Revelation 7:2
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, with the seal of the living God. And he called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:
A Sketch of an Impending JudgmentD. Thomas Revelation 7:1-3
A Sketch of an Impending JudgmentHomilistRevelation 7:1-8
All-Saints' DayJohn Donne, D. D.Revelation 7:1-8
God's Government of the WorldD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 7:1-8
Pent-Up JudgmentH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 7:1-8
The Angel's SealE. Erskine, D. D.Revelation 7:1-8
The Best ServiceW. Birch.Revelation 7:1-8
The Church's Security AssuredR. Green Revelation 7:1-8
The Divine Management of the WorldD. Thomas Revelation 7:1-8
The Four WindsWm. Gregory.Revelation 7:1-8
The Sealing of the ElectArchdeacon Manning.Revelation 7:1-8
The Sealed of GodS. Conway Revelation 7:2, 3

This chapter tells of a time of suspended judgment. All things were ready. The awful calamities told of when the sixth seal was broken are on the point of descending upon the earth. "But a whole chapter intervenes. Might it not be apprehended that amidst convulsions so terrific the Church itself might founder? Who shall secure Christ's servants against being involved in that catastrophe? Such is the misgiving to which the particular revelation now before us would minister." A season of suspense is commanded; destruction is to be delayed until the servants of God be sealed. The command comes from that quarter whence Christ himself, the Day spring from on high, the Morning Star, came on his mission of mercy and of hope. The four winds are the symbols of God's judgments (cf. Jeremiah 49:36, 37). The angels who are about to let them loose are bidden pause. Like as, ere the last judgment came upon Egypt, there was time given to enable the people of God to sprinkle the lintel and door posts of their houses with the blood of the Paschal lamb, which was God's seal of preservation for them. And like, too, to that remarkable parallel, from which, indeed, the imagery of our text is derived, which we find in Ezekiel 9:2-6, 11. As was the object of the sealing there, so it is here. Now, whether we take the primary reference of the impending judgments, which for a while were delayed in their execution, to be those, as we think, which were then about to fall upon Jerusalem and the apostate Church of Israel; or those which at the time of Constantine, through the threatened overwhelming of the empire, were imminent on her frontiers; or those which corruption, venality, and hypocrisy, engendered by Constantine's having made Christianity the court religion, were about to bring upon the Church; or - which is probably the most correct way to understand St. John - we include all these, and all other similar ones, not omitting the last great judgment of all, which at any time may have hung or shall hang over nations, Churches, and communities - however we interpret this revelation, it is as true as the judgments them selves that the merciful Lord does grant seasons of suspense, his judgments are delayed until his servants are marked, proclaimed as his own, and secured from real evil by his own sovereign and sacred seal. For historical illustrations of this sealing we may wisely turn to the pages of Josephus and of Gibbon, the historians of the Jewish war and of the fall of Rome. And so exact are oftentimes the correspondences between authentic history and these visions of St. John, that we can hardly be surprised that not a few have declared that what is called the historical interpretation of the hook is the only true, reasonable, and reliable one. It certainly is fascinating for its interest, but as for its reliableness, that may he admitted when its advocates can show anything like near agreement amongst themselves. It is better, therefore, to take the broader view, which admits all these correspondences, and the applicability thereto of these various visions, but which refuses to limit their meaning and application to anything less than all like correspondences which have occurred since St. John wrote, and which shall occur to the end of time. Now, to a thoughtful observer, it can hardly be a question but what our own days are days of suspended judgment, and days also in which the sealing of the servants of God is going on. For man's sin, as ever, clamours for judgment from God, and righteousness wronged and slain upon the earth cries, like the blood of Abel, unto God that he should avenge it. And the judgment will one day come. The history of nations and Churches is scattered over with the records of such judgments, and will be so again, until men learn wisdom and turn unto the Lord. But our security, whenever they come, is in the seal of God, told of here. Let us think, then, of this seal, the sealed, and the sealing. And -


1. What is it? With the Scriptures in our hand, we can have no doubt that the Holy Spirit of God is meant (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22; Ephesians 4:30). The work that he does in and upon his people is the sure sign and seal that they are his. "The Holy Spirit is God's seal. Where he is there is safety. Where he is God sees his mark, his own possession, one who belongs to him, one over whom he watches, one whom he will keep in that 'hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.'"

2. And this seal is the holy character which the Spirit of God creates in and impresses upon a man. The Spirit does other and blessed work upon us besides this. It is by him we are led to put our trust in Christ; by him we are assured that we are Christ's, and that he is ours, that we are pardoned, accepted, saved; by him also we are comforted and sustained under trial, and made possessors of the peace of God which passeth all understanding; and by him, hope, the blessed hope of eternal life, the onlook to things eternal, which is so full of joy, is created and preserved and strengthened more and more. But all this is within the man; the seal is that which is impressed on him, is that which we call the man's character. And it is a holy character, such as the Holy Spirit would of necessity produce.

3. And it is the seal of the living God. It belongs to him, his sign and mark. There is none other like it, nor has been, nor can be. Holy character can come but from the grace of God alone, from the operation of the Holy Spirit given by God in response to earnest desire. We cannot produce it in ourselves by any mere act of will, by any moral discipline, by any rules or regulations we may devise or adopt. Except a man be born of the Spirit he cannot become a member of the kingdom of God. Holy character - that which shone pre-eminently in the Lord Jesus Christ, who, as none other, was "holy, harmless, and undefiled," who "knew no sin" - is the result of the grace of God, is the impress of the seal of the living God, which is the Holy Spirit of God.

4. And it is a visible thing. The seal being "on their foreheads" is meant to teach this fact. And holy character is a visible thing. If invisible it assuredly does not exist. Men may prate forever about their experiences and their feelings, but if there be no manifest holy character, then the seal of the living God is not there. Have we this seal? Is it plain and conspicuous as would be the impress of a seat upon our forehead? It is fatal to be without it; for "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Therefore to quicken our own self inquiry in this matter, let us consider -

II. THE SEALED. And we observe concerning them:

1. They are not numerous. But twelve thousand out of each tribe - a very few compared with those left unsealed. A mere handful, but a "remnant saved."

2. And they are out of, not coextensive with, the professing Church of God. Not all Israel are of Israel (Romans 9:6). They all professed loudly to be of the seed of Abraham, but their entire history shows how little they, as a people, possessed the Spirit. To be a professed member of the Church may be quite another thing from being one of the sealed of God.

3. And they are from no one part of the Church. Twelve tribes are told of, not any one or two. "Nulla salus extra Ecclesiam," by which Rome means her Church and none other, for other she would affirm there is none. And the like sectarian exclusiveness is chargeable against not Rome alone. But wherever it is found, the fact told of here, that the sealed come from all sections of the Church, plainly condemns it. We ought to rejoice that in all Churches the sealed ones are to be found, and are limited to none. Indeed, those tribes which loomed largest in the eyes of men, such as Ephraim and Judah, furnished no more of these sealed ones than did those who were least, such as "little Benjamin," and other like smaller tribes. Many who were first should be last, and the last first. And it often is so still.

4. Portions of the Church may become so corrupt as to furnish none of the sealed. The tribe of Dan is left out. It first fell into idolatry, and was for centuries one of the headquarters of that calf worship whereby "Jeroboam made Israel to sin." This may account for its omission in this list of the tribes, and if so suggests the reason wherefore none of the chosen of God were found amongst its people. And there may be Churches and congregations now without one earnest godly person amongst them. Let us ask how is it with the Church or congregation to which we belong.

