Exposition of Revelation: Revelation 5:11–13

Revelation 5:11–13
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels in a circle around the throne, as well as the living creatures and the elders. Their number was ten thousand times ten thousand – thousands times thousands – 12 all of whom were singing in a loud voice: “Worthy is the lamb who was killed to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature – in heaven, on earth, under the earth, in the sea, and all that is in them – singing: “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory, and ruling power forever and ever!”
 (NET Bible)

The largest choir sings!

The worship of the contemporary church often comes in for criticism, and that criticism is sometimes justified. But perhaps we would show our best worship if we too had a view of heaven’s throne!

The impression Revelation 5:7–14 makes on us is not the same as the effect Jews of that day. Keener explains the difference:

The heavenly chorus offers not to God the Father but to Jesus the prayers of the saints (5:8), prayers that invite the plagues he will soon release for their vindication (6:10; 8:4–6). . . . The astonishing feature here is that a Lamb receives worship in God’s heaven (5:12), sharing with God himself as its object (5:13).[1]

It is worth noting that angels are mentioned 67 times in Revelation, but they are not mentioned at all in chapter four and only twice in chapter five. It seems likely that the attention in these chapters is directed toward the One sitting on the throne (Revelation chapter four) and the Lamb (Revelation chapter 5). Secondary points of attention would be the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders and the scroll. But they too focus attention back on the primary subjects.

Up to now, John had not seen the vast angelic host before the throne. Concerning the phrase ten thousand times ten thousand (5:11), Keener says, “?Ten thousand’ was simply the largest number for which the Greek language afforded a ready term, so the plural (in the Greek) of ‘ten thousand times ten thousand’ is a handy way of saying they were innumerable.”[2] The expression mirrors Daniel 7:10.

How overwhelming it must have been to hear this countless throng singing, “Worthy is the lamb who was killed to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise!” (5:12).

After the song from the hosts of heaven, we next hear the combined song from both heaven and earth: “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory, and ruling power forever and ever!” (5:13). To close the entire scene, “And the four living creatures were saying ‘Amen,’ and the elders threw themselves to the ground and worshiped” (5:14).

The whole scene reaches a crescendo of worship!

What can we say to the Lamb?

A better understanding of what the Lamb has done for you will either leave you speechless or bring you to your feet in praise.

Take a few minutes for personal worship of Jesus. I like to feast on the terse words of Colossians 3:11b: “All, and in all ? Christ!”

Copyright © 2011 by Barry Applewhite. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.



[1] Craig S. Keener, Revelation, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000) 188.

[2] Keener, Revelation, 189.

Do you have an opinion or a different interpretation? Let me know!