Lecture 3

 •  45 min. read  •  grade level: 7
On entering upon our third lecture, I would remind you of the three divisions into which the book of the Revelation divides itself, according to the three scenes and actings in which our Lord presents Himself in it; and, consequently thereon, the differences to His servant John, and servants who attached to Himself personally), in mind live with Him and are the medium through whom His mind is expressed. These I have ventured to call the golden thread of three plies-our clue through the book.
The three divisions are first (chaps. 1-3.) where He is seen as Son of man though Ancient of days, in His visitation in Patmos of the churches; secondly (chaps. 4-19:10), where He is as the Lamb on the throne ruling events in the distance down here; and thirdly (chap. 19:11 onwards) where He is coming forth from heaven to set up "the coming kingdom," &c.
At the close of the second lecture, we saw the effects of the overthrow of Babylon, mother of all corruption, and of her seat, the city of all mixtures; sorrow upon earth, but joy in heaven ushered in the marriage of the Lamb. What follows we have here; the Lord coming forth against an infidel empire that denies God as the alone head in government and object of worship; his infidel lie ministered to and enforced by a deceiving mediator, inflated by the dragon. Both go up, in the delusion of their own lie, followed by their armies against God's champion. And all this was written long beforehand! They meet their reward. Let me entreat all you here present, to examine and see whether the future which God reveals to us of that which may now only lie a little ahead of our times, accords with the estimate which your minds have formed and act upon as to what man is; what man may do; what God says man will shortly do. If the estimate which any of you have of man is not according to God's estimate, it is the estimate of your own or of another's wisdom. If any lean to their own understanding, delusion is not far off: nor will the door be guarded against the adversary. Men think not so; men will not admit, till taught by grace, that every thought and the imagination of the heart of man is only evil continually. Do you know that sin within man is as the maniac's frenzy, whose fancies rule with him, but have no power to rule aught else?
The main principle of man's action ever is that of combining circumstances for himself, and not "thus saith the Lord." Combining things for self will lead, in the time set for it, to a centralization of everything for self under Satan and through the world, and to open: rebellion against God and Christ; and men will then rush on to destruction. The notion that humanity has now cast off its infancy state, grown into vigor, and knows how to improve itself and guide its own circumstances, is a common notion to-day. Let the wild beast and the false prophet-their madness and their destruction-be the proof to you of what the dotage of the world will produce. He that trusts to man is indeed a fool, when God's word is so clear as to what is coming from man's trusting to himself. And this, be it remembered, is not the last or worst display of what man's madness, when in boastful independence of God, will lead to.
If the old serpent deceived and misled our first parents, when in innocency they forgot God's word and thought of self, who can deliver himself from the old serpent now? One there is, and but one, who is a match for him all through his course and at the close of it; even He Who is the Seed of the woman.
The portion, chapters 19:11-20:15, must be carefully examined by us.
Here is a digest of its contents. First: for the -repression of the evil on this earth. John saw heaven opened, and a white horse; whose rider, called " Faithful and True," judges and wars in righteousness. (Ver. 11.) With eyes as a flame of fire; on His head many diadems; He had a name written which no one knew save Himself. (Ver. 12.). Arrayed with a garment dipped in blood, His name The WORD of God. (Ver. 13.) The armies of-heaven follow Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, clean and white. (Ver. 14.) As implements. of war, out of His mouth a sharp, two-edged (literally double-mouthed) sword proceeds; with it to smite the nations, ruling them with a rod of iron, and treading the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of God Almighty. (Ver. 15.) He has a name written on His vesture, and on. His thigh,. King of kings, and Lord of lords. (Ver. 16.)
Then from the sun, an angel's call bids to the supper of the great God, all the fowls of the air. (Ver. 17.)
And the wild beast, and the kings, and their armies gather to make war against Him that sits on the horse and His armies. (Ver. 19.) The wild beast, and with him the false prophet deceiving with miracles those that had taken the mark of the wild beast and the worshippers of his image, are taken as in a snare and cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Ver. 20.) And the rest, slain with the sword proceeding out of the mouth of Him that sits on the horse, glut the fowls with their flesh.
Next, a messenger descends from heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain (chap. 20:1) lays strong hold on the dragon* (his name as connected with the nations of Daniel, the Gentile dynasty), the old serpent (subtle deceiver of old); which is the devil (railing accuser), and Satan, (adversary of God and man), and he binds him for a thousand years (ver. 2); casting him into the abyss, he shuts and seals him up there from deceiving the nations till the thousand years are ended; when " he must be loosed for a little season." (Ver. 3.)
(* How entirely is God above all circumstances! Who but He who made the abyss has the key either to open or to shut it? And he knows [to what extent are you taught it from the written word?] the varied names and manifestations of the foe-the dragon, the old serpent, the devil, the accuser and adversary. Each name has its own distinctive peculiarities.)
