Rev. 5:9-10 teach a pretribulation Rapture?
Rev. Bill Lee-Warner
James translation of Revelation 5:9-10 reads as follows:
sang 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 by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue,
and people, and nation. And hast made us unto our God kings
and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
refer to the song being sung concerning the Lamb Who has just taken
the scroll (book) from the hand of the One sitting on the throne.
uses these verses to indicate that the rapture of the church has
already occurred in the unfolding instruction of the book of Revelation
and that the raptured saints are the ones who are singing this song.
For a number of reasons these verses do not support a pretribulation
The use of the word "us" in Revelation 5:9,10 and "we"
in verse 10 are found only in the King James Version of 1611. When
the King James Version was translated only a small number of printed
Greek texts were available to the translators. They include the
1567 edition of Theodore Beza and the third edition of Stephanus
which was printed in 1550. These editions were the primary texts
for the well known "Textus Receptus" which was actually
printed in 1633 and was the dominant Greek text until the nineteenth
century. Since that time, older and more textually credible Greek
manuscripts than the ones available to Stephanus and Beza have been
found. Two well-attested and authoritative uncial manuscripts [Sinaiticus,
circa AD 350] and Alexandrinus [circa AD 375] are among these finds.
Bible Society's fourth edition of the Greek New Testament corrects
the readings of the Beza and Stephanus editions [and later, the
Textus Receptus]. The following is the corrected translation based
on these more accurate texts:
sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are Thou to take the book,
and to break its seals; for Thou was slain, and didst purchase
for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue
and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a
kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon
the earth." (NASB)
Textual Commentary of the Greek New Testament, Dr. Bruce M.
Metzger explains the evidence for the change from the use of "us"
and "we" found in the Greek texts used by the King James
translators to "them" and "they" found in the
fourth edition of the Greek New Testament published by the United
Bible Society. Therefore, the translation of Revelation 5:9,10 as
quoted above from the New American Standard Bible is the preferred
In addition to this the fact that virtually all the modern translations
(e.g. NIV, NASB, RSV, Moffatt, Berkley, Weymouth, Rotherham) translate
these verses with "them" and "they."
Note also that the song in Revelation 5:9,10 is being sung by the
twenty-four elders and the four living creatures (Note Rev. 5:8-9),
not the "saints... from every tribe and tongue and people and
nation." To make this song the song of the redeemed violates
a time-honored principle of hermeneutics: Scripture is to be interpreted
in its context.
The Author of Revelation is Christ (Revelation. 1:1). The Author
of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:1) is also Christ. In both,
the subject matter deals with end times. A natural conclusion is
that the teaching would be in agreement. In the Olivet Discourse,
the Lord clearly reveals that the "elect" (saints) will
not be raptured before the sign of the sun, moon, and stars is given
in the heavens (24:29-31). The identical sign occurs at the opening
of the 6th seal (Rev. 6:12-17) which occurs after the beginning
of the 70th week and after the midpoint of that week. The timing
of the rapture as given in the Olivet Discourse and the book of
Revelation shows clearly that a rapture prior to the 70th week (as
supported by the King James translation of Revelation 5:9,10) cannot
reasons, to base a pretribulation rapture of the church on Revelation
5:9,10 from the King James translation is both inadequate and inaccurate.