This movement is extraordinary. Joining the host of heaven apparently are all the beings created by God, including not just humans but other forms of life as well. Conceivably, this chorus of glory to the Lamb even includes those who are perishing, since, after all, Paul has promised that “every knee should bow … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10–11). Redemption has no specific mention in this final chorus, simply the worthiness of the Lamb to receive praise, honor, glory, and power, and his worthiness to receive this forever.
Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 175.
Animals, birds and fish join with humanity in a great act of divine worship. Even the underworld, the abode of the dead and dwelling-place of evil, is involved. Clearly this vision does not reflect present reality from John’s perspective, for rebellion and injustice still exist in God’s world. Rather we catch a glimpse here of what creation was intended for, and what can be in God’s great plan, on earth, as it is in heaven.
Ian Boxall, The Revelation of Saint John, Black’s New Testament Commentary (London: Continuum, 2006), 102.
On that day every creature including the unsaved (cf. Phil 2:9–11)—will give the Father and the Son the glory they deserve.
Robert Vacendak, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” in The Grace New Testament Commentary, ed. Robert N. Wilkin (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010), 1275.
Loud sevenfold praise for the Lamb spills over from the heavenly throne room and is joined by every creature … on the earth … under the earth … in the sea, as is seen in Pss. 148 and 150. Blessing and honor and glory and power: From the vantage point of heaven, these verses look forward to the climactic point when “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:11).
Earl D. Radmacher, Ronald Barclay Allen, and H. Wayne House, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1999), 1743.
The entire created order now joins in the mighty chorus—everything in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and in the sea—in adoration of both God and the Lamb together (5:13)
Walter A. Elwell, “Revelation,” in Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, vol. 3, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995), 1209.
Now the music becomes a diapason, a full, deep burst of harmonious song. Every creature … in heaven and on the earth joins in heaping eternal blessing and honor and glory and power on God the Father and on the Lamb.
This verse parallels Philippians 2:10 and 11, which insists that every knee will bow at the name of Jesus and every tongue confess Him Lord. No single, specific time is mentioned, but it will obviously be after the saved are raised to everlasting life and then after the unsaved are raised to everlasting judgment. Believers will have already acknowledged Jesus as Lord; unbelievers will then be compelled to honor Him. Universal homage to the Father and the Son is an assured fact.
William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 2363.
The universality of Christ’s work calls for this universal praise.
Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney, Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, The Tyndale Reference Library (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 741.
All animated creation now joins in the ascription of praise. Those under the earth are probably the “spirits in prison” of 1 Pet. 3:19, though Vitringa understands the expression to be used of the devils “who unwillingly obey Christ,” and even declare his glory, as in Mark 1:24, “I know thee who then art, the Holy One of God.” The sea is meant literally; the apostle’s object being to include all animated beings wheresoever existing. It has been remarked that St. John’s exile at Patmos would render him familiar with the appearance of the sea, and account for its frequent use in the Apocalypse, both literally and symbolically. The things on the sea would signify, not merely ships with their inhabitants, but also those animals in the sea which are known to men by dwelling near the surface. “All things that are in them” serves to render emphatic the universality of the description, as in Exod. 20:11 and Ps. 146:6, “The Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.”
H.D.M. Spence-Jones, ed., Revelation, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 167.
Just try to imagine such singing. This, of course, means all intelligent life in the universe. In the strictest sense, this cannot happen until the final consummation (Phil. 2:10–11). However, in many places John’s visions record events yet future, so we should not be troubled by this anticipation of the Son’s universal worship. Note also the extreme chronological sweep of the throne room worship scene developed in chapters 4 and 5:
✧ The worship of the Almighty by the living creatures and the elders has been going on since their creation eons ago.
✧ The worship of the Lamb by the heavenly court and all the angels has occurred—at least in this manner—since he was slain.
✧ The worship of both the Almighty and the Lamb by all the universe’s creatures has yet to become a reality.
Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 96.
This scene anticipates the universal acclamation to be offered at the consummation of all things. If it represents universal praise in an absolute sense, then it issues not only from God’s willing subjects but also from his opponents, who will be forced into submission (as in Phil. 2:10–11; Col. 1:20). Rev. 5:9–12 and 5:13 are good examples respectively of the “already” and “not yet” time reference of chs. 4–5 in particular and of the Apocalypse in general.
G.K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 365.