The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass…
Christians are not confined to this world in their enjoyments of life. They not merely behold the things of men, but also the things of God; not merely the things of time, but also those of eternity.
I. THEY PROCEED FROM THE INFINITE SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE AND LOVE.
1. God is the primal author of spiritual revelations. He is the source of light, and alone can cause it to shine from heaven into the heart of man.
2. Christ is the sympathetic medium of spiritual revelations. St. John is here writing of Him as having ascended to heaven with a Divine-human nature.
3. Varied messengers are the communicating agencies of revelation. Angelic ministeries are interested in the instruction of the good. Who was the messenger here employed? It would seem that prophetic fires were kindled in some ancient seer who had entered upon his heavenly rest, and that he was employed to uncover to the imprisoned apostle the sublime visions of this book.
II. THEY ARE GIVEN TO THOSE ENGAGED IN THE MORAL SERVICE OF THE UNIVERSE. "To show unto His servants."
1. They are not given to the nationally presumptuous. These have other visions more welcome to their ambitious spirits — visions of fame. They would rather dream of servile crowds paying them transient homage, than be permitted the grandest revelation of heaven that is possible to human soul.
2. They are not given to the socially great. They are not given to kings by virtue of their kinghood. They are not given to the warrior in acknowledgment of his victory. They are not given to the wealthy in praise of their industry and thrift. They are rather given to the humble, to the poor in spirit, to the pure in heart, to the loving servants of the Lord.
3. They are not given to the intellectually wise. To untutored minds, but of heavenly thought, things Divine are made known, far grander than are suspected by the students of earthly things. They are given to the good —
(1) Because the good are in sympathy with God.
(2) Because the good will live under the influence of the revelation.
(3) Because the good will be faithful to the revelation.
III. THEY ARE GIVEN AT TIMES OF SOLITUDE AND GRIEF.
1. The good man's solitude is never lonely. But when earth is far removed, when the hurry of business and the excitement of pleasure are behind, then come those heavenly visions which so enrich the soul.
2. God does not forsake His faithful servants in their time of need. In the furnace we get bright visions of the Son of Man.
IV. THEY ARE DESIGNED TO INTERPRET THE EVENTFUL AGES OF MANKIND.
1. Man is unable to interpret the spiritual meaning of the ages.
2. The moral significance of the ages ought to engage our most careful study.Lessons:
1. Adore the condescension of God in revealing Himself to man.
2. Praise the glory of God which He has manifested to your soul in time of vision.
3. Live and write the spiritual revelations of the Eternal.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: