Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.…
I. THE IMPRESSIVE MODE OF COMMUNICATION.
1. Heaven never speaks on trifling occasions, or upon matters of indifference. Its utterances are always solemn and weighty. They apprise of danger; they caution us against sin; they counsel us in difficulty; they point us to duty; they cheer us in sorrow; they embolden us in the conflict. Yet, of all its revelations, none can be of such transcendent moment as those which respect the eternal state of the dead.
2. Heaven never speaks but in words of truth and soberness. No possibility of error, no thought of deception. Truth reigns in heaven.
3. Heaven never speaks but with authority. Whether God speaks in His own person, or through the medium of an angelic ministry, it is plainly the duty of man to listen with reverential and obedient attention.
4. These several suggestions receive additional force from the command given to the prophet, saying, "Write"; which further implies the abiding and unchangeable operation of this truth to the end of time. It is as if the voice had said, Write, that it be not forgotten. Write, that generations yet to come, and nations yet unborn, may read, and derive therefrom incentives to faith and holiness — lessons of triumph over mortality and death.
II. THE GREAT SUBJECT OF PROCLAMATION. "Blessed are the dead." How widely opposed is the verdict of man! Blessed rather are the living, around whom life throws its treasures of enjoyment and hopes — "yea, a living dog is better then a dead lion." Death, to the eye of natural sense, is ever shrouded with gloom and sorrow. The gospel of life and immortality creates a difference; and, in the eyes of all who believe and obey the truth, arrays even this, the gloomiest dispensation of Divine providence, in colours of light and loveliness. A vital union with Him, the well-spring of life and happiness, secures them the uninterrupted flow of blessing through every changeful vicissitude of mortality. Death itself may not turn the stream, or prohibit its flow. The very sepulchre feels its fertilising influence, and they pluck flowers of hope and immortality from the margin of the grave.
III. THE DIVINE CONFIRMATION. "Yea, saith the Spirit." Why this solemn and impressive asseveration? Does the voice from heaven require a voucher, that the Spirit of truth Himself should appear as witness? Is there need of further testimony? Assuredly not. Yet, in a matter of such passing interest, that our faith may be stedfast and settled, God condescends to supply it. The Spirit witnesses with the voice of blood, and every doubt must vanish. This testimony is given in His Holy Word, which everywhere corroborates the doctrine of the text. This testimony is further given in the believer's heart. There, with still small voice, that Holy One doth sweetly and delightfully repeat the echoes of His written word; for "he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself," attesting and confirming whatsoever hath been written aforetime for our comfort and edification. Divine arguments are added for the fuller confirmation of our faith. The Spirit's voice is not a delusion, but an appeal to the understanding and judgment. "They rest from their labours." As the toilworn labourer retires from the busy and fatiguing occupations of the day, to seek his evening's repose, so the Christian believer relinquishes life for the rest of paradise. More than this. "Their works do follow them." When the rich man dieth, he shall carry nothing away, but leave his wealth to others. The great must relinquish their honours and distinctions; the wise and ingenious, the fruit of their labours. Nothing of all their pride and possessions may be transported beyond the grave; for their glory shall not descend after them. But these reap the reward of their own doings. No heir steps in to supersede the original owner, and enjoy his possession. As a glorious retinue, their works of piety and mercy grace their progress to the skies, and accompany them even to the very throne; yet not to plead their merits, but justify their faith; not to claim acquittal from the accusations of the law, but an interest in the promises of the gospel. They demonstrate a life of faith in the Son of God, and must therefore secure His approbation, as their author, their end.
Parallel VersesKJV: Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.