Horatius Bonar Commentaries
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.Glory to the Glorious One.
The above verse of the 29th Psalm is more exactly rendered in the margin, 'In His temple, every whit of it utters glory.' The incense fills the house, and comes forth from it breathing glory. The volume of sound fills the temple in every part, and pours itself from every stone and timber; from floor to roof in every part, proclaiming glory. Such was the praise of Israel according to the flesh, in the temple; such is the praise of Jehovah in the heavenly city and temple, ascending everywhere. 'The glory of the Lord fills the house.'
(1) The THEME of the praise.It is 'glory.' All that is excellent and perfect in Him is the theme of the song that is sung. Glory is the fully developed, or unfolded excellency, of a thing. The flower is the glory of a plant—the fruit is the glory of the vine or olive. It is the excellency of Jehovah which is the theme of praise in His temple; especially the glory of Messiah, for He is the Jehovah of the Psalm, the God of Israel. The heavens tell His glory, and earth is full of it. All creation speaks of it—sea and land, man and beast. But His temple is the special place which this glory fills, and from which its praise issues forth.
(2) The PLACE of the praise.His temple—the place which He built for His worship; where His altar smokes, and His incense arises, and His sacrifices are offered up, and His priests minister—that is the place of the great self-revelation and of the proclamation of His glory; the glory of His greatness, and righteousness—specially of His grace, for when Moses asked to see His glory, He proclaimed Himself as the Lord God, merciful and gracious.
(3) The THINGS that praise.'Each one,' or 'everything,' or 'every whit of it.' There is no vacant spot; no idle voice; nothing mute. All is vocal with His praise. Everything utters 'glory.' Every echo is 'glory.' Without and within—each pillar, each vessel, each chamber, each altar, each priest, each sacrifice—all and each utter the same sound, 'glory'! Glory to the righteous One! glory to Messiah, King and Priest, Lord of heaven and earth! His name is as ointment poured forth—His excellency is the theme of every song.
In connection with the words of David, we take up the words of John, 'You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory.' Yes! Jesus, Messiah, the Lamb who was slain, the King on the throne, Creator of the universe, Head of all things—is worthy to receive the glory! And why?
I. Because of His PERSON.As having in Himself all the perfections of the Creator and of the creature—as very God and very man—the Word made flesh—He is 'worthy to receive glory'. Godhead and manhood, united in one wondrous person, make Him infinitely glorious. Through Him new glory comes to the whole Godhead. He is the Revealer of the Father. His glory thus overflows, and fills both heaven and earth—more, the whole universe!
II. Because of His WORK.The excellency of His atoning sacrifice is infinite. It is excellent—
(1) in itself;
(2) in its revelation of divine wisdom;
(3) in its manifestation of divine love;
(4) in its reconciliation of grace with righteousness;
(5) in its everlasting results.
Because of such a work it is said, 'You are worthy to receive glory.'
III. Because of His LIFE on earth.His whole earthly life was marvelous. There has been nothing like it, neither shall be. It was absolute perfection in every part—the perfection of a human life; the life of a son of Adam; a life upon a fallen earth, assailed by Satan, amid evils, and enemies, and weaknesses, and sorrows; the perfection of infancy, of childhood, of boyhood, of manhood; perfection in the whole round of that which we call the life of man; perfection, not only as measured by man, but as estimated by God— 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' Because of this life, it is said, 'you are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory.'
IV. Because of the REDEMPTION of His Church.His people sing, 'You have redeemed us;' and in the various parts of this redemption, from the eternal purpose to the glorious completion, there is such excellency, such an exhibition of power, and wisdom, and love, that because of this (not simply because of the result, but of the wondrous process) we look up and say, 'You are worthy to receive glory.' He said, 'I have glorified You on the earth—I have finished the work which You have given me to do; and He who glorified the Father on earth has been glorified by the Father in heaven. 'Father, glorify me,' was His prayer; and it has been fully answered. The Son of man, as the Redeemer of His Church, has been exalted to the glory, and has received the name which is above every name. As the Creator of all things, He is worthy of the glory—still more, as the Redeemer of His Church.
V. Because of what He is now in heaven.He has triumphed over His enemies; He has abolished death; He has emptied the grave; He has risen; He has ascended on high; He ever lives to intercede; He has received the crown of heaven; He is the head of principalities and powers; He sits on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. Thus enthroned and crowned, mediating and interceding, He receives the homage of heaven, 'You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory!'
VI. Because of what He is to be and to do when he comes again.His excellency, though perfect, cannot be said to be completed. It is always on the increase, as new rays of splendor issue from Him. At His second coming, He appears as King of kings; the renewer of creation; the restorer of Israel; the binder of Satan; the executor of the Father's righteous vengeance on a guilty earth. He comes as Judge, as Deliverer, as the second Adam—as not only the King of Israel, but the King of earth. Then shall be the fullest manifestation of Godhead, according to the eternal purpose of divine self-manifestation. Well may this song be sung—'You are worthy to receive glory.'
(1) Let us appreciate His excellency!Taking God's testimony of Him, and God's estimate of His glorious worth, let us prize Him as He deserves to be prized. 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!'
(2) Let us thoroughly trust and love Him!He merits all our trust and love. Let us do justice to His love—and love Him in return.
(3) Let us make use of His fullness!It contains all we need, and it is always accessible—a well of heavenly water—a storehouse of inexhaustible provisions—a treasury of infinite wealth.
(4) Let us bow before Him!Every knee is yet to bow. Let us bow before Him and worship Him now on earth, as we shall hereafter in heaven.
(5) Let us sing the song of praise!When we get a glimpse of Him now, we praise Him; when we shall see Him as He is hereafter, we will praise Him more, and sing the song of the redeemed, 'You are worthy to receive glory!'