Revelation 7:9
After this I looked and saw a multitude too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
Sermons
All Saints' DayCharles KingsleyRevelation 7:9
The Human Population in Heaven (No. 1)D. Thomas Revelation 7:9-12
The Church TriumphantR. Green Revelation 7:9-13
A Glimpse of the Redeemed in GloryJames Hamilton.Revelation 7:9-17
All SaintsAbp. Trench.Revelation 7:9-17
HeavenJ. A. James.Revelation 7:9-17
Humanity in HeavenB. D. Johns.Revelation 7:9-17
Society in HeavenF. D. Maurice, M. A.Revelation 7:9-17
The Great MultitudeH. Bonar, D. D.Revelation 7:9-17
The Great MultitudeH. Melvill, B. D.Revelation 7:9-17
The Human Population in HeavenD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 7:9-17
The Redeemed in GloryJ. T. Woodhouse.Revelation 7:9-17
The Redeemed in HeavenCharles Hargreaves.Revelation 7:9-17
The Redeemed in HeavenD. M. Inglis.Revelation 7:9-17
The Saints in HeavenR. M. McCheyne.Revelation 7:9-17
The Saints in HeavenH. C. Haydn, D. D.Revelation 7:9-17
The Saved a Great MultitudeW. Baxendale.Revelation 7:9-17
The Song of the Church in Heaven and on EarthThe Christian MagazineRevelation 7:9-17
The Worship of HeavenS. Martin, D. D.Revelation 7:9-17
What They Wear and Do in HeavenT. De Witt Talmage.Revelation 7:9-17
The comfort of the former vision is heightened by a subsequent one. The host of God is sealed. Safety amidst judgment, is pledged. But greater things are reserved. The holy seer is permitted to witness the Church in its final triumph.

I. THE FINAL TRIUMPHANT HOST IS INNUMERABLE. The former vision was limited, definite. It prepared the way for a larger view. The "little flock" has grown into an innumerable company. This is the true answer to the question, hitherto unanswered, "Lord, are there few that be saved?" To a Church in its incipient condition a small and feeble folk in the midst of ungodly thousands, the vision of a final host beyond count is of the utmost comfort. It has ever been so.

II. THE FINALLY TRIUMPHANT CHURCH IS REPRESENTED IN ITS WIDE COMPREHENSION. It is "out of every nation." This is the true vision to be held before the eyes of the Church in her missionary labours. All tribes and all peoples and all tongues shall be finally found amongst the faithful and elect children.

III. THE TRIUMPHANT CHURCH IS EXALTED TO THE UTMOST HONOUR. They stand "before the throne and before the Lamb." Thus is indicated their individual recognition; thus is fulfilled the word of their Lord's promise.

IV. THE CHURCH IS REPRESENTED IN ITS FINAL SANCTITY - "arrayed in white robes" - AND INVESTED WITH THE SYMBOLS OF TRIUMPHANT EXALTATION - " palms in their hands."

V. THE VISION REVEALS THE REDEEMED HOST ASCRIBING ITS REDEMPTION TO GOD AND THE LAMB. It is the becoming burden of the eternal song. All is "of him."

VI. THE CHURCH OF EARTH IS FOUND IN ALLIANCE WITH THE ANGELIC HOST OF HEAVEN. "All the angels were standing round about the throne."

VII. THE UNITED CHOIRS OF EARTH AND HEAVEN ASCRIBE TOGETHER ALL GLORY, HONOUR, MIGHT, MAJESTY, AND DOMINION UNTO GOD FOREVER AND EVER. Nothing more likely to comfort and uphold the Church struggling in the waves of bitter cruel persecution than this gracious vision. To the Church in all ages this has been the lofty reach of joyful anticipation. - R.G.







A great multitude, which no man could number.
I. WHAT JOHN SAW AND HEARD.

1. A great multitude of all nations. When John was on earth he saw but few believers. The Church was like a lily in a field of thorns — lambs in the midst of wolves; but now quite different — thorns are plucked away — the lilies innumerable. Every country had its representatives there — some saved out of every land. All were like Christ, and yet all retained their different peculiarities.

2. Their position. They stood before the throne; yea, nearer than the angels, for they stood round about. This marks their complete righteousness. In Christ they stand, not in themselves. Nearer than angels; the angels have only creature-righteousness — these have on Creator righteousness. If you are ever to be near God, you may come freely to Him now. Why keep so far away?

3. Their dress — white robes and palms. They have all the same dress, there is no difference. It is the garment of Christ. Awakened persons are sometimes led to cry, "O that I had never sinned!" but here is something better than if you had never sinned.

4. Their song. The substance of it. Salvation. They give God all the glory. The effect of it: it stirs up the hearts of the angels (vers. 11, 12). How do you feel when you hear of others being saved and brought nearer to God than you? Do you envy and hate them, or do you fail down and praise God for it?

II. THEIR PAST HISTORY. Two particulars are given. Each had a different history; still in these two they were alike.

1. They had washed their robes. You think to go to heaven by your own decency, innocency, attention to duties. Well, you would be the only such one there: all are washed in blood.

2. They came out of great tribulation. Every one that gets to the throne must put their foot upon the thorn. The way to the crown is by the Cross. We must taste the gall if we are to taste the glory. Go round every one in glory; every one has a different story, yet every one has a tale of suffering. One was persecuted in his family, by his friends and companions; another was visited by sore pains and humbling disease, neglected by the world; another was bereaved of children. Mark, all are brought out of them. It was a dark cloud, but it passed away: the water was deep, but they have reached the other side. Not one of them blames God for the road He led them — "Salvation" is their only cry.

