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DISCOURSE XXX

THE NEW HŞAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH, WITH THE NEW JERUSA

LEM,

Chap. xxi. xxii, 1–5.

And I saw a new heaven, and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away: and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne, said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he suid unto me, It is done. Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst, of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things ; and I will be his God, and he shall be 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone : which is the second death. 9 And there came unto ine one of the seven angels, which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, say. ing, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone, most precious, even like a jasper-stone, clear de crystal ; 12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. 13 On the east, three gates ; on the north, three gates ; on the south, three gates ; and on the west, three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth four-square, and the length * as large as the breadth : and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper ; and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper ; the second sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth an emerald ; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius ; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz ; the tenth, a chrysoprasus ; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls ; every several gate was of one pearl ; and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved, shall walk in the light

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of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day; for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

We have seen in the foregoing chapter, the end of the world and the last judgment, even that fearful issue of things described by the Apostle Peter : “ The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heart; the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burnt up. But as the same Apostle adds, “ Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness ;" so in this chapter, and the first five verses of the next, we find an ample description of them.

What then are we to understand by this 6 new heaven and new earth,” this "new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven," and this "pure river of the water of life,” which is supposed to flow in the midst of it? Some have considered it as only a more particular account of the Millennium. But to this it is objected—First, The Millennium precedes the last judgment, whereas the new heavens and the earth follow it. Secondly, The Millennium was for a limited time, but this is “for ever and ever." Chap. xxii. Ver. 5. Thirdly, Under the Millennium the dragon is only bound for a season, and afterwards loosed : but here there is no dragon, nor enemy of any kind. The devil will have been oast into the lake of fire and brimstone, to be tormented day and Bight for ever and ever (Chap. xx. 10.); "and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain : for the former things are passed away." Ver. 4.

For these reasons others have considered it as no other than the heavenly state.* Yet it seems singular that the beavenly

* LOWMAN-HOPKINS on the Millennium, p. 48. Vol. VI.

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state should be introduced as a subject of prophecy. It is doubtless an object of promise, but prophecy seems rather to respect events in the world in which we dwell than in the world to come. Whatever is meant by the glorious state here described, the earth, as purified by the conflagration, is the scene of it. The whole of what is said, instead of describing the beaven of heavens, represents the glory of that state as coming down upon the earth." Ver. 1—4. The truth appears to me to be this: It is a representation of heavenly glory in so far as that glory relates to the state of the earth on which we dwell; which instead of being the stew of the mother of harlots, shall become the seat of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." The earth will not be annibilated by fire any more than it was by water. It will be purified from sin, and all its effects. The generations of a corrupt race of creatures having terminated, it will become the perfect and perpetual abode of righteousness. The creation has long been subjected to the “vanity" of supplying its Creator's enemies with the means of carrying on their rebellion against him. Under this “bondage of corruption" it has “groaned and travailed,” as it were, in pain, longing to be delivered. And now the period is arrived. The liberation of the sons of God from the power of the grave shall be the signal of deliverance to the whole creation.*

It is not the object of the Holy Spirit to tell us what the heavenly glory is, but rather what this world shall become, in opposition to what it now is. This opposition is preserved throughout the description. We have read of Babylon ; not that in Chaldea, but a new Babylon : here we read of Jerusalem; not that in Palestine, but a new Jerusalem--of a city by whose delicacies the merchants of the earth were made rich; now of another city in the light of which “ the nations of them that are saved shall walk, and to which kings shall bring their glory and honour" of a troubled “ sea," from whence arose those monsters which were the plagues of the earth ; now there being no more sea"

* Rom. viii. 1923.

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--of the “great whore that sat upon many waters ;" now of "the bride the Lamb's wife"-of "great tribulations out of which the saints of God have had to come ;' now of “all tears being wiped from their eyes, and of death and sorrow and crying and pain having passed away--finally, of "a golden cup full of abominations and filthiness ;" but now of the “pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,” together with the “fruits of the tree of life, which bears twelve kinds of fruit, and yields its fruit every month."

As the new Jerusalem is denominated “the bride, the Lainb's wife,” all that is said of her as a city, from Ver. 10--27, though couched in highly figurative language, is descriptive of the church triumphant. In this, as in many other places, there is a reference to the prophecies of Ezekiel,* though the events pre dicted are not always the same. The city in Ezekiel seems to be the church in a day of great spiritual prosperity; this in a state of immortality. Her high wall denotes her complete security; her twelve gates, on which were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, denote that none but Israelites indeed, who have the seal of God in their foreheads, will enter into it; her twelve foundations may refer to the doctrine of the apostles on which she stands ; the pearls and precious stones with which she is adorned are her spiritual riches and glory , there being "no temple, nor sun, nor moon, denotes that there will be no need of those means of gráce which we now attend upon; what we now receive mediately, we shall then receive immediately; finally, the nations of the saved, walking in the light of it, may allude to the interest which surrounding nations take in a metropolitan city, and denotes that the saved, who have been gathered from all nations, will rejoice in the honour that God will have bestowed upon his church,

To complete the description of the city, and to finish the prophecy, we must consider the first five verses of the twentysecond chapter in connexion with the foregoing.

* Chap. xlviii. 31–34.

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