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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Revelation: Chapter 5)

5:1 {In the right hand} (epi tˆn dexian). "Upon the right hand" (epi, not en), the open palm. Anthropomorphic language drawn from Eze 2:9f.
{A book} (biblion). Diminutive of biblos, but no longer so used, biblaridion occurring instead (10:2). {Written} (gegrammenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of graph“.
{Within and on the back} (es“then kai opisthen). "Within and behind." Description of a roll like that in Lu 4:17, not a codex as some scholars think. Usually these papyrus rolls were written only on the inside, but this one was so full of matter that it was written also on the back side (opisthen), and so was an opisthographon like that in Eze 2:10. There are many allegorical interpretations of this fact which are all beside the point.
{Sealed} (katesphragismenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of katasphragiz“, old compound (perfective use of kata), to seal up (down), here only in N.T.
{With seven seals} (sphragisin hepta). Instrumental case of sphragis, old word used in various senses, proof or authentication (1Co 9:2; Ro 4:11), signet-ring (Re 7:2), impression made by the seal (Re 9:4; 2Ti 2:19), the seal on books closing the book (Re 5:1,2,5,9; 6:1,3,5,7,9,12; 8:1). "A will in Roman law bore the seven seals of the seven witnesses" (Charles). But this sealed book of doom calls for no witnesses beyond God's own will. Alford sees in the number seven merely the completeness of God's purposes.

5:2 {A strong angel} (aggelon ischuron). One needed (10:1; 18:21) "whose call could reach to the farthest limits of the universe" (Beckwith) and so "with a great voice" (en ph“nˆi megalˆi, in a great voice, as in 14:7,9,15, and without en 5:12; 6:10; 7:2,10; 8:13; 10:3, etc.). See en ischurƒi ph“nˆi (18:2).
{Proclaiming} (kˆrussonta). Present active predicate participle of kˆruss“, to herald, to preach.
{Worthy to open and to loose} (axios anoixai kai lusai). Worthy by rank and character (cf. Joh 1:27) as well as by ability (edunato, verse 3), followed by two infinitives (first aorist active) of anoig“ and lu“, though hina and the subjunctive can be used after axios as in Joh 1:27. Here axios is like hikanos (capable, qualified) as in Mt 8:8. The articles here (to, tas) refer to the book and the seals in verse 1. It is a husteron-proteron, since the loosing of the seals precedes the opening of the book.

5:3 En (in) with locative (ouran“i), epi (upon) with genitive (gˆs), hupokat“ (under) with ablative (gˆs), as in verse 13, including the whole universe, as in Ex 20:4 (Php 2:10). The MSS. vary in the negative conjunctions after oudeis (no one) between oude--oude (continuative, and not--nor) and oute--oute (disjunctive, neither--nor).
{To look thereon} (blepein auto). Into the contents of the book. The universe declines the challenge.

5:4 {I wept much} (eg“ eklaion polu). Imperfect active of klai“, picturesque, descriptive, I kept on weeping much; natural tense in these vivid visions (1:12; 2:14; 5:4,14; 6:8,9; 10:10; 19:14; 21:15). Perhaps weeping aloud.
{Was found} (heurethˆ). First aorist passive indicative of heurisk“. {Worthy} (axios). Predicative nominative after heurethˆ.

5:5 {One of the elders} (heis ek t“n presbuter“n). "One from among the elders" of 4:4,10 (ek with the ablative 8 times in the Apocalypse, 12 in the Fourth Gospel, 10 in rest of the N.T., in place of the mere partitive genitive). No particular reason for one elder as the agent over another (7:13).
{Saith} (legei). Dramatic vivid present.
{Weep not} (mˆ klaie). "Cease weeping" (prohibition with and the present active imperative of klai“).
{The Lion} (ho le“n). Satan is called a lion by Peter (1Pe 5:8), but the metaphor belongs to Jesus also. Judah is called a lion in the blessing of Jacob (Ge 49:9) and Jesus as the greatest of the tribe of Judah, "the Root of David" (hˆ riza Daueid, Isa 11:1,10)
or the Branch from this root (the Messiah).
{Hath overcome} (enikˆsen). First aorist active indicative of nika“, "did overcome," coming first in the sentence as "the great historical fact of the victory of the Christ" (Swete).

