Revelation 5:13
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be to him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) And every creature . . .—The third chorus: the chorus of the universe. The song of the redeemed, echoed by the hosts of angels, is now merged in the utterance of all. “Every creature which is in the heaven, and upon the earth, and beneath the earth, and upon the sea, and all the things that are in them, heard I saying—

“To Him that sitteth upon the throne,

And to the Lamb,

(Be) the blessing, and the honour,

And the glory, and the might,

To the ages of the ages.”

The song of praise rises from all quarters, and from all forms of creation. The whole universe, animate and inanimate, joins in this glad acclaim. To limit it to either rational or animate creation is to enfeeble the climax which this third chorus forms to the two preceding ones, and is to denude the passage of its fulness and of its poetry. The Hebrew mind delighted in representing every bird and every grass-blade as joining in God’s praise. “Mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl,” as well as kings of the earth and all people, were called on to bless the name of the Lord. Christian poets have told us that “Earth with her thousand voices praises God.”

“Nature, attend! join every living soul,

Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,

In adoration join’d; and, ardent, raise

One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales,

Breathe soft, whose Spirit in your freshness breathes.

***And thou, majestic main,

A secret world of wonders in thyself,

Sound His stupendous praise, whose greater voice

Or bids you roar, or bids your roaring fall.

Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers,

In mingled clouds to Him whose sun exalts,

Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints.”

—Thomson, Hymn to Seasons.

The Apostle who pictured all creation as waiting in eager expectation for the full redemption—the redemption of “the body” (Romans 8:23), looked forward to the time when “the whole universe, whether animate or inanimate, would bend the knee in homage and raise its voice in praise” (Philippians 2:10). The doxology which thus rises from the universe is appropriately four-fold: the definite article (omitted in the English version) must be supplied before each word (“The blessing,” &c.). The two preceding songs were in honour of the Lamb; in this last the praise is addressed to the Throned One and to the Lamb. This linking of the Lamb with God as the Throned One is common throughout the book. Here they are linked in praise; in Revelation 6:16 they are linked in wrath; in Revelation 7:17 they are linked in ministering consolation; in Revelation 19:6-7, they are linked in triumph. In the final vision of the book the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple (Revelation 21:22) and the light (Revelation 21:23), the refreshment (Revelation 22:1) and sovereignty (Revelation 22:3), of the celestial city.

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 every creature which is in heaven - The meaning of this verse is, that all created things seemed to unite in rendering honor to Him who sat on the throne, and to the Lamb. in the previous verse a certain number - a vast host - of angels are designated as rendering praise as they stood round the area occupied by the throne, the elders, and the living creatures; here it is added that all who were in heaven united in this ascription of praise.

And on the earth - All the universe was heard by John ascribing praise to God. A voice was heard from the heavens, from all parts of the earth, from under the earth, and from the depths of the sea, as if the entire universe joined in the adoration. It is not necessary to press the language literally, and still less, is it necessary to understand by it, as Prof. Stuart does, that the angels who presided over the earth, over the under-world, and over the sea, are intended. It is evidently popular language; and the sense is, that John heard a universal ascription of praise. All worlds seemed to join in it; all the dwellers on the earth, and under the earth, and in the sea, partook of the spirit of heaven in rendering honor to the Redeemer.

Under the earth - Supposed to be inhabited by the shades of the dead. See the Job 10:21-22 notes; Isaiah 14:9 note.

And such as are in the sea - All that dwell in the ocean. In Psalm 148:7-10, "dragons, and all deeps; beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl," are called on to praise the Lord; and there is no more incongruity or impropriety in one description than in the other. In the Psalm, the universe is called on to render praise; in the passage before us it is described as actually doing it. The hills, the streams, the floods; the fowls of the air, the dwellers in the deep, and the beasts that roam over the earth; the songsters in the grove, and the insects that play in the sunbeam, in fact, declare the glory of their Creator; and it requires no very strong effort of the fancy to imagine the universe as sending up a constant voice of thanksgiving.

Blessing, and honour, ... - There is a slight change here from Revelation 5:12, but it is the same thing substantially. It is an ascription of all glory to God and to the Lamb.

