:6;

and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth; out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation; from among the men of the earth, and out of the apostate church, called the earth, in opposition to the pure church, which so often goes by the name of heaven in this book; and these, in consequence of being redeemed by the blood of Christ, were called by grace out of the world; and such only can sing the song of redemption with application to themselves; and say he has redeemed us, and loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood; to none but these is it given to know spiritually and experimentally the mysteries of electing and redeeming grace; the natural and carnal man neither knows nor receives the things of the Spirit of God; nor can he learn them by hearing, reading, study, and conversation, unless it be only in a notional and speculative way. The Jews speak of a new song, which the angels have never usedF13Zohar in Numb. fol. 70. 4. ;

"it is said, Psalm 98:1; "sing unto the Lord a new song"; a new song, for there is an old song; but this song is what the angels never praised him with, and therefore it is new;'

and indeed the song of redeeming love is peculiar to men.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-14.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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 — (Revelation 5:9, Revelation 5:10). 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 (Revelation 15:2, Revelation 15:3), where the same act is attributed to the general company of the saints, the harvest (Revelation 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” (Revelation 7:14).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-14.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

They sing as it were a new song (αιδουσιν ως ωιδην καινηνaidousin hōs ōidēn kainēn). See Revelation 5:9 for this phrase (cognate accusative) save that here ωςhōs (as if) is added. There the new song was sung by the four living creatures and the elders, but here “before” (ενωπιονenōpion) them and so apparently by the throng who were themselves redeemed by the Lamb.

No man could learn the song save (ουδεις εδυνατο ματειν την ωιδην ει μηoudeis edunato mathein tēn ōidēn ei mē). Imperfect (εδυνατοedunato) of δυναμαιdunamai and second aorist (ingressive) active infinitive of μαντανωmanthanō In Revelation 5:9-12 the angels join in the song. In Revelation 15:3 it is the Song of Moses and the Lamb.

Even they that had been purchased out of the earth (οι ηγορασμενοι απο της γηςhoi ēgorasmenoi apo tēs gēs). Perfect passive articular participle of αγοραζωagorazō purchased by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 5:9), masculine plural in apposition with χιλιαδεςchiliades (thousands) feminine plural (Revelation 7:5, Revelation 7:8; Revelation 14:1). ΑποApo (from) here, though εκek (out of) in Revelation 5:9. The 144,000 are not yet separated from the earth (John 17:15). Whether the 144,000 here are identical with that number in Revelation 7:4-8 or not, they must embrace both men and women.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-14.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Beasts ( ζώων )

Rev., living creatures. See on Revelation 4:6.

Redeemed ( ἠγορασμένοι )

Rev., correctly, purchased.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-14.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

And they — The hundred forty-four thousand-Sing a new song - and none could learn that song - To sing and play it in the same manner.

But the hundred forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth — From among men; from all sin.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-14.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

No man could learn that song; could experience the joy which that song expressed.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-14.html. 1878.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

A NEW SONG

‘And they sung as it were a new song before the throne.’

Revelation 14:3

This verse occurs in the Epistle for Holy Innocents’ Day, and we may well ask why, when heaven is yet ringing with the bright message of peace, does the wailing of Ramah, of Bethlehem, shriek in upon it with discordant jar?

The Apostle in his vision is contemplating a great company standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion, worshipping before the throne, and from that throne proceeds a voice as of many waters, and the voice of a great thunder.

I. It may be that the teaching of Holy Innocents’ Day is part of the new song of the Church which comes forth from the throne of God. All who came near Christ more or less suffered by approaching Him. Surely this is part of the new song of Holy Innocents’ Day, the true meaning of suffering in the economy of the world.

II. The song that mounts up before the throne to-day is also a song without words.—The honour bestowed on little children—the honour which belongs to innocency—is a distinguishing mark of Christianity, the new song which the Church has tried to learn.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/revelation-14.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

Ver. 3. A new song] {See Trapp on "Revelation 5:9"}

But the hundred, &c.] To whom alone it was given to understand the mysteries of God’s kingdom. Others could not skill of it.

