Fragmentary Thoughts on Revelation

J. N. Darby.

<34009E> 166 {file  section b.}

{For the remaining papers in this series, the reader is referred to the Editor's Note, Vol. 12, page 1. They are mainly notes of Addresses, not known to have been revised by the Author, save where this is specially indicated.}

Revelation 4

There are two points I desire to notice in this chapter in connection with the perfect peace of the soul which belongs to the redeemed, and the consequent spirit and character of their worship. The subject matter of this book consists of judgment, for, with the exception of the church in bliss, the character of all is judgment. God is sitting on a throne, and His throne is not in the character of grace, but in that of Sinai. Not that the throne will be on the earth, but that the judgments, the lightnings and thunderings, which are coming on the earth, will issue from this throne. In this introductory chapter (which it is as to the earth) we have God in the character of Lord God Almighty, and not in the character of Father; but the names given in the Old Testament - Jehovah, Lord God Almighty - are in connection with His power which will be put forth in the coming judgments.

167 Now what shews out the perfect peace to which we as believers are brought, is seeing the twenty-four elders sitting on thrones round about the throne, whence those judgments are issuing, in perfect peace. They are close to the throne, round about the throne from whence all flow, and yet they are not at all alarmed - no disturbance, no trembling - because associated with the very throne from which all the judgments come. Then mark another thing. They are sitting, not even here seen standing, but sitting in perfect peace, like David, who went in and sat before the Lord. They worship, it is true, and fall down, which is a much higher thing than sitting. But how thoroughly this scene shews into what a place of perfect peace we are brought, that, when the judgments break forth, there is nothing in them to alarm us. They were seen sitting in perfect peace, and this is our place; so that however we may be tried down here in the world, when we come before God we can and ought to sit in peace, and rest there.

Then there is another thing. When the character of God is opened out in the threefold ascriptions of "Holy, holy, holy," does this disturb them? No. So with us, when the full character of God's holiness is seen in His justice, making good His holiness. If in the presence of this holiness I thought there was a spot on me, I could not be at peace before Him. What a blessing to have our home and place of rest where the thrice holy God is!

When they hear, "Holy, holy; holy, Lord God Almighty," their affections move them, and they fall down immediately in worship. While the judgments move them not the least, their affections take them off their thrones in their falling down to worship. It is the effect of being in perfect undisturbed peace that their affections find utterance in praise. They lay their crowns at His feet, attributing all to Him. They fall on their faces; this is a deeper thing than even sitting in peace before Him. "Thou art worthy . . . for thou hast created all things," etc. This is intelligent worship; they know why He is worthy  - they know it for themselves (as in chapter 5), for He bought them to God by His blood.

168 There was no terror awakened in them when the thunderings and lightnings were going on; no, nor when the character of a thrice holy God is opened out: but when the glory is spoken of they worship. If there is fear, there can be no worship. "Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness." But grace has set us in the place of worship by the power of the Holy Ghost: being made kings and priests unto God and His Father, we can worship Him. We are not in the glory yet, but may we grow in the sense of what He is, and worship Him who is worthy to be glorified.

This is God's claim as Creator; chapter 5 is the Lamb's title in redemption, leading to worship. The kings and priests in chapter 5 include more than the church. They have a royal, a priestly character, being more than the bride. The bride restrictively, does not come in until chapter 19. The subject of the whole book of Revelation is the throne preparing the world for the kingdom; but the kingdom is not ready without the bride, and therefore she is mentioned before the close of the book.

In verse 4 it is "four-and-twenty thrones," not "seats." Our translators were afraid to go so far as to say "thrones," but the word is the same as in the first clause of the verse. Here we see the happy place the church is brought into. They are sitting in dignity and peace, while all the circumstances of judgment are proceeding from the throne. They are unmoved by the lightnings and thunderings, etc. But mark the difference when the living creatures say, Holy, holy, holy, and give thanks. Instead of trembling at the holiness of God - which as sinners they would have done - they fall down to worship; and it is intelligent worship, for they say, "for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they were, and have been created."

169 Revelation 4

The fourth and fifth chapters of this book help us to understand the present heavenly character and position of the saints, being descriptive of their actual position during the time of the judgments being poured out. The church is not actually seen as such, until she appears as the bride at the close of the book.

The proper subject of this book is not grace, but judgment; though, no doubt, the patience of God in executing judgment is grace. But the book is one of judgment, even as regards the churches; for the Son of man is seen walking among them, taking notice of their conduct. Having gone through the professing body, judging its ways and its works (while those who overcome have their portion in blessing) He spues its last state out of His mouth; and then He enters on the judgments which befall the world. Before entering on the detail of these judgments, He gives a preliminary view of the position of the saints, as we have it in this and the next chapters.

There are three subjects distinctly marked in the first chapter as comprised in this book. First, the glory and the manifestation of Christ Himself, the things seen; second, the churches, "The things which are"; third, the things hereafter, or "after these," that is, the things which do not belong to the position of the church in its testimony down here as a corporate body, but after it is as such spued out of Christ's mouth.

First, then, what is seen is the glory of Christ; secondly, "The things which are." The only question that can arise is as to the force and bearing of the expression "things which are." They are looked at as the condition of the church as a whole (not merely local churches). Thyatira was told to "hold fast till I come"; and to Philadelphia He says, "I will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world"; clearly shewing it was not any mere local body that was addressed. We get in these instances the clearest intimation of its being the general aspect of the whole church looked at in the character of judgment, from the time of its leaving its first love, until it is entirely given up. The thing Christ is dealing with is the church, until an entirely new dispensation commences.

Another characteristic there is, as connected with "the things which are," the church is a witness for God. In the first church we see this ceased to be the case; and at the close of all, when it has entirely lost its character as such, Christ Himself, in the fullest and completest sense, presents Himself to take the inheritance, and takes up the character which it should have maintained, namely, the "Amen, the faithful and true witness." Then, as having taken up this character, He assumes the government of this world again; and that is quite a different thing from His walking amongst the churches in His judicial character upon earth, passing judgment upon those things that should have been a faithful witness of Him. Then the prophet sees Him in heaven, having done with the church upon the earth. He is not seen there as the Head of the body, but as the "Lamb that has been slain": the One rejected upon earth is upon the throne in heaven, from whence the judgments are to proceed. This is a most solemn moment. We see how the world is all going on under God's eye, and with what patience He has been bearing with it.