III. FUTURE HISTORY.

1. Immediate service of God. Here we are allowed to spend much of our time in our worldly callings. We shall spend eternity in loving God, in adoring, admiring, and praising God. We should spend much of our present time in this.

2. Not in the wilderness any more. At present we are like a flock in the wilderness, our soul often hungry, and thirsty, and sorely tried. Learn to glorify Him in the fires, to sing in the wilderness. This is the only world where you can give God that glory.

3. Father, Son, and Spirit will bless us.

(R. M. McCheyne.)

I. HUMANITY IN HEAVEN FORM ONE VAST COMMUNITY. This fact implies —

1. The marvellous success of the gospel.

2. The impartiality of the gospel.

3. The socialising power of the gospel.

II. HUMANITY IN HEAVEN ARE DISTINGUISHED IN POSITION. "Stood before the throne." This indicates —

1. The highest service.

2. The highest honour.

3. The highest integrity.

III. HUMANITY IN HEAVEN ARE GLORIOUS IN APPEARANCE.

1. Perfectly sinless. "White robes."

2. Completely triumphant. "Palms."

IV. HUMANITY IN HEAVEN ARE DELIGHTFUL IN EMPLOYMENT. Singing is worship in its perfect form. The song is —

1. Redemption in its theme.

2. Grateful in its purpose.

(1)To God as the author of salvation.

(2)To the Redeemer as the medium of salvation.

3. Enthusiastic in its spirit.

4. Contagious in its effect.

V. HUMANITY IN HEAVEN ARE PERFECT IN BLISS.

1. Freedom from all evil.

(1)No more sin.

(2)No more suffering.

(3)No more sorrow.

2. Enjoyment of all good.

(1)Divine service.

(2)Divine fellowship.

(3)Divine care.

(B. D. Johns.)

There is no good reason why this graphic picture of the heavenly land should be in our hands except for some practical purpose. The Bible is a practical book. The Bible comes to put the seen where it belongs, and give the unseen a chance to get hold of us, lest, in wilful near-sightedness, we miss altogether the eternal realities with which lies our chief concern. Linger in the vestibule we must for a time, but how? With faces averted from the cathedral entrance, indifferent to what lies beyond, or intent upon the grander thing that lies before us, for whose revelation we wait with expectant heart? In this picture —(1) Heaven is nothing if it be not realistic. It has a local habitation as well as a name. So had it to all Bible-men of faith. How real to them i(2) Again, what catholicity in heaven! Of the covenant mercies of the Jewish tabernacle it was hard for a Gentile to get a glimpse; to sit down as one of the true Israel was his only as by reluctant concession to an alien. But this exclusiveness lingers not even to cast a shadow. No barrier of race nor of high or low, of early or late, intervenes to hinder that they come into that high fellowship of God-like catholicity.(3) But, though so catholic, there is a discrimination of character which makes them one, which also gives to heaven an air of exclusiveness. They are white-robed, all of them, and not one robe made white by any process save one. The fact and the manner of it are both significant. There are no notes of discord in the song they sing — no praises but of One and the efficacy of His atoning blood, Rejecting Christ as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, be it by Jew or Gentile, is turning away from Him who opens and no man shuts, shuts and no man opens. It is to reject the only means of blanching character to snowy whiteness, the only condition of sin's forgiveness.(4) Note the contrasts to their former condition.

(H. C. Haydn, D. D.)

I. ITS NUMBERS ARE TOO GREAT FOR CALCULATION.

1. A reproof to all sectarianism.

2. An encouragement to all Christly work.

3. A response to all philanthropic desires.

4. An attestation of benevolent Creatorship.

II. ITS VARIETY INCLUDES ALL THE RACES OF MANKIND.

1. Our highest aim should be to become true men.

2. Our highest love should be for men.

III. ITS GLORIOUSNESS TRANSCENDS ALL DESCRIPTION.

1. Their position.

2. Their attire.

3. Their blessed rest.

IV. ITS ENGAGEMENTS ARE RAPTUROUS IN DEVOTION. "Salvation" includes restoration from ignorance to true knowledge, from impurity to holiness, from bondage to soul liberty, from selfishness to benevolence, from materialism to genuine spirituality, from the reign of wrong to the reign of right.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE REDEEMED IN HEAVEN ARE EXCEEDINGLY NUMEROUS.

1. We might infer from some passages of Scripture that very few persons would be saved.

2. We might infer from the present aspect of society that very few persons would be saved.

II. THE REDEEMED IN HEAVEN ARE GREATLY DIVERSIFIED.

1. The society of heaven will be greatly diversified. From all ranks and conditions in life.

2. The service of heaven will be greatly diversified.

III. THE REDEEMED IN HEAVEN ARE HIGHLY EXALTED.

1. They have access to the throne of God.

2. They have fellowship with the Lamb of God.

IV. THE REDEEMED IN HEAVEN ARE PERFECTLY HAPPY.

1. Perfectly holy.

2. Perfectly safe.

(J. T. Woodhouse.)

