Revelation 5:8-10 The Song of the Redeemed -"Thou hast redeemed US...and WE shall reign"
Rev. 5:8. "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 the saints.
Rev. 5:9. 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;
Rev. 5:10. And hast made US unto our God KINGS and priests: and WE shall reign on the earth."
There are many who argue that the King James Bible (and many other versions) is in error in Revelation 5:8-10 because these verses seem to teach that the four beasts are counted among those who are redeemed and made kings and priests.
Some scholars are amazingly presumptive in their broad and unfounded assertions about the alleged errors in the King James Bible. One such commentator, Mr. B.W. Johnson, in his People's New Testament Commentary, says of Revelation 5:9: "Didst purchase unto God with thy blood MEN of every tribe... See the Revised Version. The Common Version is incorrect, as is now admitted by all scholars. "
By "The Common Version" he is referring, of course, to the King James Bible. He flat out states that is it incorrect, and then has the effrontery to assert that this is "now admitted by all scholars"!!! Anytime you hear or read someone saying "all scholars agree" on anything, you should know right away that he has no clue what he is talking about.
There are also many others who attack the King James Bible for translating the Greek word zoon as "beasts"; but this is not the focus of this particular study. For a rebuttal to the claim that "beasts" is "quite inaccurate" please see my article responding to the charges of Rick Norris in his book The Unbound Scriptures.
It should be noted that there is little agreement among Christian commentators as to who or what these four beasts represent. They are not angels since they are distinguished from the angels in verse eleven where we are told John heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders.
Neither is there agreement among Christians as to who the elders are or represent. I believe the 24 elders represent the redeemed people of God from both the Old Testament and New Testament dispensations; both Jews and Gentiles.
There are several textual differences in the various Greek manuscripts that contain these few verses. In Rev. 5:9 we read: "Thou hast redeemed US". This is the reading found in the majority of all remaining Greek texts including that of Sinaiticus. It is also so quoted by Hippolytus, Irenaeus, and Cyprian. Vaticanus is missing the entire book of Revelation, so we cannot compare it to the others.
However, in Revelation 5:9 the NASB, RSV, ESV and NIV reject even the reading of Sinaiticus and follow codex Alexandrinus which omits "us" and reads "thou hast redeemed to God by thy blood out of every kindred..." But here the NASB, NIV add a word not found in any text.
The NASB, NIV say: "You purchased MEN for God..." The word "men" is not found in any Greek text whatsoever. The NRSV says: "you redeemed SAINTS", while the Holman Standard and the ESV say "you have redeemed PEOPLE", but neither are the words "saints" or "people" found in any Greek texts at all.
These new versions are in fact the new Catholic Vatican Versions. They all follow the same "interconfessional" New Testament critical text found in the ever changing UBS/ Nestle-Aland text put out by a joint effort of the Vatican and infallibility denying Evangelicals.
The Catholic St. Joseph New American Bible and the New Jerusalem bible of 1985 both read just like the ESV, NIV, NASB here. They are all based on the same interconfessional text. For Undeniable Proof the ESV, NIV, NASBs are the new "Catholic" bible versions, see my article with documented facts and examples here -
In Rev. 5:10 we read: "and hast made US unto our God KINGS and priests: and WE shall reign on the earth." The words "us" and "we shall reign" are found in several Greek manuscripts, and in the Old Latin (which text predates anything we have in the Greek copies), the Clementine Vulgate, the Coptic, Sahidic and Armenian ancient versions. It is also so quoted by Cyprian in 258, Maternus in 348, Julius Firmicus in 345, and Primasius in 552 A.D.
Revelation 5:9 through 10 read the same in the King James Bible, Tyndale 1525, - "haste redemed VS by thy bloud out of all kynreddes and tonges and people and nacions, and haste made VS vnto oure god KYNGES and prestes and WE shall raygne on the erth.", Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549 - "hast redemed VS by thy bloud out of al kynredes, and tonges, and people, and nacions, and hast made VS to our God, KYNGES, and priestes, & WE shal reigne on the earth.", the Bishops' Bible 1568, and the Geneva Bible of 1599.
It is also the reading of Wycliff 1395, the Worseley Version 1770, Mace's New Testament 1729, the Living Oracles 1835, the earlier Catholic Douay-Rheims of 1587 - "and hast redeemed to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made US to our God a kingdom and priests, and WE shall reign on the earth." the NKJV 1982, Young's 1898, Webster's 1833 translation, J.P. Green's Modern KJV 1998, the Third Millenium Bible 1998, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994 and the English Jubilee Bible 2010.
