Revelation of John 7* A pause between two great periods. (1-3) The peace, happiness,and safety of the saints, as signified by an angel's sealing144,000. (4-8) A song of praise. (9-12) The blessedness andglory of those that suffered martyrdom for Christ. (13-17)1-8 In the figurative language of Scripture, the blowing of thefour winds together, means a dreadful and general destruction.But the destruction is delayed. Seals were used to mark for eachperson his own possessions. This mark is the witness of the HolyGhost, printed in the hearts of believers. And the Lord wouldnot suffer his people to be afflicted before they were marked,that they might be prepared against all conflicts. And, observe,of those who are thus sealed by the Spirit, the seal must be onthe forehead, plainly to be seen alike by friends and foes, butnot by the believer himself, except as he looks stedfastly inthe glass of God's word. The number of those who were sealed,may be understood to stand for the remnant of people which Godreserved. Though the church of God is but a little flock, incomparison with the wicked world, yet it is a society reallylarge, and to be still more enlarged. Here the universal churchis figured under the type of Israel. 9-12 The first fruits of Christ having led the way, theGentiles converted later follow, and ascribe their salvation toGod and the Redeemer, with triumph. In acts of religious worshipwe come nigh to God, and must come by Christ; the throne of Godcould not be approached by sinners, were it not for a Mediator.They were clothed with the robes of justification, holiness, andvictory; and they had palms in their hands, as conquerors usedto appear in their triumphs. Such a glorious appearance will thefaithful servants of God make at last, when they have fought thegood fight of faith, and finished their course. With a loudvoice they gave to God and the Lamb the praise of the greatsalvation. Those who enjoy eternal happiness must and will blessboth the Father and the Son; they will do it publicly, and withfervour. We see what is the work of heaven, and we ought tobegin it now, to have our hearts much in it, and to long forthat world where our praises, as well as our happiness, will bemade perfect. 13-17 Faithful Christians deserve our notice and respect; weshould mark the upright. Those who would gain knowledge, mustnot be ashamed to seek instruction from any who can give it. Theway to heaven is through many tribulations; but tribulation, howgreat soever, shall not separate us from the love of God.Tribulation makes heaven more welcome and more glorious. It isnot the blood of the martyrs, but the blood of the Lamb, thatcan wash away sin, and make the soul pure and clean in the sightof God; other blood stains, this is the only blood that makesthe robes of the saints white and clean. They are happy in theiremployment; heaven is a state of service, though not ofsuffering; it is a state of rest, but not of sloth; it isapraising, delightful rest. They have had sorrows, and shed manytears on account of sin and affliction; but God himself, withhis own gracious hand, will wipe those tears away. He deals withthem as a tender father. This should support the Christian underall his troubles. As all the redeemed owe their happiness whollyto sovereign mercy; so the work and worship of God their Saviouris their element; his presence and favour complete theirhappiness, nor can they conceive of any other joy. To Him mayall his people come; from him they receive every needed grace;and to him let them offer all praise and glory.
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