Revelation 5:11
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) And I beheld . . .—More literally, And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels around the throne, and the living beings, and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands. The chorus of the redeemed is followed by a chorus of angels; for “that which is the highest act of love, towards whatever persons it was manifested, from whatever calamities it saved them, must be the highest manifestation of the divine character and will; therefore must be the cause of delight to all creatures, fallen or unfallen. If the Revelation is true, there can be no breach in the sympathies of any part of God’s voluntary and intelligent universe.” It is needless to observe that the numbers are not to be taken literally; they are simply employed to express the countless throng of that “innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22) which raised the song—

“Loud as from numbers without number, sweet

As from blest voices, uttering joy.”

—Paradise Lost, iii. 346, 347.

Revelation 5:11-14. And I beheld — The many angels; and heard the voice — And the number of them; round about the throne — Of the Divine Majesty; and the living creatures and the elders — So forming the third circle. It is remarkable that men are represented, through the whole vision, as nearer to God than any of the angels. And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands — An innumerable multitude. And yet these are but a part of the holy angels; afterward, (Revelation 7:11,) St. John heard them all. Saying, with a loud voice — With united ardour and harmony, there not being a cold and languid mind in the whole assembly; Worthy is the Lamb — The elders said, Revelation 5:9, Worthy art thou; being more nearly allied to him, and addressing him with greater familiarity than the angels; to receive power, &c. — The seven-fold praise answers the seven seals, of which the four former represent all visible, the latter all invisible things made subject to the Lamb. And every creature — In the whole universe; which is in heaven — on the earth — under the earth — in the sea — “As the inhabitants of the watery elements are necessarily mute, we are not to understand by this that they seemed to grow vocal in the praises of Christ, upon this occasion, but rather that heaven, earth, and sea are used to signify that all nature, in its different ways, concurred in the praise; that is, the whole constitution of it contributed to furnish out matter of praise; just as inanimate, as well as rational creatures, are called upon to praise God, in several of the Psalms, especially in Psalms 148.” — Doddridge. And all that are in them — In every varied form of nature; heard I saying, Blessing, &c. — This praise, from all creatures, begins before the opening of the first seal; but it continues from that time to eternity, according to the capacity of each. His enemies must acknowledge his glory, but those in heaven say, Blessed be God and the Lamb. And the four living creatures said, Amen — To this hymn, to testify their hearty concurrence. And the four and twenty elders, at the same time, fell down before the throne, and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever — Acknowledging him to be infinitely superior to all those services which the most exalted powers of created nature are capable of rendering. This royal manifesto is, as it were, a proclamation, showing how Christ fulfils all things, and every knee bows to him, not only on earth, but also in heaven, and under the earth. This book exhausts all things, (1 Corinthians 15:27-28,) and is suitable to a heart enlarged as the sand of the sea. It inspires the attentive and intelligent reader with such a magnanimity, that he accounts nothing in this world great; no, not the whole frame of visible nature, compared to the immense greatness of what he is here called to behold; yea, and in part to inherit. St. John has in view, through the whole of the following vision, what he has been now describing; namely, the four living creatures, the elders, the angels, and all creatures, looking together at the opening of the seven seals. 5:8-14 It is matter of joy to all the world, to see that God deals with men in grace and mercy through the Redeemer. He governs the world, not merely as a Creator, but as our Saviour. The harps were instruments of praise; the vials were full of odours, or incense, which signify the prayers of the saints: prayer and praise should always go together. Christ has redeemed his people from the bondage of sin, guilt, and Satan. He has not only purchased liberty for them, but the highest honour and preferment; he made them kings and priests; kings, to rule over their own spirits, and to overcome the world, and the evil one; and he makes them priests; giving them access to himself, and liberty to offer up spiritual sacrifices. What words can more fully declare that Christ is, and ought to be worshipped, equally with the Father, by all creatures, to all eternity! Happy those who shall adore and praise in heaven, and who shall for ever bless the Lamb, who delivered and set them apart for himself by his blood. How worthy art thou, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of our highest praises! All creatures should proclaim thy greatness, and adore thy majesty.And I beheld - And I looked again.