I. THE GREAT NUMBER OF THE REDEEMED. It is in the highest degree probable that the number of the redeemed will finally exceed the number of the lost. For consider —

1. The vast number of children that die.

2. The predictions of Scripture, that a time is coming when the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.

3. Jesus Christ is represented as ultimately to be a conqueror.

II. THE EXTENSIVE VARIETY OF THE REDEEMED. Every geographical barrier which now separates people from people will be swept away; every national antipathy will be extinguished, and every denominational peculiarity will be at an end.

III. THE BEAUTIFUL APPEARANCE OF THE REDEEMED. The white robe is an emblem of the moral purity which characterises the redeemed in heaven. Faith in Christ is the grand and the only specific for moral purification. Its efficacy is the same for men of all generations and of all climes.

IV. THE DELIGHTFUL SONG OF THE REDEEMED. The glories of God, as displayed in the works of His hand, will furnish the occasion of growing wonder and delight. Then, too, we believe that mysteries of Providence will be disclosed. And yet, glorious as will be the discoveries that God will afford of His works in creation, and of His ways in providence, it will still be "salvation" that will be the keynote of rejoicing to the Church triumphant. And who will be the objects of their praise? God and the Lamb.

(Charles Hargreaves.)

The vision of pent-up judgment begins this chapter; then the sealing and the ingathering. Our text is the result of the ingathering, as seen in heaven.

I. THE NUMBERS. "A great multitude, which no man could number." The three thousand at Pentecost were a large number, but this is greater. The hundreds and thousands, both in Judea and throughout the Gentile world, at Corinth, Rome, Ephesus, Philippi, and other places, were specimens of the great ingathering; but here we have the aggregate, the summing-up of all. Like Israel, they cannot be numbered for multitude; they are like the stars of heaven, or the sand which is by the sea-shore.

II. THE NATIONALITIES. Every people furnishes its quota to this great assembly; every tribe has its representatives here; every region, every colour, every language, every kingdom, every people, every age and century. It is the general assembly and Church of the first-born. Here all nationalities meet in one great heavenly nationality, without jealousy or distrust; all one in Him who redeemed them by His blood.

III. THE POSTURE. "Standing before the throne, and before the Lamb." They "stand." It is the posture of triumph and honour; "having done all, they stand" (Ephesians 6:18). Not bowed down, nor kneeling, nor prostrate, their erect posture indicates the high position to which they have been brought; and especially is this honour apparent when we see them standing "before the throne, and before the Lamb," in the very presence of the King.

IV. THE RAIMENT. They are "clothed with white robes."

1. It is the raiment of heaven (Mark 16:5; John 20:12; Acts 1:12).

2. It is the raiment of purity and perfection.

3. It is the raiment of triumph. It is given to him that overcometh (Revelation 3:5).

4. It is the festal dress. At the marriage-supper this is the raiment provided; the bride sits down at the table in the King's pavilion "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white" (Revelation 19:8).

V. THE BADGE. They had "palms in their hands." The palm is the symbol of gladness and of victory. Here it is specially used in reference to the feast of tabernacles, the gladdest of all Israel's festivals (Leviticus 23:40). The true feast of tabernacles, the memorial of our desert sojourn and earthly pilgrimage ended for ever, the saints shall celebrate in the New Jerusalem. The days of their mourning shall be ended; their everlasting joy begun.

VI. THE SHOUT. They "cry with aloud voice, Salvation to our God that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb."

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

I. HOW SHALL I BEGIN BY TELLING YOU OF THE NUMBER OF THOSE IN HEAVEN? One of the most impressive things I have looked upon is an army. Standing upon a hillside you see forty thousand or fifty thousand men pass along. You can hardly imagine the impression if you have not actually felt it.

II. THEIR ANTECEDENTS — "of all nations, and kindreds and tongues." Some of them spoke Scotch, Irish, German, English, Italian, Spanish, Tamil, Burmese. I suppose, in the great throng around the throne, it will not be difficult to tell from what part of the earth they came. In this world men prefer different kinds of government. The United States want a Republic. The British Government needs to be a Constitutional Monarchy. Austria wants Absolutism; but when they come up from earth, they will prefer one great monarchy — King Jesus ruler over it.

III. THE DRESS OF THOSE IS HEAVEN. It is white! In this world we had sometimes to have on working-day apparel. Bright and lustrous garments would be ridiculously out of place sweltering amid forges, or mixing paints, or plastering ceilings, or binding books. When all toil on earth is past, and there is no more drudgery, and no more weariness, we shall stand before the throne robed in white. On earth we sometimes had to wear mourning apparel — black scarf for the arm, black veil for the face, black gloves for the hands, black band for the hat. But when these bereavements have all passed and no more sorrow to suffer, we shall put off this mourning and be robed in white.

IV. THE SYMBOLS THEY CARRY.

V. THE SONG THEY SING. In this world we have secular songs, nursery songs, boatmen's songs, harvest songs, sentimental songs; but in heaven we will have taste for only one song, and that will be the song of salvation from an eternal death to an eternal heaven, through the blood of the Lamb that was slain.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

I. THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD IS THEIR STATION ABOVE: brought not merely to the same world in which their Saviour dwells, to the same kingdom, to its metropolis, to the palace, to the Court, but into the very presence chamber of the King, and stationed before His throne. Not that throne of grace before which on earth they bowed in penitence, brokenness of heart will then for ever pass away; not the throne of judgment around which they will gather at the last day, they will have passed from that; but the throne of glory — to behold God "face to face" — to "see him as He is" — not merely by an intellectual apprehension, but by the eyes of the glorified body. They "stood before the throne"; a word importing holy confidence, consciousness that they are welcome.

