Revelation 21:4
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away."
Sermons
Chronic SufferingJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.Revelation 21:4
F.W. Robertson's SufferingsS. A. Brooke, M. A.Revelation 21:4
Neither Shall There be Any More Pain: a Hospital Sunday SermonS. Conway Revelation 21:4
No More PainA. K. H. Boyd, D. D.Revelation 21:4
No Pain Among the BlessedT. Hannam.Revelation 21:4
No Tears in HeavenG. Jeffrey, D. D.Revelation 21:4
PainA. Rowland.Revelation 21:4
Pain EndedThos. Cooper.Revelation 21:4
Pain: its Mystery and MeaningJ. E. Foster, M. A.Revelation 21:4
The Coming of the Perfect, and the Departure of the ImperfectH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 21:4
The End of SorrowW. Hardman, LL. D.Revelation 21:4
The Painless WorldD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 21:4
The Painless WorldD. Thomas Revelation 21:4
The Tearless HeavenA. Mursell.Revelation 21:4
The Transient Making Room for the PermanentR. S. Storrs, D. D.Revelation 21:4
The Utter Removal of Sorrow in HeavenW. Jay.Revelation 21:4
What is DeathChristian TreasuryRevelation 21:4
The Fifth Scene in the History of Redeemed HumanityD. Thomas Revelation 21:1-4
The New Heavens and EarthS. Conway Revelation 21:1-4
Heaven Without a SeaM. D. Kneeland, D. D.Revelation 21:1-8
No More SeaH. Macmillan, D. D.Revelation 21:1-8
No More SeaA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 21:1-8
No More SeaC. H. Parkhurst, D. D.Revelation 21:1-8
No More SeaA. Gray Maitland.Revelation 21:1-8
No More SeaJ. H. Burkitt.Revelation 21:1-8
The Future Abode of the SaintsJ. M. Neale, D. D.Revelation 21:1-8
The New Heaven and New EarthD. Rhys Jenkins.Revelation 21:1-8
The New Heaven and the New EarthF. Wagstaff.Revelation 21:1-8
The New Heaven and the New EarthS. Alexander.Revelation 21:1-8
The New Heavens and New EarthJ. P. Waldo, B. A.Revelation 21:1-8
The SeaW. Williams, M. A.Revelation 21:1-8
The Sea-Less WorldG. Gladstone.Revelation 21:1-8
The Spiritual KingdomR. Green Revelation 21:1-8
The Unending Age of BlessednessD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 21:1-8
The World Without a SeaHomilistRevelation 21:1-8
Why There Will Bone More SeaBp. F. D. Huntington.Revelation 21:1-8
If the wards of our hospitals could declare what words of Holy Scripture, what gracious promises out of God's book, are, more often than almost any other, spoken, read, or thought of, and most beloved, by the suffering inmates of those wards, it would be found that they are such as our text. For pain is indeed a terrible thing. No language can adequately describe what it is when, in its intenser forms, it fastens upon us. Even from great saints of God it has wrung words which have shown that the burden of it was almost greater than they could bear. The holy Job, under the stress of it, could scarce resist the temptation to "curse the day wherein he was born," and in his anguish he declared, "My soul chooseth strangling and death rather than life." "Why am I thus afflicted more than others?" he passionately asks. "Why hast thou set me as a mark for thy arrows? why dost thou not let loose thy hand and cut me off from the earth?" And not such utterances as these only attest the severity and strain which pain puts upon the soul, but, also, the glad thanksgivings which rise up to God when deliverance from such pain has been given. Take Psalm 116., for example. And though many of you may scarce know what real pain is, never having experienced it or anything like it, yet you are able, we trust, both to feel very grateful for your happy exemption hitherto, and also to sympathize, deeply and tenderly, with those to whom a harder lot is assigned. You have had some vision of the anguished face, and of the deadly chill and faint, that are associated with extreme pain; and your heart has been touched, as it well may, with compassion. Therefore, though you know not pain by experience yet, along with those who do, you also can rejoice in this promise, as to an eternal home, that there "there shall be no more pain." And meanwhile let us gratefully remember how much our Lord Jesus Christ has done to turn this curse of pain into a blessing. It will not make us less ready to sympathize with or succour those who now are suffering, but will qualify us to do both better than before. For -

