The Book of Revelation - "Searchlights from the Word" by G. Campbell Morgan.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ.
This is the very key-note of this book. The phrase refers, not only to the opening section, but to the entire treatise. The wonder of the book is proved by the variety of interpretations which it has received. No wise expositor will be over-confident that his is the one and only correct interpretation. The possibility is that there are elements of truth in all. Whereas there may be, and almost certainly will be, difficulties in every reading of it, we shall be greatly helped and guided if we remember that its real value is that it is "the Revelation of Jesus Christ." Quite evidently the arresting word here is the word Revelation, which is a translation of the Greek word Apokalupsis, which literally means to take off the covering, that is, to uncover, to unveil, to disclose. It is a word with which we have become very familiar. It is found only eighteen times in the New Testament. Thirteen of these occur in the writings of Paul; three in Peter's first letter; one in the Gospel of Luke; and one in the writings of John. This is the only place in his writings where it is found. Thus it stands in all its suggestiveness at the opening of this book, giving us at once the supreme value of the whole. As we read, we see: The Church and the world; the hosts of witnesses to the living God, and the massed and mighty forces in opposition to His government, and these in conflict; but the supreme matter is that of the disclosure to us of Jesus Christ - first in His own glory, then in the grace of His dealing with the Church, and then in the wisdom and might of His government, whereby He establishes the Kingdom of God on earth.
Repent, and do the first works.
In the first chapter of this book the Lord was unveiled before our eyes in all the glory of His Person. He was disclosed as to the eternity of His Being; as to the wonders of His official position; and as to the infinite grace and tenderness of His attitude toward men. In this chapter and the next He passes before us in the wisdom, grace, strength, and august majesty of His relationship to His Church, as it is composed of different churches. To each one He says "I know," and on the basis of His knowledge He commends or condemns. He is the faithful and true Witness. To each one also He reveals the way of escape from those things which He condemns. To each one He speaks of the possibility of overcoming, and promises fitting rewards to such as do so. The words we have chosen constitute His call to the first of these churches, that at Ephesus. There was much in this church which gained His commendation, but it had one serious failing. It had lost its first love. It had lost the freshness and enthusiasm of its early devotion. It was still loyal and true, but the loyalty lacked passion, and the truth was devoid of flame. This is always a grave condition, because it so easily passes on into other phases. How was it to be remedied? By a return to the very starting-point, that of repentance and faith.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
These words, of which such constant use has been made in evangelistic work, had their first application to a church; and while the other use may not be wholly unjustified, this is their true one. The words suggest two things full of solemnity. The first is that they show that it is possible for a Christian church still to exist in outward form, while yet it has excluded the Lord from its very life. Moreover, such a church may be perfectly satisfied with itself, for it may be saying: "I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing." It is more than probable also that other churches might consider it to be an influential church, if we are to judge by the way that word influential is often used today. Can anything be more ghastly? A church organized and busy, but Christless! The condition of such a church is that of tepidity, a condition so loathsome to the Lord that of it He says: "I will spew thee out of My mouth." All that leads to and emphasizes the second suggestion of these words. It is that, even in the case of such a church, He is still the patient and compassionate One. He waits at the door, and knocking, seeks re-admission, able and willing to bring to the church again all the true wealth. He stands waiting, offering such a church the hospitality of His love, and seeking that of her welcome. Oh, the poverty of the church from which He is excluded, whatever her worldly wealth and position may be; and oh, the wealth of the church where He is present and rules, whatever her material poverty may be!
A throne set in heaven, and One sitting upon the throne.
This book is now about to pass on to matters of the earth, of its kingdoms, and forces, and behaviour. Jesus Christ is to be unveiled in His government. He is to be disclosed in the processes by which He battles against the destructive forces of evil, and finally establishes the Kingdom of God on earth. This chapter and the next are occupied with the established order, rather than with the executive activity. In this one, the central revelation is that of the Throne, and the One Who occupies it. The first fact is that of the Throne and the One. It is an unveiling. The Throne is not seen as now being set in Heaven, but as having been for ever set there. It is, in the words of the old Hebrew prophet, the Throne set on high from the beginning. It has always been there. Whatever the attitudes of men may have been toward it - whether that of forgetfulness, or indifference, or rebellion, or submission - they have never escaped from its power and authority. Moreover, the One Who is unveiled is not One Who has recently come to the Throne. He has ever occupied it. This is the Throne that Isaiah saw when Uzziah died, the Throne that has never been vacant, and that has never trembled. The imagery of the chapter is wonderful, as it helps us to apprehend the glory and majesty of that centre of authority in the universe. Perhaps, however, nothing in all the chapter is more impressive than the reverent reticence of the description of the One upon the Throne. No form is described, but only the effect produced by looking, that of the translucent light and beauty of jasper and sardius. When we attempt interpretation, we fail, because we are not sure about the stones. The impression is everything. Light, glory, beauty; and all that, living, and enthroned.
Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof.
Still dealing with the established order, this chapter takes us a step further than the former one. There we saw the Throne, and were made conscious of the One Who occupied it. In this chapter the first vision is of that same Throne, and that same One; but of that One holding in His right hand a Book, sealed with seven seals. As events prove, that Book is the Divine programme for dealing with evil and establishing the Kingdom of God. But more than a programme is needed. There must be One Who is qualified to carry it out; One Who will be able to administer the affairs of the Throne; and accomplish the purposes of the One Who sitteth thereupon. And none is found "in the heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth." There are those "in the heaven", fitted for government - "dominions, thrones, principalities" suggest that; but they cannot deal with this complex condition of good and evil in conflict. There may be those "on the earth" capable of governing; but they are themselves involved in evil, and cannot cope with it. There are those "under the earth," who are "rulers of the darkness," but they are in rebellion against the One Throne. Therefore none is "able to open the Book, or to look thereon." But there is One Who is able. He has overcome in order to do it. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, a Lamb as though it had been slain. He is in His nature of the heaven, and of the earth; and by conquest He is over the underworld. He now takes the Book out of the right hand of Him that sitteth upon the Throne, in order to carry out the Divine programme, to administer the affairs of the Throne, and to accomplish the purpose of the One that sitteth thereupon.
The Lamb opened one of the seven seals.
Having seen the unveiling of Jesus Christ as the Executive of the Throne, in the right created by the fact that He is "the Lamb that hath been slain," we now proceed to His unveiling in actual government. Nothing takes place apart from His administration. He opens every seal, the story of which continues to the end of chapter 18, for the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls reveal different aspects of the same governmental procedure. Beyond that, He it is Who reigns for the thousand years, conquers the final manifestation of evil, and reigns over the final, perfected Kingdom. The words which we have selected refer to the first of the seals, but they are equally true of all of them. It is always the Lamb Who opens them. In this chapter we have the account of the opening of six seals. As they are opened, we first see forces commanded to come forth, and manifest and express themselves. After the opening of the first, the King is manifested; after the second, the Lord of War; after the third, the Prince of Commerce; after the fourth, Death with Hades. Under all these, souls suffer and die in fellowship with the suffering and death of the One Who opens the seals, and the opening of the fifth reveals them as calling for the ending of false rule on earth, and comforted, and commanded to wait until the process should be completed. The opening of the sixth gives the signs of the approach of the end. Amid the convulsions of the world-order, kings, princes, captains, the rich, the strong, bondmen, and freemen, are made conscious of the One Who sitteth upon the Throne, and of the wrath of the Lamb. All things are proceeding by the administration of the Lamb, Who opens every seal.
Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we shall have sealed the servants of our God on their fore-heads.
These words, uttered by one angel to four others, indicate a halt in the processes under the opening of the seals. Six have been opened; the seventh and last is about to be opened; but there is delay, during which an elect remnant of Israel is sealed. This is the spiritual realization of Israel. At this point John was also granted a vision of a multitude in heaven, so great that no man could number them. They are seen surrounding the Throne and the Lamb, worshipping and praising Him, as it is given to them to see the processes of the government of the earth, and to understand whereunto all these things are moving. This is the first of a series of interludes during these processes, and the fact of them is full of importance, proving as it does that God is not bound by times and dates and seasons. As six seals have been opened, there has been a steady development toward a climax of judgment. That climax is at hand, but it is halted in order that the justice of God's mercy may have full opportunity to accomplish its purpose also. The storm is ready to break, but that also is under the control of the angels who are the servants of the Throne; and until He has completed His work of securing loyal souls from the disaster, these angels must hold the winds in check.
A silence in heaven about the space of half-an-hour.
