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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

Revelation 19

Verse 6

DISCOURSE: 2522
GOD’S GOVERNMENT, A GROUND OF JOY

Revelation 19:6. Alleluia: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.

IN the government of Jehovah all acquiesce, so far as relates to his conferring of rewards upon his obedient people: but from his inflicting of punishment on the disobedient the minds of the generality revolt; because they have formed to themselves an idea of a God whose mercy swallows up, as it were, all his other attributes. But justice is, in its place, as honourable to the Deity as mercy: and the exercise of it, towards those who shall die in their sins, will be a subject of praise and thanksgiving through all the hosts of heaven, no less than the exercise of mercy itself. The whole preceding chapter proclaims the destruction of the mystical Babylon, that is, of Rome; whose abominations have reached unto heaven [Note: Revelation 18:5.], and whose persecutions of the saints have been long crying out for vengeance against her [Note: Revelation 18:24.]. At the execution of God’s judgments upon her, all heaven is represented as rejoicing: and the one song which is heard through all the regions of the blest, is “Alleluia! for true and righteous are God’s judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia: and her smoke rose up for ever and ever [Note: ver. 1–3.].” In this, all on earth are called to unite: and the entire chorus of the assembled universe is “as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” Connected with the ruin of antichrist is the diffusion of the Redeemer’s kingdom throughout the world: for then will be the marriage of the Lamb, and his taking of the Church into a visible union with himself, and his consummation of her happiness. Then will the Lord God Omnipotent reign on earth; and nothing but hallelujahs be heard throughout the universe. Let me then call upon you, as it were by a voice from heaven, to commence this song,

I.

As an expression of grateful acknowledgment—

Certain it is, that we have abundant ground for this song in this present world

[Let us look back to the circumstances of our birth; the time, when the Sun of Righteousness had arisen upon the earth; and the place, where his rays were shining forth in their meridian splendour. This can be traced to nothing but God’s sovereign will and pleasure: for it is to Him alone that we owe it, that we were not born amidst all the errors of Popish delusion; or in a heathen land, under the darkness of Pagan superstition, or of Mahometan imposture.

Let us survey our whole life; our dangers, both seen and unseen; and our deliverances, which nothing but an overruling Providence could ever have effected. Particularly, let us view our temptations to sin, and the wonderful preservations which we have experienced; sometimes, perhaps, through the remonstrances of conscience; sometimes through the intervention of some seasonable occurrence; and sometimes through a mere want of opportunity to execute the secret wishes of our hearts. Let us, in this respect, compare ourselves with, those who, having been less favourably circumstanced in relation to their temptations and restraints, have been left to carry into effect the evil dictates of their hearts; and we shall, if we know any thing of ourselves, find abundant occasion for thanksgivings to our God.

If, through the grace of God, we have been brought to the knowledge of Christ, and been made partakers of his salvation, shall we not, in that case, pour forth our acclamations and hosannahs? Or, if we be yet in our unconverted state, shall we not praise him, that “space is yet given us for repentance?” If there were no other ground of praise than this, that we are not at this moment lifting up our eyes in the torments of hell, and crying in vain for a drop of water to cool our tongues, there is not one amongst us who may not well lift up his voice, even as thunder itself, in hallelujahs to the Lord God Omnipotent, who, by his sovereign power and grace, has distinguished us from the millions who are gone beyond a possibility of redemption.]
And shall we not burst forth into this song, the very instant that we enter into the invisible world

[There we shall have a complete view of all the dangers to which we ever were exposed, and all the deliverances that ever were vouchsafed unto us here below. Our feelings will be not unlike to those of Joshua and the Israelites after their establishment in the land of Canaan. They doubtless would look back on all their way, from the time that Moses had come to Egypt for their deliverance: they would call to remembrance the many successive plagues that had been inflicted on that land for the humiliation of Pharaoh, and the terrible slaughter of the first-born that had at last constrained him to consent: they would have strongly painted also before their eyes the dangers to which they had been exposed, when, with the sea before them, and mountains and morasses on either side, the enraged army of Pharaoh pressed upon their rear. They would, in particular, review their passing of the Red Sea as on dry ground, and the total destruction of their pursuers in the returning waters. In a word, they would have before their eyes the diversified events during the whole of their sojourning in the wilderness, the mercies and the judgments of every kind, till at last they were brought in safety to the possession of the promised land. Nor would they be unmindful of the myriads, who, through their unbelief, had fallen short of that rest; and of the distinguishing favours which they themselves had experienced at the hands of God. Thus, I say, will our souls, if ever they be permitted to reach the heavenly land, behold at one glance all the wonders of grace and mercy which they have experienced in this vale of tears: and, O with what rapture will they adore and magnify their God! Methinks the deafening sound of cataracts, or the terrific roar of thunders, will be as nothing, in comparison of the hallelujahs that shall burst from the millions of the redeemed at that day.]
But there is another view, in which the words of my text may be considered; namely,

II.

As an effusion of confident anticipation—

This, indeed, is the precise view in which they should be understood; for Rome is not yet destroyed; and, consequently, the “alleluias” are uttered only in the prospect of that event. And we too, with a prospective regard to future events, may utter this song: we may utter it,

1.

In reference to the world at large—

[Most awful is the state of the world at this time. Revolutions and counter-revolutions are occurring in mighty kingdoms, and in rapid succession: and no one can foresee what their end shall be. But it is a sweet consolatory thought, that God reigneth, and is accomplishing his own designs by these unconscious and unwitting agents. In the rise and fall of the four great empires, God wrought his own sovereign and unerring will. Cyrus little thought whose instrument he was, in the subversion of the Chaldean empire; nor did the mighty conquerors, who, in succession, reduced the Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires, know whose decrees they executed, or whose purposes they fulfilled. So, at this time, contending nations little imagine that there is One on high who makes use of them for the effecting of his own purposes; and who will infallibly direct their ambitious and selfish projects for the attainment of his own ends. Nothing can appear more independent of the Deity than “winds and storms:” yet they, all of them without exception, “fulfil his will:” and truly this may well compose our minds, in relation to the issue of these events: and whilst others are filled with terrors, we may calmly and confidently say, “Alleluia! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.”]

2.

In reference to the Church of God—

[This is at a low ebb. Whole countries, where religion once flourished, are now as destitute of it as if the Gospel had never been proclaimed unto them. Even the Churches of Asia, once so distinguished by the favour of Heaven, have their candlesticks removed, and are now immersed in total darkness. And Christendom itself is in a very dark degraded state; few, very few, experiencing the power of godliness, or adorning in any respect the principles they profess. But shall the light of divine truth be wholly extinguished, or the powers of darkness ultimately prevail against the Church of Christ? No: we are assured that “the gates of hell shall never prevail against it.” Not all the efforts of God’s enemies, therefore, need intimidate us, or partial failures tempt us to despond: for “God’s counsel shall stand; and He will do all his will.” God sees the impious conspiracies of the wicked; and he laughs them to scorn; saying, “Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion [Note: Psalms 2:1-6.].” And the time is surely coming, when “all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdom of the Lord and of his Christ:” so that, with as much confidence as if we saw this already actually existing, we may celebrate it with the loudest hallelujahs to God and to the Lamb.]

3.

In reference to our own souls—

[Many discouragements do we meet with in our way; so that we are ready at times to say, like David, “I shall one day perish by the hands of my great enemy.” But it is our privilege to know, that “God has laid help for us upon One that is mighty,” and that “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.” See the spirit of David, when replying to the boasts of the self-confident Goliath: such should be our spirit, in the midst of all our conflicts: nor should we doubt the issue of the contest, when we go forth in the name of the God of Israel, though we have nothing but a sling and a stone wherewith to oppose our mighty adversary. In a certain prospect of being “more than conquerors through Him that loveth us,” we may adopt the language of the prophet, “The Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint; and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me: who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord God will help me: who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old, as a garment: the moth shall eat them up [Note: Isaiah 50:7-9.].” Such was also the Apostle’s boast [Note: Romans 8:34-39.]—: and such also may be ours. “Let the floods lift up their waves ever so high, He who sitteth on high is mightier [Note: Psalms 93:1-4.]:” and therefore, in a certain dependence upon him, we may go on our way, assured of victory, and saying, “Alleluia! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.”]

See then, beloved, what ground we have in this passage,
1.

For submission—

[There will doubtless be many untoward circumstances, which, at the time, will prove very afflictive to our minds. But we must never forget, that, however fortuitous they may appear, or with whatever hostile intention they may be contrived, they are all ordered by unerring wisdom and unbounded love: and, however bitter they may be, we should say, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” We should remember, that, though “clouds and darkness may be round about him, righteousness and judgment are the basis of his throne.” Jacob’s complaint, “All these things are against me,” was far from being justified by the event: for the very events which he complained of, were the means ordained for the preservation of his whole family. Only bear in mind, that God rules on high; and then, whatever may occur, you will say, “It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good.”]

2.

For gratitude—

[See the hand of God in every thing; and your mouth will be ever filled with praise. What is painful, will be received as a token of his love; and what is pleasing, as a fruit of his favour. But, above all, the security which will be felt in the soul, and that in the midst of this tumultuous and ensnaring world—methinks, in the contemplation of this, a man’s songs of praise should be as loud and constant as those in heaven. Dear brethren, think of this: nothing is done, which does not proceed from the hand of God; nor shall any thing be done, which shall not “work together far your good.” Rejoice then, and shout for joy: and let your Alleluias go forth unto your God day and night.]

