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E “giveth songs,” and then we sing,
Glad songs of morning light,
And all the scene is brigit;
He giveth in the night!
When that rich strain was pour'd,
The harmony adored-
With Glory to the Lord ! ”
Those Angel voices ring,
Behold, we come to bring
A Saviour, Christ, the King !
MRS. JOSEPH FEARN,
THE VISION OF THE THRONE. THE
the future. Historico-prophetic in character, it consists of elemental principles and parts adopted by the will of God from the previous books of Holy Scripture, and combined and arranged by the wisdom of God. From the First Book of Moses to the Epistle of Jude inclusive, the historic, the symbolic, the prophetic, and the didactic have been rendered contributory to its composition, and subservient to its paramount design.
The prophetic parts of the book have been variously, and diversely, constructed and applied. But this circumstance does not touch the intent for which the following expositions are written. The end proposed is to afford assistance to the children and saints of God, in their meditations on the glories of Him who loved them and gave himself for them.
Before commencing the expositions, certain first principles of the book must be noticed, so that they may be considered and borne in remembrance.
1. The book is “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to
* Luke ii. 8-14.
Him” after He had returned into the glory which He had with the Father before the world was.
2. The book is not in any respect a revelation of God the Father. Neither is it a revelation of the Person* of the Son, but is a revelation of His Divine perfections and official prerogatives and powers—“over all, God blessed for ever. Amen."
3. The book is not in any particular an “unveiling of the invisible world." The seer
was in the Spirit” when he beheld the visions of God. He was in a trance. His natural capabilities were in a state of quiescence, and the Spirit of God was to him instead of his faculties of seeing and hearing. Mentally, he was placed on an exceeding high observatory, whence he beheld the scenes which he has described, both the seemingly celestial and the seemingly terrestrial.
4. Seeing that the book consists of elemental principles and parts adopted from the previous books of Holy Scripture, an acquaintance with the truth as previously revealed is essential to a true perception of the significance of the visions recorded (Read ch. iv).
This part of the vision must first be contemplated as a whole, and then in its several particulars.
As before remarked, the seer was mentally on an exceeding high observatory. On a spacious area in the heavens, he saw a throne, and twelve thrones on either side thereof, arranged in circular order ; on which thrones twenty-four elders were seated, clothed in white robes,their brows being adorned with golden garlands. Above and around " the throne was an architectural ornament in form of a rainbow, and of the brilliant colour of the emerald. Right before the throne were seven glowing lamps. At a little distance in front of the throne stood a crystaline laver; and amid the circle of thrones were four preternatural creatures.
Now, as this marvellous assemblage existed only in the ideality of the seer, therefore, without a corresponding conception of the scene and its various objects, it is not possible to understand the vision.
1. Abstractedly considered, " the throne " is the symbol of the eternal and absolute Sovereignty of God-As God, in the absoluteness and invisibility of Godhead. But in the design of the vision, that throne is the symbol of the universal Supremacy of Jesus Christ in glorified manhcod,—the Lord of all.
The vision is in part a response to the words, “Father, glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee.” It is a revelation of the good pleasure of the Father to glorify the Son in accordance with those words of truth : “ Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet.”
The throned Monarch was concealed from view by a brilliant curtain, consisting of the associated resemblances of the jasper and sardine, two of the precious stones in the breastplate of the high priest of Israel. The truth signified is, that universal dominion is vested in Him of whom it had been said by the Spirit of prophecy, “He shall be a priest upon His
* It is of the first importance that true Christians should bear in mind that the Apocalypse does not include any personal representation of the Son of God; and that any imagined or pretended portraiture of Him is either idolatrous or profane, If it be regarded with religious veneration, it is idolatrous ; and if it be used for artistic ornamentation, such use is a profanation of His holy name.
throne;" and whom Nathaniel confessed, saying, “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel.”
