Revelation 7:9-17

Revelation 7:9-17
All Saints’ Day A49


After this I looked, andA there was a great multitudeB that no one could count,C from every nation,D

Notes on verse 9a

A {untranslated} = idou. From eidon (shape, appearance, kind, visible form. The sight of something observable, especially its outward appearance); from eido (be aware, behold, consider, perceive, appreciate; see with physical eyes bridging to metaphorical seeing). This is lo! Behold! Look, see. This is parallel to the Hebrew “hinneh.” It calls attention to what follows.
B “multitude” = ochlos. Perhaps from echo (to have, hold, possess). This is a crowd, multitude, common people, throng. Can imply the rabble, a class of people, or be used figuratively to mean a riot. Same word used when Jesus addresses the crowds.
C “count” = arithmeo. 3x in NT – the hairs of your head are all counted (Mt 10:30; Lk 12:7) and here. From arithmos (number, total; a number as reckoned); from airo (to raise, take up, lift, remove; figurative for raising the voice, keep in suspense, weigh anchor so as to sail away; can be used for expiating sin). This is to number, count, enumerate. This is, unsurprisingly where “arithmetic” comes from.
D “nation” = ethnos. From etho (forming a custom, culture). This is a race, nation, or people. Refers to the nations and not Israel. Properly, it is people joined by their shared or similar customs and culture. Usually implies a pagan tribe.

from all tribesE and peoplesF and languages,G standing beforeH the throneI and before the Lamb,J

Notes on verse 9b

E “tribes” = phule. From phuo (to bring forth, produce, grow, grow up, spring up; properly originally meaning to puff or blow – to swell up and so to germinate or grow). This is a clan, tribe, race of people, lineage, offshoot. The descendants of a common ancestor.
F “peoples” = laos. People, crowd. Often used for the chosen people. This is the root of the word “laity” and “liturgy.”
G “languages” = glossa. From gloch– (a projecting point). This is tongue or language by implication. This is a nation distinguished from one’s own by their different speech. Can be used figuratively for speaking inspired by God (i.e. speaking in tongues).
H “before” = enopios. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen by)}. This is in sight of, before, in the presence of, in the eyes of.
I “throne” = thronos. Probably from thranos (bench); from thrao (to sit). This is throne, king’s throne, seat. A metonymy for power, dominion, potentate. This is where “throne” comes from.
J “Lamb” = arnion. Perhaps related to “count” in v9. From aren (lamb, sheep, male lamb); perhaps related to arren (male, man); perhaps from airo (see note C above). This is lamb or little limb. The sense of the diminutive may have been lost. A young lamb – figurative for a person with pure, innocent, or gentle intentions.

robedK in white,L with palm branchesM in their hands.N 

Notes on verse 9c

K “robed” = periballo + stole. Literally “clothed in a robe.” Stole is 9x in NT – 3x of the multitude and elders in white robes in Revelation, 2x when Jesus denounces the scribes as wearing long robes, 1x of the young man dressed in a white robe at the resurrection, 1x when the father dressed the prodigal son in the best robe, 1x of the martyrs given a white robe in Revelation, 1x of those who enter heaven in Revelation. It is a long robe that marked the elite or people of high status. It was a festal robe that marked dignity.
L “white” = leukos. Perhaps from luke (light). This is bright, white, brilliant.
M “palm branches” = phoinix. 2x in NT – Palm Sunday in Jn 12:13 & here. This is the date palm.
N “hands” = cheir. Perhaps related to cheimon (winter, storm, tempest, rainy season); related to cheimazo (to expose to winter cold, be storm tossed); from cheima (winter, cold); perhaps related to chasma (chasm, wide space, gulf); from chasko (to yawn). This is the hand – figurative of the instrument or means someone uses to accomplish their plan or intention. It has a figurative meaning of power by Hebraism.

10 They criedO out in a loud voice,P saying,

“SalvationQ belongs to our GodR who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Notes on verse 10

O “cried” = krazo. To scream, cry out, shriek, croak. This is an onomatopoetic term meant to sound like a raven’s cry – the caw. Used figuratively for crying out loudly with an urgent shriek that is inarticulate during deep emotion.
P “voice” = phone. Probably from phemi (to declare, say, bring to light; speak comparatively by using contrasts that illuminate the point); from phao (to shine). This is a voice, sound, noise, language, dialect, tone. This is where we get “telephone” from.
Q “Salvation” = soteria. From soter (a savior, deliverer, preserver); from sozo (to save, heal, preserve, rescue; properly, to deliver out of danger to a place of safety); from sos (safe, rescued, well). This is deliverance, salvation, welfare, prosperity, preservation, safety. The fancy theological term for the study of doctrines of salvation is soteriology, stemming from this word.
R “God” = theos. Perhaps from proto-Indo-European meaning to do, put, place. This is God or a god. This is where the word “theology” comes from.