3.

For affiance—

[Put yourselves, and all your concerns, into the hands of your Almighty Friend: and fear not, though all the men on earth, and all the fiends in hell, should be confederate against you. If you cannot comprehend God’s dealings with you now, be content; and say, “What I know not now, I shall know hereafter.” Wait, to “see the end of the Lord:” and if, like Job, you are afflicted now, expect that, like him, you shall ere long see reason to glorify your God for all his dispensations, however dark, however afflictive. Of this you may be assured, that they who wait on him shall find him ready to help; and “those who trust in him shall not be ashamed or confounded world without end.”]


Verses 7-8

DISCOURSE: 2523
THE CHURCH’S UNION WITH CHRIST

Revelation 19:7-8. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and while: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

THERE are some passages of Scripture which are particularly marked, as it were, by God himself, in order that we might be aware of their importance, and give to them the attention they deserve. The destruction of antichrist, and the establishment of Christ’s universal kingdom, are here represented as already effected, and as being the subjects of most exalted joy to all the hosts of heaven. And that the Church of God in all ages might look forward with earnestness to these glorious events, St. John was ordered to write them in a book, and to declare with more than ordinary solemnity, that “they were the true sayings of God.”
Without entering too minutely into the figure by which the Church’s connexion with Christ is here expressed, we will call your attention to,

I.

The nuptials here announced—

The Bridegroom is our Lord Jesus Christ—
[In this view he is spoken of throughout the whole Scriptures. In the Old Testament by Isaiah [Note: Isaiah 54:5.], Ezekiel [Note: Ezekiel 16:8.], Hosea [Note: Hosea 2:19.], and by Solomon throughout the whole book of Canticles: and in the New Testament by John the Baptist [Note: John 3:29.], and John the Evangelist [Note: Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9.], and St. Paul [Note: Ephesians 5:31-32.], and by Christ himself [Note: Matthew 9:15; Matthew 22:2.].]

The bride is his Church both in her individual and collective capacity—
[Every soul at its first conversion is thus united to Christ, being made, not one flesh only, but also one spirit with him [Note: Ephesians 5:30. 1 Corinthians 6:17.]. Of the Corinthian Church individually did St. Paul say, “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ [Note: 2 Corinthians 11:2.].”

But it is of the whole Church more particularly that the Apostle speaks in my text. The whole world both of Jews and Gentiles shall in due season be united under one Head [Note: Ephesians 1:10. ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι.], and be prepared as a bride altogether fit for the heavenly Bridegroom. Doubtless it is the righteousness of Christ which alone can avail for her justification before God [Note: Dan 9:24 and Romans 3:22; Romans 10:4.]: but it is an inward righteousness of which my text speaks; and which constitutes the believer’s meetness [Note: Colossians 1:12.] for this high honour. In the latter day shall all the people of the world be converted to God, and become “all righteous [Note: Isaiah 60:21.];” not so much as a single Canaanite being left in the land [Note: Zechariah 14:21.]. Then shall all of them “be presented to him a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but be holy and without blemish [Note: Ephesians 5:27.].” This is the holy city that descends from God out of heaven, or in other words, this is “The Lamb’s wife [Note: Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9. before cited.].”]

Let us next advert to,

II.

The blessedness of the occasion—

To the bride it will be most blessed—
[Let every one look back and see from what a state his soul has been brought to a participation of this honour [Note: Ezekiel 16:4-6.], and to what dignity it is exalted: and can this be any thing but an occasion of joy? — — — Or let the state of the world at large be surveyed, and then let the change that shall be wrought in it be contemplated: verily the declarations of God respecting it appear utterly incredible. But thus it shall be. “All the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ;” and “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Well then may the whole creation be called on to exult with the saints, saying, “Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel [Note: Isaiah 44:23.].”]

To the bridegroom himself it will be an occasion of all imaginable honour and glory—
[To his electing love will every soul ascribe the blessedness conferred upon him [Note: John 15:16.]. Nay more, in this blessedness will every one see the fruit of redeeming love: “He loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, and present it to himself” in a state worthy of the relation which it has been ordained to sustain [Note: Ephesians 5:26.]. To all eternity will there be but one song of praise amongst them all, “To him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen [Note: Revelation 1:5-6.].” How sweet their communion with him will be, or how rich their communications from him, I shall not attempt to describe. Suffice it to say, that, as he will be the only source of happiness to all, so will he be to them the one object of love and gratitude, of praise and thanksgiving.]

But here is matter for serious inquiry—

[All of us hope to partake of this honour and happiness: but are we all really seeking it? Have we given up ourseles to Christ? If not, how can we hope that He should give up himself to us? Are we preparing daily for that blessed occasion, “putting off the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and putting on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness [Note: Ephesians 4:22-24.]? If not, how can we think that he will acknowledge us in that near relation to him, the relation of a spouse? His spouse must be “all glorious within, and her clothing be of wrought gold [Note: Psalms 45:13.],” or she will create in his mind nothing but disgust. I pray you, my dear brethren, deceive not your own selves. To surrender up yourselves entirely to him is nothing but your “reasonable service [Note: Romans 12:1.].” It is nothing more than what we ourselves expect in forming such a relation with a creature like ourselves. And, if you have formed no such purposes, and adopted no such measures, it is in vain to imagine that your unwarrantable hopes shall ever be realized. If you have but begun to renounce all other lovers, and to set your affections on him alone, the very angels before the throne of God have rejoiced on your account [Note: Luke 15:10.]. But, if you die before this devotion of yourselves to him has taken place, nothing remains to you to all eternity but “weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.” Behold then, as the Apostle said to the whole Corinthian Church, so say I to you, I am at this moment desirous of “espousing you to one Husband, that I may present you, both in your individual and collective capacity, as a chaste virgin to Christ [Note: 2 Corinthians 2:2.].” O that my overtures may not be in vain! If you be but willing to accede to my proposals, in the name of the Most High God do I declare to you, that “as a bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so will your God rejoice over you [Note: Isaiah 62:5.].” Be not discouraged by the thought of past unfaithfulness: for he will not be extreme to mark what has been done amiss. He bids you to return to him with an assurance of forgiveness [Note: Jeremiah 3:1; Jeremiah 3:14.]: and, if you henceforth “walk worthy of your high calling, he will acknowledge you as his before the whole assembled universe, and raise you to a full enjoyment of his presence and glory to all eternity [Note: Zephaniah 3:17.].]


Verse 9

DISCOURSE: 2524
THE MARRIAGE-SUPPER OF THE LAMB

Revelation 19:9. Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage-supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

THE period referred to seems to be that of the millennium; preparatory to which, we are well assured, the popish power will be destroyed. That is the power which, in the book of Revelation, is designated the harlot, the whore of Babylon; and her destruction is that which is predicted in the preceding context. The frequent repetition of the word “Alleluia,” (which is a Hebrew word,) in the preceding verses, has given occasion to commentators to suppose, that the destruction of popery will, in a pre-eminent degree, attract the attention of the Jews, and dispose them to embrace the faith of Christ. However this may be, it will certainly be a signal to the world at large for their uniting themselves unto the Lord: and then will come what is here called “The marriage-supper of the Lamb;” and a very extraordinary degree of happiness will be poured out upon all the guests that are partakers of it,

Let us consider,

I.

What is the feast here spoken of—

It is called, “The marriage-supper of the Lamb.” Now,
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Husband of his Church—
[This is frequently declared in the Holy Scriptures. The Prophet Isaiah says, “Thy Maker is thine husband [Note: Isaiah 54:5.]:” and David enters very particularly into the subject, drawing a parallel between the union of men with their female captives, and the union which takes place between the Lord Jesus Christ and his believing people. The captive maidens were to be allowed a month to forget their friends and relatives. And thus believers are first taken captive by the power of the Lord Jesus; and then, having forgotten all former bonds, they are to be united unto him for ever [Note: Isaiah 45:10-11.]. In the New Testament the same idea is frequently suggested. St. Paul speaks of believers being “presented as a chaste virgin to Christ [Note: 2 Corinthians 11:2.]:” and, in another place, after opening fully the duties of husbands and wives, he says, “I speak concerning Christ and his Church [Note: Ephesians 5:32.].”]

On occasion of his union with her, he gives a feast to all who shall accept his gracious invitations—
[The Church, collectively, is “the Lamb’s bride:” but individual believers are the guests invited to the marriage-feast. On the conversion of any soul, there is a joy diffused throughout all the angelic hosts [Note: Luke 15:10.]: and, in like manner, the union of any soul with Christ should be regarded as a signal for joy amongst all who “love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” On every such occasion is there, as it were, a feast prepared; and guests are invited to partake of it. It is an occasion worthy of a feast: for then all the purposes of God respecting that soul are, in great measure, accomplished. As far as relates to that soul, the Redeemer himself receives the recompence of all that he has done and suffered for us; yea, “he sees of the travail of his own soul, and is satisfied.” The soul was indeed “given unto Christ” from all eternity, and in that respect may be considered as “betrothed unto him.” But, when the soul surrenders up itself to Christ, and is united unto him by faith, then does it “become one spirit with Christ [Note: 1 Corinthians 6:17.],” and partakes of all that Christ himself possesses. Now, if among men an union of any person with his bride is judged worthy of feasting and congratulation amongst all their friends, much more may the union before contemplated, even that of a believing soul and the Lord Jesus Christ, be fitly considered as a ground of most exalted joy.]

But that which the text speaks of, is not so much the feast, as,

II.

The blessedness of all who partake of it—

Many reasons may be assigned why the guests at such a feast should be happy:

1.

They have the felicity of seeing the Bridegroom, and of hearing his voice—

[St. John tells us how highly he himself estemed this privilege: “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled [Note: John 3:29.].” And who can tell what it is to have such communion with him, unless he have first himself been admitted to it? Who but the believer can comprehend aright that declaration of St. John, “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ [Note: 1 John 1:3.]?” Verily this is “a joy with which the stranger intermeddleth not;” it is “unspeakable and glorified [Note: 1 Peter 1:8.];” even an earnest of heaven itself.]

2.

They partake of the highest enjoyment of which, in this fallen state, their souls are capable—

[The terms in which the feast itself is described may give us some idea of this: it is “a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined [Note: Isaiah 25:7.].” But hear the testimony of a guest: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over [Note: Psalms 23:5.].” Hear another testimony: “I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet unto my taste. He brought me to the banqueting-house, and his banner over me was love [Note: Son 2:3-4].” But why should we attend to individuals? However strongly they may express themselves, they can never convey to us any adequate idea of their bliss: for we are expressly told, that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:9.].”]

3.

The blessedness which they begin to taste on earth shall be perfected and continued to all eternity in heaven—

[There shall the table be spread again, and every believer be admitted to it. There are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, feasting before the Lord: there is Lazarus sitting next to Abraham himself: and there shall all true believers sit down with them: and the viands, of which they here obtained a taste, shall, with infinitely augmented zest, be partaken of by them to the full, through all eternity. But who shall paint the blessedness of that state? If even here the believer’s joy is “unspeakable,” what shall it there be? But we must be content to wait for our summons there: for, in attempting to describe that bliss, we only “darken counsel by words without knowledge.”]

Address—
1.

Those who are disposed to decline the invitation given them—

[You make excuses, which you now judge sufficient to justify your contempt of the mercy shewn you — — — But your “making light of it” is viewed with other eyes by the heavenly Bridegroom. He feels that you are offering to him the greatest indignity: and he declares, that “you shall never taste of his supper,” but shall be for ever excluded from it, and be left in outer darkness to bewail your fate. O! who can declare what your feelings will then be? and what weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, will be your portion for evermore? Bring not on yourselves, my dear brethren, this awful judgment. I am sent, not only to invite, but to “compel you to come in.” O that I knew how to address you, so that I might at last prevail! “Wherefore do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good; and let your souls delight themselves in fatness [Note: Isaiah 55:2.].”]

2.

Those who are willing to accept it—

[Come without delay, lest the door should be closed, and your exclusion be for ever sealed. If you say, “I am afraid to come, because I do not possess a wedding-garment;” I answer, The Bridegroom himself has provided garments for all his guests; and if only you seek one from him, it shall not be withheld. Not only will he put upon you that justifying righteousness which he himself wrought out for you by his obedience unto death, but he will “make you all glorious within,” and render you fully meet for the enjoyment of his presence, and the everlasting possession of his glory.
It may seem, perhaps, that we are speaking more than we are authorized to declare. But indeed it is not so: for “these are the true sayings of God,” as my text informs you: and you shall find them true, if you will accept the invitation now sent you, and cast yourselves on him, in a firm reliance on his word. “Faithful is He that calleth you; who also will do it.” Only come to him “strong in faith;” and you may rest assured that “not one good thing shall fail you, of all that he has ever promised.”]


Verse 10

DISCOURSE: 2525
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS

Revelation 19:10. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

GOD is known by the works which he has made; on every one of which there is an impress of Omnipotence. Nor is his agency less visible in the suspension of the laws of nature (as they are called), than in the formation of them. Hence the miracles wrought by our blessed Lord were always appealed to as undeniable attestations to his character, and decisive evidences of his divine mission. There is yet a third mark of a divine interposition, which is not at all inferior to either of the former; I mean, the accomplishment of prophecy. In some respects this species of proof seems superior to the others, because its weight is continually increasing; whilst that of creation is stationary; and that arising from miracles loses half its force, as soon as the spectators of those miracles are taken from us. On this account, perhaps, it is called “a more sure word of prophecy.” Certain it is, that God rests on this his exclusive claim to divine honour; and challenges the gods of the heathen to evince their title to divinity by one single proof of their prescience [Note: Isaiah 41:23.].

From this conviction, St. John fell at the feet of the angel who had revealed so many things to him, and began to render him that worship which was due from a creature to his Creator. But the angel undeceived him; and forbad him to execute his purpose; because he was only the servant and messenger of Jehovah, to whom alone such honour was due. “I am thy fellow-servant,” says he: “Worship God; for the testimony of Jesus,” which you have so copiously heard from me, is not mine, but is sent to thee by the Spirit of prophecy,” that is, by the Spirit of God, from whom alone all prophetic knowledge proceeds: he therefore, and he alone, is to receive any such tribute at thy hands.
This appears to be the scope and meaning of the words before us: in our further explanation of which we shall shew,

I.