From the earth] i.e. From the Antichristian rout and rabble. These dunghill cocks meddle not with that jewel, the joy of faith, but speak evil of what they know not.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-14.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne: by the throne here is meant the throne of God in glory. The new song here spoken of, is probably the same with that we met with before, Revelation 5:11,12, sang by the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: called new, either for the excellency of it; or, because sung unto God after Christ was manifested in the flesh; the design of it was to declare the worthiness of Christ to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing: see Revelation 5:12. Mr. Mede saith thus of it; "If God shall at any time make me fully to understand it, I will happily more largely explain it, for it is deeply settled in my mind, that the whole mystery of evangelical worship is in it contained." And quite through the Scripture generally, a new song signifies a song which praiseth God for some new benefits received from him.

And before the four beasts, and the elders; the throne, beasts, and elders, described before, Revelation 4:1-11,

And no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth: during the reign of antichrist none could learn this new song, viz. to give glory to Jesus Christ alone, ascribing to him power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory, and blessing; but a small number redeemed through the blood of Christ, from that vain conversation received by tradition from their fathers, 1 Peter 1:18. All the other part of the world gave Christ’s honour and glory to the virgin Mary, angels, and saints, &c.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-14.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

новую песнь Песнь искупления, которую будут петь все спасенные святые в гигантском хоре. Они радуются завершению Божьих трудов по спасению перед возвращением Христа (ср. Пс. 32:1-3; 39:4; 95:1; 143:9, 10; 149; Лк. 15:10; см. пояснение к 5:9).

четырьмя животными и старцами См. пояснение к 4:4, 6.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-14.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

A new song; the song of redemption through the blood of the Lamb. Whatever trials believers may suffer in this world, through the aid of their great High-priest and Intercessor they will all arrive safely in heaven, and their arrival will awaken songs of thanksgiving throughout all the hosts above.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-14.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

These angels sang a new song. A new song in the Old Testament was a song of praise to God for new mercies, particularly victory over an enemy and sometimes for God"s work in creation (cf. Psalm 33:3; Psalm 40:3; Psalm 96:1; Psalm 98:1; Psalm 144:9; Psalm 149:1; Isaiah 42:10).

"A "new song" is one which, in consequence of some new mighty deeds of God, comes from a new impulse of gratitude in the heart, [?] xl13, and frequently in the Psalm, Isa. xlii10, Judith vi13, Apoc. Revelation 14:9." [Note: Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Psalm, 1:402.]

The song this group sang in heaven is one that only the144,000, of all God"s creatures, could learn. Probably they were the only ones who could learn it in the sense that they were the only ones who could appreciate what it expressed (cf. Revelation 15:2). God had purchased them from the earth for their special ministry in the Great Tribulation (cf. Revelation 14:4), not just for salvation.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-14.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 14:3. The song referred to is not said to be sung by the 144,000, and perhaps we ought to think simply of a great body of praise going up before the throne. And no one could learn the song save the hundred and forty and four thousand, even they that had been purchased out of the earth. They are described as ‘purchased out of the earth,’ a designation which, like that of Revelation 14:4, ‘from among men,’ must be accepted in a general sense, there being nothing to suggest the idea of Judaism alone. The word ‘earth’ rather leads us to the thought of our natural condition as sons of Adam (Genesis 3:19; 1 Corinthians 15:47; 1 Corinthians 15:49).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-14.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

They sung as it were a new canticle. In these visions, after persecutions, are sometimes introduced rejoicings to encourage the servants of God in their sufferings from the wicked world. --- No man could say (or sing) the canticle, but those hundred forty-four thousand: by which are signified the elect, who were not defiled with women. Some expound this literally of those who always lived virgins; others understand all those who lived or died with a pure and clean heart, exempt from the corruption of vices, and of whom it is said, (ver. 5) that in their mouth was found no lie, and that they were without spot for the throne of God. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-14.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

sung = sing.

new song. See Revelation 5:9.

new. See Matthew 9:17.

that song = the song. Only instance where the words of the song are not given. A new song, by a new company, with a new theme.

but. Literally if (App-118) not (App-105).

were = had been.

redeemed = purchased. Rendered "buy" in Revelation 13:17, &c. See Matthew 13:44. 1 Corinthians 6:20.

earth. App-129.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-14.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

Sung - `sing.'

