Revelation of John 1** The Book of the Revelation of St. John consists of twoprincipal divisions. 1. Relates to "the things which are," thatis, the then present state of the church, and contains theepistle of John to the seven churches, and his account of theappearance of the Lord Jesus, and his direction to the apostleto write what he beheld, ch. #1:9-20|. Also the addresses orepistles to seven churches of Asia. These, doubtless, hadreference to the state of the respective churches, as they thenexisted, but contain excellent precepts and exhortations,commendations and reproofs, promises and threatenings, suitableto instruct the Christian church at all times. 2. Contains aprophecy of "the things which shall be hereafter," and describesthe future state of the church, from the time when the apostlebeheld the visions here recorded. It is intended for ourspiritual improvement; to warn the careless sinner, point outthe way of salvation to the awakened inquirer, build up the weakbeliever, comfort the afflicted and tempted Christian, and, wemay especially add, to strengthen the martyr of Christ, underthe cruel persecutions and sufferings inflicted by Satan and hisfollowers. * The Divine origin, the design, and the importance of thisbook. (1-3) The apostle John salutes the seven churches of Asia.(4-8) Declares when, where, and how, the revelation was made tohim. (9-11) His vision, in which he saw Christ appear. (12-20)1-3 This book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ; the wholeBible is so; for all revelation comes through Christ, and allrelates to him. Its principal subject is to discover thepurposes of God concerning the affairs of the church, and of thenations as connected therewith, to the end of the world. Theseevents would surely come to pass; and they would begin to cometo pass very shortly. Though Christ is himself God, and haslight and life in himself, yet, as Mediator between God and man,he receives instructions from the Father. To him we owe theknowledge of what we are to expect from God, and what he expectsfrom us. The subject of this revelation was, the things thatmust shortly come to pass. On all who read or hear the words ofthe prophecy, a blessing is pronounced. Those are well employedwho search the Bible. It is not enough that we read and hear,but we must keep the things that are written, in our memories,in our minds, in our affections, and in practice, and we shallbe blessed in the deed. Even the mysteries and difficulties ofthis book are united with discoveries of God, suited to impressthe mind with awe, and to purify the soul of the reader, thoughhe may not discern the prophetic meaning. No part of Scripturemore fully states the gospel, and warns against the evil of sin. 4-8 There can be no true peace, where there is not true grace;and where grace goeth before, peace will follow. This blessingis in the name of God, of the Holy Trinity, it is an act ofadoration. The Father is first named; he is described as theJehovah who is, and who was, and who is to come, eternal,unchangeable. The Holy Spirit is called the seven spirits, theperfect Spirit of God, in whom there is a diversity of gifts andoperations. The Lord Jesus Christ was from eternity, a Witnessto all the counsels of God. He is the First-born from the dead,who will by his own power raise up his people. He is the Princeof the kings of the earth; by him their counsels are overruled,and to him they are accountable. Sin leaves a stain of guilt andpollution upon the soul. Nothing can fetch out this stain butthe blood of Christ; and Christ shed his own blood to satisfyDivine justice, and purchase pardon and purity for his people.Christ has made believers kings and priests to God and hisFather. As such they overcome the world, mortify sin, governtheir own spirits, resist Satan, prevail with God in prayer, andshall judge the world. He has made them priests, given themaccess to God, enabled them to offer spiritual and acceptablesacrifices, and for these favours they are bound to ascribe tohim dominion and glory for ever. He will judge the world.Attention is called to that great day when all will see thewisdom and happiness of the friends of Christ, and the madnessand misery of his enemies. Let us think frequently upon thesecond coming of Christ. He shall come, to the terror of thosewho wound and crucify him by apostacy: he shall come, to theastonishment of the whole world of the ungodly. He is theBeginning and the End; all things are from him and for him; heis the Almighty; the same eternal and unchanged One. And if wewould be numbered with his saints in glory everlasting, we mustnow willing submit to him receive him, and honour him as asaviour, who we believe will come to be our Judge. Alas, thatthere should be many, who would wish never to die, and thatthere should not be a day of judgment! 9-11 It was the apostle's comfort that he did not suffer as anevil-doer, but for the testimony of Jesus, for bearing witnessto Christ as the Immanuel, the Saviour; and the Spirit of gloryand of God rested upon this persecuted apostle. The day and timewhen he had this vision was the Lord's day, the Christiansabbath, the first day of the week, observed in remembrance ofthe resurrection of Christ. Let us who call him "Our Lord,"honour him on his own day. The name shows how this sacred dayshould be observed; the Lord's day should be wholly devoted tothe Lord, and none of its hours employed in a sensual, worldlymanner, or in amusements. He was in a serious, heavenly,spiritual frame, under the gracious influences of the Spirit ofGod. Those who would enjoy communion with God on the Lord's day,must seek to draw their thoughts and affections from earthlythings. And if believers are kept on the Lord's holy day, frompublic ordinances and the communion of saints, by necessity andnot by choice, they may look for comfort in meditation andsecret duties, from the influences of the Spirit; and by hearingthe voice and contemplating the glory of their beloved Saviour,from whose gracious words and power no confinement or outwardcircumstances can separate them. An alarm was given as with thesound of the trumpet, and then the apostle heard the voice ofChrist. 12-20 The churches receive their light from Christ and thegospel, and hold it forth to others. They are goldencandlesticks; they should be precious and pure; not only theministers, but the members of the churches; their light shouldso shine before men, as to engage others to give glory to God.And the apostle saw as though of the Lord Jesus Christ appearedin the midst of the golden candlesticks. He is with his churchesalways, to the end of the world, filling them with light, andlife, and love. He was clothed with a robe down to the feet,perhaps representing his righteousness and priesthood, asMediator. This vest was girt with a golden girdle, which maydenote how precious are his love and affection for his people.His head and hairs white like wool and as snow, may signify hismajesty, purity, and eternity. His eyes as a flame of fire, mayrepresent his knowledge of the secrets of all hearts, and of themost distant events. His feet like fine brass burning in afurnace, may denote the firmness of his appointments, and theexcellence of his proceedings. His voice as the sound of manywaters, may represent the power of his word, to remove or todestroy. The seven stars were emblems of the ministers of theseven churches to which the apostle was ordered to write, andwhom Christ upheld and directed. The sword represented hisjustice, and his word, piercing to the dividing asunder of souland spirit, #Heb 4:12|. His countenance was like the sun, whenit shines clearly and powerfully; its strength too bright anddazzling for mortal eyes to behold. The apostle was overpoweredwith the greatness of the lustre and glory in which Christappeared. We may well be contented to walk by faith, while hereupon earth. The Lord Jesus spake words of comfort; Fear not.Words of instruction; telling who thus appeared. And his Divinenature; the First and the Last. His former sufferings; I wasdead: the very same whom his disciples saw upon the cross. Hisresurrection and life; I have conquered death, and am partakerof endless life. His office and authority; sovereign dominion inand over the invisible world, as the Judge of all, from whosesentence there is no appeal. Let us listen to the voice ofChrist, and receive the tokens of his love, for what can hewithhold from those for whose sins he has died? May we then obeyhis word, and give up ourselves wholly to him who directs allthings aright.
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