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and before the four beasts, and which were redeemed from the the elders and no man could earth.
learn that song but the hundred 4 These are they which were and forty and four thousand, not defiled with women; for
begun the prelude on those instruments, which were also to accompany the voices in the song. What was this new song? It was called new, because it had never been sung before the Lamb was actually slain. It was the custom of the Jews, to "praise the name of God with a song;" Psa. lxix. 30. When any new matter of religious rejoicing came up, God was said to put a new song into the mouths of his people, Psa. xl. 3, a new subject of rejoicing and praise. These songs, when generally learned by the people, were very precious to them. They could sing them on Zion; they could sing them at home; but they could not sing them in a strange land; Psa. cxxxvii. 4. But THE NEW SONG mentioned in the verse before us was emphatically new. It was on a subject for which men had never sung the praise of God before. It was the song of redeeming love, which was commenced to be sung when the Lamb was actually slain. See Rev. v. 9, 10: "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." From this it is evident, that THE NEW SONG is the song of praise for redeeming love, by the blood of Christ, and for the triumph of Christian principles among men. This song was sung before the throne, and before the four beasts, and before the elders; which is precisely as the facts were described in chap. v. 6-9. ¶ And no man could learn that song but the hun-ship no other god: for the Lord, dred and forty and four thousand which whose name is Jealous, is a jealous were redeemed from the earth. For God; lest thou make a covenant with how could any besides the redeemed the inhabitants of the land, and they
4. Not defiled by women. The state of virginity is put for purity in_doctrine and life. Paul says: "I am jealous over you with godly jealousy : for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ;" 2 Cor. xi. 2. Believers are said to have "escaped the corruption that is in the world;" 2 Peter i. 4. By parity of metaphor, fornication is put in the Scriptures for the sin of idolatry, and of partaking in the support and countenance of false religion. To go into idolatry, in the language of the Old Testament, was to go a whoring after heathen gods: "For thou shalt wor
sing the new song of redeeming love?
they are virgins. These are being the first-fruits unto God
and to the Lamb.
they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men,
5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are
go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods;" Exodus xxxiv. 14-17. See also Lev. xx. 5, 6; Deut. xxxi. 16; Psa. lxxiii. 27; Ezk. vi. As the hundred and forty-four thousand kept themselves pure from false religion and crime, they are said not to have been defiled. ¶ Follow the Lamb. They are said, too, to have followed "the Lamb whithersoever he went." This was a condition of discipleship. "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me;" Matt. x. 38. Again: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them; and they follow me;" John x. 27. ¶ Redeemed from among men. They were redeemed from among men. "Ye are bought [says Paul] with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's;" 1 Cor. vi. 20. Thus the believers were re-creation will eventually become what deemed from among men, they they were. They were the sample and were brought out, made separate, and the pledge of it. For, as Paul says, became a peculiar people zealous of "If the first-fruits be holy, the lump good works. ¶ The first-fruits unto [i. e., all that remains] is holy;" God and the Lamb. So the Jewish Rom. xi. 16. The first-fruits were Christians were in truth. They were holy, for the revelator testifies, "In the earliest converts to Christ. The their mouth was found no guile; gospel was first preached to the Jews; for they are without fault before the and although the great body of the throne of God." Such were the firstpeople rejected it, yet some believed fruits; such shall be the general haron the Son of God; and they were, vest. of course, the earliest converts, or "the first-fruits." The figure is a beautiful one. The "first-fruits' were certain small portions of the harvest, gathered as soon as they were fully ripe; and they were offered to the Lord, in the temple, as a sign
5. No guile.-Guile here is put for deceit. Blessed is the man (says the Psalmist) unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile;" Psa. xxxii. 2. Again: "What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days,
of the dependence and gratitude of the people. They denoted that the harvest was ready to be gathered in; and it was certainly expected that the whole harvest would be gathered. The Jewish Christians were "the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb," or, as St. James says, (i. 18:) "A kind of first-fruits of his creatures." Jesus, when he rose from the dead, became 9." the first-fruits of them that slept;" 1 Cor. xv. 20, 23; that is, his resurrection was the proof and pledge of the subsequent resurrection of all men; for St. Paul so regarded the resurrection of Christ. "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive;" 1 Cor. xv. 20-22. We see, then, that Christ's resurrection was the pledge and proof of the resurrection of all men. He was the first-fruits from the dead. The early Christians were the first-fruits of a general harvest. All the rest of God's moral
without fault before the throne unto them that dwell on the of God. earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to
6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach
therefore, refers back to viii. 13, where we read of an angel flying through the midst of heaven. The angel mentioned in the verse before us, flew in the midst of heaven, and hence is called another, in reference to the former. In the midst of heaven; —i. e., he proceeded in the most public manner, having the ever
that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it; Psa. xxxiv. 12-14. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, he was struck with his honesty and sincerity, and said: “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" John i. 47. But the most remarkable pas-lasting gospel. ¶ Everlasting gospel. sage, and the one which it is the most - The gospel is "an everlasting covnecessary we should quote in connec-enant, ordered in all things and sure," tion with this subject, is 1 Pet. ii. 22, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5, and hence is called where, speaking of Jesus, the apostle the "everlasting gospel." "The says: "Who did no sin, neither was grass withereth, the flower fadeth: guile found in his mouth." We have but the word of our God shall stand but little doubt that the Apocalypse forever;" Isa. xl. 8. ¶ Every nation, was written before the epistle of Pe- and kindred, &c. The gospel having ter, and that Peter had seen it, and been preached to the Jews, and haylearned this phraseology from it. We ing been rejected by the great body have mentioned other instances of of that nation, the apostles turned to Peter apparently quoting from the the Gentiles with the heavenly mesApocalypse. Without fault. sage; Acts xiii. 46-49; xxviii. 28. Similar language often occurs in the This preaching the gospel to the GenNew Testament. Zacharias and tiles is described by the angel "havElizabeth "were both righteous be- ing the everlasting gospel to preach fore God, walking in all the com- to them that dwell on the earth, and mandments and ordinances of the to every nation, and kindred, and Lord blameless;" Luke i. 6. See, tongue, and people." This must be also, Eph. v. 27; Phil. ii. 15; 2 Pet. intended to describe the preaching of iii. 14; Jude 24. O that Christians Christ to the Gentiles, who were might all live up to these descriptions! called upon to fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment had come.
