The Meaning of Revelation 5:11 Explained

Revelation 5:11

KJV: 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;

YLT: And I saw, and I heard the voice of many messengers round the throne, and the living creatures, and the elders -- and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands --

Darby: And I saw, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and their number was ten thousands of ten thousands and thousands of thousands;

ASV: And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

What does Revelation 5:11 Mean?

Study Notes

beasts
living creatures.
living creatures
The "living creatures" are identical with the Cherubim. The subject is somewhat obscure, but from the position of the Cherubim at the gate of Eden, upon the cover of the ark of the covenant, and in Revelation 4, it is clearly gathered that they have to do with vindication of the holiness of God as against the presumptuous pride of sinful man who, despite his sin, would "put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life" Genesis 3:22-24 . Upon the ark of the covenant, of one substance with the mercy-seat, they saw the sprinkled blood which, in type, spake of the perfect maintenance of the divine righteousness by the sacrifice of Christ Exodus 25:17-20 . (See Scofield " Romans 3:24 ") . See Scofield " Romans 3:25 ". See Scofield " Romans 3:26 ". The living creatures (or Cherubim) appear to be actual beings of the angelic order. Cf. See Scofield " Isaiah 6:2 ". The Cherubim or living creatures are not identical with the Seraphim. Isaiah 6:2-7 . They appear to have to do with the holiness of God as outraged by sin; the Seraphim with uncleanness in the people of God. The passage in Ezekiel is highly figurative, but the effect was the revelation to the prophet of the Shekinah glory of the Lord. Such revelations are connected invariably with new blessing and service. Cf.; Exodus 3:2-10 ; Isaiah 6:1-10 ; Daniel 10:5-14 ; Revelation 1:12-19 .

Verse Meaning

An innumerable host of angels now joined the four creatures and24elders in ascribing worth to the Lamb (cf. Daniel 7:10; Psalm 68:17-18; Matthew 2:13). The word order "myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands" may seem anticlimactic.
"The word order is deliberate and the resultant anticlimax brings even more emphasis to the expression. When ten thousand is multiplied by itself, even this does not match the number of angels involved. The leftover still comes to a figure amounting to a thousand multiplied by itself. This is an apocalyptic symbol for countless thousands of angels who lift their voices in this great doxology." [1]

Context Summary

Revelation 5:9-14 - The One Worthy To Open It
Jesus is worthy to unroll the mystic scroll of history, because He loved and loves our race as no other has ever done; and He is equally worthy to open each new phase of our lives. When He came into the world He said, "In the volume of the book it is written of me." We need not fear those pierced hands. If we are His purchased property, He will provide for us. If we are priests and kings in His ideal, we may trust Him so to arrange our life-plan as to secure the best exercise of those sacred functions.
Notice how the out-circling song of the redeemed reaches out in further and yet further response. It begins with the little group around the throne; then it spreads to the angels in their myriads; and thence it is borne forward and outward in concentric rings until the utmost shores of space are struck by the billows of song and it reverberates back to the living creatures and the elders. Heaven is full of the sacrificial side of our Savior's death. The heavenly beings describe themselves as His purchased chattels, and stand closer to Christ than the angels; but these bright ministers of God's will have learned their deepest lessons of God from His redemptive dealings with men. [source]

Chapter Summary: Revelation 5

1  The book sealed with seven seals,
9  which only the Lamb that was slain is worthy to open
12  Therefore the elders praise him, and confess that he redeemed them with his blood

Greek Commentary for Revelation 5:11

And I saw [και ειδον]
A new feature introduced by the outer and vaster circle Ten thousand times ten thousand Literally, “myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,” a mild husteron-proteron. The regular order in 1 Enoch 40:1. See Daniel 7:10 for χιλιαι χιλιαδες — chiliai chiliades (thousand thousands) and μυριαι μυριαδες — muriai muriades (countless myriads). They are all efforts to express the innumerable hosts of the angels. [source]
Ten thousand times ten thousand [μυρίαδες μυρίαδων]
Lit., ten thousands of ten thousands. Compare Psalm 68:17; Daniel 8:10. Μυριάς , whence the English myriad, means the number ten thousand. So, literally, Acts 19:19, ἀργυρίου μυριάδας πέντε fifty-thousandpieces of silver; lit., five ten-thousands. In the plural used for an unlimited number. See Luke 12:1; Acts 21:20; Hebrews 12:22; Judges 1:14. [source]
Thousands [χιλιάδες]
Χιλιάς , a collective term like, μυριάς , meaning the number one thousand, is almost invariably used with men in Revelation. See Revelation 7:4; Revelation 11:13. Only once with a material object (Revelation 21:16). With inferior objects χίλιοι athousand is used. See Revelation 11:3; Revelation 12:6. These words are the theme of Alford's noble hymn - “Ten thousand times ten thousandIn sparkling raiment bright, The armies of the ransomed saints-DIVIDER-
Throng up the steeps of light:-DIVIDER-
'Tis finished, all is finished,-DIVIDER-
Their fight with death and sin;-DIVIDER-
Fling open wide the golden gates,And let the victors in.” [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Revelation 5:11