5. They do not suffer from not belonging to any specially privileged portion of the Church. If any tribe was specially privileged it was that of Levi. They were regarded as the Lord's portion; the priesthood belonged to them. They were deemed too sacred to be classed with the other more secular tribes. But here they have no advantage; they are with the rest, and no more of God's chosen come from them than from any other tribe. We might have thought it would have been otherwise; but it is not so, and it suggests the truth that the working of God's Spirit in and upon men is independent of what we call privilege. It is good and blessed to have means of grace, aids to worship and faith; but, if the soul will yield itself up to God, he wilt not let it suffer loss for the lack of these things when, as is often the case, they may not be had.

6. The Lord knoweth them all. "The foundation of the Lord standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." In keeping with this we find the number of the sealed that which denotes fixedness and completeness. They are all there, all delivered, not from earthly trials, but from Divine judgments; not one of them is lost. Blessed are they on whom this seal of the living God is found. For note -

III. THE SEALING. What was its purpose and intents? These were various according to those whom it was designed should he affected by it. The sealed ones themselves.

(1) The sealing should assure them that God would ever keep a people for his Name in the midst of the earth. As they saw the seal of God upon here one and there another, and as they remembered how it had ever been so, they would be saved from the despair which fell upon Elijah, who thought he alone was left to stand up for God. But God showed him the seven thousand sealed ones, and so comforted him. And as we behold them now we are assured that such shall never be wanting.

(2) It would mutually encourage them. It would show them that they were not alone; the joy and strength which come from the communion of saints would be theirs.

(3) It would be full of help to themselves; for as a seal attests validity and genuineness in that to which it is attached, so this seal would prove that their title to be called children of God and heirs of eternal life was valid and true. And as a seal is a mark of ownership - like our government broad arrow on all its property - so this seal was God's declaration they were his; and blessed is that soul that is assured of this. And as a seal secures and guards, as the tomb of our Lord was sealed, so this seal is the guarantee of deliverance and safety amid all possible ill. It was this seal which made Paul break forth into that paean of exultant praise with which the eighth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans concludes. And similar gladness shall it give to all upon whom this seal is found. But:

2. To the unsealed this sealing has intent and purpose. To lead them to confess the beauty of holiness. This has ever been the mighty converting force. The holy character wrought by the Spirit of God has made such impression upon the minds of ungodly men that they have been constrained to gaze at it, to admire, to confess its excellence and goodness, and to feel the wretched contrast of their own lives, and to long after the like seal of God for themselves. And so it has won many to inquire, to repent, to believe, and to be saved. "Let your light so shine," etc. (Matthew 5:16).

3. To the ministers of his judgments. That they might spare the sealed ones. They do. The retreat of the Christians to Pella ere Jerusalem fell, the protection granted to the Church at Rome - Augustine tells of it - in the midst of the havoc that Alaric and his Huns wrought upon the rest of Rome, are illustrations. The passing over of the houses of Israel has been repeated again and again in like circumstances, and will be repeated whensoever such circumstances recur. As the badge of the white cross secures immunity in the midst of war to those who wear it, for it is known that they are ministers of mercy, go where they will, so the seal of the living God, the holy, beautiful, Christ-like lives of his people, have often made men love and honour them, prize and preserve them amid horrors of battle, or of famine, or of pestilence, or aught beside. And at the last great judgment day, when the angels of wrath see the seal of the living God, they will pass over those on whom it is found. What urgency, then, does all this lead to St. Paul's well-known words, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption!" - S.C.

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst.
I. THE PERFECTION OF THE PROVISION which is enjoyed in heaven.

1. The glorified dwell under the shadow of God. It is for this reason that "the sun shall not light on them. nor any heat," because they dwell in God. Oh, what a dwelling-place that will be!

2. Next, we are assured that they shall have all their necessities prevented. "They shall hunger no more." To be supplied when we hunger is the mercy of earth: never to hunger at all is the plenitude of heaven. God shall so fill the souls of His redeemed that they shall have no longings: their longings shall be prevented by their constant satisfaction.

3. Further, as we read we discover a third blessing, namely, that every overpowering influence is attempered — "Neither shall the sun," etc. To us even "our God is a consuming fire" while we are here; but in the saints there remaineth nothing to consume. The light of God is not too bright for eyes that Christ hath touched with heaven's own eyesalve. Blessed, indeed, are they who shall behold the King in the ivory palaces above!

4. When it is added, "Nor any heat," we learn that injurious influences shall cease to operate. By our surroundings here we are troubled with many heats. The very comforts of life, like warm weather, tend to dry us up. A man may have gold, a man may have health, a man may have prosperity and honour till he is withered like the heath in the desert in the day of drought. Unless a dew from the Lord shall rest upon the branch of the prosperous he will be parched indeed. We have need of grace whenever God gives us blessings of a temporal kind. But no heat of that sort shall happen to saints in heaven: they can be rich, and honoured, and perfectly beautiful, and yet under no temptation to self-exaltation.

5. "Neither shall they thirst any more"; they shall feel that the Lord Jesus is such an all-satisfying, all-sufficient portion that their desires can go no further. In the fair haven of the love of God in Christ Jesus shall my spirit abide for ever.

II. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE PROVIDER. Who is this that feeds them? It is the Lamb.

1. Does it not teach us, first, that our comfort and life must come from our incarnate Saviour — the Lamb? The expression is very peculiar. It is written, "The Lamb shall shepherd them." This is an accurate interpretation. How is that? A shepherd, and that shepherd a Lamb! Here is the truth which the words contain, — He that saves is a man like ourselves. He that provides for His people is Himself one of them — "For which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." The Lamb is their hope, their comfort, their honour, their delight, their glory.

2. Does it not mean more than that? "The Lamb" surely refers to sacrifice. The glorified drink the deepest draughts of delight from the fact that God was made flesh, and that in human flesh He offered perfect expiation for human guilt.

3. "The Lamb" must refer to the meekness of character, the lowliness and condescension of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ on earth was "led as a lamb to the slaughter." He was "meek and lowly in heart." The character of our Lord, then, brings our spirit all that it needs; but yet this is not all: the text speaks of "the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne" as feeding them. Think of that, the Lamb in the midst of the throne. Can you put these two things together, a sacrifice and a throne? He that stooped to be made sin for us is now supreme sovereign, King of kings and Lord of lords. Think of that and be comforted. Our Representative is glorified. Our covenant Head, our second Adam, is in the midst of the throne.

III. THE MANNER OF PROVIDING. In two ways the saints in heaven enjoy it — the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them. Go over this, and think first of the feeding of them. The Greek word is "shall shepherdise them." In heaven Jesus is a shepherd ruling over all His flock with a happy, genial, sympathetic sovereignty, to which they yield prompt and glad obedience. Here He has under. shepherds, and He hands out the food by our poor instrumentality; and, alas I sometimes we are found incapable, or forgetful, and the flock is not fed: but it is never so in heaven, for the Lamb Himself maintains the pastorate, and acts the shepherd in a manner which none of us can emulate. Then it is added, "He shall lead." You may read it, "He shall guide them to fountains of waters of life"; it is but a variation of the same thought. Now, even in heaven the holy ones need guiding, and Jesus leads the way. As eternity goes on, I have no doubt that the Saviour will be indicating fresh delights to His redeemed. "Come hither," saith He to His flock, "here are yet more flowing streams." He will lead them on and on, by the century, aye, by the chiliad, from glory unto glory, onward and upward in growing knowledge and enjoyment.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

(with Isaiah 49:10): — In the New Testament text we have the heavenly state above; and in the Old Testament text we have the state of the Lord's flock while on the way to their eternal rest. Very singular is the sameness of the description of the flock in the fold and the flock feeding in the ways. The verses are almost word for word the same. When John would describe the white-robed host, he can say no more of them than Isaiah said of the pilgrim band, led by the God of mercy.


