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John in Vision is led to see the New Jerusalem. He beholds Christ upon his Throne. A Description of the Holy City. The Lord's Presence, the everlasting Glory of the Place. None can enter into it, but they whose Names are in the Book of Life.
(1) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (2) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Whether what is here said hath respect to the Church, during the thousand years' reign of Christ with his saints, or whether after the day of general judgment, is not so clearly said, as to determine positively. But the felicity here described, cannot but make every child of God to be longing for such a blessed time, when nothing shall any longer interrupt the joy of the Lord's people. Paul, when comforting the Church, under the various dissatisfactions arising from everything here below, points to this blessed time, and sums up the whole account in those precious soul-reviving expressions. So shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words! 1 Thessalonians 4:18 .
If I might venture to give my present views of the subject, I would say, that both this, and the succeeding Chapter, are more directed to show the blessedness of the Church in the thousand years reign of Christ and his people, than touching upon that eternal state, which is to follow. The Prophet Isaiah was directed by the Holy Ghost, to tell the Church of the new heavens, and the new earth, the Lord would create; and all the blessed consequences which should follow, Isaiah 65:17 to the end. And, in another of his Chapters the Prophet gives a very similar description of the Church to what John saw in vision, as recorded in this Chapter. Compare Isaiah 60:0 throughout. All which correspond to the Church on earth.
And, when we consider what follows, of the tabernacle of God dwelling with men, and being with them; we certainly cannot be said to do violence to the scripture, even if interpreted with an eye to the change wrought by grace in the Lord's people, when called from darkness to light. Old things are then passed away, and all things are become new, 2 Corinthians 5:17 .
But what seems most decidedly to favor the opinion, that it is the Church in Christ's reigning with his saints, which John saw, and is here described, is because this Church is said to come down from heaven, and descends of course on the earth; which would not have been so expressed, one should think, if the eternal state of the Church in glory, were intended; for that is uniformly spoken of through all the scripture, as being in heaven.
The holy city, which John saw coming from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, gives a very blessed idea of the felicities in this reign of Christ. But it opens also to a subject connected with it, of a very sweet and spiritual nature. I will beg the indulgence of the Reader to touch upon it. I am free to confess, that, however it might be more gratifying to the generality of Readers, to enter upon a description of what is here said, concerning the glories of this New Jerusalem; I do not feel competent to it. Neither do I consider it can be profitable; for if it had, the Holy Ghost would have done it to our hands. It is sufficient, it should seem, to that blessed Spirit, to state the fact but; but further. The Lord means, in all things, to glorify Jesus, and not to gratify curiosity.
But in the sweet and precious subject, in what is here said, of the tabernacle of God being with men, and dwelling with them; here we have a discourse, of the most gracious, the most blessed, yea, of the most glorious nature. Allow me to state some few of the many delightful things contained in it.
And, first. The tabernacling of the Son of God in our nature, I mean, in taking what he did in that holy, pure, and perfect portion of humanity, hath been, and ever must be, a subject of everlasting wonder, love, and praise. But that the Son of God should make choice, as he hath done, in every instance, more or less, of his redeemed to come in, and dwell in an heart inhabited before by Satan, and a cage of unclean birds; here the astonishment ariseth yet higher.
Secondly. The design of the Lord in this dispensation is to demonstrate his love, and the exceeding riches of his grace, in these wonderful acts of our God. While the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain him, and the heavens are not clean in his sight; the Lord chooseth the heart of a sinner for his residence. Now, Reader! observe, among a thousand things in it, which must forever excite wonder, and show that his thoughts are not our thoughts, neither his ways our ways; here is one sweet cause for such an act of unequalled grace, as must forever endear the Lord to the heart of his people; namely, it is the only way, whereby he should show to us, his peerless mercy. For, supposing God hath first made us holy; yea, supposing he had so ordered, that we had never sinned; but having made us what we might have thought holy tabernacles in his people for his residence, and taken us to heaven at once; we should indeed have had to have loved him for his love; admired him for his wisdom, and praised him for his power; but then we should have lost, yea, never known one sweet and precious attribute of our God, namely, his mercy. Whereas the scripture most sweetly, and blessedly teacheth us, that the Lord delighteth in mercy, Micah 7:18 . And how, or by what means, could the Lord show forth his delight in the exercise of it, but upon objects of misery? Well, then, if the Lord delighteth in mercy, and the Lord delighteth to be known by those be loves, in the free, and full, and everlasting exercise of mercy, he must find objects to show it upon. So then, saith the Lord, it shall be. If those I have loved, with an everlasting, love, and chosen to be holy and without blame before me in love in my dear Son, fall into sin and misery, I will magnify my free, and sovereign mercy, in bringing them out of it; and this shall be the way, by redemption in his blood, that I will cause my mercy to shine to the utmost. And thus the scripture speaks concerning it. God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he hath roved as, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, Ephesians 2:5 . In whom we have redemption through his blood the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace, Ephesians 1:7 .