Acts 21:20 How many thousands [ποσαι μυριαδες]
Old word for ten thousand (Acts 19:19) and then an indefinite number like our “myriads” (this very word) as Luke 12:1; Acts 21:20; Judges 1:14; Revelation 5:11; Revelation 9:16. But it is a surprising statement even with allowable hyperbole, but one may recall Acts 4:4 (number of the men--not women--about five thousand); Acts 5:14 (multitudes both of men and women); Acts 6:7. There were undoubtedly a great many thousands of believers in Jerusalem and all Jewish Christians, some, alas, Judaizers (Acts 11:2; Acts 15:1, Acts 15:5). This list may include the Christians from neighbouring towns in Palestine and even some from foreign countries here at the Feast of Pentecost, for it is probable that Paul arrived in time for it as he had hoped. But we do not have to count the hostile Jews from Asia (Acts 21:27) who were clearly not Christians at all. All zealous for the law (παντες ζηλωται του νομου — pantes zēlōtai tou nomou). Zealots (substantive) rather than zealous (adjective) with objective genitive (του νομου — tou nomou). The word zealot is from ζηλοω — zēloō to burn with zeal, to boil. The Greek used ζηλωτης — zēlōtēs for an imitator or admirer. There was a party of Zealots (developed from the Pharisees), a group of what would be called “hot-heads,” who brought on the war with Rome. One of this party, Simon Zelotes (Acts 1:13), was in the number of the twelve apostles. It is important to understand the issues in Jerusalem. It was settled at the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15; Galatians 2) that the Mosaic ceremonial law was not to be imposed upon Gentile Christians. Paul won freedom for them, but it was not said that it was wrong for Jewish Christians to go on observing it if they wished. We have seen Paul observing the passover in Philippi (Acts 20:6) and planning to reach Jerusalem for Pentecost (Acts 20:16). The Judaizers rankled under Paul‘s victory and power in spreading the gospel among the Gentiles and gave him great trouble in Galatia and Corinth. They were busy against him in Jerusalem also and it was to undo the harm done by them in Jerusalem that Paul gathered the great collection from the Gentile Christians and brought it with him and the delegates from the churches. Clearly then Paul had real ground for his apprehension of trouble in Jerusalem while still in Corinth (Romans 15:25) when he asked for the prayers of the Roman Christians (Romans 15:30-32). The repeated warnings along the way were amply justified. [source]
Hebrews 12:22 To an innumerable company of angels [μυριάσιν ἀγγέλων]
On this whole passage (Hebrews 12:22-24) it is to be observed that it is arranged in a series of clauses connected by καὶ . Accordingly μυριάσιν tomyriads or tens of thousands stands by itself, and πανηγύρει festalassembly goes with ἀγγέλων angels Μυριάς (see Luke 12:1; Acts 19:19; Revelation 5:11; quite often in lxx) is strictly the number ten thousand. In the plural, an innumerable multitude. So A.V. here. Rend. “to an innumerable multitude,” placing a comma after μυριάσιν , and connecting of angels with the next clause. This use of μυριάσιν without a qualifying genitive is justified by numerous examples. See Genesis 24:60; Deuteronomy 32:30; Deuteronomy 33:2; 1 Samuel 18:7, 1 Samuel 18:8; Psalm 90:7; Song of Solomon 5:10; Daniel 7:10; Daniel 11:12; 2 Maccabees 8:20; Judges href="/desk/?q=jud+1:14&sr=1">Judges 1:14. Χιλιάδες thousandsis used in the same way. See Daniel href="/desk/?q=da+7:10&sr=1">Daniel 7:10. [source]
2 John 1:1 The elder [ὁ πρεσβύτερος]
The word is used originally of seniority in age. So Luke 15:25. Afterward as a term of rank or office. Applied to members of the Sanhedrim (Matthew 16:21; Acts 6:12). Those who presided over the Christian assemblies or churches (Acts 11:30; 1 Timothy 5:17, 1 Timothy 5:19). The twenty-four members of the heavenly court in John's vision (Revelation 4:4, Revelation 4:10; Revelation 5:5, Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:8, Revelation 5:11, Revelation 5:14). Here, with reference to official position, coupled, presumably, with age. [source]
Revelation 9:16 Two hundred thousand thousand [δύο μυριάδες μυριάδων]
Lit., two ten-thousands of ten-thousands. See on Revelation 5:11. Rev., twice ten-thousand times ten-thousand. Compare Psalm 68:17; Daniel 7:10; Hebrews 12:22; Judges 1:14. [source]
Revelation 21:16 Four square [τετράγωνος]
From τέτρα fourand γωνία anangle. Only here in the New Testament. Compare Ezekiel 48:16, Ezekiel 48:20. Twelve-thousand furlongs ( ἐπὶ σταδίων δώδεκα χιλιάδων ). Strictly, to the length of ( ἐπί ) twelve, etc. For the collective term χιλιάδες thousandssee on Revelation 5:11. For furlongs see on Revelation 14:20. The twelve-thousand furlongs would be 1378.97 English miles. Interpretations vary hopelessly. The description seems to be that of a vast cube, which may have been suggested by the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle, which was of that shape. But opinions differ as to whether the twelve thousand furlongs are the measure of the four sides of the city taken together, in which case each side will measure three thousand furlongs; or whether the twelve-thousand furlongs are intended to represent the length of each side. The former explanation is prompted by the desire to reduce the vast dimensions of the city. Another difficulty is raised about the height. Düsterdieck, for example, maintains that the houses were three-thousand stadia in height. The question arises whether the vertical surface of the cube includes the hill or rock on which the city was placed, a view to which Alford inclines. These are enough to show how utterly futile are attempts to reduce these symbolic visions to mathematical statement. Professor Milligan aptly remarks: “Nor is it of the smallest moment to reduce the enormous dimensions spoken of. No reduction brings them within the bounds of verisimilitude; and no effort in that direction is required. The idea is alone to be thought of.” [source]