I. CHRIST HAS DONE THIS. First of all:

1. By taking it upon himself. "He himself bare our infirmities, and carried our diseases." So was it predicted concerning him; and when he came here he fulfilled Isaiah's word by the intensity of his holy sympathy, whereby the sorrows, pains, and distresses of those whom he healed were felt by him as if they were his own. And yet more, by himself submitting to pain so terrible that he could say to all suffering ones in all ages, "Come, see if there ever was sorrow like unto my sorrow." Then he took the lot of pain upon himself. He has entered into it not only by Divinest sympathy but by actual experience. So that now the sufferers tread no solitary path; One is with them in the roughest; sternest of its ways, and that One is "like unto the Son of man." They may have the fellowship of his sufferings, because he certainly has the fellowship of theirs. Have we not seen or heard oftentimes how, in the paroxysms of agony with which poor pain stricken ones are now and again seized, they love, when the dread dark hour comes upon them, to have by them some one dear to them, the dearest they possess, and to clasp his or her hand and to feel the clasp of theirs; to pour out to them their cries and tears, and to be soothed and strengthened by the loving sympathy on which they lean? Maybe some of us have taken part in scenes like that. But such blessed aid, and more than that, our Lord wills that every sufferer should have by reason of his sympathy, his presence, and his own dear love. The present writer well remembers how a poor young girl, dying in much pain, told him that she loved to look at a picture, which hung by her bedside, of the Saviour bearing his cross; for, she said, "it helps me to bear my pain better." Yes, every sufferer may grasp his hand, and be assured that, though unseen and unfelt by the bodily senses, he grasps theirs. For just as he went down amongst the "multitude of impotent folk" that lay in the porches of Bethesda, so still he comes down amongst our poor suffering humanity, himself a "Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." And now the Marah-like waters - the bitter wells of human life - he has forever made sweet and wholesome by the healing influence of that cross - that tree so accursed for him, so precious for us - upon which, for us all, he suffered and died. Yes, as it has been beautifully said, "he has done all this. It was for this that he came - for this, among many other reasons. His was pre-eminently, as we know, a painful life. He was acquainted with grief, and a Man of sorrows; and this acquaintanceship was sought and formed for our sakes, because no man knew what to do with grief. Our Lord came hither, and, being made man, entered upon a brief pilgrimage in the earth - brief, yet sufficient to find out what was here, and what had need to be done. And scarcely had he commenced his journey before he met with that ancient form of Grief. She had been walking up and down the earth for thousands of years. She first appeared in the garden of Eden. She stood forth from behind the fatal tree, and emerged from those bounds which, before the first offence, she had never dared to cross; and ever since she had been going about and haunting men. When Christ began his pilgrimage, he met her and she met him, and they looked one another in the face; and she never left him. 'He was acquainted with grief.' And through this acquaintanceship it would seem, as happens when a lower nature feels the influence of a higher, that she became changed. She had been hard and cold, she became tender and gentle; she had been tyrannical and imperious, but under the influence of that Divine Companion she lost her old harshness and severity, and seemed to do her work with a half reluctance, and without the old readiness to add torment to the unhappy. We cannot tell how it happened, but Grief, through her acquaintance and familiarity with the Son of man, became like a new creature. In her were seen a certain softness and pensiveness which she never had before; her form became altered and her footsteps light; until she seemed to take the air of a sister of mercy, and to breathe forth a wondrous benediction while she walked with him. Doubtless it was his influence that worked the change. It was he who turned that scourge of small cords, which she had carried from time immemorial, into a cross, and gave to her eyes that tender look which seems to say, 'I do not willingly afflict nor grieve you, O children of men.' Thus they went through the world hand in hand, until he went out of it by the gate of the grave, tasting death for every man. And Grief has been acting ever since as one of his ministers, and representing him, and doing the work of mercy in his kingdom. She has given to men in these latter days more than she ever took away. She is a dispenser, not a spoiler; her hands are full of goodly gifts, and though her discipline be painful, yet it is ever merciful; and, as a gentle almoner, she offers and bestows, wherever faith and love dispose the heart to receive them, new and perfect pledges of eternal blessing and glory." Thus has Christ transformed Grief and Pain, who is one of her chief ministers. Pain is still like the rough ore dug out of the heart of the earth; but it need no longer be used, as it so long has been, to forge harsh chains of bondage, but it may, it shall he, if only we be willing, fashioned into crowns of glory, yea, diadems for the blessed themselves. And:

2. By his acceptance of our pain as an offering we may present to him. We often feel and say that all we do may and should be consecrated to him, and, without doubt, he accepts it. But this is not all that he is willing to accept. All that we have to bear he will also, and as willingly, accept. Was not his own offering unto God one in which he suffered'? His submission rather than his activity constituted the very essence of his sacrifice. Not alone were the gold - symbol of all man's wealth - and the frankincense - symbol of worship - presented to him; but the myrrh - symbol of suffering, of sorrow, of pain, of death. For it was used in the embalming of the dead and for ministering relief to sufferers in their agony, and hence it was offered to our Lord upon the cross. And so, from its constant association with scenes of sadness and distress, it came to represent and symbolize all pain. And this was offered to the Lord, and may be and should be still. In our moments of most terrible pain there is nothing better to do than to offer it all to him, for his glory, and so to lay it at the feet of the King of sorrows.

3. And by the revelations he makes to us concerning it.

(1) He has told us whence it came. Hence we know that it is not an inherent, a constituent, part of our nature, as joy is; but it is a stranger, a foreigner, an alien, and an intruder. It came in with sin and shall go out therewith.

(2) That it is rendering high and holy service. Cf. St. Paul, "Our light affliction which is," etc. (2 Corinthians 4:17). "In these verses it is not merely asserted that one day we shall be rid of pain, but also that meanwhile it is working out for us 'glory.' It not merely precedes, but produces, is the mother, the progenitor, of glory." Does the mariner grieve over the rushing wind which fills his sails, and bears him swiftly on to the haven where he would be? No more should we over pain, since it is our helper forward, homeward, heavenward.

(3) That it will one day certainly and forever cease.

II. CHRIST ALONE DOES THIS. "Human wisdom has from the first been helpless before what may be called the problem of pain. It has no explanation of suffering; it cannot give it a satisfactory position in the scheme of life. To philosophy sorrow is an anomaly and an offence. Philosophy hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars, and she hath acquainted her heart with all wisdom; and yet there is a skeleton in her house, a spectre glides through her pillars, and a presage of hollow, final failure is in every effort to keep up appearances. She cannot contrive what to do with that problem of sorrow, suffering, and pain. She has but two things to which to trust, and she can trust in neither. The first is stoicism, the second anodynes. With stoicism she tries to meet the question on the spiritual side; with anodynes, on the physical. In each direction she encounters defeat. She tells the sufferer to harden his heart and set his teeth, and bear it if he can, not in faith and love, not in hope and trust, but in stern, stiff defiance. And when she finds it useless to try and help him that way, and hears his shrieks repeated, and meets his reproachful and despairing eyes, she has but one expedient more, in the anodyne and anaesthetic. She exhibits the drug or the subtle vapour, and thereby stills the pain. In this she admits defeat, and flies before the foe. She has relieved the body indeed, but it is at the expense of the spirit. The sense of pain is gone, but the light of the soul is also extinguished. The dying flesh feels no more its own agony because the heaven born flame of reason is quenched, and the man is drugged and crazed into stupefaction and unconsciousness. Thus does Philosophy deal with the terrible problem of this painful life. She has no spiritual medicine for it; while physical remedies amount at last to the suspension and temporary destruction of conscious existence." But we have seen our Lord's more excellent way - a way so blessed that it is an insult to compare the one with the other. Glory be to his Name forever for that which be hath done!