1. The supply of every need. "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more." The unrenewed man is always thirsting; but Christ can stay this even now, for He saith, "He that drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst." There is not, in all the golden streets of heaven, a single person who is desiring what he may not have, or wanting what he cannot obtain, or even wishing for that which he has not to his hand. Oh, happy state I They are filled with all the fulness of God.

2. The removal of every ill. Thus saith the Spirit, "Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat." We are such poor creatures that excess of good soon becomes evil to us. Hence we need guarding from dangers which, at the first sight, look as if they were not perilous.

3. The leading of the Lamb.

4. The drinking at the fountain is the secret of the ineffable bliss. "The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and lead them unto living fountains of waters." We are compelled to thirst at times, and, alas! we stop at the very puddles by the way, and would refresh ourselves at them, if we could. This will never happen to us when we reach the land where flows the river of the water of life. There the sheep drink of no stagnant waters, or bitter wells, but they are satisfied from living fountains of waters. In the home country souls have no need of the means of grace, for they have reached the God of grace.

II. THE HEAVENLY STATE BELOW. I think I have heard you saying, "Ah! this is all about heaven; but we have not yet come to it. We are still wrestling here below." Well, if we cannot go to heaven at once, heaven can come to us. Isaiah painted our Lord's sheep in his presence on the way to heaven, and John drew the same flock in the glory with the Lamb: and the fact that the pictures are so much alike is full of suggestive teaching. Here are the same ideas in the same words.

1. First, here is a promise that every want shall be supplied. "They shall not hunger nor thirst." If we are the Lord's people and are trusting in Him, this shall be true in every possible sense. You shall have no anxious thought concerning what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, but, mark you, if you should know the trials of poverty, and should be brought very low in temporal things, yet the Lord's presence and sensible consolations shall so sustain you that spiritually and inwardly you shall know neither hunger, nor thirst. Our Lord can so adapt our minds to our circumstances, that the bitter is sweet, and the burden is light.

2. Then, next, there is such a thing as having every evil removed from you while yet in this wilderness. "Neither shall the heat nor sun smite them." Suppose God favours you with prosperity; if you live near to God you win not be rendered proud or worldly-minded by your prosperity.

3. Further, it is said, that on earth we may enjoy the leading of the Lord. See how it is put: "For He that hath mercy on them shall lead them." Here we have not quite the same words as in the Revelation, for there we read, "The Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall lead them." Yet the sense is but another shade of the same meaning. Oh, but that is a sweet name, is it not? "He that hath mercy on them." He has saved them, and so has had mercy on them. Yes, that is very precious, but the word is sweeter still — "He that hath mercy on them," He that is always having mercy on them, He that follows them with mercy all the days of their lives, He that continually pardons, upholds, supplies, strengthens, and thus daily loadeth them with benefits.

4. But now the last touch is the drinking at the spring-head. We were not surprised to find, in our description of heaven, that the Lamb led them to the fountains of waters; but we are delighted to find that, here below, "even by the springs of water shall He guide them." You can even now live upon God Himself, and there is no living comparable to it. You can get beyond all the cisterns, and come to the river of the water of life, even as they do in heaven. To live by second causes is a very secondary life: to live on the First Cause is the first of living.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The imagery is Oriental. To a dweller in the East, the first essential is protection from the heat of the sun, and from the radiating heat that pours forth in the evening; the one blasting the energies at noonday, the other enervating the spirits at the coming of the night; and then waters to drink in a thirsty land.

1. Let us, then, enlarge our thought, and say, The life of the dead is a protected life. Think of the great multitude that stands before God to-day. Think of the little children brought into this world all warped and twisted, so that they never knew how to play. Think of the young that have grown up with the promise of joy, only to see the cup of happiness dashed from their lips. Think of the lives that have been misunderstood — the lives that have gone on day by day doing their duty, sacrificing themselves, seeking only for what was noble and pure and of good report, and all the time misunderstood, unappreciated, without sympathy, left to bear the burden and the heat of the day alone. Think of those who have lain for years and years on the bed of sickness. Think of the women that have borne great burdens — burdens not only of misapprehension, of misunderstanding, but of cruel brutality. Think of the multitudes that have risen day by day only to labour and toil, and have lain down at night too feeble, too weary, too much oppressed, for any thought of God, crushed by the burden and the labour of life. Now the word of St. John is that from all these things they are protected. A life free from care and responsibility, and the burden and heat of the day. This is the first thought that St. John would impress upon us in regard to the life of the dead. Nevermore can those things that are so hard for us light on them. All Souls' Day should be full of joy for the protected life of the dead. But that is not all. "They hunger no more; and the Lamb doth lead them," etc.

2. A life of satisfaction; a life in which every wish and aspiration of the soul is gratified. What a life is that! I like to think of the great multitude of God's children who have entered into that new world and into that new life, seeking such different things because their needs are so different. One soul seeks only for rest; and that is given it. Another soul needs peace and harmony after the long struggle to make peace on earth. Another has been frightened, and longs for the sense of safety, and that is given. Another has all through life been thirsting for the sight of the Eternal Beauty, which no picture, no statue, no flaming of the sky at sunset, could adequately express. "We shall see," said the prophet long ago, speaking for these artistic souls — "we shall see the King in His beauty." Others have found the satisfaction of their souls in "the sound of the harpers playing on the harps." The great multitude whose souls have been stirred by music, and yet in the most glorious symphony, in the noblest chorus, have always felt the human discord that underlay the harmony — there they are satisfied, there the perfect harmony of the Eternal Life soothes, invigorates, and inspires them. Others have laid hold of the tree of the knowledge of life. All through life they hungered for knowledge, and yet all getting of knowledge was the getting also of sorrow. There it is changed. There the tree of life is seen to be the tree of knowledge. Drinking deep of the Divine life, filling themselves with the life of the Lamb of God, these souls have found that not through knowledge did they gain life, but that through life they have gained knowledge. Oh, how wonderful it is to think of this vast expansion of humanity, as the flower expands that has been transplanted into a more genial clime! It is good to think of the lives that are satisfied to-day, as they stand before the throne of God, and are led by the Lamb to the living fountains of waters. The life satisfied; the life rejoicing in the knowledge of the thing that it has dreamed of as impossible; the life rejoicing in the knowledge that every hope that has shot across its sky was the witness of a reality which God had prepared for them that love Him. Full salvation. Sin has fallen away like some filthy garment, and the soul stands in the presence of the King, and the glory of the King clothes it, and it finds its satisfaction in beholding His beauty. And how has all this come to pass? "The Lamb shall lead them forth." The spirit of Jesus is typified by the Lamb. The spirit of perfect sacrifice is meant by the Lamb. And that spirit has entered into the lives of these men and women and children. It is the new spirit that has taken possession of them in the new life that has made the protection and the eternal satisfaction. It opens up before us the thought of the endless progress of the dead. They are being led by the Lamb. And now turn back from this picture of the life of the dead to that other one with which we are so much more familiar, which we may call the death of the living. We are not protected. On us the sun does light and the heat does burn; with us the sorrow and sin, and suffering and pain, and misunderstanding and cruel suspicion, and unkindness and weariness, and discouragement and hopelessness exist. How sad it all is! How dark the picture is, as compared with the glory that is revealed by the other! And I think it is because of this picture, that men so often ask themselves, Things being as they are, how is it possible that the dead should have perfect joy? Now St. John entered into that mystery. And he has not pretended that their joy is complete. He did believe that their life was protected. He did believe that they were being satisfied day by day, because they were following the Lamb. But he adds, "God shall wipe away all tears from off their faces." Tears! Yes, tears in that glorious life — tears must be there, because of the incompleteness of human life. It is inevitable that they should sorrow. It is no less inevitable that their sorrow should be comforted of God. Only standing before the throne of God there comes the eternal comfort that must always come with the remembrance of power and wisdom and goodness. And so their tears are wiped away. It is not a life without sorrow. It is a life comforted of God. And what is their word to us? It is — Follow the Lamb. Strive to have the spirit of Jesus Christ. For they that have that spirit have now the foretaste of the life of the dead. FollOw the Lamb, for in following Him and striving to have His spirit there comes the satisfaction that the soul can find in no other way; and all the joy and beauty and glory of life is found to have its interpretation and its full realisation in the beauty of the life of Jesus Christ.

