The New Jerusalem: Part 2

Revelation 21-22
“These was no more sea” (v. 1), no part of the new creation that is not brought into order and blessing.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” God rests at last, when there was fully come the declared and precious object of the manifestation of the Son. “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” It was clean gone now.. No trail of the serpent defiled the new creation. God had gone to the source of all that brought in sorrow, and swept it away in the judgment of the cross. The former things were passed away. The God, who had had to drive out the man and woman in tears from the Eden He had made for unfallen creatures, is able to meet us on the threshold of a new heaven and a new earth as the wiper away of all tears from our eyes. “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write; for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the” end.” What words could more solemnly close the eventful history of time, wherein God had used the proved ruin of man to bring out to His own infinite glory what He Himself is, to be the fountain of eternal flowings of refreshment for His people.
“I will give unto him that is athirst of the water of life freely.” Already we are at the source. He could say who came to make Him known, “the water that I shall give shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Here is the full realization of it in eternity. “He that overcometh shall inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Such is the close of the conflict, and such the position and portion of the overcomer in God's own presence and blessing. Then one last word that fixes in terrible contrast the eternal and unalterable doom of the lost that have “their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Here the veil of the future, lifted by Revelation, drops; as well it may. The historic sequence of events has been opened out prophetically to its term. The waves of succeeding ages break no longer on the shores of time. This is eternity, and then beyond the utmost bound of the everlasting hills faith knows its portion.
Yet once again the veil is lifted, and a scene of great glory is opened to us—some of the elements of it such as have been already before us in the description of the eternal state, yet not without sufficient to distinguish it, as we shall see—with even points of contrast. If it be so, what is the glory that is portrayed from verse 9 to chapter xxii. 5? We must look at it a little in detail, for we are told “there is an absence of all the church's distinctive characteristics” (p. 216).
“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain.” Now, surely it is not unworthy of notice that at this point the position of John changes. It is not often that it is so ordered in the course of the communications made to him, yet never, we may safely say, without design and fitness; though whether we are able to discern it is another thing. But is an interpretation of the passage likely to be the true one that makes nothing of such a change? Nay, that has for its principle that there is none, but that in orderly connection of the parts, the scene is one in chapters xxi.—xxii. 5, and John is carried away in spirit to a great and high mountain? At verse 10 too he shows what he has already seen and described from verse 1-8. This is the system of the paper (see p. 219, where the argument is founded on it). “Thus we see the millennial city and earth are at end before this city descends, which is confirmed by the word that there shall be no more death.....So also there shall be no sun, and yet no night.”
But I turn to the word, for true light we want, which is surely not lacking in it. The introduction seems to carry us back to chapter xvii. This is certainly a striking parallel in the way John was shown the very different scenes before him there. “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.....So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness.” Then it was to see the unholy alliance of the apostate church with the world, in the last form the Gentile dominion assumes, that is, the revived Roman empire. How suited the wilderness, from which John looks out on the moral chaos where no fruit of the life of Christ was found to be fruit for good. Yet was there never to be a true connection of the church with the world? Absolutely none with the world as it is, out of which Christ is rejected. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
But what when the kingdom of this world becomes the Lord's, and He sits on the throne of His glory? We shall reign with Him. Scripture is perfectly clear as to this, in spite of our author, who asks, “What has the church to do with the new earth; is not heaven, with the many mansions now being prepared, her home?” It tells us, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” Again, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even, as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 2:2121And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. (Revelation 2:21).) If it said, This is in the millennial earth, and not the new earth, we have seen the church's connection with the latter as the tabernacle or dwelling-place of God.
The truth is, that much of the confusion of this paper is to be traced to the mistaken thought of uniting the truth of the church to that which is specially revealed of it through Paul, that is, its unity as the body of Christ. Yet even there, as we have seen, it is also the temple of God. But besides what the church is corporately, there is, first and highest of all, the relationships in which those who compose it stand individually with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, as Eph. 1 unfolds them to us. It is full association with Him in all that He has entered into as man with His Father and God. Hence His place always gives us ours. If hidden now, our life is hid with Him in God: if about to be manifested, then shall we also be manifested with Him in glory. In fact, He comes “to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe,” in bright contrast to the day when He came alone, and men “saw no beauty in him that they should desire him.” As the prism catches the ray that falls upon it, and, breaking it up into its several colors, reflects it thus in its varied beauty and perfection; so will the church be to Christ in the coming day of manifested glory.