III. WHAT WE ARE TO DO. See to it:

1. That when suffering comes on you, you have Christ near you to turn your pain into blessing. Come to him now, that he may come to you then.

2. Think of, sympathize with, pray for and succour those who now are suffering. Ask him to be near them, and go you near them yourselves with loving help. So join with him in his merciful work, and there shall come on you the blessing, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - S. C.







God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. &&&
Tears are the symbol of sorrow. Tears are sometimes shed through excess of joy. Yet a tearful joy is ever akin to grief.

I. THE PRESENT STATE OF THE BELIEVER IS ONE OF TEARS.

1. Because he is living in a world of sin.(1) While God is loved, the Saviour served, and His Jaw honoured, the believer's heart has yet to mourn over the defectiveness of his service, and not infrequently over his lapses into sin.(2) Nor is his own sin alone the cause of his sorrow. He is no unaffected spectator of the unbelief and ungodliness and wickedness of his fellow-men.

2. Because he is in a world of suffering. Because of sin, suffering has an inlet through our whole nature, and is the chief burden of its history. It rises up like mist out of the landscape, to darken the whole scene of our present pilgrimage.(1) Think of the suffering that enters even the believer's dwelling when he experiences the stroke of adverse providence.(2) How often is the believer made to suffer from the stroke of relative bereavements!(3) How often has the believer to sorrow over personal infirmities and afflictions!

3. Because the world in which he lives is a world of death. As a curse, death is inseparable from sorrow. Even where unstinged, it tells of pain, of suffering, and tears.

II. THE FUTURE STATE OF THE BELIEVER IS ONE IN WHICH THERE SHALL BE NO TEARS.

1. This removal of tears is directly traceable to God. It is enjoyed through grace in virtue of the Saviour's blood, and God bestows it through the pardon of the believer's sins, and by giving him a right and title to eternal life.

2. This removal of tears is complete. In the future world every source of sorrow shall have gent.

3. This removal of tears shall be for ever. Never shall heaven's sky be clouded nor heaven's bliss be interrupted by one single moment's experience of the vicissitudes of time.

III. THE REASON WHY THE FUTURE STATE OF THE BELIEVER SHALL BE A STATE FREE FROM TEARS.

1. Because of the believer's personal presence with Christ.

2. Because it is a state of personal perfection.

3. Because it shall be a state of renewed union and communion with Christian friends for ever.

4. Because it is a state of unalloyed happiness.

(G. Jeffrey, D. D.)

Amongst the troubles of this chequered earth our griefs are sometimes so sore that tears come as a relief. But this is not because tears are a good thing in themselves, but because an outward weeping is better than an inward lamentation. Tears have but one deep, primary source, and that source is sin. Beneath our gentlest virtues there sleeps the lava of an evil impulse ready to spring forth at any small ignition. When the penitent weeps over his sins, when the Christian weeps over his shortcomings, it is well; for they are the mourners in Zion to whose gloom a dawn is promised. "Blessed are they that thus mourn, for they shall be comforted." When the finger of the destroyer beckons us to look at our cherished ones lying in his embrace, it is not wrong to weep. Such tears must flow, for they are the signs of severed love. From whatever source the tears we shed may spring, they shall be wiped away in heaven.

1. They are sometimes caused by temporal depression. Such depression cannot extend beyond the bounds of time. In the abode where tears are wiped away there shall be no more poverty. "They shall hunger no more," etc.

2. Defective friendships are a prolific source of tears. Sometimes this defection is occasioned by infirmity, temper, ignorance, or prejudice. Many are our friends just so long as the sun of prosperity is shining; bat as soon as our sky darkens into gloom, their smiles darken into frowns. Ay, and treacherous relationships, too, draw forth our tears. What bitter tears did David shed over the perfidy of his own son! And there's many a father now who knows something of the same grief. The flatterer of to-day is the reviler of to-morrow. The smile will often wreath into a sneer, and the eulogy change into a scoff. But there will be no faithless friends in heaven. No Judas shall be found sitting at the board. No tears shall fall over the treachery of lover, brother, friend.

3. How widely, moreover, do the fingers of affliction fling open the sluices of our tears! These frames of ours are frail. "All flesh is grass." And it is an affecting sight to watch in those we love the gradual or quick transition from health to sickness, from activity to languor, and from strength to pain. But there is no infirmity, no mental or physical decay, to break in upon the immortal activity and youth of heaven. And what is the hand which shall thus wipe away our tears? It is a hand which once was pierced with nails; but there is no scar upon it now.The banishment of these tears is an act which is Divine. He sends no ministering angel round to soothe and comfort those He has redeemed; but He is His own missionary, and carries His own solace. "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

1. He will do in lovingly. As the "brother born for adversity," He will come gently on His assuaging errand; and as a high priest touched with a feeling of our infirmities, will He bid our mourning cease.