Here I pause for a moment to notice the order of events, and how it is linked on to what preceded. The corrupting harlot and her seat of luxury and pride were first judged (chaps. 17, 18.) Then came the bursts of joy from heaven, followed by the marriage of the Lamb, and the supper; the Lamb in heaven; as we saw last week. Next, as we have just seen, the champion of God appears (Seed of the woman, He, who was to bruise the head of the serpent, Genesis 3.); He comes out from heaven leading the armies of heaven. The wild beast and the false prophet (deceiver) go up with their armies against Him. The two leading powers receive, then and there, their final punishment-cast into the fiery lake, even before the devil is. But their armies (deceived) are slain -their bodies glut the birds of the air-judged and slain, as alive in the body, themselves will yet he judged before the great white throne. Last of all, the spiritual being (arch-foe), instigator of it all, is confined in prison for earth's sabbath.
Thus supreme, judicial, and restrictive power of God in heaven means to express itself hereafter in these three cases, even on this earth where Christ suffered. And thus the way will be cleared for light to shine on earth below, the atmosphere having been cleared by these divine actings. I proceed now with the digest. (Ver. 4.)
Secondly: the kingdom come. " And I saw thrones and sitters on them, to whom judgment was given." Those beheaded on account of the testimony—
of Jesus;
and the word of God:
and such as had not done homage to the wild beast, nor to his image;
neither had received his mark on their forehead and on their hand,-
and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead lived not till the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. (Ver. 5.) Blessed and holy is he who has part in it: on such the second death has no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.* (Ver. 6.)
(* Note the four blessings spoken of here. In character, felicitous and holy; freed from danger of the second death; priests of God and Christ, and about to reign with Christ. Compare this "with" and the "withs" in Luke 23:4343And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43), and in 2 Corinthians 5:88We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8), and 1 Thessalonians 4:1717Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17), &e. “To be with Christ" is the blessing of all blessings in faith and hope.)
I pause again. These three verses are the only ones in the chapter which speak of the kingdom being come. And observe, 1, neither they, nor any other part in the Revelation give us a detailed sketch of the earthly side of the kingdom; for that and descriptions of it, you must turn to other scriptures than those in this book, which, so far as the coming kingdom is concerned, treats of the heavenly side of it, time court in heaven of the kingdom upon earth to be ruled over; however blessed the kingdom itself may be in having such a court.
2. How many classes are therein? (Ver. 4.)
3. As the marriage of the Lamb took place (chap. 19:7) these appear to be a distinct class added to the church, in her royal priesthood and judgment, at least after the judgment upon the wild beast and false prophet, and after the arch-foe's suppression for a time. Are they the fellow-servants and brethren of those whose souls were seen under the altar? (Chap. 6:9 -11.)
4. The first resurrection seems to me here to be in contrast with the gathering up of the wicked dead (vers. 12, 13) before and to the great white-throne to which they have to come.*
(* Christ comes not to them, but they stead before the great white throne, brought up to Him thereon.)
5. All the blessed details of the court in heaven we shall find soon brought before us elsewhere.. But here, in the conscious solemnity of the subject, He has now in hand (as in 1 Cor. 15.), the Spirit, of God goes on to the close. (Ver. 7.)
Thirdly: then comes the putting down once and forever all evil.
The thousand years ended, Satan (the adversary) shall be loosed from prison. (Ver. 7.) Deceived and deceiver, and corrupted and destroyer, he goes out to gather Gog and Magog; and from the four corners of the earth to battle in countless swarms. (Ver. 8.) They went up on the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the (query earthly) saints (or Israel) and the city beloved above it (Isaiah 4); and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Ver. 9.) The devil their deceiver (now no longer the dragon of the nations) was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. (into which the wild beast and false prophet had been cast) to be tormented day and night forever-and ever. (Ver. 10.) The arch-foe and his avowed. followers had thus no trial. The heavens and earth (which now are) fly from before the face of Him* sitting on a great white throne, and no place was for them. (Ver. 11.) The dead, small and great, stand to be judged according to the books., and things written therein. But the book of life was open too, a check book on the other. All were judged according to their works, each man according to his work. (Ver. 12.)
The sea gave up its dead, and so did likewise the -prison house of death and the unseen world (hades not hell); and they were judged each man according to his works. (Ver. 13.)
The prison house, death, and the unseen world, (now emptied of the wicked) were cast into thee lake of fire. (1 Cor. 15:26-5426The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 29Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? 30And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 31I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. 33Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. 35But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:26‑54).) This (the punishment after the resurrection and judgment of the wicked) is the second death. (Ver. 14.) And if any one was not found written in the book of-life, he was cast into the lake of fire. (Ver. 15.)
To turn back a little: some who know they-have been plucked by God from under Satan have said (on chap. 20: 3), " One might almost, say, what a pity that such a foe, once imprisoned,, should ever be let loose again." Malicious, destructive, deceptive he is, but neither lie nor men, are the chief objects in the divine mind. The Lord has no counselor (Rom. 11:3434For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (Romans 11:34)), but the last Adam was the center and end of all His counsels and plans. I cannot meet the sigh expressed by some as if I were inspired; yet I would do so as one following the Lord and guided by 'it is written,' and, I trust, led therein by the Spirit, and I say, Your sigh is not fully according to that which is wisdom among those who are taught of God. How close, ere eternal salvation and redemption are fully displayed The end was not come.