This is what is given us in the description before us, not the home of the Father and the Son, the borne of our hearts even now in a love that goes beyond the glory, because the glory can be displayed, but the love never, but the displayed glory of the kingdom, and the church's necessary and blessed association with Christ in it, the heavenly Eve of the last Adam heir sharer with Him of it all. It is especially the heavenly part of, it, where the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Matt. 13:4343Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:43).) But there is seen church and state in true connection with one another, when it is no longer Satan's skill in counterfeit, but the fulfillment of the purpose of God for the glory of His Christ. We see thus the reason of the link between chapters 21 and 22, if only to bring out the contrast of the things that are depicted. And do we not enter in some little measure into the wisdom and preciousness of the grace that does not give us the glorious espousal of the church, as in chapter xix., until the overthrow in judgment of that which had held the place and profession of the Bride in the awful Satanic Counterfeit? nor finally close the [Revelation without the true and recognized place of the church in the kingdom, when the time had come for it, according to God? What more in keeping too, than that one of the angels of the vials, by which judgment was executed, should be chosen to show John the full positive result in glory and blessing?
May I ask here what could be the meaning of one of the vial angels being thus introduced according to the scheme of interpretation (if so it can be called) that—I am examining? According to the paper this is eternity; and therefore the thousand years of the kingdom have intervened between the pouring out of the vials of wrath and the glory here set out before John. Why this link taken up with events of time so long past?
But let us look at the details presented to us. John is summoned to behold the Bride, the Lamb's “wife. Now this is not the first mention of her in what I conceive to be the order of the prophecy. She has been already introduced as such in chapter xix., in “the day of her public espousal in glory. And this our author fully recognizes. The wife who had made herself ready in chapter xix., “the Lamb's wife, so loved betrothed, and married, we see in her eternal home” in chapter xxi. This is important. We may turn to chapter 19. (unnoticed in the paper save in this cursory way), for if the bride of the Lamb be Israel in chapter 21., it must be Israel in chapter 19. Now I maintain that the terms of the description in the latter preclude the possibility of it. Let me ask, Is the scene heavenly or earthly? Verse 1 settles it. “After these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven.” It is heavenly—not the new heavens and the new earth, where all is eternal—but heaven, in contrast with the earth that had just been the scene of the judgment of the great corrupting whore, whose smoke rose up forever and ever. Heaven is the scene of the joy and worship that attends the marriage of the Lamb, before it opens in verse 11 to give Him forth in the last stroke of judgment that puts Him in possession of the kingdom. Who is owned as the wife that has made herself ready? The system of the paper makes it Israel in resurrection, saved, not as individuals, but as a nation (p. 189). I do not stop here to notice this extraordinary misapplication of Rom. 11. But the remnant of Judah had never yet looked on Him whom they had pierced, to say nothing of the ten tribes needed to make up all Israel as a nation, who are only brought in after Judah is first settled in peace with Messiah in the land. The heavenly glory of the nuptials settles in itself who is the subject of them.
It is the church thus publicly owned in suited heavenly glory, when judgment had first set aside on earth that which had falsely borne His name, and assumed her place. And she is owned according to the Lamb's delight in her. In chapter 21 characteristics are added suited to the place she is called to take with Him in the kingdom, as well as of her own personal condition, which, being perfect in glory, 13 of course eternal. And so John saw “that city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.", It is the church as the heavenly seat of the administration of the kingdom (chap. 22:4), as Jerusalem is the earthly.
Such is, I submit, the only consistent interpretation of the symbol. Every figure is (still) “of Jewish and Old Testament cast and character;” but the question is, What is the thing thus figured? Now, let me ask my reader, if the church is destined for this place of rule and administration under Christ in the kingdom, what more expressive as a symbol than Jerusalem, the well-known seat of royalty and center of government on earth?—a symbol, not of its highest relationships, and of that which is therefore nearest to our hearts (though it flows from them), but of its place and connection with Christ in the kingdom.