170 In regard to God's dealings with man, as man, after his fall, there have been, to speak generally, three great epochs: first, the period before Christ came; secondly, the present interval; thirdly, after He comes again. In one sense there were many epochs during the time He was trying man with constant and unwearied patience, to see if good could be got from him, before Christ was rejected. He knew full well what would be the result, but He was putting man to the test. He planted a vineyard: it brought forth wild grapes, the hedge was broken down, and a wild boar out of the forest devoured it; and at last He said, "I have yet one Son, they will reverence Him; but they said, This is the heir, come let us kill him." Then the world was in a certain sense judged - not the judgment executed, but probation was ended. Satan, the prince of this world, is cast out. This took place when the true and rightful Prince, the Son of Him who owned the vineyard, was rejected. The world was then judged as to its character and ways. It is under condemnation, and therefore we are exhorted not to be conformed to this world. The plainest testimony is thus given against it morally. "The fashion of this world passeth away." "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." "The friendship of this world is enmity with God." Having rejected His Son, the sentence of rejection is passed on it by God. The Son leaves it, and it would see Him no more. Satan is proved to be the prince of it. The Holy Ghost comes to convict it of sin, because of unbelief; of righteousness, because Christ had left it to go to the Father; of judgment, because the testimony of judgment on the prince of this world is passed. The world is convicted of righteousness by these two things - the Son of God being rejected and ascended to the right hand of the Father, and the world seeing Him no more. And the Holy Ghost is given to the church, the vessel to contain the witness of the glorified Man till His coming again. The saints are gathered by the Holy Ghost, out of the world, to go forth to meet the Bridegroom.

171 What peace there is to our souls in seeing Christ's power over all creation, in connection with Satan's power being all broken! In the new age this will be fully manifested; and the working of miracles by the disciples was a sign of that energy and power of the Son of man which will be known in the world yet to come. "Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

The earth then was set aside when the rejected Man took His place in heaven. The Jews were the immediate instruments of His rejection; but man, the first Adam, was utterly set aside through this act; and the Jew was to be brought to see that in the flesh dwelleth no good thing, and that heavenly grace was entirely in connection with the new Man. He is gone into heaven, that "He might fill all things." He came down in grace as the last Adam, that He might bring in glory; and thus when the church is being formed, we get this double character: the heavenly Man taking His proper place in heaven, the earthly man judged. It is henceforth all new. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." We know not Christ any more "after the flesh." It is as Head of the new creation that we are united to Him. "The first man was of the earth, earthy; the second man, the Lord from heaven." The second Man has ascended; "but in that he ascended, he descended first into the lower parts of the earth." He has ascended as the second Man to take His glory with the Father. As the result of all this, the church is looked upon as dead and risen with Christ - "sitting together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." The new character for those who thus belong to Him is to manifest this heavenly Man by the power of the Holy Ghost down here; and thus the church becomes the living witness of Christ's rejection on earth and acceptance in heaven.

172 The church being set in this place, the Lord goes on with it, so long as He could in any way regard it as His witness on the earth.

Having disposed of "things that are," we now see that in order to be associated with God's thoughts and God's ways, the prophet has to be taken up to heaven. "A door was opened in heaven," and he sees the Lamb upon the throne, and those who had been faithful upon earth are with Him there. See the character of the throne itself: it is a throne that is going to vindicate the rejected Lamb, and the judgment to be executed. "A voice said unto me, Come up hither . . . and immediately I was in the Spirit"; but being in the Spirit, it was not to look round on things on earth, but go up into heaven.

In connection with the throne we see a display of power and majesty. It was so at Sinai, where there was judgment attending the giving of the law. The mount was to be guarded. "Whosoever toucheth the mountain shall be surely put to death." Then in Jerusalem His throne was established again; and there was the manifestation of His glory, as sitting between the cherubim over the mercy-seat. Through the mediation of Moses (after the golden calf was set up), we see God forgiving sins, though not clearing the guilty. He said, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee." It was always the terms of God's government with an earthly people. There is another throne now - the throne of grace. This is not our highest place, which is to be sitting in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; but it is a great mercy to have boldness to come to this throne, "that we may obtain mercy," etc., while walking down here in weakness, trial, infirmity, and perplexity; it is from this throne of grace that we find the power of God available for all we need to guide and help.

Here the throne in heaven is neither of these, but a new thing, a throne set in heaven and executing judgment. It has nothing to do with a throne of grace, and is not the object of supplication. In one sense they are all alike, because God's throne; but that is all. So thoroughly is this different from the throne of grace, that the effect of prayer was judgment. See chapter 8, where, when the prayers of the saints were offered, and the incense ascended, fire and judgment came down upon the earth. "There were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and earthquakes." With us we get by prayer "grace to help in every time of need." Here the censer being thrown on the earth brings down judgment.

173 But it is not the Lamb executing judgment; nor is it the word of God either. But we see the throne before He comes out. It is the interval between His having done with the churches on earth (for there is nothing left in the church to judge), and His coming to the earth again as the Faithful and True Witness.

The throne is set up for the introduction of the "Only-begotten into the world" in judgment. We have in this chapter God's relationship with creation set forth. God comes out in the character of Creator. If He is coming in judgment, everything must be set right before Him. It is not God enabling man to go against the stream which is wrong, but the stream itself must be set right. He must have creation itself brought into order. Every kind of glory belongs to Christ. As to Israel, He is King of Israel. When He is born into the world, it is as Jehovah-Jesus, "for he shall save his people from their sins"; Hoshea meaning Saviour, Jah Jehovah - Jesus meaning Jah-Hoshea, Jehovah the Saviour. He is Lord over all creation. "All things were created by him," etc., and He is Lord over the Gentiles too.

As Son of David, then, He has Israel; as Son of man, He has the world - everything; as Son of God, He has His own title to all glory as Creator and Head over all to the body, which two things we get in Colossians. The sign God gave of His covenant with creation was the rainbow, the token of God's faithfulness; and when these judgments are coming on the earth, there is the sign at once of His covenant faithfulness in relation to creation.

