Particular Redemption: An Exegesis of Revelation 5:9-10

[The following post is a transcript of a portion from “The Atonement: Design, Nature, and Extent,” presented by Dr. Sam Waldron at the Building Bridges conference.]

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10 NASB)

In this context you note that it is the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders who are singing and praising the Lamb. The occasion is the enthronement of the Messiah. At the Lord’s ascension into Heaven, according to the New Testament, He was made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36) and sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3). And this is the event that Revelation 5 is talking about. Now this time-frame (the enthronement of the Lamb after His ascension to Heaven) is important because in the context– in the text we’ve looked at– three aorists describe the basis of His ascension to God’s throne. Each describes, therefore, an event that precedes this ascension to God’s throne. And then a future tense follows, which further accentuates the significance of those aorist tenses. The aorists, therefore, describe events that occurred at (I mean, at the time of) and by means of the death of Christ. They occurred prior to the ascension of our Lord to Heaven and to His enthronement as the Lamb of God. The first aorist establishes this reference to the death of Christ; it is the phrase, “For You were slain.” The second aorist also refers to a transaction at Christ’s death, “You purchased for God with Your blood men.” Now this is real, penal substitution resulting in the real purchase of men. There is real substitution and real redemption at the Cross of Christ. The reference is not to conversion, but to a redemption that occurred at Christ’s death, by His blood, and on His Cross. And it is a particular redemption. It is not, “All men without exception.” It is men from every kindred, tribe, and nation; “men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” So here we have what I think we may call an explicit assertion of particular redemption in Revelation 5:9. The third aorist tells us of a blessing that this redemption bestows– [it] is the blessing that the redeemed are constituted “a kingdom and priests to our God.” They’re no longer slaves of sin, as a result of the Cross of Christ and the redemption that took place there, but they are a royal priesthood. And the song ends, then, with a future tense (I understand there’s a textual variant, but I think in this case it’s clear that the tense is future and must be future), “They will reign on the earth.” The redemption according to Revelation 5:9-10 is not only particular, it is also effectual; those for whom Christ was slain, those whom He purchased on His Cross, those whom He constituted a royal priesthood, these– and all of them– will reign in glory in the new heaven and new earth. In the new earth all those purchased by Christ’s death will reign with Him.

Explore posts in the same categories: Doctrinal Issues, Exegetical Issues

5 Comments on “Particular Redemption: An Exegesis of Revelation 5:9-10”

  1. Thomas Twitchell Says:

    How precious is the blood?

  2. I believe that the twenty-four elders out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Re.5:9 below) are out of the nations referenced at Acts 2:5, 9-11, below.

    I believe that the “many” raised after the Lord resurrection (Matt.27:52-53 below) are the twenty-four elders seen in heaven throughout the book of Revelation.

    I believe that the “many” (Matt.27:52 below) raised that went into the holy city (Jerusalem) appeared unto “many” (the apostles and specific others) (Matt.27:53 below).

    Re.4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

    Re.5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

    Re.5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God (the Father) by thy blood (Jesus) out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

    Re:5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

    Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

    Acts 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

    Acts 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

    Acts 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

    Re.11:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
    Re.19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

    Matt.27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

    Matt.27:53 And came out of the graves after his (Jesus’) resurrection, and went into the holy city (Jerusalem), and appeared unto many.

    Pat (ndbpsa ©) Bible Prophecy on the Web

  3. Thomas Twitchell Says:

    And so Pat when did this happen:

    And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

    So, here’s the deal sparky: what is under discussion is the blood of Christ and limited atonement. Did Christ’s blood, according to this passage purchase a descrete, unique, number of mankind from among all the nations of the World. I you want to give it an aplocalyptic “belief” that is fine, there are about a gazillion I believe interpretations. Yours sound like a preterist view, or some modification thereof.

    Even if that is granted, does this passage present a limited , particular atonement, even if only in type, and is therefore an exclusivistic statement; the Calvinist view. Or is it inclusive of all men; the non-Calvinist view as they interpret 1 Timothy 4:10.

    I agree with Waldron, inclusive passages must be interpreted within the paradigm set by the exclusive, or the exclusiveness becomes meaningless.

    A great book for you to read.

    You can read exepts from it here.

  4. I agree with the relevance of the Acts passages in that the evangelistic work of Pentecost was the beginning of the fulfillment of God bringing people from every tribe, language, people-group and nation into His kingdom.

    I am not certain what you are intending to indicate in reference to the 24 elders. Are you saying that these 24 are symbolic of the saints or representative of the saints, or are you arguing that the purchase spoken of in Rev. 5:9 is only in reference to 24 individuals?

  5. Paul Bollen Says:

    Here are some scriptures we use for Limited Atonment taken from two different T.U.I.P. pamplets

    Limited Atonement

    Luke 2:1,2;
    John 6:37-40; 3:16;
    John 17:2-11, 20,24,26;
    John 10:11,26,27,29,42;
    John 12:19,32;
    Acts 20:28
    Romans 3:24; 4:25; 5:18;
    Romans 8:5-10; 31-34; 9:1;
    Galatians 3:13;
    1Timothy 2:4-6;
    Ephesians 1:3-4,13;
    Ephesians 12:15-16;
    1Corinthians 1:21; 15:22
    2 Cor. 5:14,15,17-19;
    Heb. 2:9,17; 3:1; 9:28;
    1Peter 2:9;
    2Peter 1:1, 3:9
    1John 2:1-2; 4:14;

    Deut. 7:6-8; 10:14-15;
    Isaiah 65:1;
    Matthew 7:22; 24:22,31;
    Luke 4:27; 18:7
    John 6:29,44; 15:6;
    Acts 13:47;
    Romans 3:24; 5:9; 8:9,10,28-30,33; 9:30-33; 11:7;
    1Corinthians 1:26-29; 8:3;
    Galatians 2:16
    Ephesians 1:4,5,11,12;
    Philippians 1:29; 2:12-13
    Colossian 2:13; 3:2,3
    1Timothy 1:9
    2Timothy 1:9; 2:19;
    1Thessalonians 1:5; 5:9;
    2Thessalonians 2:13,14;
    Titus 1:2;
    1Peter 1:1,2, 5-11 20; 2:8,9;
    Revelation 13:8; 17:8

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