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washed their robes, and made him day and night in his temthem white in the blood of the ple : and he that sitteth on the Lamb.
throne shall dwell among them. 15 Therefore are they before 16 They shall hunger no the throne of God, and serve more, neither thirst any more ;
This was “the washing of regenera- enjoyed by the believer here on the tion and the renewing of the Holy earth. God “dwelleth not in temples Ghost ;' Titus iii. 5.
made with hands,” but in the spiritual 15. Before the throne of God. - In temple of the heart. He dwelt in what sense were they “ before the Jesus and in his disciples; yea, all throne of God ?" They had an the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in habitual sense of his presence; they him. “He that keepeth his commandlived near to him; they acknowl- ments dwelleth in him, and he in him. edged his divine government; they And hereby we know that he abideth praised and glorified his name; they in us, by the spirit which he hath rendered him willing obedience. given us;" 1 John ini. 24.
6. If we Thus were they before the throne of love one another, God dwelleth in us,” God. | Served him day and night in for “God is love;" 1 John iv. 8. 12, his temple. — They were, by metaphor, 15, 16. Such is the sense in which represented as kings and priests unto God dwells among his saints. God; Rev. i. 6 ; v. 10; and of course 16. They shall hunger no more. — it may be said they served him, like Hunger and thirst are put for the the priests of old, day and night, i. e., need which the soul hath of divine continually, in his temple. Not in the truth. The figures here are the most outward temple upon Mount Zion, beautiful that the mind can conceive. but in the inward, spiritual temple, Divine truth is to the soul what nourof which the edifice on Zion was the ishment is to the body. 66 Man shall representative. In the New Jerusa- not live by bread alone, but by every lem, there is no need of any outward word that proceedeth out of the mouth temple. John “saw no temple there- of God ;' Matt. iv. 4. Sublime truth! in; for the Lord God Almighty and Jesus was the living bread. Whoso the Lamb are the temple of it ;" Rev. eateth that bread hath eternal life ; xxi. 22. It was a spiritual temple. John vi. 58. “And Jesus said unto There is now a temple to God wher- them, I am the bread of life: he that ever the saints assemble to worship. cometh to me shall never hunger ; When Jacob had his vision of the and he that believeth on me shall Almighty, he awoke and said, “ This never thirst;" Idem, 35. His docis none other than the house of God, trine was also represented as the and the very gate of heaven;" Gen.“ water of life.'' To Whoso drinketh xxviii. 17. “Know ye not that ye of the water that I shall give him are the temple of God ?" said Paul to (said Jesus) shall never thirst ; but the his brethren ; 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17; vi. water that I shall give him shall be in 19; 2 Cor. vi. 16. They served God him a well of water springing up into in the spirit continually; the allusion everlasting life ;'' John iv. 14. Hence to the temple is merely metaphorical. it is said of believers, who dwell in | Shall drell among them. - If men God's spiritual temple, “They shall are said in the spiritual sense to be hunger no more, neither thirst any the temple of God, He may be said to more." | Neither shall the sun light dwell among them. In this sense on them. — The meaning is, they shall God “dwells among men," in their be relieved of all distress. One hearts, by the power of his truth and species of human distress is hunger; love ; Rev. xxi. 3. All this may be the redeemed shall hunger no more.
neither shall the sun light on feed them, and shall lead them heat.
unto living fountains of waters; 17 For the Lamb which is in and God shall wipe away all the midst of the throne shall tears from their eyes.
