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his, and he the God with them shall be-the God of them, or their God ;— corresponding with the distinction we have drawn between the actual service and worship of God, in which (taking the motive of conduct into view) He is considered the efficient cause of salvation, and consequently in effect. God; and a pretended worship of him, in which self or some other object is contemplated as the source of eternal life, making that object in effect to appear to be the true God.*
'And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,' &c.-The promises of this verse correspond very nearly with those given concerning the multitude clothed in white, of which we have already treated, (§§ 180– 184;) the wiping away of all tears, comprehending in fact the assurance that there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying. The principal difference in the passage appears to be, in the reason assigned for this favourable change in the circumstances of those affected by it.
For [because] the former things have passed away.'—The harlot, and the beast, and the false prophet, and the accuser, and death, and hell, and the first heaven, and the first earth, and the sea, have passed away; therefore, there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, nor any more pain; consequently, no tears-they are wiped away by the removal of their exciting cause. Death we considered a state obnoxious to condemnation. If this state does not exist, the condemnation does not follow; where there is no death, there is no hell; the expression here, therefore, is equivalent to the declaration that there shall be no more death and hell. The accuser is gone; the sea, the element of wrath, is gone; and the whole position of man is changed; he is now contemplated in Christ, and there is "no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," or that are "found in him."
Godly sorrow worketh repentance unto life; but those in Christ, enjoying the new aspect of things, are here supposed to have passed the stage of repentance—the vestibule of faith; for even Christ, in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, (Heb. v. 7 ;) but being now glorified, and on the right hand of God, former things with him also have passed away. So the apostle urges the disciples to leave the elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ, and to go on, as we apprehend the expression, to more finished views of faith-views enabling the believer to perceive himself to be with Christ justified in the Spirit, and raised from a position of death to a position of life.
*The words 'is' and' and be' italicised in the first clause of this verse of our common version, are gratuitously supplied; the reading would be better without them. Behold, the tabernacle of God with men ;-with is, the thing spoken of appears to have just taken place; without it, the inference is that the tabernacle was before with men, but now they are called to look upon it, or to behold it-now, the veil is drawn aside, the mystery hid from the beginning is revealed.
Having been brought by repentance to a conviction of his sins, and to an entire casting of himself upon Christ for salvation, the disciple has reaped the fruit of godly sorrow; he has attained the end designed by that discipline. He now rejoices in Christ, having no merit of his own, (Phil. iii. 3.) So Paul's tears were wiped away; when labouring under a sense of his unworthiness from some besetting sin, he was assured that the grace of God was sufficient for his salvation; the strength or power of Jehovah's imputed righteousness being manifested by the weakness of those in whose behalf it is interposed. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin; if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us; but if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins, (1 John i. 7, ii. 2.) Here is the wiping away of all tears, the cause of sorrow and crying is removed. To him whose advance in faith is sufficient to perceive this, former things have passed away, and a new heaven and a new earth appear.
A conviction of sin must necessarily be accompanied by sorrow; but if it lead to a reliance upon the free, unmerited salvation of God, wrought out in Christ, it becomes a cause of rejoicing and of praise. How else could we unite with the apostle in the ascription of praise and adoration offered in the commencement of this book, Rev. i. 5, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood." Nor is it to be supposed that we shall forget this cause of praise in a future state. Though God blot out our transgressions from the book of his remembrance, or no more remember them against us, the redeemed sinner cannot forget his former tribulation, without forgetting also the obligations of gratitude under which he has been placed.
"I will bless the Lord at all times," says David, "his praise shall be continually in my mouth ;" and this for the reason given: "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." "I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplication. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon the Lord as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me. I found trouble and sorrow, then called I upon the name of the Lord. O Lord, I beseech thee deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord and righteous, yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee, for thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling,” (Ps. cxvi. 1–8.) Who can say that David did not enjoy, in spirit, an antepast at least of the new heaven and of the new earth.
'Neither shall there be any more pain.'-No more toil, painful labour, (nóvos.) The new position is a state of rest-the opposite of the position of the subjects of the beast, on the pouring out of the fifth vial, (Rev. xvi. 10,) when they gnawed their tongues for pain, (§ 363.) "For we know (says Paul, Rom. viii. 22-25) that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption-the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." In the views afforded by the new heavens and the new earth-the holy city and tabernacle of God—we have an exhibition of that which Paul waited for; a position of rest-a position termed by David the rest of his soul-a position of faith in which there is no anguish of labour, in going about to establish a righteousness of one's own. To these views of Christian rest the apostle Peter appears to allude as the end of faith, in speaking of the inheritance "reserved in heaven," "ready to be revealed in the last time," (1 Peter i. 3-10.) A similar allusion may be found in the prediction Is. xxxv. 10: "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
V. 5. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write; for these words are true and faithful.
Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ καθήμενος ἐπὶ τῷ θρόνῳ· ἰδού, καινὰ πάντα ποιῶ. καὶ λέγει· γράψον· ὅτι οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι πιστοὶ καὶ ἀληθινοί εἰσι,
$470. And he that sat upon the throne,' &c.-This clause reminds us that the present exhibition is part of the same as that described in the latter part of the preceding chapter; the throne spoken of here is the " great white throne," and the occupant of the throne now speaking is He from whose face the heaven and earth fled away. It is not yet said expressly who this exalted Being is, although from all the circumstances of the representation, we have inferred and still infer that it is Jesus Christ himself, in his glorified state; and we have now an additional reason for this inference, afforded by the declaration here made.
