And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.…
I. THE CHARACTER OF THE LOST. There is but one way to heaven, but there are many ways to hell. It is true that "all, like sheep, have gone astray," but "every one has turned to his own way." There are "the fearful" who have followed the way of cowardice. There are "the unbelieving" or "the faithless" who could not take God at His word. There are "the abominable" or "the abominated," who through association with wickedness and sin are defiled in mind and conscience. Unbelief and wrong-doing are more nearly connected together than many people think. There are "murderers" also, not merely those who have imbrued their hands in the blood of their fellow-men, but those also whose hearts have been dead to the voice of pity and love, who have shut up their bowels of compassion from the poor and needy. The "fornicators" are there also, those sinners against the laws of moral purity which teach us to keep our bodies in temperance, soberness, and chastity. "Sorcerers" are there likewise, who have used curious arts and familiar spirits, intruding into those things which they have not seen, vainly puffed up by their fleshly mind. Following Satan's deceit, they find at last their lot with him, "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." "Idolaters," too, are there, who have followed the example of King Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:24). There are idols of the heart as well as idols of the hand. "All liars," also, are there. The word literally is "lies," and it includes all forms of deceit, hypocrisy, fraud, "whatsoever loveth and maketh a lie," counterfeits and shams, self-deceit, tongue-craft, the lying life. The phrase, indeed, may be intended not so much to indicate a distinct class of sins and sinners as to stamp the falseness of the seven kinds of iniquity already enumerated. The catalogue is like that of the works of the flesh named in Galatians 5:19-21, and it sets forth the tale of man's disobedience to the whole law of God. Moreover, we may trace in this succession of sins a gradation of wickedness. Men shrink from the trouble and effort of a godly life, and take refuge in unbelief. This brings them into willing association with sin, and those who sin against their brethren become sinners against their own souls, and intruders into the secret counsels of the Most High. They have practically denied the God that is above, and the result is the idolatry of the creature; and thus (Romans 1:25).
II. THE CONDITION OF THE LOST. A similar description of the lot of the wicked is that given by St. Paul (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
1. First, the loss which the finally impenitent will undergo will be the loss of God indicated in that awful phrase, "the second death." This language is evidently intended to distinguish this state from another which may be called "the first death." But what is the first death? Not, it would seem, the separation of body and spirit in natural death. The context tells us that there shall be no more death in this sense (ver. 4); and the period to which our text refers is subsequent to the resurrection of the body. Rather does the term, "the second death," lead us to think of the first death as the present spiritual state of those who are not renewed by the Holy Spirit. Such are, to use St. Paul's language, "dead in trespasses and sins," etc. (Ephesians 2:1, 2, and Ephesians 4:18). Separation from God, which sinners chose on earth, they find in hell, and what they thought so desirous here they find, with their quickened sensibilities, to be their sorrow there. Cut off from their former opportunities of sin and facilities for ignoring spiritual things, they are face to face with their real position, and they find in it the bitterness of death. The dream of vanity and folly and sin, from which no word or judgment could rouse them here, has vanished, and they wake up now to shame and everlasting contempt.
2. For this second death is an actual judgment as well as a woeful loss. The golden sceptre of grace shall be exchanged there for the iron rod of discipline.
(James Silvester, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.