Revelation 22:3
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be within the city, and His servants will worship Him.
Sermons
The Conditions of BlessednessR. Green Revelation 22:1-6
Devoted ServiceRevelation 22:3-4
Forcing the SunRevelation 22:3-4
Heaven as a State of ServiceJames Robe, M. A.Revelation 22:3-4
On the Happiness of HeavenJames Robe, M. D.Revelation 22:3-4
Servitude and RoyaltyH. C G. Moule, B. D.Revelation 22:3-4
The Curse AbolishedJ. T. Parker, M. A.Revelation 22:3-4
The Curse AbolishedJames Hamilton, M. A.Revelation 22:3-4
The Curse AbolishedWm. Clayton.Revelation 22:3-4
The Curse Cancelled, and the Kingdom BegunH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 22:3-4
The Divine Reign Within the SoulThe StudyRevelation 22:3-4
The Face of JesusPhilip Reynolds.Revelation 22:3-4
The Facial Vision of GodJames Robe, M. A.Revelation 22:3-4
The Heaven of HeavenC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 22:3-4
The Heavenly LifeD. Davies.Revelation 22:3-4
The Heavenly LifeH. C. G. Moult, M. A.Revelation 22:3-4
The Immediate Presence of God and the Lamb in HeavenJames Robe, M. A.Revelation 22:3-4
The Negative Happiness of the Saints in HeavenT. Hannam.Revelation 22:3-4
The Perfect LifeT. F. Lockyer, B. A.Revelation 22:3-4
The Service of GodW. Bright, D. D.Revelation 22:3-4
The Serving and the ReigningH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 22:3-4
The Triple Rays Which Make the White Light of HeavenA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 22:3-4
The Vision of GodH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 22:3-4
Three Inscriptions with One MeaningA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 22:3-4
Subjective Christianity: 3. an EmpireD. Thomas Revelation 22:3-5


There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him, etc. Here is a state, not a mere life, but a state in which that life is found - an empire. "The kingdom of God is within you." The words lead us to look at this inner kingdom in three aspects.

I. AS ENTIRE FREEDOM FROM MALEDICTION. "There shall be no more curse." The soul that comes under the living reign of Christianity is freed entirely from the curse - the curse of guilt, corruption, and bondage. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God."

II. AS CONSCIOUS REALIZATION OF THE DIVINE. In this blessed state God is all in all. It is all God. He is:

1. Their Sovereign. "The throne of God and of the Lamb." His authority everywhere recognized and his servants rendering him homage. He fills the horizon of their being. All is seen through him, and all is done for him.

2. Their Image. "They shall see his face." Everywhere he is mirrored before their eyes. As to his Name, his character, it is engraved on their foreheads. "Beholding as in a glass the glory of God," etc.; "Changed into the same image," etc.

3. Their Light. "There shall he no night there," etc. Their state is a bright one; no clouds roll over their sky; no secondary orbs convey to them the light. Neither the radiance of the sun nor the beams of candle are there required; "for the Lord God giveth them light."

CONCLUSION. Thus I have given three phases of subjective Christianity; a Christianity which, being a matter of consciousness and experience, is intelligible, and which gives to us a somewhat rational view of all these gorgeous symbols, of which some of our most distinguished expositors and pulpiteers make arrant nonsense, and sometimes impious blasphemy. Perhaps some may think I have spoken of objective Christianity as utterly worthless and unnecessary; but this I would not do. Christ himself is the pure Bread of life, and this must be eaten and rightly digested, in order to get and sustain this subjective Christianity. When, indeed, the loaf of objective Christianity is corrupted, as is, alas! generally the case, the eating of it, and the digesting of it, if indeed it can be digested, only generates a subjective life, that is full of evil passions and wickedness; it makes men fiends rather than angels, and fits them more for Pandemonimns than for Paradises. - D.T.









And there shall be no more curse.
I. THE ABSENCE OF ALL CURSE AND MALEDICTION: "And there shall be no more curse." How much is contained in this description of that state, negatively, in the absence of all evil!

1. The curse pronounced after the first transgression. But in the state and time here foreshown, all this will be happily reversed.

2. The curse upon individual persons. Thus it fell upon Cain: Genesis 4:11. But there shall be no more of this curse, for there shall be no murderer then or there.

3. The curse has fallen upon cities for their wickedness and impiety. Thus was Jericho devoted to destruction. But this curse shall be no more; for there shall be no iniquity, and so no devastation, neither shall there be any Achan, any one to trouble God's Israel, and bring a curse upon himself and it, by coveting any forbidden thing.

4. Nations also have been accursed, as Israel Malachi 3:9; Isaiah 43:27, 28; Daniel 9:11). And how long and grievous has that curse been! how bitter that cup which they have drained! But the time is coming when the blessing shall come upon them as it is promised them Malachi 3:12; Zephaniah 3:18.; Jeremiah 31:40).

5. One of the three great portions of the family of man — the descendants of Ham, the third son of Noah, these were accursed: Genesis 9:25. And how awfully has this curse been fulfilled! What hundreds of thousands of our fellow-creatures are held in the grievous bonds of slavery! But then there shall be no more hard bondage, no cruel taskmasters, no more severing of the nearest and dearest ties.

6. There was the curse of the sinful confederacy of Babel. But in the world to come there shall be one heart and one tongue.

7. All flesh has incurred the curse of the transgression of God's law (Galatians 3:10). This, in the unbelieving and impenitent, who do not receive and obey the gospel, ends in that most woful, final, and irreversible curse (Matthew 25:41). But in the happy state predicted in the text, there shall be no more transgression. The law will be written in indelible characters upon the heart.

8. The Son of God was made a curse (Galatians 3:13). But in heaven He suffers no more curse. How great the change!

9. Some, under the pressure of affliction, have cursed the day of their birth. Thus Job's (Job 3:1), and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:14). But in the world to come there shall be no affliction to cause such bitter and passionate feeling. Now Job and Jeremiah bless God that ever they were born.

10. Satan, through Balak and Balaam, sought to curse the people of God (Numbers 23. 7). But in the world to come Satan will not be there, nor Balaam with diabolical counsel to seduce the righteous into sin.

11. A solemn curse is uttered against all corrupters of the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:9). But in the world to come the gospel can be darkened and perverted no more. Then it will be seen in all its effulgence and blessedness.

12. Equally solemn is the curse upon all who love not the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 16:22). But will there be any in that world who do not love Christ — any who do not worship Him? Not one (chap. Revelation 5:13).

II. THE PRESENCE OF THE THRONE OF GOD AND OF THE LAMB.

1. The abiding presence of God.

2. The glorious presence of God.

3. The glorious presence of God in His redeeming love. For it is "the throne of God and of the Lamb."

III. THE EXALTED PRIVILEGES OF GOD'S SERVANTS.

1. "And His servants shall serve Him."

(1)Perfectly, without sin.

(2)Powerfully, without weariness.

(3)Continually, without intermission or end.

2. "And they shall see His face."(1) All present instrumentalities for the knowledge of God and communion with Him, will be done away.(2) All present views of God will be infinitely transcended.

3. "And His name shall be in their foreheads." It denotes visibility of relation to God, that we are His servants and children, and that God is not ashamed of us, but will own, acknowledge, and glory in us. The mark of our belonging to Him shall be no secret mark, but open and conspicuous, as the graving of "Holiness to the Lord" on Aaron's mitre.

(J. T. Parker, M. A.)

I. WHO THE PERSONS ARE WHO SHALL BE THUS HIGHLY FAVOURED.

1. They have been called by the Word and convinced by the Spirit of sin, of unbelief (John 16:9); have been deeply affected on account of it, and alarmed for the consequences (Acts 16:30).

2. They have received Christ in the gospel by a lively faith, through which their freedom from the curse is begun in this life (John 5:24; Galatians 3:13).