2. And He will do it effectually. He will not merely dry up a fountain that shall anon break forth afresh; but all tears shall be wiped away. Every cause of tears shall be removed; for He shall destroy sin, the great master evil — the wide, deep ocean from which all tears have been supplied.

(A. Mursell.)

I. We are to consider THE TEARS.

1. We will mention those which arise from secular affliction.

2. Those that arise from social losses.

3. Those that arise from bodily pains and infirmities.

4. Those which arise from moral imperfections — to a Christian the most painful of all.

5. Those which arise from the wickedness of others.

II. Let us pass from the tears to consider THE REMOVAL OF THEM. "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

1. It is Divine. "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." He alone can do it; He is the Father of mercies, the God of all grace, the God of all comfort.

2. The deliverance is future. It is not said, God does, but "God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes." Earth will always be distinguished from heaven. You are now in the conflict; and it is a trying one. It is death that will proclaim the triumph, and say the warfare is accomplished.

3. The deliverance is complete. "God shall wipe away all tears." Nothing shall be seen but joy and gladness — nothing heard but thanksgiving and the voice of melody.

4. It is certain. Thy hope maketh not ashamed, because it is founded in the word of Him that cannot lie.

III. THE USES WE ARE TO MAKE OF THIS DELIGHTFUL ASSURANCE.

1. Are you found in the number of the heirs of this promise? Will this be accomplished with regard to you?

2. The subject should remind us of our obligation to the Redeemer of sinners.

3. Does not this subject completely roll away the reproach of religion?

4. Christians, in the midst of your troubles, this subject ought to comfort you. You see that the last is the best, not only of some but of all your trials.

(W. Jay.)

No more death
Christian Treasury.
I. DEATH IS "THE WAGES OF SIN." Men try to keep that fact out of view, and ascribe death to accident, disease, and second causes, without fathoming the depths to which they ought to descend. In Adam's transgression, that was wrapped up like the oak in the acorn. "The wages of sin is death." Man works for and wins that; and the Judge of all the earth uprightly pays it.

II. OR, DEATH IS A DIVINE APPOINTMENT — "It is appointed unto man once to die." It did not obtain a place in God's world without His permission or decree. No casualty, no blind chance precipitates man into the grave. It is not nature worn out, or so much animal machinery wasted away, it is the judicial appointment of the Holy One, protesting against all iniquity.

III. OR, DEATH IS "THE KING OF TERRORS." It is often called "the debt of nature"; and that is one of the softening epithets by which men try to disguise from themselves the true character of death. But, in truth, nature abhors and recoils from such an allegation. Death comes because nature has been outraged, because the heart of man has revolted against his God; and the rebel must therefore encounter all that is terrific, since he supposed there was a more excellent way than living in amity and walking in love with his Maker.

IV. OR, DEATH IS THE EXTINCTION OF SPIRITUAL LIFE — "In the day that thou eatest thou shalt die." Man then became dead to God, to holiness, to happiness, and heaven — he was dead in trespasses and sins.

V. But mercy did interpose; and we therefore proceed to view death under another aspect — IT IS AN ABOLISHED THING; Christ has "abolished death." Strange message that, amid our crowded churchyards, where the dead far outnumber the living in the less crowded city! Yet not more strange than true — wherever the way appointed by the Lord of Life is followed, death is abolished, and the body and soul will both live for ever.

VI. OR, DEATH IS A SLEEP. "Sleep in Jesus."

VII. OR, DEATH MAY BE REGARDED AS THE SERVANT, AND THE VERY PROPERTY OF BELIEVERS: "All things are yours... whether life or death." In such a case, death is the messenger sent to call the believer home, or to summon him into the presence of his Father. The grotto of Posilippo is a long dark passage through a mountain near Naples. While in that vault-like place, extending over some hundreds of yards, the wayfarer feels the dreariness and discomfort of the scene. But when he emerges to the west, the bay of Bairn stretches at his feet, one of the richest and most balmy even of Italian scenes; or to the east — then he is greeted by the bay of Naples, with its unutterable outspread of beauty, of city, of mountains, ocean, and volcano, till the eye revels and luxuriates amid the profusion of loveliness. It is a type of the believer emerging from death. The new heavens and the new earth are spread out before him; and though there be "no more sea," the fulness of joy becomes his beatitude for ever. The curse is quenched — the sting is extracted; and misery, sorrow, fear — for all these things are portions of death — are over for ever.

(Christian Treasury.)

Neither sorrow
How many tears now fall daily from weeping eyes.

1. How oft-times the Christian sheds the tears of penitence, as he feels the shadow of guilt fall across the memories of the past. But there the painful remembrance of his errors will be lost in the glad radiance of eternal absolution.

2. Here we sometimes cannot help the bitter tears of mortification rising to our eyes at our own failures in the Christian life. In a better world we shall see how God led us. He will wipe away the tears of regret and mortification, as we learn why it was that our lives were moulded and shaped in this or that fashion.

3. Often in this life the Christian sheds tears of indignation. Dean Swift, who, with all his faults, had an honest hatred of what was mean and unjust, had inscribed, by his own direction, on his tomb, that he hoped to rest, "where fierce indignation would no longer lacerate his heart." But the balmy air and the sunny slopes of the new paradise of God will never know anything of the sin, the injustice, and the cruelty, which, by their shadows, darken the heart even of the Christian here.

(W. Hardman, LL. D.)

