Revelation 4:9
And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who lives for ever and ever,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9, 10) And when those beasts . . .—Better, And whensoever the living beings shall give (the future is used) glory and honour and thanks to Him who sitteth upon the throne, to Him who liveth to the ages of ages, the four-and-twenty elders shall (as is their wont) fall down before Him who sitteth on the throne, and worship Him that liveth unto the ages of ages, and shall (as is their wont) cast their crowns before the throne, saying ... It is not to Him who sat upon the throne, but to Him who sitteth there, as he liveth to the ages of ages, that this homage is paid. The future tense (shall give glory, &c.) implies the eternal repetition of the act. The connection between the praise given by creation, and the consequent homage of the twenty-four elders, expresses a truth. The Church of Christ does not always hear the voice of praise from created things. Often the creation groaneth” and travaileth; but her chorus of praise rises when she perceives that “every thing that hath breath praiseth the Lord.” The converse of this thought — the earth bringeth forth her fruit when the people praise God—is hinted in Psalm 67:5-6, “the earth ceases her travail when the sons of God are made manifest (Romans 8:19-21).

Crowns.—The crowns are not royal crowns, but the crowns of conquerors. These are laid down before the throne by those who overcame, not in their own might, but through the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11; comp. Revelation 7:14).

Revelation 4:9-11. And when those living creatures give glory, &c., the elders fall down — That is, as often as the living creatures begin their song of adoration and praise, the elders immediately fall down. The expression implies that they did so at the same instant, and that they both did this frequently. The living creatures do not say directly, Holy, holy, holy art thou; but only bend a little, out of deep reverence, and say, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord. But the elders, when they are fallen down, say, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory — This he receives, not only when he is thus praised, but also when he destroys his enemies, and glorifies himself anew; glory, &c. — In the Greek, (which has the article with each noun,) it is, the glory, and the honour, and the power; answering the thrice holy of the living creatures, Revelation 4:9. For thou hast created all things — By thine almighty energy. Creation is the ground of all the works of God. Therefore for this, as well as for all his other works, he must and will be praised to all eternity. And for thy pleasure Δια το θελημα σου, on account of thy will; they are — They exist; and were at first created — Their first production and continued existence are owing to the riches of thy free goodness; and therefore they are all under the strongest obligations, according to their respective natures, to subserve the purposes of thy glory. 4:9-11 All true believers wholly ascribe their redemption and conversion, their present privileges and future hopes, to the eternal and most holy God. Thus rise the for-ever harmonious, thankful songs of the redeemed in heaven. Would we on earth do like them, let our praises be constant, not interrupted; united, not divided; thankful, not cold and formal; humble, not self-confident.And when those beasts give glory ... - As often as those living beings ascribe glory to God. They did this continually Revelation 4:8; and, if the above explanation be correct, then the idea is that the ways and acts of God in his providential government are continually of such a nature as to honor him. 9-11. The ground of praise here is God's eternity, and God's power and glory manifested in the creation of all things for His pleasure. Creation is the foundation of all God's other acts of power, wisdom, and love, and therefore forms the first theme of His creatures' thanksgivings. The four living creatures take the lead of the twenty-four elders, both in this anthem, and in that new song which follows on the ground of their redemption (Re 5:8-10).

when—that is, whensoever: as often as. A simultaneous giving of glory on the part of the beasts, and on the part of the elders.

give—"shall give" in one oldest manuscript.

for ever and ever—Greek, "unto the ages of the ages."

And when those beasts, the living creatures before expressed, signifying the ministers of the gospel,

give glory, &c.; when they praise God who is eternal. And when these beasts give glory,.... When they give God the glory of all his perfections, covenant, and promises, and of all the gifts and grace bestowed on them, and of the success of their ministry; and in it glorify Father, Son, and Spirit, who bear their respective parts in the business of salvation; and ascribe to each their due glory in election, redemption, and sanctification:

and honour; in the several parts of religious worship performed by them; and not with their lips only, but with their hearts also:

and thanks; for all blessings, temporal and spiritual, bestowed on them, and on the saints: even

to him that sat on the throne; God the Father, Revelation 4:3;

who liveth for ever and ever; he who is the living God, and will always continue so.

And when those beasts {c} give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

(c) God is said to have glory, honour, kingdom, and such like given to him, when we godly and reverently set forth that which is properly and only his.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 4:9. ὅταν δώσουσι. The fut., instead of the regular sub.,[1825] does not present a conception that is strictly future,[1826] but has, like the Heb. imperfect, the force of a frequentative: “when, as often as.”[1827]

ΔΌΞΑΝ ΚΑῚ ΤΙΜῊΝ. Viz., the worshipful acknowledgment of the glory and honor[1828] belonging to the Lord;[1829] while by ΚΑῚ ΕὐΧΑΡΙΣΤΊΑΝ is designated immediately, and without metonymy, the thanksgiving[1830] rendered by the creature.

Τῶ ΚΑΘΗΜΈΝῼ

ΑἸΏΝΩΝ
. So God calls the enthroned God very similarly as the four beasts praise him, and in the same respect. Hence, also on cemore in Revelation 4:10, the same designation of God, comprising the reason for the praise, and the ground of all hope and prophecy.

