Revelation 5:14
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that lives for ever and ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) And the four beasts . . .—Better, And the four living beings said, Amen (or, the Amen). And the elders (omit “four and twenty”) fell down and worshipped. The remaining words of this verse are wanting in some of the best MSS., and they spoil thegraphic force of the description. The “Amen” rises from universal nature; the Church of Christ falls down in silent adoration. Thought and feeling assert themselves above all language. There are times when silence is the most eloquent applause; there are times when it is also the most real worship. “Let thy prayers be without words, rather than thy words, without prayer” was a wise precept of an old divine. An English and an Italian poet have given expression to the same feeling of the weakness of words. “O speech !” sang Dante, when telling his final vision—

“How feeble and how faint art thou to give

Conception birth.”

Parad. xxxiii.

Thomson takes refuge in silence from the overwhelming thoughts of the divine glory:—

“I lose

Myself in Him, in light ineffable.

Come, then, expressive silence, muse His praise.”

Here the inspired seer describes the chorus of praise as dying into a silence born of awe and gratefulness and love.

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 the four beasts said, Amen - The voice of universal praise came to them from abroad, and they accorded with it, and ascribed honor to God.

And the four and twenty elders fell down, ... - The living creatures and the elders began the work of praise Revelation 5:8, and it was proper that it should conclude with them; that is, they give the last and final response (Prof. Stuart). The whole universe, therefore, is sublimely represented as in a state of profound adoration, waiting for the developments to follow on the opening of the mysterious volume. All feel an interest in it; all feel that the secret is with God; all feel that there is but One who can open this volume; and all gather around, in the most reverential posture, awaiting the disclosure of the great mystery.

The truths taught in this chapter are the following:

(1) The knowledge of the future is with God, Revelation 5:1. It is as in a book held in his hand, fully written over, yet sealed with seven seals.

(2) it is impossible for man or angel to penetrate the future, Revelation 5:2-3. It seems to be a law of created being, that the ability to penetrate the future is placed beyond the reach of any of the faculties by which a creature is endowed. Of the past we have a record, and we can remember it; but no created being seems to have been formed with a power in reference to the future corresponding with that in reference to the past - with no faculty of foresight corresponding to memory.

(3) it is natural that the mind should be deeply affected by the fact that we cannot penetrate the future, Revelation 5:4. John wept in view of this; and how often is the mind borne down with heaviness in view of that fact! What things there are, there must be, in that future of interest to us! What changes there may be for us to experience; what trials to pass through; what happiness to enjoy; what scenes of glory to witness! What progress may we make in knowledge; what new friendships may we form; what new displays of the divine perfections may we witness! All our great interests are in the future - in what is to us now unknown. There is to be all the happiness which we are to enjoy, all the pain that we are to suffer; all that we hope, all that we fear. All the friends that we are to have are to be there; all the sorrows that we are to experience are to be there. Yet an impenetrable veil is set up to hide all that from our view. We cannot remove it; we cannot penetrate it. There it stands to mock all our efforts, and in all our attempts to look into the future we soon come to the barrier, and are repelled and driven back. Who has not felt his heart sad that he cannot look into what is to come?

(4) the power of laying open the future to mortals has been entrusted to the Redeemer, Revelation 5:5-7. It is a part of the work which was committed to him to make known to people as much as it was proper to be known. Hence, he is at once a prophet, and is the inspirer of the prophets. Hence, he came to teach people what is to be in the future pertaining to them, and hence he has caused to be recorded by the sacred writers all that is to be known of what is to come until it is slowly unfolded as events develop themselves. The Saviour alone takes the mysterious book and opens the seals; he only unrolls the volume and discloses to man what is to come.

(5) the fact that he does this is the foundation of joy and gratitude for the church, Revelation 5:8-10. It is impossible that the church should contemplate what the Saviour has revealed of the future without gratitude and joy; and how often, in times of persecution and trouble, has the church joyfully turned to the developments made by the Saviour of what is to be when the gospel shall spread over the world, and when truth and righteousness shall be triumphant.

(6) this fact is of interest to the angelic beings, and for them also it lays the foundation of praise, Revelation 5:11-12. This may arise from these causes:

(a) from the interest which they take in the church, and the happiness which they have from anything that increases its numbers or augments its joy:

(b) from the fact that in the disclosures of the future made by the Redeemer, there may be much that is new and of interest to them (compare notes on 1 Peter 1:12); and,

(c) from the fact that they cannot but rejoice in the revelations which are made of the final triumphs of truth in the universe.

(7) the universe at large has an interest in these disclosures, and the fact that they are to be made by the Redeemer lays the foundation for universal joy, Revelation 5:13-14. These events pertain to all worlds, and it is proper that all the inhabitants of the universe should join in the expressions of adoration and thanksgiving. The universe is one; and what affects one portion of it really pertains to every part of it. Angels and human beings have one and the same God and Father, and may unite in the same expressions of praise.

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

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

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

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

See Poole on "Revelation 5:14" And the four beasts said, Amen,.... Giving their assent to what the angels and every creature said, and expressing their desires and wishes that so it might be, and also their faith, that so it was, and would be:

and the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever; either God the Father, who sat upon the throne, and is so described, Revelation 4:9; or else the Lamb who had been slain, and was now alive, and lives for evermore; or both of them, for the Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, and the Syriac and Arabic versions, omit the words "him that liveth for ever and ever"; and leave it to be understood of either of them, or both; and the Ethiopic version reads, "and the elders worshipped him"; as the four living creatures and four and twenty elders led the chorus, and begun the song, so they close it, as being the persons more immediately concerned in the death and sufferings of the Lamb, and redemption by him, and in the sealed book, and in the things contained in it; the seals of which are next opened, and an account is given of them in some following chapters.