That to testify of Jesus is the great end of all prophecy—

The lines of prophecy are indeed exceeding various; yet do they all meet in one common centre, the Lord Jesus Christ [Note: Joh 1:45 and Act 10:42-43 and John 5:39.]. In some view or other, the application of prophecy to him will always be found just: it may respect him more immediately or more remotely; but Him it always does respect; and it presents us with a clear compendious view of,

1.

His nature and character—

[It represents him as “Emmanuel, God with us,” even “the mighty God:” and at the same time informs us that he should be “a Child born, a Son given;” and that being born of a pure virgin, he should be “a man, Jehovah’s fellow.”
Such does it represent his nature to be, perfect God and perfect man; and his character it describes in all its parts. He was to be infinitely holy, “loving righteousness, and hating iniquity.” His wisdom also was to be infinite; for he was to have “a spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and of might, of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and was to be quick of understanding in the fear of the Lord.” He was to be meek and lowly, so as “not to break a bruised reed or quench the smoking flax;” and tenderly compassionate, “carrying the lambs in his bosom, and gently leading them that were with young.” He was to be invincibly patient also, being, like “a lamb led to the slaughter, or sheep before her shearers, dumb:” he gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. In short, he was to be “fairer than ten thousand, and altogether lovely.”]

2.

His work and offices—

[He was to be the “ever-living Redeemer,” who should “give redemption to his people,” and by the blood of his covenant should bring up his prisoners out of the pit wherein there is no water.” In order to execute this work, he was to be “a Prophet like unto Moses,” who should “give light to the Gentiles” as Moses had done to the Jews, and “whose instructions the whole world at the peril of their souls must hear.” He was also, as a Priest, to make, not beasts, but “his own soul, an offering for sin;” “to have our iniquities laid on him;” to be himself “wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities;” yea, “to be cut off, but not for himself;” and thus to “make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in an everlasting righteousness.” He was also to “make intercession for transgressors;” and by presenting himself before the mercy-seat as “the Lord our Righteousness,” he was entirely to “make an end of sin,” so that “in him all the seed of Israel might be justified and might glory.” He was also, as a King, to be “set on God’s holy hill of Zion;” and to be enthroned “at God’s right hand, till all his enemies should be made his footstool.” Whatever had before reduced his people to “captivity, he was to lead captive,” and to reign over “a people rendered willing and obedient in the day of his power.”]

3.

His kingdom and glory—

[The rise and fall of other kingdoms are often the subjects of prophecy, but it is only because of their relation to the kingdom of Christ. The smallest things that relate to that are deemed of sufficient importance to occupy a very large space; in the sacred writings, whilst the numberless events which appear great in our eyes are passed over without the least notice. But the truth is, that “Christ is all, and in all:” His kingdom alone is regarded by God; and nothing has any real importance but in proportion to the connexion which it has with that. The empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome are mentioned as successively to flourish for an appointed season; but that of Christ was afterwards to be established on the ruins of them all, and “to stand for ever:” “to Him should be given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him: His dominion is to be an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
What we read of respecting the destruction of antichrist and all his adherents, is all with a view to the ultimate enlargement and universal establishment of the Messiah’s empire, that “He may be King over all the earth, and that there may be one Lord, and his name one.”]
Now these prophecies have been delivered in a variety of ways; but it is certain,

II.

That that testimony, by whomsoever delivered, proceeds only from the Spirit of God—

The angel who instructed John, told him, that the testimony which he had given of Jesus proceeded from “the Spirit of prophecy.” This is universally true. From him proceeds,

1.

The revelation of it to the world—

[What was the substance of the prophetic declarations, St. Peter tells us; “The prophets testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” By whose agency also they were made known, he tells us;—it was “the Spirit of Christ:” and so far were the prophets from being the authors of their own report, that they were forced “to inquire and search diligently what the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.” In another place, he extends this observation to all the prophets from the beginning of the world: “Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Of the whole sacred volume also St. Paul affirms the same: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”
What the motives were which induced God thus to reveal his purposes to men, we are at no loss to declare. He did it, first, to prepare the world for the reception of the Messiah; next, to point out that Messiah when he was to come, so that no possibility of doubt could exist respecting him; and, lastly to make us know infallibly, that all which he has revealed respecting the ultimate state of the righteous and the wicked shall surely be fulfilled in its season.]

2.

