The Meaning of Revelation 14:3 Explained

Revelation 14:3

KJV: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

YLT: and they sing, as it were, a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and the elders, and no one was able to learn the song except the hundred forty-four thousands, who have been bought from the earth;

Darby: and they sing a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one could learn that song save the hundred and forty-four thousand who were bought from the earth.

ASV: and they sing as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders: and no man could learn the song save the hundred and forty and four thousand, even they that had been purchased out of the earth.

What does Revelation 14:3 Mean?

Verse Meaning

These angels sang a new song. A new song in the Old Testament was a song of praise to God for new mercies, particularly victory over an enemy and sometimes for God"s work in creation (cf. Psalm 33:3; Psalm 40:3; Psalm 96:1; Psalm 98:1; Psalm 144:9; Psalm 149:1; Isaiah 42:10).
"A "new song" is one which, in consequence of some new mighty deeds of God, comes from a new impulse of gratitude in the heart, [1] xl13 , and frequently in the Psalm , Isa. xlii10 , Judith vi13 , Apoc. Revelation 14:9." [2]
The song this group sang in heaven is one that only the144 ,000 , of all God"s creatures, could learn. Probably they were the only ones who could learn it in the sense that they were the only ones who could appreciate what it expressed (cf. Revelation 15:2). God had purchased them from the earth for their special ministry in the Great Tribulation (cf. Revelation 14:4), not just for salvation.

Context Summary

Revelation 14:1-8 - The Lamb's Chosen Worshipers
The blessed ones with whom this chapter opens are only the first-fruit sheaf from the great harvest field. Think of it! If one sheaf consists of 144,000, what will be the entire number of the saved? The characteristics attributed to them may be realized by us all now and here. We must bear the name, that is, the nature and character of Jesus, in our faces; we must be pure in heart and life; and we must go wherever He goes. If to Gethsemane, we must follow Him; if to Calvary, we must take up our cross and go thither; if to Heaven, we shall be with Him there also. It is thought by some that this first-fruit sheaf represents the dear children who have died in early life and have become the Savior's body-guard and close associates. It may be so, but more likely it stands for the possessors of the child-heart.
In majestic procession, one after another, strong angels are seen issuing from the heavenly portals, with "their sublime announcements. Notice the phrase, the everlasting gospel, Revelation 14:6. In other words, the gospel of the grace of God is no expedient brought in to patch up a program which has been seriously spoiled; it is as old as eternity and brings to men eternal joy, and peace, and hope. [source]

Chapter Summary: Revelation 14

1  The Lamb standing on Mount Zion with his company
6  An angel preaches the gospel
8  The fall of Babylon
15  The harvest of the world
20  The winepress of the wrath of God

Greek Commentary for Revelation 14:3

They sing as it were a new song [αιδουσιν ως ωιδην καινην]
See Revelation 5:9 for this phrase (cognate accusative) save that here ως — hōs (as if) is added. There the new song was sung by the four living creatures and the elders, but here “before” (ενωπιον — enōpion) them and so apparently by the throng who were themselves redeemed by the Lamb. [source]
No man could learn the song save [ουδεις εδυνατο ματειν την ωιδην ει μη]
Imperfect Perfect passive articular participle of αγοραζω — agorazō purchased by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 5:9), masculine plural in apposition with χιλιαδες — chiliades (thousands) feminine plural (Revelation 7:5, Revelation 7:8; Revelation 14:1). Απο — Apo (from) here, though εκ — ek (out of) in Revelation 5:9. The 144,000 are not yet separated from the earth (John 17:15). Whether the 144,000 here are identical with that number in Revelation 7:4-8 or not, they must embrace both men and women. [source]
Even they that had been purchased out of the earth [οι ηγορασμενοι απο της γης]
Perfect passive articular participle of αγοραζω — agorazō purchased by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 5:9), masculine plural in apposition with χιλιαδες — chiliades (thousands) feminine plural (Revelation 7:5, Revelation 7:8; Revelation 14:1). Απο — Apo (from) here, though εκ — ek (out of) in Revelation 5:9. The 144,000 are not yet separated from the earth (John 17:15). Whether the 144,000 here are identical with that number in Revelation 7:4-8 or not, they must embrace both men and women. [source]
Beasts [ζώων]
Rev., living creatures. See on Revelation 4:6. [source]
Redeemed [ἠγορασμένοι]
Rev., correctly, purchased. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Revelation 14:3

