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salve, that thou mayest see. door, I will come in to him,
19 As many as I love, I re- and will sup with him, and he buke and chasten ; be zealous with me. therefore, and repent.
21 To him that overcometh 20 Behold, I stand at the will I grant to sit with me in door, and knock: if any man my throne, even as I also overhear' my voice, and open the came, and am set down with
to apply it that they might see. But and will sup with him, and he with me. it is easily perceived that the triplicate When a man receives the truth, of metaphors in this verse are all Jesus is said to take up his abode aimed at the same thing, viz., to con- with him. So we read, in John xiv. vince the church addressed, they were 23, “If a man love me, he will keep truly in a destitute condition in spir- my words; and my Father will love itual things, whatever they might him, and we will come unto him, and think of themselves; and that Jesus, make our abode with him." The if they would but listen to his voice, same in substance is found in John's would lead them to such an improve- 1st Epistle: “Let that therefore abide ment as they needed.
ye have heard from the 19. As many as I love. — The Son beginning. If that which ye have of God was specially careful that they heard from the beginning shall remain should not think he loved them not, in you, ye also shall continue in the because he rebuked and chastened Son, and in the Father;" ii. 24. In them. He therefore stated, that he the same sense God is said to dwell rebuked and chastened those whom with men upon the earth, viz., by the he loved. This is the principle of the power of his truth. divine administration.
21. Sit with me in my throne. despise not thou the chastening of the Some think this refers to distinLord, nor faint when thou art rebuked guished honors to be conferred upon of him : for whom the Lord loveth the saints, or believers, in the imhe chasteneth, and scourgeth every mortal world. But wherein does it son whom he receiveth ;" Heb. xii. differ from the rewards offered to 5, 6. | Be zealous therefore, and those of the other six churches who repent. — Their sin had been that of were faithful ? Rev. ii. 7, 10, 11, 26 ; lukewarmness. They were called on iii. 5, 12 ; — all the figures in these to be zealous. Zeal is the counter- passages refer to the same class of part of coldness. Paul said, “It is honors. To sit with Christ on his good to be zealously affected always throne, is to reign with him. And in a good thing;" Gal. iv. 18. The where does he reign? Where is his Christian's duty was a good thing; kingdom ? Is it not among men ?
and the Laodiceans therefore were Let it be observed that Jesus promised | urged to enter into it with zeal, or to his disciples that they should be
heartfelt earnestness. They were exalted to thrones when his kingdom called on to change their lives spe- was fully set up, provided they folcially in regard to this matter of luke- lowed him in the regeneration and
suffered with him. “Ye which have 20. I stand at the door and knock. — followed me in the regeneration, when This is a figure of our Lord that the Son of man shall sit in the throne occurs in the gospels; see Luke xii. of his glory, ye also shall sit upon 36. It implies, that Jesus was inter- twelve thrones, judging the twelve ceding, by his word, for admission to tribes of Israel," Matt. xix. 28. their souls. I will come in to him, Jesus was a spiritual king, and, of
my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
FTER this I looked, and behold, a door was opened
course, reigned in a spiritual king- place where Christians are faithful. dom. And according to Paul's appli- We are not obliged to confine it to cation of a passage in Isaiah, this the immortal world. It is expressly was a matter of prophecy. “And declared to be on the earth. 6. Thou there shall come forth a rod out of wast slain, and hast redeemed us to the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall God by thy blood out of every kingrow out of his roots; and the Spirit dred, and tongue, and people, and of the Lord shall rest upon him, the nation ; and hast made us unto our spirit of wisdom and understanding, God kings and priests; and we shall the spirit of counsel and might, the REIGN ON THE EARTH ;" Rev. v. 9, 10. spirit of knowledge and of the fear of See also the notes on Rev. ii. 26, 27. the Lord : and shall make him of 22. He that hath an ear. - See the quick understanding in the fear of remarks on ii. 7, 11, 17, &c. the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither
CHAPTER IV. reprove after the hearing of his ears : but with righteousness shall he judge 1. After this I looked. — After the the poor, and reprove with equity for things which had been described, I the meek of the earth : and he shall looked, &c. &c. We now enter on smite the earth with the rod of his an entirely new section of the Apocamouth, and with the breath of his lypse. The revelator had stated, in lips shall he slay the wicked ;” Isa. the commencement, the authority by xi. 1—4. For Paul's application of which he spake; and had described this passage to Christ, see Rom. xv. the actual state of the seven Asiatic 12. The wicked will not have Christ churches, which perhaps were put to reign over them. “But those mine forth as representatives of all the enemies, which would not that I churches. Having finished so much, should reign over them, bring hither, he proceeded to the prophetic parts and slay them before me;" Luke of his communication. And let it be xix. 27. Jesus will continue to reign observed, the prophetic part of the until all enemies are put under his Apocalypse begins with the verse feet; 1 Cor. xv. 25. And how does now before us. The manner in which he reign? We have already said, he had been prepared to make the spiritually. He reigns by the power communication to the seven churches, of his truth and of his life. His faith- was described i. 10; and what he fulness, his