And now the seventh seal is about to be opened. When it is opened, a sequence of seven trumpets will initiate the movements leading up to the manifestation of the King. At last it is opened, and there is "a silence in heaven about the space of half-an-hour." Before looking at the events on earth, we are thus taken again to the heaven, where is the Throne, and where is the One, and where is the Lamb, and where are the angels, all of them, and where is the great multitude. There, in contemplation of the events to transpire on earth, all is silence. There is no voice from the Throne, no song of angel or of saint. Everything is hushed. Eternity breathes the sense of time, for the silence in its duration is measured by the hours of men. It lasted half-an-hour. Surely no statement could possibly be more arresting as a revelation of the dread and august solemnity of the things to follow. After the silence the angels were given the trumpets. And then followed another pause, in which incense was added to the prayers of all the saints. All the intercessions of the saints have been preserved. They are about to receive their final answer in the coming of the Kingdom. Then those prayers, mingled with fire, are cast upon the earth. So the Kingdom is coming by the fire which destroys the base and purifies the noble. At last the movement begins, and four angels sound their trumpets.
And they repented not of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
The statement is an appalling revelation of the fearful nature of evil, and a vindication of those awful methods by which, and by which alone, God can deal with it so as to deliver men from its power. In this chapter the fifth and sixth angels have sounded, and so the first and second of the last three woes have fallen upon the earth. These have been of a new nature from those following the sounding of the first four trumpets. Those were physical. These have been terrible spiritual visitations, producing bodily sufferings and death. Nevertheless, men who had escaped actual death repented not. As the story is read, it seems almost incredible; and yet when we turn from these visions to the actual facts of human history, and most notably to the things in the midst of which we have lived recently, is not this view of the power of evil vindicated? How often have we seen men fear death, but, if they escape it, still persistent in evil, and indeed sometimes rush back to it with an abandonment and intensity that is utterly appalling. These methods of severe judgment are necessary in order to stamp out evil, but they will not save men. If men will not yield themselves to the grace and mercy of God, they will be destroyed, not saved, by His wrath. It is a solemn and searching truth, the meaning of which we do well to ponder.
There shall be delay no longer.
Everything was now moving up to the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and the seer was prepared for what he was to see. First, there was given to him the vision of a strong angel, vested with authority, and declaring that there should be no further delay. The whole method of God with men through ages had been that of mystery and apparent delay. Now both would cease. Its ceasing would be according to the good tidings which He had declared to His servants the prophets; that is, it would issue in complete victory for all His purposes. But the processes would be those of further suffering, and the seer was symbolically prepared for this under the figure of the book which he was commanded to eat. It was the book of the Divine Word concerning these very things, containing unquestionably the messages which he would be called upon to deliver concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings. To a man called to such ministry there would be joy and bitterness. It is always so to those who deliver the messages of Divine judgment in true fellowship with the Lord Himself. All His delays are the result of His patience. When the hour strikes in which "delay shall be no more," God proceeds with the processes of His judgment, but never with delight. If He curse Jerusalem, it is always with a voice tremulous with the sorrow of His heart. The Lord delighteth in mercy, and judgment is His strange act; but when, in spite of grace and chastisement, man refuses to repent, then for the welfare of the race, and the fulfilment of His purposes of love, He will smite to destruction.
The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.
The early part of this chapter is occupied with a continuation of the account of the preparation of the seer for what he was to witness after the sounding of the last of the seven trumpets. It is almost certainly an interpretation of the things which at that period in the Divine procedure had then already transpired, during the period of the opening of the seals until that moment. At last the seventh angel sounded, and the final stage under the seventh seal is ushered in. Directly the angel sounded, great voices followed in heaven, and these were the words they uttered. Much remained to be done; the last stages of the Divine judgment would be more terrible than any that had preceded; but the heavenly Intelligences knew whereunto it would all lead, and they rejoiced and worshipped, that the time had come when all false authority over the world would be abolished, and God and His Christ would firmly establish Their rule and authority over it. This, then, is heaven's perpetual song, even amid the conflict between Jerusalem and Babylon, between faith and rebellion, between good and evil; and it is the privilege of the heavenly people, of those whose names are written in heaven, to sing the same song. They know the Throne that is set; the One Who sits upon it, and the Lamb Who opens the seals. For them, there never can be any doubt as to the issue. The world must become actually and experimentally the Kingdom of God. Knowing this, they rejoice in tribulation also, and rest in the Divine justice as it proceeds to deal with evil in judgment.