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

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

under the earth—the departed spirits in Hades.

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

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

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

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

Ver. 13,14. The meaning of the several phrases here used, is not to be strictly and particularly examined; the sense of them all in general is, to show the consent of all the angels and glorified saints, and of the whole church, in giving praise unto God, and particularly to the Lord Jesus Christ, (the Lamb), for the work of man’s redemption; and their particular consent, that Christ is to be worshipped as the Father; and the consent and acquiescence of the whole creation in the counsel and purpose of God, and in the work of his providence, constituting Christ as the King, Priest, and Prophet of his church. And though inanimate creatures, or sensitive creatures, cannot speak, yet they are also said to join in these praises, as the glory of God shineth in them, and they, by him, shall be freed from that vanity under which they groan, Romans 8:19-21, and enjoy something of the liberty of the sons of God; and shall all be subject and obedient unto Christ in their respective stations and orders, Philippians 2:9,10, and fulfil his will in the execution of his counsels and purposes in the government of the world, in order to the preservation of his church. And every creature which is in heaven,.... Animate or inanimate, angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, sun, moon, and stars, and the fowls of the air:

and on the earth; men and beasts, and every creeping thing, mountains, hills, fruitful trees, and all cedars: and under the earth: in the bowels of it, metals, minerals, and everything of that kind:

and such as are in the sea; that sail in ships upon the mighty waters, and fishes great and small that are therein:

and all that are in them; in heaven, earth, and sea:

heard I saying, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever; all creatures in their way praise God, and are subservient to the glory and interest of Christ, and are the occasion of glorifying of both; and even the enemies of Christ, wicked men and devils, will be obliged to own Christ to be Lord, to the glory of God the Father, as well as angels and saints; and the same glory and honour which are given to the one are ascribed to the other, which shows the proper deity of Christ, and his equality with the Father. The Syriac version reads, "and I heard him who sitteth upon the throne, saying, to the Lamb be given blessing and honour", &c. with which compare John 5:22.

{15} And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

(15) The consent of all the common multitude of the creatures.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 5:13. As John wishes to state how finally “every creature (πᾶν κτίσμα) unites in the hymns of praise which have thus far been heard,—and that, too, so that now praise and honor are proclaimed alike to the enthroned God and the Lamb, and consequently, the hymns of praise from the two chs. 4 and 5 are united in an overpowering harmony,[1968]—he expressly mentions the four great “regions of the creation,”[1969] the whole of which he wishes to represent, just as in Psalm 146:6, Php 2:11, the entire creation is described in its three chief departments. Grot., etc., incorrectly: ἘΠῚ Τ. ΘΑΛΆΣΣΗς is synonymous with ὙΠΟΚΆΤΩ Τῆς Γῆς. Entirely distorted is also the forced interpretation of Alcasar, according to which ἘΝ Τ. ΟὐΡ. is to be regarded as referring to Christians, ἘΠῚ Τ. Γῆς to Jews, ἘΠῚ Τ. ΘΑΛ. to heathen, and ὙΠΟΚ. Τ. Γ. the damned and devils. Similar interpretations are to be found on Php 2:10.[1970] Yet the question as to what is meant by the πᾶν κτίσμα ὃ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ dare not be repulsed by the remark, which in itself is correct, that only one “exhaustive enumeration” is intended.[1971] “In heaven,” we cannot seek sun, moon, and stars,[1972] but only the living heavenly beings to whom the godly glorified ones belong. “On the earth” is first collective humanity, yet all other creatures are connected therewith in thought. “Under the earth” are not demons, “who unwillingly obey Christ,”[1973] the devils, who by “their very existence, and the gifts wherewith they are furnished, are a striking proof of the greatness and love of the Lamb also, because all things have been created by the Son,[1974]—this is a reference alien to the connection in general, and entirely so to the designation ΤῸ ἈΡΝΊΟΝ,—but those contained in Hades,[1975] yet not in purgatory.[1976] By ἘΠῚ Τῆς ΘΑΛΆΣΣΗς, i.e., “on the sea”—not “in the sea,”[1977] for the change of prepositions is to be accurately noticed—refers not to ships, but to such creatures as belong to the sea itself, here represented as situated not in the same,[1978] but on the surface.[1979]

καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς. On the καὶ, introducing an idea whereby several preceding special points are definitively comprised, cf. Matthew 26:59; Mark 15:1.[1980]

ἐν αὐτοῖς, viz., in the spheres mentioned. Incorrectly, Grot.: “The things which are most deeply seated in animals and things, and escape the eyes of men.”