The manifestation of it to the souls of men—

[Man can no more apply the prophecies with power to his own soul, than he could have suggested them from his own mind. He must have a spiritual discernment given him before he can know the things of the Spirit [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:11-12; 1 Corinthians 2:14.]. Could the prophecies alone have enlightened the mind of man, St. Paul, who was so conversant with them, would have been convinced by them. But he knew not Christ, till “it pleased God to reveal his Son in him,” and “to open his understanding to understand the Scriptures:” thus also was “the testimony of Christ confirmed by the Holy Spirit in” the Christians at Corinth [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:5-6.]. And in like manner the Holy Spirit still “testifies of Christ [Note: John 15:26.];” yea, it is his office to do so, even to “glorify Christ, by taking of the things of Christ, and shewing them unto us.” Without his agency, the external publication of the Gospel would have no effect: “Paul might plant, and Apollos water, to no purpose, unless God interposed to give the increase.”]

We may learn then from this subject,
1.

With what view we should study the Scriptures—

[If the end of them all be to testify of Christ, then must we search them, in order to obtain or grow in the knowledge of Christ. It is of no use to amuse ourselves with studying the prophecies, unless we be led by them to believe in Christ, to put our trust in him as the only Saviour of the world, and to commit all our concerns to his wise and gracious disposal. All that has been accomplished, or is now accomplishing, or yet remains to be accomplished, must lead us to realize the thought of his superintending providence, and convince us that not one jot or tittle that he has spoken shall ever fail. Eternity shall give an infallible exposition of all that has been revealed, and every soul of man attest its truth.]

2.

In what manner we should study them—

[We should study them not as the word of man, but as the word of God; we should study them with humble fervent prayer; we should beg that God would “open our eyes to see the wondrous things of his law,” and “give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ.” If we lean to our own understandings, we shall err: but if we seek the teaching of God’s Spirit, “he will give us the anointing of the Holy One, that shall teach us all things;” he will shine into our hearts “to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” “The meek he will guide in judgment, the meek he will teach his way.”]

3.

To whom we should give the glory, if we be savingly instructed by them—

[We cannot take it to ourselves, for “no man can say that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost.” Nor are we to give it to the instrument, whether he be man or angel; for he is but an instrument, a servant of the living God. He may be, he ought to be, “esteemed very highly in honour for his work’s sake;” but we must never rob God of his glory to give it to a creature. Is any of you disposed to idolize the creature? “See thou do it not.” “Worship God,” and God only; for the testimony which you have received concerning Jesus Christ is not our testimony, but God’s: “the Spirit of prophecy” revealed it, and the “Spirit of prophecy” applied it to your hearts and consciences: to him therefore be ascribed exclusively, and at all times, the praise, the honour, and the glory for evermore.]


Verse 16

DISCOURSE: 2526
CHRIST THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

Revelation 19:16. He hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

OF all the Apostles none seem to have been so highly favoured as John. While yet. Jesus was on earth, John was characterized above all others as the Disciple whom Jesus loved; and, after his exaltation to heaven, John was preserved in the world many years longer than any other Apostle, and was honoured with a multitude of visions declarative of the state of the Church to the remotest period of time. The vision contained in the context foretels the destruction of antichrist in the latter days, and the consequent establishment of Christ’s kingdom upon earth. The person riding upon a white horse as a mighty Conqueror, is the Lord Jesus Christ himself; who is before described as having “eyes like a flame of fire,” and “a sharp sword going forth out of his mouth [Note: Compare Revelation 19:12; Revelation 19:15. with Revelation 1:14; Revelation 1:16.];” who is beyond all doubt “the word of God [Note: Compare Revelation 19:13. with John 1:1; John 1:14.],” and whose name is truly “Wonderful;” being incomprehensible to any except himself and his eternal Father [Note: Compare Revelation 19:12. with Isa 9:6 and Matthew 11:27.]. In noticing that part of the description which is contained in the text, there are two things to be considered:

I.

The name by which he is called—

The august title which is here given to Christ denotes,

1.

His universal dominion—

[The kings and lords of this world have only a limited sway: they rule over a certain tract of country and a certain portion of mankind, but they are independent of each other. But Jesus Christ rules over them: they are all his vassals, and more entirely subject to his will than the meanest of their servants are to theirs. There is not a principality or power in earth, or heaven, or hell, that is not altogether dependent upon him. He has “a name given him that is above every name [Note: Philippians 2:9-11.];” “he is Heir and Lord of all [Note: Hebrews 1:2.];” “and he doth according to his will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; nor can any stay his hand or say unto him, What doest thou [Note: Daniel 4:35.]?”

It is true that there are many who are enemies to him, and rebels against his authority: but though they think to break his bands asunder and cast away his cords from them, he “has his hook in their nose and his bridle in their jaws,” and says to them, as he does to the sea, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.” They all unwittingly fulfil his will, even while they labour most to counteract it: and, when they seem most to prevail against him, they accomplish only his secret purposes [Note: Exodus 9:16. Isaiah 10:5-7; Isaiah 10:15. His dominion over his Church in particular, might also be here opened, together with the manner in which he protects his people, and reigns in all their hearts Ephesians 1:20-23.].]