3. They love Christ, and consequently are delivered from the dreadful anathemas (1 Corinthians 16:22).

4. It is their care and endeavour, as a fruit of this love to Christ, to give sincere, universal, and constant obedience to His commandments (Revelation 22:14).

5. They consider it as heaven to be where God and His Christ are, to serve Him, and to enjoy Him for ever (Philippians 1:23).

6. They are careful to maintain good works, particularly works of charity, towards the members of Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:34-41).

II. THE HAPPINESS OF THOSE WHO SHALL BE THUS HIGHLY FAVOURED.

1. There will be no more sin in such, or ever done by them, to occasion any curse: they are the just made perfect (Hebrews 12:23).

2. There will be no more wrath in God to inflict any curse: once He was angry with them on account of sin (Isaiah 12:1; Psalm 38:8), but it shall not be so any more (Ezekiel 16:42).

3. There will be no more sentence passed against them including a curse. Once they were subject to that tremendous sentence (Galatians 3:10), but never shall any more (John 5:24).

4. Security against every degree of separation from God (Revelation 3:12).

5. Exemption from all the evils of afflictions and sufferings which are so common here (Isaiah 35:10).

6. There shall be no person who is a curse or is accursed among the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem.

III. WHENCE IT IS THAT THEY ARE THUS BLESSED.

1. The love of God the Father is the original cause.

2. The death of Christ is the meritorious cause.

3. The Holy Ghost, with His gracious influences, is the efficient cause (Galatians 3:13, 14; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Psalm 143:10).CONCLUSION:

1. How pleasing are the prospects of the real Christian as to a future state!

2. How dreadful the future of the finally impenitent!

(T. Hannam.)

I. THERE SHALL BE NO MORE CURSE. In the New Jerusalem the deliverance of the believer from the curse shall be complete. No streak of gloom shall mar the brightness of joy's perfect day. All sin shall be shut out, and therefore also all penal consequences of sin. What a great word of salvation is this! Would you seek to realise somewhat the depth of meaning in it? Look abroad at the widespread spectacle of the world's wretchedness. In the New Jerusalem all that shall have come to an end. There shall be no more cruel oppressions, no more the desolation of war, no more the ravages of famine and plague, no more "distress of nations," no more blighted homes and scathed hearts. But look into your own hearts. Each child of God has enough in his own experience to teach him the meaning of the curse, and the blessedness of the deliverance given when "there shall be no more curse." Every carking care and gloomy fear, all suffering and all sorrow, constitute parts of the same great curse for sin; and all, from whatsoever cause they spring, the child of God shall shake off in glory. The heavy load of toil, poverty, the hindering body, and death will be done away. Again, the curse of vanity, which weareth out all things, shall, in the New Jerusalem, have worn out itself. On earth, and under the curse, every promise falsifies itself, and every hope deceives (Jeremiah 17:5). Nothing that springs from the root of the flesh ever comes to fruit, but in apples of Sodom and grapes of Gomorrah. Fruitlessness, vanity, is the most malignant power of the curse; it is a worm gnawing at the root of all that is most fair. But in the New Jerusalem the saints shall at length gather the fruit of their earthly lives. But, above all, the saints of God shall, in the eternal glory, be delivered from all spiritual distress. It is sin, spiritual desertion, and doubts, and fears, and shame, that wound the Spirit. And a wounded spirit who can bear? But all these, too, shall have come to an end. What grief, too, does the power of sin still remaining in us cause! What a grief to a true-hearted Christian, that he feels himself making so little progress in the Divine life! Finally, what bitter grief it causes the Christian heart, to mark the dishonour done to God by others, the breaking out of great iniquities, the cold-hearted worldliness of professors, the hardened indifference of sinners alike to the warnings, the rebukes, the invitations of the gospel!

II. THE THRONE OF GOD AND OF THE LAMB SHALL BE IN IT.

1. God shall be present in glory, because there shall be in the Holy City nothing accursed, nothing polluted, and no suffering.

2. There shall be no more curse, because the throne of God and of the Lamb is there. It is by the coming of God and the Lamb into our world that the curse is expelled; and it is in the Divine power of the Lamb of God enthroned in glory that the curse is kept at bay, and never more may enter.

3. The positive blessing of heaven, the "weight of glory," consists in this presence of God. The kingly power of the Lamb not only serves to chase from the streets of the Holy City everything that defileth, and everything that can torment; but He Himself is the Sun of the saints' gladness and the Fountain of their life. That the Lord God shall dwell among them is ever represented as the sum of His people's blessedness.

(James Hamilton, M. A.)

I. THE REMOVAL OF THE CURSE. Many are the curses that have lighted upon earth — the primeval curse, with all the many curses that have flowed out of the first sin. All this is now reversed; the sentence is cancelled; the curse is exchanged for blessing. The atmosphere is purged. The sun scorches not by day, nor the moon by night. Thorns and thistles disappear. Fertility is restored to earth. The wolf lies down with the lamb, and the leopard with the kid; and there is nothing found to hurt nor to destroy in the holy mountain of the Lord. There is the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.

II. THE ETERNAL THRONE. The new Jerusalem has come down out of heaven from God. The great kingdom has come.

III. THE ETERNAL SERVICE. "His servants shall serve Him." "They serve Him day and night in His temple" (Revelation 7:15).

IV. THE ETERNAL VISION. "They shall see His face (Psalm 41:12).

V. THE ETERNAL INSCRIPTION. "His name shall be in their foreheads."

VI. THE ETERNAL DAY. This is stated negatively. No night, no need of lamp nor of the sun! (Isaiah 9:19). Everlasting day! Everlasting light! Everlasting spring!

VII. THE ETERNAL SUN. "The Lord God giveth them light." The light of heaven and earth, of all things material, and all things spiritual, is to come from the face of Jehovah Himself — the ONE sun of the universe, the ONE SUN of the soul!

VII. The ETERNAL REIGN. "They shall reign for ever and ever." A bright future is this for every one who has received the testimony of the Father to His beloved Son; for on our reception of that testimony does our right to that Kingdom depend. It is so fair a prospect that it cannot fail to influence us now.

1. It purifies us. For all in it is pure and perfect.

2. It invigorates. The prospect of an inheritance like this nerves us for conflict, and makes us invincible.

3. It cheers. The light will soon swallow up the darkness. The glory will be enough to make up for all.

4. It comforts. Our light affliction will soon be swallowed up in eternal joy.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

"No curse any more" — thus the last chapters of the Bible are in complete antithesis to the first.

I. God, as Creator and Redeemer, is the very ground and fount of all Our existence, and in that PERFECT LIFE OF THE HEREAFTER it must be yet more manifestly true that "in Him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

1. "The throne of God shall be in it" — as indicating the absolute supremacy of God. "The Lord reigneth" now, but His reign is largely a reign of suspension, of waiting, of patience. If He does not crush and destroy His enemies, it is that He is "not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9); and if He does not immediately deliver His servants from all the seeming evil of life, it is because they need the discipline of pain and conflict, that they may be truly fitted for the perfect life. But to that life He will surely lead them; and even here we see a progress towards that consummation, as regards both the subdual of evil and the deliverance and victory of the good.

2. "The throne of God and of the Lamb" — as indicating that the supremacy shall be a supremacy of love. The people of God are familiarly known, in the Old and New Testaments alike, as God's flock; and how significant, then, that the Shepherd of the sheep should be spoken of as a Lamb — a Lamb of the flock of God — one of themselves, sharing their nature, and living their life!

II. THE RELATION TO THIS REDEEMING GOD OF THE REDEEMED PEOPLE is set forth under three aspects — service, vision, likeness.

1. "His servants shall do Him service." The true idea of rest, not only does not exclude, but demands service, providing there be adequate motive, scope, and strength. And in that life the motive shall be the noblest, the scope amplest, and the strength untiring. How this thought ennobles, by anticipation, the proper training of our faculties here!

