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4 And God shall wipe away pain : for the former things are all tears from their eyes; and passed away. there shall be no more death, 5 And he that sat upon the neither sorrow, nor crying, nei- throne said, Behold, I make all ther shall there be any more things new. And he said unto evangelical prophet, seemed to catch of the prophet even to the abolition the same idea. “For thus saith the of death at the time of the general high and lofty One that inhabiteth resurrection of mankind ;" 1 Cor. xv. eternity, whose name is Holy; I 26, 54. In his view, it will be then dwell in the high and holy place, with that God shall wipe tears from all him also that is of a contrite and faces; and cause death, and sorrow, humble spirit, to revive the spirit of and sighing, to cease forever. We the humble, and to revive the heart have found these glorious 'conse, of the contrite ones ;" Isaiah lvii. 15. quences of the gospel before referred Thus, the prophet held, that although to in the Apocalypse ; see vii. 17. It is the high and lofty One inhabiteth peculiarly worthy of observation, that eternity, yet he dwelleth in the heart Paul did not believe that all the conof the contrite and humble. They sequences of the gospel would be fully shall be his people. To be God's realized until the immortal resurrecpeople, was to be a people who knew tion of the dead. These consequences and felt their allegiance to him; and may be realized in part in the present when he is said to be their God, and world; but in his view the whole to dwell with them, the meaning is, force of the passage is not here felt. that they should enjoy a large share 1 The former things are passed away. of the divine presence and blessing, The meaning here is, that the and all collateral prosperity. See former state of things should no more Zech. viii. 8; compare 9—15.
be known. The prophet had said, 4. Wipe away all tears, &c.- This when speaking of the new state of was the consequence of God dwelling things denoted by the new heavens among them; this was the new and and new earth : " And the former highly improved state of things de- shall not be remembered, nor come noted by the new heavens and new into mind ;” Isa. Ixv. 17. The reveearth. This description of the conse- lator expresses the same idea by say: quences of the gospel among men is ing, “the former things are passed beautiful. Can the imagination con- away.” The Christians were contin. ceive of anything more brilliant? All ually reminded of their former or tears are wiped away; death is abol- unconverted state, and of the deeds ished; and neither sorrow, nor cry- thereof, as things to be specially ing, nor pain remains. These beau- avoided in their new condition. Their tiful metaphors were copied from the “ former conversation” was put off ; prophet Isaiah. “He will swallow Eph. iv. 22; and they were not to up death in victory; and the Lord fashion themselves according to their God will wipe away tears from off all “ former lusts ;" 1 Pet. i. 17. Thus faces; and the rebuke of his people with the Christian, the former things shall he take away from off all the must pass away. But more of this earth : for the Lord hath spoken it;" | under the next verse. xxv. 8. It is supposed that Isaiah 5. I make all things new. The was looking forward to the coming whole design here is to show that the of the gospel, and was foretelling the gospel was designed to produce an glorious consequences that would re- improved condition of the world — an sult from that great system of divine entirely new state. This is begun in grace. Paul extends the language the heart of every believer. If he me, Write: for these words are done. I am Alpha and Omega, true and faithful.