(Leighton Parks, D. D.)

The Lamb...shall feed them
I. THE SHEPHERD. It is evidently the vision of a pastoral scene which is now in the eye of the Apostle of Patmos.

1. The description implies that there will be a continual remembrance on the part of the ransomed of the death and sufferings of their Shepherd. A Lamb slain! Strange symbol, in the place where suffering never enters, and death is unknown!

2. A second truth we may gather from this figure of the Lamb leading the ransomed in the heavenly world is, the perpetuity of Christ's exalted human nature. It is not as a kingly Shepherd He leads, but as one of the flock Himself — wearing their nature. He is, and ever will be "that same Jesus," unchanged and unchangeable.

II. Let us pass now from the glorified LEADER to the glorified FLOCK.

1. All the joys of the ransomed flock will be associated with the love and companionship of their Shepherd. He feeds — He leads — He wipes away all tears from their eyes; and in a previous verse (15), under a different figure, it is said, "He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." Heaven would be no heaven without Jesus. "Leading" them, "feeding" them, — wiping the very tear-drops from their eyes. What figurative language could express more intimate fellowship and communion! The fellowship of the believer and his Saviour on earth — alas! how fitful, intermittent, transient! "In Thy presence there is fulness of joy."

2. This description would seem to denote an infinite progression in the joys and felicities of the ransomed flock. The Shepherd is seen leading them from pasture to pasture, from fountain to fountain, higher and yet higher up the hills of God. The heavenly pilgrim will be attaining ever new views of God — new unfoldings, and revelations of the Divine purposes — new motives for the ceaseless activities of his holy being. Heaven will thus, in the language of the old divines, be "a rest without a rest." "They rest." "They rest not."

3. The figurative language of the evangelist further indicates that there will be an unfolding of the Shepherd's wisdom and faithfulness in His earthly dispensations. God is represented as wiping away all tears from their eyes. As if, when they entered glory, some lingering tears were still there. As if the eye had not recovered from the night of earthly weeping. As in a forest, after a drenching thunder-shower, every bough, and blade, and leaf is dripping with rain; for a considerable time after the sun has shone out, and the sky is blue, and the birds of the grove are singing, the lingering drops gem the branches and sprinkle the sward. But the sun is up: and his genial rays are drinking up the moisture — nature's tear-drops. One by one they evaporate, slowly, gradually; and the refreshed forest rejoices, and basks in the sun's radiance. So with the great Sun of Deity in heaven. One by one earth's remaining tears vanish before the radiance of that Sun of Wisdom and Love.

4. Yet once more, this description would seem to indicate that there will be a variety and diversity in the joys of Heaven, suited to the various capacities and tastes of the redeemed. It is not to one fountain to which the Lamb is said to lead them; they are "living fountains of waters." Like the four-branched river in the first earthly Eden, there will be, from the one great river of Deity, streams which make glad the city of God. The pastures will be different. We delight to think of the flock of heaven — each member of it perfect in the full measure of its own bliss — but each under the Shepherd's eye, thus following the pasture, or climbing the mountain-steep, or browsing by the streamlet, it most loves. And yet all the fold, in these separate and distinctive ways, combining to glorify their Shepherd-King.

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

God shall wipe away all tears
The principal sources of the tears shed upon earth by those whose character resembles that of the multitude whom John beheld may be reduced under the four following heads:

I. The firmest spirit is liable to be discomposed by THE CONSEQUENCES OF THAT INTIMATE CONNECTION WHICH SUBSISTS BETWEEN THE SOUL AND THE BODY. Life is often embittered by a constitutional debility, or by accidental violence; by the acute pains of some diseases, by the effects of those exertions and indulgences that were prompted by health and vigour; and by the growing infirmities of years of that dissolution from which nature recoils. But they who are before the throne of God have received, in place of the earthly house of this tabernacle, a building of God.

II. Independently of bodily distress, WE ARE EXPOSED TO NUMBERLESS SORROWS BY THE DEGREE IN WHICH EXTERNAL OBJECTS AFFECT OUR HAPPINESS. Many are hardly able with sweat and toil to earn that measure of the good things of life which is necessary for subsistence. Some fail in every scheme which they form to better their fortunes: at one time, the visitation of heaven, at another, the imprudence, the treachery, or the malice of man, snatches from them the fruit of their labours. But when the great plan of the Divine government with regard to the human race shall be accomplished, there will be no further Heed for that seemingly unequal dispensation, which, although the source of many tears, is, in mercy and love, employed by the Father of mankind, to administer correction to their vices, to afford a trial and a display of their virtues, and to carry forward purposes too important and too remote for their apprehension. The sufferings of the righteous will no longer form part of that discipline which the imperfection of human nature requires; nor will the unmerited success of the wicked be continued, as an instrument of good to those to whom it appears to bring evil.

III. A third source from which the tears of good men flow is THAT KIND AFFECTION WHICH GOD, WHO IS LOVE, HATH PLANTED IN THE HUMAN BREAST. Although this principle be the solace of life, although it create those pleasing attentions and toils without which the repetition of the same scenes would become wearisome, and the labour of life intolerable; yet, in the mixed state in which we are called to exercise kind affection, it multiplies our cares and anxieties, and it often fills our hearts with anguish. The objects of our affection are not allowed to remain with us always, and there is no time when we hold them secure. The living sometimes inflict the most cruel wounds upon an affectionate heart. But the tears which flow from the distresses, the departure, or the improper behaviour of others, shall be wiped away from the eyes of those who are before the throne. In the city of the living God there is no affliction that demands the tribute of sympathy from those who are unable to give any other relief; no depraved mind that proves unworthy of the affection of which it had once been the object; no painful separation of kindred spirits; the people are all righteous, and the pure spiritual joy of righteousness and benevolence gladdens the whole company of the redeemed.

IV. If the servants of God were able in this state to attain the perfection of virtue, they might bear with composure bodily distress, the difficulties of their outward state, BUT THE BEST OF THE CHILDREN OF MEN ARE BOWED DOWN UNDER THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF VAIN THOUGHTS, OF IDLE WORDS, AND OF UNPROFITABLE ACTIONS. But God shall wipe away the tears of sin from the eyes of those who, knowing this bitterness, do indeed hunger and thirst after righteousness; for the day is coming when they shall be faultless. There will then be no sophistry to mislead the understanding, no false appearance of good to excite improper desires, no example of vice to allure imitation; there will then be no remainder of corruption to afflict and humble the spirit, no grovelling appetite to war against the soul, no mean passion to tarnish the beauty of holiness. Conclusion:

1. If all tears are to be wiped away hereafter, it follows that religion does not profess to wipe them away here.

2. If we believe that the time is coming when our tears shall be wiped away, let us prize the gospel of Christ, which hath given us this blessed hope.