'Behold, I make all things new.'-The substitution of the new heavens and the new earth for the old had been previously described, and the declaration has already been uttered that the former things are passed away. The further development is now made as to the author of this change. The emphasis in reading the text is to be laid upon the pronoun I. It is Jesus who makes all things new. Christ, as the Lord our righteousness, virtually
makes all things new. By this manifestation of himself, he virtually substi tutes a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth; as, by the substitution of himself for the disciple, he virtually makes of that disciple a new creature-causing, as it is said 2 Cor. v. 17, old things to pass away and all things to become new-the new creature spoken of Gal. vi. 15: In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature," xain xrisis, (creatio, fabricatio. Sumitur propriè pro productione rerum ex nihilo: Suiceri Lex. ;)—this term, new creation properly signifying the production of things out of nothing—something more than merely the re-formation of an old thing. The disciple in Christ, in the sight of God is accounted a new being, formed of the righteousness and merits of his Saviour: "For he (Christ) is our peace, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, (the law of commandments in ordinances,) to make in himself of twain one new man."
Here we have a reason for the fleeing away of the first heaven and earth from the face of him who sat upon the throne. In the nature of the case, no sooner is he seen, who makes all things new by the manifestation of himself on the white throne, as Jehovah our righteousness, than old views of things vanish; they cannot sustain themselves against such an exhibition. A new economy appears in the place of the old; gospel principles in the place of legal principles; elements of redemption in the place of elements of condemnation; the gift or grace of eternal life in place of the wages of sin.
Jesus, the Saviour, Mediator, and Redeemer, makes all things new; that is, all things or principles pertaining to the development of the doctrine of eternal life, the mystery of godliness; all things pertaining to a just knowledge of his own works and character;-the secular or ecclesiastical affairs of the world, in the ordinary sense, forming no part of the subject here under consideration.
The overshadowing of the mercy-seat (Heb. ix. 5) is now removed; the mystery which angels desired to look into, is laid open: even that about which it was not the time to speak particularly, (περὶ ὧν οὐκ ἔστι νῦν λέγειν κατὰ uegos,) when Paul wrote his epistle to the Hebrews, will be found in all its parts in this revelation; this unveiling of Christ being itself in effect the making of all things new. The purpose of God must be unchangeabletruth is unchangeable-but the mode in which this purpose and this truth is exhibited may be changed; a new view may be given of it: and such a new creation we take to be the gist and purport of the whole book of the Apocalypse. For this reason, more particularly, the declaration is here made by him who sat on the throne-" Behold, I make all things new."
$471. And he said unto me, Write; for these words are true and faithful.'-We met with a direction similar to this Rev. xix. 9, and a like rea
son given for it. The remarks there made ($337) will equally apply here. The sayings or words of God cannot be more true in one portion of the sacred writings than in another, as all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, (2 Tim. iii. 16.) The declaration has just been uttered, that all things were made new. The question occurs, What things? The answer is, these true and faithful words-not physical or natural things, but things belonging to the new heaven and the new earth; made new by being changed from old to new: that is, by being seen in a true light. The sayings or words of God are those handed down to us in the Scriptures. They are unchangeable in themselves, but they are made new by a new construction-the interpretation afforded by a correct spiritual understanding.
The term rendered words here, and sayings on the former occasion, is the plural of ó óyos, the word, which when said to be that of the Deity we have supposed to express the divine purpose. In the plural, therefore, the words of God must signify the purposes of God; or, as we may say, the expressed purposes of God-the words or sayings of divine revelation. They are not here said to be the words of God, because they are uttered by the Deity himself by Him who sat on the throne-the Author of the change. The declaration, when before made, was uttered by an angel, or messenger, the fellow-servant of the apostle, which rendered the explanation necessary, that the sayings in question were those of God. The words must be the same in both cases. We think they represent the same elements of truth as those companions of the Lamb said to be "called, chosen and faithful," (worthy of faith and confidence,) engaged with their leader in overcoming the ten horns or kings, (§ 323.)
The apostle is instructed to write these things or words made new, because they are thenceforth to remain unchangeable and unchanged-opposites of that which decayeth and waxeth old, referred to Heb. viii. 13; and opposites of the things spoken by the seven thunders which were not to be written, ($229.) Moses indeed was also directed to write, (Deut. xxvii. 3,) and the moral law in its own nature, as we have before remarked, ($323,) must always remain the same-what is displeasing to God now, cannot be pleasing to him at a future period. To love God with all the heart, and with all the mind, and with all the strength, must be as much the rule of conduct for eternity as for time. There can be no eternal happiness without it; and this first and great rule adhered to, a compliance with every other like rule must be involved in it. It is not the law, but the disciple's position under the law, that is changed. The moral law itself can be no otherwise truly represented than as it is. But the new state of things shows a new way in which "every jot and tittle" of the requisitions of this law are fulfilled. The old way is changed, but the new is to remain for ever the same. As it is said, Heb. x. 19-23, "Having therefore, brethren, bold