Verse 4. "Seated on thrones." The symbols here represent the saints in their heavenly condition, but not as the church, Christ's body. They are "kings and priests." In this chapter we see them as kings; in the next as priests. The one is their kingly office, the other is their priestly character as worshippers. The moment God is going to deal with creation, the saints are seen sitting on the throne with Him. What a wonderful place is given to us! We are a "royal priesthood," etc. We do not belong to this creation, but are a kind of first-fruits of His creatures. The glory and profit is all His, though the blessing is ours. We have a special place of glory, "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ"; but that is not all, we must be His bride. In Colossians we have both First-born of every creature as the heir of God's estate, and beside that, He is first-begotten from the dead. He is Head of the new creation. He has come up from among the dead in the power of that life which could not be holden of death. In Ephesians there is another thing: "He gave him to be head over all things to the church." All things are His, and He is Head over them to the body. Not Head over the body (though He does judge it), and therefore it is added that the church is the "fulness of him that filleth all in all." The head without the body would be incomplete, and the church makes up His completeness. We are completely associated with Him. We are not of the old creation, but of the new. It is true we are still in the body, and have to carry it about with us in the bondage of corruption. We are part of the new creation as being one with Him who filleth all in all; while, looked at individually, we have the character of "kings and priests." Here we see all the saints who will be raised, sitting round the throne of God; round the very place from whence proceed the thunderings, etc.

174 "The Spirits of God." The imagery is taken from the temple. What a place for us to be in! "Know ye not that ye shall judge angels?" Do not think that these things are too high for you: they are not the highest. You must bring the heavenly character of them down to every-day practice. When Jesus was on earth, the lowly Man here below as "sent into the world," He brought down the principles of the heavenly spirit in all His ways and words - "the Son of man which is in heaven." And He says to His disciples, "Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." This sweeps away every principle of conduct which cannot connect us with Him whom the world has rejected. The world hates what is heavenly in it. It cannot bear the testimony of what it has done. We are called to be nothing in the world. We must be contented to be despised; and find Christ in such a way our heavenly portion, as to have no ambition to be anything where He was nothing. "How can ye believe who receive honour one of another?" Our calling is to manifest the spirit and temper of the heavenly Christ.

"Seven lamps of fire." All this is judgment - sevenfold perfection, but sevenfold judgment. It is not here, as in Zechariah, the "eyes of the Lord, running to and fro in the earth," but consuming everything that does not suit the presence of this heavenly throne. It is a solemn thing, this judgment from heaven. "The leaves of the tree shall be for the healing of the nations." Our whole relationship with God is founded on grace. We dwell in Him and He in us. The revelations of the Spirit of God to us are about Him as our God, and heaven as our home. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost, looking up to heaven saw the throne, and Jesus on the right hand of God; but the character is very different here, not all that makes delight and blessing, but the Spirit itself is as "lamps of fire." What will the earth do when heaven has this character of judgment, when there is neither throne of grace, nor patience, but all is judgment?

175 Verse 6, etc. Now we come to another part of the scene altogether: "Four living creatures full of eyes before and behind." They are symbolical as heads of the judicial power of God. He may use angels, or He may use the saints as His instruments. We often find cherubim mentioned in scripture. The first time is when they were placed in the garden of Eden to keep the way of the tree of life. In Ezekiel they are connected with judgment. In chapter 9, when the glory of the Lord is gone up from the cherubim, there is the execution of judgment upon all those who had not the mark. Then again, within the veil, was to be seen the symbol of God's judicial power, for the cherubim looked down upon the ark, the throne of God's power. He was governing Israel. God was using this power in the midst of creation around. When the temple of Solomon was built, the cherubim were not looking down into the ark, but their wings reached from wall to wall, and they looked outward. This is a figure of the Solomon reign of Christ, when all His judicial power will look out to bless. In Psalm 72 we see His reign extending over all the earth, yet over Israel especially. "By me kings reign, and princes decree justice." In the four living creatures we see the four classes of creation which we have in Genesis: the first creature like a lion, the type of wild beasts; the second like a calf, the beasts of the field; the third, the face of a man, human beings; the fourth, the flying eagle, the fowls of the air. So that here we have the symbols of God's power and judgment in connection with the creation on the earth, whatever the instrument may be - Nebuchadnezzar, the angels, or the saints.

176 "They were full of eyes before and behind." The figure is very intelligent; it means secret intuitive intelligence - seeing all before and behind. Nothing escapes the eye of God and the power of God. Where man cannot see, He sees. All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. "They had each of them six wings," as in Ezekiel, and this signifies rapidity of execution of God's counsels and purposes; alacrity in the service on which they were sent. They cry, "Holy, holy, holy." This is something distinct from worship. The four creatures are found worshipping in chapter 19; but it is not so here. God is celebrated here in power and glory. The elders, whose hearts' affections are drawn out in the appreciation of the Lord, fall down and worship; but there is the celebration of power besides - the public celebration of it. All creation will be the perpetual celebration of the holiness, and wisdom, and power of the Lord God Almighty.

Everything the rainbow encompasses in heaven and in earth owns the creative power of God. The sun and stars will tell of His power and glory. "Every creature on the earth and under the earth," etc. All the mute creation will have a voice in perpetually celebrating His eternal power and glory. "There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard." When God brings in His reign of power in the Lord Jesus, creation being delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God, we shall see that His government, as well as His grace, proves that He is the holy God. Sin will not be known there. Defilement will not be known there. On the day of atonement, both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry had to be sprinkled with blood. In this chapter we have what is anticipative of that which will be, and which we get in redemption in the succeeding chapter. The one being a picture of the power of God in creation, the other in redemption, both are shewn out before the revelation of the judgments which will bring in the glory.

We find nothing of the Father here. It is the Old Testament titles of God, as Almighty, and Lord as revealed to Israel: Jehovah, "which is, and was, and is to come," the Almighty as revealed to Abraham. The character of Father with the children is not brought out at all, nor Jesus as Head with the members, but God as publicly celebrated. When we speak of the Father, it is mansions we have got, not thrones; we are at home with the Father, we delight in the Father. "I go to prepare a place for you, and . . . I will come again and receive you unto myself." But here it is the majesty of God; the voice of creation and providence celebrating through eternity Him "which is, and was, and is to come." We get two facts connected with the heavenly saints. When the throne is set, they are sitting in the very midst of judgment, in calm, quiet repose. The thunderings and lightnings neither shake the crowns upon their heads, nor their hearts within. It is all perfect peace with them. Blessed testimony this, of our place! The Lord grant us to enter into it, to get our hearts up to the height of God's thoughts about us. We should be amazed at the wonderful grace of His ways towards us, when we think of the perfect peace which grace has given us to enjoy above, even in the presence of the tokens of divine judgment, and the redemptive power which has given us a capacity to be there.