2. "They shall see His face." As here, so there, there shall be an alternation of working and beholding, of service and of fellowship. Our thought must be evermore replenished from His thought, our affection from His affection, our strength from His strength. Thus the ideal shall be ever growing in our soul, that we may act with growing intensity and success on the real — in that realm, as in this, achieving victory and laying hold of life.

3. "His name shall be on their foreheads." Such shall be the resultant alike of vision and of service. Thus, by taking in and giving out, by beholding and serving, shall we become for ever like the God we love.

(T. F. Lockyer, B. A.)

I. THE SCENE OF THIS SERVICE SHALL BE AS THE PARADISE OF GOD — "there shall be no more curse." Here everything connected with our abode renders the most delightful service — for such is the service of God — irksomely laborious. All our religious efforts proceed on this very fact, that we work on an accursed soil; that our iniquity has imposed on us excessive labour; and that in the sweat of our brow we must eat our bread. The land that is on high, inhabited by the servants of God, is subject to no painful or disagreeable vicissitudes.

II. NOR SHALL THE CURSE EXTEND TO THE PERSONS OF THE SAINTS, for there His servants shall serve Him: and do they not on earth, where the curse is found? No: they, it is true, attempt it; but such are their multiplied infirmities, that they confess, when they have done all, they are unprofitable, and deserve not to be viewed even as the hired servant.

III. THE CURSE SHALL NO LONGER INFLUENCE THE SERVICE RENDER TO GOD. "His servants shall serve Him." Our obedience on earth scarcely deserves the name; our sinful dispositions render it more like slavery. We no sooner begin to live unto God, but conflict, toil, and fatigue, distinguish our services. Polluted are these services, in fine, as that which is corrupt cannot produce what is pure, servants so feeble and unholy must render of necessity an unprofitable obedience.

IV. THE CURSE PRONOUNCED ON MAN, IS BANISHED FROM PARADISE.

V. It may be observed, that as soon as the first malediction was heard, the historian adds, "SO HE DROVE OUT THE MAN." "And they shall see His face"; shall render their service in His immediate presence, cheered by the complacent smiles of His gracious approbation.

1. By way of improvement, let me urge on you the necessity of inquiring, whether you are the servants of God? "And how shall we know?" Your own conscience must settle the point.

2. Let the servant of God be cheered by remembering who is his master. Every relative character is well exemplified and sustained by Jehovah.

3. Let us contemplate the happy termination of the sacred volume. It begins with the entrance of crime and the curse; and closes with the abolition of sin and misery, and an assurance of perfect and perpetual sanctity and joy.

(Wm. Clayton.)

The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it
I. WHAT PRESENCE OF GOD AND THE LAMB THIS PRESENCE UPON THE THRONE IS, WHICH MAKES HEAVEN, AND THE HAPPINESS OF IT, TO THE SAINTS.

1. The presence of His glory. So is the presence of God upon His throne expressed (Jude 1:24). By the glory of God is meant the conspicuous lustre of His perfections shining in the highest excellency of their brightness.

2. A second view of the presence of God upon His throne, that it is the facial presence of God, the presence of His face. For, in the next verse to our text, it is added, "His servants shall see His face."

3. His immediate presence, manifested no longer through obscuring mediums, as in our present state.

4. His countenancing presence.

5. The fixed and abiding presence of God and the Lamb.

6. An efficacious and influxive presence.

II. SHEW, BY COMPARING SCRIPTURE WITH SCRIPTURE, WHAT MANIFESTATION OF THE GLORY OF GOD, AND OF THE LAMB, THE SIMILITUDE OF A THRONE POINTS OUT UNTO US, AS PECULIAR TO HEAVEN.

1. The throne of God in heaven points out, that there is the highest manifestation of His absolute sovereignty and dominion over all.

2. The throne of God and of the Lamb being in this city, hints to us, that as kings use to display all their glory and majesty upon their thrones, so in heaven the shining excellency of His majesty is most bright, and the glory of His perfections most splendid.

3. A throne is the place where the deepest respect and homage of subjects is paid to their sovereign. Heaven is the place where God hath the most solemn worship from His creatures, all His courtiers attending about His throne with a pure love and glowing zeal.

4. A throne is a place where solemn addresses are presented and answered. It is to God in the heaven, upon a throne of grace, that we are directed to come with boldness, "that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

5. The throne of God, and of the Lamb, expresseth this to us, that glorious Christ appears not only in His Father's glory, which is naturally His, as He is one God with the Father, but also in that glory, honour and majesty, conferred upon Him as man and Mediator, as the reward of His sufferings and obedience.

III. SHEW HOW THE THRONE OF GOD AND THE LAMB, BEING IN HEAVEN, CONTRIBUTETH TO THE HAPPINESS OF ITS INHABITANTS.

1. All contraries to happiness are inconsistent with this presence of God and the Lamb; and therefore the least opposite to blessedness can never enter into this city where this throne is.

2. As the throne of God and the Lamb, being in this city, excludeth all contraries and opposites to blessedness, so it is an immediate productive cause of the most perfect positive happiness to the utmost capacity of all its inhabitants.

3. The glory of the mediation of our Redeemer will appear to all eternity, in this city, as the procuring cause of all the happiness the saints possess in it, and the glorious Mediator Himself shall remain for ever as the mean through whom the glory and blessedness of God shall be seen by, and communicated to the saints in heaven.Uses:

1. Doth the throne of God and the Lamb make the happiness of the heavenly Jerusalem, by its being there? then, how dreadful will your misery be, who shall for ever be shut out of this city where this throne shall be.(1) Your loss, of being banished from the presence of God and the Lamb, will be infinite.(2) You shall then have a full sense of the greatness of your loss: here it doth not affect you, because you know not the infinite excellency of God and Christ; but then your eyes will be opened, and your understandings cleared to know this, and so the greatness of your loss, from what you shall see of the glory of Christ upon His tribunal.(3) If you are banished from the presence of God and the Lamb, and from this city where the throne of God and the Lamb is, you will be shut up in hell under positive torments.

2. The people of God should comfort themselves in the hope of being for ever where the throne of God and the Lamb shall be.(1) This comfort is to you who have received a whole Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, and believe upon Him with a Divine, practical, heart-purifying, and life-sanctifying faith.(2) This comfort is to you, who repent and are converted from all sin, in affection, in purpose and endeavour, unto God and His way; who have ceased to do evil, and learned to do well.(3) This comfort appertains to the upright.

(James Robe, M. A.)

His servants shall serve Him
(with ver. 5): — Setting these two passages together, we get these two truths, that the redeemed are servants, and that they are also kings. Their eternity is to be an eternity of service, and an eternity of dominion.

I. SERVICE. His servants shall serve Him. They are the servants of God, and the servants of the Lamb. As Christ was the Father's servant, so do we become. Let us ask, —

1. When this service begins? It begins at conversion. For conversion is

(1)a change of service;

(2)a change of masters;

(3)a change of motive;

(4)a change of work.

2. How it begins? Christ answers this: "If any man serve Me, let him follow Me." It begins by taking His yoke; by taking the cross; by denying self; or, as the apostle expresses it, by "obeying from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto us."

3. How it is carried on? By a life of devotedness to God and His Christ; by doing His will, working His work, carrying out His plans, running His errands, looking after His interests.

4. Where it is carried on? First here on earth, and afterwards in the new Jerusalem before the throne. It is carried on everywhere; in the closet, in the family, at the table, round the hearth, in the market, in the shop, in the field, on the highway — everywhere. How it is to be carried on hereafter we know not. In the city and out of it; at the throne and away from it; all over space; doing every kind of work; such shall be the service hereafter.