{16} And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

(16) A confirmation of the praise given before, from the consent of the nobles, expressed in word and signs, as once or twice before this.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 5:14. The Amen, the formal confirmation and conclusion of the hymn of praise,[1987] is uttered by the four beings, not because they occupy in any respect “a lower position,”[1988] but because the whole tenor of the hymn of praise in chs. 4 and 5, after resounding in Revelation 5:13 to the farthest extent, returns to the point whence it started,[1989] and thus comes to a truly beautiful rest.[1990] But after the Amen has been uttered, nothing else remains for the elders than silent adoration, which, naturally,[1991] is directed also to the Lamb, and not alone to the One sitting on the throne.[1992]

[1987] Ewald. Cf. Deuteronomy 27:15 sqq.; Nehemiah 5:13; Psalm 41:13; 1 Corinthians 14:16.

[1988] Hengstenb.

[1989] Cf. Revelation 4:8 sqq.

[1990] Cf. Beng., Ebrard.

[1991] Cf. Revelation 5:13.

[1992] As Ew. i. thought, supported by the completely untenable Recepta: προσκυν. ζῶντι εἱς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, and corresponding to the view imposed upon John, that the Messiah also is a creation (“with adoration they honored God—as from him as author all things have proceeded, and the Messiah was created,” Revelation 4:2 sqq.)Revelation 5:14. The prologue is brought to a splendid close by “amen” from the four ζῷα, who have the last as they had the first word (Revelation 4:8), followed by silent adoration from the πρεσβύτεροι. As in the liturgical practice of early Christian assemblies, so in the celestial court, the solemn chant of praise to God is succeeded by the “amen” (“ad similitudinem tonitrui … amen reboat,” Jerome); [911], Areth., etc. Alf., bring this out by reading here τὸ Ἀμήν. By prefacing the struggle on earth (Revelation 5:6 f.) with a vision of the brilliant authority and awe of heaven (Revelation 5:4-5), the prophet suggests that all the movements of men on earth, as well as the physical catastrophes which overtake them, are first fore-shadowed in heaven (the underlying principle of astrology, cf. Jeremias, 84 f.) and consequently have a providential meaning. In 4., 5. the writer takes his readers behind the scenes; the whole succeeding tide of events is shown to flow from the will of God as creator of the universe, whose executive authority is delegated to Jesus the redeemer of his people. This tide breaks in two cycles of seven waves, the seventh (Revelation 8:1) of the first series (Revelation 6:1 to Revelation 7:17) issuing in a fresh cycle (Revelation 8:2 to Revelation 11:19) instead of forming itself (as we should expect) the climax of these preliminary catastrophes in nature and humanity, disasters which were interpreted (R. J. 237–239) as the premonitory outbursts of an angry deity ready to visit the earth with final punishment. Observe that throughout the Apocalypse wind and fire are among God’s scourges handled by angels in order to punish the earth and the waters, according to the conception preserved in Apol. Arist. 2: “Moreover, the wind is obedient to God, and fire to the angels; the waters also to the daemons, and earth to the sons of men” (Ante-Nicene Library, ix. 257 f.). The visitation is divinely complete, sevenfold like Ezekiel’s oracles against the nations (ver 25–32). Revelation 6-9 has, for its staple, little more than a poetic elaboration of Mark 13:8 (Mark 13:24-25), international complications due to the scuffling and strife of peoples, and physical disasters as a fit setting for them.

[911] An eighth century version of Codex Vaticanus

The vision of the seven seals opened (Revelation 6:1 to Revelation 8:2): Revelation 6:1-2, a Parthian invasion.14. 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.Revelation 5:14. Καὶ προσεκύνησαν) With this word the paragraph ends in all the copies. See App. Crit., Ed. ii., on this passage. It is the part of piety to cut out such additions, fear being laid aside.[72] The shorter reading, ΚΑῚ ΠΡΟΣΕΚΎΝΗΣΑΝ, and they worshipped, denotes the worship paid both to Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb. Comp. Revelation 5:13. Προσκυνεῖν is often put absolutely: ch. Revelation 11:1; John 4:20; John 12:20.

[72] ABC “Vulg. refute the addition in Rec. Text and h, ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἱώνων.—E.Verse 14. - And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth forever and ever. (On the signification of the four beasts as representative of creation, and the four-and-twenty elders as typical of the Church, see on Revelation 4:4 and 6.) Three stages are marked in the hymn of adoration before this concluding verse:

(1) the four living beings and the four and twenty elders worship the Lamb, and commemorate their redemption by him; they are able to sing "a new song" - the song of the redeemed;

(2) the angels join in the worship of the Lamb, ascribing to him the consummation of all perfection;

(3) then all created things praise God and the Lamb. In conclusion, the representatives of redeemed creation once more join in the eucharistic hymn, and prostrate themselves in worship before the Triune God. This forms the end of one act of the heavenly drama. The opening of the seals now follows, and a description of the attendant circumstances is given.



Four and twenty

Omit.

Worshipped

In silent adoration.

Him that liveth forever and ever

Omit.

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