Before the throne of God. To do a thing before God, or before the throne of God, is to do it seriously, heartily, solemnly, as if standing in the very presence of God. To be without fault before the throne of God, signified to be faultless in the sight of God, in his estimation, or judgmient. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father," Jas. i. 27, means a religion that was pure and undefiled in his sight.
6. Another angel. No angel had been spoken of previously in this connection. The word another here,
7. Fear God. That is, reverence him. Fear does not here signify terror, nor any feeling inconsistent with the purest worship of God, because it is joined with worship, and with giving glory to God. It is not therefore slavish fear; but that true filial fear, or reverence, which is the beginning of wisdom. It is perfectly consistent with love; but the holy passion of love cannot exist towards an object which we dread. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love
him for the hour of his judg
casteth out fear because fear hath torment. He that feareth, is not made perfect in love;" 1 John iv. 18.
The hour of his judgment is come. Mark the fact, that the hour of his judgment came simultaneously with the preaching of the gospel. The same angel that goes out to preach the everlasting gospel to them that dwell on the earth, also proclaims that the hour of God's judgment is come; and at the same time that the judgment is come, he calls on men to worship God that made heaven and earth, &c. What judgment can this be except the judgment of the world by Jesus Christ under the gospel reign? It is referred to in xv. 4: "Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest." Was there any judgment set up simultaneously with the opening of the gospel, or the setting up of Christ's kingdom in the world? Most certainly there was. Let the reader re-peruse what we have said on this subject, xi. 18, and let him observe carefully what we shall say on xx. 12, 13. Suffice it to say here, that if the sacred writers reveal any fact with distinctness, it is this, viz., that the books were opened and that the judgment of the nations was begun when the kingdom of Christ commenced. The events were simultaneous. So Paul, in his address to the Athenians, (which we quote,) speaks of the two events as simultaneous: "God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
ment is come: and worship him
that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained: whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead;" Acts xvii. 24-31. There are striking points of resemblance between the passage now quoted and the passage we are considering, viz., verses 6, 7. First, observe the subject of the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles. The angel flying through the midst of heaven is commissioned to preach the gospel to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people;" ver. 6. Paul says God "commandeth all men everywhere to repent." Second, observe the fact, that God is announced as the Creator of all things. The revelator calls on men to "worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Paul says: "God made the world, and all things therein." Third, observe the fact, that the judgment and the proclamation of the gospel are joined as it respects time. The revelator says the hour of God's judgment is come, in connection with the proclamation of the gospel. Paul says: "God commanded all men everywhere to repent, [i. e., he said, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven, or the gospel, is at hand,] because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness." Fourth,
that made heaven, and earth, of waters. and the sea, and the fountains
observe this judgment is by the Lord Jesus Christ. The revelator represents it to be under the reign of Christ; for it was at the same time with the proclamation of the everlasting gospel; and Paul says God "will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." This is clearly a reference to Jesus Christ; and he said, "For judgment I am come into this world;" John ix. 39. The day God had appointed in the which he would judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, was the gospel day, referred to by Paul in the words, "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation;" 2 Cor. vi. 2. Lastly, observe the motive which is advanced in each case why men should repent of their errors and sins, and worship God. The revelator says: "Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come;" and Paul says: "God commandeth all men everywhere to repent, because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world," &c. &c. From all these facts, there can be no dispute, that both the apostle Paul and the revelator were speaking of the call to the Gentiles, to turn from their idols, their errors and their sins, and worship God, the Creator of all things, because the hour, or time, of his judgment had come, the time in which he would judge men in this world [John ix. 39] by the great principles of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This judgment is not a personal judgment; Christ is not visibly present; the mediatorial throne is not an outward, tangible throne; it is a judgment by the principles of Christ, which is now going on wherever the gospel is known. "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the word that
8 And there followed another
I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day;" John xii. 48; [or gospel day, for that is called the last day; Isa. ii. 2; Micah iv. 1; 2 Tim. iii. 1; Heb. i. 2; 1 Pet. i. 5, 20; 2 Pet. ii. 3; 1 John ii. 18; Jude 18.1 In certain cases, where it is said Christ shall judge men, it means his principles shall judge them, Christ being put metaphorically for the principles of his gospel, as Moses is put for the principles of the law. "There is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" John v. 45-47. Here evidently Moses is put for his principles. He accused the Jews by what he had said in his writings. Again: "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them;" Luke xvi. 29. "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead;" 31. Once more: "For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath-day;" Acts xv. 21. It must be evident to all that Moses is here put metaphorically for his principles.
8. Another angel. - Different from the one mentioned ver. 6. Both these are to be ranked among the angels of proclamation. See our classification under Rev. V. 2. ¶ Babylon is fallen, is fallen. — All the power of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, was combined to arrest the spread of the gospel. But notwithstanding all they had the power to do, the gospel flourished. The church on mount Zion [viz., the Jewish converts to Christianity] remained firm in their devotion to the Lamb, and the gospel was sent out, and prospered wondrously among the Gentiles. The spread of it could not be arrested. On the other hand, the