Every vision of God in his word consists of two general parts: first, something seen; and secondly, something heard:
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written, etc. The prophets and apostles being in a trance had their eyes open. (Nu 24:4 Ac 10:10-11) So had this apostle here, not the eyes of the body, but of the mind.
this was the Book of Revelations, a mystical and prophetical book, containing the Revelation of those things which were shortly to be fulfilled, and come to pass, see Re 1:1,19 4:1. This book was full, no place left void to add anything unto it, (Re 22:18) Whosoever shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book,
Rev. 5.4 & 5:
It appears that St. John was very much troubled, for he wept much: The servant of the Lord was very sensible, what a loss it would be to him, and to the church of God, if this sealed book should not be unsealed, and the mysterial prophecies therein should not be opened; therefore he wept and mourned.
The apostle is forbid to weep.
John’s affectionate sorrow might hinder him from attending unto the glad tidings brought unto him: Therefore the elder first prohibited him from weeping: Tears and sorrows may hinder choice Christians, and indispose them to receive spiritual comforts. The elder having shut the floodgate of the Apostle’s sorrow, he bids him attend diligently to what he had to say unto him.
In the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb. The Lord our Passover, who was sacrificed for us. (1Co 5:7) Christ standing in the midst of the throne, signifieth, first, that he is equal with God the Father, (Joh 10:30 Php 2:6) and partaker of the same glory, dominion and authority with the Father. (Mt 28:18-19) Secondly, that Christ is exalted on the right hand of God, (Heb 8:1 12:2) and so St. Stephen saw Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God. (Ac 7:56) Christ’s standing in the midst of the four living creatures, and twenty four elders, doth signify his gracious presence in the church, (called the throne of God,)( Jer 17:12) with his ministers, (called pastors, teachers, and elders,)(Eph 4:11-13 Ac 20:17) to present their persons, prayers, and all their spiritual services and sacrifices at the throne of grace, with his incense unto the father with acceptance. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God, out of the angels hand. (Re 8:4 Eph 2:18 Heb 13:15 1Pe 2:4-5)
This verse contains a preparation unto a new and spiritual song of praise and thanksgiving unto Christ our Redeemer, (Re 5:9-14) (who had taken this book to unloose the seals, and to open the mystical and prophetical visions and revelations therein contained). And this spiritual song of praise consists of three parts, whereof the church, her ministers and members bear the first part. (Re 5:8,9,10) The holy angels, and spirits of just men made perfect, bear the second part, (Re 5:11,12) and all God’s good creatures bear the third part. (Re 5:13,14)
Singing and praying are two distinct ordinances under the gospel, (1Co 14:14-15) and two distinct parts of the worship of God, both which are to be performed by the anointing of the spirit, (Col 3:16 Eph 5:18-19) in the churches of saints. This is called a new song, because, first, it contains new matter of praise and thanksgiving unto God, as Ps 98:1 etc. and secondly, the hearts (the harps) of these singers were put into a new spiritual frame by the fresh anointing of the holy spirit; John had been weeping much, and now God gave him the garments of praise for the spirit of mourning, to comfort him, (Isa 61:1-4) and so he as prepared to bear his part in this new song of praise and thanksgiving.
This verse contains a third reason of this new song of praise and thanksgiving. They were not only redeemed from all misery, sin, curse, and eternal death; but honoured with many glorious dignities, and spiritual privileges. The saints are kings, and Jesus Christ is King of saints. (Re 15:3) the Lord’s redeemed ones have a heavenly kingdom prepared for them. (Lu 12:32 Mt 25:34) And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to Christ and his saints. (Da 7:13-27 Mic 4:8 Zec 14:9) In that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one. There shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (Joh 10:16) And priests unto God, a royal priesthood, (1Pe 2:4-9) to offer up spiritual sacrifices; that you should show forth the praises of God, (1Pe 2:9) who hath called you, etc. they believed upon the scripture ground, before mentioned, and therefore did they speak, (2Co 4:13) that is, the primitive saints believed that they shall reign with Christ on earth, and the latter day saints also have scripture ground to believe, that they shall reign with Christ on earth.(Re 20:1-4) And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years; ta cilia eth that is, those thousand years between the resurrection of Christ’s two prophetical witnesses, etc. and the rest of the dead, who lived not until those thousand years were finished. (Re 20:5,6)