II. THE APPEARANCE OF THIS MULTITUDE.

1. Clad in "white robes" importing their complete justification and acceptance with God. We have only to look at the scene before us to see the indispensable necessity of the Divinity of Christ, to constitute the efficacy of the atonement. These two stand or fall together. If there be an atonement for sin, it must of necessity make way for as clear a display of Divine justice as well as mercy, in the salvation of the redeemed, as if they had suffered the penalty of their transgressions in their own proper person, and had sunk under their guilt down to the lowest hell. There must be an equivalent by the atonement, whatever it be. I do not mean a money equivalent; but there must be a moral equivalent. It would be no atonement if a way were not made for the manifestation of Divine justice, as clear and as impressive as it would have been if the whole redeemed had sunk under the chains of their transgressions. Look, then, to the redeemed, and think of countless myriads washed in the blood of the Lamb; and who must that Lamb be but, in another view of His nature, the Son of God, equal with the Father? But the expression imports another thing with respect to the redeemed: their entire sanctification. Their robes are washed in the blood of the Lamb; their sanctification is effected by the work of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is granted through the mediation of Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit uses as the means of our sanctification the great truths presented in the atoning sacrifice of the Cross; and therefore our sanctification is effected by the blood of Christ, as well as our justification.

2. "Palms in their hands." Heaven will be the sweeter for the power of contrast. We, in the enjoyment of victory, shall think of the conflict.

III. The number — "a multitude which no man can number." Add these things together — the fruits of the Father's eternal love, of the Son's redeeming work, and the Spirit's sanctification; think of the answer of the prayers of the righteous in every age who have wrestled with God for the outpouring of His Spirit: and then say whether the multitude will not be greater than can be numbered.

IV. THEIR VARIETY — "of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues." Various are the systems of Church polity, and the rites and the ceremonies and the usages, that distinguish and divide Christians now; and, alas! not merely for poor human nature, but for poor renewed nature — the party spirit, the bitterness, the strife, to which these differences give rise! But one heaven shall contain them all. Why cannot we be more one now since we shall certainly be one hereafter?

V. THEIR OCCUPATION. They are "before the throne." They are presented to us in an act of praise. The adoration of God, the service of God, fellowship with God, will be the felicity of the redeemed. We must never let drop that idea. We are to see God; "His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face." We shall see God in Christ. Such appears to be our eternal occupation, mingled with the other occupations in which we engage. Just look at the theme of their praise — "salvation." If salvation be little thought of on earth, it is much thought of in heaven; if it is the lowest in men's pursuits here, it is the highest in their enjoyments there. Think of the object of their praises: not only "God," but "the Lamb." What an argument for the Divinity of Christ! — that in the heavenly world He is presented as occupying the same seat of dignity, surrounded with the same worshippers, receiving the same homage as the Father! Look at the harmony of their praise. Iris one song. Yes, we shall be harmonised in heaven, if we are not upon earth. Notice, lastly, the rapture of their praise — "they sing with a loud voice." Hosannahs will be changed into hallelujahs. And that sung not with dulness, as we too often now worship God; not with coldness, as if our praises came from lips of ice; no, but with rapture of hearts too full to hold their bliss. The song will never cease and never tire. I have a question to ask you: Will you be there? Will you join that multitude? Will you swell that choir and anthem?

(J. A. James.)

I. WHO ARE THERE?

1. "A multitude." The region is not solitary. Once it was. The period was when God was all in all. There was the throne, and the great I AM sat upon that throne. But there was no world beneath it, and no multitude before it. And even after the sons of God were made, it was long before any of our race was there. When Abel found himself before the throne, he found no human comrade there. But thus it is not now. There is "a multitude" — so many, as to give the region a friendly look of terrestrial brotherhood — so many, that the affinities and tastes which still survive will find their counterparts — so many, that every service will be sublimed, and every enjoyment heightened, by the countless throng who share it.

2. A mighty multitude. "A great multitude, which no man could number." Not a stinted few — not a scanty and reluctant remnant; but a mighty host-like God's own perfections, an affluent and exuberant throng — like Immanuel's merits, which brought them there, something very vast, and merging into infinity.

3. A miscellaneous multitude. "Of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues." For many ages one nation supplied most of the inhabitants. But Jesus broke down the partition wall; and since His gospel went into all the world, all the world has contributed its citizens to the New Jerusalem. All kindreds and people are there — men of all aptitudes and all instincts — men of all grades and conditions. And there, suffused with sanctity, and softened into perfect subjection, we may recognise the temperament or the talent which gave each on earth his identity and his peculiar interest. Blended and overborne by the prevailing likeness to the Elder Brother, each may retain his mental attributes and moral features; and in the dimensions of their disc, and the tinting of their rays, the stars of glory may differ from one another.

4. A multitude who once were mourners. "These are they which came out of great tribulation." To live in a world like this was itself a tribulation — a world of distance from God — a world of faith without sight — a world of wicked men; but they have come out of that tribulation. To have had to do with sin was a terrible tribulation — from the time that they were first convinced of it, all along through the great life-battle, contending with manifold temptations — contending with their own carnality and sloth, their pride and worldly-mindedness, their unruly passions and sinful tempers: but they have come out of that tribulation also.

5. And they are a multitude who shall form an eternal monument of the Redeemer's grace and power. Such are the human inhabitants of heaven.

