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The Apostle was told (ch. i. v. 19) to write those things which he saw, even the things which were then present, and the things which were to be after these, or hereafter. We have touched upon the former, and now proceed to turn our attention to the latter—to those things which are, as being future, to happen “hereafter;” and which alone are, strictly speaking, of a more decidedly prophetical character.
REPRESENTATION OF THE DIVINE
ITS BLESSED INHABITANTS.
The second division of the Revelation here commences with the things to be “hereafter "–The symbol of their being unfolded—Scene described to be in Heaven—The Throne of God—The Elders— The Seven Spirits—The living creatures—The Worship of Heaven—The whole taken from Jewish worship—Similar visions of Isaiah — Ezekiel — The Symbols of the Throne— What the Blders represent —The Lightnings and Thunders—The seven lamps of fire—The sea of glass—The four living creatures Considered and explained—The language of their songs of praise
REPRESENTATION OF THE DIVINE
GLORY IN HEAVEN.
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven; and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.”
This begins the second division of the Book, the disclosure of events which were then to come; and accordingly a new vision is introduced. In the former, the Apostle was not bidden to ascend into heaven, because no part of the scene to be transacted was there: the subject of what was then to be made known, concerned the church then in existence, and was not involved in the intricacies of human affairs.
Accordingly Christ is there exhibited as walking in the midst of the churches, and, both by warnings, threatenings, rewards, promises, and encouragements, guarding its purity. But now that the history of the Church to all future generations commences; and God is pleased, in giving it, to give it the superior advantage above all human histories, of showing to us its connexion and sympathy with the church above, and the hierarchy of heaven; the apostle is ordered (and ordered by the Lord Jesus Christ, “the first voice which he heard”) to ascend up thither. In the highly figurative and expressive language in which the whole of this history is given, a door is said to be opened in heaven. This conveys the idea of all hindrances being removed, and an important welcome given—and it signifies in this place that such a welcome is given to all the disclosures which are about to be made of the counsels, decrees, and glories of Heaven. Faint and cold at the best are the highest ideas we can, while in this world, form of that happy region, of which it is declared, that it consists of “a fulness of joy, and pleasures at God’s right hand for evermore.” We must, as the Apostle was, be taken up thither, before we shall be able to realize in any adequate degree its superlative blessedness; for no description however vivid, no representation however glowing, can bring home its glories to our carnal minds—none at least, even when given by the pen of inspiration, without much of the sanctifying illumination of that Spirit by which they were indited. May such illumination be given whilst we consider the effulgent opening of heaven here presented to our view ; and may we be enabled, at least as far as the Lord permits and intends by this disclosure, in some faint degree to