As it were, [ hoos (Greek #5613)]. So A C, Vulgate. It is AS IT WERE a new song: for it is, in truth, as old as God's eternal purpose. But 'Aleph (') B, Syriac, Coptic, Origen, Andreas, omit.

New song - (Revelation 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 was never fought before. Until now Christ's kingdom on earth was usurped. They sing the new son in anticipation of His taking possession of His blood-bought kingdom with His saints.

Four beasts - `four living creatures.' The harpers and singers include the 144,000 (cf. Revelation 15:2-3, where the same act is attributed to the general company of saints). Not as Alford, 'the harpers and song are in heaven, the 144,000 on earth.' Still, the 144,000 here are distinguished from the four living creatures, which represent the elect Church: as though the latter had the priority in heaven.

Redeemed, [ eegorasmenoi (Greek #59)] - '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' (Revelation 7:14).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-14.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) And they . . .—Translate, And they (i.e., the heavenly harpers) sing a new song (the words “as it were” ought, perhaps, to be omitted) before the throne, and before the living creatures, and the elders (i.e., in the presence of God Himself, and creation, and the Church), and no one was able to learn the song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were purchased from the earth. It is a heavenly song, and no spirit dulled by earthly desires can learn it. The Spirit of the Lord can open the dull ear to hear and to rejoice in the songs of God’s saints. Amid the world-noises of Babylon men can neither hear nor sing aright the Lord’s song (Psalms 137:4); but the redeemed (the purchased from the earth) of the Lord can come with singing unto Zion (Isaiah 51:11).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-14.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
a
5:9; 15:3; Psalms 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isaiah 42:10
throne
4:2-11
no
1; 2:17; Psalms 25:14; Matthew 11:25-27; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:14
redeemed
5:9
Reciprocal: Exodus 15:21 - Sing ye;  1 Kings 10:12 - harps;  1 Chronicles 23:30 - stand;  2 Chronicles 20:28 - with psalteries;  Psalm 68:25 - the players;  Psalm 95:1 - sing;  Psalm 98:5 - GeneralPsalm 116:15 - Precious;  Matthew 26:29 - until;  Luke 12:37 - that;  Galatians 4:5 - redeem;  Colossians 3:16 - and spiritual;  Hebrews 9:15 - for;  James 5:13 - let him sing;  Revelation 4:6 - four beasts;  Revelation 5:8 - having;  Revelation 7:4 - an;  Revelation 7:15 - are;  Revelation 8:13 - flying;  Revelation 21:17 - an

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-14.html.

Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on Revelation

The Church Dwelling Alone.

Revelation 14:3.

Revelation 14:4.

Numbers 23:9.

2 Corinthians 6:17

Let me call attention to these four tests, as making up the different parts of one great truth concerning the Church"s true position in this present evil world, her "unearthly" calling and "unearthly" walk. She is the "redeemed one;" redeemed from the earth; redeemed from among men, or literally "from men." She comes out and is separate; she dwells alone; "separate from sinners" (Psalms 1:1; Hebrews 7:26).

She is "redeemed fromthe earth" that she may dwell alone.She is "redeemed from men" that she may dwell alone. She comes out and is "separate" that she may dwell alone. For she is not of the world, even as He who redeemed her is not of the world. She is "sanctified in God the Father" (Jude 1:1). She is a stranger in strange land. Her calling is heavenly; and her affections are set on things above. Her "citizenship" is in heaven and she sits loose from all below—riches, pleasures, honors, vanities!"Unspotted from the world" is her designation. (James 1:27)

I wish to bring out all this specially in connection with the third of the above texts, concerning Israel"s dwelling alone.