“Holy,” as to its state, other distinctions follow: it “descends out of heaven,” its source stamping its character, “from God.” It might have been from God, and earthly. It might have been heavenly and angelic. It was neither. It descended out of heaven from God.1 “And is set up—settled in the new earth among the nations” (p. 184,185). Such is the writer's system. But where is there a trace of it in the passage? Does descending out of heaven involve settling on the earth? Take a parallel case in 1 Thess. 4:15, 1615For 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: (1 Thessalonians 4:15‑16): “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven.” Must we adopt the conclusion (of current theology indeed) that He comes to the earth? We know that He does not; but, caught up with the dead in Christ first raised, together we meet the Lord in the air— “a glorious apparition in the clouds(if the writer likes), “as some have” —not so strangely, after all— “imagined” (p. 219)—even before the day of the millennial Jerusalem.
But we must proceed with the details. “Having the glory of God.” Wonderful privilege! Well may it arrest us, as we ask, to whom belongs this intimate connection with the divine glory? Has not divine grace made it already the Christian's in hope? “We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:22By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2).) We “reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be repealed to us.” He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son. The earnest expectation of the creature waits for our manifestation in His glorious image as the sons of God. But the church is set to be the display of it morally now as the epistle of Christ in the world. (2 Cor. 3) And the power for this is given us in the last verse of the chapter. “Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord, the Spirit.” The glory of God shines before us in the face of Jesus, and we gaze on it in peace, for every ray of it brings into our souls the sweet witness of the perfection of His work that has sets us thus in presence of the glory, and as we gaze we become like Him.
But this will be found to come out further in the symbols before us: “And her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” The word for “light” is more fully “shining” (φωστὴρ), only used before in the New Testament, in Phil. 2:1515That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:15). “Her shining” is like jasper. The force of this is at once seen by the only previous use of jasper in this book. He that sat upon the throne “was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone” (chap. iv. 3), as the symbol of the glory of God. It is the same thing already beautifully expressed for faith, in 2 Cor. 4:66For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6), “God hath shined in our hearts for the shining forth (φωτισμον) of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” So again, in the passage before referred to, where the very word is found (Phil. 2:1515That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:15)), we are set to be the display of the glory in its moral characteristics in the world, “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights {φωστήρα) in the world” for this is just what Christ was. The only difference is that now we possess the treasure in an earthen vessel that too often obscures the manifestation of it.
But in the new Jerusalem the vessel is suited to the glory it contains, and there is the perfect shining of it, “like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” Now all this is of no account with the writer, who says, as he passes over it, “the next feature that bears on this inquiry is the great high wall” (p. 185). The glory of God is not a feature of any significance. Let the simple Christian judge who has no theory of interpretation to maintain.
“And had a wall great and high.” Let us see how this is treated: “There was ever in Israel one characteristic which distinguished its constitution from that of the church, namely, the wall of partition, by which its exclusive right to God's presence and blessing was asserted against the nations round about.” Now, if we look at Eph. 2, where the middle wall of partition is spoken of, it is the symbol of the enmity between Israel and God, as much as between them and the nations— “even the law of commandments contained in ordinances:” So little is the writer's account of it the truth. And this was abolished in the death of Christ. But it is well to note how easily the writer himself abandons his theory of the material. For it could not be seriously maintained that this is the ordinary purpose and meaning of the wall of a material city. It is its defense and security; nor otherwise does verse 27 consistently interpret it. The heavenly city is enclosed and shut in thus against all that is unsuited to the glory of God, of which it is the dwelling-place. And the suited material of the building of the wall of it was jasper (ver. 18), that which symbolized the glory. A “middle wall of partition” has, indeed, no place in the constitution of the church. But is there nothing that answers to the wall of the heavenly city, in the responsibility of the church as the house of God on earth to maintain the holiness and truth that alone consists with His presence? And if it is just in the breaking down of this that it has utterly failed, how blessed to see that no thought of God shall fail of its full accomplishment! The glory of God will itself maintain what is suited to it and to His dwelling-place in the day of glory.
