Poole on Revelation 5:11: A Reformed View of Angels, Part 1

Verse 11:[1] And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels (Rev. 4:4, 6) round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was (Ps. 68:17; Dan. 7:10; Heb. 12:22) ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands…

[I saw and heard (that is, in the vision I heard [Piscator]) the voice of Angels] The agreement between the Angels and the Church is noted (Grotius). The Angels also rejoice with her (Ribera), inasmuch as they are recapitulated in Christ into one Church, and subjected to Christ as Head (Pareus).

[In the circuit of the throne, etc.] The Angels are situated in the farthest orbit (Grotius, similarly Durham), not as if the prerogative of the Church militant was greater than that of the Angels, but on account of the infirmities and difficulties, to which the saints here are liable, whom accordingly God defends with an escort of Angels, Psalm 34:7; and so that it might be signified that the Angels serve, not God only, but also the Church, Hebrews 1:14. Thus also in Revelation 7:11 (Grotius). Now, these Angels were of an inferior order: for the primaries are signified by the four living creatures. See on Revelation 4:6 (Piscator).

And I beheld, I still attended diligently, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders; and I heard many angels, with the living creatures and the elders; (from whence we gather, that we must not, by the living creatures, or elders, understand angels, for they are mentioned apart by themselves, neither could they say, as Revelation 5:9, 10, that Christ had redeemed them with his blood;) these angels joined in this harmony with the church to give glory to Christ.

[Thousands, etc., μυριάδες καὶ χιλιάδες, etc.] Thus I read out of Arethas (Beza, thus Grotius), the Complutensian Codex, and two other codices (Beza). And this agrees with Daniel 7:10 (Beza, similarly Grotius), where the description is the same (Beza). Compare Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:17; Hebrews 12:22 (Grotius). [Thus they translate it:] Myriads of myriads, and chiliads of chiliads (Valla). A myriad signifies ten thousand; a chiliad, a thousand (Erasmus, thus Valla). Others: one thousand times one hundred thousands, and ten times one hundred thousands (Beza, Piscator). A finite number in the place of the infinite (Piscator, similarly Camerarius, Valla, Durham). The sense is that those praising God were distributed into divisions, some of which consisted of one thousand times one hundred thousands, others of ten times one hundred thousands. Now, how many of these classes there might be, it is not said (Castalio).

And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; their number was infinite, not to be numbered. See the like, Daniel 7:10.

[1] Greek: καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἤκουσα φωνὴν ἀγγέλων πολλῶν κυκλόθεν τοῦ θρόνου καὶ τῶν ζώων καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων· καὶ ἦν ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτῶν μυριάδες μυριάδων, καὶ χιλιάδες χιλιάδων.


Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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