them, nor any
Another kind of distress, perhaps of the shepherd is still kept up. How more poignant, is thirst; the redeem- much like the language of the 230 ed shall thirst no more. Men fre- Psalm. 6. The Lord is my shepherd ; quently suffer when on deserts, or I shall not want He maketh me to wrecks of ships, not only from hun- lie down in green pastures; he leadger and thirst, but also from the eth me beside the still waters ;” ver. scorching rays of the sun; but the 1, 2. The tenderest care which the redeemed are safe, - the sun shall shepherd can bestow upon his flock not light on them. The description is here used to represent the care is evidently taken from Isaiah xlix. which Jesus had for his faithful fol. 10: “They shall not hunger nor lowers. The goodness of God “is a thirst, neither shall the heat nor sun fountain of living waters ;" Jer. ii. smite them: for he that hath mercy 13. Refreshing his people on the on them shall lead them, even by the knowledge of divine love, Jesus insprings of water shall he guide them." deed leads them "unto living foun. The blessings of the Messiah's king- tains of water.” In Rev. xxi. 6 it is dom are represented sometimes by said, “I will give unto him that is the prophets under the metaphor of a athirst of the fountain of the water tent or shadow, that screens men from of life freely.” [Wipe away all tears the extreme heat of the sun; Isaiah from their eyes. — This heightens the iv. 6; xxv. 4; xxxii. 2.
description, which had been truly 17. Lamb in the midst of the throne. beautiful without it. To wipe away - This is agreeable to the description tears is put for the removal of all in Rev. v. 6. | Shall feed them. causes of sorrow. The gospel is This is the reason they shall hunger said to wipe all tears away ; Isa. no more ; ver. 16. Jesus, the Lamb xxv. 8; Rev. xxi. 4. This passage of God, in this case assumes the char- in the 7th chapter, 13-17, is one of acter of a shepherd; and his church the most beautiful in the whole book. are his flock. He feeds them, as the shepherd feeds his flock. False
CHAPTER VIII. teachers are compared to shepherds 1. And when he had opened the who feed not their flocks. See Ezek. seventh seal. - We now come to the xxxiv. 2, 3, 10. Jesus said to Simon opening of the seventh seal, or roll, Peter, “Feed my lambs,” “Feed (sealed book,) of which we found a my sheep;" John xxi. 15, 16; i. e., description in chap. v. 1–7. The nourish the flock. John had the au- opening of six of these seals has been thority of his Master, then, for the described in chap. vi. In the Sth metaphor. St. Paul said to the chapter we have a more particular Ephesian elders, " Take heed, there- description of the woes that were to fore, unto yourselves, and to all the fall upon the Jews previously to the flock over the which the Holy Ghost approach of the Roman armies. The hath made you overseers, to feed the approach of these armies is mentioned church of God, which he hath pur- in chapter ix. The opening of the chased with his own blood ;" Acts first seal is described chap. vi., verse xx. 28. And Peter gives the same 1; of the second, verse 3; of the advice to the elders of the church, 1 third, verse 5; of the fourth, verse 7; Epis. v. 2. I Shall lead them by liv of the fifth, verse 9; and of the sixth, ing fountains. — Here the metaphor. verse 12. The famines, the pesti
silence in heaven about the space
A the seventh-seah, there was of halina Heat
the seventh seal, there was 2 And I saw the seven angels lences, and the earthquakes, men- Matt. xxiv. 23—26. These are the tioned chap. vi., were “the beginning events which are described in bold of sorrows;' Matt. xxiv. 7, 8; and and glowing metaphors in the 8th therefore are put down first in the chapter of Revelation, under the order of the Apocalypse. Then comes opening of the seventh seal, which is the persecution and killing of the subdivided into seven paris. 1 SiChristians, or martyrs; Matt. xxiv. lence in heaven. The metaphors are 9—12; and hence the crying of the still based on the plan of the services martyrs for vengeance is placed next in the temple. We behold, in verse in the Apocalypse ; vi. 9–11. Next 3, that the angel came and stood at in order in 24th of Matthew, comes a the altar, having a golden censer. premonition of the "abomination of This was preparatory to offering in. desolation,” verse 15, which is de- cense in the holy place. The people scribed under the sixth seal in the stood without, i.e., without the sacred Apocalypse, 12—17. Jesus then place, in some other part of the temstates that the Christians were to be ple, every one in secret, silent prayer saved from these calamities, Matt. the meanwhile. The Lord was supxxiv. 