1 Corinthians 14:15 I will sing [ψαλῶ]
See on James 5:13. The verb, ᾄδω is also used for sing, Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:3; Revelation 15:3. In the last two passages it is combined with playing on harps. In Ephesians 5:19we have both verbs. The noun ψαλμός psalm(Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:26), which is etymologically akin to this verb, is used in the New Testament of a religious song in general, having the character of an Old Testament psalm; though in Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26, ὑμνέω , whence our hymn, is used of singing an Old Testament psalm. Here applied to such songs improvised under the spiritual ecstasy (1 Corinthians 14:26). Some think that the verb has here its original signification of singing with an instrument. This is its dominant sense in the Septuagint, and both Basil and Gregory of Nyssa define a psalm as implying instrumental accompaniment; and Clement of Alexandria, while forbidding the use of the flute in the agapae, permitted the harp. But neither Basil nor Ambrose nor Chrysostom, in their panegyrics upon music, mention instrumental music, and Basil expressly condemns it. Bingham dismisses the matter summarily, and sites Justin Martyr as saying expressly that instrumental music was not used in the Christian Church. The verb is used here in the general sense of singing praise. [source]
Titus 2:14 Might redeem [λυτρώσηται]
Only here, Luke 24:21; 1 Peter 1:18. See on 1 Timothy 2:6. Neither λύτρον ransom, λύτρωσις redemption, nor λυτρωτής redeemer occur in Paul. He has the figure of purchase ( ἀγοράζεσθαι, ἐξαγοράζεσθαι ), 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5. Comp. Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:3, Revelation 14:4; 2 Peter 2:1. [source]
Revelation 1:5 Washed [λούσαντι]
Read λύσαντι loosedTrench remarks on the variation of readings as having grown out of a play on the words λουτρόν , a bathing, and λύτρον aransom, both of which express the central benefits which redound to us through the sacrifice and death of Christ. He refers to this play upon words as involved in the etymology of the name Apollo as given by Plato; viz., the washer ( ὁ ἀπολούων ) and the absolver ( ὁ ἀπολύων ) from all impurities. Either reading falls in with a beautiful circle of imagery. If washed, compare Psalm 51:2; Isaiah 1:16, Isaiah 1:18; Ezekiel 36:25; Acts 22:16; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5. If loosed, compare Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 1:18; Hebrews 9:12; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:3, Revelation 14:4. [source]
Revelation 14:4 For they are virgins [παρτενοι γαρ εισιν]
Παρτενος — Parthenos can be applied to men as well as women. Swete takes this language “metaphorically, as the symbolical character of the Book suggests.” Charles considers it an interpolation in the interest of celibacy for both men and women. If taken literally, the words can refer only to adultery or fornication (Beckwith). Jesus recognised abstinence only for those able to receive it (Matthew 19:12), as did Paul (1 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Corinthians 7:8, 1 Corinthians 7:32, 1 Corinthians 7:36). Marriage is approved by Paul in 1 Timothy 4:3 and by Hebrews 13:4. The New Testament exalts marriage and this passage should not be construed as degrading it.Whithersoever he goeth (οπου αν υπαγει — hopou an hupagei). Indefinite local clause with modal αν — an and the present active indicative of υπαγω — hupagō The Christian life is following the Lamb of God as Jesus taught (Mark 2:14; Mark 10:21; Luke 9:59; John 1:43; John 21:19, etc.) and as Peter taught (1 Peter 2:21) and John (1 John 2:6).Were purchased from among men First aorist passive indicative of αγοραζω — agorazō repeating the close of Revelation 14:3.First fruits (απαρχη — aparchē). See for this word 1 Corinthians 16:15; Romans 11:16; Romans 16:5. This seems to mean that the 144,000 represent not the whole, but only a portion of the great harvest to come (Matthew 9:37), not only the first installment, but those marked by high spiritual service to God and the Lamb (Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5). [source]
Revelation 14:4 Were purchased from among men [ηγοραστησαν απο των αντρωπων]
First aorist passive indicative of αγοραζω — agorazō repeating the close of Revelation 14:3.First fruits (απαρχη — aparchē). See for this word 1 Corinthians 16:15; Romans 11:16; Romans 16:5. This seems to mean that the 144,000 represent not the whole, but only a portion of the great harvest to come (Matthew 9:37), not only the first installment, but those marked by high spiritual service to God and the Lamb (Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5). [source]
Revelation 17:12 As kings [ως βασιλεις]
Compared to kings (see ως — hōs in Revelation 1:10; Revelation 4:6; Revelation 9:7; Revelation 13:3; Revelation 14:3; Revelation 16:21) without identification with the emperors, though succeeding them with “quasi-imperial powers” with the beast.For one hour (μιαν ωραν — mian hōran). Accusative of extent of time, and that a brief time (Revelation 18:10, Revelation 18:16, Revelation 18:19) in comparison with the beast (Revelation 13:2). [source]
Revelation 6:6 As it were a voice [ως πωνην]
“This use of ως — hōs giving a certain vagueness or mysteriousness to a phrase, is one of the characteristics of the writer‘s style, e.g., Revelation 8:1; Revelation 14:3; Revelation 19:1, Revelation 19:6 ” (Beckwith). This voice comes from the midst of the four living creatures, “the protest of nature against the horrors of famine” (Swete). [source]