II. BUT WHAT IS IT THAT THEY DO THERE?

1. They celebrate a victory. They have "palms in their hands." They are "overcomers."

2. They serve God. Adoration at the throne, activity in the temple — the worship of the heart, the worship of the voice, the worshiper the hands — the whole being consecrated to God — these are the service of the upper sanctuary. Here a week will often see us weary in well-doing; there they are drawn on by its own deliciousness to larger and larger fulfilments of Jehovah's will. Here we must lure ourselves to work by the prospect of rest hereafter: there the toil is luxury, and the labour recreation — and nothing but jubilees of praise, and holidays of higher service, are wanted to diversify the long and industrious "Sabbath of the skies."

3. They see God. "He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them;" or, as in Revelation 22:4, "They see His face."

4. They follow the Lamb. "The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters." Even in heaven something of the mediatorial economy survives. Even where they see God, they follow the Lamb, and a close and conspicuous relation continues to subsist betwixt the Redeemer and His ransomed. He remains the Leader of His blood-bought company; and whilst He prescribes their occupation, He is the immediate source of their blessedness.

5. And — just to complete the glance — there are some things which there they never do. They do not want, they do not weary, and they do not weep.

(James Hamilton.)

I. The text presents the redeemed in heaven AS FORMING ONE BLESSED AND GLORIOUS SOCIETY. Man is formed for society, which not only furnishes some of his sweetest enjoyments, but is necessary to call forth the powers of his mind. Without it the best purposes of his being would be defeated; the benevolent principles of his nature would be rendered useless. His pleasures, from having no kindred soul to share them, would cease to please. Hence society is eagerly sought as essential to our happiness; but the pleasures which it is fitted to yield are greatly impaired by a variety of disagreeable circumstances, arising out of the imperfection of the present state. But it is otherwise with the society of heaven. There the honey is without the sting, and the rose without the thorn, and attachment and intercourse without any detraction or alloy. Their opportunities of intercourse are ample, and the pleasures which flow from it are of the purest kind. Here it is with difficulty that we can select from the crowd a few with whom we are disposed to unite in intimate fellowship; hut there are to be found all the great and the good who ever existed in the universe of God. Their intercourse is free and unreserved. The caution and concealment which we often find it necessary to observe in our correspondence with one another, are, amongst them, altogether unknown. One common principle of sympathy is diffused throughout the whole; and whatever each has to communicate finds a response in every bosom, and awakens a reciprocal emotion in every soul. Their attachment for one another is also sincere and ardent.

II. In the text the redeemed in heaven are represented as A SOCIETY OF VAST AMOUNT. Heaven is not to be viewed as a thinly peopled country, or a place of narrow and confined dimensions, containing only a few inhabitants. We are taught to conceive of it as a large and extensive empire, teeming everywhere with a happy and active population. When we think of the number who, during the long period of the Old Testament dispensation, lived and died in the faith of the Messiah to come — and of the still greater number who, since His coming, have believed in Him to the saving of the soul — the whole, taken collectively, will be found to be a countless multitude. To those who are now in the world of glory we must add the multitude who shall believe in the Son of God ere the gospel dispensation comes to a close; and then, who shall be able to calculate their amount?

III. In the text the redeemed in heaven are represented As COLLECTED FROM THE VARIETIES OF THE HUMAN RACE. Heaven is not the destined dwelling-place of any one class only of the human race. The gospel reveals a common salvation, and opens a path to heaven for all the diversities of the human race. Many have already "come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and have sat down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven"; and every day is adding to their number. No power shall prevent the universal diffusion of the gospel when "the time to favour Zion, even the set time, is come." Scepticism and infidelity shall find a grave. Pagan superstition shall pass away as the mist which rolls up the mountain's side disappears before the rising glory of the summer morn. Then "all the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Him: for the kingdom is the Lord's, and He is the Governor among the nations." He shall take to Himself His great power and reign.

IV. In the text the redeemed in heaven are represented AS IN THE IMMEDIATE PRESENCE OF THEIR GOD AND REDEEMER. Even in this dark and distant world the people of God enjoy His gracious presence. To them He manifests Himself as He doth not unto the world. He blesses them with the knowledge of His character, and with a sense of His love; but here they see Him only obscurely. They see Him through the medium of His Word and ordinances, as in a mirror, darkly. It is otherwise in heaven. There He gives displays of His glory, of which the Shekinah, the bright shining cloud in which He appeared of old in the holy of holies, was but a faint and feeble emblem. There He is beheld, not in the dim vision of faith, but clearly, as with our bodily organs we behold the sun shining in the firmament. Even in heaven it is true, that as to His essence, God will be for ever unseen and unknown. But there He manifests Himself by such external tokens as show that He is near. The beams of His glory are so diffused over all that happy land, that all its inhabitants have the clear and intimate perception of His presence, and a full and distinct consciousness of abiding in it. They feel themselves to be walking continually in the brightness of His face!

V. The text represents the redeemed in heaven AS DISTINGUISHED BY SPOTLESS HOLINESS. From all that was imperfect in their character here below; from all that was wrong in their temper or disposition; from all that was feeble in their love and devotion; from all that was displeasing to the view of others, they are entirely and for ever freed. They appear "without fault before the throne of God."

VI. In the text the redeemed in heaven are represented AS ENJOYING THE HONOURS AND BLISS OF A TRIUMPH.

(D. M. Inglis.)