And I heard the voice of many angels - The inhabitants of heaven uniting with the representatives of the redeemed church in ascribing honor to the Lamb of God. The design is to show that there is universal sympathy and harmony in heaven, and that all worlds will unite in ascribing honor to the Lamb of God.

Round about the throne and the beasts and the elders - In a circle or area beyond what was occupied by the throne, the living creatures, and the elders. They occupied the center, as it appeared to John, and this innumerable company of angels surrounded them. The angels are represented here, as they are everywhere in the Scriptures, as taking a deep interest in all that pertains to the redemption of people, and it is not surprising that they are here described as uniting with the representatives of the church in rendering honor to the Lamb of God. Compare the notes on 1 Peter 1:12.

And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand - 100 million - a general term to denote either a countless number, or an exceedingly great number. We are not to suppose that it is to be taken literally.

And thousands of thousands - Implying that the number before specified was not large enough to comprehend all. Besides the "ten thousand times ten thousand," there was a vast uncounted host which one could not attempt to enumerate. The language here would seem to be taken from Daniel 7:10; "Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him." Compare Psalm 68:17; "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels." See also Deuteronomy 33:2; 1 Kings 22:19.

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 thousand—Greek, "myriads of myriads."

And I beheld, I still attended diligently,

and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders; and I heard many angels, with the living creatures and the elders; (from whence we gather, that we must not, by the living creatures, or elders, understand angels, for they are mentioned apart by themselves, neither could they say, as Revelation 5:9,10, that Christ had redeemed them with his blood); these angels joined in this harmony with the church to give glory to Christ.

And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; their number was infinite, not to be numbered. See the like, Daniel 7:10. And I beheld, and heard the voice of many angels,.... Immaterial spirits, made by Christ, and worshippers of him, and ministering spirits to him and his, the holy and elect angels, who are confirmed in their state by Christ; these John beheld in a visionary way, and heard the voices and articulate sounds formed by them; and there were many of them; how many there are, or were here, cannot be said; we read of a multitude of heavenly host that appeared at the incarnation of Christ, and of more than twelve legions of angels, that Christ could have had of his Father for a word speaking, at the time of his apprehension, who would have rescued him out of the hands of his enemies; yea, that company is innumerable. The Syriac version reads, "as the voice of many waters"; these were

round about the throne; were near to God, stood before him, behind his face, hearkened to his voice, and observed his orders: so with the Jews, the four angels, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael, are said (l) to be , "round about his throne", the throne of God: it follows here,

and the beasts and the elders; the sense is not, that John heard the voice of the living creatures, and of the elders, as well as, and together with, the voice of many angels; for he had heard their voice and song before, but that the angels whose voice he heard, as they were round about the throne, so they were round about the living creatures, and round about the elders: the angels are near unto, and encompass the ministers of the Gospel; they are about them, and give them intimations and discoveries of the mind and will of God, as an angel did to John, Revelation 1:1, and another to Paul, Acts 27:23, and sometimes direct them where to go and preach the Gospel, as in Acts 16:9, and surround them for their safety and protection: so horses and chariots of fire, by whom angels are meant, were round about the prophet Elisha, 2 Kings 6:16, and they were also round about the elders, the churches, and particular believers; angels and saints are near to one another; and angels are very friendly to the saints, and so them many good offices; they all belong to the same family, and are social worshippers of God; the angels are the guards that encamp round about them that fear the Lord, and often protect them from enemies and dangers; and it may be observed, that the saints are nearer the Lamb and the throne than the angels be; according to this account, there was a throne, and one that sat on it, who is the living God; nearest to the throne stood the Lamb; next to the Lamb stood the four living creatures, the ministers of the Gospel; next to them the elders, or churches, and members thereof; and in the outermost ring, and as encompassing all, stood the ministering angels, they being servants; whereas the saints are the heirs of salvation, and the bride, the Lamb's wife, and therefore nearer him:

and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; that is, an innumerable company of them; a like number is mentioned in Daniel 7:10 to which this seems to refer; see Psalm 68:17. The Jews speak of nine hundred and six thousand millions of ministering angels, that stand constantly before the Lord (m).