Other English Bibles that read the same was as the King James Bible are The Word of Yah 1993, Interlinear Greek New Testament 1997 (Larry Pierce), God's First Truth 1999, The Tomson New Testament 2002, The Evidence Bible 2003, The Resurrection Life New Testament 2005 (Vince Garcia), Green's Literal 2005, Bond Slave Version 2009, the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - “And have made US to our Elohim (אלהים) MELEKHIM and kohenim: and WE shall reign on the earth.”, Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol), the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, World English Bible 2012 - "made US KINGS and priests and WE SHALL REIGN", and The Holy Bible, Modern English Version 2014 - “and have made US KINGS and priests unto our God; and WE SHALL REIGN on the earth.”
Foreign Language Bibles
Among foreign language Bible that agree with the Reformation text of the King James Bible are the Italian Diodati 1649 and the New Diodati of 1991 - "ogni tribú, lingua, popolo e nazione, e ci hai fatti re e sacerdoti per il nostro Dio, e regneremo sulla terra"-, Luther's German Bible 1545 and the German Schlachter Bible of 2000, the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1549, the Cipriano de Valera of 1602 - "...y NOS has redimido para Dios con tu sangre, de toda tribu, y lengua, y pueblo, y nación: Y NOS has hecho para nuestro Dios, reyes y sacerdotes, y REINAREMOS sobre la tierra." the Spanish Reina Valera of 1909, 1960, 1995 and the Reina Valera Gómez of 2010 - "con tu sangre nos has redimido para Dios, de todo linaje, lengua, pueblo y nación; nos has hecho para nuestro Dios un reino y sacerdotes, y reinaremos sobre la tierra." the French Martin 1744 - "Et ils chantaient un nouveau cantique, en disant : tu es digne de prendre le Livre, et d'en ouvrir les sceaux; car tu as été mis à mort, et tu nous as rachetés à Dieu par ton sang, de toute Tribu, Langue, peuple, et nation; Et tu nous as faits Rois et Sacrificateurs à notre Dieu; et nous régnerons sur la terre."
and the Modern Greek Version - "και ηγορασας ημας εις τον Θεον δια του αιματος σου εκ πασης φυλης και γλωσσης και λαου και εθνους, και εκαμες ημας εις τον Θεον ημων βασιλεις και ιερεις, και θελομεν βασιλευσει επι της γης." You can see the Modern Greek Version at this site here -
However in Revelation 5:9 the NASB, RSV, ESV, NIV, Dan Wallace's NET, the Jehovah Witness New World Translation version and the modern Catholic versions like the St. Joseph NAB 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985 all read:
"And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased MEN (PEOPLE) for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
5:10. You have made THEM to be A KINGDOM and priests to serve our God, and THEY will reign on the earth."
"KINGS and priests" is the reading of the majority of all Greek texts, but Sinaiticus again differs from all others and says: "a kingdom and a PRIESTHOOD" (ierateian), while Alexandrinus says: "a kingdom and PRIESTS" (iereis).
Here in verse 10, the NASB, NIV, NET, Jehovah Witness NWT, modern Catholic versions and ESV have once again rejected even the reading of their famed Sinaiticus, and instead have followed manuscript A (Alexandrinus). However they do not always follow manuscript A in verse 10, because A omits the words "UNTO OUR GOD", but these words are found in Sinaiticus, and Alexandrinus has a present tense verb "and THEY REIGN" while Sinaiticus has a future tense verb "and they SHALL reign".
The new versions go back and forth between their "oldest and best" manuscripts, following one and then another when they disagree with each other - and they disagree with each other thousands of times!
Here are just a few of the hundreds of examples that could be given from just Revelation chapters 4 and 5.
In Rev. 4:3 "there was a RAINBOW round about the throne." But Sinaiticus and A both read "there were PRIESTS round about the throne." , and nobody followed them here.
In Rev. 4:8 we read the four beasts singing "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY", but the Majority text has the word HOLY nine times and Sinaiticus has "holy" eight times! But nobody followed either reading here.
In Rev. 4:10 "and worship him that liveth for ever and ever", but Sinaiticus adds AMEN at this spot, but once again, nobody followed it here.
In Rev. 4:11 the KJB and the Traditional Texts read "Thou art worthy, O LORD, to receive glory..." However the NASB, NIV, ESV and modern Catholic versions follow the reading found in manuscript A (Alexandrinus) and say "You are worthy OUR LORD AND GOD". Yet Sinaiticus says "LORD, THE LORD OUR GOD", while the Majority text reads "THE LORD AND OUR GOD THE HOLY".
In Rev. 5:5 we read "and TO LOOSE the seven seals thereof." and this is the reading of the TR and Sinaiticus, but A omits it and so do the ESV, NIV, NASB and the modern Catholic versions.
In Rev. 5:6 we read "are the SEVEN Spirits of God", but Alexandrinus omits the word "seven", but the modern version include the word anyway.
