Revelation 1:10
On the Lord's day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,
Sermons
A Great Voice as of a TrumpetJ. Young.Revelation 1:9-11
Brother and CompanionH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
Christ and LiteratureR. F. Horton, M. A.Revelation 1:9-11
Christian Authorship in its Higher MoodsJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:9-11
Companions in the Divine KingdomJames Young.Revelation 1:9-11
Inspiring InfluencesSt. J. A. Frere, M. A.Revelation 1:9-11
John in PatmosJ. Parker, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
Solitude for ChristJames Durham.Revelation 1:9-11
St John in the Spirit in PatmosJ. Young.Revelation 1:9-11
St. John -- a Sublime CharacterHomilistRevelation 1:9-11
St. John's View of the Sabbath RestG. Matheson, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Cedars and the CandlesticksH. Macmillan, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Christian's SabbathR. P. Buddicom, M. A.Revelation 1:9-11
The Christian's SabbathJ. Parsons.Revelation 1:9-11
The Efficiency of the Passive VirtuesH. Bushnell, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Glorified SaviourWilliam R. Campbell.Revelation 1:9-11
The Influence of Solitude and Suffering Upon a Christian LifeJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:9-11
The Kinghood of PatienceM. R. Vincent, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Lord's DayCanon Liddon.Revelation 1:9-11
The Seven Epistles ComparedD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Seven Golden CandlesticksJames Young.Revelation 1:9-11
The Seven Golden LampsH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Threefold Common HeritageA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Two BiblesHomilistRevelation 1:9-11
Things Common in All the LettersCaleb Morris.Revelation 1:9-11
Voices and Visions from EternityD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:9-11
The Vision of the LordS. Conway Revelation 1:9-20
The Vision of the Son of ManR. Green Revelation 1:9-20
Voices and Visions from EternityD. Thomas Revelation 1:10-17
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, etc. Concerning this vision, and, indeed, nearly all the visions recorded in this Apocalypse, there are three facts to be predicated at the outset.

1. It is mental. What is here reported as heard and seen by John was not seen by his bodily eye or heard by his bodily ear. It was, I consider, a purely mental vision. It is one of the characteristic attributes and distinctions of man that he can see and hear objects that come not within the range of his senses. Though the eagle is reported to have a keen and far-reaching eye, and has borne its pinions into the region of sunny azure, it has no glimpse of the spirit domain; whereas a man who may be even sightless and deaf has the power of seeing wonderful things and hearing wonderful things. The sightless bard of England lived in a bright world; his genius bore him aloft into regions where there was no cloud. These mental visions are of two classes - the voluntary and the involuntary. The former are the productions of creative genius, the latter are those dreams of the night when deep sleep falls on man. Mental visions are not necessarily illusions. They are often more real than those of the physical; they come further into the depths of our being, and convey to us impressions of things of which material phenomena are but the effects and expressions.

2. It is credible. Had it been reported that John saw with the outward eye, and heard with the outward ear, the things here reported, the report could not have been believed. The objects are so unique, so incongruous with all that is natural, so grotesque, and, we may say, so monstrous and unaesthetic, that we could not believe a man who said he saw them with his outward eye or heard them with his outward ear. A Being "clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." Who could believe a man who said he beheld these with his bodily eye? But as a mental vision it is credible enough. What grotesque shapes appear to us in dreams! What strange monstrosities rise to our mental eye! The deities that arose out of the imagination of Nineveh, Greece, and India, and throughout the whole domain of heathendom, were as unnatural and incoherent in their forms as the aspects of the Son of man before us. The reports of mental visions, however extraordinary, are credible; men believe in them.