1. There is nothing which is so distressing to an earnest man as the thought which sometimes rises in his mind, that here we are bound together in families and nations; that after death all such relations cease; that all becomes individual and solitary. If St. John's teaching is true, this teaching is false. The multitude that no man can number is a society. Their robes have become white, because every stain of selfishness has been washed from them by the blood of the Lamb. Their palms show that they have gotten the victory over those causes which have destroyed the unity of kindreds and nations here. There is no dull uniformity, no single tongue: but all is harmonious amidst diversity. In that company the one word which is connected with the Divine name is Salvation; salvation from the curse that men have made for themselves.

2. The sight of this multitude from every nation and kindred must have been a lesson to the missionary of that day, may be a lesson to the missionary of this, tending to abate his pride, but also — why do I say but, why not therefore: — his despair. He sometimes tries to console himself with thoughts of God's mercy to those who are ignorant, and have had no means of knowing better. But then he sees that the heathens among whom he goes are actually brutalised and corrupted; no tolerance of their religion can make that fact less appalling to him. And then, when he thinks how few can ever hear his preaching, how few can understand the sounds he utters, he begins to doubt if God has not deserted His own world. But it is not so. His converts may be few. He may have little power of making himself intelligible. But He of whom the missionary speaks, He who has sent him, has His ways of making Himself intelligible, has His ways of bringing people of every nation, and tongue, and clime, through much tribulation, to knowledge of the Lord who died for them and is ever with them, to a knowledge of His Father and their Father.

3. I am aware how easily a captious bystander, knowing nothing of the real anguish of a missionary, or of his real inspiration, may turn what I have said into an argument why he may be indifferent to the work, seeing it will be performed without him. In hours of unutterable sorrow, voices of consolation have come to you, you knew not from whence. In times of temptation, when your souls were balancing on the edge of a precipice, some old sentence has been brought back to you from the field of sleep, some house or tree has served to pour forth strange warnings or encouragements. Why may not those whispers have been borne from those who spoke them of old to the ear, not as now to the heart? Why may not elder patriots and martyrs be echoing Christ's own words in the ears of their brothers, in lonely dungeons which no friend in the flesh can approach, at the stake when no visible smile may greet them, when God's name is used to condemn them — "Be faithful unto death, He will give you the crown of life." And why may not these same be the teachers and evangelists of the lands for which they wept and bled below?

4. There is one thought more in connection with this subject which I dare not suppress. In the calendar of a great part of Christendom All Saints' Day is followed by All Souls' Day. We may remember that the angels of God rejoice over one sinner that repents, because God rejoices. We may be sure that He, without whom a sparrow does not fall to the ground, does not lose sight of a soul which He has made. We may be sure, therefore, that all saints care for all souls. Their affections, their powers of sympathy and blessing, are not limited as ours are by circumstances of time and space. They are limited only by that love of God, the height and depth and length and breadth of which they are as incapable of measuring as we are, but which flows forth to them, and in them, and through them everlastingly.