"Israel shall dwell in safety alone" (Deuteronomy 33:28). "Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations"(Numbers 23:9).

These were true sayings, though one of them comes from the lips of a false prophet. In them we seem to have a contradiction of the divine word, "It is not good for man to be alone." Yet is so only in appearance. These two "alones" are very different—the "alone" of Adam and the "alone" of Israel; the persons are different, the circumstances are different, the words are different; that which was not good for the one was good for the other.

It looks also like an exception to the proverb, "Two are better than one—for if they fall, the one will life up his fellow—but woe to him who is alone when he falls" (Ecclesiastes 4:10). But it is not really so; for everything in such a case depends on the friendliness of one"s companion. Better to be alone when falling, than to be with an enemy.

Up until Abraham"s day the "godly seed", the "saints of the Most High," had not been alone (except in heart and feeling); but were scattered everywhere; hidden and mixed. Hence before the flood the sons of God intermarried with the daughters of men. But when He called Abraham, He unfolded His purpose of separation from the rest of men.Then He carried out His condemnation of this present evil world, which in and by Noah He had already proclaimed. He appeared unto Abraham as the God of glory; and in that character He called him "out" of Chaldea and its idolatry. He called him out to be "separate" and to "dwell alone"—no, to dwell in "tents"—temporary dwellings. It was not the removal from one nation to another, or one land to another, that we see in Abraham, but the call to "dwell alone"—the manifestation of God"s purpose to this end.

Abrahamdwelt alone. So did Isaac.So did Jacob.So also did Mosesat last; though for a time he was drawn into the world, not out of it. Yet afterwards he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh"s daughter, counting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. First drawn out of the water, then out of Pharaohs house. Egypt soon cast him out, and he "dwelt alone" and "separate" In the land of Midian—as a stranger and a sojourner. All his later life was of the same separated kind. He was a true Nazarite, set apart from the world to God.

So was it with Israel.Even "in Egypt" there was little affinity or sympathy between them and the Egyptians; and the more that their "hope" came out and brightened—the fellowship became less—and the antagonism the more decided. In "the desert" they were separate—they "dwelt alone"—with no society but that of God. When they entered Canaan, they did it to dwell alone. Even there they were not numbered among the nations. They were in the midst of all that was incongruous and hostile; and all things seemed meant to keep them separate, to make them feel their separation. Their place, their character, the calling, their testimony, all corresponded with each other.

First there was round them a wall or barricade of enemies—the Phoenicians on the north, the Philistines on the west, the Edomites on the south, the Moabites and Ammonites on the east. Then there was an outer belt of deserts, and mountains, and seas, accomplishing a double separation; and beyond these there was an interminable stretch of hostile territory—the vast nations of heathenism spreading wide over the world, all of them hostile to Israel.

Truly Israel was separate and dwelt alone. They were not numbered among the nations. The Gentiles never spoke of them but with contempt. To a Greek or Roman, a Jew was the name for all that was weak, morose, foolish, and ignorant. The great worldly streams swept by the tribes and around them, but the Israelites remained alone—unaffected by these mighty motions of earth"s kingdoms—until at last their sins drew them into the currents, and they no longer dwelt alone.

But for ages they did dwell alone. They had all things of their own—borrowing from none, dependent on none. With their own self-sustaining land, their own religion, their own city, their own temple, their own God, they dwelt alone. Their internal resources were enough. They needed not to go down to Egypt for help; and what could Babylon and its idols, or Greece and her gods, do for them? They needed nothing from the world. Jehovah was their God, their all; and with His fullness for their inheritance, they could afford to "dwell alone."

What was Babylon, or Assyria, or Egypt, to Israel? An enemy, or it might be a tempter—but certainly not an ally or a friend. A distant peace might be between them; but as for fellowship, or brotherhood, or sympathy—that could not be!

What is the world to the Church, or to any single saint? Just what Babylon or Egypt was to Israel. No more. She dwells alone. We know that we are of God—and that the whole world lies in wickedness!