the beginning and the end. I 6 And he said unto me, It is will give unto him that is athirst has been brought to the knowledge true and faithful, and of vast imporof the truth, and knows and feels that tance to men, worthy of special record, Christ is his Lord, and lives accord- and of being transmitted by this sure ingly, he is translated thereby into a method from age to age. new state. Hence Paul said: “If 6. It is done. — The phrase "it is any man be in Christ, he is a new done” is to be understood here, it is creature; old things are passed away; determined, it is certain. As if the behold, all things are become new; spirit had said to the revelator, What 2 Cor. v. 17. When the house of I have written to you is true and Israel turned from their wicked ways, faithful, and the events which I have to serve God, the change was de- foretold shall certainly come to pass. scribed by very striking figures. To It is determined in the decrees of him forsake wickedness was to “turn to who is able to fulfil his pleasure. the Lord;" Isa. lv. 7. To become | Alpha and Omega.- He is Alpha disgusted with vice, and to be brought and Omega, the beginning and the to love the ways of the Lord, was end. Alpha is the first letter and described by the prophet as follows: Omega the last of the Greek alphabet. “ Make you a new heart and a new To say that God Alpha and Omega, spirit; for why will ye die, 0 house is to say that he is the first and the of Israel ?" Ezk. xviii. 31. These last, the beginning and the end. See forms of speech, so clearly metaphor- Rev. i. &; xxii. 13. | Water of life. ical, are preserved in the New Testa- - To show the efficacy of the gospel ment. Hence, the change from false in healing the moral maladies of men, religion to Christianity was called ait is represented under the metaphor new creation, or regeneration ; a new of water, and more especially of the birth; the Christian was a new crea- “water of life.”' See Isa. lv. l. ture ; 2 Cor. v. 17; he “put on the Examine, also, the beautiful allegory new man;" Eph. iv. 24; Col. iii. that. occurred in the course of the 10; he entered the “new Jerusalem,” conversation between Jesus and the and had a “new name;" Rev. iii. woman of Samaria at Jacob's well, 12; a “new song was put in his John iv. 10–15. Here Jesus commouth,” because he had a new occa- pares his gospel to living water; and sion of rejoicing; v.9; xiv. 3. How the wants of men destitute of the strikingly true, then, when God sent gospel are represented by thirst. the new covenant into the world, was There is something in the gospel the assurance,
“ Behold, I make all which completely satisfies the moral things new.” | Write : for these wants of mankind, as water satisfies words are true and faithful. - Things the thirsting man; and the gospel that were to be understood, that were furnishes a satisfaction so full and to be remembered, and that were of complete to the human soul, that he vast importance to men, it was cus- who receives it, it is said, “shall tomary to command them to write. never thirst.” One of the great and They were not to be left to be trans- leading consequences of the gospel is mitted by tradition. Hence Moses referred to here. It wipes away all was commanded to write the words tears, abolishes death, removes sorof the law; Exod. xxxiv. 27. To row, and crying, and pain, and in write a thing on the tablet of the this way gives men perfect satisfacheart, was to impress it deeply there. tion. When, therefore, he that sat The revelator was commanded to upon the throne said, It is done, - I write these things, because they were I have the power to fulfil what I have
of the fountain of the water of 8 But the fearful, and unbelife freely
lieving, and the abominable, and 7 He that overcometh shall murderers, and whoremongers, inherit all things; and I will be and sorcerers, and idolaters, and his God, and he shall be my son. all liars, shall have their part
in said, -I am Alpha and Omega, the want of courage and fortitude to bear beginning and the end, he adds, as the perils of being Christians. They the great and leading consequence of were unbelieving Faith gains the all this, "I will give unto him that is victory; 1 John v. 4, 10; and these athirst of the fountain of the water had it not. They were abominable, of life freely.” As if he had said, for they were guilty of the worst of that system is now set up which is to vices, those that were most degrading supply all the moral wants of the to men. They were murderers, and world. See Rev. vii. 17, and xxii. whoremongers, and sorcerers, and 17.
