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Revelation 5:9

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

A new song - Composed on the matters and blessings of the Gospel, which was just now opened on earth. But new song may signify a most excellent song; and by this the Gospel and its blessings are probably signified. The Gospel is called a new song, Psalm 96:1. And perhaps there is an allusion in the harps here to Psalm 144:9; : I will sing a New Song unto thee, O God: upon a Psaltery, and an Instrument of Ten Strings, etc. The same form of speech is found, Isaiah 42:10; : Sing unto the Lord a New Song, etc.; and there the prophet seems to have the Gospel dispensation particularly in view.

Thou - hast redeemed us to God - out of every - nation - It appears, therefore, that the living creatures and the elders represent the aggregate of the followers of God; or the Christian Church in all nations, and among all kinds of people, and perhaps through the whole compass of time: and all these are said to be redeemed by Christ's blood, plainly showing that his life was a sacrificial offering for the sins of mankind.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And they sung a new song - Compare Revelation 14:3. New in the sense that it is a song consequent on redemption, and distinguished therefore from the songs sung in heaven before the work of redemption was consummated. We may suppose that songs of adoration have always been sung m heaven; we know that the praises of God were celebrated by the angelic choirs when the foundations of the earth were laid Job 38:7; but the song of redemption was a different song, and is one that would never have been sung there if man had not fallen, and if the Redeemer had not died. This song strikes notes which the ether songs do not strike, and refers to glories of the divine character which, but for the work of redemption, would not have been brought into view. In this sense the song was new; it will continue to be new in the sense that it will be sung afresh as redeemed million continue to ascend to heaven. Compare Psalm 40:3; Psalm 96:1; Psalm 144:9; Isaiah 42:10.

Thou art worthy to take the book, … - This was the occasion or ground of the “new song,” that by his coming and death he had acquired a right to approach where no other one could approach, and to do what no other one could do.

For thou wast slain - The language here is such as would be appropriate to a lamb slain as a sacrifice. The idea is, that the fact that he was thus slain constituted the ground of his worthiness to open the book. It could not be meant that there was in him no other ground of worthiness, but that this was what was most conspicuous. It is just the outburst of the grateful feeling resulting from redemption, that he who has died to save the soul is worthy of all honor, and is suited to accomplish what no other being in the universe can do. However this may appear to the inhabitants of other worlds, or however it may appear to the dwellers on the earth who have no interest in the work of redemption, yet all who are redeemed will agree in the sentiment that He who has ransomed them with his blood has performed a work to do which every other being was incompetent, and that now all honor in heaven and on earth may appropriately be conferred on him.

And hast redeemed us - The word used here - ἀγοράζω agorazō- means properly to purchase, to buy; and is thus employed to denote redemption, because redemption was accomplished by the payment of a price. On the meaning of the word, see the notes on 2 Peter 2:1.

To God - That is, so that we become his, and are to be henceforward regarded as such; or so that he might possess us as his own. See the notes on 2 Corinthians 5:15. This is the true nature of redemption, that by the price paid we are rescued from the servitude of Satan, and are henceforth to regard ourselves as belonging unto God.

By thy blood - See the notes on Acts 20:28. This is such language as they use who believe in the doctrine of the atonement, and is such as would be used by them alone. It would not be employed by those who believe that Christ was a mere martyr, or that he lived and died merely as a teacher of morality. If he was truly an atoning sacrifice, the language is full of meaning; if not, it has no significance and could not be understood.

Out of every kindred - Literally, “of every tribe” - φυλῆς phulēsThe word “tribe” means properly a comparatively small division or class of people associated together (Prof. Stuart). It refers to a family, or race, having a common ancestor, and usually associated or banded together - as one of the tribes of Israel; a tribe of Indians; a tribe of plants; a tribe of animals, etc. This is such language as a Jew would use, denoting one of the smaller divisions that made up a nation of people; and the meaning would seem to be, that it will be found ultimately to be true that the redeemed will have been taken from all such minor divisions of the human family - not only from the different nations but from the smaller divisions of those nations. This can only be true from the fact that the knowledge of the true religion will yet be diffused among all those smaller portions of the human race; that is, that its diffusion will be universal.

And tongue - People speaking all languages. The word used here would seem to denote a division of the human family larger than a tribe, but smaller than a nation. It was formerly a fact that a nation might be made up of those who spoke many different languages - as, for example, the Assyrian, the Babylonian, or the Roman nations. Compare Daniel 3:29; Daniel 4:1. The meaning here is, that no matter what language the component parts of the nations speak, the gospel will be conveyed to them, and in their own tongue they will learn the wonderful works of God. Compare Acts 2:8-11.

And people - The word used here - λαός laos- properly denotes a people considered as a mass, made up of smaller divisions - as an association of smaller bodies - or as a multitude of such bodies united together. It is distinguished from another word commonly applied to a people - δῆμος dēmos- for that is applied to a community of free citizens, considered as on a level, or without reference to any minor divisions or distinctions. The words used here would apply to an army, considered as made up of regiments, battalions, or tribes; to a mass-meeting, made up of societies of different trades or professions; to a nation, made up of different associated communities, etc. It denotes a larger body of people than the previous words; and the idea is, that no matter of what people or nation, considered as made up of such separate portions, one may be, he will not be excluded from the blessings of redemption. The sense would be well expressed, by saying, for instance, that there will be found there those of the Gaelic race, the Celtic, the Anglo-Saxon, the Mongolian, the African, etc.

And nation - Εθνους EthnousA word of still larger signification; the people in a still wider sense; a people or nation considered as distinct from all others. The word would embrace all who come under one sovereignty or rule; as, for example, the British nation, however many rumor tribes there may be; however many different languages may be spoken; and however many separate people there may be - as the Anglo-Saxon, the Scottish, the Irish, the people of Hindustan, of Labrador, of New South Wales, etc. The words used here by John would together denote nations of every kind, great and small; and the sense is, that the blessings of redemption will be extended to all parts of the earth.

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.
Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 652

The mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries. In the light that streams from Calvary the attributes of God which had filled us with fear and awe appear beautiful and attractive. Mercy, tenderness, and parental love are seen to blend with holiness, justice, and power. While we behold the majesty of His throne, high and lifted up, we see His character in its gracious manifestations, and comprehend, as never before, the significance of that endearing title, “Our Father.” GC 652.1

It will be seen that He who is infinite in wisdom could devise no plan for our salvation except the sacrifice of His Son. The compensation for this sacrifice is the joy of peopling the earth with ransomed beings, holy, happy, and immortal. The result of the Saviour's conflict with the powers of darkness is joy to the redeemed, redounding to the glory of God throughout eternity. And such is the value of the soul that the Father is satisfied with the price paid; and Christ Himself, beholding the fruits of His great sacrifice, is satisfied. GC 652.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 267

The fifth chapter of Revelation needs to be closely studied. It is of great importance to those who shall act a part in the work of God for these last days. There are some who are deceived. They do not realize what is coming on the earth. Those who have permitted their minds to become beclouded in regard to what constitutes sin are fearfully deceived. Unless they make a decided change they will be found wanting when God pronounces judgment upon the children of men. They have transgressed the law and broken the everlasting covenant, and they will receive according to their works. 9T 267.1

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:12-17. 9T 267.2

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.... These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:9-17. 9T 267.3

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