Israel was "separate" and dwelt alone. This was her position, her portion—such as was appointed her by the purpose of God. The Church is to dwell alone, like Israel. Let us set both these together, illustrating the one by the other.

1. Israel did not need the world"s HELP.The nations were stronger than she, but she did not require their strength to lean upon. Their strength was their weakness; her weakness was her strength. They would have helped her, but she would not be helped; and when at last she did accept their aid—it was her ruin! Her help was in Jehovah. Her security was in His favor. With Him upon her side, what was the array of the whole world against her? Her pious kings, such as Asa and Hezekiah, felt this—they prayed and acted accordingly.

Neither does the Church need the help of the world. The less of the world there is in her projects, her enterprises, her hopes, the better. Never has she prospered when she departed to an "arm of flesh", or to the strength of human greatness, or to the influence of the world"s smile. For the world cannot really help one who is not of this world, who has nothing in common with her joys, or cares, or ambitions. And never has the world helped the Church without exacting a favor in return—insisting on or tacitly giving it to be understood that she expects some compromise, some relaxation of her testimony, less of strictness and spirituality—more of congenial fellowship and participation in her pleasures, if not her lusts and sins!

The Church"s help is neither in the world—nor in the god of this world. Her help is in the Lord who made heaven and earth. With this divine help she is able to undertake any enterprise, to encounter any foe. Let her lean on His arm alone. It is on this arm that faith leans; it is this arm that unbelief flings from it—to take hold of one more visible, more sensible, more congenial to flesh and blood.

II. Israel did not need the world"s RICHES.The world was rich—rich in its own way, and according to its own standard. Israel might have had a share in that wealth. But God had said, It is not for you. You need it not. I have given you a land flowing with milk and honey, abundance of corn and wine. What more do you need? Be content. Be strangers with Me and sojourners—as all your fathers were. When you need the gold of earth, you shall have it. You needed it once when you were leaving Egypt, and you got it without toil. You needed it when you were building a temple for me in my city, and you got it. But seek it not. When required, it will come to you.

Israel! the world"s gold is not for you! Church of the living God, your richest are not of earth—your treasure is in heaven. Labor not to be rich! Covet not luxury, and ease, and splendor! Grudge not to be poor. The cross of "poverty", which your Master bore—you be satisfied to bear also. In the early Church it was so. "Not many rich, not many noble," were called. God chose the poor to confound the riches and greatness of earth. Poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing all things. Your riches are God"s; they are the unsearchable riches of Christ; they are divine and everlasting. They take not to themselves wings and flee away. You shall have enough before long—when the Lord comes. Meanwhile, be rich in faith, rich in love, rich in all good works!

III. Israel did not need the world"s WISDOM.Egypt had learning,Babylon had wisdom,Greece had philosophy.It is easy to see how Israel might covet these; for these have always been—even more than gold—objects of highest ambition of man. But with these Israel was not to meddle. When she tried to do so, she failed. Earth"s wisdom would not suit her. The cup of Chaldean magic was not for her. The cloak of Anthenian philosophy did not fit a Jew.

Beside, she had wisdom of her own; wisdom of heavenly origin; not the wisdom of "conjecture or speculation"—but of certainty, of absolute truth—wisdom which could alone fill and satisfy—wisdom which could gladden and illuminate. In a small volume, no doubt, was that wisdom contained. To the secrets of science it did not extend; of man"s goodness or greatness it spoke little; to earthly glory or fame it did not point the way. But it was full of God and the things of God; full of infinite and perfect truth; full of all that could fill, and purify, and ennoble the human soul. One page of it was worth all that Gentile sages could boast of. Israel surely did not need to go to Chaldea or Egypt for wisdom and learning. She had all she needed within herself. She might dwell alone and enjoy it all. Happy Israel! Saved from a thousand doubts, and uncertainties, and vain reasonings, which vex, and fret, and shrivel up the soul! Happy Israel! Led at once God into the green pastures of eternal wisdom, and made to like down beside its quiet waters!