3. This description of the happiness of heaven, like every other which the Scriptures contain, reminds us of the necessity of a virtuous life.

(G. Hill, D. D.)

1. It is the ministry of tears to keep this world from being too attractive. You and I would be willing to take a lease of this life for a hundred million years, if there were no trouble. After a man has had a good deal of trouble, he says, "Well, I am ready to go. If there is a house somewhere whose roof doesn't leak, I would like to live there. If there is an atmosphere somewhere that does not distress the lungs, I would like to breathe it. If there is a society somewhere where is no tittle-tattle, I would like to live there. If there is a home-circle somewhere where I can find my lost friends, I would like to go there."

2. It is the ministry of trouble to make us feel our complete dependence upon God. We lay out great plans, and we like to execute them. It looks big. God comes and takes us down. As Prometheus was assaulted by his enemy, when the lance struck him it opened a great swelling that had threatened his death, and he got well. So it is the arrow of trouble that lets out great swellings of pride. We never feel our dependence upon God until we get trouble. We do not know our own weakness, or God's strength, until the last plank breaks. It is contemptible in us, when there is nothing else to take hold of, that we catch hold of God only.

3. It is the ministry of tears to capacitate us for the office of sympathy. The priests under the old dispensation were set apart by having water sprinkled on their hands, feet, and head; and by the sprinkling of tears people are now set apart to the office of sympathy. Where did Paul get the ink with which to write his comforting Epistle? Where did David get the ink to write his comforting Psalms? Where did John get the ink to write his comforting Revelation? They got it out of their own tears. When a man has gone through the curriculum, and has taken a course of dungeons, and imprisonments, and shipwrecks, he is qualified for the work of sympathy.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

In heaven there are —

I. NO ANXIETIES. In that world there is "no more curse." There, too, sickly bodies will Hover be seen. There the head shall languish and ache no more. The eyes shall no longer refuse to see, nor the cars to listen. There no paralysis cripples. There no nerves tremble and are afraid. The inhabitant of that bright city shall no more say, "I am sick." There all labour and anxiety for provision for yourselves and families will be ended.

II. NO BEREAVEMENTS. Our Saviour tells you that, if you are amongst "the children of the resurrection," you and your departed relatives who loved Christ shall meet again, and that thenceforward neither they nor you will "die any more." There are no graves in heaven.



(C. Clayton, M. A.)

I. TEARS ARE TO FILL THE EYES OF BELIEVERS UNTIL THEY ENTER THE PROMISED REST. How numerous, too, are the tears of unbelief! We manufacture troubles for ourselves by anticipating future ills which may never come. Tears of repentance, we cannot carry thither with us. Tears for Christ's injured honour. These are holy drops, but they are all unknown in heaven. Tears of sympathy: when we "weep with those that weep" we do well; these are never to be restrained this side the Jordan.

II. EVEN HERE IF WE WOULD HAVE OUR TEARS WIPED AWAY WE CANNOT DO BETTER THAN REPAIR TO OUR GOD. He is the great tear wiper. God can remove every vestige of grief from the hearts of His people by granting them complete resignation to His will. Our selfhood is the root of our sorrow. He can also take away our tears by constraining our minds to dwell with delight upon the end which all our trials are working to produce. He can show us that they are working together for good. Moreover, He can take every tear from our eye in the time of trial by shedding abroad the love of Jesus Christ in our hearts more plentifully. He can make it clear to us that Christ is afflicted in our affliction. The Lord can also take away all present sorrow and grief from us by providentially removing its cause. Providence is full of sweet surprises and unexpected turns. Still, the surest method of getting rid of present tears, is communion and fellowship with God.


1. All outward causes of grief are gone. Poverty, famine, distress, nakedness, peril, persecution, slander, all these shall have ceased.

2. Again, all inward evils will have been removed by the perfect sanctification wrought in them by the Holy Ghost. No evil of heart, of unbelief in departing from the living God, shall vex them in Paradise; no suggestions of the arch enemy shall be met and assisted by the uprisings of iniquity within.

3. All fear of change also has been for ever shut out. They know that they are eternally secure. Saints on earth are fearful of falling. No such fears can vex the blessed ones who view their Father's face.

4. Why should they weep, when every desire is gratified?

(C. H. Spurgeon.).

The seventh seal... silence in heaven.
I. THE SILENCE OF MEDITATION. There is a blessing, which we know not yet, in thought. In this busy human life it is hard to think. "The world is too much with us." It drowns the "still small voice" of God. But in heaven thought will no more be disturbed. There will be no unsolved perplexities, no distracting fancies. The plan of Creation and Redemption will be unfolded. The discords of earth will be resolved in the celestial harmony.

II. THE SILENCE OF ADORATION. When we see God as He is, we shall praise Him as we ought. The cloud which spreads between Him and us shall be done away. We shall enter into that rapture of worship which finds no voice in words. Our soul will lose itself in the infinite bliss of communion with Him who is its Father and its God.

III. THE SILENCE OF FRUITION. All the voices of earth are only so many cryings for something that is not of earth, but of heaven. They are expressions of a Divine dissatisfaction with the limitations of our human life. Is there not something that we all desire and cry out for — to be rich, perhaps, or successful, or happy, or good? And will it not always be a desire, never fulfilled? Could the dearest wish of our heart be granted to-day, another wish, still dearer, would arise to-morrow. Every new day dawns with a fresh purity upon our lives, but in the evening it is stained with failure and sin. We are always sighing for a holiness which is always unattained and unattainable. Nay, the blessings which God gives us do not last long. Over all our life there hangs the shadow of death. We are always dreading to speak that saddest, tenderest word on earth, "Farewell." There is "silence in heaven," because there is no loss nor any boding fear of parting still to come. They who live in the Divine Presence are sheltered from the storms of time. They are safe for ever and ever.

(J. E. C. Welldon, M. A.)

I. GOD AND ALL HEAVEN THEN HONOURED SILENCE. The full power of silence many of us have yet to learn. We are told that when Christ was arraigned "He answered not a word." That silence was louder than any thunder that ever shook the world. Ofttimes, when we are assailed and misrepresented, the mightiest thing to say is to say nothing, and the mightiest thing to do is to do nothing.

II. HEAVEN MUST BE AN EVENTFUL AND ACTIVE PLACE. It could afford only thirty minutes of recess. The celestial programme is so crowded with spectacle that it can afford only one recess in all eternity and that for a short space.

III. THE IMMORTALITY OF A HALF-HOUR. Oh, the half-hours! They decide everything. I am not asking what you will do with the years or months or days of your life, but what of the half-hours. Tell me the history of your half-hours, and I will tell you the story of your whole life on earth and the story of your whole life in eternity. Look out for the fragments of time. They are pieces of eternity.