177 The second point is, that when God Himself in His majesty is brought out, it does not excite fear. There they are in His holiness, set in the light, not in spirit merely, but in fact. They are made "partakers of his holiness"; and when they hear the living creatures, which rest not day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," worship is excited, not fear. "Glory, and honour, and thanks unto him that sat upon the throne," does not leave them seated on their thrones; and they "fall down and worship him that liveth for ever and ever." Such a sense they had of the glory of Him who sits upon the throne, that it took them out of their own personal glory, and they used it only to celebrate that glory which they have to acknowledge.

The saint in glory is glad there should be something above himself there. He can strip himself of glory that the Lord should have it all. What a contrast to the spirit of infidelity in the heart which does not like this! The pride of the heart cannot bear that something should be above it; but the saint in light is glad that Christ should have all the glory. The saint can delight in the character and honour of God. The heart delights in His being glorious, and in His intrinsic glory. "Thou art worthy, O Lord." What a sense is here of His worthiness to be exalted! This is the first instinct of their life, however weak and feeble it be. See the thief on the cross; he had got the secret of God about His character: "This man hath done nothing amiss." And what was the consequence of this capacity to see His glory? He wanted to share it, and Jesus said, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Here were the first workings of life in his soul; but immediately we find that instead of the desire to pull Him down whom God would exalt, there was joy to find something above himself. Shall we not be glad to see Christ's glory? Glad of the excellence of heaven? Shall not I be glad to see Paul in a higher place than I? It is the character of the spirit and temper of heaven. Man is entirely changed here, for he would pull down God Himself if He did not suit him, according to the natural impulse and bent of his mind. All this celebration of God's power brings out worship: "They cast their crowns before the thrones," etc.

178 Another thing to remark here is, that in connection with this spirit of worship there is an intelligent understanding about it. "Thou art worthy; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created." Look at the expression in Hebrews: "It became him," etc. What an astonishing thing to be able to say it became God to treat His Son in this way. The first two chapters are full of the glory of Christ. How at home the apostle is in the things that became God; and then again, "Such an High Priest became us," etc. We belong to a heavenly people in connection with Him who is made higher than the heavens, and we want a priest there. When a soul is emptied of itself, it begins to know and love the glory of God; it is not as a dull, senseless thing, but there is understanding and knowledge, and this is life. You will find this intelligence in the next chapter, likewise, "Thou art worthy; for thou hast redeemed," etc.

Mark two things: the entire prostration of heart before God, and the blessed intelligence of the titles of God. How it does take the poorest of this world out of the miserable tinsel of its corruption, when God reveals Himself thus to the heart and understanding! The selfishness of man would shut him up into narrowness of spirit, instead of being taken up with God. Are we not glad to have crowns to lay at His feet? "For thy pleasure they are, and were created." It is God's delight, and God's good pleasure that is the spring of everything. If I am right with God, I say, Let Him have His way. If I am away, I shall not like Him to have His good pleasure; but to let Him have it is the only spring of blessing. The Lord give us to know Him in this way; and we can say that in Jesus and by Jesus, we do now know His love; and, through the good pleasure of His will, we have been made His children, adopted unto Himself. When the Lord Jesus was born, He became the link between God and poor sinners, for He was the gift of God's love in "good will to men"; in Him, dead and risen, we are through the Spirit brought to God. The Lord give us rightly to estimate Jesus! With Him in our hearts, all will be simple, all will be peace, all will be love.

179 Revelation 5

We saw, in the fourth chapter, the throne of God set in heaven, the great purpose of which was to bring into the world the Heir of all things - as is expressed in Hebrews 1, "when he bringeth in again the First-begotten into the world." This purpose, for which the throne was set, is not as yet accomplished; for the First-begotten is not actually brought in till chapter 19. At the end of the third chapter we have the Lord's own testimony as to the failure of the church on earth, in that it is spued out of His mouth. Then Christ takes the place the church was unable to maintain, that of the "Amen, the faithful and true witness." And thus, the Lord's judicial power having ceased among the candlesticks on earth, we find in the fourth chapter a throne, not of grace, but of judgment, set in heaven, round which the glorified saints are sitting on their thrones, perfectly undisturbed at the thunderings and lightnings that are issuing forth from the throne; but when the majesty of God is celebrated, they cast their crowns before Him and fall down and worship Him as Creator. In this fifth chapter we get the things between the spueing out of the church from the mouth of Christ, and the judgments preliminary to His taking His rightful throne on the earth.

It is not the manifestation of the general glory of God, in this chapter, but the unfolding of a book, or rather the preparation for it, as it is not actually unfolded till chapter 6. Neither do we get a throne which gives promises of blessings to the earth, as in chapter 4, where the rainbow was round about it, as typical of God's covenant faithfulness with the earth. Nor do we get the Old Testament titles of God, as "Lord God Almighty"; nor do we see God, as "Creator," as it is said, "for thy pleasure they are and were created"; but it is as the "Redeemer" that He is celebrated here. In chapter 5 we get the purposes of God, the church being gone. God then begins to act in various ways, ever patient even in judgment, until the accomplishment of His one great purpose bringing in the "First-begotten" into the world. We get nothing of God's purposes in chapter 4, because creation alone cannot meet them; therefore, the moment God's purposes are mentioned, redemption must come in to accomplish them. Mark also, that God's purposes here are in connection with the earth, and not, in any way, as having anything to do with His purposes of grace to individual souls. Redemption must come in, that God may be glorified in salvation, as well as in creation.

180 "I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book," etc. Here we see the purposes of God in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne: they are in the right hand of power, that they may be accomplished, for He who sits on the throne is able to bring them in. There is great comfort in this thought too, that how dreadful the judgments may be, and truly they are terrible, the book is in the hand of God: so that when we read of the seals, the trumpets, and the vials of wrath, we see them in God's hand, as the settled expression of the accomplishment of His purposes; so, too, when we see that the Lamb that has loved us, and given Himself for us, is the One to take the book in the same quietness with which God holds it in His hand.