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

It is a refreshing thing to look away for a moment from the strife and uncharitableness of human systems and conclusions, each disposed to narrow heaven within its own pale and party, and to behold "a multitude, such as no man could number," entering by the gate into the everlasting city. But whilst we may justly rejoice in being able to appeal from human judgment to Divine, in having the authority of Scripture for not only assigning vast capacity to heaven, but for regarding it as the home of an interminable throng, we are to take heed that we lower not the conditions of admission, as though the entrance must be easy, because a great multitude shall be there. The great, the solemn truth remains, that "there shall enter into the city nothing which defileth," "neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the Lamb's book of life." And a glance at the context should suffice to keep down any rising thought that, because there shall be "a great multitude" in heaven, and, therefore, perhaps, numbers whom their fellow-men never expected to be there, some may find admission who have taken no pains to secure so great a blessing. So far from there being anything for you to reckon upon, ye who are not striving after a moral fitness for heaven, in the alleged vastness of the multitude which is to occupy heaven, there is much to admonish and warn you: if ye know nothing of the "great tribulation," of the warfare with "the world, the flesh, and the devil," ye may forfeit your places: but those places will not stand empty: "God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham"; and He will not be reduced through the want of faithful disciples to the admitting into His presence the rebellious and unclean. Yea, and over and above there being a warning to us in the fact that heaven shall be peopled to the full, even should we ourselves come short of the inheritance, is it not an animating thing to be told of all "nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," as contributing to the occupancy of the majestic abode? Oh, glorious society which shall thus be gathered from all ages, all ranks, all countries! There is beauty in diversity, there is majesty in combination. Even now it is felt to be an ennobling, inspiriting association, if the eminent of a single Church, the illustrious of a solitary country, be gathered together in one great conclave. How do meaner men flock to the spot; with what interest, what awe, do they look upon persons so renowned in their day; what a privilege do they account it if they mingle awhile with sages so profound, with saints so devoted; how do they treasure the sayings which reach them in so precious an intercourse. And shall we think little of heaven when we hear of it as the meeting-place of all that hath been truly great, for of all that hath been truly good; of all that hath been really wise, for of all that hath yielded itself to the teachings of God's Spirit, from Adam to his remotest descendant? But it is not merely as asserting the vastness of the multitude which shall finally be gathered into heaven that our text presents matter for devout meditation. We are not to overlook the attitude assigned to the celestial assembly, an attitude of rest and of triumph, as though there had been labour and warfare, and the wearied combatants were henceforward to enjoy unbroken quiet. "They stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands." Not that by repose we are to understand inactivity, for Scripture is most express on the continued engagement of every faculty of a glorified saint in the service of the Creator and Redeemer. The great multitude stand before the throne — the attitude implying that they wait to execute the commands of the Lord; and they join in a high song of praise and exultation, "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." No idleness then, though there is perfect repose. But rest, as opposed to anything that is painful or toilsome in employment — repose, as implying that there shall never again be weariness, exhaustion, difficulty, or danger, notwithstanding that there shall be the consecration of the whole man to the work of magnifying the Lord. What an attractive, what an animating view of heaven is that of its being a state of repose, as contrasted with our present state of warfare and toil — the white robe in place of the "whole armour of God"; the palm in place of the sword in the hand. For — let the course of the Divine dealings with any member of the Church be the very smoothest that is compatible with a state of probation, still, compassed about as we all are with infirmity, called upon to do many things to which we are naturally disinclined, which we can neither perform without painful effort nor omit without sinful neglect; exposed to temptations from the world, the flesh, and the devil — indeed it were hard to under. stand how any believer could often be other than "weary and heavy laden." It is not that he would give up the service of God, but that he would be able to serve God without weariness. It is not that he would be released from the struggle with corruption, but that he would have no corruption to struggle with, the final touches of sanctification having been given, so that he is "without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." And such a state of repose awaits us in heaven. There is another distinguishing feature of the heavenly state which may be gathered from our text. You cannot fail to observe that, though the great multitude is collected from all nations and tribes, there is perfect concord or agreement; they form but one company and join in one anthem. The redeemed are to constitute one rejoicing company. Nay, and the representation may almost be said to go beyond this. How are they to constitute this one company, associated by close ties, and joining in the same song, unless they are to know one the other hereafter? When Christ speaks of many as coming from the east and the west, He speaks also of their sitting down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. But this were apparently no privilege, unless they are to know these patriarchs. It argues a heart still bound up in selfishness, if it be little to us that, admitted into heaven, we are to be freed from all petty bounds and distinctions, and to form part of one close but countless community. The soul should be stirred within us as we think of patriarchs, and prophets, and priests, and kings — of apostles, confessors, and martyrs; of the illustrious, not by earthly achievements which too often dazzle by a false glare; but the illustrious in the fight of faith — and not only of the illustrious whose names go down in Christian biography, the precious legacy of age to age; but of that unknown, that unremembered multitude, the good, the godly, of successive generations, who, in the quiet privacies of ordinary life, have served their God and their Redeemer — for "he," saith Christ, "that overcometh shall inherit all things" — oh, I say, the soul should be stirred within us as we think of such an assembly, and hear ourselves invited to join it, and are told that we may have the friendship of each and every one in the interminable gathering.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Is not this a strengthening, elevating thought — this of that countless multitude which wilt one day stand before the throne? How often we are tempted to be out of all heart. The worlds seems so strong, and the Church seems so weak — Christianity itself almost a failure, unable to enlist the affections of men, at least of the men of this generation, impotent to contest the battle-field of the earth with the powers which are arrayed against it. Put away from you thoughts like these. They are the pleas of our indolence, the outcomings of our unbelief. They may be few here or few there! but let them all be gathered into one, and they will constitute an innumerable company. God would not be satisfied with less. He will have no solitudes, no vacant thrones in heaven, but infinite multitudes to be sharers in His blessedness, to declare to all creation and through all eternity the wondrous counsels of His love. And then what thoughts arise in the heart as we contemplate not the numbers only, but the quarters from which all these will have been gathered — from "all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues." Those who were divided here by all which could divide, who were separated from one another by immense distances of time, of space, of culture — barbarians to one another here — yea, those who were kept asunder by far sadder barriers than these, those who misunderstood, perhaps mutually anathematised one another, shall yet, being one in Christ, one in their faith and love to Him, stand together before the throne, and exchange the long alienations and miserable discords of earth for the blessed concords of heaven. Think, too, from other points of view, what a marvellous company will that be! Think of all that will be there, and — awful thought! — of all that will not be there. Not there many who have walked in the full blaze of gospel light, who, knowing much, have loved not at all; whose places, therefore, for there were places for them if they had shown themselves worthy of them, shall know them not; while there will be found in that wondrous company not a few who, amid much darkness, superstition, and error, have been true to the central truth of all, have clung to Jesus with full affiance of heart; and when it shall be inquired with something of wonder why this one or the other is so near to the throne, "He loved much," or "She loved much," will be the key and explanation of all.

(Abp. Trench.)

Looking through a large library the other day, I came upon an old collection of tracts, printed some two hundred years ago, and one of them, written by an Oxford professor, bore the wonderful title, "Moral reflections upon the number of the elect, proving plainly that not one in a hundred thousand, probably not one in a million, from Adam to our time, shall be saved."

(W. Baxendale.)