Neither... pain
There is no need to explain to any human being what it is that is meant by pain. We know pain by the best means of knowing: we know it by having felt it. There is a sense in which we may use the word, in which its meaning is wider than it is as it stands in this text. Pain may be taken to mean everything that you would shrink from, from whatever source it may come everything that implies suffering, sorrow, anguish. But it is not in this large sense that the word is to be understood in this text. For you observe that the writer of the Revelation distinguishes it from sorrow, from death, from tears. But pain means bodily suffering. Pain means that suffering which though felt in the soul has its origin in the body. And now you see that in the better world there is to be an end of it. "There shall be no more pain." In the better world above, then, pain shall be unknown. Many a poor sufferer, doubtless, will cherish a very soothing and cheering thought of heaven as the only place where there is "no more pain." Pain is in itself never a desirable thing. Great good may come through it, or of it; but the actual suffering in itself must always be a thing from which we would, if it were possible, shrink away. You know how pain, even when not very great, and even when not likely to be followed by serious consequences, destroys the enjoyment of life. A thousand blessings may be neutralised, so far as concerns their power of making us happy, by one little fretting pain. For pain is a thing that you cannot well forget while you are enduring it; it has a wonderful power of compelling attention to itself; you cannot long or heartily think of anything else while you are suffering acute pain. But pain does worse than mar the enjoyment of life; it unfits, as a general rule, for the work and duty of life. As a general rule you cannot do your work well when you are suffering pain even if not very great. It worries you; it draws off your attention from what you are about; you have no heart for your task. And there are worse possibilities about pain than even these. I do not forget that by God's blessed Spirit's working it has often been sanctified to work the soul great good; it has served to wean the affections from the things of time and sense. But this is the tendency of pain sanctified, it is not the natural tendency of pain. Do not you know that pain just as frequently makes the sufferer fretful and impatient, peevish and ill-tempered to those around; nay, ready to repine at the allotment and providence of God! But all this naturally leads us to ask, If pain be so bad a thing, and if it be so happy an assurance that the day is coming when there shall be no more of it, why is it here at all?

1. Pain teaches us, for one thing, how feeble and dependent we are. The proverb says that pride feels no pain: only let the pain be great enough and where will be the pride!

2. And for a second thing, pain is something to remind us of the evil of sin. You never would bare had a headache if it had not been for sin. You never would have known a sleepless night, a shooting pang through the nerves, or a dull weight at the heart, if it had not been for sin. Our natural tendency is to think to ourselves, oh, sin is not right — it cannot be justified, it is bad no doubt, — but it is not such a very great matter after all. What does pain say to that, think you!

3. And another lesson taught us by pain is suggested by this, it is how terribly God can punish; what tremendous appliances of punishment He has at His command. What fearful suffering God does inflict even in this world! No man would have kept that poor sufferer in that suffering for one minute. But God keeps him there: keeps him day after day, week after week. Oh, we have an inflexible Judge to face, merciful though He be! So pain teaches something of the severity of God. But I turn gladly to another lesson, a far happier lesson, taught us by pain.

4. It reminds us how great was our blessed Saviour's love for our poor sinful souls, which made Him bear such an unutterable load of anguish as He bore for us. Such are certain lessons which we are taught by pain. But in the better world pain will not be needful to enforce them. They will be remembered there so far as it is fit that they should be remembered, without the necessity of having that sad monitor ever near. And thus, as in that happy country, pain would be of no use, pain will go. Oh the comfort of the thought! Christians who have suffered much in this being remember this, that in heaven there shall be "no more pain." The parting pang which the believer feels in leaving this world is the very last that he shall ever feel at all.

(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

I. WHAT ARE THE EVILS WHICH FLOW FROM PAIN, AND USUALLY ATTEND IT IN THIS LIFE?

1. Pain has a natural tendency to make the mind sorrowful as well as the body uneasy.

2. Another evil which attends on pain is this, that it so indisposes our nature as often to unfit us for the business and duties of the present state.

3. Pain unfits us for the enjoyment of life as well as for the labours and duties of it.

4. Another inconvenience and evil which belongs to pain is that it makes time and life itself appear tedious and tiresome, and adds a new burden to all other grievances.

5. Another evil that belongs to pain is that it has an unhappy tendency to ruffle the passions, and to render us fretful and peevish within ourselves, as well as towards those who are round about us.

6. Pain carries a temptation with it, sometimes to repine and murmur at the providence of God.

7. To add no more, pain and anguish of the flesh have sometimes prevailed so far as to distract the mind as well as destroy the body. Extreme smart of the flesh distresses feeble nature, and turns the whole frame of it upside down in wild confusion. It has actually worn out this animal frame, and stopped all the springs of vital motion.

II. WHAT JUST AND CONVINCING ARGUMENTS OR PROOFS CAN BE GIVEN THAT THERE ARE NO PAINS NOR UNEASY SENSATIONS TO BE FELT BY THE SAINTS IN A FUTURE STATE, NOR TO BE FEARED AFTER THIS LIFE?

1. God has assured us in His Word that there is no pain for holy souls to endure in the world to come.

2. God has not provided any medium to convey pain to holy souls after they have dropped this body of flesh.

3. There are no moral causes nor reasons why there should be anything of pain provided for the heavenly state.

III. WHAT ARE THE CHIEF MORAL REASONS OR DESIGNS OF THE BLESSED GOD IN SENDING PAIN ON HIS CREATURES HERE BELOW, AND AT THE SAME TIME SHOW THAT THESE DESIGNS AND PURPOSES OF GOD ARE FINISHED.

1. Pain is sometimes sent into our natures to awaken slothful and drowsy Christians out of their spiritual slumbers, or to rouse stupid sinners from a state of spiritual death.

