7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
The Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, took the book out of the right hand of God the Father, and when He did the beasts and the 24 elders fell down before him in the position of worship and they had harps and golden vials of odors, which are representing the prayers of saints. Harps were instruments used in the temple to praise God and prophecy could be sung to the accompaniment of a harp.
Psalm 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
Psalm 43:4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
Psalm 49:4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
The believer’s prayer is a sacrifice, an offering.
Psalm 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
Psalm 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Saints are the sanctified ones, set apart by God, the believers who have followed and will follow Christ in glory.
Deuteronomy 33:2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Unlike the angels at Christ’s birth in Luke 2:13,14 who did not sing but did say, the saints sing a new song praising Christ for being worthy to open the book and the seals. This verse shows the universal aspect of salvation. People from every race, language, ethnic group, kingdom, and part of the earth have been saved.
Note again that it is by God’s blood we have been redeemed. Remember;
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
The saints sung that the Lamb had made them kings and priests to God and they would reign on the earth. Paul gave us a hint first that we would be in the place of a ruler and a judge.
1Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
2Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Peter also referred to the Jewish Christian at that time that he was writing which can be inferred as applying to all Christians.
1Peter 2: 4 ¶ To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ…9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
And again, it is stated in Revelation;
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Christ will have a literal reign on earth during a thousand years, or millennium. His people will reign with Him.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
10,000 times 10,000 is, of course, 100,000,000 angels. Since an angel is the presence of someone or something who is physically somewhere else….
Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
Acts 12:13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. 14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. 15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
….these angels represent believers throughout history, living and dead, who will be translated from opened graves and as living saints of God as we are already seated in heaven by angels that represent us…
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Hebrews 12: 22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
…as Christ Himself was here on earth and in heaven at the same time…
John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
So, we are already in heaven praising God as angels, which should be a comforting thought and one that gives us pause to understand our position in Christ. But, don’t let the mention of a hundred million lead you to believe that is the limit of all saved people from all generations. I mean, it could be, but it is not necessarily so, and may be just pointing out that it is a huge amount.
As a comparison, modern science believes there is a similar number of stars in the heavens as there are grains of sand on earth although by their guessing they believe there are more stars.(7) The Bible states a similar idea by parallel phrasing.
Genesis 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
Hebrews 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
God dares Abraham to tell, or count, the stars (think of the bank teller).
Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Although God Himself can count them and, in fact, has names for every one.
Psalm 147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
But, notice how the Holy Spirit uses the parallelism as a figure of speech to denote a large amount rather than simply representing an exact figure, speaking to the Hebrews who left Egypt.
Deuteronomy 1:10 The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.
So, what does ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands tell us? Two possibilities present themselves. Either there are more than 100 million in this vision or there is simply a great and huge amount in this vision. Trying to figure out how many humans were saved by God seems to be rather pointless.
Here is a similar statement in Daniel.
Daniel 7: 9 ¶ I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
(To show you how perverted prophecy can be made, a popular and influential Texan, a Methodist preacher at the opening of the Civil War, W.H. Seat wrote that the Ancient of Days was not God but the United States of America in prophecy. This view of America as a redeemer nation, a Christnation, if I can use that was not uncommon.)(8)
(7)Robert Krulwich, “Which Is Greater, The Number Of Sand Grains On Earth Or Stars In The Sky?” National Public Radio, 9.18.2012. http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2012/09/17/161096233/which-is-greater-the-number-of-sand-grains-on-earth-or-stars-in-the-sky.
(8) W.H. Seat, The Confederate States of America in Prophecy (Nashville, TN: Southern Methodist Publishing House, 1861), 30,39. https://openlibrary.org/works/OL7861633W/The_Confederate_States_of_America_in_prophecy
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13 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 honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
There are seven things listed that Christ is worthy of and seven is the number of completion.
Only Christ is worthy. Only Christ is worthy to receive power, which can be authority. Note the following verses as synonyms are usually connected by and;
Luke 4:36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
1Corinthians 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
Revelation 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
Riches aren’t necessarily silver and gold which will end in monetary value in eternity but have to do with riches of glory, goodness, forbearance, longsuffering, and spiritual traits valued by God that characterize Him;
Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Romans 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Plus, remember, Christ made Himself poor so that we could be rich spiritually;
2Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Philippians 2: 1 ¶ If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Wisdom is linked in some places to Christ’s ability to do mighty works;
Matthew 13:54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
The wisdom to create and sustain the universe and all physical reality in the heavens and on the earth belongs to Him.
John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
We learned in Job that all physical reality from the smallest process to the greatest event in the furthest reaches of space is not a consequence of physical laws that He merely oversees or is the first cause of but are directly the result of His immediate actions. There are no laws of the universe or physics. There is only God’s will.
One definition of strength early on in the Bible associates it with the greatest dignity and the ultimate expression of power.
Genesis 49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
It is the absoluteness of power and authority, as a firstborn in a Jewish tribe held authority and responsibility.
Deuteronomy 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
It is the strength that a Middle Eastern monarch had as the court of final appeal, the legislator of laws, and the chief executive who made treaties, prosecuted war, and dispensed justice, as applied to God’s rule over the universe.
Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
Of course, all honor is due Christ, who, as God, died for the sins of all mankind and rose from the dead to ensure that those who received His actions had eternal life.
Honor here is total dominance, absolute authority, and being lifted up on high in reputation, as the very opposite of holding someone in low regard. It is respect. Here are different applications of honor.
Exodus 14:18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
1Samuel 2:30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
Leviticus 19:32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.
Glory is the magnificence, transcendence, and unimaginable majesty of God.
Exodus 24:17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
It is His great authority and prominence as the King of all creation.
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
It belongs only to God.
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Christ is worthy to be praised, to be spoken well of, to be extolled.
Psalm 34:1 « A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed. » I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 66:8 O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:
Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Then, in verse 13, every creature, every living act of creation, blesses Christ, who lives for ever and ever. There are four blessings here, perhaps representing the four beasts.
In verse 14 the four beasts say Amen and the twenty four elders fall down and worship Him who lives for ever and ever.