On Revelation 4:10, cf. Revelation 5:8; Revelation 19:4. The casting-down of the crowns is, together with the falling down and worshipping, the sign of humiliation before the King and Lord, in whose presence no creature whatever has any glory or honor of its own.[1831]

[1825] Winer, p. 289 sq.

[1826] From now, and to all the future. Cf. Revelation 7:15 sq. It is not so earlier, because only since the work of redemption is in progress, and the victory of Christ in development, are the twenty-four elders in this position and occupation. De Wette; cf. Stern.

[1827] Vitr., Beng., Hengstenb., Ebrard, etc.

[1828] Cf. Psalm 29:1; Psalm 96:7. Hengstenb., etc.

[1829] Cf. Revelation 1:6.

[1830] Hengstenb.

[1831] Cf. Tacit., Annal., xv. 29: “To which (statue of Nero) Tiridates, having advanced, cast before the image the diadem removed from his head.”

Revelation 4:9-11. The ascription of praise to God by the representatives of the creation, viz., the four beasts, is joined by that of the twenty-four elders, the representatives of redeemed humanity;[1824] yet here the praise of the elders (Revelation 4:11) refers not to redemption itself,—which first occurs in Revelation 5:9 sq.,—but to the power and glory of God revealed in creation, so that the words of the elders stand in beautiful harmony with the praise of the four beings, as well as with the significance of the entire vision; of course not without the relation expressly indicated in Revelation 4:8, and lying at the basis, that Almighty God, who has made the beginning of all things, will also bring them to a completion.

[1824] Cf. De Wette, Hengstenb., Ebrard.Revelation 4:9. The frequentative meaning of δώσουσι comes from the sense rather than from the grammar of the passage. “Whenever,” etc. (i.e., throughout the course of this book, Revelation 5:8 f., Revelation 11:16 f., Revelation 19:4) is “a sort of stage-direction” (Simcox). It would be harsh to take the words as a proleptic allusion to the single occurrence at Revelation 11:15 f. (J. Weiss). To give or ascribe δόξα to God is reverently to acknowledge his supreme authority, either spontaneously and gladly (as here and Revelation 19:7, where “honour” becomes almost “praise”) or under stress of punishment (Revelation 11:13, Revelation 14:7, Revelation 16:9) and fear of judgment. The addition of τιμή in doxologies amplifies the idea, by slightly emphasising the expression of that veneration and awe felt inwardly by those who recognise his δόξα. To fear God or to be his servants is thus equivalent upon the part of men to an attitude of pious submission and homage. To “give thanks” is hardly co-ordinate with δ. κ. τ., but follows from it as a corollary (cf. Psalms 96-98). Such worship is the due of the living God (Revelation 7:2, Revelation 10:6, Revelation 15:7), whereas to eat “meat sacrificed to idols is to worship dead gods” (Did. vi. 3, cf. Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:20). The Apocalypse, however, never dwells on the danger of idolatry within the Christian church; its attention is almost absorbed by the supreme idolatry of the Emperor, which is silently contrasted in this and in other passages with the genuine Imperial worship of the Christian church. “He who sits on the throne” (a title of Osiris in E. B. D.) is the only true recipient of worship. Cf. the hymn to “Ra when he riseth”: “Those who are in thy following sing unto thee with joy and bow down their foreheads to the earth when they meet thee, thou lord of heaven and earth, thou king of Right and Truth, thou creator of eternity”.9, 10. And when those beasts, &c.] Read And when the living creatures shall give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sitteth upon the Throne, to Him that liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders shall fall down before Him that sitteth …, and shall worship Him …, and shall cast.…” The meaning of the futures is doubtful: some take it as “implying eternal repetition of the act.” Or the meaning may be (if one may say so reverently) a sort of stage direction: “during the future course of the vision, these (who never leave the scene) are to be understood to be thus employed.” But it is always a question in this Book whether the use of tenses be not accommodated to the rules of Hebrew rather than Greek grammar: the sense may after all be merely frequentative.

cast their crowns] Alford compares Tac. Ann. XV. xxix. 3, 6, where Tiridates lays down his crown before the image of Nero, as a token of homage for his kingdom.Revelation 4:9-10. Ὅταν δώσουσιπεσοῦνται) Each future expresses a simultaneous act of giving of glory on the part of the beasts and on the part of the elders: and, at the same time, it has a frequentative force: As often as the beasts give glory, immediately the elders fall.Verse 9. - And when those beasts give; or, and as often as the living belongs shall give. The expression has a frequentative force, and also points to a continued repetition of the act in the future; perhaps a contrast to the past, since before the redemption the Church, as being of the whole world, could not join in the adoration. Glory and honour and thanks. The Eucharistic hymn recognizes the glory and honour which are the inseparable attributes of God, and renders the thanks due to him from his creation. To him that sat on the throne, who liveth forever and ever; or, to him sitting on the throne. The Triune God (see on ver. 2). "Who liveth forever and ever" declares that attribute which was ascribed to God, in the song of the living beings, by the words, "which was, and is, and is to come" (see on ver. 8). When (ὅταν)

Whensoever, implying, with the future tense, the eternal repetition of the act of praise.

Give (δώσουσιν)

Lit., as Rev., shall give.

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