3. It is symbolic. It has a deep spiritual meaning, it adumbrates mighty lessons, it is a picture of eternal realities. What are the great truths here symbolized? That a wonderful voice from eternity comes to man; a wonderful personage from eternity appears to man; and wonderful impressions from eternity are made upon man. Notice -

I. THAT A WONDERFUL VOICE FROM ETERNITY COMES TO MAN. "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet." We are told also that the voice that came to John was "as the sound of many waters." The spiritual condition of John when the voice came is worthy of note. He was "in the Spirit." This means, I trow, something more than being in the spirit in a moral sense - in the spirit of heavenly loyalty and devotion. In this condition all true men are; they are led by the Spirit; they walk by the Spirit. It is being in an elevated state of mind, a kind of ecstasy in which a man is lifted out of himself, in which, like Paul, he is taken up to heaven, and sees and hears things unutterable. He was in such a condition as this at a certain period here called "the Lord's day." All men who are in the Spirit in the moral sense - in the sense of vital godliness - feel and regard all days as "the Lord's day." But the days of spiritual ecstasies and transports are ever special. Perhaps the first day of the week is here referred to - the day of our Saviour's resurrection from the dead. Probably the association of that wonderful day served to raise his soul into this ecstatic state. Concerning the voice that came to him when in this state, it was marked by two things.

1. The voice was marked by clearness. "A great voice, as of a trumpet." The voice was clear, loud, strong, as a trumpet. It was a voice to which he could not close his ears if he wished to; its clarion notes rang into him.

2. The voice was marked by fulness. "As the sound of many waters." "Daniel described the voice of the Ancient of Days as the voice of a multitude (Daniel 10:6); but the voice of the multitude was in earlier Hebrew writings compared to the sound of the waves of the sea, which the voice of the Lord could alone subdue (Psalm 65:7; Psalm 93:4). This image the evangelist adopts to describe the voice of Christ, strong and majestic amid the Babel sounds of earth. That voice whose word stilled the sea sounds as the waves of the sea which St. John heard him rebuke." Is there any voice in nature equal to the voice of the old ocean - majestic, full, continuous, drowning all other sounds? The clamour and the din of a thousand armies on the shore are lost amidst the roar of the incoming waves. Such was the voice that came to John from eternity, and such a voice comes to all men in every condition and in every age, clear and full, bearing messages to the soul from the great Father of spirits. True, clear, full, and continuous though that voice be, it is only heard by those who, like John, are "in the Spirit" - whose spirits are alive and elevated with the real and the Divine.

II. THAT A WONDERFUL PERSONAGE FROM ETERNITY APPEARS TO MAN. "Like unto the Son of man." Christ was indeed the Son of man, not the son of a tribe or of a class, but the Son of humanity, free from all national peculiarities, tribal idiosyncrasies, or ecclesiastical predilections. Observe here two things.

1. The scene of the appearance. "In the midst of the seven candlesticks." The seven Churches, viz. those of "Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea," are here represented as "golden candlesticks;" they are precious lights, they bear and diffuse the light of God. Why these seven Churches are here selected and addressed rather than other Churches, of which there were several, some more important than these, such as the Church at Corinth, Thessalonica, etc., I know not. It might have been because they had in their combination all those excellences and defects, needs and duties, which together represent the universal Church, the Church of all times and lands. It was in these Churches, these "candlesticks," that the "Son of man" now appeared to John. He who would see Christ must look for him in true Churches, the communions of holy men.

