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.
The Heavenly Sanctuary. â How little conception have we of the magnitude and glory of the heavenly temple! Into that temple John was introduced, at the opening of chapter 4, by the door which was opened in heaven. Into the same temple, be it remembered, he is still looking in verses 11 and 12. And now he beholds the heavenly hosts. (1) Round about the throne are those represented by the four living creatures. (2) Next come the four and twenty elders. (3) Then John views, surrounding the whole, a multitude of the heavenly angels. How many? How many would we suppose could convene within the heavenly temple? âTen thousand times ten thousand!â exclaims the seer. In this expression alone we have one hundred million! And then, as if no numerical expression was adequate to embrace the countless throng, he further adds, âAnd thousands of thousands!â Well might Paul call this, in Hebrews 12:22, âan innumerable company of angels.â And these were in the sanctuary above. Such was the company that John saw assembled at the place where the worship of a universe centers, and where the wondrous plan of human redemption is going forward to completion. And the central object in this innumerable and holy throng was the Lamb of God; and the central act of his life, which claimed their admiration, was the shedding of his blood for the salvation of fallen man; for every voice in all that heavenly host joined in the ascription which was raised, âWorthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.â Fitting assemblage for such a place! Fitting song of adoration to be raised to Him who by the shedding of his blood became a ransom for many, and who, as our great High Priest, still pleads its merits in the sanctuary above in our behalf. And here, before such an august assemblage, must our characters soon come up in final review. What shall fit us for the searching ordeal? What shall enable us to rise and stand at last with the sinless throng above? O, infinite merit of the blood of Christ! which can cleanse us from all our pollutions, and make us meet to tread the holy hill of Zion! O, infinite grace of God! which can prepare us to endure the glory, and give us boldness to enter into his presence, even with exceeding joy!DAR 398.2
The voice of many angels - These also are represented as joining in the chorus with redeemed mortals.
Ten thousand times ten thousand - "Myriads of myriads and chiliads of chiliads;" that is, an infinite or innumerable multitude. This is in reference to Daniel 7:10.
He who dwells in the heavenly sanctuary judges righteously. His pleasure is more in His people, struggling with temptation in a world of sin, than in the host of angels that surround His throne. COL 176.1
In this speck of a world the whole heavenly universe manifests the greatest interest, for Christ has paid an infinite price for the souls of its inhabitants. The world's Redeemer has bound earth to heaven by ties of intelligence, for the redeemed of the Lord are here. Heavenly beings still visit the earth as in the days when they walked and talked with Abraham and with Moses. Amid the busy activity of our great cities, amid the multitudes that crowd the thoroughfares and fill the marts of trade where from morning till evening the people act as if business and sport and pleasure were all there is to life, where there are so few to contemplate unseen realities—even here heaven has still its watchers and its holy ones. There are invisible agencies observing every word and deed of human beings. In every assembly for business or pleasure, in every gathering for worship, there are more listeners than can be seen with the natural sight. Sometimes the heavenly intelligences draw aside the curtain which hides the unseen world that our thoughts may be withdrawn from the hurry and rush of life to consider that there are unseen witnesses to all we do or say. COL 176.2
We need to understand better than we do the mission of the angel visitants. It would be well to consider that in all our work we have the co-operation and care of heavenly beings. Invisible armies of light and power attend the meek and lowly ones who believe and claim the promises of God. Cherubim and seraphim and angels that excel in strength—ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands—stand at His right hand, “all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Hebrews 1:14. COL 176.3Read in context »
The heavenly Guest is standing at your door, while you are piling up obstructions to bar His entrance. Jesus is knocking through the prosperity He gives you. He loads you with blessings to test your fidelity, that they may flow out from you to others. Will you permit your selfishness to triumph? Will you squander God's talents, and lose your soul through idolatrous love of the blessings He has given (The Review and Herald, November 2, 1886)? 7BC 967.1
No Discouraging Message for the Church—We have no discouraging message for the church. Although reproofs and cautions and corrections have been made, yet the church has stood as God's instrumentality to diffuse light. The commandment-keeping people of God have sounded forth a warning to the world, to all languages, tongues, and kindreds. The church of God is a living witness, a continual testimony, to convince men if accepted, to condemn them if resisted and rejected (Manuscript 96, 1893). 7BC 967.2Read in context »
The connection of the visible with the invisible world, the ministration of angels of God, and the agency of evil spirits, are plainly revealed in the Scriptures, and inseparably interwoven with human history. There is a growing tendency to disbelief in the existence of evil spirits, while the holy angels that “minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14) are regarded by many as spirits of the dead. But the Scriptures not only teach the existence of angels, both good and evil, but present unquestionable proof that these are not disembodied spirits of dead men. GC 511.1
Before the creation of man, angels were in existence; for when the foundations of the earth were laid, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7. After the fall of man, angels were sent to guard the tree of life, and this before a human being had died. Angels are in nature superior to men, for the psalmist says that man was made “a little lower than the angels.” Psalm 8:5. GC 511.2Read in context »