IV. MY TEXT SUGGESTS A WAY OF STUDYING HEAVEN SO THAT WE CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND IT. The word "eternity" that we handle so much is an immeasurable word. Now, we have something that we can come nearer to grasping, and it is a quiet heaven. When we discourse about the multitudes of heaven, it must be almost a nervous shock to those who have all their lives been crowded by many people, and who want a quiet heaven.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Are such seasons of quietude — of calm and holy anticipation — needful to be observed there — and shall we wonder that they are appointed unto us here? You will observe that to almost all things there are these parentheses. Nature very seldom does her work without a cessation, where all seems lost and dead. A winter always lies between the autumn sowing and the spring-time shooting. There are very few providences which happen to man without delays, which seem as if they had broken their courses. Promises seem very slow of foot in their travel. And it is generally long to our feelings — after the prayer has gone up — before the answer falls. Peace does not always come quickly — even to the strongest faith. And grace does not succeed to grace — nor to joy — in one unbroken series. Life is full of pause. And these prefaces of God's works — these introductions — these heraldings of the great approaches — these subduings of soul — these times to make ready: they are only the reflections of that which St. John saw passing within the veil: "There was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." Let us cultivate the heavenly power of "silence." Let us pray for the angelic gift of "silence." It is what we all want. There are many voices — in continuous stream — speaking in the world; some from within, some from without; voices in the sublime and in the lofty things around us; voices in very common things, and every little passing event; but you do not hear them. Why? There is not "silence" enough in the breast. Be more still. Listen for the whispers of God, and ice whether earth, and heaven, and your own heart also, do net talk sweetly to you all the day, and all the night, about spiritual things! I advise every one — who wishes to be a true worshipper, and to improve his communion with God — to exercise complete "silence." The spiritual life would often be much the better for more of a devout "silence." May it not be that there is, sometimes, more filial love and confidence in the prayer that does not speak, and cannot speak, than in any oral prayer? And there are some seasons which specially invite the piety of "silence." Such a time is those early days of deep sorrow: "I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth." Such a time is the waiting, before we begin some work that God has given us to defer Him — like the wilderness to Moses, or Elijah in Horeb. Such a time is the moment spent with God before we make an answer. Such a time is the few minutes before prayer; or before a service here; or before the Holy Communion. Such a time may be at the gates of glory. For it is a pleasant thing to pass the threshold of eternity "silently." Does not God — for this very reason — make His children go through — one after another — alone?

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. Soul-silence often FOLLOWS GREAT EXCITEMENT. From the storms of remorse, secular anxieties, arid social bereavements, the soul of the genuinely Christly arises into a "peace that passeth all understanding."

II. Soul-silence is often found ABSORBING WORSHIP.

1. The prayers of saints on earth are of great practical interest in the spiritual universe.(1) They are offerings that are acceptable to its Supreme Ruler.(2) In rendering them acceptable to God, His highest spiritual ministers are deeply engaged.

2. The prayers of saints on earth exert an influence on the things of time.

III. Soul-silence often SPRINGS FROM HIGH EXPECTANCY. What wonderful things are before us all! Were we earnestly waiting for the "manifestation of the sons of God," waiting the advent of Him who is to wind up the affairs of the world, how silent should we be!

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE SILENCE OF SUPPRESSION. "While I kept silence," David says; that is, while I suppressed my sense of sin, and sought to check and coerce the tide of free confession. This is the silence of our fallen nature; our abuse of God's gift, bestowed upon us for a very different end. If any of us are thus silent to God, let not night close upon us without breaking that silence: if conscience accuses us of sin, let it be heard while it may: if any iniquity of ours is separating between us and God, bring it to Him, and spare it mot, that it may be forgiven for Christ's sake, and its chain removed from us by His Holy Spirit.

II. THE SILENCE OF CONVICTION. First there has been that sullen silence of which we have spoken; the heart locked up, and refusing to empty itself of its secret. Then, many times, the first silence has been broken by prevarications, excuses, and self-justifications, going perhaps even to the length of direct falsehood. Then, in process of time, by patient hearing and inquiry, these also have been broken down: the false tongue has been confuted by the force of truth, and every refuge of lies has at length been swept away. When this is so, then at last there is silence; refreshing by comparison, and, in this life, certainly in young life, hopeful; till it comes, there is no hope, because the soul is still trying to say Peace to itself fallaciously. But now there is silence: now may punishment try its remedial power, being accompanied, as it ever ought to be, with a fall forgiveness. Now, too, may the sinner, humbled in himself, before others, and before God, listen with livelier interest to the assurance of God's forgiveness, to the comfort of the blood of sprinkling which speaks not to reproach but to console.

III. THE SILENCE OF PREPARATION. Every real, certainly every great, work of man is prefaced by a long silence, during which the mind is concentrated upon the object, and possessing itself with that which is afterwards to be produced. What is all study but the preliminary to some work, or else to one's life's work? It is not in man to be capable of always giving out, without long processes of taking in. This is the secret of so many barren and unfruitful ministries, that men are trying to dispense with silence: they are altogether in public, never in solitude: they are counting their exertions, instead of weighing them, satisfied if they are always labouring, without forcing themselves to prepare for labour by silent study, by silent meditation, by silent prayer.

IV. THE SILENCE OF ENDURANCE; that of him who with a noble self-restraint refuses to avail himself even of a plea which might avail for his deliverance. He is following the example of One who Himself in the very crisis of His earthly fate exhibited in its fullest glory the dignity and the majesty of silence.

V. THE SILENCE OF DISAPPROBATION; that silence by which, perhaps most effectively of all, whether in the society of the young or of the old, a Christian enters his protest against wrong, and acts as a witness for the truth. Who has not seen the effect of silence, of a Christian, a consistent silence, upon uncharitable or wicked conversation? Before the presence of disapprobation, however unobtrusive, evil soon shrinks, cowers, and withdraws itself.

VI. THE SILENCE OF SELF-RESTRAINT, general and habitual, or else special and particular.


1. Grief may forget itself (as it is called) for the moment in society, and sorrow for sin may spend itself — alas! it often does — in fruitless and only half-explicit confessions and lamentations to man: but these are dangerous as well as vain remedies. In either case, be silent; only add the words, silent before God. Let Him hear all from you, and, to speak generally, none else.

2. I spoke, too, of the silence of sympathy. Who has not suffered from the officiousness of a talking sympathy?


IX. THE SILENCE OF DEATH. The silence of death may reign around the bed from which a living soul has departed and on which a dead body lies alone. But it reigned first in the departing soul itself. At what particular point in the illness isolation began, and the presence of friends was no longer felt in the dying, varies no doubt with the nature of the disease, and certainly can by none be defined: but well may it be seen that after a certain point silence and solitude have taken possession, that there is, to all intents, an abstraction from things around, and an absorption in things within.

(Dean Vaughan.)