5. How long it shall last? For ever. It has a beginning, but not an end. It is an eternal service. All other services are bondage, this is liberty: all others are drudgery, this is blessedness throughout. The Master now waits to hire you; will you not be hired?

II. THE DOMINION. They shall reign for ever. This is wholly future.

1. Who are these feigners? They are men, not angels.

2. Whence came they? Out of sin, out of weakness, and persecution, and tribulation.

3. How did they become what they are? They washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. They believed and became sons of God.

4. What raised them to this dignity? Grace; God's free love.

5. In what way did they reach the throne? They fought their way to it.

6. How extensive is this dominion to be? He that overcometh shall inherit all things. Heaven and earth are theirs. "Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ."

7. How long is it to last? For ever. It is an everlasting dominion; a kingdom that shall not be destroyed.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

(with ver. 5): — The servants and the kings are identical, they are alike the beings written in the Book of Life; the redeemed from the earth; those who have entered through the gates into the city. I take this twofold word from among the final promises of Him who cannot lie, not now to look upward through it upon the brightness of the eternal future, but to see the light of that future cast through it downward on our present life.

I. His SERVANTS. Such is the title of the glorified. In heaven itself there is no emancipation from the bonds of God. The holy nations are eternally bound, in absolute obligation, to the will of God and of the Lamb. The created soul cannot be the basis of its own being; how could it be the source of its own joy and power, or the law of its own eternity? We read what is but likely when we read that the nearer and the clearer is the sight of the Creator granted to the creature, the better the creature recognises the blessedness of self-surrender. Now, does not this truth of the future begin to be realised on earth? You know how full the Scriptures are of the idea of the service of God; a service not the less real as service because it can also be viewed as "perfect freedom" in the light of knowledge and love; a service not meant to be a figure of religious speech, a form of courtly deference to the Majesty above; but an obligation real and binding; compelling with the united power of the love and the law of God (John 13:13; Acts 27:23; 1 Thessalonians 1:10).

II. THEY SHALL REIGN. Such is the twin promise of the better life. The bondmen of the Eternal, in that existence of endless duty, shall for ever reign. Scripture does indeed largely promise honour to man. Never does it flatter him; this is part of its Divine manner. But of hope and promise it grudges nothing to him if only he will seek it in the way of Christ. Poor must be our best conjectures of what the fulfilment will be. We cannot yet understand what is the nobility of being, the lofty purity, the greatness of knowledge, the wealth of joy and power, which are indicated in the figures of the promise, the crowns of life, and righteousness, and glory, the session on thrones, and this reigning as of kings for ever. But, little as we know of the fulfilment, the process towards it is even now begun. Even in this present world the true servant of God, in proportion to the reality and simplicity of his servitude, receives also some foretastes of his royalty. Let him, in truth, "endure, seeing Him who is invisible"; and it will bring him a power not his own over and amidst the visible. He will tread, by his Master's strength, calmly and habitually, on besetting sin; he will turn to real flight the alien armies of temptation; he will in some true sense and measure rule amongst influences at enmity with his Lord. There is no independence upon earth so strong, and so nobly strong, as that of a Christian who wills wholly to be Christ's servant.

(H. C G. Moule, B. D.)

The Study.
I. THAT THE DIVINE REIGN WITHIN THE SOUL WILL BANISH ALL MORAL CURSE.

1. That the unregenerate soul of man is under the dire curse of sin.

2. That the Divine reign tends to the ultimate banishment of the curse of sin from the soul.

II. THAT THE DIVINE REIGN WITHIN THE SOUL WILL AWAKEN TO HALLOWED SERVICE.

1. The Divine reign within the soul awakens the truest feeling of service.

2. The Divine reign within the soul imparts the highest capability of service.

3. The Divine reign within the soul reveals the best opportunity of service.

III. THAT THE DIVINE REIGN WITHIN THE SOUL WILL TEND TO A CLEAR VISION OF GOD. This vision is —

1. Sublime.

2. Attractive.

3. Transforming

IV. THAT THE DIVINE REIGN IN THE SOUL LEADS TO THE DISSIPATION OF MORAL DARKNESS. What a glorious privilege and capability to be equal to the enjoyment of an eternal day — for the sun never to set upon the activity and love of the soul.

V. THAT THE DIVINE REIGN IN THE SOUL LEADS TO MORAL KINGHOOD. Lessons:

1. That the throne of God must be established in the soul of man.

2. That the Divine reign in the soul is conducive of the highest good.

3. That only the good will enjoy eternal moral sunlight.

(The Study.)

HEAVENLY BLESSEDNESS CONSISTS OF SERVICE. Even the angels excel in strength to do His commandments. We shall never get beyond that. The highest blessedness consists in being beneficently useful and reverently obedient. Our aim should not be to become ornamental, but to render perfect service. To serve God without imperfection, without the frailty of this human nature of ours, without the sin that mixes up here with our divinest things; that is the highest ambition of every true servant of God. The truth emphasised here is the advancement of the true servant into higher spheres of service. This is just what heaven will do for us. It will not take away from us the opportunity or capacity for service, it will only ennoble and exalt all. Who of us will not begin to serve Him here? Never mind where you begin. It may be in the back kitchen, or in the scullery, in God's great house. You may not be required to take a prominent or honourable part in it; go on and do the little work you have to do — do it well, and according to the fidelity of your service shall be your progress, until at last you shall enter into the highest celestial meaning of a service that began amid earthly infirmities and human sin.

II. The Lord's servants shall have not only exaltation in service, but also FULNESS OF VISION — "And they shall see His face." This clear vision of God is spoken of by Our Lord Himself as the reward of purity. "The pure in heart shall see God." The obedient spirit is the seeing one. "The doer must ever be the true seer. The only way in which you can see Him face to face is to take the path which He has taken.

III. HIS NAME SHALL BE UPON THEIR FOREHEADS. The face of God seems always to represent the revelation of Him by vision, and His name the revelation of Him by testimony. In our text, those who see His face are represented as bearing HIS impress, and carrying the sign of ownership upon their foreheads. The forehead is that part of the face expressive of strength.

(D. Davies.)

I. THE CHARACTERS OF THOSE WHO ARE THE LORD'S SERVANTS HERE, AND SHALL BE CONTINUED IN HIS SERVICE TO SERVE HIM IN HEAVEN.

1. If you are such servants now, as shall be admitted to serve Him in heaven, you will have embraced by faith the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Covenant of grace.

2. If you are such servants now as shall serve Him in heaven, then you have been effectually called, possessed by the Spirit of Christ, quickened, sanctified, and planted by Him into Jesus Christ, after the likeness of HIS death and resurrection from the dead.

3. If you are His servants, who shall serve Him not only in this but the coming world, you will have renounced all other lords and masters.

4. If you are the servants of God and the Lamb, who shall serve Him in heaven, you will live under a sense and conscience of this your dedication, not as your own, but God's.

5. Are you devoted and addicted to the fear of God, not a slavish, but filial fear of Him?

II. THE SERVICE YOU, WHO ARE THE SERVANTS OF GOD NOW, SHALL BE EMPLOYED IN WHEN YOU ARE IN HEAVEN.

1. As to the matter and particular kind of the service of the saints in heaven, it is yet a secret, and in a great measure unknown to us.(1) The service of the Lord's servants in heaven excludeth all service and duty which imply a state of probation and trial, a state of imperfection, and which have the nature of means leading, by the appointment of God, to salvation with eternal glory as the end.(2) The service of the saints in heaven will contain in it all those duties that the relation between the Creator and the creature, the Redeemer and the redeemed, doth infer in an eternally fixed state of perfect holiness and happiness.(3) Your service in heaven will be such as the angels, of God are. employed in.(4) The service of the Lord's servants in heaven will be the service of special and immediate attendance.(5) Your service, who are now the servants of God and the Lamb, shall be the service of rulers and governors in the life to come.(6) Your service and work in heaven will be Sabbath-service and work.(7) Your service in heaven will be temple-service.(8) Your service in heaven will be eucharistical service, consisting in the exercise of she praising graces, and performance of the work of praise.(9) A performance of the duties of love to all your fellow-servants, consistent with a state of perfect blessedness in the full enjoyment of God, will be service in heaven to God and the Lamb.