Man was yet to be tried once more. He had been tried in Eden; tried under the experiences of being an outcast; tried in a world of which Seth and Cain were heads of two systems; tried under tradition (when man handed down what he knew of God without any scripture); tried under verbal promises, under law and in weakness on earth; tried under grace and the power of Christ present on earth; under Christ in heaven and the Holy Spirit sent down at Pentecost; tried under the patience of God ever since; tried under judgments, as after the deluge. But, if tried under the display of earthly and of heavenly glory in the millennium (Christ Himself reigning), man as man remains just the same. Nothing will do but a creating him anew. The creature cannot, will not, deliver himself from creature dependence; must be plucked as a brand, be wrought upon as lifeless clay by the potter, and when wrought upon be kept; or the creature will turn from the Creator to the creature. For myself as a creature, I judge, I should never have seen the unmendableness of man as a creature, or the virulence of the enemy's evil, or the sovereignty of divine grace, without that last trial at-the close of the thousand years. But I am a fool, and can yet say through grace, " Let God be true, and every man a liar." As to the adversary himself, too, God's wisdom is perfect.
The devil was a murderer and a liar from the-beginning. (John 8:4444Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44).) Like other liars, apt to believe his own lie; delighting too in destruction, he thought to mar creation down here which was the expression of eternal power and Godhead (Romans 1.), and man the head of a system. He tried, and succeeded (Genesis 3.), yet to his own ruin. For there had been a counsel and a plan divine, from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:1010That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10); Colossians 1:19, 2019For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:19‑20)), and these could not be frustrated. In the garden, and after the fall, he was told (in the hearing of Adam and Eve, now ruined in themselves) that he was degraded; and that though he might bruise the heel of the Seed of the woman; that Seed should bruise-his head. (Gen. 3:1515And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15).) His ruining man led (wondrous our God) to the serpent's own overthrow. Through that bruising of the heel, redemption has come in and the believers are told (Rom. 16:2020And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)), " The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." The Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:1515And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15); Isaiah 7:1414Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)) is He the Lamb of God, who is to take away sin out of the world? (John 1:2929The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29).) His work began in humiliation and the cross, goes on now in patience, and will end hereafter in glory, but not until, in the new heavens and earth, will no trace of sin remain.
This setting down and putting out of all evil is to God a matter of much moment; it is the vindication of Himself and the blessing of the whole universe depending upon Him. And so, the overthrow of all the evil is rested upon here, and the steps toward it are traced. The kingdom has this character connected with it: He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet; then the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom—to God, even the Father, when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power (1 Cor. 15:24-2824Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:24‑28)), and God shall be all in all. Then He, Jesus, will no longer retain His place as Mediator, but as Son, with the Father and the Spirit hold His own place everywhere, even as He does in heavenly places during the thousand years.
The eternal redemption and salvation are not accomplished at the beginning, but after the end of the thousand years, and they include not only the full development of good, but the putting down and out of all evil into the place prepared for the devil and his angels, and those who choose to live in subjection to him.
In verse 7 he is let loose, and Gag and Magog, and teeming swarms from all quarters of the earth (spite of having lived under millennial blessing, -wherein obedience brought its own reward, and rebellion its present punishment), are gathered but too willingly, to go up against the place on earth most connected with God, and against heaven, where God displays Himself present with His people: fire comes down, and devours them. Their deceiver is cast at last into the place prepared of old for him. The earth and heavens flee away. The great white throne appears. The dead are raised; at the throne they stand, unchanged in character, to have it made manifest how they had loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. All are judged according to their own works; and none whose names are written in. the book of life were found in the book of men's works. It (that is, the book of life) contains only those who rest upon the life, and sufferings, and faithful love of the Lamb.
Let there be no mistake. None that appear before this throne to be made manifest, but will find wrath never ending, for it takes place in God's own proper eternity. I know the (GNAD L'GNAD in scripture) durations of time going on until something else takes place in time, and these dispensations and economies are changed, and I know the gno-lems, the hidden periods, in such economies. But this scene is past all such subdivisions of time, and the question of duration is marked by the presence of God, and of Christ, and of the Spirit, and of the duration of the blessedness of those are With God and Christ; marked, too, by the power that brings them up out of their graves. *
(*Resurrection came in with the last Adam, as death through the first Adam.)
This, as I judge, is the closing up by God Himself of all questions on the subject: now time runs on, and man in it, with responsibilities to God and to, himself, till it ends in God's own proper eternity. And then and there, so far as the word of scripture goes, all remains in its then fixed state for eternity.
Everything is said and written which can form and leave the impression upon the mind of man of
eternity without end, to each class, from the great white throne onwards; and not one scripture to the
contrary. If God has spoken, if God has written a book, man is responsible to read it, and to wait upon God as to the meaning and bearing of its contents. Is God, that made man, the only one who cannot use human language? Search the scriptures. When you do not find light therein upon any subject connected with religion, do not pretend to have knowledge. Be not wise above what is written, but be wise up to and according to what is written. Take care, too, not to take your own thoughts, or those of other men, into scripture, but only to bring out from it what God has put in it. Do not form theories, as though you had
to take care of God's character, for that is arrogant presumption. If God is taking care of you, you will be afraid of every notion and view for which you have not His word; and be not surprised if you find out your own ignorance, and that you have as much, or more, to unlearn of what you thought was God's mind, as to learn what truly is His.
