Revelation of John 1

** The Book of the Revelation of St. John consists of two

principal divisions. 1. Relates to "the things which are," that

is, the then present state of the church, and contains the

epistle of John to the seven churches, and his account of the

appearance of the Lord Jesus, and his direction to the apostle

to write what he beheld, ch. #1:9-20|. Also the addresses or

epistles to seven churches of Asia. These, doubtless, had

reference to the state of the respective churches, as they then

existed, but contain excellent precepts and exhortations,

commendations and reproofs, promises and threatenings, suitable

to instruct the Christian church at all times. 2. Contains a

prophecy of "the things which shall be hereafter," and describes

the future state of the church, from the time when the apostle

beheld the visions here recorded. It is intended for our

spiritual improvement; to warn the careless sinner, point out

the way of salvation to the awakened inquirer, build up the weak

believer, comfort the afflicted and tempted Christian, and, we

may especially add, to strengthen the martyr of Christ, under

the cruel persecutions and sufferings inflicted by Satan and his


* The Divine origin, the design, and the importance of this

book. (1-3) The apostle John salutes the seven churches of Asia.

(4-8) Declares when, where, and how, the revelation was made to

him. (9-11) His vision, in which he saw Christ appear. (12-20)

1-3 This book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ; the whole

Bible is so; for all revelation comes through Christ, and all

relates to him. Its principal subject is to discover the

purposes of God concerning the affairs of the church, and of the

nations as connected therewith, to the end of the world. These

events would surely come to pass; and they would begin to come

to pass very shortly. Though Christ is himself God, and has

light and life in himself, yet, as Mediator between God and man,

he receives instructions from the Father. To him we owe the

knowledge of what we are to expect from God, and what he expects

from us. The subject of this revelation was, the things that

must shortly come to pass. On all who read or hear the words of

the prophecy, a blessing is pronounced. Those are well employed

who 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 shall

be blessed in the deed. Even the mysteries and difficulties of

this book are united with discoveries of God, suited to impress

the mind with awe, and to purify the soul of the reader, though

he may not discern the prophetic meaning. No part of Scripture

more 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 blessing

is in the name of God, of the Holy Trinity, it is an act of

adoration. The Father is first named; he is described as the

Jehovah who is, and who was, and who is to come, eternal,

unchangeable. The Holy Spirit is called the seven spirits, the

perfect Spirit of God, in whom there is a diversity of gifts and

operations. The Lord Jesus Christ was from eternity, a Witness

to 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 Prince

of the kings of the earth; by him their counsels are overruled,

and to him they are accountable. Sin leaves a stain of guilt and

pollution upon the soul. Nothing can fetch out this stain but

the blood of Christ; and Christ shed his own blood to satisfy

Divine justice, and purchase pardon and purity for his people.

Christ has made believers kings and priests to God and his

Father. As such they overcome the world, mortify sin, govern

their own spirits, resist Satan, prevail with God in prayer, and

shall judge the world. He has made them priests, given them

access to God, enabled them to offer spiritual and acceptable

sacrifices, and for these favours they are bound to ascribe to

him dominion and glory for ever. He will judge the world.

Attention is called to that great day when all will see the

wisdom and happiness of the friends of Christ, and the madness

and misery of his enemies. Let us think frequently upon the

second coming of Christ. He shall come, to the terror of those

who wound and crucify him by apostacy: he shall come, to the

astonishment of the whole world of the ungodly. He is the

Beginning and the End; all things are from him and for him; he

is the Almighty; the same eternal and unchanged One. And if we

would be numbered with his saints in glory everlasting, we must

now willing submit to him receive him, and honour him as a

saviour, who we believe will come to be our Judge. Alas, that

there should be many, who would wish never to die, and that

there should not be a day of judgment!
9-11 It was the apostle's comfort that he did not suffer as an

evil-doer, but for the testimony of Jesus, for bearing witness

to Christ as the Immanuel, the Saviour; and the Spirit of glory

and of God rested upon this persecuted apostle. The day and time

when he had this vision was the Lord's day, the Christian

sabbath, the first day of the week, observed in remembrance of

the resurrection of Christ. Let us who call him "Our Lord,"

honour him on his own day. The name shows how this sacred day

should be observed; the Lord's day should be wholly devoted to

the Lord, and none of its hours employed in a sensual, worldly

manner, or in amusements. He was in a serious, heavenly,

spiritual frame, under the gracious influences of the Spirit of

God. Those who would enjoy communion with God on the Lord's day,

must seek to draw their thoughts and affections from earthly

things. And if believers are kept on the Lord's holy day, from

public ordinances and the communion of saints, by necessity and

not by choice, they may look for comfort in meditation and

secret duties, from the influences of the Spirit; and by hearing

the voice and contemplating the glory of their beloved Saviour,

from whose gracious words and power no confinement or outward

circumstances can separate them. An alarm was given as with the

sound of the trumpet, and then the apostle heard the voice of

12-20 The churches receive their light from Christ and the

gospel, and hold it forth to others. They are golden

candlesticks; they should be precious and pure; not only the

ministers, but the members of the churches; their light should

so shine before men, as to engage others to give glory to God.

And the apostle saw as though of the Lord Jesus Christ appeared

in the midst of the golden candlesticks. He is with his churches

always, to the end of the world, filling them with light, and

life, and love. He was clothed with a robe down to the feet,

perhaps representing his righteousness and priesthood, as

Mediator. This vest was girt with a golden girdle, which may

denote how precious are his love and affection for his people.

His head and hairs white like wool and as snow, may signify his

majesty, purity, and eternity. His eyes as a flame of fire, may

represent his knowledge of the secrets of all hearts, and of the

most distant events. His feet like fine brass burning in a

furnace, may denote the firmness of his appointments, and the

excellence of his proceedings. His voice as the sound of many

waters, may represent the power of his word, to remove or to

destroy. The seven stars were emblems of the ministers of the

seven churches to which the apostle was ordered to write, and

whom Christ upheld and directed. The sword represented his

justice, and his word, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul

and spirit, #Heb 4:12|. His countenance was like the sun, when

it shines clearly and powerfully; its strength too bright and

dazzling for mortal eyes to behold. The apostle was overpowered

with the greatness of the lustre and glory in which Christ

appeared. We may well be contented to walk by faith, while here

upon earth. The Lord Jesus spake words of comfort; Fear not.

Words of instruction; telling who thus appeared. And his Divine

nature; the First and the Last. His former sufferings; I was

dead: the very same whom his disciples saw upon the cross. His

resurrection and life; I have conquered death, and am partaker

of endless life. His office and authority; sovereign dominion in

and over the invisible world, as the Judge of all, from whose

sentence there is no appeal. Let us listen to the voice of

Christ, and receive the tokens of his love, for what can he

withhold from those for whose sins he has died? May we then obey

his word, and give up ourselves wholly to him who directs all

things aright.
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