2. In what manner the Lord's servants shall serve Film in heaven.

(1)Without weakness.

(2)Without weariness.

(3)Without distraction.

(4)Without interruption and intermission; there shall be no impediment from business, or need of sleep.

(5)Without the least defect, imperfection, or sin.

(6)You shall serve Him for ever, even to eternity. Your joys shall be everlasting, and so shall be your thankful service.

III. WHENCE IT IS THEY, WHO ARE GOD'S SERVANTS NOW, SHALL SERVE HIM IN HEAVEN.

1. From the sovereign, rich, and free grace of God.

2. From the merit and intercession of the Son of God.

3. From the efficiency of the Holy Ghost. "He seals the servants of God unto the day of redemption"; and is so good as to "lead them into heaven, the land of uprightness."

4. From the faithfulness of God.

5. From the unchangeableness of God.Conclusion:

1. Is it a part of the happiness of heaven that the servants of God and the Lamb shall serve Him in heaven? then hence we may learn that heaven is a state of eternal service to God and the Lamb.

2. Shall the Lord's servants now serve Him in heaven? then there is more honour and happiness in active doing holy duties than we are well aware of.

3. Shall these, who are His servants now, serve Him hereafter in heaven? Then you have in this what to answer to the atheist's profane query, " What profit is it to serve God?"

4. Learn from this clause of our text, in its connection, that an uninterrupted serving God, and an uninterrupted communion with God, and enjoyment of Him go together.

(James Robe, M. A.)

There is not a little in the temper of our day which resists the thought that God is a Master. Many people more or less consciously recoil from the assertion of a claim so imperative as is necessarily involved in such a conception of the Supreme. Some absolutely reject religion on this account; they think, or speak as if they thought, that their independence would be compromised, their dignity insulted, by the recognition of a Sovereign in heaven, no less than by subjection to a master on earth; perhaps they go so far as to say that the very notion of a God claiming to have dominion over man's whole being is an invention of the governing orders, a piece of the machinery devised by their class-selfishness for the obvious purpose of "keeping the people down." Others, who cannot dispense with religion altogether, endeavour, as far as possible, to keep the idea of Divine sovereignty in the background. Perhaps they may in part be under the influence of a recoil from one-sided and repellent views of that Sovereignty, which were a stumbling-block to believers in the Divine moral perfection. But the reaction must be worse than extravagant which leads men to emphasise "the Fatherhood of God" by detaching from it, in effect, the idea of paternal authority (Malachi 1:6). Given the idea of a living God, and the conviction that we are bound to serve Him follows; and Scripture does but emphasise the conclusion which natural reason forces upon all serious theists. "I am Thy servant," is the burden of all that intercourse between the human soul and its God which pervades and vitalises the Psalter; and the prophet's language about "the Lord's servant," passes beyond an "idealised Israel" to its fulfilment in the obedience completed on the Cross. And although the gospel is a "law of liberty," yet no delusive spirit from the pit ever uttered a deeper falsehood than that which could confound liberty with license, or deny that moral law is involved in the relations between men. St. Paul repeatedly intimates that God's moral law is still to be the rule of Christian conduct; he speaks of the "law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus," and of our "fulfilling the requirements of the law," very much as St. James speaks of the "royal law of liberty," and as St. John identifies sin with "lawlessness." Furthermore, the gospel reveals a new and special ground of the obligation of God's service; He has acquired a supernatural right over us in virtue of the fact of our redemption. If we have been bought, in the Scriptural imagery, at no less a price than the blood of God's own Son, it follows that "we are not our own": we cannot be "without law to God," we must be "under law to Christ" (1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 9:21). If we call Him Saviour, we must also call Him King. Two phrases are used in the New Testament, to impress this thought upon us. In some passages a word is used which originally represented the condition of a hired servant (Acts 27:23; Romans 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:3; Hebrews 9:14). But as if this term were not strong enough to stand alone, the relation between a bondservant or slave, and a master whose rights over him were absolute — a relation which Christianity was to undermine, but which for the time was suffered to exist — is utilised, so to speak, for the purpose of enforcing this great lesson (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Revelation 1:1; James 1:1; Jude 1.). In the text both phrases are combined: "His slaves shall do Him service for wages." Do we shrink from the austerity of this language? Do we fancy that it makes our religion servile — that if apostles used it in their own time, we need not treat it as symbol]sing a permanent truth — that it is, in fact, a surviving fragment of Judaism, inconsistent with the higher apostolic affirmation, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty?" Do we plead, so to speak, that our Lord has promised us the truest freedom as the result of an effective knowledge of the truth, and that, on the last evening of His earthly ministry, He said to His faithful eleven," Henceforth I call you not servants, but friends? Well, this was His gracious condescension, assuring them that their relation to Him was to be one of affectionate confidence. Blessed be HIS name, He does not keep us at arm's length; He does not treat us coldly, sternly, magisterially: we are to be "willing," freewill offerings, "in the day of His power." We are to be made "sons" in Him, the true and only-begotten Son, and so to be "free indeed." His service is to be, in a most true sense, perfect freedom, or even a true royalty; but it must needs be service, if He is what He is, if we are what we are. Take just one noble and beautiful instance of the combination of obedience and love, of service and joyfulness, in him who had apparently been consecrated to the episcopate by St. John, and who, when invited to save his life by uttering some form of renunciation of Christ, answered, "Eighty-six years have I been His servant, and He has done me no wrong: how, then, can I revile my King Who saved me?"

(W. Bright, D. D.)

These words give us three elements of the perfect state of man — service, contemplation, likeness; these three are perfect and unbroken.

1. The first element in the perfect state of man is perfect activity in the service of God. If we have not here the notion of priesthood, we have one very closely approximating towards it. That, then, is the first thought that we have to look at. Now, it seems to me to be a very touching confession of the weariness and unsatisfactoriness of life in the general that the dream of the future which has unquestionably the most fascination for most men, is that which speaks of it as rest. Now this representation of my text is by no means contradictory, but it is complementary of that other one. The deepest rest and the highest activity coincide. They do so in God Who worketh hitherto in undisturbed tranquillity; they may do so in us. The wheel that goes round in swiftest rotation seems to be standing still. Work at its intensest, which is pleasurable work, and level to the capacity of the doer, is the truest form of rest. "They rest from their labours." "They rest not, day or night." From their labours? — yes! From toil disproportioned to faculty? — yes! From unwelcome work? — yes! From distraction and sorrow? — yes! But from glad praise and vigorous service? — never! day or night. Then there is another thing involved in this first idea, namely, the notion of an outer world on which and in which to work; and also the notion of the resurrection of the body in which the active spirit may abide, and through which it may work. Perhaps it may be that they who sleep in Jesus, in the period between the shuffling off of this mortal coil and the breaking of that day when they are raised again from the dead, are incapable of exertion in an outer sphere. At all events, this we may be sure of, that if it be so they have no desires in advance of their capacities; and of this also I think we may be sure, that whether they themselves can come into contact with an external universe or not, Christ is for them what the body is to us here now, and the glorified body will be hereafter: that being absent from the body they are present with the Lord. The next point is this: such service must be in a far higher sphere and a far nobler fashion than the service of earth. God rewards work with more work. The powers that are trained and exercised and proved in a narrower region are lifted to the higher; as some poor peasant-girl, for instance, whose rich voice has risen up in the harvest-field only for her own delight and that of a handful of listeners, heard by some one who detects its sweetness, may be carried away to some great city, and charm kings with its tones, so the service done in some little corner of this remote rural province of God's universe, apprehended by Him, shall be rewarded with a wider platform, and a nobler area for work. "Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things." Notice again, that the highest type of human service must be service for other people. The law of heaven can surely not be more selfish than the law for earth, and that is, "he that is chiefest amongst you, let him be your servant." The last point about this first matter is simply this — that this highest form of human activity is all to be worship; all to be done in reference to Him; all to be done in submission to Him. The will of the man in His work is to be so conformed to the will of God as that, whatsoever the hand on the great dial points to, that the hand on the little dial shall point to also. Obedience is joy and rest. To know and do His will is heaven.