idolaters, and liars, and no wonder 7. He that overcometh. — It is the they were said to be abominable. Christian's duty to overcome the Shall have their part in the lake, &c. world. Jesus overcame the world ; Now these could not enter into the John xvi. 33. The coadjutors of the kingdom of God. St. Paul said : beast made war upon the Lamb, and “Know ye not that the unrighteous he overcame_them; Rev. xvii. 14. shall not inherit the kingdom of God? John said: “For whatsoever is born Be not received; neither fornicators, of God overcometh the world: and nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor this is the victory that overcometh effeminate, nor abusers of themselves the world, even our faith. Who is with mankind, nor thieves, nor covhe that overcometh the world, but etous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, he that believeth that Jesus is the nor extortioners, shall inherit the Son of God ?" 1 John v. 4, 5. The kingdom of God;" 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. whole of this may be expressed in No wonder, then, that the revelator one word, the Christian is not to be said, they shall have their part in overcome of evil, but is to overcome the lake which burneth with fire evil with good ; Rom. xii. 21. | Shall and brimstone: which is the second inherit all things. - He that over- death.” The Christians had part in cometh, i. e., he that remains firmly the new Jerusalem. They did “eat attached to the principles of the gos- of the tree of life in the midst of the pel in the midst of persecution, "shall paradise of God;" Rev. ii. 7; they inherit all things." All things, here, were not hurt of the second death ;' signify all those blessings of which ii. 11; they eat of the hidden manna, the revelator had been speaking. I and had a white stone given to them, will be his God; - i. e., I will be his and in that stone a new name; ii. portion, I will be his protector, I will | 17; they had “power over the naappear in a near and important rela- tions ;" ii
. 26; they were clothed in tion to him, like that of a God and a white raiment, their names were in father.
the book of life, and they were con8. The fearful and unbelieving. - fessed before God; iii. 5; they were The opposite class from those men- pillars in the temple of God; and the tioned in the last verse are here name of God and the Lamb was intended, viz., those who had not written upon them, and the name been brought to the knowledge of the of the New Jerusalem ; iii. 12; they truth, or if they had, had not remained sat with Jesus on his throne, as he steadfast. They were fearful; they sat with his Father; iii. 21. This did not embrace Christianity, through I was the part the Christians enjoyed. the lake which burneth with 9 And there came unto me fire and brimstone: which is one of the seven angels, which the second death.
had the seven vials full of the
These metaphors were used to de- condition from that which the Chrisscribe their happy state, even in the tians enjoyed. But does the revemidst of outward trials and persecu- lator intend that persons in this contions. The worshippers of the beast dition can never be brought into the had no
rest day nor night; but kingdom of God? Certainly not. those who were crucified with Christ For then how should tears be wiped rested from their labors and suffer from all faces? how should the rest ings, when the persecuting power of the dead live; xx. 5; those who was destroyed, and their works of had not partaken in the first resursuccess followed them; xiv. 10–13. rection ? how should the final harvest, Peace reigned in their souls. But that was to follow the first fruits, be the unbelievers were in an entirely gathered in? how could it be said, opposite condition, described by oppo- there shall be no more death, nor site metaphors. They had “their sorrow, nor crying, nor pain ? xxi. 4. part in the lake which burneth with It will be remembered, that when fire and brimstone: which is the sec- Paul said absolutely, “The unright. ond death." This lake of fire we eous shall not inherit the kingdom of have fully explained, under Rev. xix. God,” he was particular to remark to 20; xx. 10, 14, 15. It was a meta- the Christians, “SUCH were some of phor to represent utter destitution. you; but ye are WASHED, ye The expression is made intensive, to SANCTIFIED, but ye are justified in the show the lost and undone condition name of the Lord Jesus, and by the of those who were deterred by fear spirit of our God;" 1 Cor. vi. 11. and vice from embracing the gospel. This explains the whole matter. The slightest proof has not been dis- While men are in the state of sin covered, in the whole Apocalypse, which we have described, they are that these metaphors refer at all to not in the kingdom of God, and canthe future state. | Which is the not be ; but they may be washed, and second death. - In Ezekiel's metaphor purified, and fitted for that kingdom. of the valley of dry bones, the Jews We have shown incontestably that were represented not merely as dead, fire and brimstone are metaphors for but wasted away; their flesh was temporal calamities. We consider entirely gone, and their bones were these figures to be parallel to the furdry; they were twice dead. The nace of fire into which the Jews were figure was made thus intensive to cast; Matt. xiii. 42. Those who show their absolutely lost and undone wish to know whether this fire is a condition without the help of God. metaphor of temporal judgments may So in the case before us. The unbe- consult Isaiah xxxi. 9; Ezk. xxii. lievers were cast into the lake of fire 17-22. Give particular attention to and brimstone. Not that this was the passages here referred to. done actually; no one puts such a 9. One of the seven angels. — We construction upon the words. Juda- now come to a new section in the ism and heathenism were to be actu- chapter. The revelator had given ally destroyed by the power of the assurance of the coming of a much gospel; and the poor subjects of them improved state of things, under the were to remain in an absolutely lost metaphor of the new heavens and and undone condition as long as they new earth. This was to be done by remained such subjects. They had means of the gospel, which was reptheir part in the lake which burneth resented by the descent of the holy with fire and brimstone, the opposite city, new Jerusalem, from heaven.