2. To punish men for their faults and follies, and to guard them against new temptations.

3. To exercise and try the virtues and the graces of His people.

IV. INQUIRE WHAT ARE THOSE SPIRITUAL LESSONS OF INSTRUCTION WHICH MAY BE LEARNED ON EARTH FROM THE PAINS WE HAVE SUFFERED OR MAY SUFFER IN THE FLESH.

1. Pain teaches us feelingly what feeble creatures we are, and how entirely dependent on God for every moment of ease.

2. The great evil that is contained in the nature of sin, because it is the occasion of such intense pain and misery to human nature.

3. How dreadfully the great God can punish sin and sinners when He pleases in this world or in others.

4. When we feel acute pains we may learn something of the exceeding greatness of the love of Christ, even the Son of God, that glorious Being who took upon Him flesh and blood for our sakes, that He might be capable of pain and death, though He had never sinned.

5. The value and worth of the Word of God, and the sweetness of a promise which can give the kindest relief to a painful hour, and soothe the anguish of nature.

6. The excellency and use of the mercy-seat in heaven, and the admirable privilege of prayer.Lessons:

1. The frequent returns of pain may put us in mind to offer to God His due sacrifices of praise for the years of ease which we have enjoyed.

2. To sympathise with those who suffer.

3. Since our natures are subject to pain it should teach us watchfulness against every sin, lest we double our own distresses by the mixture of guilt with them.

4. Pain in the flesh may sometimes be sent to teach us to wean ourselves by degrees from this body which we love too well; this body which has all the springs of pain in it.

5. We are taught to breathe after the blessedness of the heavenly state wherein there shall be no pain.

(T. Hannam.)

I. Pain is not needed there TO STIMULATE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH. Supreme love for the Creator will give men such a delightful interest in all His works as will make inquiry the highest delight of their nature.

II. Pain is not needed there TO TEST THE REALITY OF MORAL PRINCIPLE. The character will be perfected — the gold purified from all alloy.

III. Pain is not needed there TO PROMOTE THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHARACTER. We shall be like Christ, changed into His image, from glory to glory.

IV. Pain is not needed there TO AID US IN APPRECIATING THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST.

V. Pain is not needed there TO IMPRESS US WITH THE ENORMITY OF SIN.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Suffering is the most stupendous fact in human experience; it is the most difficult problem in our religion. Alas! it is not necessary to prove its existence. We see it everywhere. It is a blessed thing that amidst such surroundings sensitive persons, who feel the thrusts of life keenly, and acutely sympathise with pain in its manifold forms, as experienced by others, can by means of the imagination be cheered with a foreglance of a better state of things when the former things shall have passed away. The Apostle Paul, a man of massive and logical intellect, the greatest Jew that ever lived, was a glorious dreamer who found comfort and courage in the bright prospect of the far-off future. The first point of view in which pain presents itself is that of a mystery. Let us hear what metaphysicians have to say respecting it. Plato tells us that pain is the root, the condition, the antecedent of pleasure, and the latter is only a restoration of the feeling subject from a state contrary to nature to a state conformable with nature. The Kantian philosophy maintains that pleasure is the feeling of the furtherance, pain of the hindrance of life. "Pleasure," says Hamilton, "is a reflex of the spontaneous and unimpeded exertion of a power, of whose energy we are conscious. Pain, a reflex of the overstrained or repressed exertion of such a power." "Pain," affirms Calderwood, "is not merely a negation or want of pleasure, but a positive experience opposite in kind." "By pleasure and pain I must be understood to mean whatsoever delight or uneasiness is felt by us, whether arising from any grateful or unacceptable sensation or reflection," is the opinion expressed by John Locke. After reading all that philosophers have written on the subject, mankind will still regard it as an unmitigated evil, nor will they be on the way to unravel the mystery. It may be said that this is a world of probation, and that pain is penal or disciplinary. Such is often the case, but it is not always so. Walk through the lengthy wards of a children's hospital. There is no discipline there. Poor children! they are too young to be its fitting subjects. Take man as we find him — African or Englishman, Greek or Roman — and stud what you see. The poor beggar that sweeps the crossing, and that holds out his hat to you for a copper, is a child of God as much as you; the only difference being that perhaps you know it and try to act like a child, while he has forgotten it altogether. Every-day life experiences are illustrative of the Pauline expression, "The whole creation groaneth," etc. Does Almighty God find His pleasure in the most degraded form of sensualism, in witnessing the torments of His creatures? Were such a conclusion possible, I could not ask you to render homage to Him, because He is the sweetest, gentlest, noblest of beings. I should become the victim of despair. But let me crush the spirit of blasphemy, and clear up this dark mystery by consulting the oracles of God. Therein I learn that man is the author of all the misery he endures. God made man free, the arbiter of his destiny; but when put to the proof he failed, yielded to temptation, and chose evil for his good. Man being the creature of sin, disease, and pain, his posterity, from the hour of birth, must have inherent in their nature the elements of multiform suffering. Here you see that sin is not necessarily the penalty, but the consequence, always of previous transgression. Moreover, you will observe that each generation, by its own irregularities, will entail upon its successor minds more debased, and bodies more accessible to disease. Here you have an explanation of the mystery of pain. From our own experience we can reason that pain in its manifold shapes works for our good. Tell me the painful feeling in you, and I will explain to you its mode of operation. Have you a want unsatisfied, are you weary of your pleasures, are you discontented with your circumstances? In this feeling there is a strong impulse to action. Are you depressed by a sense of deficiency or of transgression? Therein you have an impulse towards virtue, towards improvement. Do you sigh for friendship, or feel the sting of unrequited love? Therein you are urged to live out of self, and to be kind, generous, and pitiful to the many hearts that bleed in this cold and selfish world. Are you sick-bereaved? Has pain deadened your body to all sensuous pleasure? Or, surrounded by your kind, is your heart a desolation? Fortitude, faith, patience, trust in heaven, the hope of heaven there are no other resources when the heart is broken and the body shattered by disease. To the eye of a sculptor in every block of stone there is a statue; but to make it visible to every eye it must be cut out of the block with mallet and chisel. But the stone does not see the end in view, it only feels the rough treatment which it querulously resents. It wishes to be left alone. It is quite satisfied with itself as it is. "How long must I suffer?" asks the stone sorrowfully. "Only till all that is unsuitable and improper shall be removed," rejoins the chisel; "and when made meet for the high situation you are to occupy, you will be placed amongst the others, and be as beautiful as they are." Pain is oftentimes the result of disobedience to physical laws; not seldom is it hereditary, the diseased body and corrupt affections being transmitted by parents to their offspring; but in many instances it is not traceable to either of these causes. A being may be sinless and still a sufferer; a sufferer, not because his heart is base, but because his soul is noble. It we be pitiful, tender, and sympathetic, we cannot escape suffering. Such suffering develops character; and by it we become partakers of God's holiness — of His exquisite compassion and sensibility. Do not, therefore, suppose that simply because you suffer you are set apart of God and made an example. You are under the law which Christ lived under, which all human families live under. Those who have never suffered know only the surface of life. As one must strike flint to call forth sparks of fire, so must we strike the heart to make it capable of great and noble deeds. Austerity and mortification moulded the saints of old. They met misfortune with a smile, and scorned the fear of death even when the fire was at the stake, and the flames rose around their heads, because they knew that out of their very ashes God would call them to an immortality of happiness. This is the true effect of sorrow: it detaches us from the earth, lifts us up to heaven, and unites us to God.