(l) Bemidbar Rabba sect. 2. fol. 179. 1.((m) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 69. 1.

{13} And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: {14} and the number of them was {c} ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

(13) The consent of the common order of angels, answering in melody to their princes that stood by the throne.

(14) A finite number, but almost infinite, as in Da 7:10.

(c) This means a great number.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 5:11-12. Καὶ εἰδον. Without foundation, Ebrard: “John sees something new, viz., he hears,” according to the arbitrary conception that εἰδον designates, “in the weakened wide sense, visionary observation in general.” Correctly, Beng., De Wette, etc.: “John sees the hosts of angels whose voice he hears.” Cf. Revelation 6:1 sqq.

Around the throne of God, and the four beings, and the twenty-four elders, the attention of the seer is completely occupied; he sees now the heavenly host,[1954] an innumerable multitude: καὶ ἠν ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτῶν μυριάδες μυριάδων καὶ χιλιάδες χιλιάδων. The statement of numbers is still fuller than in Daniel 7:10,[1955] and indicates by its indefiniteness—for it is not said how many are the myriads of myriads—actual innumerability. Incorrectly, Bengel: “A less number added to the greater forbids both to be taken too indefinitely.” The anti-climax[1956] has the meaning that even the preceding very great number is still insufficient, but not that “with the immense number the distinction vanishes.”[1957]

ΛΈΓΟΝΤΕς, cf. Revelation 14:1; Revelation 14:8.

ΦΩΝῇ ΜΕΓΆΛῌ, cf. Revelation 1:10.

ΛΑΒΕῖΝ, in adoring acknowledgment.[1958]

ΤῊΝ ΔΎΝΑΜΙΝ. The article notes the power as peculiar to the Lamb; this, as also the ΔΌΞΑΝ and ΤΙΜῊΝ, is shared with the enthroned God.[1959] The force of the art., placed at the beginning, which in Revelation 4:11 and Revelation 7:12 is expressly repeated before each particular conception, affects the entire connection. Beng., excellently: “These seven words of praise must be expressed as though they were a single word, because they all stand with one another after a single article.”[1960]

ΠΛΟῦΤΟΝ. Mentioned also in 1 Chronicles 29:11-12;[1961] is not to be limited to the possession and distribution of spiritual goods,[1962] but is in every respect unconditioned wealth in all blessings,[1963] as it belongs to the all-sufficient God, and likewise to the Lamb who shares all his glory, and, therefore, also his throne.[1964]

ΕὐΛΟΓΊΑ, not “blessing,”[1965] but praise, honor. The seven items of the ascription of praise have, in other respects, nothing whatever to do with the seven seals,[1966] but are accumulated in this number,[1967] in order to express their holy completeness.

[1954] 1 Kings 12:14.

[1955] χίλιαι-g0- χιλιάδες-g0-

καὶ-g0- μύριαι-g0- μυριάδες-g0-.

[1956] Cf. also Psalm 68:18.

[1957] Hengstenb.

[1958] Revelation 4:11. Ew., De Wette, Ebrard, etc.

[1959] Revelation 4:11.

[1960] Cf. also Hengstenb.

[1961] Cf. Ephesians 3:8; John 1:16.

[1962] De Wette, Hengstenb., who refers to Revelation 5:9-10.

[1963] Cf. Acts 17:25; Jam 1:17.

[1964] Cf. Vitr., Ew.

[1965] Beng.