Thirdly. But what still tends to heighten the mercy more is, that God most evidently manifests all along, that there is nothing in the objects of his love, from first to last, that hath the least concern in this transaction. It is not their misery, that first awakened his love and mercy; for both were in exercise, not only before they had done either good or evil, but even before they had any being. These plans of God, were before sin, before sorrow, before the world was formed. The Lord laid his foundation deep and low, to bring about the purposes of his will; and therefore, in the vast contrivance, the Lord gave scope for the exercise of all these attributes, wisdom, love, and power; and mercy to be brought forth into the fullest display of its riches, when the sin of his people rendered it so necessary. Reader! pause over this view of the subject; for, according to my apprehension of it, nothing can be more sweet, and precious. Your misery, and my misery, by reason of our sins, are not the cause of God's mercy; for neither our deservings, or undeservings, are at all considered as motives with the Lord for the display of his grace: (for if this had been the case, it would cease to be grace.) But God, who is rich is mercy, for his great love wherewith he hath loved us, takes occasion, from our misery, to make known his mercy, yea, and the fulness of it also in his dear Son. He, therefore, displays his grace, the riches of his grace, yea, the exceeding riches of his grace, in such a way, and manner, as shall magnify the glories of his name, in bestowing the aboundings of his mercy, to overwhelm, and do away the aboundings of sin, that where sin hath abounded, grace shall much more abound; and as sin hath reigned unto death, even so shall grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans 5:20-21 .
Fourthly. One of the sweetest feelings of the soul also, under these gracious workings of grace from the Lord, ariseth out of it; namely, that in the ebbings and flowings of the mind, when visited by those high tides of God's love and mercy, his tabernacling with his people, and his manifestations, that he is at home in his dwelling, is when their emptiness, and brokenness of heart, makes his presence so seasonably great, and refreshing. Our hearts are often like empty walls, and blessed it is to be so. For when we have nothing, and are nothing, yea, worse than nothing, stripped of all, no chair to sit on, not a table to eat upon, nothing, yea, nothing to put upon it, no purse, no scrip, nor money in our purse, with souls sinking, and hearts fainting, and brought down to the very floor of sorrow; then, to behold the Lord coming in, with love in his heart, and a fulness of grace in his hands; and supplying all we need, in himself, and from himself, in his rich bounty: oh! the blessedness of all this? Oh! who would not wish to be emptied of everything, and all our trumpery furniture tumbled into the street, that Christ may come in, take possession of our whole souls, and be our God, our all, and our portion forever!
Lastly, to add no more. Our God must be glorified, and our God must have all the glory. In nature, in providence, in grace, in glory, creatures can add nothing, can bring nothing, can offer nothing. Yea, our very praises for Christ, and all the benefits with Christ, can add nothing to God's glory. His glory is in himself. His glory is from himself, to himself. As we brought nothing to our first creation in nature; so neither can we bring anything to our new creation in grace. If the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them; it is all of pure, free, sovereign love, and grace. And as God declares, that he hath chosen a broken, and a contrite heart, for his throne; certainly it is his own free choice, and for his own glory, that He is thus pleased to make it so. And blessed be the Lord, for such revelations of his will and pleasure; for now I find, that my nothingness, and emptiness, are exactly suited for his fulness, and all-sufficiency. Lord! drive every buyer and seller from thy temple, even my poor soul; and make it thy fee-simple, and inheritance, as it is justly thine both by creation and redemption, thine forever.
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: for the former things are passed away.
