John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come…
I desire to speak of Christ glorified. But how shall we learn what He is like on His throne? These dim eyes cannot pierce the skies and the clouds to see Him. Men look through their telescopes at the stars, and mere sparkling points of light prove to be burning suns. But no telescopes can reveal to us Christ on His throne. Some day we shall see Him as He is, but now no eye can behold Him. Yet human eyes have seen Him in vision since He went back to His glory, and those who saw Him have told us what they saw. The beloved disciple had a vision of His glory.
1. He appears as a glorified Lord. Very wonderful is the contrast between the Christ of the Gospels and the Christ of the Revelation. Yet they both are one. In the lowly Jesus of the Incarnation all the Divine glory was enshrined. Men did not see its outflashings, but the splendour was there. But now in heaven there is no longer any concealing or hiding of His glory. In our Lord's intercessory prayer at the Last Supper He prayed, "Now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." This prayer was answered. He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
2. We must not fail to notice that it is as man — God-man — that Jesus Christ is glorified. John saw in vision "one like unto a Son of Man" in the midst of the golden candlesticks. That is, Ha bore there in the glory the form of our humanity. It was that same body on whose bosom John leaned, whose feet Mary bathed with her ointment, which had lain in the grave, and in which Thomas saw the wounds — it was that same body that was taken up into heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father. As He never for a moment ceased to be God while here on the earth in lowly flesh, so He has never for a moment ceased to be man since ascending into the heavenly places. The Godhead and the humanity are forever inseparable. How near it brings Him to us to think of Him as really human still, in His eternal glory! How it exalts our thought of the dignity of humanity to remember that one of our race is on the throne of thrones!
3. Another feature of the glorified Christ, as He appeared in vision to John, was His complete victoriousness. We must never forget that His exaltation was won. He was crowned with glory and honour for the sufferings of death. Especially does He appear in John's vision as victor over death. Those who were raised up before Him were only brought back to a few more years of the old life of struggle, pain, and sinning. They were still under death's power, ant! had to die again. But Christ was born from death into life — not the old life of pain, infirmity, struggle, tears, and mortality, but into life — full, rich, blessed, immortal.
4. The vision of the glorified Christ shows Him deeply interested and active in our behalf in heaven. In John's vision the risen Lord appears in the midst of the golden candlesticks. The golden candlesticks are the Churches of the Redeemer in this world. The vision then represents Christ as in the midst of His Churches, always with His people. He is still the Good Shepherd. The same truth is taught in another part of the same vision. "He had in His right hand seven stars." The stars, we are told, are the Churches of the redeemed. The symbol is very beautiful. Christ's Churches are stars in this dark world. But He held the stars in His right hand, the hand of strength and honour; so He holds His Churches in His right hand. The picture suggests guidance, security, help. Christianity cannot fail while the all-conquering Christ holds the Churches in His right hand. Let us look a little more closely into the manner of Christ's activity in heaven for us. What does He do there on our behalf? Several things. Having all power in heaven and earth, He rules so that all things work together for good, not only for His Church at large, through the ages, but for every individual believer who trusts Him and follows Him. Shall we be afraid, amid enemies and storms and convulsions and conflicting providences, while the government of all things is in the hands that were pierced with the nails for our redemption? Another form of the activity of the glorified Christ in heaven is His intercession for us.
(J. R. Miller, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;