[1966] Against Beng.

[1967] As also Revelation 7:12.Revelation 5:11. This outer circle of myriads (the following χιλιάδες is an anti-climax) of angelic retainers—a favourite trait in the later Jewish pageants of heaven—does not address praise directly to the Lamb.11. I beheld] See on Revelation 4:1. The sense is, of course, that he saw the Angels whose voice he heard.

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.

ten thousand times ten thousand] Lit. myriads of myriads, the Greek (and Hebrew) language having a single word for the number 10,000: so that the effect is as if we should say “millions of millions and thousands of thousands” (in Genesis 24:60 words equivalent to these are translated “thousands of millions.”) In Daniel 7:10 the order is the reverse, “thousand thousands … and ten thousand times ten thousand,” with the obvious motive of a climax: here the effect is, “there were hundreds of millions massed together, and if you counted those in the mass, the numbers you would leave over would be millions still.” The passage in Daniel is also imitated in Enoch xiv. 24, xl. 1.Revelation 5:11. Μυριάδες μυριάδων καὶ χιλιάδες χιλιάδων) μυριὰς is ten thousand; μυριάδες (if only you understand δύο, as ch. Revelation 12:14, καιροὺς, that is, δύο) are twenty thousand. Thence myriads of myriads are 200,000,000; and so moreover thousands of thousands, 2,000,000. The lesser number added to the greater forbids both of them from being taken too indefinitely.Verse 11. - And I beheld marks a new feature of the vision, viz. the introduction of the angelic host as taking part in the adoration of the Lamb (see on Revelation 4:1). And heard the voice of many angels; a voice. The angels who have "desired to look into" the mystery of the redemption of the world (1 Peter 1:12) have now had declared to them "by the Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:10, 11); and are thus enabled to join in the song of the redeemed. Round about the throne and the beasts and the elders. The innumerable company of angels encircle the throne and the beasts and the elders. Thus the throne is in the vision seen as occupying the centre, the four living creatures are placed round it in different directions; the elders form the next circle, and the angels enclose the whole. The Lamb is in the midst before the throne (see on Revelation 4:6). "Thus," says Bisping, "the redeemed creation stands nearer to the throne of God than even the angels (see Hebrews 2:5)." And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. The readings vary here, though the sense of the passage is not affected. After πρεσβυτέρων, "elders,

(1) the Authorized and Revised Versions, following א, A, B, P, etc., render as above;

(2) 1, Erasmus, Stephens edit. 1550 (though the last probably per errorem), omit "and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand;"

(3) Vulgate, both manuscripts and Clementine edition, simply omit "ten thousand times ten thousand;"

(4) 38, Andreas (one manuscript) omit only the last words, "and thousands of thousands." The number is, of course, not to be taken literally, but as expressive of an exceeding great multitude. Ten thousand times ten thousand (μυρίαδες μυρίαδων)

Lit., ten thousands of ten thousands. Compare Psalm 68:17; Daniel 8:10. Μυριάς, whence the English myriad, means the number ten thousand. So, literally, Acts 19:19, ἀργυρίου μυριάδας πέντε fifty-thousand pieces of silver; lit., five ten-thousands. In the plural used for an unlimited number. See Luke 12:1; Acts 21:20; Hebrews 12:22; Jde 1:14.

Thousands (χιλιάδες)

Χιλιάς, a collective term like, μυριάς, meaning the number one thousand, is almost invariably used with men in Revelation. See Revelation 7:4; Revelation 11:13. Only once with a material object (Revelation 21:16). With inferior objects χίλιοι a thousand is used. See Revelation 11:3; Revelation 12:6. These words are the theme of Alford's noble hymn -

"Ten thousand times ten thousand

In sparkling raiment bright,

The armies of the ransomed saints

Throng up the steeps of light:

'Tis finished, all is finished,

Their fight with death and sin;

Fling open wide the golden gates,

And let the victors in."

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