2. The characteristics of the appearance. Mark the description. He was "clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle" - a long, ample robe of regal authority. "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow." Does the white hair indicate decay? It frequently does so with us. Snowy locks are at once the sign and consequence of declining strength. Not so with him. He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." "Fire," says Trench, "at its highest intensity is white; the red in fire is of the earth, earthy; it implies something which the fire has not yet thoroughly subdued, while the pure flame is absolutely white. This must be kept in mind whenever we read of white as the colour and livery of heaven." "His eyes were as a flame of fire" - eyes that penetrate into the deepest depth of the soul, discern moral distinctions, and burn with a holy indignation at the wrong. "His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace." This indicates strength at once enduring and resistless. "He had in his right hand seven stars." These seven stars represent, it is supposed, the chief pastors of the seven Churches. An ideal pastor is a moral star, catching and reflecting the light of the Sun of Righteousness. "Out of his mouth went [proceeded] a sharp two-edged sword." This is the Word of the truth, elsewhere called the "sword of the Spirit," quick and powerful, etc. The sword by which Christ fights his moral battles and wins his moral conquests is not the sword of steel, but the sword of truth. "His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." "Of the angel by the vacant tomb it is said his countenance was like lightning (Matthew 28:3); here the countenance of the Lord is compared to the sun at its brightest and clearest, in the splendour of the highest noon, no veil, no mist, no cloud obscuring its brightness." Here, then, is the wonderful Personage which has appeared to us, the children of men, from eternity. Though he is "the Son of man," thoroughly human, he has an attitude and aspect that are superhuman. His voice clear as a "trumpet" and full as an ocean, his regal robes girt with a "golden girdle," his "hair white as snow," radiating effulgent purity, his feet strong as "brass," his hand clasping "seven stars," his mouth flashing out a "two-edged sword" and his countenance luminous as the "sun in his strength." What manner of man is this? The symbolical representation here indicates:

(1) Royalty. He is robed as a king - "clothed with a garment down to the foot." Christ was a royal Man in the truest and highest sense - royal in thought, sympathy, aim, character.

(2) Purity. His brow encircled with locks white as snow. "His head and his hairs were white like wool." The only morally spotless man the race has ever known.

(3) Penetration. His eyes pierced into the deepest depths of human thought; they were "as a flame of fire."

(4) Firmness. There was no vacillation of purpose, but inflexible and invincible. "His feet like unto fine brass."

(5) Dominion. Having the brightest and purest intelligences in his possession and at his command. "He had in his right hand seven stars."

(6) Victory. His victories are bloodless. He conquers mind; he slays not existence, but its curses and its wrongs. "Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword."

(7) Brightness. No dark thoughts clouding his brow, indicating anger or sadness, but bright looks withal. "His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." This Man was the greatest gift of Heaven to the race. In him dwelleth not only all the fulness of what is purest and grandest in human nature, but all "the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

III. THAT A WONDERFUL IMPRESSION FROM ETERNITY IS MADE UPON MAN. "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as [one] dead." It is a physiological fact that a sudden rush of strong emotions will stop the heart and arrest the current of life in its flow. What were John's emotions? Was there amazement? Was he amazed at seeing One whom he loved above all others, and with whom he had parted, some few years before, on the Mount of Olives, when a cloud received him out of sight, now in form sublimely unique and overwhelmingly majestic? Was it dread? Was he terror struck at the marvellous apparition? Was it remorse? Did the effulgence of its purity quicken within him such a sense of guilt as filled him with self loathing and horror? I know not. Perhaps all these emotions blended in a tidal rush that physically paralyzed him for a while. When Isaiah, in the temple, saw the Lord on high and lifted up, he exclaimed, "Woe is me! for I am undone." When Job heard the voice speaking out of the whirlwind, he exclaimed, "I abhor myself in dust and ashes." When Christ appeared to Peter, he cried out, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord." When the Roman ruffians, in the garden of Gethsemane, saw the moral majesty on his brow, and heard his words, such emotions rushed up within them as stopped their hearts, and they "went backward and fell to the ground." Eternity is constantly making solemn impressions upon man. In most cases, perhaps, the impressions are superficial and fugitive, but frequently in certain seasons and conditions of life they are terrible beyond description. There are but few men who have not felt at times something of the moral terrors of Eliphaz: "In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake." No impressions, however, from eternity are so deep and salutary as those conveyed to the heart by profound meditations on the doctrines, the history, and the character of Christ. Such impressions are the means by which the all-loving Father renews the moral character of his children and makes them meet for his everlasting fellowship and service. - D.T.







The Revelation of Jesus Christ. &&&
I. THE REVELATION, OR APOCALYPSE.

1. This sacred book is called the Revelation, or Apocalypse, to express its origin. It is the Word of the living God, given by Divine inspiration, and invested with Divine authority.