2.

His proper Godhead—

[The name here given to Christ is that which belongs to the one supreme God [Note: Deuteronomy 10:17.], and to him alone [Note: 1 Timothy 6:15-16.] — — — And well may it be given to him, since there is not any other name of the Deity which he does not bear [Note: Isaiah 40:3. with Mark 1:1-3. The mighty God. Isaiah 9:6.] — — — Nor any attribute which he does not possess [Note: Eternity, Micah 5:2. Omnipresence, Matthew 28:20. Omniscience, John 21:17. Omnipotence, Matthew 28:18.] — — — Nor any honour peculiar to the Deity, which he does not receive [Note: Acts 7:59. John 14:1. Joh 5:23.] — — — We may be assured therefore that Jesus is not a mere subordinate King, but “God over all, blessed for evermore [Note: Romans 9:5.].”]

While the text proclaims his name, it leads us very particularly to notice,

II.

The manner in which it is manifested—

Whether the inscription of his name upon “his vesture” refer to any custom of that nature that obtained among great men or conquerors, we cannot say: but the inscription of it upon “his thigh” must certainly mean that his name was written upon his sword, which hung upon his thigh [Note: Psalms 45:3.]. Of the general import of the passage we have no doubt: his “vesture dipped in blood,” denoted his past victories [Note: Isaiah 63:1-4.], and his sword hanging upon his thigh, denoted his state of preparation for future triumphs; the inscription therefore altogether means,

1.

That he has manifested his power in his past victories—

[Jesus has already given abundant proofs of his almighty power and universal dominion. Look at Pharaoh and his hosts; how vain was their opposition to him; how signal and complete their ruin! Behold the seven nations of Canaan; how they melted before him as snow before the meridian sun! See his once highly favoured people the Jews; how he has verified his word towards them, “wiping Jerusalem as a dish, and turning it upside down [Note: 2 Kings 21:13.].” Look at all his enemies in every age; Have they prevailed? Is not His cause still triumphant? and have not multitudes of his enemies already been made his footstool? Yes, not Julian only (the apostate), but thousands and tens of thousands have been forced to acknowledge the power of Jesus, and, with the affrighted Bethshemites, to cry, “Who shall stand before this holy Lord God [Note: 1 Samuel 6:20.]?” If then the “Lord is known by the judgments which he executeth [Note: Psalms 9:16.],” our blessed Saviour has made known in this very way his eternal power and Godhead.]

2.

That he will manifest it in his future victories—

[There is a time coming when Jesus shall put forth his almighty power, and “subdue all nations to the obedience of faith.” In the words following our text, he declares how extensive shall be his victories, and that all who oppose him shall be as tow before the fire. His victories here will be easy, certain, terrible [Note: Isaiah 25:10-11.Psalms 7:11-13; Psalms 7:11-13.Deuteronomy 32:41-42; Deuteronomy 32:41-42.]. But what if we look into the eternal world? O what proofs shall we there see of his irresistible, almighty power [Note: Psalms 11:6; Psalms 21:8-9.]! Let us be assured of this, that, though we be kings and lords, we must become his subjects; and that, if we will not bow to the sceptre of his grace, “we shall be broken in pieces, as a potter’s vessel.”]

Infer—
1.

How deeply are we concerned to know whether Christ be our King!

[We must not imagine that he is our King, merely because we profess ourselves his subjects. We must inquire, Whether we have been translated from the kingdom of Satan, and brought as strangers into the kingdom of Christ [Note: Colossians 1:13.]? We must also inquire, Whether we are living in obedience to him? For there is nothing more certain, than that “his servants and subjects we are to whom we obey [Note: Romans 6:16. John 15:14.].” If we are not his, there can be no doubt whose we are: and therefore we should labour to ascertain the point, and to have our evidence clear that “we are Christ’s.”]

2.

How awful will it be to be found amongst his enemies!

[“We may be sure, whoever we are, that he will overcome at last:” his name is a pledge of universal conquest [Note: Revelation 17:14.Luke 19:27; Luke 19:27.]. And how terrible will be the wrath of the Lamb [Note: Revelation 6:16.]! O let us kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and we perish from the way [Note: Psalms 2:12.].]

3.

How secure are all his faithful subjects!

[Other kings may be subdued; but He never can: other kings may bring the heaviest calamities upon their subjects; He will bring nothing to them but peace and joy. “None can harm us, if we be his followers.” “If He be for us, none can be effectually against us.” “Let the children of Zion therefore be joyful in their King [Note: Psalms 149:2.]:” yea, to all his subjects we will say, with David, “The Lord is King over all the earth; sing ye praises with understanding [Note: Psalms 47:7.].”]


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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 19". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/revelation-19.html. 1832.