Church of God, all Israel"s wisdom—more than all Israel"s wisdom—is yours! You have now the fullness of Him in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; Him in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Rest there. If other wisdom crosses your path, take it, if you are sure that it is truth. But let it be subordinate to the wisdom of Scripture. Place nothing side by side with the wisdom of Christ. Above all, beware of entangling yourself in the perplexities and sophistries of the day, thus rushing into the very thickets from which God, by giving you such a certain revelation, has sought to keep you back.

What! Do you covet "doubt", when "faith" is before you? Do you covet "speculation", when revealed "certainty" is presented to you? Do you prefer the "vexed and boiling whirlpool" to the quiet haven or more quiet lake? Be on your guard against the wiles of the devil in these last days. Should not a people seek unto their God? Is His wisdom not the surest, safest, best? Oh, dwell alone! Enter your chamber—shut your door behind you! Learn of God. Fear not the taunt of the world—that you are not abreast of the age—nor imbued with its spirit. Retire to God. Let the world"s Babel-sounds of boasted wisdom pass around you, or over you—unheeded. In patience possess your souls. Get your wisdom in communion with God—and in the study of His book.

IV. Israel did not need the world"s PLEASURES.And why? Was a Stoic? No! She was happy without the world"s pleasures. She had her God to make her happy! Her Sabbaths were happiness. Her feasts were happiness. Her ways were ways of pleasantness—and all her paths were peace. Happy were you, O Israel! Who was like unto you—a people saved by the Lord? How goodly were your tents, O Jacob, and your tabernacles, O Israel! She was the specimen of a happy nation, a prosperous nation—yet dwelling alone—indebted to no nation round for her gladness; indebted to God alone. All other joy was poor and transient when compared to hers. What could Phoenicia, or Philistia, or Syria, or Egypt, give her of true happiness?

So and even more with the Church. The joy unspeakable is hers; the peace that passes all understanding is hers. She does not need to borrow from the world. She is not so poor as to be indebted to any man. She has all and abounds. O child of God, is not the joy of God enough for you? Do you require the pleasures of sin, the gaieties of the ballroom, the excitement of the theater, the music of the opera, the frivolities of the world"s card-table, the stolen pleasures of the dance, to make up for deficiencies in what God has given you? If He has not given enough, go tell Him, and He will give you more. But do not go to His enemies to borrow! Do not go to Endor, or Ekron, or Egypt—to the world"s haunts of vanity, where the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life are cherished! Dwell alone with God, and His Christ, and His Israel. Let these joys suffice. They have proved enough for prophets and apostles; enough for angel and archangel—they may well be enough for you.

V. Israel did not need the world"s SOCIETY.Israel knew what this meant—"It is not solitude to be alone." The society of Gentile idolaters she was commanded not to seek. It would profit her nothing. It would bring neither joy nor strength. It would only weaken and corrupt. "Evil communications corrupt good manners." The twelve tribes were society to themselves; and, within the circle of Palestine, Israel found all that was congenial, and elevated, and blessed. For companionship she did not need to go beyond her own narrow bounds. Within these her fellowships lay.

Christian, be separate—dwell alone! Do not seek the society of the world. Don"t you know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? If you have any sympathies with that world—if it contains attractions for you—if God and the things of God are not enough for you—there is something wrong! Do not love the world! Do not seek its friendship. Seek the things above. Beware of the fascinations of worldly company, the spells which gaiety throws over the young. Stand your ground. Be not whirled away into the tossing current of gay society on any pretext whatever!

Church of the living God, be separate—dwell alone! That is your security, your strength, your influence. Let the world see that you are not of it; that you do not need it. It needs you—but you do not need it. And you will serve it best by dwelling alone. Not by coldness, sourness, distance; but by love, congeniality, gentleness, patience, by all acts of benevolence and words of peace. These are things which are only to be found by "dwelling alone."

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Bibliographical Information
Bonar, Horatius. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bch/revelation-14.html.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 14:3

Revelation 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

It is here called

a new song

because the matter of it was renewed praises of God, as Psalm 40:3. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.

And no man could learn that Song of Solomon, but the hundred and forty and four thousand.