2. It is called the Apocalypse to express its nature. It gives a blessed manifestation of the character, counsels, and dealings of God.

3. It is called the Apocalypse, to express its object. There is an objective revelation of the character and will of God which is given in His Word; of the great plan of mercy which is given in the gospel; of the great events of Providence which are given in sacred prophecy.

4. It is called the Apocalypse, to express its subject. There is a subjective revelation experienced by the saint, consisting in the saving illumination of the Spirit (Matthew 11:25; Psalm 119:18).

5. It is called the Apocalypse, to express its great design. The word signifies to remove the veil that conceals an object from view.

6. There is, notwithstanding this glorious manifestation, considerable darkness resting on this book. It is denominated "The mystery of God." This obscurity arises from the depth of the counsels of heaven, from the symbolical language in which they are revealed, from the prophetical nature of the sacred book. But amid all the mystery with which it is enveloped, there is a light within the cloud to illuminate and cheer.

II. THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.

1. It is a revelation from Him as the great Author, and the great Medium, and the great Depositary, and the great Dispenser of Divine revelation, and all its hopes, promises, and blessings.

2. It is a revelation concerning Him as the great subject, the sum and substance of the glorious gospel.

3. It is a revelation through Him, as the medium of Divine communication, as the great Prophet and Teacher of the Church.

4. It is a revelation to Him as the great object, the end, the proprietor of the oracles of heaven. It is His — His own peculiar charge, ant His own Divine prerogative. In Him all the lines of Divine truth centre; from Him all the beams of its glory irradiate; to Him all the prophets gave witness.

III. THE GREAT DESIGN OF THIS SACRED CHARGE.

1. The nature of this design. It is "to show." This partially explains the word "revelation," which is to make manifest what was before concealed. It also explains the word "signified," which is to show verbally, in plain language; or symbolically, by signs or symbols.

2. The persons to whom this design is made known. They are "servants" — the servants of God, by a devout and voluntary surrender of themselves. They are not only servants, but they are kings and priests. To these distinguished servants God's holy will is given. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.

3. The objects revealed.

4. The time of fulfilment — "Things that must shortly come to pass."(1) This may be viewed personally, as referring to ourselves as individuals. The time of our departure is at hand. "Lord teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom."(2) It may be viewed generally. The time is at hand with regard to the Church, and the end of the world, and the day of judgment.(3) It may be viewed comparatively. The time is short when we view it in connection with eternity.(4) It may be viewed progressively with respect to the nature, the order, and arrangement of Divine operation — the time is at hand.

5. As the message was important, so the messenger was honourable: "He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John."(1) The message, and how it was delivered. He signified and testified, or showed it; He made it manifest by plain words, direct testimony, and by signs or symbols (Hosea 12:10).(2) The person that sent — "He sent." God the Father sent His angel to His servant John. The Lord Jesus sent His angel: I, Jesus, sent Mine angel to testify to you these things in the Churches.(3) The messenger sent was "His angel." All the holy angels are His by creation, providence, electing love, confirming grace, and sacred office. But some He selects for distinguished services.

(James Young.)

There is an irresistible charm in lofty eminences. There is exhilaration in ascending them, though attended, often, With much fatigue. Similar should be the charm of this wondrous book.

I. THE TITLE — "The Revelation of Jesus Christ."

II. THE DESIGN. "To show unto His servants," dec.

III. THE SPECIAL PROMISE. "Blessed is he that readeth," etc.

(D. C. Hughes.)