What is silence? Not the absence, the negation of speech, but the pause, the suspension of speech. Speech is, we all admit, one of God's choicest gifts to man, for the employment of which man is specially and awfully responsible. Must not something of the like sacredness and responsibility belong to that correlative power — the power of silence? As if to impress this truth upon our minds, Scripture invests silence with circumstances of peculiar interest and awe. Thus, when Solomon dedicated the Temple to Jehovah, after that the priests had arranged all the sacred furniture, and completed the solemn service of consecration, there was silence, and during that silence the glory of the Lord, in the form of a cloud, so filled the whole building that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud. Thus, again, in the text, when the angel "had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." Very wonderful and mysterious is this instance of silence. It was as though, upon the opening of the mystic seal, events so strange and amazing were to follow throughout the universe, that the very hosts of heaven were compelled to suspend their worship and adoration in order to behold and listen! Now, the first sort of silence to which I would call your attention is the silence of worship, of awe, and reverence. "The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him." Such is the canon for worship laid down by Habakkuk; and it is a canon as much binding upon us as upon those to whom it was originally addressed. When we come up to the house of prayer, there to meet Christ upon the mercy-seat — there to hear His voice speaking to us in the read and spoken Word — there to receive Him into our very souls in the Sacrament of His broken Body and shed Blood — we are bound to observe the silence of awe and reverence. Except when we open our lips to join in prayer and praise to God, our attitude within these hallowed walls should be that of silence, of those who are impressed with the sanctity of the place, and who know and feel that the Almighty God is indeed in their midst. Yes; and it would be well, could we put more of this holy silence into our religious acts. Our religion shares too much in the faults of the age in which we live. It is too public, too outspoken, conducted too much as a business; and so the inner and contemplative element is too much lost sight of. The silence of self-examination, the silence of the heart's unsyllabled supplication, the silence of meditation on the mysteries of redeeming love — these are forms of silence which every one must observe often who would have the flame of spiritual life to burn bright and clear in his soul. Then, again, there is the silence of preparation. Every great work that has ever been achieved has been preceded by this-the doer making himself ready, by thought and study, for action. Every great achievement, whether in the moral or the intellectual world, has been in a sense like Solomon's temple — it has risen noiselessly, silently, without sound of axe or hammer. Therefore is that great primary act in religion — the conviction of sin — invariably preceded by deep and solemn silence, while the sinner stands before God self-accused and self-condemned. Therefore, also, is silence ever present at all the more solemn passages of our life. Sorrow — real, genuine sorrow — is ever silent. A cry — a tear — what relief would these be; but they must not intrude into the sacred ground of sorrow, the sorrow of the just — bereaved widow or orphan. And so, too, sympathy with sorrow is ever silent. Idle words, or still idler tears — these are for false comforters, like those who troubled the patriarch Job; the true sympathy is the sympathy of a look — of the presence of silence, not of uttered consolation. And now think of that last silence — a silence that we must all experience, and for which, by silence, we must prepare now — the silence of death. What exactly the silence of death is, none but the dying can know. May we have known what it was, day by day, to be many times alone with that God who must then be alone with us, to judge or else to save.

(Charles H. Collier, M. A.)

Whatever judgments come down upon the region below, they are seen by the apostle to be the consequences of activities in the region above. No stroke falls on earth that is not directed in heaven. The two worlds move in concert. The time-accomplishments of one world correspond to the time-appointments of another. We have set before us, in unmistakable symbolism, this truth — That in the developments of God's plans in providence, there are times of comparative quietude, during which it seems as if the progress of things was stayed awhile.

I. WHAT IS INTENDED WHEN WE SPEAK OF PROGRESS BEING APPARENTLY STAYED? There are in the Word of God great promises and prophecies which open up a glorious vision for the future days. There have been also great events which have excited in the Church of God the strongest hopes, and which ever and anon form a restful background. To such periods there succeed long years in which either no appreciable advance is made towards the inbringing of the new heavens and the new earth; or if in one direction some progress appears, in another the cause of righteousness seems checked afresh by new developments of error, folly, and sin. The prophets of God are crying, "Flee from the wrath to come." They long for some manifestation of Divine power to startle man. But no. Man goes on sinning. And our God seems a God that "does nothing" (Carlyle). The thunder is rolled up. The lightning is sheathed. There is a prolonged lull. There is "silence in heaven." The sceptic makes use of the quietude to ask, "Where is the promise of His coming?" The careless one settles down at his ease, and cries, "The vision that he seeth is for many days to come." Hollow professors desert in crowds, and go over to the ranks of the enemy. And still — still there is "silence in heaven." No voice is heard from the invisible realms to break in upon the steady course of this earth's affairs, or to arouse and convict a slumbering world!


1. Negatively.(1) It does not mean that this world of ours is cut adrift in space, or that the human family are left fatherless and lone.(2) Nor does it mean that time is being lost in the development of the plans of God. Catastrophes are not the only means of progress.(3) Nor does it imply that God is indifferent to the sin which He is ever witnessing. "The Lord is not slack," etc.(4) Nor does it imply that God is working on any other plan than that which He has laid down in the book.(5) Nor does the silence mean that God will ultimately let sinners escape with impunity (Romans 2:8, 4).

2. Positively.(1) We are not to expect startling providences at every turn of life.(2) We are to he guided more by what God says than by what we see before our eyes. The book gives principles which are eternal.(3) There are other sides to, and other forms of, God's working than those which startle and alarm.(4) By the silence of heaven God would test His people's faith, and quicken them to more fervent prayer.(5) God would thus teach us to study principles rather than to gaze on incident.


1. Let us learn anew to exercise faith in the spiritual power which God wields by His Spirit, rather than in the material energy which shakes a globe.

2. Let us use heaven's time of keeping silence as a time for breaking ours (Isaiah 62:1, 6, 7).

3. Let the ungodly make use of the space given for repentance, by turning to the Lord with full purpose of heart.

4. Let us lay to heart the certain fact, that, although judgment is delayed, come it will.

(C. Clemance, D. D.)

Asher, John, Joseph, Levi, Manasseh, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun
Angel, Angels, Ascend, Ascending, Belonging, Carrying, Cried, Cry, Damage, East, Ever-living, Granted, Harm, Hurt, Injure, Loud, Mark, Messenger, Messengers, Power, Rising, Saying, Seal, Sunrise, Sunrising, Voice
1. An angel seals the servants of God in their foreheads.
4. The number of those who were sealed of the tribes of Israel: 144,000.
9. Of all the other nations an innumerable multitude, which stand before the throne.
14. Their robes were washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Revelation 7:2

     4111   angels, servants

Revelation 7:1-3

     4113   angels, agents of judgment

Revelation 7:1-8

     7266   tribes of Israel

Revelation 7:2-3

     5295   destruction
     5329   guarantee
     5511   safety
     9412   heaven, worship and service

Revelation 7:2-8

     5518   seal

All Saints' Day
Westminster Abbey. November 1, 1874. Revelation vii. 9-12. "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

What and Whence are These?
We are frequently tempted to think that our Lord Jesus was not in very truth a man like ourselves. His actual and proper humanity is believed among us, but not fully realized. We are apt to fancy that his was another flesh and another manhood from our own, whereas he was in all things made like unto his brethren, and was tempted in all points like as we are, though without sin. It is, therefore, needful again and again and again to set out the true brotherhood and kinship of Christ. The same spirit
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

The Bliss of the Glorified
"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat."--Revelation 7:16. WE cannot too often turn our thoughts heavenward, for this is one of the great cures for worldliness. The way to liberate our souls from the bonds that tie us to earth is to strengthen the cords that kind us to heaven. You will think less of this poor little globe when you think more of the world to come. This contemplation will also serve to console us for the loss, as we call
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 62: 1916

The Fifth vision "In Heaven"
H5, xiv. 1-5. The Lamb and the 144,000. The Fifth Vision in heaven is very brief. It is another Episode, telling us of those who will have come through the great Tribulation, and have been caught up to Heaven. It is part of the larger Episode, and is parenthetical. The previous vision on Earth has told us of those who were slain because they refused to worship the Beast or receive his mark. Those who were for death, had been killed; and those who were to be kept alive, have been kept alive (xiii.
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

The Glory of the Martyrs.
We shall now contemplate the glory of the vast multitude of the blessed, who surround the thrones of Jesus and Mary. I quote from the Apocalypse: "After this, I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues: standing before the throne, and in the sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands."* This glorious multitude represents all the blessed. They may be divided into eight classes, namely, the martyrs, the doctors
F. J. Boudreaux—The Happiness of Heaven