5:6 {And I saw} (kai eidon). Stirred by the words of the elder in verse 5 (idou, behold). "I beheld."
{In the midst} (en mes“i). See 4:6 for this idiom. It is not quite clear where the Lamb was standing in the vision, whether close to the throne or in the space between the throne and the elders (perhaps implied by "came" in verse 7, but nearness to the throne is implied by 14:1; Ac 7:56; Heb 10:11).
{A Lamb} (arnion). Elsewhere in the N.T. ho amnos is used of Christ (Joh 1:29,36; Acts 8:32; 1Pe 1:19 like Isa 53:7), but in the Apocalypse to arnion occurs for the Crucified Christ 29 times in twelve chapters.
{Standing} (hestˆkos). Second perfect active (intransitive of histˆmi) neuter accusative singular (grammatical gender like arnion), though some MSS. read hestˆk“s (natural gender masculine and nominative in spite of eidon construction according to sense).
{As though it had been slain} (h“s esphagmenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of sphaz“, old word, in N.T. only in Re 5:6,9,12; 6:4,9; 13:3; 18:24; 1Jo 3:12. H“s (as if) is used because the Lamb is now alive, but (in appearance) with the marks of the sacrifice. The Christ as the Lamb is both sacrifice and Priest (Heb 9:12f.; 10:11).
{Having} (ech“n). Construction according to sense again with masculine nominative participle instead of echonta (masculine accusative singular) or echon (neuter accusative singular). Seven horns (keras) is a common symbol in the O.T. for strength and kingly power (1Sa 2:10; 1Ki 22:11; Ps 112:9; Da 7:7,20ff.) and often in Rev. (Re 12:3; 13:1; 17:3,12). Fulness of power (the All-powerful one) is symbolized by seven.
{Seven eyes} (ophthalmous hepta). Like Zec 3:9; 4:10 and denotes here, as there, omniscience. Here they are identified with the seven Spirits of Christ, while in 1:4 the seven Spirits are clearly the Holy Spirit of God (3:1), and blaze like torches (4:5), like the eyes of Christ (1:14). The Holy Spirit is both Spirit of God and of Christ (Ro 8:9).
{Sent forth} (apestalmenoi). Perfect passive predicate participle of apostell“, masculine plural (agreeing with hoi and ophthalmous in gender), but some MSS. have apestalmena agreeing with the nearer pneumata.

5:7 {He taketh} (eilˆphen). Perfect active indicative of lamban“, not used for the aorist (cf. ˆlthen, he came), but vivid dramatic picture of the actual scene, "he has taken it."

5:8 {He had taken} (elaben). Here John drops back to the narrative tense (the second aorist active indicative of lamban“), not the past perfect as the English rendering might indicate, merely "when he took." For like vivid variation (not confusion) of tenses with eilˆphen see 3:3; 8:5; 11:17 and with eirˆka in 7:13f.; 19:3.
{Fell down} (epesan). Second aorist active indicative of pipt“ with first aorist (-an) ending, just "fell."
{Having} (echontes). "Holding."
{A harp} (kitharan). Old word, the traditional instrument (lyre or zithern) for psalmody (Ps 33:2; 98:5, etc.).
{Golden bowls} (phialas chrusƒs). Broad shallow saucers, old word, in N.T. only in Re 5:8; 15:7; 16:1-4,8,10,12,17; 17:1; 21:9.
{Of incense} (thumiamat“n). Old word from thumia“, to burn incense (Lu 1:9), as in Lu 1:10.
{Which are} (hai eisin). "Which (these bowls of incense) symbolize the prayers of the saints as in Ps 140:2; Lu 1:10.

