Tuesday, 15 December 2020
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen.” Revelation 7:12
Scholarly note: All seven descriptors of this verse are prefixed by the definite article and should be translated that way –
“saying, ‘Amen! the blessing, and the glory, and the wisdom, and the thanksgiving, and the honour, and the power, and the strength, are to our God — to the ages of the ages! Amen!’” YLT
What we have in this verse are the words of those around the throne as they proclaim words of praise and worship to the One on the throne, “saying: ‘Amen!’”
It means something like “verily,” “truly,” or “so let it be!” The heavenly congregation is singing out a doxology of praise, and what they have to proclaim is a surety. Beginning with “Amen” indicates the strongest affirmation that can be made. The honors are great, and they are directed to the Lamb that was slain, but who lives forevermore. Being prefixed by the definite articles implies the completeness and the totality of what each word signifies. They are the highest and most perfect forms of each pronouncement. The words are –
“Blessing.” Rather, it says, “the blessing.” In Greek, it is the word eulogia. It signifies adulation, praise, blessing, and so forth. It is a word of commendation. Being prefixed by the article, it is the highest and most concrete form of adulation that can be pronounced.
Next, we read, “and glory.” Rather, it is “and the glory.” The Greek word is doxa. Strong’s defines it as “honor, renown; glory, an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor.” Being prefixed by the article, it is thus conveying the infinite worth of the One seated before them.
They then call out, “and wisdom.” Rather, it is “and the wisdom.” The Greek word is sophia. It signifies skill, insight, intelligence, and the like. One can see the root of both the words sophistication and philosophy. The word itself comes from sophos, meaning wise, learned, clever, or skilled. An earlier root is the word saphēs, signifying “clear.” The right application of knowledge is worked out in wisdom. One can have knowledge and not be wise. But “the wisdom” belongs to the Giver of knowledge, and everything He does indicates clarity of thought, skill, and application of that which is of the first importance. Solomon calls wisdom “the principal thing” in the proverbs. Being prefixed by the article, the heavenly choir is saying that the embodiment of this “principle thing” sits before them on the throne.
Next, it reads, “Thanksgiving.” Rather, it says, “and the Thanksgiving.” The Greek reads, eucharistia. One can see in it the root of “eucharist.” This word signifies gratitude and the giving of thanks. As it is prefixed by the article, it is saying that the very Source of all that is worthy of thanks and gratitude belongs to the Lord God. He is the Source of all things. Therefore, all that is praiseworthy ultimately originated in Him.
From there, they call out, “and honor.” Rather, it is “and the honor.” It is the Greek word timé. It signifies a priced value or worth. The question is, “What is the value of the One being praised?” The answer is hē time, or “the price.” In other words, He is the One of infinite value. Nothing can price Him, and therefore, He is the Value of values. He is the One beyond possible evaluation of value and so we can only say “the price.”
It next reads, “and power.” Rather, it reads, “and the power.” It is the Greek word dunamis. It is a vibrant word signifying “ability to perform.” It can signify deeds, energy, efficacy, and so on. Being prefixed by the article, it signifies that He is the epitome of all such things. There is no lack in His ability to perform, and He is the Source of all energy and power.
They then call out, “and might.” Rather, it reads, “and the might.” The Greek word is ischus. It implies force, ability, strength (absolutely). It is therefore the might to overcome resistance. As it is prefixed by the article, it signifies that the Lamb is the One who has absolute ability to overcome that which must be overcome to serve whatever purpose is needed. In His case, He is the definition of that ability, as is evidenced in His overcoming death and the grave.
These magnificent qualities are then said to be “to our God.” As it is the Lamb who is on the throne (verse 7:9), then it is an explicit reference to the deity of Jesus Christ. Only a heretic, and the world is full of heretics, can deny that this is the intent of the words. Jesus Christ is fully God, and He is fully man. And He is so “forever and ever.” The Greek reads, “to the ages of the ages.” It is a superlative way of multiplying the thought, just as in the English “forever and ever.” It will never end, it will continue on unabated, and the qualities are the property of Him in this eternal stream of existence.
The words then finish with the word they began with – “Amen.” So it is, and so it shall be.
Life application: In this great heavenly scene, in verse 7:10, the redeemed (the great white multitude, and certainly inclusive of the twenty-four elders) cried out “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Now, and only now, the angels join in the exultation of God. The angels could not join in the previous doxology because angels cannot be redeemed; only humans have that privilege and grace bestowed upon them. But together with the redeemed of the world, the angels can rejoice, just as they have since the beginning. As Jesus said –
“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10
Because angels can rejoice in the salvation of humans, they join the heavenly cry, which is stated in their highest form, as revealed in the definite articles which precede each honorific. Created beings can give blessing, but this is only based against an ultimate standard of blessing – “the blessing.” We can bestow power (such as on an elected official), but this is being gauged against the ultimate power. Such is the nature of Christ our God. He embodies the fullest expression of the things we can only partially understand or convey. He is the richest and most complete expression of every good and perfect thing, and to Him alone belongs acknowledgment of this. Let us never fail to return to Him the fullest praise He is due. He is worthy of it. He is JESUS.
Great and awesome and powerful God – You alone are worthy of our highest praise and honor. Forgive us when we fail to give it to You, and help us never to exalt a part of Your creation above You. All things are from You, and therefore, to You alone belongs the deepest stirring of our souls, expressed in worship and praise. Amen.