Reader! let us pause over this verse, for it is a refreshing one. What a happy climate this must be? Contrast it to the present state. Then look to Jesus, who hath purchased for us such vast mercies. Depend upon it, there is more of Jesus, even in the least of our common blessings, than we are aware of. The thorns of this world, are all the inheritance which sin left us. Therefore, whenever a thorn is taken out, whenever any ease or mitigation to sorrow is found, it is Jesus who is the purchaser of those blessings. How little is this thought of by men? I do not mean men of the world, for how shall carnal, unawakened men think of Jesus, who know not themselves? But I am speaking of the Lord's people. And yet, what a double sweetness would this thought, when coming warm to the mind, put into the enjoyment of every blessing? This is the fruit, and effect of Jesus's love. I wish any child of God, that reads this short observation when I am no more, may, through grace, feel his heart led out to the consideration of it. All blessings, all mercies, are the fruits and effects of Jesus's love, and very blessed it is to eye Jesus in them. I make a nice distinction between the most precious blessing, and Jesus himself, the Giver of that blessing. It is blessed, yea, very blessed, to receive the gifts of Jesus as his gifts. But it is a thousand times more blessed, to know, and enjoy Jesus himself in those gifts, as the love tokens of his heart, from whence they come. To love him is blessed, but to be beloved by him in infinitely more blessed. This is the cause, the other is the effect. He it is it is said, that will wipe away all tears from the eyes of his people. This is blessed. But wherefore he doth it, is more so. Because he loves them and they are beloved by him. This is the coronet of the whole. This the head of all blessedness.
(5) 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. (6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Though these distinctions of character, belong in common to all the Persons of the Godhead, ( Isa_43:10; Isa_44:6; Isa_44:8 ) yet I should humbly conceive, that in this place Christ is the Speaker; because in this Millennium state of the Church, it is Christ reigning with his saints. And how very delightful are those declarations to this redeemed? Reader! do you know Christ, under these precious characters? Doth Jesus sit upon the throne of your heart? Hath he there made all things new? Hath he taken away the heart of stone, and given you an heart of flesh? Are your desires, your affections, your appetites, become new, and spiritual? Is he indeed, the Alpha, and the Omega, in your creed? If the Lord hath created your heart anew, sure I am, you must have made him the Alpha of this great work; for creating work, you cannot then but know to be his. But do you know him as the Omega too; that is, the Finisher, as well as the Beginner of salvation? If creating-work be his, so is renewing-work, confirming-work; strengthening-work, recovering after backslidings, and raising up again after falls. Do you know the Lord Jesus under all? Then do you make him what God the Father had made him, and what he here declares himself to be, the Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end. Oh! it is blessed, as we begin, so to go on, upon a free grace bottom. This is a tried way, a sure way, yea, the good old way, which, when a child of God walks in it, he finds rest to his soul. But to halve it with Christ, is robbing Christ of his glory, and the soul of happiness, Jeremiah 6:16 .
Reader! listen to what Jesus saith, in the close of this scripture. I will give to him that is athirst, of the fountain of the water of life freely What! is there no qualification needed beside? No! if Christ be welcome to the thirsty soul, that soul is welcome to Christ. Observe, it is a gift, not a purchase. It is bestowed upon the thirsty, not the full. Could a poor sinner but see this, he would discover, that the only qualification, is a sense of want, and a view of the Lord's goodness to supply. Hence the ignorance of this is the sad cause of all our misery. And Jesus taught this to the woman of Samaria. She was ignorant that Christ was the gift of God. And to that ignorance, the Lord ascribed the cause, wherefore she asked not for living water from Christ. It is blessed to feel our want, blessed to know where alone is the supply of that want, and blessed to see God the Father's gift in the provision, and blessed when God the Spirit leads to Christ, for the mercy, see John 4:42 and Commentary.
(7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Our Lord, within the compass of these two verses, hath marked the striking difference between his people, and the ungodly. Oh! who shall describe the properties of grace? What heart hath ever entered into the Arcana of the divine counsels? In the mass of Adam-nature here are some, whom the Lord calls his children, his jewels, his chosen; adopting them into his family, acknowledging himself to be their God, and they his people. And here are others, whose nature, void of grace, are manifested to be in the fearful state of servile bondsmen to Satan, whose portion is with Satan forever, in the lake which burneth with fire. This is the second death; meaning an everlasting separation from the presence of God and the Lamb. - Reader! pause over the solemn view. And, if so be, God hath granted you the quickenings of His Holy Spirit, on whom the second death hath no power; look up with me, and cry out, in words similar to the astonished Apostle: Lord! how is it that thou hast manifested thyself unto us, and not unto the world? John 14:0 .