Revelation 12:10 A great voice saying [πωνην μεγαλην λεγουσαν]
Accusative after ηκουσα — ēkousa in this phrase as in Revelation 5:11; Revelation 10:4; Revelation 14:2; Revelation 18:4, but the genitive πωνης λεγουσης — phōnēs legousēs in Revelation 11:12; Revelation 14:13. We are not told whence this voice or song comes, possibly from one of the twenty-four elders (Swete) or some other heavenly beings (Revelation 11:15) who can sympathize with human beings (Revelation 19:10), the martyrs in heaven (Charles). [source]
Revelation 19:1 After these things [μετα ταυτα]
Often when a turn comes in this book. But Beckwith is probably correct in seeing in Revelation 19:1-5 the climax of chapter Rev 18. This first voice (Revelation 19:1, Revelation 19:2) ως πωνην μεγαλην ουχλου πολλου — hōs phōnēn megalēn ouchlou pollou (as it were great voice of much multitude) is probably the response of the angelic host (Revelation 5:11; Hebrews 12:22). There is responsive singing (grand chorus) as in chapters Revelation 4:1-11; Revelation 5:1-14. [source]
Revelation 19:14 The armies which are in heaven [τα στρατευματα τα εν τωι ουρανωι]
See Revelation 12:7 for Michael and angels warring with the dragon, and also Matthew 26:53 for the angels at Christ‘s call, not to say Hebrews 1:6., Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 13:41; and Revelation 5:11. [source]
Revelation 4:4 Round about the throne [κυκλοτεν του τρονου]
Here as a preposition with the genitive, though only adverb in Revelation 4:8 (only N.T. examples save Textus Rec. in Revelation 5:11). [source]
Revelation 4:6 Like crystal [ομοια κρυσταλλωι]
Associative-instrumental case after ομοια — homoia Old word, from κρυος — kruos (ice and sometimes used for ice), in N.T. only here and Revelation 22:1, not semi-opaque, but clear like rock-crystal.In the midst of the throne (εν μεσωι του τρονου — en mesōi tou thronou). As one looks from the front, really before.Round about the throne Merely an adverb in the locative case (Romans 15:19), as a preposition in N.T. only here, Revelation 5:11; Revelation 7:11. This seems to mean that on each of the four sides of the throne was one of the four living creatures either stationary or moving rapidly round (Ezekiel 1:12.).Four living creatures (τεσσερα ζωα — tessera zōa). Not τηρια — thēria (beasts), but living creatures. Certainly kin to the ζωα — zōa of Ezek 1; Ezekiel 2:1-10 which are cherubim (Ezekiel 10:2, Ezekiel 10:20), though here the details vary as to faces and wings with a significance of John‘s own, probably representing creation in contrast with the redeemed (the elders).Full of eyes Present active participle of γεμω — gemō to be full of, with the genitive, signifying here unlimited intelligence (Beckwith), the ceaseless vigilance of nature (Swete). [source]
Revelation 4:6 Round about the throne [κυκλωι του τρονου]
Merely an adverb in the locative case (Romans 15:19), as a preposition in N.T. only here, Revelation 5:11; Revelation 7:11. This seems to mean that on each of the four sides of the throne was one of the four living creatures either stationary or moving rapidly round (Ezekiel 1:12.).Four living creatures (τεσσερα ζωα — tessera zōa). Not τηρια — thēria (beasts), but living creatures. Certainly kin to the ζωα — zōa of Ezek 1; Ezekiel 2:1-10 which are cherubim (Ezekiel 10:2, Ezekiel 10:20), though here the details vary as to faces and wings with a significance of John‘s own, probably representing creation in contrast with the redeemed (the elders).Full of eyes Present active participle of γεμω — gemō to be full of, with the genitive, signifying here unlimited intelligence (Beckwith), the ceaseless vigilance of nature (Swete). [source]
Revelation 7:11 Round about [κυκλωι]
Preposition (in a circle) with genitive as in Revelation 4:6; Revelation 5:11. The angels here rejoice in the salvation of men (Luke 15:7, Luke 15:10; 1 Peter 1:12).Upon their faces (επι τα προσωπα αυτων — epi ta prosōpa autōn). In reverential worship of God as in Revelation 11:16. For this worship (fell and worshipped) see also Revelation 4:10; Revelation 5:14; Revelation 11:16; Revelation 19:4, Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:8. The dative τωι τεωι — tōi theōi (God) with προσκυνεω — proskuneō (to worship) is the usual construction for that meaning. When it means merely to do homage the accusative case is usual in this book (Charles). But in the Fourth Gospel the reverse order is true as to the cases with προσκυνεω — proskuneō (Abbott, Joh. Vocab. pp. 138-142). [source]
Revelation 9:16 Of the horsemen [του ιππικου]
Old adjective ιππικος — hippikos from ιππος — hippos (horse), equestrian. The neuter articular singular το ιππικον — to hippikon the horse or the cavalry in contrast with το πεζικον — to pezikon (the infantry), here only in N.T. For the numbers here see Revelation 5:11; Revelation 7:4. [source]