11 And all the angelsS stood around the throne and around the eldersT and the fourU living creatures,V and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipedW God, 

Notes on verse 11

S “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, lead away, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove). This is angel, messenger, delegate. Usually a supernatural messenger from God, but is also used of humans (like the prophets). Can also mean one who brings tidings.
T “elders” = presbuteros. From presbus (an old man, elderly). This is elder, eldest, old. Used for a member of the Sanhedrin as well as an elder of a Christian assembly. This is where Presbyterians take our names from in reference to our form of governance.
U “four” = tessares. This is four – sometimes it symbolizes universality as the four winds or four corners of the earth. So, it is total coverage or inclusion. This is where tesseract comes from.
V “living creatures” = zoon. From zoos (alive); from zao (living; to be alive, lively). This is the spark of life shared by humans and animals. Literally, this says “the living ones.”
W “worshiped” = proskuneo. From pros (advantageous for, at, to, with) + kuneo (to kiss); {related to kuon (a dog)}. Properly, to kiss the ground when bowing before a superior. Thus, used for worship and adoration – prostrating oneself in homage and reverence.

12 singing,X

“Amen!Y BlessingZ and gloryAA and wisdomBB

Notes on verse 12a

X “singing” = lego. To say, speak, mention, call, name. Not sure why this is translated singing instead of saying.
Y “Amen” = amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, so be it, truth, sure, faithfulness); from aman (to confirm, support, assuredness, believe, establish, steadfast; properly to build up or support; figuratively to render or be firm or faithful; to trust or believe, be permanent or quiet; morally true or certain). This is truly, verily, amen, so let it be. It is set for emphasis to show that the next statement is crucial. Amen was transliterated directly from Hebrew to Greek to English.
Z “Blessing” = eulogia. Related to “singing” in v12. 16x in NT. From eulogeo (speak well of, praise, bless, thank or invoke benediction upon); {from eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + logos (word, statement, speech, Word for Christ); {from lego (see note X above)}}. This is praise blessing, adoration, gift, bounty. Fine speaking, elegance of language, commendation (as a eulogy), benediction. Implies consecration and by extension benefit.
AA “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (personal opinion which determines value). This word is opinion, praise, honor, glory, renown, splendor, dignity worship. This is glory especially as a quality of God. The unspoken manifestation of God. Literally means that which evokes good opinion – the inherent worth of something. This is where we get “doxology” from.
BB “wisdom” = sophia. From sophos (skilled, wise, learned, cultivated, clever); related to saphes (clear). This is skill, wisdom, insight, intelligence, clarity. This is where we get “sophistication” and “sophistry” from.

and thanksgivingCC and honorDD
and powerEE and mightFF
be to our God forever and ever!GG Amen.”

Notes on verse 12b

CC “thanksgiving” = eucharistia. 15x in NT. From eucharistos (thankful, grateful); {from eu (well, good, well done) + charizomai (to show favor, give freely, pardon, forgive, show kindness); {from charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks); from chairo (to rejoice, be glad, a way to say hello); from char– (favor, disposed to, leaning towards someone to show them benefit)}}. This is thankfulness, giving thanks, gratitude. Giving thanks as a part of worship. This is where we get the term “Eucharist” from for the Lord’s Supper.
DD “honor” = time. From tino (to pay, pay a price, pay a penalty, be punished); from tio (to accord honor, pay respect, value). This is valuing, price, honor, precious. Properly, it is the perceived value or worth so literally the price. The value that something has in the eye of the beholder. By analogy, it refers to esteem, typically high esteem or dignity in abstract.
EE “power” = dunamis. Related to “could” in v9. From dunami (to be able, have power, be powerful, can; to show ability, power, be empowered, be possible). This is miraculous power, might, strength, physical power, force, ability, efficacy, energy, powerful deeds, marvelous works. This is where “dynamic” comes from.
FF “might” = ischus. 10x in NT. Perhaps from is (force) + echo (to have, hold, possess). This is strength, might, power, force, ability. Forcefulness literally or figuratively. Properly, force that overcomes immediate resistance.
GG “forever and ever” = eis + ho + aion + ho + aion. Literally “into the ages of the ages.” Aion is related to aei (ever, unceasingly, always, perpetually). This is a space of time, an age, continued duration, course, eternal, forever. Especially used of the present age in contrast to the future age, the messianic period. This is where “eon” comes from.

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 

14 I said to him, “Sir,HH you are the one that knows.”

Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal;II they have washedJJ their robes and made them whiteKK in the blood of the Lamb.