Salvation to our God... and unto the Lamb
The Christian Magazine.
The work of redemption by Christ fills the Church in heaven and earth with wonder, gratitude, and joy; "Salvation to God, and to the Lamb." God Himself rejoices in the work of redemption. When He made the world, He rested, and was refreshed — all was very good; when the scheme of His providence shall be wound up, He will rejoice in all His works; but He delights more in the work of redemption than in those of creation and providence; for these are only subservient to this illustrious display of Himself. The saints in heaven and on earth rejoice in the work of redemption, and praise God for it: "Salvation to God and to the Lamb." They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb; the wonders of creation, and providence, and grace. On earth the saints praise God with many imperfections. How can they sing the Lord's song in strange land? But they sing in faith, in hope, with sincerity, and with true gladness of heart. The same principle which influences the saints in heaven to rejoice in the increase of their own number, operates in the saints on earth, when Sion breaks forth on the right hand and on the left. They rejoice, therefore, when they hear that the Word of the Lord runs and is glorified over all the earth. The holy angels rejoice in the salvation of sinners by the Lamb (ver. 11). God reveals as much of His plan of grace towards sinners of Adam's family to the angels as fills them with wonder and love. They rejoice in this work, because they rejoice in God Himself as the author of it. The joy of angels in relation to the work of the redemption of sinners is continually upon the increase. They rejoice in the additions dally made to the glory of Christ — in the new crowns set on His head, the new victories of His grace over Satan and sin — the now evidences of the Divinity of His religion — and with the Church shall sing a new song, when nations are born at once, and a people in a day! The work of redemption is a proper foundation for joy. In heaven they sing for ever of it; on earth, all who know it admire and adore God who hath abounded in it in all wisdom and prudence. It is the chief of His ways. The work of salvation by Christ gives wonderful displays of God, and therefore is a foundation of joy and wonder. In this stupendous work of redemption God is seen as a God of infinite mercy. His mercy flows in the atonement of His Son, for He is a just God, as well as merciful, and a Saviour. The salvation of sinners greatly exalts the character of the Saviour. Each person in the Godhead has His own distinct part in salvation and His own distinct glory. The glory belongs to the eternal Three, but the Lamb is the chief subject of praise by the Church.

(The Christian Magazine.)

Heaven's worship is the worship of praise. Prayer Is not offered there. The ordinance, "Every one that asketh receiveth," does not extend to heaven. Heaven's tenants are always receiving; but they receive everything without asking. The spiritual discipline of asking is not needed in heaven. Complaint is not heard there; deprecation is not heard there; intercession is not heard there. God's attributes are celebrated in chant and song. If the spirits in heaven were disembodied there would still be worship; but it would be silent worship — worship in affection; worship in volition. But if corporeal form shelter human souls there, and the faculty of utterance be given to those forms, surely that faculty must be consecrated to the purposes of devotion. There are bodies, and there is utterance. The praise of heaven is common — not solitary. There are no mere listeners there — all worship. And this praise is melodious. It is not praise in common speech, or ordinary language. There is music as well as voice. There are harmony and melody. The celestial congregation do not speak praise — they sing praise. It is known to all, moreover, that the worship of heaven is neither localised nor limited to seasons. There is incessant worship. The worship of the Paradise regained corresponds with the worship of the Paradise lost. All the ground is hallowed; every day is a holy day; every hour a season of worship; and worship is always in season. Is it possible for us men ever to be engaged in this worship? What are the qualifications of redeemed men for the worship of the skies? Capacity, qualification even for the worship of the skies, is involved in all that constitutes your salvation; involved in your new birth; involved in the position which you occupy as justified before God; involved in your sanctification.

1. A saved man has a capacity for the worship of heaven in his personal holiness, and in the knowledge of God with which that holiness is associated. Born with a sinful nature, and going astray from the beginning of life, he could not always see God in himself. Conscience then was smarting; but the wound is healed. Memory was then burdened with a load of transgression; but that load is taken away. Sin in various forms had dominion in that heart; but the dominion of sin is for ever destroyed.

2. Glorified saints have ability to worship in ever increasing knowledge of God; for in all celestial objects God is seen, and seen in those objects more and more.

3. The saved in heaven are capable of celestial worship through the influence over them of superior spirits. Before redeemed men rank angels and seraphs; and rising above them are thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers. All these worship, and they excite, and they encourage the saved man to worship. To be silent would be to imprison his own heart, and to fetter his own mind.

4. The serenity, the peace of mind which characterises the redeemed is another element of power for worship. The peace of God — that quietness of soul which, as you know, is essential to the highest worship, to adoration and to praise — keeps their hearts and minds; and there is no confusion of mind, no perturbation of soul. The troubled sea is an emblem of an unpardoned soul; but a sea of glass is a symbol of the glorified spirit. Understanding, reason, imagination, conscience, emotion, will, are all in their place, performing with accuracy and vigour the functions assigned to them. Here is no intellectual dulness or obliquity, no misguided or misplaced affection. The harp is strung and tuned, every string perfect, and the tension complete. The voice is strong, and sweet, and clear: there is no harshness, no lack of melody.

5. The equal develop. ment of every spiritual faculty and grace increases the capacity for worship. Inequality in our spiritual development is a great hindrance to worship. Here we often see narrow minds, feeble hearts, weak faith, fickle love, wavering hope, or broken utterance. In heaven the development is like that of a full-blown flower, or of perfectly ripe fruit.

6. Conscious identity is another element of power. Into the "I am," and the "I was," the glorified Christian fully enters; and the contrasts prompt him to worship. "I was," he says, "in danger — I am safe. I was a criminal — I am a righteous child. I was a sufferer — I am now without a tear, without a sigh. I was poor — I have now an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away."

7. They have qualification also in the knowledge of all things with which they need to be acquainted. Many a matter that we have here called a mystery will there be fully explained.

8. A mighty power in worship is that of love — the love of gratitude and the love of complacency. We mean a deep sense of obligation to God, and a thorough joy in God.

(S. Martin, D. D.)

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