πάντας-g0- ἤκουσα-g0- λέγοντας-g0-. If this reading is more correct than the, of course easier, καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς πάντα ἤκ. λέγοντα,[1981] the masc. form is explained not by the arbitrary conception[1982] that the ascription of praise proceeds not so much from creatures in the different regions of the creation (πᾶν κτίσμα, κ.τ.λ.) as rather from angels who, as chiefs, represent these regions; but the express form[1983] corresponds to the prosopopoeia,[1984] which here is still bolder than, e.g., Psalm 103:22; Psalm 148:1 sqq., Revelation 19:1 sqq., because here John in his vision actually hears the song of praise raised by all the works of God.

The four points of the ascription of praise correspond with the simple classification of the entire creation;[1985] but it is arbitrary to limit the εὐλογία to the κτίσμα ὅ ἐν τ. ουρανῷ, etc.[1986]

[1968] Cf. Boss., Hengstenb., Ebrard, etc.

[1969] Beng.

[1970] See Meyer in loc.

[1971] Ebrard.

[1972] C. a Lap.

[1973] Vitr.

[1974] John 1:3; John 1:10; Hengstenb.

[1975] Cf. Php 2:10.

[1976] C. a Lap.

[1977] Luther, etc.

[1978] Cf. the τὰ ἐν αὐτ.

[1979] Cf. De Wette.

[1980] Winer, p. 407.

[1981] See Critical Notes.

[1982] Ewald.

[1983] Cf. Revelation 4:8.

[1984] Cf. De Wette.

[1985] Beng.

[1986] Against Beng.Revelation 5:13. From the whole creation a third doxology rises, catching up the last word (εὐλογίᾳ) of the preceding, and addressed—as in the primitive and distinctive confessions of early Christianity (e.g., John 17:3, 1 Timothy 2:5) to God and Jesus alike (Revelation 7:10). In this chorus of praise (Revelation 1:6), by a sweep of the poet’s imagination, even departed spirits and sea-monsters (ἐπὶ τ. θαλ., rather than seafaring men) join—“even all that is in” earth and sea and heaven (cf. the title of the sun in the Rosetta inscription of 196 B.C.’ μέγας βασιλεὺς τῶν τε ἄνω κ. τ. κάτω χωρῶν). Sacrifice is on the throne of the universe; by dying for men, Jesus has won the heart and confidence of the world. Thus the praise of God the creator (ch. 4) and the praise of Jesus the redeemer (ch. 5) blend in one final song, whose closing words indicate that the latter’s prestige was not confined to a passing phase of history. The crime for which the messiah dethrones the rulers (in Enoch xlvi.) is just “because they do not praise and extol him, nor thankfully acknowledge whence the kingdom was bestowed upon them, … because they do not extol the name of the Lord of Spirits”. In the papyrus of Ani (E. B. D. 3) Râ is worshipped by the gods “who dwell in the heights and who dwell in the depths”; whilst Isis and Osiris, as possessing supreme power, received honour “in the regions under the earth and in those above ground” (Plut. de Iside, 27). Compare the fine rabbinic saying of Rabbi Pinchas and R. Jochanan on Psalm 100:2 : “though all offerings cease in the future, the offering of praise alone shall not cease; though all prayers cease, thanksgiving alone shall not cease”.13. every creature] Cf. Php 2:10.

under the earth] See on Revelation 5:3. It seems harsh to understand the words of an unwilling cooperation of the devils in glorifying God and His Son, besides that Judges 6 seems hardly to prove that all fallen spirits are yet confined “under the earth:” Matthew 8:29 compared with Luke 8:31 suggests the contrary. It is more possible to suppose the dead, even the holy dead, to be described as “under the earth.” In Enoch lxii. we have a hymn, somewhat resembling those of this Book, actually sung by the souls of the lost—apparently in the intervals of their suffering. The souls of the Martyrs appear from this Book to be in Heaven, Revelation 6:9 sqq.: but we cannot be sure that this is true of all the faithful, and it is not certain that a disembodied soul can be said, except figuratively, to be in any place at all: so that the place where their bodies lie is perhaps the only place where the dead can properly be said to be.