None but God's chosen and called ones, his sealed ones, his sanctified ones,

who were redeemed from the earth;

that Isaiah, from the world. { John 17:6-16}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-14.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3.A new song—Different, quite, from the wail under the altar of Revelation 6:10.

Before the throne—The invisible harpers become visible; from the ether they have descended on Moriah; they are before the Theophanic throne and its permanent court.

No man could learn that song—None but the redeemed can truly learn and truly sing the song of the redeemed. Others may imitate it by rote, but the full depth of its music is not in their souls, and the imitation is spurious and counterfeit. Hence it is clear that the harpers were not angels, but redeemed saints. They were an abridged specimen of the multitude that no man could number of Revelation 7:9, and, like them, Gentile counterpart to the Israelite hundred forty and four thousand. The Israelite number, as being at home in the mystic Jerusalem, are on Zion; the Gentiles, as coming from all the nations, gather on Moriah, before the throne. It is a festal gathering. The new song indicates that an era auspicious of future triumph over the strongholds of Satan has opened.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-14.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 14:3. Who sing the new song? angels or the redeemed? In Revelation 5:9 it is chanted not before the living creatures and elders but by them; here it is not originally sung by the redeemed (as in Revelation 15:3-4Ezra 2:42) but is intelligible to them and to them alone. Their experience enabled them to enter into its meaning. This privilege is due to (Revelation 14:4-5) their previous character and conduct, This inner circle are ascetics, . i.e., not merely unmarried or free from sexual vice but celibates (cf. Cheyne, Orig. Psalter, 446; Hoennicke, das Judenchristentum, 1908, 130 f.; Balden-sperger, 109; von Dobschütz, 39 f., 228, 261); cf.1 Corinthians 7:32. The prevailing Jewish respect for marriage did not check a tendency to celibacy which was by no means confined to the Essenes or Therapeutae. Even Methodius, who allegorises the seven heads of Revelation 12:3 into the seven deadly sins and the stars of Revelation 12:2 into heretics, takes this phrase literally, in the sense of virginity not simply of purity (so Epiph. Hær. xxx. 2); and, although the touch is too incidental to bear pressing, it is unmistakable (cf. Introd. § 6). In the popular religion of Phrygia there was a feeling (expressed in the eunuchism, e.g., of the priests at Hierapolis) that one came nearer to the divine life by annihilating the distinction of sex, while in the votive inscriptions of Asia Minor (C. B. P. i. 137) marriage is not recognised as part of the divine or religious life. This atmosphere of local feeling, together with the lax moral conscience of the popular religion, would foster the religious tendency to regard celibates as pre-eminently near to God.— : either a historic present to secure vividness ( , syr. S), in which case the allusion is to their earthly loyalty (reff.), or, more probably (in view of , pres.), a description of their heavenly privilege and position (cf.Revelation 7:17), borrowed from Egyptian religion where the “followers of Horus,” the divine and victorious son of Osiris, were a series of celestial kings who were supposed to have reigned during the earlier dynasties. To be among the “followers of Horus” was an equivalent for immortal life. Cf. E. B. D. 101: “Let me rise up among those who follow the great God; I am the son of Maûti, and that which he abominateth is the spirit of falsehood [cf.Revelation 14:5]. I am in triumph!”— in 3, 4 is equivalent to the partitive (cf.Revelation 5:9).— : they form the firstfruits of mankind for God; others are to follow, but these are the élite, they have a prestige all their own. The idea of priority shades into that of superiority, though in a very different way from that of Romans 11:16. Dr. Rendel Harris (in Present Day Papers, May, 1901) describes the interest and excitement at Jerusalem during the early days of summer when “the first ripe figs were in the market. When one’s soul desires the vintage or the fruitage of the summer ’ the trees that are a fortnight to the fore are the talk and delight of the town.”— . ., usually taken as a scribe’s gloss. Elsewhere the saints are redeemed by, not for, the Lamb (Revelation 5:9).

 

 

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 14:3". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-14.html. 1897-1910.