resignation, his piety, saw, he was instructed to write and benevolence, love, have a great influ- communicate to those churches, ver. ence over all his followers. In this 11. A distinct epistle was written to sense, all faithful Christians, whose each church. He had spoken by the lives are an imitation of his, reign Spirit, or rather the Spirit had spoken with him, in the proclaiming and by him; and at the end of each illustrating of his truth and in the epistle, he had called on men as fol. influence of their lives. But this they lows: “He that hath an ear to hear, cannot do, unless they are faithful. let him hear what the Spirit saith “ If we suffer, we shall also reign unto the churches." And here it with him: if we deny him, he also strikes the mind, that the language is will deny us;" 2 Tim. ii. 12. This not what the Spirit saith to the seven reigning with Christ exists in any churches, but what the Spirit saith to
in heaven: and the first voice of a trumpet talking with me; which I heard, was as it were which said, Come up hither, the churches, as if meaning the slept upon the ground, on his way churches at large. The presumption towards Haran, he had a vision, and is, that although John addressed only behold, a ladder was seen reaching the seven, yet being put as represen- from the earth to the heaven, on tatives of all the rest, they were which the angels of God were ascendall interested in the communications ing and descending; and he heard a which he made. After he had con- voice above it saying, “I am the cluded his communications to the Lord God of Abraham, thy father,” seven churches, he came to the pro- &c. He awoke, with the spell of phetic parts, which seem not to be the dream upon him. “Surely (said addressed to those churches, but to he) the Lord is in this place, and I the Christian world at large. Noth- knew it not; this is none other but ing more is said in the Apocalypse the house of God, and this is the gate about the seven churches. The tes- of heaven ;" Gen. xxviii. 16, 17. As timony is “to every man that heareth though he had said, this is the avenue the words of the prophecy of this to God's presence. The Jews of old book ;'' xxii. 18. Í I looked. — The supposed that God inhabited some word'here is not to be taken in the spiritual dwelling, (if we may so ordinary acceptation of merely see-speak,) which they called eternity, a ing; but is to be understood as hav- high and holy place. They also suping an insight, after the manner of posed him to dwell in the humble the prophets, or seers, by which he and contrite spirit; Isaiah lvii. 15. was enabled to foretell the events This high and holy place, of which which he subsequently described. the Jews had an indistinct idea, they s Door was opened in heaven. — We called heaven. But they held, from take the opportunity, in this place, to the earliest times, that God also dwelt offer a few remarks on the scrip- among them. He dwelt beneath the tural, and especially the apocalyptical, cherubim, at the mercy-seat, upon sense, of the word heaven. It is put, the ark of the covenant; 2 Kings xix. 1st. For the region of the air, as when 15; Psa. lxxx. 1; Isa. xxxvii. 16. we speak of the fowls of heaven; In the case before us, it would seem Rev. viii. 13; 8.6; xiii. 13; xiv. 6; that heaven was put for the supposed xvi. 21; xix. 17; xx. 9. 2d. It is dwelling-place of God. This was put for the firmament, as when we represented to the Jews, in the temple, speak of the sun in heaven, or the by the mercy-seat. By the door openstars of heaven; vi. 14; viii. 10; ing in heaven, may be understood ix. 1; xx. 11. 3d. It is put for the the opening of the door, or gate, to imaginary dwelling-place of God. the mercy-seat. [ A trumpet talking The firmament is but an imaginary with me. — This was the first voice place; and in the same sense heaven the revelator heard. He had seen no may be understood when spoken of persun, but he heard a voice, which as God's dwelling-place. The form seemed to be as if a trumpet had life, of God's existence is altogether mys- and had the power to talk. The terious. We do not suppose we are meaning is, it was a trumpet-like to understand heaven, when spoken voice. In the view of the ancient of as the dwelling-place of God, to Hebrews, men could not see God be strictly a locality. It partakes of with the outward eye. They could the metaphorical, the scenical. God, see a representation of him; but it among the ancients, was supposed to was not supposed they could see God dwell in any place where he specially himself; John i. 18; 1 Tim. vi. 16. manifested his presence. When Jacob. There was a moral or spiritual sense,
and I will show thee things on the throne. which must be hereafter.
3 And he that sat was to look 2 And immediately I was in upon like a jasper and a sardine the Spirit: and behold, a throne stone: and there was a rainbow was set in heaven, and one sat round about the throne, in sight in which the pure in heart could see door in heaven was opened. And him ; Matt. v. 8. But though they one sat on the throne. – He saw not the could not see Jehovah, yet they could being, and yet the sight impressed hear his voice, as was the case with him with the fact that there was Adam and Eve in the garden ; Gen. being there. iii. 8. So the revelator heard the 3. Like a jasper and sardine stone. voice of the trumpet talking with Beautiful, glorious! Such was the him. We desire to remark once for appearance. These precious stones all, that we regard the scenes described had great lustre. But this was not in this chapter to be purely metaphor- all that contributed to the brilliance ical, as much so as the account of the of the scene. TA rainbow round temptation of our first parents, in the about the throne. – The description is garden of Eden, by the serpent. He intended to be of the most gorgeous who should seek to interpret the lan- kind. This description of the throne guage literally, would have confusion of God, and of the mysterious Being worse confounded.