(J. E. Foster, M. A.)

I. THE EXISTENCE, AND EVEN THE DOMINANCE OF PAIN. I do not think that we get to the deepest root of this tree of mystery by the common assertion that it was the sin of man from which all death and pain sprang. It is a significant fact that the higher the nature the more sensitive it is to pain.

II. IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO DISCOVER SOME OF THE PURPOSES OF PAIN. whose prevalence in this world is so widespread.

1. Take one of the lower signs of human progress by way of example. Think of the increase in knowledge and skill which has followed on the sufferings of the race.

2. Think next of the connection existing between sufferers and sympathy. May it not be a part of God's purpose in permitting pain that it links us together in the bonds of love?

3. Nor must we overlook the effect of pain and sorrow on moral character and on religious faith. Wrongly received, they provoke to sin; rightly received, they lead us to self-conquest, to patience, to sympathy for others, and to fellowship with Christ.

(A. Rowland.)

"Neither shall there be any more pain." This is the inscription on the tomb of Robert Hall in Bristol cemetery. He would often roll on the carpet in agony, we are told, with the pain in his back.

(Thos. Cooper.)

Pascal, the great mathematician and moralist, said, "From the day that I was eighteen I do not know that I have ever passed a single day without pain.

(J. F. B. Tinling, B. A.)

Torturing pains in the back of his head and neck, as if an eagle were rending there with its talons, made life dreadful to him. During Monday, Tuesday, and the greater part of Wednesday in every week he suffered severely. Alone in his room he lay on the rug, his head resting on the bar of a chair, clenching his teeth to prevent the groans which, even through the sleepless length of solitary nights, the ravaging pain could never draw from his manliness.

(S. A. Brooke, M. A.)

For the former things are passed away. —
As a mere statement of a fact obvious to one who reviews any period of a history from a point subsequently reached, this of course is comparatively commonplace. The former things are always passing away as one advances in knowledge and character and power. It is so with the individual. No man or woman has reached the period of maturity without having left behind many things which belong to the earlier periods of life. And what is true of the individual is true as well of the community; true of a city. So it is with the world itself. All former things are continually passing away. The early cannibalism, the early human sacrifices; war undertaken simply in an impulse of rapacity and carried on in a spirit of ferocious cruelty; tyrannies, kingly and feudal; slaveries which were so universal in the past — they have gone into history. Society, in the world at large, has thus been radically changed, and while perhaps not complete, certainly the life is better; it has more liberal institutions, juster legislation, wider possibilities, a trust in God more quickening, more instructive literature, more lovely and laudable arts than it had in the earlier time. Former things from it have passed away, the chains have dropped from the limbs of the emancipated slave as the darkness passes from the vision under the hand of the skilful surgeon who removes the cataract from the eye. Many things are lost which we would like to keep in this process of development, and which we would like to blend with the knowledge and power of our maturer years — the simplicity of childhood, its capacity for learning, its confidence and admiration and wonder. In the city as it goes on in opulence and power we would like to retain, if it were possible, the early neigh-hourly feeling, early simplicity of manners. And the world at large loses something in losing its primitive fancies, which belong to the auroral period of human experience. And yet, upon the whole, it is vastly for the better, as we are constantly aware. The hope of humanity consists in this continual progress, where the former things are passing away and the new things are being attained and realised. It is the introduction of Christianity into such sluggish, stagnant and unaspiring empires as those of China or of Japan, as they were only a single century ago, which gives for them hope and promise as concerning the future. The former things are passing away. In the nature of the case they must pass away from the individual and from the race, as higher influences come to act upon it. So we should anticipate that when John, the prophet of the Apocalypse, looked forward into the final period of human history he would be struck with this fact that all the former things were passed away and He who is Lord of the earth hath made all things new. He would find his prophecy in part realised if he were to return again upon the earth and mingle in human society as it now exists. But yet these changes as they have already appeared, and as he would see them if he were to revisit the planet, are only prophetic of changes which are to be realised when the power by which these have been wrought has come to its complete consummation in history. And it is a beautiful thing in his prophecy that, looking forward to the very termination of history on earth, he sees the earth and the heavens closely assimilated, so that you cannot tell where the horizon of the earth ends and that of heaven begins. There are some points I will remark upon for your consideration.