Europe and America are now sown with foolish and vain doctrines, which have no root in scripture, nor ever were found in the mind of Christ or of His apostles. I refer to such follies as the doctrines of the annihilation of the wicked, universal salvation, &c., &c., doctrines which sap the foundations of the gospel of God, and are totally incompatible with that which scripture teaches about the blood of atonement and cleansing, and the eternal life, blessings which are through faith inwrought by the Spirit.
And (observe it) there is another judgment-seat beside the great white throne, even the beema of Christ. (2 Cor. 5:1010For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10); Rom. 14:1010But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10).) But none appear there but the saved and already glorified saints; and the question as to these is not as to what our own works as creatures deserve at the hand of God, but, having been saved as sinners, through the death, and blood, and life of the Lord Jesus, what our lives have been since. Have any who believed in Christ walked after the flesh since they knew Him? They will receive no reward, yet be saved, but so as through fire. (1 Cor. 3:11-1511For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Corinthians 3:11‑15)) Have any since conversion lived the life that they lived in the flesh, by the faith of the Son of God, who loved them, and gave Himself for them? (Gal. 2:2020I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20).) They will receive a reward. The life of the unbeliever, when he becomes a believer, is lost, crucified with, dead with, buried is he with Christ. Nevertheless, the life down here of each believer, as such, is tested, and what it has been practically down here will be made manifest at the Beema.
The way that this scene of the great white throne forces home upon us God's everlasting eternity, as the abiding state of each party, is very solemn and awful. The church had been as such recognized and owned as the Lamb's wife more than a thousand years before. Into each member of it eternal life had entered the moment each believed, and as individuals they had known it (for the way good men talk foolishly about a believer's entering into at death is not scriptural; eternal life is in me who am in the body now; if my body die, I am absent from the body, present with the Lord at once, because I have already now eternal life).
Chapter 21 gives an outline of the final and eternal state of the earth, with some of the most marked characteristics of it, together with a few important remarks following (verses 1-8). I would look at this a little in detail. John says, " I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first (those now present) were passed away. The sea exists no more. (Ver. 1.) And I saw the holy city, newt Jerusalem [he provides perfection' might be the meaning of the word Jerusalem] coming down [or in the act of descending; it is not said, note it, come down, or descended], out of heaven from God, ornamented as a bride for her husband." (Ver. 2.) Such was her beautiful manifested glory before angels and men. At the marriage inside of heaven, her attire was for God and the Lamb. (See chap. 19:8.)
(* Called here, and chapter 3:12,, new Jerusalem. Some speak of the revelation made in 1 Thess. 4:15-1815For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15‑18) as the rapture of " the church." This is inaccurate: 1 Thessalonians 4 gives us, first, the order of communicating of resurrection up to that date to all saints whose bodies then are sleeping in the dust, even to all those to whom death was (by virtue of the Lord's death and resurrection), not merely the wages of sin, but the door into rest, and (secondly) of entrance into glory, as to their bodies, of those who are then alive waiting for their Lord. I have thought that the Abels, and Abrahams, and Davids, &c., may not only be there, but may possibly be the guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb. But I do not venture to teach that they are so.)
"And I heard a great voice out of heaven cried from above and within), saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God with men, and he will tabernacle with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, their God. (Ver. 3.) And God shall wipe off every tear from their eyes; and death shall not exist any longer, nor sorrow, -nor crying, neither shall pain exist any longer: for the first things are passed away." (Ver. 4.)
God had had a tabernacle while Israel journeyed through the wilderness, and a fixed temple when they were settled in the land. Here (ver. 3) it is a tabernacle; Israel will have, during the thousand years, its temple in Jehovah Shammah (Ezek. 40-48.); and, according to Isaiah 4:5, 65And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. 6And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. (Isaiah 4:5‑6), the tabernacle of God, which is, I judge, the holy Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1010And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (Revelation 21:10)), the city dwelt in by the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb; His wife. In the new state no sin will exist then-nor on earth, nor in heaven: therefore no longer the need of mediation, nor of the services of a mediator, as such, as though His service had not been effectual, and done its work. The Son-Son of the Father and of God, seed of the woman-has now, as to earth, taken His place in God, and God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-is all in all. God can dwell with man down here. To this the voice out from heaven calls attention. It is a new kind of nearness from that which man, Adam the first, as placed in Eden, had-new, too, from what Israel had in the wilderness. God, as God and King, dwelling in a tabernacle in which there was a mediator, and in which a priest had to serve, because of sin, and the people kept at a distance. Yet the pillar of fire and of cloud, where God's presence was in a fuller sense, accompanied them. But God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) means to tabernacle as God with an eternally saved and redeemed race. The resting upon it, in verse 3, shows that the truth was, is, will be, pleasant to Him Himself. "Behold the tabernacle of God (His name in Genesis 1 as Creator) is with men, and he will tabernacle with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, their God."