But what of the angels at the gates (ver. 12)? The paper is silent, for, according to the system of it, it would be hard to account for their place. But “to angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come whereof we speak” and this is just the subject before us. To whom, then? Now this is given us in the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on the gates of the city. For it is not denied that every figure is still of Jewish and Old Testament cast and character, and that the cast of this is taken from Ezekiel's prediction of Jerusalem on the earth. But here it is an expressive symbol of what is deeper. The gate is the place where rule is administered in the East. The order of government on earth was ever connected with Israel and its twelve tribes, as the center of it. But now that which is thus its fitting symbol is found connected with the heavenly city, in the names of the tribes inscribed on the gates. To us, the heavenly saints, the church, under Christ, is entrusted the judicial administration of “the world to come.” “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (1 Cor. 6:22Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (1 Corinthians 6:2).) “He that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron.... even as I received of my Father.” (Rev. 2:2626And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: (Revelation 2:26), 27.) “I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.” (Rev. 20:44And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4).) “All doubt as to its being the special home of Israel must now be removed, for not only the nation, but its tribes, are all found there, each with its own special portion” (p. 186). Where is there anything of this in the passage? There is not a word of the nation, nor of the special portion of the tribes. There are the names of the tribes, but that is all; fulfilling a most leading part, as we have seen, in the symbolic representation of the church's ascertained place in the kingdom. It is its polity that is described in its special millennial place. The inhabitants come afterward as a distinct thing.
In full consistency is the Connection of the twelve apostles with the foundations. “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Certainly they were not the foundations of the relationship in which Israel has stood, or will stand, with God. That they were to have a special place of privilege in the administration of the kingdom we know from Matt. 19:2828And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28). “Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon, twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Yet was the church, as the habitation of God, builded upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Their promised place in the kingdom would not in any way interfere with their being of the body of Christ when it was formed at Pentecost, for the church was also to have intimate connection with the kingdom, as we have seen. Yet to Paul was as specially assigned the revelation of that higher heavenly relationship, but in nowise shutting him out of part in the earthly. (See 1 Cor. 4:88Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. (1 Corinthians 4:8).) Thus all is consistent. Divine distinctions and order were to be observed as fully in the introduction of the twelve here as in the omission of Paul. To be of the body of Christ was much beyond any special place of rule in the kingdom reserved for any, but such was not here the subject. I have said so much, because the paper says, “Paul &c., saw no place found for them in the new Jerusalem.” But the church did not cease to be the body of Christ and the tabernacle of God, because it was also to be the Lamb's wife and the new Jerusalem. I would note here that, in page 186, Matt. 19:2828And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28) is quoted for the system of the paper, which is that Rev. 21; 22 is the eternal state. But is “the regeneration” equal in force to “the new heavens and the new earth?” And does the Son of man sit in the throne of His glory eternally? 1 Cor. 15 tells us expressly that He delivers up the kingdom to God.
But other points demand our attention. “The twelve gates were twelve pearls, every several gate was of one pearl.” That which first meets the eye as a walled city is approached in its gate. Thus at every approach there shines out amid the surrounding Wall of the divine glory the pearl—the chosen symbol of what the church was to Christ, of His own special delight in it as He saw it in eternity, into His own thoughts about it— “who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Every several gate showed out this.
And the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.” The gold of divine righteousness, the glass of transparent purity, are but the symbols in glory of what the new man is already created in, “which after God is created in righteousness and holiness of truth.” (Eph. 4:2424And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24).) “And the street of the city” was of the same material. (Vet. 21.) What rest it will be to walk where there is nothing ever again to defile! In danger of defilement now at every step, there the very streets we walk on will answer perfectly to what we are, and both to what God is. And I saw no temple therein, “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” True to the characteristic privileges of the Christian, as is every detail, all that marked the distance of Israel's relationships is. unknown. The millennial Jerusalem on earth will have its temple, but not so the heavenly city. The unveiled presence of God is there, where we have been brought even now by faith. “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light (or lamp2) thereof.” It is the light that has made all so bright for our hearts already, “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” It is the glory of God on the face of Jesus—God ever to be known, in Him in whom He was manifested in humiliation, the man Christ Jesus— “the Lamb is the Lamp thereof.” And we can gaze un-dazzled upon the brightness of glory, because we see it in the face of Him “who loves us, and has washed us from our sins in his own blood.” And so we gaze already by faith, “and are changed into the same image from glory to glory.”
