Every creature - All parts of the creation, animate and inanimate, are represented here, by that figure of speech called prosopopaeia or personification, as giving praise to the Lord Jesus, because by him all things were created. We find the whole creation gives precisely the same praise, and in the same terms, to Jesus Christ, who is undoubtedly meant here by the Lamb just slain as they give to God who sits upon the throne. Now if Jesus Christ were not properly God this would be idolatry, as it would be giving to the creature what belongs to the Creator.
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.
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.
A Clean Universe. â In verse 13 we have an instance of what very frequently occurs in the Scriptures; namely, a declaration thrown in out of its chronological order for the purpose of following out to its completion some previous statement or allusion. In this instance the time is anticipated when redemption is finished. In verse 10 the four living creatures and four and twenty elders had declared, âWe shall reign on the earth.â Now the prophet's mind is carried forward to that time. The greatest act of Christ's intervention for man â the shedding of his blood â having been introduced, nothing could be more natural than that the vision should, for a moment, look over to the time when the grand result of the work then inaugurated should be accomplished, the number of the redeemed be made up, the universe be freed from sin and sinners, and a universal song of adoration go up to God and the Lamb.DAR 399.2
It is futile to attempt to apply this to the church in its present state, as most commentators do, or to any time in the past since sin entered the world, or even since Satan fell from his high position as an angel of light and love in heaven. For at the time of which John speaks, every creature in heaven and on earth, without any exception, was sending up its anthem of blessings to God. But to speak only of this world since the fall, cursings instead of blessings have been breathed out against God and his throne from the great majority of our apostate race. And so it will ever be while sin reigns.DAR 399.3
We find, then, no place for this scene which John describes, unless we go forward, according to the position above taken, to the time when the whole scheme of redemption is completed, and the saints enter upon their promised reign on the earth, to which the living creatures and elders looked forward in their song in verse 10. With this view, all is harmonious and plain. That reign on the earth commences after the second resurrection. Daniel 7:27; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1. At that resurrection, which takes place a thousand years subsequently to the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4, 5), occurs the perdition of ungodly men. 2 Peter 3:7. Then fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them (Revelation 20:9); and this fire that causes the perdition of ungodly men is the fire that melts and purifies the earth, as we learn from 2 Peter 3:7-13. Then sin and sinners are destroyed, the earth is purified, the curse with all its ills is forever wiped away, the righteous âshine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,â and from a clean universe an anthem of praise and thanksgiving ascends to God. In all the fair domain of the great Creator, there is then no room for a vast receptacle of fire and brimstone, where myriads, preserved by the direct power of a God of mercy, shall burn and writhe in unspeakable and eternal torment. In this glad anthem of jubilee there is no room for the discordant and hopeless wailings of the damned, and the curses and blasphemies of those who are sinning and suffering beyond the pale of hope. Every rebel voice has been hushed in death. They have been burned up root and branch, â Satan and all his followers, deceiver and deceived. Malachi 4:1: Hebrews 2:14. Into smoke have they consumed away. Psalms 37:20. Like the perishable chaff have they vanished in the flames. Matthew 3:12. They have been annihilated, not as matter, but as conscious and intelligent beings; for they have become as though they had not been. Obadiah 16.DAR 400.1
To the Lamb, equally with the Father who sits upon the throne, praise is ascribed in this song of adoration. Commentators, with great unanimity, have seized upon this as proof that Christ must be coeval with the Father; for otherwise, say they, here would be worship paid to the creature which belongs only to the Creator. But this does not seem to be a necessary conclusion. The Scriptures certainly clearly intimate that the existence of Christ had a beginning (John 1:1), which was not so in the case of the Father. (See remarks on Revelation 3:14, where it is shown that Christ is not a created being.) But while he does not possess a co-eternity of past existence with the Father, the beginning of his existence, as the begotten of the Father, antedates the entire work of creation, in relation to which he stands a joint creator with God. John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2. Could not the Father ordain that to such a being worship should be rendered equally with himself, without its being idolatry on the part of the worshiper? He has raised him to positions which make it proper that he should be worshiped, and has even commanded that worship should be rendered him, which would not have been necessary had he been equal with the Father in eternity of existence. Christ himself declares that âas the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.â John 5:26. The Father has âhighly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.â Philippians 2:9. And the Father himself says, âLet all the angels of God worship him.â Hebrews 1:6. These testimonies show that Christ is now an object of worship equally with the Father; but they do not prove that with him he holds an eternity of past existence.DAR 401.1