The negation of the remaining of anything evil follows. (Ver. 4.) In man's present state men want both the positive side of a blessing-which may be called God's side-and, by way of contrast, the negative side, that is to say, the absence of the evils under which man now may groan, to be brought before them. This was the way of the Master's teaching when He was down here. (See, for instance, in John's Gospel, chap. 5:24, and chap. 3:15, 16.) " And he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall exist no, longer, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor shall pain exist any longer; for the first things are passed away." (Ver. 4.)
Men's eyes have oft been, and often are, and will be, down here, bedimmed with tears, for sin is in the world, but God will remove sin, and remove His own people to the place where there shall be no sin. And, as showing how He enters into all the marks of their present distress, He here puts their then exemption from the presence of evil in this way, "of Himself wiping every tear front every eye;" and so, too, as to the grand proof of sin, namely, death; and as to the present causes and expressions, within and without, of what leads to the tear, all is done away as a part of the first things.
" And he that sat on the throne (able to do what He will) said, Behold I make all things new." (Ver. 5.)
This I read (just as it is written), as spoken by Him to John, " I make" (not I am about to make), but spoken according to His own divine glory, to whom time is not, " I make." "And he said to me, write; for these things are true and faithful." (Ver. 3.) Here we have His desire that we should know the grounds of the certainty of the blessing: " It is written," and ' the truth and faithfulness of the words.'
Then comes, as confirming this in us (ver. 6), " And he said to me, It is done, or accomplished." (How so? It is guaranteed by Him who is the Alpha and Omega, Himself the beginning and the end; and He adds three more blessings:)
1. " I will give to him that thirsts" (that is, has craving needs as yet unmet, as to the things of God and of his own soul) "of the fountain of the water of life freely." (Ver. 6.)
Himself the rock that has the spring of life, eternal in Him, once smitten, now pouring forth the endless streams, without money and without Trice, will cause rivers of living water to flow from within us.
2. Himself, the inheritor of all things, means them to know how through Him, one way or another, they have their ample portion under Him.
3. " The overcomer shall inherit (all, or, as the better manuscripts read) these things" (ver. 7); and
" I will be to him God, and he shall be to me son." (Ver. 7.) Then follows a warning.
" But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sor,cerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake burning with fire and brimstone; which is the second death." (Ver. 8.)
Let this be noted well. Those that fear God in a proper way, as dependent upon Him, are afraid to mistrust Him, or to make Him a liar, which they that are afraid of Him in a wrong way, as not having believed in Him, are not afraid to do. Fear of Him in a wrong way, and disbelief of His word, lie at the root of all sins, and are worse than the sins they produce-the condemnation of both is the same. To be afraid of God, who is good, denies His character. To disbelieve Him makes Him a liar. Love and truth, as being God's, are thus renounced by the wicked, and condemnation " follows on men.
Supplementary matter follows (from chap. 21:9 to 22:6); for the bride, the Lamb's wife, and her splendor as the city of glory-displays, of which began with the millennial reign-follow, as I suppose, a never-ending heavenly glory.
It was one of the seven angels which had the seven vials who, in chapter 17:1, &c., had shown, to John the judgment of the wicked woman who committed sins with the kings of the earth. Here, verse 9, it is likewise.
" He talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in spirit, and set me on a great, and high mountain. (This site of his observation marked proximity to the earth and Holy Land.) And he showed me the city, holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God." (Ver. 10.). To the mind of Christ it was work for God, which was the one thing expressive of fellowship with Him. So to these plague-vial angels, to show Babylon at one time, and to show Jerusalem on high at another, were both work for God.
The city was seen a-descending (and remained so), from God and out of heaven; descent, Maker, and origin are thus marked.
Verse 11. Her "having the glory of God" is to be noticed: as Moses' face had the glory after he had been with God, so "her light (or shining), was as a most precious stone, as a crystal-like, jasper-stone;" for God was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone (chap. iv. 3); so that the similitude was in part like unto that of Himself that was upon the throne, greeted by the living creatures (ver. 8) as the Lord God Almighty.
Verses 12-14. Her aspect as a city was as" having a great and high wall; twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. On the east three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three' gates. And the wall of the city, had twelve foundations, and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Twelve months, tribes, apostles, &c., mark the number twelve as one of order and rule.
Verses 15-17. But all of it is to be taken definite notice of. " He that spoke with me had a golden (divine) reed as a measure, to measure the city, and its gates, and walls" (that is, the place as-dwelt in by many, its access, and egress, and defenses). Its form was " four square; its length as much as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs; the length, and breadth, and height of it are equal. And he measured the wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, a man's measure, that is, the angel's."
The repetition of the reference to the jasper is remarkable.
Verses 18-21. " The building of its wall was, jasz,er; the city itself pure gold (altogether divine) and pure glass (perfect transparency). And the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone. The first foundation jasper; the second sapphire; the third a chalcedony; the fourth emerald; the fifth sardonyx; the sixth sardius;* the seventh chrysolite; the eighth beryl; the ninth topaz; the tenth chrysoprasus; the eleventh jacynth; the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates (or rather perhaps gateways) twelve pearls, each one severally was of one pearl; and the street or broad-way of the city, pure gold (altogether divine, as transparent glass" (divine in character, and with perfect fixed transparency).