5:9 {They sing} (ƒidousin). Present active indicative of ƒid“. Old verb, to chant with lyrical emotion (Col 3:16).
{A new song} (“idˆn kainˆn). Cognate accusative for oide (“idˆ, song) is ƒoide from ƒeid“, that is ƒid“ (the verb used), old word already used (Col 3:16; Eph 5:19), called kainˆn because a fresh song for new mercies (Isa 42:10; Ps 33:3; 40:3, etc.), here in praise of redemption to Christ (14:3) like the new name (2:17; 3:12), the new Jerusalem (3:12; 21:2), the new heaven and the new earth (21:1), not the old song of creation (4:8,11) to God.
{For thou wast slain} (hoti esphagˆs). Second aorist passive indicative of sphaz“. Agoraz“ used by Paul and Peter of our purchase from sin by Christ (1Co 6:20; 7:23; Ga 3:13; 4:5; 2Pe 2:1; cf. 1Pe 1:18f.).
{Unto God} (t“i the“i). Dative case of advantage as also in verse 10.
{With thy blood} (en t“i haimati sou). Instrumental use of en as in 1:5. The blood of Christ as the price of our redemption runs all through the Apocalypse. This is the reason why Christ is worthy to "take the book and open its seals." That is, he is worthy to receive adoration and worship (4:11) as the Father does.
{Men of every} (ek pasˆs). No anthr“pous (men) or tinas (some) before ek in the Greek. See a like ellipsis in 11:9 with a like grouping of words for all mankind, representatives of all races and nations (7:9; 13:7; 14:6).

5:10 {Madest} (epoiˆsas). First aorist active indicative of poie“, a prophetic use anticipating the final result.
{A kingdom and priests} (basileian kai hiereis). As the correct text in 1:6.
{They reign} (basileuousin). Present active indicative, futuristic use, though Aleph P have the future basileusousin (shall reign) as in 20:6.

5:11 {And I saw} (kai eidon). A new feature introduced by the outer and vaster circle (kukl“i) of angels who catch up the new song of redemption in antiphonal singing, answering the song of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders. Some MSS. read h“s (as if) before ph“nˆn (voice). Ten thousand times ten thousand (muriades muriad“n kai chiliades chiliad“n). Literally, "myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands," a mild husteron-proteron. The regular order in I Enoch 40:I. See Da 7:10 for chiliai chiliades (thousand thousands) and muriai muriades (countless myriads). They are all efforts to express the innumerable hosts of the angels.

5:12 {Worthy} (axion). Agreeing in gender (grammatical neuter) with arnion, but some MSS. have axios (masculine, natural gender). Note change to third person estin instead of second ei. The point of the song is the same as that in verses 9,10, but the language differs. Note the repeated article to (the lamb the slain) referring to verses 6,9. Note also the one article tˆn before dunamin for all the seven grounds of praise (dunamin, power, plouton, wealth, sophian, wisdom, ischun, strength, timˆn, honor, doxan, glory, eulogian, blessing), though plouton is masculine, in contrast with separate article for each item (all three feminine) in 4:11, here grouping them all together, "a heptad of praise" (Swete).

5:13 {Every created thing} (pƒn ktisma). Every creature in a still wider antiphonal circle beyond the circle of angels (from ktiz“, for which see 1Ti 4:4; Jas 1:18), from all the four great fields of life (in heaven, upon the earth, under the earth as in verse 3, with on the sea epi tˆs thalassˆs added). No created thing is left out. This universal chorus of praise to Christ from all created life reminds one of the profound mystical passage in Ro 8:20-22 concerning the sympathetic agony of creation (ktisis) in hope of freedom from the bondage of corruption. If the trail of the serpent is on all creation, it will be ultimately thrown off.
{Saying} (legontas). Masculine (construction according to sense, personifying the created things) if genuine, though some MSS. have legonta (grammatical gender agreeing with panta) present active participle of leg“, to say.
{And to the Lamb} (kai t“i arni“i). Dative case. Praise and worship are rendered to the Lamb precisely as to God on the throne. Note separate articles here in the doxology as in 4:11 and the addition of to kratos (active power) in place of ischus (reserve of strength) in 5:12.

5:14 {Amen} (Amˆn). The four living creatures give their approval to the doxology after the antiphonal songs.
{Fell down and worshipped} (epesan kai prosekunˆsan). In silent adoration that closes the whole service of praise to the One upon the throne and to the Lamb. As in 4:10 so here the representatives of the redeemed bow in silent worship. Pliny says that the Christians sing a song to Christ as to God. He is here worshipped by the universe (Php 2:10f.).

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Revelation: Chapter 5)

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