In Revelation 2 and 3 we see all that connects itself with the name of Christ in this world, as all passes in review under His eye, and about it all we have the declaration of His mind. Nearly the whole of it is found contrary to Him, and is threatened with judgment.He would have us feel the intense seriousness of this. We are called to hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. Then while He bids us hearken to His judgment of things, He encourages us to rise in spiritual energy above the moral elements which surround us, and to overcome. This He does by presenting various things which are present to His eye, and which He would have steadily kept before the faith of His people. These things are not connected with the existing state, which is so hopelessly ruined, but either with His own kingdom, which He will shortly establish in power, or with eternal blessing. We can only overcome in the present state of things, as our eye is steadily fixed upon that which is future. Yet that which is future becomes a present reality and joy to the man whose eye rests on it in faith, and whose heart is stirred in affection to reach the Lord. In reaching Him we get anticipatively the delight of heavenly and eternal things, by the power of the Holy Spirit. As we enter thus into the delight of all that is found with the Lord Himself, we are conscious that we have reached that which can never fail, for it is the fruit of divine love, and is sustained in divine power.
In chapter 4, a heavenly scene is before us. There God’s rights as Creator are celebrated. Man has refused to own them, but they are owned in the mind and praise of heaven. In the following chapter the One is found who is pronounced worthy to open the book which is sealed. It is the Lamb that has been slain. In the recognition of all that is suited to God, and in devoted obedience to His will, our Lord Jesus has suffered even to death. As the holy Sufferer He has overcome all the moral elements of the world, and has proved Himself the suited One to take up everything and subdue it to God. The chapters which follow show how He clears away by judgment all that which is hateful to God, and He eventually takes up the kingdom. The kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ comes to pass. It will be a blessed day for the earth when He, whose feet once trod it in holy strangership and suffering, shall rule over it! In those days which are past, He fully showed what was the heart of God in compassionate goodness and power to relieve man, whom Satan had led captive. In the day of His rule He will make all this good, establishing in divine power upon earth all that is in God’s heart for man. “In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace till the moon be no more” (Psalm 72:7).
How sweet it is to have the eye directed to these scenes of peace and bliss, away from all the existing confusion and misery! In the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, everything which has been committed to man, and in which he has so grievously failed, will be taken up, and God’s thought in it all carried out. Thus will God be glorified in the very world in which He has been dishonoured, and man will be blest according to all the previous indications of God’s mind. But when all this shall have come to pass, and when every question which has been raised in the course of time has been divinely solved, God will make all things new, leaving no trace of that which formerly existed. A new heaven and earth will be brought in, the first having no place. The holy city will be found in perfect suitability to the whole scene, for she is described as New Jerusalem, and is seen in bridal beauty and adornment, the object of Christ’s love eternally, and His everlasting glory. She is the centre of administration during His reign (for those who suffer with Him shall reign with Him). But she passes into the eternal state as perfectly suited to it.
The blessedness of those who are on the new earth consists in this, that God’s tabernacle shall be with them, and He will dwell with them, they shall be His people, and He shall be with them their God. They are simply spoken of as men, for all the governmental distinctions which God has formed and recognised, even on the millennial earth, shall no longer have place. They shall be one complete, happy company; happy with God’s own presence. Not, as in Eden, when man was innocent and God visited him, but in the full intelligence of all that God is, as it has been demonstrated in His wonderful ways; and thus known and loved He will dwell with them. All that has marked the present course of things shall be abolished, death, sorrow, crying, pain, and God Himself shall have wiped away all tears from their eyes.
Now, the overcomer shall inherit these things. God has not only exposed for us all the workings of evil in this world, and shown us their judgment; but He has also given us a sight of all that He is about to establish. So that, strengthened and deeply stirred in our souls, we may rise superior to all that surrounds us at the present time. As these eternal things are before us, all man’s glory becomes dim, and we grow independent of all man’s resources. We find all our springs in that blessed God who triumphs over all the power of evil, and who will bring in everlasting blessing and glory. He was not ashamed to be called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who waited for the city which He has founded, and who were content to be strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Thus also, is He the God of the overcomer, who is to Him a son.
Oh, for eyes which look steadily upon the things which are not seen, and hearts that love the things which are eternal! One has said, “Our momentary and light affliction works for us in surpassing measure an eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are for a time, but those that are not seen eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17, 18).
Joseph Revell (d. 1900)