(* As some manuscripts read, " sardine stone"-chapter 4:3)
Much research upon the stones has left me, as to details, no light to communicate. While the account makes all that has been seen or thought upon earth look poor and meager-even the temple of Solomon itself-and so makes an appeal to man, as man, down here (who, with all his craving, cannot even picture such a glory as that here given), 1 doubt not that spiritual and moral glories will be found there by us hereafter as the things pointed to by the description.
Verses 22-27, and chapter 22:1-5, may well occupy us a little, namely: the temple (ver. 22); the light (ver. 23); the metropolitan character of the city (ver. 24); its accessibility for the honor and offerings from what is below (ver. 25, 26); its exclusiveness as to all evil, and its inclusiveness as to the good. (ver. 27.) Then, chapter 22, its river and fruit-bearing trees (vers. 1, 2); freedom from all curse (ver. 3); and the distinctive characteristic mark of its inhabitants (ver. 4), and (ver. 5) of the place itself.
" I saw no temple-dwelling in it," for the Lord God Almighty is its temple-dwelling, and the Lamb. (ver. 22.) The temple on earth restricted worship to itself; thither the tribes went up, and therein was the divine dwelling, yet with many restrictions as to how far in it people and office-bearers might go, and when. With a better dwelling-place, here in our city there is no such restriction, nor could be, for the place will be made up of worshippers-ourselves the living stones, the place; and the object of worship, the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb -themselves were the temple. " The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit -and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." So spoke the Lord (John 4:23, 2423But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23‑24)) when he spoke of a child's portion in worship. Worship in glory (where God and the Lamb will be the temple, and the place of their indwelling the church; the bride and wife of the Lamb fulfilled with the Spirit) will be in spirit and in truth too, though in a scene peculiar to itself. No action in the worshipper but what is the truthful expression of the Holy Spirit in the heart of each and of all.
Verse 23. The light. " Nor sun nor moon will, be needed there, nor their shining missed, for the glory of God enlightens it, and the Lamb its light-bearer."
Light is pleasant to the eyes. It is the medium too through which we see things. Now the light given to us is Christ Himself, the purest light; but as the sun's rays down here get obscured by clouds. and exhalations from earth and bad soils, and men's cities in which we may sojourn, and our sight too is neither perfect in itself nor unaffected by that which affects the rays descending towards us, so, alas! with our spiritual perceptions; the power of Satan, worldliness, and selfishness greatly mar the medium through which we see that which in its very substance is presented to us on high. But when we have arrived at home, and when the citizen of heaven is a worshipper at home in heaven, there will be none of these obstructions.
We shall know as we are known, no longer see as through a glass darkly, but then face to face. And God and the Lamb in perfection of outshining will, when faith is changed to sight, and where the Spirit is all pervading, be seen and known in the pure light of redeeming, saving love. How blessed. the fore taste now of such a portion yet to come!
Verse 24. The metropolitan character of the city.* Jerusalem on earth was to be the joy of the whole earth, for Jehovah's dwelling-place as God and King of Israel was there. But as Isaiah skews us (chap. 4:2-6), Israel will find a larger blessing yet, through grace divine. The city, whose builder and maker is God, will be heavenly, and a shelter even to Jehovah-Shammah (Ezek. 48:3535It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there. (Ezekiel 48:35)) upon earth; for the glory of the heavenly is to be an augmentation to, not diminution from, the glory of the earthly; even as the names and displays of the glory of the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are greater than, but yet part of, the glory of Jehovah in Jehovah-Shammah. A kingdom without a court
is poor and would be defective. The glory celestial is one and the glory terrestrial is another; yet not necessarily disconnected, though each distinct in itself.
Verses 25, 26. Its accessibility for honor and offerings from what is below on earth. " And the nations shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory to it." (Ver. 24.) " And its gates [or gateways] shall not be shut at all by day, for night shall not exist there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations, to it."
(* The word Metropolis' means mother city. God's purpose and counsel about the Son of His love from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3, 4, 103Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Ephesians 1:3‑4)
10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10)
; Col. 1:18-2018And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:18‑20)), may without violence be called the mother of us all, that is,—of the redeemed. It includes companionship with Christ in the heavenly glory. The church will then be " the Lamb's wife." On earth the land will be called Beulah, married to Jehovah. (See that beautiful verse in. Isaiah 6:24.) The Lamb upon the throne will be the eternal link, missing in the first creation, which, in the second, will link the new creation to God in the highest. Then, from the highest, even God, there will be in the redeemed creation, down to the very lowest, a gradual descent, according to the capacities of all in it. It is well to begin with God where God began with us, even in His own eternity ere time was-in Christ; and to see the end proposed by Him ever conspicuously before Him. It is ever before us too. It were -well for us ever to live conspicuously so too.)
Nightless day! what a painful thought to man while in a mortal body and under an arrangement of sun to rule the day and moon to rule the night, and the stars also! How blessed a truth as to our looked-for city and our company, then quickened with eternal life, body as well as soul and spirit-all, in the power of the Spirit, a medium fitted to display God and the Lamb as their life. Kings and nations on earth will honor it and send up the expression of their glory and honor to it.*
(* The translators of our authorized version evidently had not received, through grace, intelligence in this book.)
