Friday, 13 November 2020
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, Revelation 5:11
After the song of praise from the living creatures and the twenty-four elders, John’s attention is again redirected. As he says, “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders.” The Greek reads ēkousa phōnēn, “I heard a voice.” It is singular. One can imagine this immense heavenly host breaking out in a single united voice.
Further, it is as if he didn’t even see these angels before. His attention was so captivated by the vision of the scroll, the Lamb, and so on, that the angels were completely out of his focus, but now, because of their voice, they come into clarity of vision. Once in focus, John was certainly awed at what he saw, describing the scene in a superlative way, saying, “and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand.”
In this, the Greek reads, myriades myriadōn, or “myriads of myriads.” A myriad signifies ten thousand. So, a literal reading would be ten thousands of ten thousands. If counted exactly, it would be one hundred million. However, the term in the plural is simply given to express an immense, or even unlimited number. That this is a superlative, and not an exact number, is then seen in the addition of the next words, which say, “and thousands of thousands.”
The Greek reads, chiliades chiliadōn, or “thousands of thousands.” The word chilias signifies one thousand. Saying “thousands of thousands” is again a way of expressing a superlative. By adding it to the previous number, the idea is that John is viewing an inexpressible multitude. It is a number he wouldn’t even attempt to exactingly count.
Such a heavenly multitude is described elsewhere in Scripture, such as –
“The chariots of God are twenty thousand,
Even thousands of thousands;
The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.” Psalm 68:17
In the end, the number of the heavenly host that is around the scene set before him is immense, and what their purpose in the divine vision is will next be seen.
Life application: People write songs about the voices of angels, knowing that they must be the sweetest sound of all – like a heavenly concert. In this vision, there weren’t just a few. Rather, their number went on and on and on. The sight that John saw encompassed a number of angels that was simply impossible to count.
Think on what is being relayed. Jesus, before His crucifixion, said, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matthew 26:52-54).
All of the power of the heavenly hosts was at Jesus’ disposal, and yet He willingly suffered for the sins of fallen man. If you wonder what you are worth to Jesus, it is reflected in this thought today. All of the power of heaven could have been brought to save Jesus from the cross, but He died for you.
Jesus said something else on similar lines, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
In other words, all of the riches of the world are not worth one human soul. What we cannot always see clearly is brought into absolute clarity of focus at the cross of Jesus. And so, the angels’ voice is raised to proclaim the majesty they beheld. As this is so, shouldn’t we likewise proclaim the magnificence of our Lord! He is worth all of our praise, because He is JESUS!
Lord, when I have doubts about my own worth, all I need to do is to reflect on the cross. What You did for fallen man includes each of us, unworthy as we are. We are so sorry for the sins of our lives, and we are sorry that they necessitated Your sacrifice. We will forever sing Your praises as we gather around Your glorious heavenly throne. Amen.