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

Blessing, and honour] Lit. the blessing, and the honour, &c.—the art. being repeated with each noun, not, as in the preceding verse, standing once for all. The repetition of the article has perhaps none but a rhetorical or euphonic purpose. Whatever “power and riches …,” whatever “blessing and honour …” the world contains, all belongs of right to Him. Watts’ “Blessings more than we can give” is a perfectly legitimate developement of the sense.Revelation 5:13. Πᾶν κτίσμαἐν αὐτοῖς, every creaturein them) All the works of the Lord in all places of His dominion: Psalm 103:22.—καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς, πάντας ἤκουσα λέγοντας) This reading is supported by the greater number of copies.[71] A few have changed πάντας, or even λέγοντας, into the neuter. Τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς is put absolutely, as ch. Revelation 10:6. And this, πάντας ἤκουσα λέγοντας, admirably comprises the harmonious song of all the inhabitants whom the four quarters in the universe contain.

[71] So Vulg. and B. But A, πάνταλέγοντα: so Rec. Text.—E.Verse 13. - And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them; and every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things that are in them (Revised Version). All animated creation now joins in the ascription of praise. Those under the earth are probably the "spirits in prison" of 1 Peter 3:19, though Vitringa understands the expression to be used of the devils "who unwillingly obey Christ," and even declare his glory, as in Mark 1:24, "I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God." The sea is meant literally; the apostle's object being to include all animated beings wheresoever existing. It has been remarked that St. John's exile at Patmos would render him familiar with the appearance of the sea, and account for its frequent use in the Apocalypse, both literally and symbolically. The things on the sea would signify, not merely ships with their inhabitants, but also those animals in the sea which are known to men by dwelling near the surface. "All things that are in them" serves to render emphatic the universality of the description, as in Exodus 20:11 and Psalm 146:6, "The Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is." Heard I saying. "Saying" is masculine, λέγοντας in 10, 13, P, Vulgate, Andr. a, c, Arethas, Primasius. But the neuter, λέγοντα, is read in A, 1, 12, Andr. p, bay. Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power; the blessing, and the honour, and the glory, and the dominion (Revised Version). The Revisers have wisely rendered κράτος, "the dominion," by a different word from δύναμις, "power," of ver. 12, both of which in the Authorized Version are rendered "power." The article, too, serves to give greater emphasis, making the expression tantamount to "all blessing," etc. (see on Revelation 4:11). Nothing is signified by the omission of three attributes. The number four is symbolical of the complete creation, and may be used on that account; but probably the omission is to avoid repetition, the four attributes given being typical of the seven just previously uttered. Be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever. That is, unto the Triune God (see on Revelation 4:2). Christ, as having part with the Father and the Holy Ghost in the Godhead, sits upon the throne, and is worthy with them to receive adoration. But in his special character as the Redeemer, he is also singled out to receive the praises of the redeemed. Creature (κτίσμα)

See 1 Timothy 4:4; James 1:18. From κτίζω to found. A thing founded or created Rev., created thing. See on John 1:3.

In the sea (ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης)

More accurately, "on the sea," as Rev. Not ships, but creatures of the sea which have come up from its depths to the surface.

Blessing (ἡ εὐλογία)

Rev. rightly "the blessing." All the particulars of the following ascription have the article.

Honor (τιμή)

Originally a valuing by which the price is fixed, hence the price itself, the thing priced, and so, generally, honor. See on Acts 28:10.

Power (τὸ κράτος)

Rev., the dominion. For the different words for power, see on 2 Peter 2:11.

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