(9) 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 shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. (10) And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (11) Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
Reader! let you and I bless God, for this precious discovery, made to John, for the Church's joy, of the Bride, the Lamb's Wife. Here is represented, under the similitude of a temple, (Psalms 144:12 ) the whole body of Christ, the Church; even every individual, which was given to him by the Father, and betrothed by him before all worlds, and now, through sovereign grace, are brought home to that glory, which was from all eternity the first in God's designs, and now finished, in his final decree, according to his eternal purpose. The invitation the angel gave to John, methinks, I would humbly hope, is given to all the companions of John; (Revelation 1:9 .) and therefore, by faith, I would accept the invitation; come up hither, and behold the Lamb's Wife!
What a sweet, thought it is, that when God the Father first presented the Church to his dear Son, before all worlds; she was then beheld by Christ, as she really was, in all that beauty, and glory, in which God presented her, and as she stood before him in his divine mind, holy and without blame before him in love, Ephesians 1:4 . And though, in this time-state of the Church, she is sunk into such sin and misery, that all her features are changed; yet, I say, it is a blessed thought, that she was not so at the first, neither is she to be so at the last, and forever. And, therefore, God's first, and original design, must be accomplished. She shall be before him holy, and without blame in love. This Church then, this King's daughter, (Psalms 45:17 ) it should be remembered, hath lost nothing of her relationship by sin. A King's daughter she still was, and is, during the whole of this time-state. And a King's daughter, and a King's wife, she will remain, to all eternity. Sin destroys not this affinity. All the water of the sea, cannot wash away the relationship. In this betrothing, and union, Christ received her at the hands of his Father; and she became the object of his desire then, and must, and will remain so, to all eternity.
Well but, say you, she hath fallen into foul dishonor, shame, and misery, since. Yes! she hath. But that did not alienate the affections of her Husband from her. For these are his own words to her. Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again unto me, saith the Lord, Jeremiah 3:1 . And, since nothing but his own grace, put into her heart, would bring her back; that grace the Lord hath given her, and made her willing in the day of his power. Hence, this state of sin and misery, afforded a blessed opportunity, for the display of his love. And Jesus came into this our world, in quest of her, he died for her, shed his blood for her, and washed her from all her sins in his blood; and having clothed her with the robe of his own righteousness, she is now more beautiful than ever and he hath presented her to himself, a glorious Church, not haying spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but is holy and without blemish, Ephesians 5:27 .
It is impossible for the imagination to form to itself anything more blessed, than the contemplation of Christ, and his Church, in the manner, and way, the Angel described it to John. In the opening of this Chapter, he saw in a vision, the Church coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; but this view was in one mass. Here, the Angel brought John to a nearer, and more distinct apprehension. The Church is here said to have had upon her the glory of God. And John's mind seems to have been somewhat in the frame that Paul's was, when caught up to the third heaven, 2 Corinthians 12:2 etc.
I do not presume to enter into the full extent of what is here meant by the expression of having the glory of God. But as I am inclined to think, that what is here said of the Church, during the thousand years reign of Christ, relates to those, who are said to be blessed and holy, in having part in the first resurrection; and of consequence form part of this Church; the glory of God is upon them, both in body and soul. It should seem, that this thousand years reign is intended for some great and special purposes, in relation to the Lord's kingdom. And as such, those who constitute the kings and Priests of our God in that assembly, will be in a state of perfection, as well in body as soul; and therefore, will be under the continual manifestations of the glory of God. And, if the Shechinah was frequently in the Church in the Wilderness, and Moses was admitted into a more familiar manner than others, to behold the glory of the Lord, until the skin of his face shone, from the reflected brightness; it should seem, that no objection can be supposed to arise, for the saints of God, in this Millennium state, to be brought under such displays of glory, in the prospect also, of the near approach to the eternal kingdom. But I speak only presumptively.
(12) And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (13) On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. (14) And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (15) And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. (16) And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. (17) And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. (18) And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. (19) And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; (20) The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. (21) And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. (22) And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (23) 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 thereof.