I. Its ORIGINAL SOURCE is expressed in the title which the author gives to his book: It is a revelation of Jesus Christ, and not the revelation; as though it were the only one which He has given, or the only one which He gave to His servant John. There may be a reference in this term to the special design of this book to reveal the time and manner of the Saviour's coming. It was an exciting topic then, as it is now; and many were the conflicting sentiments that were entertained concerning the apocalypse, or revelation of Jesus Christ. It is styled "a Revelation of Jesus Christ," because in His mediatorial person, as Immanuel, or God-man, and in His official capacity as the great Prophet and Teacher of His Church, He was the principal party in making it known. Yet in this, as in every other part of His work, He acts by delegated authority from the Father, and in subserviency to His will. Not less in heaven than on earth, in His glorification than in the scenes of His humiliation, is He the medium of communication between God and His redeemed. This revelation was given to Jesus Christ "to show unto His servants." It was given to Christ to reveal to others. He knew them before. The revelation was not made for Him, but for Him to make known. The persons to whom He is empowered to reveal them are "His servants." The servants of Christ, or of God, are the redeemed. This He is ready to do by His Word, and the teaching of His Spirit.

II. Of the GENERAL CHARACTER of these contents we are thus informed: they are "things which must shortly come to pass." It is not a history of the past, nor a record of the present, but a prophecy of the future. It is not a mass of conjecture, but of certainties. Though pending upon the fickleness of human passions, the whole future course of events is as unalterably fixed as the past.

III. We are informed TO WHOM this revelation, in the first instance, was made known. "He sent and signified it... unto His servant John." He teaches one, that this one may teach many. Ministers should look for their teaching immediately from Christ. John had borne a faithful testimony of the things which had been, and now he is to bear record of the things that should be hereafter. Those who have evinced a sound judgment, and given a faithful record of things which are, and have been, are best qualified to treat of things to come.

IV. We are informed of THE MANNER in which this revelation was communicated by Jesus Christ to His servant John: "He sent and signified it by His angel." God gives the revelation to Jesus Christ, and He to an angel, and the angel to John. The word "angel," which simply signifies a messenger, is not applied in Scripture exclusively to that particular order of beings of which it is the generic term. What more natural to conclude than that saints carry with them their prevailing disposition to heaven; and that the saint whose heart was most interested in the events here recorded should have been selected by Christ as His messenger to John? We have Moses and Elias appearing in angelic forms to our Lord upon the mount. Why not Isaiah or Jeremiah, or Daniel, to John in the isle of Patmos?

V. We are informed of THE PURPOSE for which this revelation was recorded. It was for our study and observance; "Blessed is he that readeth," etc. Whoever undertakes to read the Divine Word to ethers, shall be blessed in his deed. While he is reading new light will burst upon the sacred page, and his own mind will be instructed. The hearers too will be blessed. Few, if any methods, are better adapted to ascertain the meaning of Scripture, and to impress it upon the mind, than its being read by one and afterwards made the subject of mutual inquiry and observation. The multiplication of copies ought not to have superseded this wholesome practice. Let the reading and familiar discussion of all parts of the sacred volume once become general, and a blessing, as the dew of Hermon, will descend upon the mountains of Zion. h particular reason for the blessedness which would accompany the study of this book is given in the concluding observation: "for the time is at hand." This had a special application to the Churches to which it is first addressed. It was an intimation to them that the first events of the series in which they were principally concerned would speedily occur. It was needful, therefore, that they should take them at once into serious consideration. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Let them avail themselves of these preadmonitions, and they would experience the blessedness of those who are prepared for the conflict and sure of final victory. Conclusion:

1. The Church is entrusted with the observation and improvement of events as they rise.

2. It must adapt itself to external changes in the use of appointed means.

3. Prophecy is intended to point out the direction in which its energies should be employed.

(G. Rogers.)

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.)

I. AS A REVELATION. Christ reveals the future history of mankind —

1. By disclosing its essential principles.

2. By the dispensations of Providence.

II. As A RECORD.

1. Here is a commission from heaven to record certain things.

2. Here is a commission from heaven to reveal certain things, addressed to a man.

3. Here is a commission from heaven to record certain things, addressed to a man of the highest moral class.

III. As A STUDY.

1. Historic events are of moral significance.

2. The moral significance involves a Divine law.

3. In practical obedience to this Divine law there is true happiness.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

To show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass
For the behoof and benefit of the family of faith who are all of Christ's cabinet council.