2. Next, look at the second of the elements here — "They shall see His face." Now that expression "seeing the face of God" in Scripture seems to me to be employed in two somewhat different ways, according to one of which the possibility of seeing the face is affirmed, and according to another of which it is denied. The one may be illustrated by the Divine word to Moses: "Thou canst not see My face. There shall no man see Me and live" (Exodus 33.). The other may be illustrated by the aspiration and the confidence of one of the psalms: "As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness." Where is the key to the apparent contradiction? Here, I think; Jesus Christ is the manifest God, in Him only do men draw near to the hidden Deity, the King Invisible, Who dwelleth in the light that is inaccessible. And here on earth we see by faith, and yonder there will be a vision, different in kind, most real, most immediate and direct, not of the hidden Godhood in itself, but of the revealed God-hood manifest in Jesus Christ, Whom in His glorified corporeal Manhood we shall perceive, with the organs of our glorified body, Whom, in His Divine beauty we shall know and love with heart and mind, in knowledge direct, immediate, far surpassing in degree and different in kind from the knowledge of faith which we have of Him here below. But there is another point I would touch upon in reference to this second thought of our text — viz., its connection with the previous representation, "They shall serve Him," that is activity of service in our outer sphere; "they shall see His face," that is contemplation. The Rabbis taught that there were angels who serve, and angels who praise, but the two classes meet in the perfected man, whose service shall be praise, whose praise shall be service.

3. The last element is "His name shall be in their foreheads." The metaphor is taken from the old cruel practice of branding a slave with the name of his master. And so the primary idea of this expression: "His slaves shall bear His name upon their foreheads," is that their ownership shall be conspicuously visible to all that look. But there is more than that in it. How is the ownership to be made visible? By His name being on their foreheads. What is "His name"? Universally in Scripture "His name" is His revealed character, and so we come to this: the perfect men shall be known to belong to God, in Christ, because they are like Him.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Caroline Herschel, the sister of the great astronomer, was through all her life the most attached servant to her brother. She called herself "a mere tool, which my brother had the trouble of sharpening." She learned the details of observing with such success that she independently discovered eight comets. Her devotion was most complete. Wherever her brother was concerned she abolished self, and replaced her nature with his. Having no taste for astronomy, her work at first was distasteful to her, but she conquered this, and lived to help his work and fame.

They shall see His face
The Italians so much admire the city of Naples, that their proverb is, "See Naples and die"; as if there remained nothing more to be seen after that fair bay and city had been gazed upon. To behold the far fairer sight mentioned in the text men might well be content to die a thousand times. Forget for awhile your present cares, and live for awhile in the future which is so certified by faithful promises that you may rejoice in it even now!

I. THE BEATIFIC VISION. "They shall see His face." It is the chief blessing of heaven, the heaven of heaven, that the saints shall there see Jesus. Christ is all in all to us here, and therefore we long for a heaven in which He shall be all in all to us for ever; and such will the heaven of God be. The paradise of God is not the Elysium of imagination, the Utopia of intellect, or the Eden of poetry; but it is the Heaven of intense spiritual fellowship with the Lord Jesus. In the beatific vision it is Christ whom they see; and further, it is His "face" which they behold; by which I understand two things: first, that they shaft literally and physically, with their risen bodies, actually look into the face of Jesus; and secondly, that spiritually their mental faculties shall be enlarged, so that they shall be enabled to look into the very heart, and soul, and character of Christ, so as to understand Him, His work, His love, His all in all, as they never understood Him before.

II. THE SURPASSING CLEARNESS OF THAT VISION. "They shall see His face." The word "see" sounds in my ears with a clear, full, melodious note. We see but little here. "We walk by faith, not by sight." Around us all is mist and cloud. What we do see, we see only as if men were trees walking. The saints see the face of Jesus in heaven, because they are purified from sin. The pure in heart are blessed: they shall see God, and none others. They may well see His face when the scales of sin have been taken from their eyes, and they have become pure as God Himself is pure. They surely see His face the more clearly because all the clouds of care are gone from them. Moreover, as they have done with sin and cares, so have they done with sorrows. They see His face right gloriously in that cloudless atmosphere, and in the light which He Himself supplies. Moreover, the glorified see His face the more clearly because there are no idols to stand between Him and them.

III. THE MATCHLESS PRIVILEGE WHICH THIS VISION INVOLVES. We may understand the words "they shall see His face" to contain five things. They mean, first, certain salvation; secondly, a clear knowledge of Him; thirdly, conscious favour; fourthly, close fellowship; and lastly, complete transformation.

IV. WHO THEY ARE TO WHOM THIS CHOICE BOON IS AFFORDED BY THE DIVINE MERCY. "They shall see His face." Who are they? They are all His redeemed, all the justified, all the sanctified. Some are taken away to see His face while yet young.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"His face"! That can never be produced upon canvas; that is the medium of Divine revelation; that is the type of perfect humanity.

I. HEAVEN POSSESSES ONE SPECIAL ATTRACTION — the face of Jesus.

1. This chides our idle speculation. The presence of Jesus makes heaven, and to see His face is eternal joy.

2. Here is a test for our religious desires. Do we long to see Jesus?

II. HEAVEN WILL CONTINUE THE EXPERIENCE OF EARTH.

1. It is possible to see Jesus now. We can see His face in the mirror of the Word — dimly in the law, gloriously in the gospel. We can see it smiling from the Cross. We can see it in the gifts of His heart.

2. It is possible to realise heaven upon earth.

III. HEAVEN WILL SOOTHE THE DEEPEST SIGHING OF THE REGENERATED HEART.

IV. HEAVEN WILL PERFECT OUR LIKENESS TO JESUS.

(Philip Reynolds.)

Of all the happiness and honour that fill that city of glory, this is the sum, and the centre, and the overflow: "They shall see His face."

I. WHOSE FACE? It is the face of God; and that face is Jesus, the Word made flesh; the brightness of His glory, etc.; light of the glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ. It is the face of majesty, yet the face of love. Like unto it there is not any face in earth or heaven — in all the vast universe of God — so bright, so fair, so perfect, so glorious, so Divine.

II. WHO SHALL SEE IT? His servants. "This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord." "Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty." "If any man serve Me, him will My Father honour."

III. WHAT IS IT TO SEE HIS FACE? See Psalm 41:12; Esther 1:14; 2 Kings 25:19.

1. Nearness. These servants form the inner, nay the innermost, circle of creation.

2. Blessedness. The nearest of the disciples was the most blessed, the disciple whom Jesus loved. The nearest to Him in heaven will be the most blessed.

3. Honour. To see the king's face was the great earthly honour; so is it the greatest heavenly honour.

4. Power. They who see the King's face are His counsellors, His vicegerents, the doers of His will. Christ's throne is theirs — for "he that overcometh shall inherit all things." This seeing of the face of God and His Christ will be:

(1)Eternal. It cannot end.

