Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple…
I. THE HAPPINESS OF THE SAINTS IN PERPETUAL COMMUNION WITH GOD IN HIS TEMPLE ABOVE.
1. Let us consider the happiness of the saints in that part of their celestial worship which is internal and spiritual; and in general we must frequently recall to our minds the imperfection of our present discoveries, and remember that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive what the Lord hath laid up for them that love Him." There may, for anything we know, be discoveries, and by consequence, acts of worship, and dispositions of mind corresponding to them, totally different in kind from anything we are now capable of, as well as higher in degree. Of these we must be absolutely silent. Whatever acts of worship we have now any experience of shall then be performed to far greater perfection, and with infinitely greater joy.
(1) Acts of adoration. By these I understand the immediate contemplation of the glorious excellence of the Divine nature, and the exercise of those affections of soul which correspond to it.
(2) Acts of gratitude and praise.
(3) Acts of desire. There is much of this in the disposition of the people of God on earth; they say with the prophet (Isaiah 26:8). And as every agreeable object is the more desired the more it is known, so the clear discovery that is made in heaven of the glory and excellence of God, and the delightful communications of His love, must still increase our desire of further and further degrees of it; and there is a fulness, both in the Divine nature and benignity, that can never be exhausted.
(4) Acts of trust and subjection.
2. Let us now consider the worship of the saints in heaven, as it is external and sensible. This is the temple of God in which His servants shall serve Him, in which we may suppose the general assembly of the Church of the first-born meet together for the joint celebration of their Creator and Redeemer's praise. And surely if in this lower world and that part of the creation which is at present subjected to our view, there is so much order and beauty, so much splendour and magnificence, though it be the abode of guilty creatures under manifest tokens of Divine displeasure, what must be the unclouded lustre and perfect beauty of that place where the glory of Almighty God is peculiarly displayed, and which was prepared for the reception of the objects of His special love before the foundation of the world? But the external circumstance which, in my apprehension, will contribute most to the delight and happiness of the saints in their heavenly worship, will be their union and society in it.
(J. Witherspoon, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.