1. One is that we here touch the characteristic difference between the Christian and any other form of religion known in the world. What is sadder in history than to see how the Greek mind, the Egyptian mind, the Persian mind, and the Roman mind had sunk into hopelessness of the future, at the time when the gospel of Christ was preached in the world. On the other hand, the gospel looks forward to glory to be realised in the centuries to come; sees for ever things passing away that better things may appear; sees the customs of society shivered and suddenly disappearing or gradually disintegrating, or falling into heaps of rubbish. So in all a new force is working in the world to lead men forward in communities to a higher level and nobler vision. It expects its ultimate victory in the glory of the future.

2. That is one thought, and another is of the superb confidence which the early Christianity felt in itself and which its teachers had in it. It is to conquer where philosophies have failed; it is to triumph where arts have only degraded the world; it is to purify where the human race has been sinking deeper and deeper in the mire of sin. Now, cannot we enter into the sublime confidence of the apostles, with Christianity enthroned already over the larger half of the world? I am ashamed of myself; I am ashamed of any Christian individual or Church where there is the least fear or apprehension concerning the progress and the mastery of this religion, whose earliest disciples knew its power, because they had seen the Lord; had stood around His Cross; had looked into the gate of the sepulchre from which He had come forth.

3. Another thought is suggested — namely, this: I have said already that we are sorry to lose many things which we, after all, have to leave behind us as we go on in our life personally or as communities, but when sin is expelled there is no longer any reason why that which has been lovely in the earlier life of any person should not continue, and only come to its more perfect manifestation in the completed maturity. What is it that corrodes and destroys the simplicity of childhood? What is it that destroys that early and tender confidence in others which is the beauty of our unfolding life? What is it that makes us desirous in future life of the consciousness of power out of which comes pride? Of the consciousness of position out of which we are aware that we have lost the pure sincerity and sweetness of our childhood's years? Everywhere it is the element of sin. When at last that completed state is realised from which sin itself is eliminated, all the innocence of childhood with all the wisdom of age shall be charmingly combined; all the sweetness of early fancy with all the power of developed faculty; and then, in addition to this, that which has been imperfect and ignorant in the first will become an occasion of gladness and praise because we have been delivered from it.

4. Finally, the perfection of that state is the warrant of its fixedness and finality; that which is perfect is susceptible of no further change; you cannot re-make the sunshine, because it is perfect, the same to-day as when it fell on the bowers and blooms of paradise; you cannot re-make the atmosphere, because it is perfect, the same as when the lungs first inhaled it on the earth; you cannot re-make the element of water, or the blue of the sky, or the green of the verdure, or the sunset splendours. When this final stage is reached for which the Lord died, on account of which He underwent His sacrifice, which the apostle saw in prophetic vision, of which we beforehand may catch the beauty through his eyes, and for which it is the privilege in life of each of us to work and pray; when that final period comes where earth and heaven blend and holiness and wisdom bring perfect peace, the absolute completion of it, with sin expelled and grief left behind, is the Divine warrant that it shall be everlasting.

(R. S. Storrs, D. D.)

I. THE FORMER THINGS CONNECTED WITH THE BODY HAVE PASSED AWAY. Our bodies shared the ruin into which sin brought our race. Mortality and corruption took possession of them. They became subject to pain, and weariness, and disease, in every organ and limb. All this shall yet be reversed. Former things shall pass away. This head shall ache no more; these hands and feet shall be weary no more; this flesh shall throb with anguish no more.

II. THE FORMER THINGS CONNECTED WITH THE SOUL HAVE PASSED AWAY. The beginning of this renovation was our "being begotten again unto a lively hope." This re-begetting displaced the old things and introduced the new. The sin, and the darkness, and the misery, and the unbelief, and the distance from God — all these shall come to a perpetual end. In their place shall come holiness, and love, and light, and joy, and everlasting nearness — unchanging and unending fellowship with that Jehovah in whom is life eternal.

III. THE FORMER THINGS CONNECTED WITH THE EARTH HAVE PASSED AWAY. This earth is the seat of evil since man fell. The curse came down on it; creation was subjected to the bondage of corruption; Satan took possession of it. The devouring lion shall be in chains, and "no lion shall be there." The curse shall vanish from creation; the blight disappear. Beauty shall clothe all things. Paradise shall return. Holiness shall revisit earth. God shall once more delight in it and set His throne in it. Righteousness shall flourish, and holiness to the Lord be inscribed everywhere. And all this irreversible! No second fall. Messiah — even He who died for us and who rose again — is on the throne, and no usurper can assail it. He ever lives and ever reigns.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

Links
Revelation 21:4 NIV
Revelation 21:4 NLT
Revelation 21:4 ESV
Revelation 21:4 NASB
Revelation 21:4 KJV

Revelation 21:4 Bible Apps
Revelation 21:4 Parallel
Revelation 21:4 Biblia Paralela
Revelation 21:4 Chinese Bible
Revelation 21:4 French Bible
Revelation 21:4 German Bible

Revelation 21:4 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Revelation 21:3
Top of Page
Top of Page