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Revelation 5:8-9 NIV

8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:

In the above text, we are told four living creatures and the twenty-four elders sang a new song and again in chapter 14 we are told of the 144 000 singing a new song.

Revelation 14:1-3 NIV

14 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

It is said no one could learn this song except the 144 000 who were redeemed from the earth. It's not clear whether this song was the same as the one sang by the four living creatures and twenty-four elders

Could this be the same song?

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Rev 5:9, 10 contains a hymn of praise sung by the four living creatures and the 24 elders to the Lamb. It is one of the seven hymns found among the seven seals - see appendix below.

By contrast, the hymn of praise sung in Rev 14:3 is sung to the four living creatures and the elders, ie the reverse of the above. It is almost certainly a different song from that in Rev 5:9, 10 for the following simple reason -

  • It is sung by the redeemed of the earth and nobody but the redeemed, "could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth".

This being the case, the recipients of the song, the four living creatures and the 24 elders cannot learn the song and so cannot sing it. Therefore, they cannot be singing it in Rev 5:9, 10.

Therefore, they are different songs.

However, there is a possibility that the song of the redeemed could be same song sung by those who stand beside the sea of glass, "who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name. They were holding harps from God, and they sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb" (Rev 15:2, 3); but that is another question.

APPENDIX - Seven Hymns in the Seven Seals

The section on the seven seals might also be called the seven hymns, each of which celebrates, in poetic Hebrew (using Greek words) style, some reason to praise God and/or the Lamb. The table below lists these hymns of praise.

Ref Who sings To: Content Why
Rev 4:8 4 living creatures God Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come. Holy, eternal
Rev 4:11 24 elders God You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. Creator, sustainer
Rev 5:9, 10 4 living creatures & 24 elders Lamb You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. Suffering redeemer
Rev 5:12 Many angels Lamb Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise! Suffering redeemer
Rev 5:13 All creatures God & Lamb To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever! King of universe
Rev 7:10 Great multitude in white robes God & Lamb Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. Saviour
Rev 7:12 All angels, elders, living creatures God Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honour and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen! Praise
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  • Thank you,powerful!!! May 20 at 13:07
  • 1
    +1 and Dottard do this professionally powerful answering not for money but for fun.
    – Tony Chan
    May 20 at 17:12
  • @Dottard In your response, I think you intended to say: "[The] recipients of the song... cannot be singing it in Rev 5:9, 10. Did you not instead mean Rev. 14:3? Or am I mistaken?
    – Xeno
    May 20 at 21:18
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    @Xeno - In Rev 5 the recipient/object of the song is the Lamb. In Rev 14, the recipients/objects of the song are the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures which is why it is a different song The statement as it stands is correct.
    – Dottard
    May 20 at 21:29
  • @Dottard Yes, I fully understand your point. I was asking about the wording: "This being the case, the recipients of the song, the four living creatures and the 24 elders cannot learn the song and so cannot sing it [got it]. Therefore, they cannot be singing it in Rev 5:9, 10." I was slightly confused, as I thought the last sentence was referring to "the four living creatures and the 24 elders." Just a simple observation. Your answer is a very good one: +1.
    – Xeno
    May 20 at 21:40
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Could the songs of Revelation 5 and 14 be the same?

Answer: It seems that they are not — but there may be much more to this question.

This is a fascinating subject because of its implications. Suppose we first contrast the two verses as with the OP:

Revelation 5:8-9: "When [the Lamb] had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb... 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.

As has already been observed by @Dottard this appears to be more of a hymn than a song, per se. Then we have:

Revelation 14:1-3: Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand2And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters... 3And [the harpists playing on their harps] sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth*" (emphasis added).

Since "no one could learn the song except the 144,000, it seems clear that this is not the same as that which the 24 elders sang, since they "could not learn it." The "songs" do not appear to be the same.

But let us try to understand what this may be communicating.

I. Who are the 144,000? They are "[those] who have been purchased from the earth." And, just who are they, precisely? Well, 144,000 is a special number in that it is: 122 * 103, a number representing completeness — the full compliment of the N/T faithful. Those who "have been purchased" must surely be the saints, all saved by the blood of the Lamb.

II. How do we differentiate between the first group in Revelation 5 with the second group in Revelation 14? Well, the first group consists of at least the "24 elders." While many (including me) have felt that these are merely a combination of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles, perhaps that is not quite correct.

Suppose the "24 elders" actually represent all the faithful of the O/T only (of course, that doesn't explain the addition of "the four living creatures"1).

There seems to be very little wiggle-room that the 144,000 are New Testament Christians. And, in that case, they would naturally sing a different song than those of the Old Covenant whose "song" was the "Song of Moses." It therefore stands to reason that the "song" the 144,000 are singing may, in fact, be the Gospel: the N/T itself. This might be considered "the song of Christ" that only the saints would (or could) know.


This is a symbolic interpretation of the two "songs" and why they appear to differ.


[Note: No doubt there will be those who disagree. They may reject this analysis entirely. But the 144,000, and their song, appears at the very least to be the full compliment of the saved in Christ, singing the "song" of salvation in His Name, something that had yet to be revealed to the O/T faithful, perhaps represented by the 24 elders. The Book of Revelation can indeed be a great challenge.]

1 I have believed that the "four living creatures" may be representative of the four Gospels. The creatures from Ezekiel 10 were described as having 4 faces: a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. If this is true, the lion ("lion of Judah") would represented by Matthew's Gospel, the ox ("servant") by Mark's Gospel, the man ("Christ's humanity") by Luke's Gospel, and the eagle ("flying in the heavens") by John — where Christ is God.

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