(J. Trapp.)

I. TIMELY REVELATION. "To show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass." There was a time when we did not see into the evil of sin as we were afterwards led to do. There was a time when we did not see into the infallible certainty of the judgment of God as we did when the Lord was pleased to cause the weighty matters of judgment to sink down deep into our souls. Then the question was, How are we to escape this tremendous evil? What, then, is to be done? Some of us ran one way, and some another; but ere long the Lord showed unto us that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.

II. CONFIRMATION. Now these are the servants of the Lord that are thus brought to serve Him in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter; that are thus brought to serve Him, not at Mount Gerizim, nor at Jerusalem, nor any other earthly locality, but brought to serve Him in spirit and in truth, and consequently to worship Him everywhere. And we need confirming in these things, or else our unbelief, our many infirmities, our many trials, would put an end to His religion. And so we need confirming from time to time in God's truth in order to keep us pursuing. How does the Lord confirm us now? Is it not by a fresh manifestation of the redeeming power of the blood of the Lamb? Is it not by a fresh opening up unto us of the excellency of the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ?

III. DIRECTION. What a mercy this is! It is a great thing to be guided by the Lord; there is not anything too hard for Him. I have found it good in my time to watch the hand of the Lord in all these things. So, then, "to show unto His servants," to direct them; and He does in many of His dealings say, "What! do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter."

IV. THE THINGS THAT WERE SHORTLY TO COME TO PASS. How there are two orders of things that were shortly to come to pass; one very unpleasant, and the other exceedingly pleasant. Well, you and I know not what troubles lie in our path yet, but there is not anything too hard for the Lord. I am not going to look to coming troubles — that is not my business, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." So, then, if tribulation shall abound, consolation shall abound also. But now I must be careful in pointing out the pleasant circumstances — "things which must shortly come to pass." To speak plainly, it means that these people should soon be in heaven. You observe that every one of the promises is founded upon victory. "To him that overcometh." It is a legal victory, or victory of right. In righteousness did He judge and make war. He strove for the victory lawfully. Now the Lord shows unto His servants the way of victory, and that way is by faith in what the Saviour has done.

(Jas. Wells.)

If there be no revelation, we have no hope, and can have no comfort in our death, and no assurance of immortality after it. If there be no revelation, we are in a perpetual maze, as if we were at sea without star or compass, and knew not what course to take to gain our harbour.

(Bp. Williams.)

His servant John, who bare record
Of what sort was the Christianity of St. John between thirty and forty years after Christ's death, as we find it in the Book of the Revelation?(1) In chap. Revelation 4. we have a vision reminding us of Isaiah and Ezekiel. There is a Throne, and One who sits on it. He is Lord and God. He lives for ever and ever. He created all things, and is worthy to receive glory and honour and power. In the second chapter we read of One who is the Son of God. He in whom St. John believes is therefore God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.(2) This Son of God is Jesus Christ, who is also King of kings and Lord of lords, and therefore Lord of all men, our Lord. The Lamb, that is Christ, is worshipped by every created thing, in one breath with Him that sitteth upon the Throne.(3) The Incarnation of Christ is implied in His crucifixion, His blood, His death, and the title, or description, Son of Man. All of these are expressly mentioned in the Revelation. Besides we find Christ described by him as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and the Root of David.(4) That Christ suffered is implied in His overcoming, and in His being a Lamb, as it had been slain; a phrase recalling the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, where the suffering is described at length, and where it is foretold that the Sufferer shall triumph after death.(5) The Descent into Hades must be understood from the words, "I was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore," etc. The Resurrection is not only stated in these and other like words, but is a fundamental conception of the whole book.(6) We do not read of the Ascension; yet as the death took place on earth, and Christ is described as in heaven after His resurrection, an ascension is implied.(7) The sitting on the Throne of God, and the coming again to judgment are me prominent as to need no special reference.(8) Then we have the Spirit, symbolised in His abundant powers by the seven lamps before the Throne, and again by the seven eyes of the Lamb. From this last may we not infer the double procession?(9) The Communion of Saints is indicated in many ways. The Angels of the Seven Churches are wreathed into a garland of stars in the right hand of the Son of Man. The souls of the martyrs, under the altar, are to wait for their brethren. The great multitude who have come out of the great tribulation stand before the Throne and before the Lamb.(10) The Remission of Sins meets us in the very first chapter;(11) the Resurrection of the Dead comes in the twentieth; and(12) the Life Everlasting is the one great gift variously shadowed forth by the Tree of Life, the Crown of Life, the Hidden Manna, the Morning Star, the Book of Life, the Pillar in the Temple, the Sitting Down with Christ on His Throne; the Seven Gifts to the Seven Churches. Here then, in this venerable monument of the apostolic age, are all the Articles of the Christian faith, as we now have them in our creed.