What do the individual words in Revelation 14:3 mean?

And they are singing as a song new before the throne the four living creatures the elders no one was able to learn the song if not the one hundred forty four thousand - having been redeemed from the earth
Καὶ ᾄδουσιν ‹ὡς› ᾠδὴν καινὴν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου τῶν τεσσάρων ζῴων τῶν πρεσβυτέρων οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο μαθεῖν τὴν ᾠδὴν εἰ μὴ αἱ ἑκατὸν τεσσεράκοντα τέσσαρες χιλιάδες οἱ ἠγορασμένοι ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς

ᾄδουσιν  they  are  singing 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: ᾄδω  
Sense: to the praise of anyone, to sing.
ᾠδὴν  a  song 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ᾠδή  
Sense: a song, lay, ode.
καινὴν  new 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: καινός  
Sense: new.
ἐνώπιον  before 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐνώπιον  
Sense: in the presence of, before.
θρόνου  throne 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θρόνος  
Sense: a throne seat.
τεσσάρων  four 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: τέσσαρες  
Sense: four.
ζῴων  living  creatures 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: ζῷον  
Sense: a living being.
πρεσβυτέρων  elders 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: πρεσβύτερος  
Sense: elder, of age,.
οὐδεὶς  no  one 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: οὐδείς 
Sense: no one, nothing.
ἐδύνατο  was  able 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: δύναμαι  
Sense: to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom.
μαθεῖν  to  learn 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: μανθάνω  
Sense: to learn, be appraised.
ᾠδὴν  song 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ᾠδή  
Sense: a song, lay, ode.
ἑκατὸν  one  hundred 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: ἑκατόν  
Sense: a hundred.
τεσσεράκοντα  forty 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: τεσσαράκοντα 
Sense: forty.
τέσσαρες  four 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: τέσσαρες  
Sense: four.
χιλιάδες  thousand 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: χιλιάς  
Sense: a thousand, the number one thousand.
οἱ  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἠγορασμένοι  having  been  redeemed 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Participle Middle or Passive, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἀγοράζω  
Sense: to be in the market place, to attend it.
γῆς  earth 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: γῆ  
Sense: arable land.