Verse 27. Its exclusiveness as to all that is evil; its inclusiveness as to the good when justly accredited.
"And nothing common nor that makes an abomination and a lie shall at all enter into it;" (thus every evil thing is shut out) "but only those who are inscribed in the book of life of the Lamb." This is limited to persons washed in the blood of Christ,, accepted in Him the Beloved. The Lamb's book of life their approving register.
Chapter 22:1, 2. Its rich supply in water of life and fruits and healing. Oh! the superabounding stores of the water of life and fruits of the tree of life, and of the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations!
"And he shaved me a river of water of life;" its fullness flowing as a stream is marked, and the distinctive nature of it, the water of life,' taught to, each of us down here in the drought-full wilderness, where death and dying characterize all around. Death (wherein we ourselves were once held) and dying all around. The poor woman of Samaria was taught and afterward enjoyed an eyelet of water springing up within her, the gift of Christ in humiliation, unto everlasting life; ever bearing on its mirror surface God and His Christ. He that thirsted and came to Christ, out of His inward parts should flow rivers of living water. The apostles, at Pentecostal preachings, were proofs of it. But ah! the scene to which these blessings lead, as thus sketched by John. In glory, " a river of water of life flowing out from the throne of God and the Lamb." The 'throne of God and of the Lamb' (emblem embodying redemption power)-thence, came the stream. His individual humiliation and patience had brought the Lamb to the throne of."
'God, and the time of the glory (His glory and the 'Savior God's) was come.
"In the midst of its [the city's] broadway." (The narrow pathway had now become as wide as were the principles of affection and love which, dwelling in the hearts of His people down here, filled them to overflowing. But the taste through faith now of the love of God and Christ to them, makes the pathway of their feet straight and narrow while here. But above there will be the broadway, when we no longer want for ourselves any pathway, having reached the city of our God.) And "in the midst of the river, on this side and on that side, the tree of life." (The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, with its dangerous nearness, not there; for through Christ (the Tree of Life), notwithstanding the loss of all that Adam had in his Eden, we shall have got into the paradise of God, possessed by and possessing eternal life.) But then the fruit-bearing. I ministered to richly by the river from the throne, the tree growing in abundance there, on this side and on that side of the river, in the midst of the city and its broadway-that will be ours. "Producing twelve fruits; in each month yielding its fruit." Always in season there-every month of the year with its twelve fruits.
It will be a city with plentiful supplies of eternal life, in water and fruit, far better than the land flowing with milk and honey. So far for the heavenly citizens; " and the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations on earth:" this too, surely, to the joy of those above.
Verse 3. Freedom, from, all curse. "And no curse shall be there." That which would have hindered the very existence of the place, namely, sin and sins in the people that will form it, have been laid by God on the Lamb; the judgment had been borne by the Lamb on Calvary's cross. No sin will be there, for it is the city of God and of the Lamb. Where sin is there is death and anathema from God. ".Bat the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it." It is wonderful to me how believers now-a-days are slow of heart to hear God’s truth and to receive it. The city where God and the throne of the Lamb will be, necessarily is one of
the traits of mediation, atonement, and righteousness. But it is perfection in itself-a fruit, and neither root nor anything between the corn of wheat fallen into the ground and the much fruit brought forth by it. Otherwise Christ would be perfect as the Rock, the Root, the Shoot, which He brings forth, but having no fruit of glory after all. " It is finished" would never be sung-a saved people glorified He mold never have around Him. Alas! many deny the atonement to have been perfectly made on Calvary-deny the full value on the throne of God of His presence there, so making it the mercy-seat; deny Him there as the one in whom we become God's righteousness, in a present and perfect and well-known acceptance; deny too
Peter's preaching at Pentecost to have been present forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit to those that repented; deny Christ as the Anchor and Forerunner fixed within the veil; and deny the full assurance of hope which belongs to those who have been begotten again to a lively hope by His resurrection.
But "no curse shall be there, but the throne of God and of the -Lamb," in the place of which we shall be the living stones.
Verse 3. The distinctive characteristic marks of its inhabitants.".114 his servant shall serve him." We seek to do so now. We disallow in ourselves and other believers any and everything which we find either contrary to the walk \Odell Christ walked in when Himself was here below, or which is superfluous to it. For the allowance of such a superfluity by us would be practically saying that His walk down here was not a perfect standard of what our walk should be. But how blessed amid all our known and confessed shortcomings is the firm and sure promise, "his servants SHALL serve him." I say it not as making any allowance for shortcoming now, but I surely judge that now I must glory in His being the only perfect servant of God, perfection's height secured by Him every step of the way; and till I see Him and am made like Him, my conscience, my mind, my heart, will, can, never be satisfied with my service. May He be able to say of each of you as He did of one, "She has done what she could!”