16–21, which is beautifully de- posed to be in the temple, in a special scribed in the Apocalypse by the seal manner, at the time of incense. ing of the 144,000, chap. vii. For Hence it is said, “ The Lord is in his the sake of the elect, or the believers, holy temple; let all the earth keep the days of tribulation at first were silence before him ;" Hab. ii. 20. shortened, or remitted; the siege was The same service is more definitely raised for a short time, Matt. xxiv. referred to, Luke i. 9–10 : “ Accord22 ; and thus the Christians escaped ; ing to the custom of the priest's office, which is represented in the Apocalypse his lot was to burn incense when he by the angels holding back the winds went into the temple of the Lord. from blowing on the earth, to destroy it, And the whole multitude of the peountil the 144,000 of spiritual Israel ple were praying without, at the time were sealed; vii. 1–3. Thus we find of incense.” The prayer was secret, that so far as the destruction of Jerusa- in each one's soul, and silence of lem is concerned, the order of Christ in course prevailed. When the Lamb describing the events in his prophecy, opened the seventh seal, and preparain Matt. xxiv., is principally followed tion was made for burning incense, by the revelator in his seven seals. there was said to be, in conformity The events placed by our Lord as to the temple service, “silence in happening immediately before the fall heaven about the space of half an of the city, are described in the fol- hour,” which was probably about the lowing words :—“Then if any man length of time that was consumed in shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, this part of the temple service. or there ; believe it not. For there 2. Seven angels which stood before shall arise false Christs, and false i God. These are those we call the prophets, and shall show great signs angels of the divine presence, beand wonders ; insomuch that, if it cause they always stand before God, were possible, they shall deceive the like the seven confidential ministers, very elect. Behold, I have told you nearest the throne of the earthly monbefore. Wherefore, if they shall say arch. See Tobit xii. 18. See, also, unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; the notes on the angelology of the go not forth : behold, he is in the Apocalypse under v. 2, and the notes secret chambers ; believe it not :'lon i. 4, iii. 1, iv. 5. The events which stood before God; and to 4 And the smoke of the inthem were given seven trumpets. cense, which
came with the 3 And another angel came prayers of the saints, ascended and stood at the altar, having a up before God out of the angel's golden censer; and there was hand. given unto him much incense, 5 And the angel took the that he should offer it with the censer, and filled it with fire of prayers of all saints upon the the altar, and cast it into the golden altar which was before earth ; and there were voices, the throne.
and thunderings, and lightnings,
- a sort
under the seventh seal are divided iv. 7: “The end of all things is at into seven parts; and hence seven hand (referring unquestionably to trumpets, with which to announce the destruction of Jerusalem] : be those events, are placed in the hands ye therefore sober, and watch unto of the seven angels. The whole, of prayer." course, is scenical.
4. Ascended up before God. — At 3. Another angel. - This was the that time, especially, therefore, the angel of the golden censer. — Angel- prayers of Christians everywhere asology, Apoc., § 9. At the altar. cended to heaven, denoted by the The altar here spoken of was unques- words, “And the smoke of the intionably the altar of incense, as in. cense, which came with the prayers cense was about to be offered. It is of the saints, ascended up before mentioned Exod. xxx. 27. | Golden God, out of the angel's hand.” censer. – The golden censer was for 5. Filled it with fire. — The facts the purpose of incense. The sacred mentioned in the verse are preparvessels were many of them of gold and atory to what is to follow, silver, and hence were for their value of metaphorical introduction to the carried off into Babylon, at the cap-threatened judgments. Fire was altivity, and afterwards restored; Ezra ways burning on the altar; Lev. xvi. vi. 5, and Dan. v. 2, 3. The censer 12; Isa. vi. 6. It is used to signify was of pure gold; 1 Kings vii. 50 ; 2 not only the judgments which God Chron. iv. 22; Heb. ix. 4. I Given sends upon the earth, but the purifyunto him much incense. To the angel ing power of God, and ofttimes the was given much incense, the occasion purifying power of his judgments. It being an extraordinary one. T That is put for the judgments of God in the he should offer it. — This he was to verse before us. The angel filled the offer while the people were in silent censer with fire from the altar, and prayer. He offered it during the cast it on the earth, or land of Judea, prayers — during the half hour's si- to show that further judgments were ience. We have already shown, on to fall on the Jews. A great commochapter v. 8, that the odors were the tion followed. “ There were voices, prayers of saints. “Let my prayer and thunderings, and lighinings, and be set before thee as incense;" Psa. an earthquake;" a figure of tumults, cxli. 2. The Jews gave themselves anger, great noises, frightful visitamuch to prayer, as did also the Chris- tions from heaven, and a great over. tians; Acts vi. 4. The Jewish Chris. throw. We think the figure of taktians were directed specially to praying fire from the altar to cast upon during the calamities of the nation; the earth is designed to show that the Matt. xxiv. 20. In fact, the believers judgments originated in heaven; and everywhere were directed to pray in are sent out from the presence of reference to that event. See 1 Peter | God. So the desolation of Israel was
and an earthquake.