What do the individual words in Revelation 5:11 mean?

And I looked I heard [the] voice of angels many around the throne of the living creatures of the elders was the number of them myriads of myriads thousands of thousands
Καὶ εἶδον ἤκουσα φωνὴν ἀγγέλων πολλῶν κύκλῳ τοῦ θρόνου τῶν ζῴων τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἦν ἀριθμὸς αὐτῶν μυριάδες μυριάδων χιλιάδες χιλιάδων

εἶδον  I  looked 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: εἶδον 
Sense: to see with the eyes.
ἤκουσα  I  heard 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: ἀκουστός 
Sense: to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf.
φωνὴν  [the]  voice 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: φωνή  
Sense: a sound, a tone.
ἀγγέλων  of  angels 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ἄγγελος  
Sense: a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God.
πολλῶν  many 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: πολύς  
Sense: many, much, large.
κύκλῳ  around 
Parse: Preposition
Root: κύκλῳ  
Sense: in a circle, around, round about, on all sides.
θρόνου  throne 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θρόνος  
Sense: a throne seat.
τῶν  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ζῴων  living  creatures 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: ζῷον  
Sense: a living being.
τῶν  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
πρεσβυτέρων  elders 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: πρεσβύτερος  
Sense: elder, of age,.
ἀριθμὸς  number 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀριθμός  
Sense: a fixed and definite number.
αὐτῶν  of  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
μυριάδες  myriads 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: μυριάς  
Sense: ten thousand.
μυριάδων  of  myriads 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Plural
Root: μυριάς  
Sense: ten thousand.
χιλιάδες  thousands 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: χιλιάς  
Sense: a thousand, the number one thousand.
χιλιάδων  of  thousands 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Plural
Root: χιλιάς  
Sense: a thousand, the number one thousand.