2. The throned elders--pictorially regarded—are the Supreme Council of the Divine Monarchy. Designedly, they bring to mind "the thrones of the House of David ;” and thus, the throned Counsellors of the Davidian Dynasty. In the intent of the vision they constitute an integral part of the revelation of Jesus Christ." This is shown by the position of their thrones—in relation to and on equality with “the throne.”
Their appellation is the official and historic title of Senatorial wisdom and authority. In the intent of the vision, they are venerable personifications of the Divine legislative and administrative intelligence, wisdom and authority of the Lord Christ, the “Wonderful Counsellor" of whom Isaiah testified; and whose wondrous works, and wisdom's ways, are exalted themes in David's ancient psalms.
The white robes of those dignified personifications are symbolic of the purity and perfectness of the Legislation of the Lord Christ, and of the equity of His Administration. And their golden garlands * are emblems of His appreciable excellence or moral glory—the illustrious ornament of His governmental ways.
3. The seven lamps of fire before the throne-said to be “ the Seren Spirits of God” - are symbolic of the truth, that the sovenfold or complete energies of the Spirit of God—the Divine Agent in universal government are active in the maintenance of the supreme dominion of the Christ.
4. The lightnings, thunderings, and voices proceeding from the throne, announce that He who sits upon the throne is the Holy One of Israel; that, His dominion is over a world in which sin and iniquity abound; that He will yet manifestly assert His right to reign as the Lord of all, and that, in the end, He will vindicate His authority by the destruction of evil.
5. The rainbow, “green as an emerald round about the throne,” is the memorial of the Divine covenant of providential goodness and mercy instituted in the days of Noah, on the basis of the fore-appointed sacrifice of Christ, and of which He is the Administrator, as the “One Mediator between God and men." The natural rainbow is the token and pledge of that covenant; and the emerald arch around the throne is the token and pledge of a more abundant bestowment of providential bounties, when the Lord Christ shall have established His kingdom over all the nations upon earth, by the suppression of both moral and physical evil.
The emerald hue of that arched ornament of the throne is emblematic of Divine condescension. God has clothed the earth with green, and the green earth was the basis of His tabernacle in the wilderness-the tent of the pilgrim God.
More especially the brilliant verdure of the arch around the throne is the memorial of the voluntary humiliation of the eternal Word; “who took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men : and being found in fashion as man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross : wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name." Hence, the memorial of His condescension is the emerald ornament of the throne.
* In the divine system of Hebrew Hieroglyphics - exemplified in the structure and furniture of the Mosaic tabernacle, and in the vestments of the high priest, -gold is emblematic f the appreciable excellence or moral and manifestive glory of the LORD God of Israel,
6. The crystalline laver involves an allusion to the bronze laver in the court of the Mosaic tabernacle, and to its ceremonial and symbolic uses. This laver is symbolic of the moral purity of the human nature of the Son of God, and of His perfect holiness throughout His path on earth, till He offered Himself without spot to God. It also signifies that, when He had put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, He passed through death and resurrection to the throne of universal dominion.
7. The four preternatural and vigorous ones are similar to those which Ezekiel saw in vision, and “ knew them to be the cherubim." In so saying, he alluded to the cherubic phenomena entabernacled at the east of Eden to guard the tree of life, and also to “the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat."
Ezekiel saw the cherubim bearing away the governmental glory of the Lory from the temple and the city; and afterwards he saw them returning as the associates of that governmental glory. And in the most holy place of the Mosaic tabernacle. the golden cherubim-an integral part of the mercy-seat – were the symbolic conservators of the governmental glory of the Lori). In this vision, the cherubim are emblematic of His executive perfections and powers, for the maintenance of righteous dominion.
The likeness of the lion denotes the majestic might of the Lord of all : the likeness of a young bullock implies His long-suffering or patient forbearance : the face as of a man is expressive of His benevolence towards mankind : and the likeness of a flying eagle tells of His accurate observation of all that is being done on the earth. The multitude of eyes signifies the omniscience of the Lord; and the many wings His preparedness for sudden and swift movement when the time has come for the execution of His revealed and righteous judgments.