Notes on verses 13-14

HH “Sir” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is Lord, master, sir, the Lord. Properly, it is a respectful address to someone with ownership rights, master.
II “ordeal” = thlipsis. From thlibo (to press, afflict, make narrow by pressure, press upon, persecute, press hard; rub together, constrict, compress; figurative for oppressively afflict, distress; circumstances that make one feel hemmed in). This is tribulation, persecution, affliction, distress, anguish, burdened, trouble. Properly, it is pressure that constricts or rubs together – especially internal pressure that makes one feel confined, restrictions, to have run out of options. There is a different word in Greek, stenoxoria, that focuses on external pressure exerted on a person. So, this great ordeal is less about an external event than internal pressures.
JJ “washed” = pluno. 3x in NT – 1x fishermen washing their nets, 1x of the elders washing their robes in the blood, and 1x of those who wash their robes and can enter heaven.
KK “made…white” = leukaino. Related to “white” in v9. 2x in NT – describing Jesus’s clothes as dazzling white at the Transfiguration and here. From leukos (see note L above). This is to whiten, make white.

15 For this reason they are before the throne of God,
    and worshipLL him day and night within his temple,MM
    and the one who is seated on the throne will shelterNN them.

16 They will hungerOO no more, and thirstPP no more;
    the sun will not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat;QQ

Notes on verses 15-16

LL “worship” = latreuo. Different from the word used for “worship” in v11. From latris (hired servant, someone hired to do a technical job because they are qualified to do it). This is to serve, worship, do service, minister, render homage religiously. Properly, this is to render, technical, acceptable service because of being specially equipped or qualified. To me this puts a quite different spin on our walk of faith. In order to be fully present in heaven, we must spend our lives becoming qualified and equipped to worship God and be at peace. We are honing our worshiping skills in this life so that we may worship with our whole beings in heaven.
MM “temple” = naos. From naio (to dwell, inhabit). This is Temple, shrine, sanctuary, divine dwelling place, sacred abode, the place of divine manifestation. When referring to the Jewish Temple, this is the word for the two inner chambers, the holy of holies.
NN “shelter” = skenoo. 5x in NT – the Word became flesh and lived among us (Jn 1:14), 2x of those who dwell in heaven (Rev 12:12; Rev 13:6), 1x of the one on the throne sheltering the saints in white (Rev 7:15), and 1x God will dwell with the people (Rev 21:3). From skenos (a tent, tabernacle; used figuratively for the body; a hut or temporary residence; also used as the body as temporary residence for the spirit); from skene (tent, booth, abode, dwelling; tent or cloth hut literally or figuratively). This is to have one’s tent, dwell, encamp. Properly, to pitch or live in a tent; of God it is a symbol of protection, presence, and communion.
OO “hunger” = peinao. From peina (hunger); related to penomai (to work for one’s daily bread, laborer, poor person); from peno (to toil for daily sustenance). This is to hunger, be hungry, be needy, desire earnestly. To be hungry absolutely or comparatively. Figuratively, to crave.
PP “thirst” = dipsao. 16x in NT. From dipsa (thirst); from dipsos (thirst). This word is to thirst or desire earnestly. So, thirst in a literal or figurative sense. There is an older term for alcoholic (dipsomaniac) that comes from this word.
QQ “scorching heat” = kauma. 2x in NT – here and Rev 16:9 during the wrath of the fourth bowl where they were scorched by fierce heat, but cursed the name of God. From kaio (to kindle, burn, ignite, light, consume with fire). This is heat, burning. To burn concretely; used abstractly of a glow or heat.

17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,RR
    and he will guideSS them to springsTT of the water of life,UU
and God will wipe away every tearVV from their eyes.”

Notes on verse 17

RR “will be…shepherd” = poimaino. 11x in NT. From poimen (shepherd, feeder, protector, ruler; figuratively, one who cares for the whole well-being of the flock). This is to act as a shepherd – to tend, herd, rule, govern. Distinct from bosko, which means feeding. This verb focuses more on the idea of tending: guiding, guarding, folding the flock.
SS “guide” = hodegeo. 5x in NT. From hodegos (leader, guide, instructor, teacher); {from hodos (way, road, journey, path; implies progress of the route, the act or distance; figurative of a mode or a means) + hegeomai (to lead, think, be of an opinion, suppose, consider; to lead the way as chief; what is in front or first priority; the first thought in one’s mind; to regard highly)}. This is to lead, guide, to teach by showing the way literally or figuratively.
TT “springs” = pege. 11x in NT. This is a spring of water, fountain, well, flow, issue. A fount literally or figuratively, a source of water or blood or enjoyment. It does not have to be the spring from which the water originates.
UU “life” = zoe. Related to “living creatures” in v11. From zao (see note V above). This is all life throughout the universe both physical and spiritual. It is the notion of vitality that includes humans, plants, and animals. Life of this life and the life in heaven.
VV “tear” = dakruon. 10x in NT – 4x of Paul crying, 2x of the woman anointing Jesus’s feet crying, 2x of saints in heaven not crying, 1x of Esau crying, and 1x of Jesus crying. This is teardrop or tear.

Image credit: “Lamb of God on the Ever-Ready Throne-Basilica of Cosmas and Damien” in Rome, Italy, 527.

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