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In this chapter the prophet gives us a view of the mercy, power, wisdom and providential care of the Eternal Jeho vah, who is God over all — blessed for ever more. Amen. The same John has informed us that " no man has seen God at any time."-1 John, 4: 12. We can see him only by the great attributes and perfections of his nature; he being that pure and eternal Spirit who fills universal nature with his presence. Our Savior also "God is a Spirit, and they who worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth."-John, 4: 24.
Verse 1: "After this I looked; and behold, a door was opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter."
Verse 2: "And immediately I was in the Spirit: and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne."
These verses show that after St. John had written to the seven churches of Asia-being still an exile in the isle of Patmos he was wrapt up in meditation and divine contemplation. The Spirit of God wrought powerfully in him, for the first voice he heard was as it were a trumpet. Like the apostle Paul, he was caught up to see things unutterable. In this state of mind the heavenly voice said: Come up hither, or I will give thee more exalted ideas, and show thee things which must be hereafter. Immediately he received
an additional measure of the divine influence, and the first thing which presented itself to his understanding was throne, and one sat thereon.
Verse 3: "And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round abou the throne, in sight like unto an emerald." I find that the jasper and sardine stones were beautifully variegated; which shows that as God is manifest in all his works we may be.
hold the amazing variety of them, and also that his ways are unsearchable and past finding out. There was a rainbow round about the throne. This bow was a complete emblem of God's covenant with man; for God said to Noah, after his great deliverance: "This is the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generation. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a token of a covenant between me and the earth."-Gen. 9: 12, 13. This bow was in his sight like an emerald, which shows the firm and durable existence of his covenant-unutterably glorious, and shows to man a covenant, by the Mediator, Jesus Christ.
Verse 4: "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." This brings to our view the covenant made and the law given to the twelve tribes of Israel, and is to stand for perpetual generations. In con firmation of this, the Redeemer has said: "Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle of the law shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."-Matt. 5: 18. He further informs us, (verse 17,) that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. By a careful examination of the gospel covenant, we shall find that it exactly corresponds with the former, as it is a completion and illustration of it— with this difference, that as the first had a covenant of works annexed to it, typifying the Redeemer, that part was abol
ished by the sacrifice of himself, and is now become a covenant of grace to all true believers in Christ. This covenant is now no more of works, but of grace, which was given to the twelve disciples of Christ, which completes the number, twenty-four. They are called elders, which is a mark of distinction conferred on those who receive these precious monuments of God's mercy and convey them to mankind, for their instruction. These twenty-four were clothed in white raiment; that is, they had on them garments of righteousness. When this covenant was made, they had on their heads crowns of gold, which shows the power and riches of his grace which dignified them. For when Peter said unto his Lord, "Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."-Matt. 19:27, 28. From these words we may perceive how highly these trustees of the sacred laws are honored.
Verse 5: "And out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and thunderings, and voices. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." In prophetic language, when God gives a revelation of his will to man, it is compared to lightning-as it is quick and powerful, and cannot be resisted. The effect of it is as thunder, because its sound is heard among mankind, and because a religious system established among them, in Old Testament language is called a fiery law, from the terrible appearances on Mount Sinai, when Moses received the law upon which the Jewish religion was founded. See Exod. 19. On the introduction of the Christian religion, when the Redeemer opened the first seal, it was sent into the world as the noise of thunder; accordingly James and John are called Boanerges, or sons of thunder, they
being powerful pillars or supporters of the Christian faith. The same figurative expressions are used by the prophet, when any new religious systems are established by man's invention. So at the Reformation, seven thunders uttered their voices, which points out the seven principal sects which then arose.—Rev. 10: 3, 4. And at the judgment and final overthrow of the great whore, there shall be mighty thunderings saying, "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.' The voices are the voice of reason and the voice of revelation, but particularly the latter, because holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of God. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. In many parts of the sacred writings, we read of a lamp to light our path, which plainly is the Spirit of God conducting the righteous in the way of salvation. These are the gifts of God which burn with holy zeal in the soul or the mind of the saints, through the mediation of the Mediator. St. Paul beautifully explains this in 1 Cor. 12, where he shows the diversity of gifts which the Lord hath given, and that it is the same God who worketh all in all, and that the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withall. But to a wicked, unconverted man this appears inconsistent. Yet they who fear and serve God know it to be true, for the apostle shows the Corinthians what they were before their conversion, and how the Holy Spirit would operate. Afterwards, therefore, as Jesus Christ is the true vine, and the righteous in him the branches, God the husbandman and Father gives life and vigor to the whole: see John 15: so that if we abide in him we bring forth much fruit unto holiness, and are made partakers of those divine favors which God in his mercy gives. When thus made partakers of the benefits purchased by Christ, we in a measure receive with him these seven lamps of divine light, which are heavenly power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor,
glory, and blessing. Thus we see the rich provisions which our merciful Creator has in store for the saints and servants of God and the Lamb. The saints thus attired may be said to keep the great commandment of the law, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, strength, soul and mind."-Mark 12: 30.
Verse 6: "And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind." Through the whole of this divine and holy book mankind are divided into three classes or parts.
Second, the earth or the nominal Christian carnal, earthly, or earthly-minded and sensual.
Third, the sea or turbulent ocean of mankind — and extending as the sea, composing the major part of the human race; which are the heathen and infidel parts.
So here, in this celestial view, it is a representation of the angelic host, who are in the immediate presence of God. They are compared to crystal, because any thing that is impure or defiled cannot appear before him who sat thereon. And in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. That is, they were all light-nothing in nature could be hid, which shows that they are the attributes of the Omnipotent Jehovah; for no description can be given of him otherwise than by the great attributes and perfections of his universal na
Verse 1: "And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle." The first beast, like a lion, is figurative of God's great and irresistable power in the work of creation. The second beast, like a calf, shows his great mercy in the sacrifice he had