2. Until a man has made a careful study of the Revelation, he might very possibly set it down as a tissue of harsh allegories, thrown together without skill or method, and betokening little in its author but a bewildered enthusiasm. But indeed there is in it a wonderful order. The whole book seems to have been all present to the writer's mind at once, like the universe to the mind of the Creator, before a word of it was written. Vision follows vision, each complete in itself, like a picture, yet all adding something new, like each of the seven parables in the 13th of St. Matthew, to the manifold lineaments of the kingdom of heaven. Then there is this peculiarity: Almost every phrase of the Revelation has its counterpart in the old Testament. The Revelation consists of Old Testament ideas spiritually combined with New Testament narratives.

3. St. John, after all, only translates the Old Testament prophecies out of their local dialect into catholic speech. Malachi's pure offering in every place, Zechariah's feast of tabernacles, Daniel's kingdom of the saints, Jeremiah's Jerusalem with the ark. What is all this but our Lord's teaching to the woman of Samaria, and the absence of a sanctuary from the New Jerusalem — everywhere Immanuel? Then we have Isaiah's abounding prophecies of these things, the Psalms with their trumpet-call to all lands, the seed of Abraham blessing the nations, nay, the primal promise of bruising the serpent's head — the wonder is that there could ever have been a mistake. These old prophets saw there was something in their faith and worship, different in kind from the local idolatries of other nations, something which had in it the germ of catholicity. St. John had touched and handled the stem which grew from that germ, and he knew that it must grow till it filled the earth.

4. St. John paints an ideal; and ideals are never realised completely in this world. But what would the world have been without them? Here in England, what has been, deep down beneath the vulgar strife of parties, the ground of our Constitution in Church and State? What but the walking of our nation amidst the light of the holy city, and our kings bringing their glory into it?

(J. Foxley, M. A.)

Of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things
Some apply these three expressions to the three portions of Holy Writ, of which John was the inspired penman. The word of God, they refer to the gospel; the testimony of Jesus, to the epistles; and the things which he saw, to the Book of Revelation. But they rather seem to refer to the subject of all these sacred writings.

I. "THE WORD OF GOD" is His personal, essential, and eternal Word — His only-begotten Son. John bare record of Him in the gospel, in the epistles, and in the Book of Revelation. Or the Word of God is His written Word, the glorious doctrines of Divine revelation. This is the meaning of the Word of God in ver. 9; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 20:4.

II. "THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS" is the glorious gospel of the blessed God.

1. The gospel is called the testimony of Jesus, because He is the author of it, equally with the Father. He is the faithful witness, revealing the character, the counsels, and the will of God.

2. Because He is the subject of it. The Spirit of Christ testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that followed.

3. Because He is the object of it. To Him gave all the prophets witness. The holy apostles were His inspired witnesses.

4. Because He was the recipient of this testimony (John 5:19, 20; John 7:16; John 8:28; John 12:49; John 14:10; John 17:7; Matthew 11:27).

III. OF ALL THINGS THAT HE SAW.

(James Young.)

