Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 5:13

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

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.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 399

Verse 13

A Clean Universe. — 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, “We shall reign on the earth.” Now the prophet's mind is carried forward to that time. The greatest act of Christ's intervention for man — the shedding of his blood — 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 “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,” 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, — 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 “as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” John 5:26. The Father has “highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” Philippians 2:9. And the Father himself says, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” 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

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

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.

Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 678

And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise. GC 678.1

“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 unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13. GC 678.2

The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love. GC 678.3

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Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 433

“And every creature which is in heaven, and on 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.” Revelation 5:13. SR 433.1

Sin and sinners are no more, God's entire universe is clean, and the great controversy is forever ended. SR 433.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 215

The death of the martyrs can bear no comparison with the agony endured by the Son of God. We should take broader and deeper views of the life, sufferings, and death of God's dear Son. When the atonement is viewed correctly, the salvation of souls will be felt to be of infinite value. In comparison with the enterprise of everlasting life, every other sinks into insignificance. But how have the counsels of this loving Saviour been despised! The heart has been devoted to the world, and selfish interests have closed the door against the Son of God. Hollow hypocrisy and pride, selfishness and gain, envy, malice, and passion, have so filled the hearts of many that Christ can have no room. 2T 215.1

He was eternally rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. He was clothed with light and glory, and was surrounded with hosts of heavenly angels waiting to execute His commands. Yet He put on our nature and came to sojourn among sinful mortals. Here is love that no language can express. It passes knowledge. Great is the mystery of godliness. Our souls should be enlivened, elevated, and enraptured with the theme of the love of the Father and the Son to man. The followers of Christ should here learn to reflect in some degree that mysterious love preparatory to joining all the redeemed in ascribing “blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, ... unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” 2T 215.2

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