seven last plagues, and talked 11 Having the glory of God: with me, saying, Come hither, and her light was like unto I will show thee the bride, the a stone most precious, even Lamb's wife.
a jasper-stone, clear 10 And he carried me away crystal ; in the spirit to a great and high 12 And had a wall great and mountain, and showed me that high, and had twelve gates, great city, the holy Jerusalem, and at the gates twelve angels, descending out of heaven from and
written thereon, God.
which are the names of the
The consequences of the establish- metaphor of the destruction of a city; ment of the gospel are then described, and so the return from captivity, or such as the wiping away of all tears, the renewed prosperity of a people, and the utter abolishing of death, and was represented, on the contrary, by sorrow and crying. All things shall planning and building a new city on be made new. He that overcometh a scale of great magnificence. The shall inherit all the blessings, while example which the revelator follows the fearful, unbelieving, &c., shall may be found in Ezekiel, chap. xli.suffer not only the deprivation thereof, xlvi. - (Lightfoot's Works, iii. 367.) but the punishments indicated by the 11. The glory of God.
This holy lake of fire. Such are the subjects city, new Jerusalem, was full of the of the preceding verses. But at the glory of God; Isaiah lx. 1, 2.. The 9th verse, the revelator proceeds to a covenant of the gospel was the more more particular description of the perfect exhibition of the glory of God, holy city, new Jerusalem. And to which the world hath ever introduce this, he states, that one off Jasper stone. — - The jasper was a the seven angels who had the seven, beautiful stone, sometimes purple, last plagues, xv. 1, talked with him sometimes cerulean and sometimes saying, “Come hither, I will show green. The stone spoken of here thee the bride, the Lamb's wife;" was clear as crystal.
The Holy xix. 7. The figure of a woman One is said to have had the appearis frequently used to represent the ance of a jasper and a sardine stone; church, and sometimes the gospel iv. 3. The light of the new Jerusacovenant; Gal. iv. 24–26. The lem was like that reflected from a bride, in this case, was the new beautiful jasper, clear as crystal. Jerusalem, as subsequent verses will It was clear, it was bright, and yet show.
not painful to the eye. See Isaiah 10. Showed me the great city. — The liv. 11, 12, and lviii. 8. carrying of the revelator to an ex- 12. A wall great and high. — In ceeding high mountain is altogether setting forth the beauties and excelscenic, like the angel standing in the lencies of the new Jerusalem, all that sun; xix. 17. The angel showed would be great, and glorious, and him that great city, the holy Jerusa- necessary in an earthly city, is here lem, descending out of heaven from brought in. Hence mention is made God. This spiritual city was the of the wall great and high, which bride, which the angel had promised can mean nothing as appertaining to to show him ; ver. 9; and it was the new Jerusulem, but is put into the new Jerusalem mentioned ver. 2. description merely to make the imThe Jews had the custom of describ- age of the city complete. Cities, of ing the enslaving and carrying away old, were built with walls, which of a people into captivity, under the were one of their principal means of