In Rev. 5:7 we read "And he came and took the BOOK out of the right hand", but both Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus omit the word "book". The NASB says "it" and the NIV, ESV, NET and modern Catholic versions all say "the SCROLL" even though there is NO word for this in the texts they are following nor in the UBS/Nestle-Aland critical Greek text.
In Rev.5:13 Sinaiticus omits the words "AND UNDER THE EARTH", but the modern versions leave them in.
And finally in Rev. 5:14 we read: "And the four beasts said, Amen. And the FOUR AND TWENTY elders fell down and worshipped HIM THAT LIVETH FOR EVER AND EVER."
The words "four and twenty" and "him that liveth for ever and ever." are omitted in the ESV, NIV, NASB, NET, Holman, Jehovah Witness NWT and the modern Catholic versions like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 and New Jerusalem bible 1985.
One King James Bible critic, Moriel Carol, actually posted on his website, saying: "The phrase “Him that liveth for ever and ever,” (Rev. 5:14), occurs in not a single Greek manuscript. " Well, like most bible agnostics, the man is flat out wrong. The words "him that liveth for ever and ever" are found in 296, 2045, 2049, 922, is so quoted by Primasius and is in the Greek texts of Stephanus, Beza, Elziever and Scrivener.
An Explanation of the Passage - Revelation 5:9-10
There are at least two ways I know of to defend the accuracy of the King James reading.
One view is that both the four beasts and the elders are in fact among the redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. In this view, the beasts represent all living creatures that were made by God. We have a beast like a lion, one like a calf, one having the face of a man, and the other like an eagle. The creatures will be part of the new creation redeemed by the Lamb. According to this view, the 4 beasts and the 24 elders speak together as the company of the redeemed who shall reign during the time of the new heaven and the new earth.
In support of this view, we read in Romans 8:19-21 "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."
The redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ was not only for His people but also for the creation itself. In the Old Testament God made an everlasting covenant with Noah and this was "between me and the earth"; "my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh"; "the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." Genesis 9: 13-16.
In a similar manner, in the New Testament covenant Christ reconciled ALL THINGS, not just His people. Colossians 1:20 says: "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Ephesians 1:10 also tells us: "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him."
This redemptive work seems to include not only His people, but also the physical creation, the living creatures, and some of the heavenly beings of all classes, whether they be thrones, dominions, principalities or powers - Col. 1:16-20. "All were created by him and for him" - "And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile ALL THINGS unto Himself."
Please do not misunderstand my position here. I am not saying that I believe in the universal salvation of every man who ever lived and every creature that exists, including Satan, his rebellious angels or the devils. All those outside of Christ and His redemptive work will be forever lost, damned, and excluded from His eternal kingdom of righteousness and glory.
Pulpit Commentary - Verse 14. - And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth forever and ever. (On the signification of the four beasts as representative of creation, and the four-and-twenty elders as typical of the Church, see on Revelation 4:4 and 6.) - the four living beings and the four and twenty elders worship the Lamb, and commemorate their redemption by him; they are able to sing "a new song" - the song of the redeemed. Then all created things praise God and the Lamb. In conclusion, the representatives of redeemed creation once more join in the eucharistic hymn, and prostrate themselves in worship before the Triune God."
John Gill - "the four living creatures and four and twenty elders led the chorus, and begun the song, so they close it, as being the persons more immediately concerned in the death and sufferings of the Lamb, and redemption by him."
So who or whatever these four beasts are, they too were reconciled by the death of Christ unto Himself. Christ did not take on Him the nature of angels (Hebrews 2:16), but Scripture does not say He didn't reconcile some of them to Himself; indeed the Bible confirms that He did just that.
One problem with the NASB, NIV, ESV rendering is this. These versions have the 24 elders as well as the beasts saying: "You have redeemed MEN (or "saints" or "people") and made THEM a kingdom and priests, and THEY shall reign on the earth." IF the four beasts are not among the redeemed, then neither are the elders. So who are the 24 elders if not men? Were the 24 elders not redeemed?
Explanation # 2
The second view is quite easy to explain. If you read the text carefully, you can see that the four beasts are probably some sort of heavenly entities like the Cherubim or the Seraphim, and they are distinct from the 24 elders.
Both the four beasts and the 24 elders fall down before the Lamb, but it is the elders alone who have the harps and sing the song of redemption.
"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 (the elders) harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they (the elders) sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book...for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed US to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made US unto our God KINGS and priests; and WE shall reign on the earth."
John Wesley remarks: " Having every one - The elders, not the living creatures. An harp - Which was one of the chief instruments used for thanksgiving in the temple service: a fit emblem of the melody of their hearts."
Only PEOPLE have harps, and only PEOPLE are redeemed out of every kindred, tongue and nation - not the 4 beasts.
The King James Bible in not in error at all. It is the most accurate Bible in all the world, and you will never go wrong by believing every word found within its inspired pages.
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