The design of seated thereon, seems to us to be the revelator seems to have been to framed according to the descriptions represent, that he had a special oppor- given by Isaiah and Ezekiel. See tunity of approaching the Holy One, the words of the former prophet: “I and of learning from him the events saw also the Lord sitting upon a 6 which must be hereafter." The throne, high and lifted up, and his imagery is not real, but imaginative. train filled the temple. Above it It is a figurative description of the stood the seraphims: each one had dwelling-place of the High and Holy six wings: with twain he covered his One. See 2d, 3d, and 4th verses. face, and with twain he covered his
Which must be hereafter. – This feet, and with twain he did fly. And shows plainly that the prophetic part one cried unto another, and said, of the book is about to begin, for Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts : which the revelator was specially pre- the whole earth is full of his glory. pared by the communication with And the posts of the door moved at heaven. We were informed in Rev. the voice of him that cried, and the i. 19, that John was directed to write house was filled with smoke;" Isa. the things which he had seen, the vi. 1-4. This vision appeared to things which were, and the things the prophet to be in the temple ; for which were to be afterward. The he said that the train of the Holy One latter things are written in those “filled the temple." See also Ezeparts of the Apocalypse which we kiel chap. i., especially verses 26–28. have now approached.
" And above the firmament that was 2. Immediately I was in the Spirit. — over their heads was the likeness of a That is, “when the door was opened, throne, as the appearance of a sapand the trumpet voice talked with phire stone, and upon the likeness of me, I was immediately in a spiritual the throne was the likeness as the frame of mind”. -a fit and proper appearance of a man above upon it. state in which to behold the things And I saw as the color of amber, as which he was to see and describe. the appearance of fire round about T A throne was set in heaven. - This within it, from the appearance of his was the first thing he saw after the I loins even upward, and from the
like unto an emerald.
were four and twenty seats; 4 And round about the throne and upon the seats I saw four appearance of his loins even down- covetousness; and place such over ward, I saw as it were the appear. them to be rulers of thousands, and ance of fire, and it had brightness rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, round about. As the appearance of and rulers of tens : and let them the bow that is in the cloud in the judge the people at all seasons : and day of rain, so was the appearance of it shall be, that every grea the brightness round about. This they shall bring unto thee, but every was the appearance of the likeness of small matter they shall judge : so the glory of the Lord. And when I shall it be easier for thyself, and they saw it I fell upon my face, and I shall bear the burden with thee ;' heard a voice of one that spake.” Exod. xviii. 21, 22. For the comNow we cannot have a doubt that mission given to these men, see Deut. the revelator found his images in i. 16, 17. This appointment was the passages we have here quoted. confirmed by the authority of God; They were not the creations of wild see Numb. xi. 16, 17; and these men fancy in him ; he found them in the ruled in conjunction with Moses; sacred books of the Jews. Compare Deut. xxvii. 1: “ And Moses with with the above Ezek. x.
the elders of Israel commanded the 4. Four-and-twenty seats. — This is people, saying, Keep all the coma continuation of the imagery. Four- mandments which I command you and-twenty exalted seats, or thrones, this day.” With this explanation we are placed around the throne of God. shall be able to understand the matWe say thrones, for those who sit on ter of the four-and-twenty elders in them have crowns upon their heads, the passage before us. The form of as signs that they reign with God. the court of heaven was made with T Four-and-twenty elders. First of reference to the God-appointed form all, who were the elders? What kind of government among the Jews. of an officer were they? The word This form was held sacred in the itself signifies, a man of age, expe- eyes of the Jews; and how natural rience, and dignity. We read of the was it therefore for the revelator, elders often in the Old Testament, as himself a Hebrew, when painting a well as in the New. They were the scene of the presence of God, and the magistrates, heads, or rulers of the heavenly court, to describe it after people. Even when the children of the sacred fashion of the Jews. It is Israel were in bondage in Egypt, they true, we read, in one or two instances, seem to have had a kind of govern- of some slight changes in the government, and there were among them ment; but a body of elders was alsome whom they owned as their ways clustered around the chief offiteachers and rulers. Moses was di- cer, both in secular and holy matters. rected to confer with them, previously We read often of the elders in the to undertaking the deliverance of the New Testament as being the leaders people; Exod. iii. 16—18. These of the Jewish people in their opposielders were men of experience, wis- tion to Jesus and his apostles, as well dom and gravity, and of authority as other matters. This led the Chrisamong the people. Afterwards, when tians to regard the elders as stiffit became necessary for Moses to have necked and rebellious men; but it assistance in governing the people, he begat no prejudices in their minds in was advised to appoint elders for that regard to the office itself. But why purpose. 6 Moreover thou shalt pro- was the number twenty-four selected ? vide out of all the people, able men, We read nowhere of that exact numsuch as fear God, men of truth, hating' ber of elders except in the Apoca