The cherubic chant in the emblematic praise is the same that Isaiah heard in vision, antiphoned by the seraphim, when he beheld the throne and glory of the Lord. In that vision, and in this, the chanted praise is an ideal celebration of the Divine holiness manifested in the moral government of the world by the eternal Word prior to His incarnation, and in His present exaltation-the Christ in glorified manhood. It is also prophetic of a fuller display of governmental holiness, when he shall manifestly reign over the earth.
The “ Lord God, the Almighty,” made known in the history of the Patriarchs, and of the nation of Israel, is He who became man, as it is written, “ God was manifested in flesh.” The Divine titles in the cherubic chant are His; and the celebration of His immortalily is responsive to the assuring words which John heard in the first vision recorded :“ Fear not: I am the First and the Last, and the Living One, and became dead ; and, behold, I am living unto the ages of the ages. Amen."
And the prostrate worship by the elders, who cast their golden garlands before the throne, is an ideal celebration of the intelligence and wisdom of the “ Wonderful Counsellor," who is the actual Creator and Sustainer of the universe, whose manifestive glory shines forth in His wonderful works, and thus His Divine intelligence and wisdom glorify Him (Read ch. v. 1-10).
It has been shown that the former part of the vision is wholly governmental. The redemptive purpose of God, and its fundamental accomplishment are now brought in.
1. The seven-sealed scroll is an emblem of the undivulged counsels of the Godhead. And the proclamation made is an ideal and dramatic challenge to the universe, the intention of which is to show that no created or originated being-however originated and however exaltedis competent to reveal the mind and intentions of God.
2. The lamb, which now had suddenly and mysteriously come into the midst of the throne and the cherubim and the elders, is a marvellous object. That mysterious lamb is a hieroglyphic intimation and illustration of the redemptive achievement of Jesus Christ, who, when on the earth, had been called “the Lamb of God."
3. The appearance of that lamb, as being preternaturally alive and active, is an enigmatic intimation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the power of an endless life-a supernatural, indissoluble, immortal life.
4. The seven horns and seven eyes of that emblematic lamb--said to be “the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth ”—are symbolic of the truth that the complete powers and intelligence of the Holy Spirit pertain to the redemptive achievement and relations of Christ Jesus, for the application of the benefits of the redemption accomplished by Him on the cross. The words, “sent forth into all the earth,” signify that for effectuating the full intent of redemption, the Spirit of God is abidingly present on the earth, in the exercise of His gracious and effectual powers.
5. The action of the emblematic lamb, in taking the scroll from the right hand of the throne, denotes the consciousness of Christ relative to His personal Deity, and His competency to disclose the counsels of the Godhead.
6. The harps, and golden bowls full of incense, possessed by every one of the cherubim and the elders, are said to be the prayers of the saints." They lead the mind back to the golden bells and odorous incense of the high priest of God for Israel; and they signify the moral melody and spiritual fragrance of the ways of Christ in His celestial Priesthood, particularly in presenting to God the Father the prayers of His needy saints on the earth. And the possession of those harps, and golden bowls full of incense, by the cherubim and the elders, is an illustration of the truth that the omnipotence of the “ Mighty God" and the wisdom of the “Wonderful Counsellor” are engaged with His heavenly Priesthood in behalf of all who come to God through Him.
7. The “new song of the cherubim and the elders is a dramatic celebration of the truth, that the title and competency of Jesus Christ to disclose the counsels of the Godhead are made manifest by His works of creation, and His ways in moral government, and are additionally made manifest in His work of eternal redemption,—the effectiveness and value of His redemptive sacrifice being derived from His personal Deity through His human obedience unto death.
From the Received Text, it would seem that the cherubim and elders — with their “ harps and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints,"— were intended to represent glorified saints in heaven, and that those saints are mediators on behalf of other saints on