Appendix the Daughters of Jerusalem
The question is frequently asked, Who are represented by the daughters of Jerusalem? They are clearly not the bride, yet they are not far removed from her. They know where the Bridegroom makes His flock to rest at noon; they are charged by the Bridegroom not to stir up nor awaken His love when she rests, abiding in Him; they draw attention to the Bridegroom as with dignity and pomp He comes up from the wilderness; their love-gifts adorn His chariot of state; they are appealed to by the bride for
J. Hudson Taylor—Union and Communion

'Three Tabernacles'
'The Word ... dwelt among us.'--JOHN i. 14. '... He that sitteth on the Throne shall dwell among them.'--REV. vii. 15. '... Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them.'--REV. xxi. 3. The word rendered 'dwelt' in these three passages, is a peculiar one. It is only found in the New Testament--in this Gospel and in the Book of Revelation. That fact constitutes one of the many subtle threads of connection between these two books, which at first sight seem so extremely unlike
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Two Shepherds and Two Flocks
'Like sheep they are laid in the grave; Death shall feed on them.' --PSALM xlix. 14. 'The Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them.' --REV. vii. 17. These two verses have a much closer parallelism in expression than appears in our Authorised Version. If you turn to the Revised Version you will find that it rightly renders the former of my texts, 'Death shall be their shepherd,' and the latter, 'The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall be their Shepherd.' The Old Testament
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Precious Deaths
The text informs us that the deaths of God's saints are precious to him. How different, then, is the estimate of human life which God forms from that which has ruled the minds of great warriors and mighty conquerors. Had Napoleon spoken forth his mind about the lives of men in the day of battle, he would have likened them to so much water spilt upon the ground. To win a victory, or subdue a province, it mattered not though he strewed the ground with corpses thick as autumn leaves, nor did it signify
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

We have had four references to Israel's history in the Old Testament, and as four is the number connected with the earth, so these four have been connected with Israel in the earth and the Land; and with the culminating sin of departure from the love of God manifested to the Nation. Israel had "left her first love," forsaken God, and joined herself to idols in the most abominable form. This is the climax of Israel's sin. All else in this history is judgment, until Israel is removed from the Land
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

General Notes by the American Editor
1. The whole subject of the Apocalypse is so treated, [2318] in the Speaker's Commentary, as to elucidate many questions suggested by the primitive commentators of this series, and to furnish the latest judgments of critics on the subject. It is so immense a matter, however, as to render annotations on patristic specialties impossible in a work like this. Every reader must feel how apposite is the sententious saying of Augustine: "Apocalypsis Joannis tot sacramenta quot verba." 2. The seven spirits,
Victorinus—Commentary on the Apocolypse of the Blessed John

The Holy City; Or, the New Jerusalem:
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

An Advance Step in the Royal Programme
(Revelation, Chapters iv. and v.) "We are watching, we are waiting, For the bright prophetic day; When the shadows, weary shadows, From the world shall roll away. "We are watching, we are waiting, For the star that brings the day; When the night of sin shall vanish, And the shadows melt away. "We are watching, we are waiting, For the beauteous King of day; For the chiefest of ten thousand, For the Light, the Truth, the Way. "We are waiting for the morning, When the beauteous day is dawning, We are
by S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation

Notes on the Second Century
Page 94. Line 9. The Book of ---- The reference here is to the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon xiii. 1-5. Page 104. Med. 33. As originally written this Meditation commenced thus: Whether the sufferings of an. Angel would have been meritorious or no I will not dispute: but'---- And the following sentence, which comes after the first, has also been crossedout: So that it was an honour and no injury to be called to it: And so great an honour that it was an ornament to God himself, and an honour even to
Thomas Traherne—Centuries of Meditations

The Consecration of Joy
'And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 34. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. 35. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord; on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Blessing of God.
NUMB. VI. 22-27. We have already seen the grace of GOD making provision that His people, who had lost the privilege of priestly service, might draw near to Him by Nazarite separation and consecration. And not as the offence was the free gift: those who had forfeited the privilege of priestly service were the males only, but women and even children might be Nazarites; whosoever desired was free to come, and thus draw near to GOD. We now come to the concluding verses of Numb. vi, and see in them one
James Hudson Taylor—Separation and Service

Death Swallowed up in victory
Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory! D eath, simply considered, is no more than the cessation of life --that which was once living, lives no longer. But it has been the general, perhaps the universal custom of mankind, to personify it. Imagination gives death a formidable appearance, arms it with a dart, sting or scythe, and represents it as an active, inexorable and invincible reality. In this view death is a great devourer; with his iron tongue
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

The Poor in Spirit are Enriched with a Kingdom
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 Here is high preferment for the saints. They shall be advanced to a kingdom. There are some who, aspiring after earthly greatness, talk of a temporal reign here, but then God's church on earth would not be militant but triumphant. But sure it is the saints shall reign in a glorious manner: Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' A kingdom is held the acme and top of all worldly felicity, and this honour have all the saints'; so says our Saviour, Theirs is the
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

Meditations of the Blessed State of the Regenerate Man after Death.
This estate has three degrees:--1st, From the day of death to the resurrection; 2d, From the resurrection to the pronouncing of the sentence; 3d, After the sentence, which lasts eternally. As soon as ever the regenerate man hath yielded up his soul to Christ, the holy angels take her into their custody, and immediately carry her into heaven (Luke xvi. 22), and there present her before Christ, where she is crowned with a crown of righteousness and glory; not which she hath deserved by her good works,
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Of Meditating on the Future Life.
The three divisions of this chapter,--I. The principal use of the cross is, that it in various ways accustoms us to despise the present, and excites us to aspire to the future life, sec. 1, 2. II. In withdrawing from the present life we must neither shun it nor feel hatred for it; but desiring the future life, gladly quit the present at the command of our sovereign Master, see. 3, 4. III. Our infirmity in dreading death described. The correction and safe remedy, sec. 6. 1. WHATEVER be the kind of
Archpriest John Iliytch Sergieff—On the Christian Life

Jesus Sets Out from Judæa for Galilee.
Subdivision B. At Jacob's Well, and at Sychar. ^D John IV. 5-42. ^d 5 So he cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 and Jacob's well was there. [Commentators long made the mistake of supposing that Shechem, now called Nablous, was the town here called Sychar. Sheckem lies a mile and a half west of Jacob's well, while the real Sychar, now called 'Askar, lies scarcely half a mile north of the well. It was a small town, loosely called
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
(from Bethany to Jerusalem and Back, Sunday, April 2, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXI. 1-12, 14-17; ^B Mark XI. 1-11; ^C Luke XIX. 29-44; ^D John XII. 12-19. ^c 29 And ^d 12 On the morrow [after the feast in the house of Simon the leper] ^c it came to pass, when he he drew nigh unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, ^a 1 And when they came nigh unto Jerusalem, and came unto Bethphage unto { ^b at} ^a the mount of Olives [The name, Bethphage, is said to mean house of figs, but the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Living One
"I am He that liveth, and was dead" (i. 18). (...) (ho zon), THE LIVING ONE. Like the previous title, it is used as a special designation of the One whose unveiling is about to be shewn to John. Its use is peculiar to Daniel and Revelation. The two books thus linked together by it are linked as to their character and subject matter in a very special manner. It is used twice in Daniel:- Dan. iv. 34 (31 [19] ) and xii. 7; and six time in Revelation:- Rev. i. 18; iv. 9,10; v. 14; x. 6; and xv. 7. [20]
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

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