“And the nations shall walk in the light of it.” “Of them that are saved,” as is well known, has no authority, and it is. “by,” or “by means of,” rather than “in,” as in the received text. The world should have been able to walk by the light of the church now. “Ye are the light of the world; a city that is set ori a hill cannot be hid.” (Matt. 5:14-1614Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14‑16). See also 2 Cor. 3:3-53Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 4And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (2 Corinthians 3:3‑5)-, Phil. 2:15, 1615That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. (Philippians 2:15‑16).) In a sense it is so, in spite of all the church's failure, for, apart from the revelation of God in Christ possessed by it, there is nothing but darkness in the world. But when the Lamb is the Lamp, the faithful and true witness, if all else has failed, the church will fulfill its function to the nations according to the mind of God, become in glory the perfect vessel of the display of the light in which they walk.
“And the kings of the earth do bring their honor and glory to (εἰς, not ἐν) it,” owning it in its due place as the heavenly metropolis of the throne of God and of the Lamb—so verse 26.
“And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day, for there shall be no night there.” The light of an endless and unclouded day is the sure and sufficient protection of the entrance to the city, even as it is given us already as the Christian's armor— “the armor of light” (Rom. 13:1212The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:12)). For that which doth make manifest is light. It detects and exposes all that is unsuited to itself, and thus guards the avenues of the heart against everything incompatible with the enjoyment of His presence who is light—where we have been set. Hence verse 27, “There shall in nowise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.”
Here, for the first time, we have the thought of inhabitants of the city. Up to this it has been the church corporate, in its relation to the millennial earth, expressed by the symbol of a city.
The view of the water of life has its source there from the throne of God and the Lamb, the figure being still unquestionably borrowed. from the future Jerusalem on earth. But, as we have seen in each fresh characteristic given us of the heavenly city, the thing symbolized in glory has been already made true by the Holy Ghost to faith in the Christian. So here— “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water: but this spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive, for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-3937In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37‑39).) The Holy Ghost, come from the glory where Jesus is, and dwelling in us, brings into our hearts in the knowledge of Him more than all the joy of the millennial feast of tabernacles, and makes us channels (though much more, being in communion with the source; it is “out of his belly shall flow") of the living waters now.
In the glory of the heavenly city there is also found another church link, in the symbol of that which gives special character to the church's testimony. The tree of life is there, already given in promise to the overcomers in the epistle to the church at Ephesus “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God” and here there is not only unhindered access to and enjoyment of it for ourselves forever, but “the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” The church will be still in millennial glory the witness of grace to the nations, in marked contrast with millennial Jerusalem, which preserves its character too, as connected with, and the earthly center of, God's ways in government— “the nation and kingdom that shall not serve thee shall perish.” (Isa. 60:1212For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12).)
“And there shall be no more curse.” Here the Jerusalem of that day, that has supplied us with many a figure of a glory beyond hers or Israel's, gives us a contrast, for there the curse still lingers, if only upon the sinner— “the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” (Isa. 65:2020There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. (Isaiah 65:20).) “But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him.” How sweet the assurance for any who have sought to serve Him now ever so feebly, and who know the grace that makes so much of the least done truly to Him! It shall be theirs to serve Him without hindrance or ceasing forever.
“And they shall see his face.” “For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face; now I know in part, then shall I know as also I am known.” Thus the Lord meets the longing He has Himself created in our hearts, as He knew nothing else could meet it. We shall reign, and that forever, for the throne never passes from Him as it did from one to another before Him, though He gives it up as man to take it as God. But, more blessed still, a witness of all that is deeper and more intimate in our association with Him is preserved in simple words, but how full for hearts that know Him— “they shall see his face.”
“And his name shall be in their foreheads.” Surely there ought to be the moral imprint of Christ left by the glory in which we know Him on our hearts and lives now; but how marred, how dimly seen, is His image in any of us—bearing His name too often to His dishonor. Then we shall bear it before every eye, no more to fail to represent or glorify Him in anything.
“And there shall be no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God shall shine upon them (not as more feebly giveth them light'), and they shall reign forever and ever.”
(Continued from page 29..),
(To be continued.)