(2)Unchangeable.No interruption; no eclipse; no cloud; no darkness; no setting; no dimness of eye; no unbelief; no distance.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

I. WHO THEY ARE THAT SHALL SEE THE FACE OF GOD AND THE LAMB IN HEAVEN.

1. All real believers.

2. The Lord's servants.

3. The pure in heart (1 John 3:2, 3).

4. The righteous (Psalm 17:15).

II. WHAT IS IMPORTED IN SEEING THE FACE OF GOD AND THE LAMB.

1. To see the face of God and the Lamb certainly imports being in the immediate presence of God and the Lamb.

2. To see the face of God and the Lamb importeth an ocular bodily sight of a sensible Divine glory; it is a sight of the face of the Lamb of God incarnate, and in the nature of man, with a glorified super-exalted body.

3. To see the face of God and the Lamb importeth a mental and intellectual sight or knowledge of the glorious perfections of God and the Lamb, shining in their brightest lustre.

4. To see the face of God and the Lamb certainly importeth such a discovery and view of God, and of Jesus Christ, as was never attained by any in this life.

5. To see the face of God and the Lamb importeth a perfect enjoyment of the love and favour of God and the Lamb, a sense and feeling of this favour, and the blessed fruits and effects of it.

6. To see the face of God and the Lamb certainly imports a humble and holy confidence and ability to look upon the face of God and the Lamb.

7. To join them together, immediate and familiar communion with, and the enjoyment of God and the Lamb are hinted to us in this expression, as the attainment of the saints in heaven. An expression of more wonderful condescendency cannot be used, than that of Jehovah's way of conversing with Moses (Exodus 33:11).

III. HOW THE SIGHT OF THE FACE OF GOD AND THE LAMB TENDETH UNTO, AND IS A PART OF OUR HAPPINESS IN HEAVEN.

1. The object of this vision is the face of God and the Lamb, that is, the glory of the infinite perfections of God, shining in the highest excellency of their brightness.

2. Consider the act of this vision itself, it is a knowledge of God and His glory — not by report, as all the knowledge of faith we have in this state is; — not by reasoning, as here, which is wearisome and uncertain, but by sight or knowledge directly taking in the glory manifested. It will be a vigorous and efficacious sight, the faculty being strengthened and made able to bear the discoveries of this glory by the object itself.

3. Consider the effects of seeing the face of God and the Lamb in heaven: by this we shall know all things fit for us to know.

IV. WHAT REASON YOU, WHO ARE THE SERVANTS OF GOD AND THE LAMB, NOW HAVE TO BE ASSURED THAT YOU SHALL SEE HIS FACE IN HEAVEN,

1. Yell have good and real right to this happiness, upon a manifold title, such as God the Father's eternal purpose and election.

2. God hath begotten an insatiable desire in you to see His face in heaven.

3. All the Redeemer's offices are engaged to bring all His servants unto God, and set them in His presence for ever.

V. WHEN THE LORD'S SERVANTS SHALL BE ADMITTED TO SEE HIS FACE.

1. Our souls shall, immediately after death, be admitted to see God.

2. The most eminent season of our being admitted to see the face of God and the Lamb is the day of the resurrection; then shall our bodies be raised up glorified, and reunited unto our long-before glorified souls.(1) To all the hearers of the gospel. Let it be the great scope, end, and business of your lives, to attain this happiness when you die.(2) Labour to attain to a more certain knowledge and assurance of this, that you shall see His face for ever in heaven.(3) Think much upon the obligations you are under to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for this hope laid up for you in heaven; and live in the continual praises of the ever-blessed Three in One.(4) Labour to have as much of this happiness of heaven, of the vision of the face of God and the Lamb, here upon earth, as you can attain, and to exercise yourselves much therein.(5) Live in the earnest, desirous, patient hope and expectation of this happiness laid up for you in heaven; this is good, and blessedness next to the beatifical vision itself.(6) Let the foresight of this glorious happiness mortify you to all human and earthly glory.(7) Keep your eyes outward and inward, as these that are to see the face of God and the Lamb.(8) Study holiness, and endeavour to attain much of it.

(James Robe, M. A.)

The Holy Scriptures maintain a consistent and marked reserve in respect of the details of the future life. God calls the soul first, not to reveries, but to repentance.

I. THEY SHALL SEE HIS FACE. This is the first element in the promise. It needs no elaborate proof that the Bible presents the presence of the personal God as the soul's last and highest hope. "Whom have I in heaven but Thee?" "In Thy presence is fulness of joy"; "We shall see Him as He is." Nor does it need long proving that this supreme hope, in all views of the future other than that of the Bible, is either absent or quite secondary. The Buddhist votary, far from longing for the sight of a Divine Countenance, desires as his summum bonum — his one true felicity (only too great to be confidently hoped for) the dissolution of his own illusory yet weary personality into the deep repose of a universe of non-existence. The Elysium of Virgil, the happy fields of the just, laborious, and noble-hearted, is nothing but a pale reflection of the joys of earth, and bears not a trace of the ruling and energising power of a Divine Presence in the midst of it. In the great My thus of Plato, again, the chariot-borne spectators of reality, the personages of that vast festal procession which climbs up the steep sides of the lower sky to the ideal heaven, behold at length not a Divine Countenance, loving and loved; they discover only splendours magnificent but cold: universals as they are — absolute justice, temperance, and knowledge — but not One who is eternal and beatifying love. The Pantheist, ancient or modern, western or eastern, hopes only to sink hereafter somewhat deeper into that will-less and loveless absolute which, after all, he holds that he has never left; for all things, in his creed, are but equally and always parts, and no more, of the one Being in its aimless and unbeheld development. It is the Bible, and the Bible only, that makes the presence of an eternal and holy Person the final object of the hopes of man. "They shall see His face." Heaven, if it includes the idea of endlessness, needs the presence of a Person both eternal and lovable, if it is to be not happy only, but other than terrible, to the created and limited being. It is a woful mistake to feed our souls in prospect on the food of the presence, not of the Creator, but of the creature. Dreadful would be the ultimate famine in the bright but then restless regions, if the created souls were left there to subsist for ever on the resources of each other and themselves. "They shall see His face — they shall be satisfied with His likeness."

II. AND HIS NAME SHALL BE ON THEIR FOREHEADS. We look on this clause now, not as revealing the Lord God's influence in the endless life, but is witnessing to the sustained individual personality of those who shall be admitted, in that endless life, to behold His glory. The opinion of Pantheism has spread wide and deep, in many and most various regions and times. It is indeed a seductive evil, an error singularly attractive to many fine and powerful minds, especially in its guise of a quasi-worship of external nature. Yet this error can present itself to the bewildered soul under a subtle show of humility: "Slight and imperfect being! why claim, or why fear, an endless subsistence? Shall the thin flame of your little life glimmer on for ever through the windy currents of an illimitable and unresting universe? No, surely. If you are indeed created, still in no sense whatever can you stand apart from the Creator. You are but one of His, or rather of Its, countless phases. You will soon be dissolved again into the depths of His, or rather of Its, existence." But to the whisperings of this lie, the Holy Scriptures, strong in their historic record, in their unique method of appealing to Divine facts to attest and teach eternal truths, give a negative equally uncompromising and profound. Scripture seeks not to solve the often-attempted riddle how the Infinite created the finite into a distinct subsistence: in this case, and in that of the origin of evil, it leaves in emphatic silence just the two problems which unchastened human speculation has most eagerly pursued. But that the finite was created into that mysterious distinctness; that the personality of man is real and permanent; this truth the holy Book, through all the sixteen centuries of its growth, presses home in countless ways on the heart of man — that heart in whose depths the truths alike of personality and of guilt find their sure echo. And this is part of the truth of this prophetic verse. "His name shall be," not upon floating phases of an Absolute Being, but upon "their foreheads."

(H. C. G. Moult, M. A.)