I do not think it necessary, in a work of this kind, to attempt what I freely confess, I am not competent to perform, an analysis of what John hath said, of the gates, and precious stones of this building. They may, for ought I know, have an allusion to the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, in their, different qualities and colors, But of this I am not sure. And, as the Holy Ghost hath not thought proper to explain, I dare not offer conjectures. In relation to the walls, we may venture to speak with more confidence, for Christ himself is both the foundation of Zion, and his salvation God hath appointed for walls and bulwarks. And Christ is the only gate; or way, for an entrance into the Church below, or above, Isaiah 28:16 ; 1 Peter 2:4-5 ; Isaiah 26:1 ; John 14:6 . But, though I do not venture on an explanation of these several verses, of the building, and precious stones, here mentioned; I would beg to propose a short remark on what is said, of this city needing not the light of sun, or moon, because the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. There is somewhat in it most blessed. The Lord help us, in some measure, suited to our present capacities to understand it.
And, first. Though I can form no one idea whatever, in relation to the essential glory of God, as God; yet, I think, we may derive some apprehensions from what scripture hath said, in relation to the glory of the God-man Christ Jesus. We have several striking accounts of the sight the Elders of Israel and others had of seeing the God of Israel, in the Old Testament scripture, to which I might refer; see Exodus 24:10 ; Isaiah 6:1-4 . But if we come down to New Testament times, we shall find somewhat more suited to our capacities to lean upon. The Apostle's view of Christ's Transfiguration in the Mount; Stephen's sight of Christ before the Jewish Council; or Paul's view of the Lord in the road to Damascus: These furnish out sufficient subjects for enquiry on this ground.
The Apostle's account of the Transfiguration is, that Christ's face did shine as the sun. Now the Lord Jesus, when preparing the minds of those men for this glorious sight, some days before it took place, told them, that there were some standing there, which should not see death, till they had seen the Son of Man coming in his kingdom: Matthew 17:1 ; Mark 9:1-8 . Now I beg the Reader to observe, from Christ's words, that the glory which he was then proposing to display before them, was intended, by Christ to represent somewhat, though imperfectly, of the glory he would appear in, in his kingdom. This I think highly important to be kept in view, in our humble enquiry concerning the light the Lamb is, in the New Jerusalem, which supersedes, and renders unnecessary, the light of sun or moon.
Secondly. Both, the Apostles John and Peter, who have given their testimony to this transaction, as well as the Evangelists who have recorded it, tell the Church, that this glory of Christ was abundantly great, and overpowering. John's account is: The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory; the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, John 1:14 . And Peter, speaking of it, saith: We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty; for he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent Glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, 2 Peter 1:16 . And the Evangelist Matthew's account is, that his face did shine as the sun, Matthew 17:2 . Paul's statement of the Damascus scene is, that it exceeded the sun. I saw from heaven (saith he) a light above the brightness of the sun. Acts 26:13 .
Thirdly. We shall have a yet stronger matter to help us in our discovery, concerning this glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the glory in which he will appear, (only infinitely increased,) in his kingdom of the New Jerusalem-state; if we call into our remembrance what is said of the two men which appeared with him, at the Transfiguration; Moses and Elias. They are said to have been talking with Jesus. And they are moreover said to have appeared in glory; that is I venture to apprehend, in their glorified bodies. Elias could not have appeared any other way, for he did not pass through the grave to glory. And of the burial-place of Moses, no one ever knew: Hence, therefore, it is but a fair conclusion, that they both appeared in their bodies. And somewhat must have told Peter who they were; for it seems plain enough, that he knew them, see Luke 9:30-31 . Is it not, therefore, a probable conclusion, that the Lord Jesus's glory, upon this occasion; was the same; only in a lesser degree, because, had it been more, the three Apostles then in the body, could not have borne it; and that both Moses and Elias were, as those saints of God shall be, who are to reign with Christ, in his thousand years kingdom?
Fourthly. From these considerations, we shall now, through grace, be enabled to form some conclusions; how glorious will be the human nature of Christ, in that kingdom, from the indwelling Godhead. Here is the source, and hence, as this is one and the same as the Essential Godhead, though dwelling bodily in Christ, it may serve to explain to us, wherefore the glory of God, and of the Lamb, are both said in this verse, (Revelation 21:23 ) to lighten the city. It is the glory of God, to all intents and purposes, when shining in, and from Christ: For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, Colossians 2:9 . And hence, this glory, which is the source of ail light, yea, the light and life of men, must supersede, and render unnecessary, all the luminaries of heaven. How strikingly the Prophet speaks, when describing this day, in reference to Christ's glory. Then the Moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients, gloriously, Isaiah 24:23 .