And there was war in heaven.
In these three chapters, 12, 13, and 14, we certainly have an interlude upon the account of the actual procedure. A series of visions were granted to the seer, setting forth the fact and conditions leading up to the things actually following the soundings of the trumpet. There is no doubt that here we reach the section of this book about which it is least possible to be dogmatic. I believe that the first section of this chapter looks back to the birth of the Man-child Jesus of ideal Israel. He is caught up unto God and to His Throne, while she is driven into the wilderness. For the purpose of this vision her time is dated as from the moment when that Man-child takes the book from the right hand of God, and begins to open its seals. At the end of 1,260 days, or three and a half years, there is war in heaven. Our only conception of war is material, and therefore we cannot visualize this conflict. Enough for us to know that it is an actual conflict between principalities and powers, fallen and unfallen, and that the result is that the whole of the fallen ones are cast out of the heavenly places to which they have had access, and now exercise all their awful power on the earth. But terrible as is the manifestation of the power of evil thus centralized on earth, it is that of foes already defeated in the heavenlies, and everything proceeds under the government of the Lamb.
And the whole earth wondered after the beast.
There was now given to the seer a vision of the method of Satan when thus cast down to the earth. It is that of a beast to whom power is given. It is certainly the portrayal of Antichrist, who is the counterfeit of Christ. He appears with all the signs and symbols of kingship. He, moreover, has supernatural signs, coming up out of the abyss, having a death wound which has been healed. He is characterized by great personal attractiveness, for the whole earth wonders at him. Moreover, he is followed by another beast, who makes men worship the first, and employs signs of fire and of occult wonders, and creates a fellowship of material things, in which men may buy and sell of each other if they have the mark of the beast. Upon the head of the first are "names of blasphemy"; and in this symbolic portraiture we see that the final method of evil will be that of attempting to seduce men by these false representations of the things of Christ and His Holy Spirit. Antichrist has surely not yet appeared in human history. Many tyrants, many despots, the world has had, but the last will surpass them all in subtlety, and in seductive influence. It is for us to remember that these are the true unveilings of godlessness, this is the true inwardness of evil. And further, it is for us to keep in mind most clearly the vision granted to us at the beginning, of the Throne, and the One, and the Lamb opening the seals. As we do so, we shall know that evil is being thus compelled to express itself by that Throne; and that, in order to its final overthrow. There is no moment in which that Throne is in danger.
And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on the Mount Zion.
Having thus seen evil working itself out to its final manifestation on the earth, the attention of the seer is turned again to the heavenly order. The Lamb is seen on Mount Zion, associated with the elect remnant whose sealing had taken place before the opening of the seventh seal. Under His rule a threefold angel testimony is borne to the earth. The first declares the eternal Gospel, that is, the abiding truth of the Kingship of God. The second declares Babylon to be fallen, that is, the mystery of evil to be doomed. The third warns men against yielding to the beast, declaring that all who do, will drink of the wine of the wrath of God. Because during this period death will be the, portion of many who remain true to God, a voice declares all such to be blessed. The last of these preparatory and interpretative visions granted to John was that of the Son of Man, having on His head the golden crown of absolute monarchy, and in His hand the sharp sickle of retributive justice. The words, "And He that sat on the cloud cast in His sickle upon the earth; and the earth was reaped," constitute a tremendous declaration, the full force of which will be apprehended more perfectly in the descriptions which follow. Suffice it now to say that it is a declaration of the final and all-inclusive judgment. The vintage is not that of the vine of heaven, but that of the earth, of the terrible counterfeit which we have seen under the figure of the beasts. In the final description here, the figurative merges into fact. The wine is blood.
Seven angels having seven plagues, which are the last, for in them is finished the wrath of God.
The vision of the heavenly order is continued, as preliminary to that of the final stage in the processes of judgment leading on to the setting up of the Kingdom of God on earth. Seven angels are seen having seven plagues. Then, before they proceeded to the pouring out of the vials of wrath, the seer beheld a glassy sea, mingled with fire, and standing by that sea the victorious host who had overcome the beast. They were probably such as had sealed their testimony with their blood, and had overcome through death. Their song is a perfect ascription of praise to the Lord God, the Almighty, for His works, His ways, His holiness, and His righteous acts. He is referred to in this song as King of the ages, and thus the fact of all ages being under His government is recognized, the ages of tribulation, as well as those of triumph. Next in order John saw the opening of the Temple in heaven, and from thence the seven angels appeared. To these were given seven bowls full of the wrath of God. The introductory words of all this declare that these "are the last, for in them is finished the wrath of God." So that in the things that are to follow, we are to observe the final activities of the Lamb in judgment before the setting up of the Kingdom for the thousand years. The wrath of God can be finished. His love is never finished. His wrath moves forward ever to the accomplishment of that which is necessary to the full activity of His love. When that is done, His wrath is finished.
Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.
In this chapter we have the account of the last activity of the Divine wrath in the pouring out of the seven bowls. Evil has wrought itself out to its most terrible expression. As men have made material things supreme, the first movements of the judgment are in the realm of the physical. The depth of the depravity of man is revealed in the fact that out of the experiences of pain, they still blaspheme and refuse to repent. After the sixth bowl, John heard a word of Christ, which he inserts parenthetically. It is a word announcing His coming, and proclaiming a blessing upon those who watch. When the seventh bowl is emptied, the voice out of the Temple declares: It is done. Then the interpreting word is written which we have selected. It declares the reason of all this method of wrath. God has never been unmindful of Babylon. She has ever been in His sight, and He has purposed always that she should drink the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Let us never forget this. In what seem to us to be the long ages of the conflict, Babylon has seemed to be in the ascendant, she has acted as though there were no God, and in her appalling power has seemed to escape retribution; and more, she has trampled upon those who have believed in God and wrought for the building of His City. But God has never forgotten; He has never allowed Babylon to escape, and at last she must drink the wine of His wrath, which will be the vintage of her own wickedness.
Mystery, Babylon the great, the Mother of the harlots, and of the abominations of the earth.
This chapter and the next constitute an interlude of interpretation dealing with the mystery of Babylon. It is represented under the figure of a woman upon whose forehead these revealing words are branded. The first word, Mystery, suggests the subtlety and spiritual nature of that which is in mind. Babylon stands for the whole system of organized godlessness in the history of the human race. It emerged into manifested activity as Babel when men organized to defeat the purposes of God. It is a spirit of evil, the mystery of lawlessness, which has been at work through every age. It has had countless manifestations, but its genius has been ever the same. It is described as the mother of harlots, in harmony with the unvarying method of Scripture, which ever refers to the departure of men from the true God to the worship of every form of idols, under that figure. This evil spirit, this mystery of iniquity, has been constantly garbed in the things of material splendour; "arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls." This has been the method by which it has deceived the hearts of men. But she is the mother "of the abominations of the earth." All the things of vileness, of corruption, of cruelty, of tyranny, are her spawn. John saw her "drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." This is the evil thing against which God, through the Lamb, proceeds in wrath.
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.
This word John heard proclaimed with a mighty voice by an angel who came out of heaven having great authority. It is rather a description of Babylon as she is seen from the height of the heavenly order, than a pronouncement of her doom. It is necessarily a pronouncement of doom, but it reveals the reason of the doom. She is fallen. Her condition is that of being a habitation of demons, the prison-house of unclean spirits. As the carcase of a bird with broken wings, fallen to earth, becomes infested with the life of corruption which is in itself death, Babylon is declared to be the place in which all violence and spiritual corruption of the worst type abides. Therefore is she fallen, and Heaven always sees her as fallen, even in hours when she seems to be triumphant. The words of Jesus inevitably recur to the mind: "I beheld Satan as lightning fallen from heaven." The fall of Babylon outwardly and manifestly will produce entirely opposite effects on earth and in heaven. The whole earth is plunged into mourning. Kings and merchants and masses will bewail the unutterable overthrow, for all the investments of ungodliness will be destroyed. But in that fall Heaven will rejoice, for in it, saints, apostles, prophets are vindicated and crowned. The last paragraph in this chapter declares the reason of the Divine wrath against Babylon. Her princes are "of the earth," that is, godless in their rule. Her sorceries have deceived the nations. She is full of the blood of those whom she has slain. Therefore, and because of the Throne, and the One Who sitteth upon it, and of the Lamb Who exercises His power and authority - Babylon is fallen.
After these things I heard as it were a great voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory, and power, belong to our God.