The natural mind, and we are still in the body, would tremble at these things, as it is said in Luke's Gospel, "Men's hearts failing them for fear, for looking after those things that are coming on the earth." But faith gets its settled place in the purpose of God, and is not afraid; it sees all to be in the hand of God, and for His glory. God, in the stability of His own power, holds the book upon the throne, for God alone knows His own counsels, and faith recognises this. Thus He who has loved us and washed us from our sins, in His own blood, is Christ, who is the wisdom of God, and the power of God, and the unfolder of these purposes of God. These things do not apply to the church, but the Christian is to have an understanding concerning them, for he has "the mind of Christ." When anything comes out in the way of prophecy, the Lord unfolds it to us, that we may intercede with Him about others. It was so with Abraham, for after God had called him out of his own country, and set him in the road of faith, revealing Himself to him, and giving him the promises, then God shews him other things which did not concern himself. He tells him His purposes as to Sodom, besides giving him the second promise, "Unto thy seed will I give this land." The Christian is entirely out of the scene of judgment here. No doubt the Christian gets the present judgment of evil, while walking down here, in the shape of chastening for his profit; but when judgment is spoken of prophetically, it always refers to others. Take Enoch who prophesied, saying, "The Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment." He was walking with God, and had the secret of God's counsels as to the judgments that would be executed, and yet not at all as applying to himself, for he was to be taken away out of it all; and this is true of the church of God. These terrible judgments from the throne do not touch her, though she is to be the vessel of testimony as to what is coming and in the place of intercession, as Abraham was. "God said, Shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do?" Then when Abraham gets the knowledge of what God is going to do, he gets into the priest's place of nearness to God and begins to plead for Sodom. This is, in a higher sense, the place of the church, as far as she has faith for it. "We have the mind of Christ." In this sense it is that the Christian is a prophet, having the mind of Christ; and also, as having the spirit of intercession, he is a priest; and likewise, he is the vessel of ministry for carrying the gospel to poor sinners; and he will reign when Christ reigns. At present, the church, having received grace, through the cross of Christ; is the messenger of grace to those who are ready to perish.

181 But now we will turn to our proper subject, for in chapter 5 we pass into fresh ground again. When God begins to unfold His purposes, Christ must come in, for not only does all belong to Him by divine title, but He is also Heir of all things by divine appointment. Therefore, when we have the redemption of the purchased possession, the taking the inheritance out of the hands of the usurper by judgments, we find the book of God's counsels, as the conveyance of the inheritance of the rightful heir who won His title to it by His work. Consequently when the book of God's purposes concerning the inheritance comes on the scene, we also get the Son whom "He hath appointed heir of all things." It was customary among the Jews (Jer. 32:11), on conveyance of property, to have two books, an open one in which were title deeds, etc., and a sealed one laid by, in order that no mistake might be made; and this book which God put into the hands of the Lamb, was a sealed one, sealed with seven seals." "And I wept much because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look therein." Of course, there could not be any thought of looking therein as to how God would accomplish His purposes; for I would here remark that where the heart is brought near to God, it is not that there is a disposition to pry into these things, for that would he sin; but when we find God has purposes to reveal to us, it would be sorrow not to know them But some might say, surely salvation is the all-important thing; but I ask, Is not that settled? That ought to be the question, most surely, if it be not yet settled; but if I am a child, I have the interest of the family at heart, and, therefore, when that which concerns the First-born is brought out, I am interested in it, because my affections are drawn out by it. For there are affections which flow from this relationship itself, as well as those resulting from the fact of being saved. Of course, it is nothing but idle curiosity to be looking into prophecy before the great question of salvation is settled between the soul and God. When the conscience is set at rest before God, there will then be liberty for the exercise of those affections which flow out from such relationships. But still there are affections flowing from the relationship itself, and felt in measure, it may be, as soon as that relationship is effected in the soul, and before the soul itself is conscious of its portion. That is, we often meet with those whose hearts are towards God, without having settled peace in their souls. Take Job, for instance: he said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." God was breaking him down, and breaking him up, just to shew Job what he was all the while. Job had full confidence in God, although his soul did not know real peace. Affection was there, and when the soul got peace, then the pent-up affections flowed out. For I do not mean to say that there is no affection until the soul has got peace; but when the question of salvation is settled, then there is unhindered liberty for the affections to flow out. And when the soul has got peace, then it is ready to learn in quiet communion with God, all that He is about to do.

182 "And one of the elders said unto me, Weep not." It is most striking how much these twenty-four elders are found occupying the church's place of nearness to God; and we constantly find intelligence in these elders - not merely worship, but intelligence. They are always the persons who are the vessels of understanding - "made kings and priests." The church has a much higher kind of knowledge than that of the prophets, who prefaced their messages with a "Thus saith the Lord." What the Lord had communicated to them, they delivered, and after they had delivered their message, they had to search into its meaning, for, as Peter says, "Not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you." So, here, we find John in the character of a prophet had not the same kind of intelligence as the elders; he had just so much light given him as was revealed at the time, just so much as was needed for the delivery of his message, and no more. But now the Holy Ghost is come down, and the full revelation is given of the mind of God in His written word; the church, as such, having the mind of Christ, not only knows the message, but knows the mind of Christ about that which is revealed.