Verse 4. " And they see his face." But when I see His face, still the light of the knowledge of the glory of God will be found in His face then, and I shall be like Him, for I shall see Him as lie is. And then He will have changed this my body of humiliation and fashioned it like unto His own body of glory, by that mighty inward power of His own, whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself. And more than that, for, "And his name shall be in their foreheads." Borne aloft on the brow, that which is one of the most striking parts of the human face, Himself; and Himself in the power of the display of that day, tolling out its own tale of the success of all His sufferings, doings, care, patience, prayers, workings, for us the people given to Him front before the foundation of the world. His name, the name of God and of the Lamb, Will stand out aloft on each fellow-citizen. Blest distinctive mark this!
Verse 5. Mark of the place. " And night shall not be any more." Mark the repetition of this-it had been named (verse 25 of preceding chapter) in connection with the readiness at all times for the nations' glory and honor brought to it. Here there is more. It is noticed here as a characteristic of the place and people dwelling there. All these things should be observed.
"And no need of a lawn." 'Uncreated light is there-the light natural to the place is as the light of eternal life by means of which they who will find themselves there came. The constituent parts of the city were made new creatures through grace in Christ Jesus. The company of these, in that day of glory and display, will need no lamp, candle, or other helps, for sight. The city will be the city of light, fulfilled with all that we need here. Again,
" And light of the sun" will not be needed. That (the light of the sun) is in and for this nether creation, and for our material needs and guidance as to times and seasons down here, while we are where they area But once in the city of Get and of the Lamb, once there as the wife of the lamb, human needs exist no more, for God's desires and purposes will have wrought that which He proposes for Himself, the Lamb and ourselves as the complement of Christ-Son of His love, through the spirit.
Thus shall all the inhabitants of the city (themselves then so striking a display and realization of Him as love) have the same perfect expression of Him in light as here noticed. " The Lord God shall shine upon them." Then it is this, light we shall see light, fully and completely. This in our renewed bodies. When we shall know good and evil, and only hate the evil and love the good, sinful self thoroughly renounced and gone forever, all independence and disobedience eradicated as supplanted by Christ in rfs, and fully par takers then of His subject, dependent and obedient character, He will have rendered us tit for the next distinctive mark-
" And they shall reign to the ages of ages."
I add the following so as to see the end of the book.
Then comes the confirmation of it all-
" And he said to me, These words are faithful and true; and the Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to spew td his servants the things which must quickly conic to pass. Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he that keeps the sayings of the prophecy of this book." (Vers. 6, 7.)
This (ver. 6) was calculated to tell searchingly on John's conscience; not that he had failed in keeping the sayings of the book, for they were only just communicated to him, a serf ant for the servants; but the appeal was and is made to faithfulness of the servant. If any of us is called to urn and to measure and weigh his own service in any respect, or power of faithfulness in service, the sense of its Poverty in us may well humble us down to the dust; for what was even Paul's service when seen in the light of perfection in Christ? resting as he did upon the perfection of Christ’s love to him, he was so enabled to be occupied with it as to live to Christ and Christ alone. Let no one say that I degrade service or the servant. Not so; but, oh! the poor thing that even a John was to the end! He would a second time (chap. 19:10) mistakenly fallen at an angel's feet and paid to him what was due to God alone-worship. (Vers. 8, 9.)
Verses 10-15. The book was not now to be sealed; it spoke of what was neap. In Daniel things were sealed up, for the time of which he spoke was near. Alas! (ver. 10) though nigh, the time would suffice for Christendom to be developed. This is a state of mixture of unjust and filthy, righteous and holy together. (Ver. 11.) Such a state of things had been among men before Pentecost, but then a separation took place and holiness of discipline was to maintain holiness and order in the house of God. Two things follow. First, as to the mixture itself, let each go on in his own way. "Behold I come quickly" with a reward for every man's work.
So far as the mixture is concerned, each man in Christendom is put back upon his own 'works as a believer, and to consider 1/u next work of Christ (namely, the coining to judge, with which of the two the life of each most accords). (Ver. 12.)
But then there is the blessing of the reward to those who, in the' light of this, purge themselves and become practically fit through Christ, not to be shut out of His city, but to enter into it through the gates. (Ver. 13-15.)
These plain statements are sent to the churches. (Ver. 16.)
Yet the Lord had higher relationships to fulfill
than those of the responsibility of winding up the results of the pentecostal testimony. And so-
" I am the root mid offspring of David ''-that. was for the earth, and is a reason why He must leave the place where He is, and—
" The bright and morning Star." His relationship here is with God who is light, and means to let His light and love be fully displayed; but first (ore Sun arises) for a people who had watched through the dark night for His coming again—-for His own separated ones who wait for the star, harbinger of day. (Ver. 16.) This announced,
The Spirit and the bride invite Him with the little word, "Conic." (Ver. 17.)
Three supplementary words fellow in the verse; the last of them is, "and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." Grace ready till the last moment.*
(*Verses 18, 19 seem to me a parenthesis. They contain, as two seals, the most solemn sanction both to the free grace of to the last moment of verse 11, and to the contents of the book..))
Verse 20 is a response on Christ's part to the invitation to him, " Come," "He testifying these things, says, Yea, I come quickly." To which faith responds, " Amen; even so, come Lord Jesus,"