Coming back from the glorious scene anticipated in verse 13 to events transpiring in the heavenly sanctuary before him, the prophet hears the four living creatures exclaim, Amen.DAR 401.2
Those who enter the city of God will have the golden crown placed upon their heads. That will be a joyful scene, which none of us can afford to miss. We shall cast our crowns at the feet of Jesus, and again and again we will give Him the glory, and praise His holy name. Angels will unite in the songs of triumph. Touching their golden harps, they will fill all heaven with rich music and songs to the Lamb. HP 216.6Read in context »
The pure element of love will expand the soul for higher attainments, for increased knowledge of divine things, so that it will not be satisfied short of the fullness. Most professed Christians have no sense of the spiritual strength they might obtain were they as ambitious, zealous, and persevering to gain a knowledge of divine things as they are to obtain the paltry, perishable things of this life. The masses professing to be Christians have been satisfied to be spiritual dwarfs. They have no disposition to make it their object to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; hence godliness is a hidden mystery to them, they cannot understand it. They know not Christ by experimental knowledge. 2T 266.1
Let those men and women who are satisfied with their dwarfed, crippled condition in divine things be suddenly transported to heaven and for an instant witness the high, the holy state of perfection that ever abides there,—every soul filled with love; every countenance beaming with joy; enchanting music in melodious strains rising in honor of God and the Lamb; and ceaseless streams of light flowing upon the saints from the face of Him who sitteth upon the throne, and from the Lamb; and let them realize that there is higher and greater joy yet to experience, for the more they receive of the enjoyment of God, the more is their capacity increased to rise higher in eternal enjoyment, and thus continue to receive new and greater supplies from the ceaseless sources of glory and bliss inexpressible,—could such persons, I ask, mingle with the heavenly throng, participate in their songs, and endure the pure, exalted, transporting glory that emanates from God and the Lamb? Oh, no! their probation was lengthened for years that they might learn the language of heaven, that they might become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” But they had a selfish business of their own to engage the powers of their minds and the energies of their beings. They could not afford to serve God unreservedly and make this a business. Worldly enterprises must come first and take the best of their powers, and a transient thought is devoted to God. Are such to be transformed after the final decision: “He that is holy, let him be holy still,” “he which is filthy, let him be filthy still”? Such a time is coming. 2T 266.2
Those who have trained the mind to delight in spiritual exercises are the ones who can be translated and not be overwhelmed with the purity and transcendent glory of heaven. You may have a good knowledge of the arts, you may have an acquaintance with the sciences, you may excel in music and in penmanship, your manners may please your associates, but what have these things to do with a preparation for heaven? What have they to do to prepare you to stand before the tribunal of God? 2T 267.1Read in context »
To the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos were revealed the things which God desired him to give to the people. Study these revelations. Here are themes worthy of our contemplation, large and comprehensive lessons which all the angelic host are now seeking to communicate. Behold the life and character of Christ, and study His mediatorial work. Here is infinite wisdom, infinite love, infinite justice, infinite mercy. Here are depths and heights, lengths and breadths, for our consideration. Numberless pens have been employed in presenting to the world the life, the character, and the mediatorial work of Christ, and yet every mind through which the Holy Spirit has worked has presented these themes in a light that is fresh and new. 6T 59.1
We desire to lead the people to understand what Christ is to them and what are the responsibilities they are called upon to accept in Him. As His representatives and witnesses, we ourselves need to come to a full understanding of the saving truths gained by an experimental knowledge. 6T 59.2
Teach the great practical truths that must be stamped upon the soul. Teach the saving power of Jesus, “in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”Colossians 1:14. It was at the cross that mercy and truth met together, that righteousness and truth kissed each other. Let every student and every worker study this again and again, that they, setting forth the Lord crucified among us, may make it a fresh subject to the people. Show that the life of Christ reveals an infinitely perfect character. Teach that “as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12. Tell it over and over again. We may become the sons of God, members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. Let it be known that all who accept Jesus Christ and hold the beginning of their confidence firm to the end will be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:4, 5. 6T 59.3Read in context »