183 John sees no one in heaven, or on earth, or under the earth that was able to open the book, neither to look thereon, and then, naturally enough, he "wept much." But what is the result of the elders sitting round the throne? Do they weep? Are they disturbed by it? No, not any more than they were by the thunderings; for with the utmost calmness and composure they at once say, "weep not." Could they doubt Christ as being the appointed Heir of all things? Certainly not. That was a settled thing, and more than this, they knew Christ as the Lion of the tribe of Judah: the lion, denoting power - the having full power to take the inheritance. But the elders knew what redemption was, and therefore to them it was a peaceful, settled thing that this "Lion" had all power to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof, to unfold and fulfil the counsels of God, and to bear the glory. The two things that most peculiarly belong to Christ, are power and wisdom - "Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God"; and He makes the church to participate in His wisdom, for "He is made unto us wisdom," etc., and He will give her to share His power. We see this order beautifully maintained in the history of Joseph: when in the prison, God gave him wisdom to interpret dreams; and afterwards we find him at the right hand of the throne of the king, exercising all power. So, likewise, the church will share the power with Christ, for she will reign with Him, and will be the sharer with Him in everything, the essential glory of the Godhead excepted. Our proper portion now is not power (I am not here speaking of spiritual power to overcome evil), but now is the time for the church to manifest wisdom in the understanding of the ways of God; having the Holy Ghost, who, as the Lord said, shall guide into all truth; but this must be through the written word, as the written word of God is the only depository of the truth of God. Therefore, it is the great instrument in the hand of God for communicating this knowledge through the teaching of the Holy Ghost, although at the same time He may be pleased to make use of various channels to accomplish it. Thus we see that where there is the desire in the heart according to God's mind, He cannot fail to satisfy that desire. If the desire is expressed, even to weeping, it is infallibly answered with a "weep not"; for this reason, that Christ has done that which will enable the mind of God to be communicated to every seeking soul. But this could not be before Christ came, as the Lord Himself says, "Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear, for many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them." But the moment the work of redemption was accomplished, and Jesus sat down at the right hand of God, the Holy Ghost was sent down in testimony of the acceptance of the work and Person of the risen Man, now in glory. And, therefore, now, whenever there is a desire in the heart according to God, it is always met and answered in the power of the Holy Ghost; for if Christ is revealed, then it is God's mind that we "should grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." But then there must be a lowly mind to receive it: "The meek will he guide in judgment, the meek will he teach his way."

184 "Behold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book." In the first place we get here the special definite counsels of God, as to the centre of His purposes on the earth. Judah was the one in whom the promises were centered. When Jacob blessed his sons, he said, "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise," Gen. 49:8. The general promise at the beginning was, "the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." Then all was vested in Abraham's seed, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." The line became narrower and narrower, Judah was chosen from amongst his brethren, and last of all, the family of David; as it is said of the Lord, "He shall sit upon the throne of his father David." It is not a throne in heaven, as governing creation, but a throne set up on the earth, to govern the earth. "When the Most High divided to the heathen their inheritance, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel." He is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah, because it is by power that He will accomplish God's counsels. He is the "Root of David." David, looked at as a type, and as a responsible man, had failed, and his family failed also; and this has always been the way whenever God has put man in a place of trust. But God cannot fail, and He must raise up a seed to David according to His promise. At the end of the book we see the Lord spoken of as the Offspring of David, as well as the Root, but before He can be manifested as the Offspring, He must be proved the Root. For He is the root and source of all the promises of God. In Him they are "yea, and amen," whether for the church of God, or for Israel. If David bears fruit of blessing, he is not the root, though he may be the stem; if he bears fruit, it must be through Him who is the root.

185 The Lord meanwhile, takes another character, that of the Lamb. "In the midst of the throne stood a Lamb, as it had been slain" - the poor lowly one with the marks of humiliation. "As the sheep before his shearer is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." In the "Lamb as it had been slain," we find the Lord taking up a dispensational character, because of redemption; and thus we find Him as the lowly, uncomplaining, unresisting sufferer, in a world of sinners, and that is where real power is found. It is the same for us now; we dwell where evil prevails, and it is our place to suffer as Christ suffered, to have discernment between right and wrong, and to suffer, rather than yield for a moment to the evil. "In the midst of the throne stood a Lamb." Although He was the suffering Lamb as regards the earth, still His real place was upon the throne itself. How blessed is the thought that Christ fills all things! If I go down into the lower parts of the earth, I find Him there. If I reach up to the throne of heaven I find Him there; and not only as God, but as the One dealing with good and evil. What a blessed thing it is to find all this in the One who is so near to us! He who said, "I am among you as he that serveth," He who washed the disciples' feet, is not going to cease to serve them; although He could not continue in companionship with them, He serves them still; yea, He will yet "come forth and serve them." He who was one with the Father, to whom as the Son, God had given everything, humbled Himself to be the servant! How blessed to see our full and perfect association with all that love and righteousness could bring! Oh! it is a solemn thought that there is no place in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, that is not filled with the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, except indeed in one sad exception, that of the heart of the poor, wretched, unbelieving sinner. There is no place from Calvary to the throne of God, that is not filled with the love and righteousness of God, as manifested in Christ; and if we could always give ourselves up to the knowledge of this, what quiet peace of heart should we enjoy! The very peace of God Himself would be keeping us, for we could get into no place or circumstances, sorrow or suffering, but we should find Christ there; and, as we were remarking, if Christ be between our hearts and the suffering, instead of the suffering getting between our hearts and Christ, we shall find the place of suffering to be the best place on the face of the earth for us, as all suffering will then bring us nearer to Christ. There is no middle place. The bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp; Heb. 12:11-13. You must take up the cross outside, if you get the heavenly place inside. There was a veil over God for Israel, but we have liberty to enter into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus. The veil is done away in Christ, and to us it is the throne and temple up there, and the cross and the Lamb down here. Those who are in heavenly association with a risen Christ must have the cross down here, because we are alive and accepted within the veil. All that is precious is there. The church is brought to see sin as God sees it - brought into the light as God is in the light, and, being cleansed from sin, gets into the sanctuary through the rent veil. That is our proper and only place, the earth being entirely shut out from us, excepting we are just strangers and pilgrims through this wilderness world. And just in proportion as we practically know the cross down here, will be our enjoyment of fellowship with Christ up there in heavenly places. Light fills up all the space between the cross and the glory. There is no possible place that we can get into but we shall find Christ there; for to simple, single-eyed faith there is no spot between the cross and the glory, be it earth, or be it heaven, that is not filled with Christ.

187 When John gets into this church-understanding (as we may call it), he sees a "Lamb as it had been slain"; and he sees power given to the Lamb, for in seven horns and seven eyes we have the perfection of power and all-seeing wisdom which is given to the Lamb, before a single seal is opened. And before we get the unfolding of God's purposes, we have the presentation of the Person of His Son. It is just this in God's dealings with a soul: the eye of the soul being fixed on the Person of Christ is the way in which it gets peace; as before you can get peace of soul through the work of Christ, your eye must have rested on the Person of Christ. It was so with the thief on the cross, with the poor woman of the city who was a sinner, who stood at His feet weeping. The soul must first be fixed upon the Person of Him who has made the peace, before there is the knowledge of the work which has wrought the peace. Before it all and after it all, it is Himself that is presented.