The unveiling of Jesus Christ now presents Him coming into His Kingdom on the earth. In this chapter, and the first three verses of the next, we have the account of the inauguration of the reign of a thousand years. In this inauguration there are four distinct and august movements. The first is that of the heavenly rejoicing. The second is that of the marriage of the Lamb. The third is that of the actual manifestation of Jesus to the world. The last is that of the binding of Satan. The words we now consider constitute the key-note to everything. They are the words of a song, the expression of adoring gladness. There are three movements in the praise. First, it is the song of a great multitude. Then that of the elders and the living ones, in a great Amen. Finally, in response to a voice proceeding from the Throne, a mighty chorus breaks forth, which is as "the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunders." It is the music which celebrates the fall of the false, and the triumph of the true. Let us carefully observe that this music is heard "after these things." This is the vindication of all the terror of the things of wrath. That awful wrath has been working ever towards this song. The only way to the full realization of salvation is that of compelling the mystery of lawlessness to express itself to the fullest extent, in order that so it may be completely overcome.
They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
That is the brief but perfect account of the thousand years which we have come to describe as the "millennium." It is an arresting fact that in this wonderful book so little is said about that period. At the most only three verses deal with it. At the seventh verse we are at once beyond it. The glorious pictures of the last chapters are not those of the millennium, but of events following it, and a still more glorious age which is to succeed it. This is not to undervalue that period of a thousand years, but it is to draw attention to the fact that it is neither final nor complete. John was only given one version of it. He saw it as a period in which Satan would be bound, and Christ would reign in association with those who had suffered for His name, and had refused the mark of the beast. For any further interpretation of that period, we have to consult the writings of the old Hebrew prophets. The brief description, however, is sufficient to enable us to realize how wonderful a time it will be. Evil will not be absent from the earth, but it will no longer be in the ascendant, even to outward appearance. Its fountain head and centre, described here fully by John as "the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan," will be bound, denied access to men. Men will be left to make their choice between good and evil apart from the seductions of evil spirits. What an age it will be for the preaching of the Gospel, and surely the preachers will be God's ancient people Israel! It will be the final period of preparation for the ultimate and perfected Kingdom.
I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming, down out of heaven from God.
At last the city of God is seen, coming. It is the city which was in the counsel of God when He gave man a garden containing all its potentialities; the city which was in His purpose for man when He confused his Babel project; the city to reach which, Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees; the city whose walls have ever been before Him. It is the metropolis of the realized ideals of God for humanity, the centre of the true social order. Let us observe carefully the time of its coming. After the thousand years, Satan is to be loosed. Even the millennial reign will not have finally overcome evil in humanity. It will have held it in check, reigned over it. And so the master-spirit of evil is loosed to gather together to himself all those in whom this principle of evil still remains. The last earthly expression of it will be the futile gathering of these to war against the saints and the city of the Divine purpose. They are only gathered that they may be cast, with Satan, from the earth. So evil passes from the world for ever. Then follows the great assize, a period of august and awful silence, in which the records reveal the righteousness of the Divine government. It should be remembered that the purpose of everything in these visions is such unveilings of Jesus Christ as show Him in His relation to this earth. Evil is cast into the lake of fire. Then the new heaven and the new earth. Then the City of God, and the nations walking in the light thereof. Then the full answer to the prayers of the saints: "Thy name be hallowed, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done: As in heaven so on earth"!
He which testifieth these things saith, Yea, I come quickly. Amen; come, Lord Jesus.
These are the last words before the benediction. They are the words of the Lord Jesus; and the words of those who bear His name, and wear His sign. The words of the Lord Jesus are the words of His confidence, and of His strength. To that glorious consummation He is coming, and that all the time. The word "quickly" must be interpreted, not by our finite lives, and our small almanacs, but by His age-abiding life, and our age-abiding life in Him. By our reckoning of the years, well nigh two millenniums have gone since John heard these words, and certainly another millennium will pass ere the City of God shall come: But to Him to Whom a thousand years are but as a day, surely He cometh quickly. The haste of God may seem slow to men if they measure by the small span of an earthly sojourning. To them also it will be great haste, if they measure it by the eternal life. The one sure thing is that He cometh! Through patience, through wrath! through all the processes, He cometh! Nothing can prevent His coming. That very assurance gives urgency to the answering cry of His own: "Amen; come Lord Jesus!" That coming is the only hope of the world, and there is no desire so pure, so strong, so influential in all highest ways, as that He should come indeed.