Dr. Clemance said, "One day I was climbing one of the Alpine range of mountains, near the boundary line between France and Switzerland. By and by we came upon snow and icicles, and all the usual attendants in the train of winter; but when we got higher we found delightful flowers blooming, in all the beauty of floral loveliness. I said to myself, 'How is this? Down yonder are icicles and snow, up here are those exquisite flowers. The secret of it was, that this part of the mountain faced the sun, while the other was turned from it.'" So not unlike this is the change in the heart of him who turns from the cold world of sin to the warming rays of the Sun of Righteousness.

His name shall be in their foreheads
(with Exodus 28:36; Zechariah 14:20): — These three widely separated texts all speak of inscriptions, and they are all obviously connected with each other. Three things, then — the priest's mitre, the horses' bells, the foreheads of the perfected saints — three aspects of the Christian thought of holiness.

I. THE PRIEST'S MITRE. The high priest was the official representative of the nation. He stood before God as the embodied and personified Israel. For the purposes of worship Israel was the high priest, and the high priest was Israel. And so, on his forehead, not to distinguish him from the rest of the people, but to include all the people in his consecration, shone a golden plate with the motto, "Holiness to the Lord." So, at the beginning, there stands a protest against all notions that make "saint" the designation of any abnormal or exceptional sanctity, and confine the name to the members of any selected aristocracy of devoutness and of goodness. All Christian men, ex officio, by the very fact of their Christianity, are saints, in the true sense of the word. It is a very unfortunate thing — indicating superficiality of thought — that the modern popular notion of "holiness" identifies it with purity, righteousness, moral perfection. Now that is in it, but that is not the whole of it. The root-meaning is "separated, set apart," and the word expresses primarily, not moral character, but relation to God. How can a man be separated and laid aside? Well, there is only one way, and that is by self-surrender. "Holiness to the Lord" is self-surrender of will, and heart, and mind, and everything. And that surrender is of the very essence of Christianity. What is a saint? Some man or woman that has practised unheard-of austerities? Somebody that has lived an isolated and self-regarding life in convent or monastery or desert? No! a man or woman in the world who, moved by the mercies of God, yields self to God as a living sacrifice.

II. THE HORSES' BELLS. Zechariah has a vision of the ideal Messianic times, and of course, as must necessarily be the case, his picture is painted with colours laid upon his palette by his experience, and he depicts that distant future in the guise suggested to him by what he saw around him. So we have to disentangle from his words the sentiment which he expresses, and to recognise the symbolic way in which he puts it. On the whole, the prophet's teaching is that, in the ideal state of man upon earth, there would be an entire abolition of the distinction between "sacred" and "secular"; a distinction that has wrought infinite mischief in the world, and in the lives of Christian people. Let me transfer these words of our prophet into English equivalents. Every cup and tumbler in a poor man's kitchen shall be as sacred as the Communion chalice that passes from lip to lip with the "blood of Jesus Christ" in it. Every common piece of service that we do, down among the vulgarities and the secularities and the meannesses of daily life, may be lifted up to stand upon precisely the same level as the sacredest office that we undertake. The bells of the horses shall jingle to the same tune as the trumpets of the priests within the shrine, and on all, great and small, shall be written, "Holiness to the Lord." Hallow thyself, and all things are clean unto thee.

III. THE PERFECTED SAINTS' FOREHEADS. It is only the name that is written in the perfected saints' forehead. Not the "Holiness unto the Lord," but just the bare name. What does that mean? Well, it means the same as your writing your name in one of your books does, or as when a man puts his initials on the back of his oxen, or as the old practice of branding the master's mark upon the slave did. It means absolute ownership. But it means something more. The name is the manifested personality, the revealed God, the character, as we say in an abstract way, the character of God. That name is to be in the foreheads of His perfected people. How does it come to be there? Read the clause before. "His servants shall see His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads." That is to say, the perfected condition is not reached by surrender only, but by assimilation; and that assimilation comes by contemplation. The faces that are turned to Him, and behold Him, are smitten with the light and shine, and those that look upon them see, "as it had been, the face of an angel," as the Sanhedrin saw that of Stephen when he beheld the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. Alas! alas! it is so hard for us to live out our best selves, and to show to the world what is in us. Cowardice, sheepishness, and a hundred other reasons prevent it. In this poor imperfect state no emotion ever takes shape and visibility without losing more or less of its beauty. But yonder the obstructions to self-manifestation will be done away; and when He shall be manifested "we also shall be manifested with Him in glory."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. SHOW WHAT SEEMS TO BE HINTED IN THIS SCRIPTURE, CONCERNING THE HAPPINESS OF THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN, AS IT IS A LIKENESS TO GOD AND THE LAMB.

1. The saints in heaven have the name of God upon them; that is, they shall have upon them a likeness unto, and resemblance of these glorious perfections, whereby God hath manifested and made Himself known unto us, called His Name in Scripture.(1) It is a likeness to God in His moral and communicable perfections and excellences.(2) In heaven we shall be like God in happiness and glory.

2. The saints in heaven have the Lamb's name upon them.(1) Their souls shall be like unto the soul of Jesus Christ, in all the faculties thereof. "When He shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory," that is, not only as pure and holy creatures, but as glorious and happy creatures. For Christ shall give unto them the same glory which the Father hath given Him, and this not only unto their souls, but also,(2) Unto their bodies; for they shall be like unto Christ in heaven in their bodies.

3. The name of God and the Lamb is in their foreheads; that is,(1) Their relation to God and the Lamb, and their conformity and likeness will then be open, evident and apparent, as that is which is upon the forehead.(2) His name in their foreheads intimateth this unto us, that our likeness to God and the Lamb in heaven will be glory. Here it is grace, it is excellent, though it is most in the hidden man of the heart; but in heaven it not only is excellent, as it is here, but excellency shining and appearing openly upon them, in their foreheads.(3) His name shall be in their foreheads doth intimate this to us, that, how great soever the glory of the saints in heaven shall be, it shall not be the same with the glory of God and the Lamb; it is only a likeness of it.

4. His name shall be in their foreheads intimateth to us that the glory, given unto the saints, manifesteth the glorious perfections of God and the Lamb; it manifests the name of God, that is, the glory of God and the Lamb.

II. SOME CONSIDERATIONS FROM WHENCE IT WILL APPEAR WHAT A CONSIDERABLE PART OF THE HAPPINESS OF THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN THIS LIKENESS TO GOD AND THE LAMB IS.

1. If no more should be said but this, that it is a likeness to the blessed God and the glorious Mediator, to the utmost of our capacity it expresseth a happiness great above our present comprehension.

2. It must be an inconceivable happiness, seeing it is the final result and issue of the eternal wisdom and counsel, project and purpose of God, to give unto His people a happiness worthy of Himself to bestow, and such as should never make Him ashamed to be called their God.

3. The greatness of this happiness appeareth from the consideration of the stupendous means made use of to accomplish it. It is an end brought about, by no less a mean than the incarnation and whole mediation of the Son of God.

4. This is the end of all the wishes, endeavours and expectations of the people of God.Conclusion:

1. If, upon reflection, you find or suspect yourselves to be wholly unsuitable to this blessedness, apply yourselves to speedy, diligent and incessant endeavours to get the temper and disposition of your spirits changed and fitted thereto, by a begun likeness to God and the Lamb in holiness and purity. Strive to get His image and likeness deeply engraven upon your souls, by a work of regeneration and sanctification.

2. Labour not only after a likeness to God and the Lamb; but to let the world see it in your lives, and to scatter the beams of it in your conversations, for the enlightening a dark world; or, in the terms of our text, labour to have as much of the name of God and of the Lamb on your foreheads now, as can be.(1) By word, confessing His name, His truths, and His ways, in this evil and adulterous generation.(2) By deeds, in your endeavouring to be like Him in yourselves, especially in those graces and virtues, whereby you may commend Him and religion most unto strangers and enemies.

(James Robe, M. D.)

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