"No one was found worthy." None could touch or even dare to look upon the book, until the Lamb, so to speak, had filled his eye. And this is that that gives peace and steadiness to the soul while searching into prophecy; for if you get into prophecy without Christ, you may be able to understand it, but it will be the mere result of the rambling of an unsanctified mind; but if you learn it with Christ, you will find Him the key to the whole thing; for if He is the centre, He is also the key to the glory about to be revealed; and if you thus learn prophecy in connection with Christ, it will be to the glory of God.

"A Lamb, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth." It is not said here ten or twelve. The number "seven" denotes divine perfection; the number twelve denotes human perfection in its administrative power - there were twelve apostles, and twelve patriarchs. The seven eyes shew the wisdom which sees everything, and the seven horns denote power. A horn is used throughout scripture as a symbol of power, whether in speaking of an individual or a kingdom. We will now refer to a few passages as shewing the importance of the expression, "seven eyes." The perfect harmony of this blessed book is a wonderful testimony (were it needed) to its divine origin, as no human skill or intellect could have preserved the connection between passages written 2,000 years apart. But we see the secret of it is, that the divine mind is running throughout the whole of scripture. (See 2 Chron. 16:9). "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro through the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect towards him." Simply rely on the Lord in everything, just to do His will quietly, and He will shew Himself strong on your behalf. Then in Zechariah 3:9, "Upon one stone shall be seven eyes." It was the figure of the establishment of God's authority in Jerusalem. Then in Zechariah 4:10, "The eyes of the Lord [not in Zion merely, but going further out] which run to and fro throughout the whole earth."Besides seeing the general truth of the providential vision of God, we see that in a future time, when the true branch is introduced, perfection is established in Jerusalem as the centre of peace and blessing. Then these seven eyes will be established in Jerusalem as the centre of peace and blessing. Meanwhile God is dealing with the earth, taking notice of everything, and manifesting His power in governing all things. And our place and portion is not that of power, but that of suffering with Christ. "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." But in Revelation 5 we find these eyes of God in the midst of the throne in heaven. We hear nothing about the Father with the children, nor Christ as the Head of the body, with the members; but it is the rejected Lamb upon the throne of judgment in heaven, as He is not yet come forth to take His earthly throne, but on the throne of judgment "set in heaven," having these eyes of wisdom and intelligence to unfold all God's purposes.

188 Now, then, having the Person of the Lamb set before us, we get Him taking the book; and what a picture of full peaceful power (full power is always peaceful) when He takes all the purposes of God to unfold and accomplish them! It was not so when He took the cup of trembling; then He said, "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say?" And in order that the blessed purposes of God towards us might be fulfilled, He passed through that dreadful hour, the very thought of which made Him say, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death." He came under the full power of the wrath of God, for our full, perfect, and eternal blessing. It is the same Lamb in the midst of the throne, that drank the cup of wrath to the very dregs, that there might not be left one drop of sorrow, or trouble for those who know Him, which enabled Him as the slain Lamb, and at the same time, as the wisdom of God and the power of God, to take the book and unfold and accomplish all the deep purposes therein contained (v. 8-10).

189 Here we have "kings and priests" again - "they sing a new song." It is not here the celebration of the praises of God in creation, but in redemption, for it is in connection with the slain Lamb. If the glory of the Lord God Almighty as Creator, brought out worship, so is the praise of the Lamb in redemption adequate to call it forth. If the display of the majesty of God brought out worship without fear, so here the same who were fit to worship His majesty, have their hearts' affections and thoughts called forth by the display of the glory of the Lamb. It is a blessed thought that He that descended so low for us, has the adoration of the whole mind of heaven; and having made us kings and priests, we have communion with the mind of heaven, even now; and mark how immediately this connects itself with our daily walk. If I were a Jew, I should want a priest; but I am a Christian, and therefore I could never so far disown redemption as to say that I want a priest; for I am a priest, and we have a great High Priest, who is "higher than the heavens," so that we go at once to the throne of grace, for through Him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father. If I have got Christ, He is God; and never let me lose sight of this one blessed truth, that I am brought to God. Anything but Christ allowed to come between my soul and God, dims Him before my eyes. He is the great High Priest; and we enter, because He enters, into the very holiest of all; so that we are more than mere priests, for they never got beyond the holy place, but we have boldness to enter into the holy place, because Jesus is there, and we degrade the efficacy of the work of Jesus, if our hearts do not go straight up to God Himself, in testimony to the value of the blood of Christ. All was adoration here, and with a free heart. A child is at liberty with its father; it will reverence its father, but its heart is free before him, not fearing and trembling as to what will please him. It should be so with us before God. His love is as perfect as His glory; and if He brings us near to adore, He will bring our hearts near in the confidence of the love that has brought us there.

190 Verse 9. "Thou art worthy, to take the book, and to open the seven seals thereof." Here as in the former chapter we have the intelligence of the elders brought out - full, blessed, intelligent worship indicated by the expression, "For thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." Now mark, besides the titles of Christ, as Creator, as man, as the Son of God, we get here the grand thing which is brought out the moment the "slain Lamb" appears, which is redemption. And it is redemption that calls forth new praise, as it is redemption that displays everything that God is. Do I think of the holiness that cannot bear sin? I see it there; of love to sinners? I see it there; of the justice that must punish sin? I see it there. I see God fully glorified in this book, whether in His love, holiness, majesty, grace, judgment against sin, all has been fully met as well as brought out in this grand work of redemption. The Son is equally glorified also, for if Adam had never sinned in eating the fruit, he would have gone on in innocence; but what would that obedience have been compared with Christ's, which was obedience to death, even the death of the cross? Then see the entire devotedness of Jesus; and we have God glorified in Him. "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him"; and all the other titles of Christ find their full display and development in redemption. How infinitely higher are God's thoughts than ours! They write folly and confusion upon every thought of man. For while men were saying, "Ah, so would we have it," and their enmity to God's Son was displayed by their nailing Him to the cross, at that very moment the love of God rose to the highest; for when man was insulting Christ to the very uttermost, then it was that salvation was accomplished. God's love rose above man's wickedness, without in the least degree lowering the standard of God's holiness: when sin was carried to the uttermost pitch in the crucifixion of Christ that only served to bring out more prominently and give freer exercise to that divine love which was at that very moment saving lost sinners.