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear
There are seven benedictions in the Book of Revelation. Seven is said to be the number of completeness or perfection. The first of these benedictions occurs in the opening lines of John's Apocalypse: "Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep," etc. Just at the close of the Apocalypse is another similar passage: "Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book." These two verses are like the golden clasps — one on either lid — that hold together a dear old family Bible. The next benediction is pronounced upon the gospel-guests: "Blessed are they who are called unto the marriage-supper of the Lamb." They who are drawn by the attraction of the Cross, and yield to that drawing, are renewed by the Holy Spirit. Theirs is a place at the celestial banquet. How careful should every disciple be to walk unspotted from the world, for every stain looks ugly upon a white ground. There is a hint as to the method of keeping thus clean, which is given in the third benediction: "Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." No believer can preserve the purity of his character without prayerful vigilance. "Watch." And one reason for this watchfulness is that Christ's coming is to be as unannounced as the midnight visit of a burglar. Old Dr. Alexander used to say with solemn tenderness, "I won't answer for any Christian who dies while in an awful state of backsliding." Upon the gospel-doers rests the sweet approval of the fourth benediction. It is the blessing upon those "that do His commandments." The evidence and the joy of discipleship both lie in obedience to Christ. This is what the world has a right to demand from us — a religion of fruits. God will judge every one of us according to our works. The next blessing is that angelic voice that floats over the resting. place of the pious dead. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." To them the perils of the voyage are over. They have cast anchor in the haven. They are safe. About the last one of the benedictions in this sublime book there has been no little controversy: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection." It is enough for me that, if I fall to sleep in Jesus I shall awake with Him. There is not an unmarked grave in all Christ's household of the slumberers. Them which sleep in Jesus will God bring together with Him.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

A scholar of singular simplicity and holiness of life was asked by a friend at the University, why he so often read the Book of the Revelation. The answer savoured of great humility and simple faith. He turned to this verse, "Blessed is he that readeth," etc. Bengal, with his usual sagacity, in his commentary on these words rebukes men for their neglect of this great book, reversing the promise, as ii it were written, "Blessed is he that readeth not!" The very title "Revelation" should, he says, quicken our interest, and provoke our desire to look in and see those things which are revealed; whereas too many pass by the uplifted veil with eyes averted, and lips closed, as if silence were wisdom, and indifference a sign of reverential fear. But let them take heed, he says, lest, while they devise all manner of excuse for refusing the heavenly gift, they weary God as did Ahaz, when in pretended modesty he would ask no sign of Him; lest also they be found ungrateful to Jesus Christ.

(Canon Furse.)

What if there be a veil laid over this Revelation, will it not be rarified by reading, and by degrees wholly worn away?

(J. Trapp.)

The words of this
When Professor Stuart, one of the greatest biblical authorities, was asked one time by his scholars to explain this book to them, he told them he wouldn't till he understood it. Now, if you wait till you understand every stone, rivulet, tree, bush, and blade of grass in a picture it will be a long time before you admire it. And so with our food. If you wait to analyse every kind of edible on the table it will be a long while indeed before you enjoy it. Because we can't understand every thought, word, and picture in the Book of Revelation is no reason why we should not give our attention to what we can understand in it.

(H. A. Buttz.)

And keep those things which are written therein
1. To keep those things is to believe them. Faith must be mixed with the hearing of the gospel; we cannot keep those things unless we believe them.

2. To keep those things is to remember, ponder, keep them in mind (Luke 2:19, 51). We are saved by the gospel, if we keep it in memory. We must remember God's name, His wonderful works, His holy Word, and His precious promises.

3. To keep those things is to observe or obey them; to be doers of the Word and not hearers only; to resemble, embody, and exhibit the holy Word of God in living characters in the life and conversation.

4. To keep those things is to hold them fast; to hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end; to take heed lest at any time we should let them slip; lest there he in us an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God; lest we should draw back unto perdition.

5. To keep those things is to make progress in holiness, to go on from strength to strength, from grace to grace, from glory to glory, till every one appears in Zion before God.

(James Young.)

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