were cast upon the earth, and 6 And the seven angels which the third part of trees was burnt had the seven trumpets prepared up, and all green grass was themselves to sound.
7 The first angel sounded, 8 And the second angel and there followed hail and fire sounded, and as it were a great mingled with blood, and they mountain burning with fire was described by Ezek. ix. and x. Ob- ferent portions of the Jews, without serve carefully x. 1, 2.
of the Roman armies. The 6. Prepared themselves to sound. destruction being described by burnNo further delay is to be expected. ing, or overthrow of the forests and All is now ready for the commence- herbage, or grass, is drawn also, we ment of final action. The woes were think, from the account of the plague about to come; they were just on the of hail in Egypt, Exod. ix. 22, 25. point of commencing; and hence it 8. The second angel sounded. This is said, the angels prepared them- opens another series of calamities, selves to sound.
another source of woe. T A great 7. Hail and fire mingled with blood. mountain burning with fire. - High - The figure here signified destruc- mountains and lofty hills denoted tion. What could be more expressive kingdoms, republics, states, cities, and of devastation, with loss of life added proud men that exalt themselves. thereto, than hail and fire mingled See how Isaiah describes the fall of with blood ?” The figure is borrowed the proud and lofty : “ For the day from the Old Testament. One of the of the Lord of hosts shall be upon judgments upon Egypt was thunder, every one that is proud and lofty, and hail and fire; Exod. ix. 21–25. The upon every one that is lifted up; and figures of hail and fire for judgments he shall be brought low : and upon originated here. See, also, Ezek. all the cedars of Lebanon, that are Xxxviii. 22 : " And will plead high and lifted up, and upon all the against him with pestilence and with oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high blood ; and I will rain upon him, and mountains, and upon all the hills that upon his bands, and upon the many are lifted up;" ii. 12–14. Here it people that are with him, an over- is manifest, that by the high mounflowing rain, and great hailstones
, fire, tains and hills were intended those and brimstone." T Third part of trees that were proud and lofty | Cast
- The third part of trees being burnt into the sea. — - The figure of throwing signified that this was as yet but a down a burning mountain is borpartial destruction. This is not the rowed from Jer. li. 25: “Behold, I treading of the holy city under foot. am against thee, O destroying mounThat was to be done by the Roman tain, saith the Lord, which destroyest armies, and we have not yet come to all the earth : and I will stretch out that part of the Apocalypse in which my hand upon thee, and roll thee the approach of the Roman armies is down from the rocks, and will make described. In our judgment, what thee a burnt mountain." See Ezek. follows in the chapter before us refers xxxviii. 14—23, where the reader to the tumults among the Jews them will find a train of metaphors very selves, which broke out in different similar to those which occur in the places, some in the country, some on chapter before us. See, also, Amos the coast
, near the sea, and some in i vii. 4, and Rev. xvi. 3. The burning the holy city, endangering the very mountain may well have represented city itself, which was threatened to some proud, ambitious, influential be destroyed by the quarrels of dif-I and seditious person, claiming to be a