Thus while we have seen the character of the Lion of the tribe of Judah to have been fully maintained, God never giving up one iota of His justice and holiness, and at the same time through His wondrous wisdom, by the very rejection of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, poor sinners of the Gentiles are brought in. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance; therefore Israel will be restored according to His word. But meanwhile, He is bringing in Jews and Gentiles in a heavenly way. Redemption does not set aside the Lion of the tribe of Judah as the future source of blessing to Israel, but all kindreds of the earth must celebrate His praises in redemption.

191 "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests," etc. We see here two things, royalty and priesthood. Besides the joy of being with God, as we have seen, we are also the nearest to God in power and worship. As the kingship brings us nearest to God in power, and the priesthood brings us nearest to God in worship, it is the blessed Person of Christ, the slain Lamb, that introduces poor sinners into such high and blessed privileges; for Christ being made King and Priest, we also are made kings and priests. All that Christ is made we are made, in Him now in the day of grace, and with Him then in the day of glory. We have the joy of this even now in our souls when walking close to God; but being still in bodies of sin and death, and thus still linked to the old creation, we groan being burdened: the presence of evil makes us groan. But when the throne is set in heaven, it will be for the deliverance of all that is now under the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God - not the liberty of grace, but the liberty of glory. Now the souls of those who believe are brought into the liberty of grace, and in the glory we shall be delivered from the body in which we now groan. Now it is the power of the Holy Ghost sustaining us against the streams of evil, but then it will be the exercise of divine power setting the evil aside. The Lord will reign then. If the Lord were ruling in direct dominion now, should we have all the misery and wretchedness that is around us on every hand? God does reign in one sense now, and in a most blessed sense for His children, for the very hairs of our head are all numbered. Yet now, as it is said, "One event happeneth alike to all, the righteous and the wicked." But when Christ comes in power to take the universal dominion as the Son of man, He will discern between the righteous and the wicked, the evil and the good. Then the wicked will not prosper. The sun of grace has arisen in our hearts, and now it is given to the righteous to suffer for Christ's sake. But when the Sun of Righteousness ariseth on the earth, when power comes in, in direct dominion, then a man shall be a covert from the storm. Now man does not know where to find a hiding-place. "The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty."

But then the earth will rejoice in the fruit of the reign of Christ. Now we are to suffer with Christ, then we shall reign with Him. "When the heavens do rule," then the saints of the Most High take the kingdom and reign with Christ. We are not to be reigned over, but to reign with Him. Our joy will be in and with Christ, but our official place will be reigning with Him.

192 Verses 11, 12. "The voice of many angels saying, Worthy is the Lamb," etc. We do not find the same measure of intelligence in the angels as in the elders. The angels do celebrate the glory and honour and worthiness of the Lamb, but we do not find them using that little word "for," as was used by the elders, first, in connection with creation, "For thou hast created all things," etc.; secondly, in connection with redemption, "For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God," etc. The church is much nearer to God than angels, being one with Christ, and our bodies the temples of the Holy Ghost. This can never be said of an angel, although they are infinitely above us as creatures. "They excel in strength and hearken to the voice of his word." Christ never died for an angel, and therefore took not on Him the nature of angels, but was made man for sinners; nor did He send the Holy Ghost to angels; and though they excel in strength, and as creatures are greater in power, still what is this to the display of His grace to a sinner? It is in redemption that God is fully glorified, and therefore it is that the redeemed ones get the nearest place to God, because in them redemption is unfolded. What amazing grace it is that could take up vile, depraved sinners that we are, and place us nearer the throne than those holy ones that never sinned, and always do His will! — "that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus." Ought not our hearts to be moved by this? We cannot understand the loving-kindness of God, if we do not know the value of redemption. Affections flow from the apprehension of it, and praise will be the result. The lispings of a babe are acceptable. But our hearts ought to be able to tell an angel what Christ has done for us, and why He is so precious to us. We shall be associated with Himself in the very presence of the glory of God. The angels are round about the throne. They know what power and blessing mean, for they ascribe it to Him who sits upon the throne. They see the glory of the Person of the Lamb; but they know nothing of redemption. That word never comes out of their lips. How wonderfully we see that everything has its place in the counsels of God!

193 In verse 13 we see creation joining the full and universal chorus, ascribing glory to Him who sits upon the throne. They are in everlasting companionship with that divine glory. Not only do they worship Christ as God, but as the Lamb. It is as that glorified Man that they acknowledge His Lordship. He is "God over all" truly, but takes a peculiar glory as Son of man, and this peculiar glory that Christ has got by redemption, will never be dimmed. As the Lamb He will always have it. Praise to the Lamb for ever and ever! The very one whom we have loved, whom we have seen with our eyes by faith, whom we have handled as the Word of life, will be the object of eternal and unceasing adoration. What a thought it is! And we learn what the thoughts and counsels of God about us have been, when we see this company in the everlasting glory. He who became as one of ourselves; He who stooped to take the lowest place, and as having no sin to be made sin for us, is there as the universal object of praise. The place peculiar to the church will be that of worship. It is a most blessed scene! The great thing that our hearts should rest upon, is the blessed character of the counsels of God as regards the church, for we see the church to be so thoroughly identified with Christ, that the moment God is going to bring in judgments for Christ, we find it has its place with Him in heaven. If the church is His body, His bride, He cannot leave it behind, it being the fulness of Him who filleth all in all. There is no unfolding of the book, no sound or sign of that judgment which is to be brought in, until we have been in perfect peace around the throne, before the Lamb, praising for redemption, that glorious, wonderful work of redemption. And while the rolling tide of judgment sweeps along, and like the deluge, rises higher and higher, until there be not one mountain-top left uncovered to escape upon, what we have to do is to sing of the glory of that redemption, which has delivered us from the wrath to come. The Lord grant us to find in those things which redemption has wrought out, not merely peace of soul, but understanding of all God's counsels of glory about the Lamb who has accomplished it all.