Reader! think then, of the present greatness, and glory of the Lord Jesus, by what the disciples saw of him in the Mount, and by what he will then appear, when he lightens his kingdom with his own personal glory? This is He, whom man despiseth! This is He, whom the nation abhorreth! This is He, whose Godhead some call in question; and yet, by a perversion of all language, call themselves Christians! Oh! the awful delusion of those, whom the God of this world hath blinded! But recollect, that the glory in which he appeared in the Mount, was but a glimpse, not a full blaze. The poor disciples could not have borne it. Paul was made blind three days, only from a transient view of it. And yet, what was that, compared to the glory Paul saw, when by vision he was caught up to heaven? The Apostle could not tell, when the vision was over, whether he had been in the body, or out of the body, 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 . Blessed, glorious Savior! Oh! for faith to behold thee now, until with open face, without a medium, we come to thy glory, and are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord! 2 Corinthians 3:18 .
(24) And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (25) And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. (26) And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. (27) And there shall in no wise 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.
In the close of this Chapter, in these verses, we have the vast distinction drawn, between the saved and the lost. The nations of them saved, meaning Christ's Church, gathered out of all nations, are here said to walk in the light of the Lord; meaning, that this is their glory; and the kings of the earth, that is, Christ's redeemed ones, redeemed from the earth, from among men, and made Kings and Priests to God, and the Father, (Revelation 1:6 .) bring all their glory of redemption into it. No gates are shut. No prevention of access to God, in Christ, and by Christ, night, or day. An everlasting union, and communion, is now enjoyed by the saints; and they, even the saints of God bring all the revenue of glory, to God, and the Lamb, into it.
But, while the redeemed have thus an entrance abundantly administered unto them, into God's everlasting kingdom; here is a final clause, which forever shuts out all that are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life. The defiled, the worker of abomination, and the lover and maker of a lie. And who are the defiled, but the unregenerate, and unwashed, and unrenewed. They who never felt the Savior's work upon the heart, in quickening them from the death, of sin. They who work an abomination, by looking for acceptance, in whole, or in part, in their own righteousness, instead of wholly looking for redemption in Christ's blood. And they who feed upon ashes, and not the bread of life, whose deceived heart hath turned them aside, so that they cannot deliver their souls, and say, is there not a lie in my right hand, Isaiah 44:20 .
READER! behold with an eye of steady faith, the new heaven, and the new earth, wherein righteousness dwelleth! Yea, look again and again, with rapture, at the Church coming down from God Out of heaven, as a bride adorned for her husband! Bless God the Father, in the contemplation, for his electing love, in choosing; for his giving love, in giving the Church to his dear Son; and for all the ten thousand manifestations of his love, in predestinating each, and every individual of the mystical body, to the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ to himself, and accepting the whole Church in the Beloved, to the praise of the glory of his grace!
Bless God the Son, for his betrothing his Church before all worlds, watching over her, in all the time-state of her sad adulterous departure from him redeeming her with his blood, washing her from her sins, clothing her with his righteousness, bringing her home, and presenting her to himself, in the marriage supper, prepared for her in his kingdom of glory.
Bless God the Spirit for his anointings in the early formation of Christ and his Church as one, before the foundation of the world, for his quickening and regenerating grace in time, and for all his leadings, teachings, comfortings, and renewings, when glorifying the Lord Jesus to the Church's view, and directing the heart into the love of God. Oh! for grace, while contemplating the Church, the Lamb's wife, to behold with yet greater rapture and joy, the Lamb himself, and bless the whole persons of the Godhead, for all their love and mercy to the Church in Him.
And what a state of unspeakable felicity is the Church here brought to, after all the temptations of Satan, the deceivings of the heart, and the opposition from the world. Precious Jesus! thou art the Alpha and Omega of all blessedness. Blessed are all thy gifts and all thy manifestations in wiping away all tears from off all faces, and putting an everlasting end to all sorrow and sin. But blessed yet more art thou for thy love. Do thou, Lord, who art the everlasting light, and the glory of heaven, be the light and glory of thy Church on earth. Lord! shine daily on my soul, until thou shalt bring me home to this blessed city, where neither sun nor moon shall anymore be needful, for thou, Lord, wilt be the light of all the poor Gentiles thou hast brought into thy kingdom, and the glory of thy people Israel.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 21". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany