The Vision



John the human writer is our brother -This tribulation,
not the Great Tribulation, distinctions - The Kingdom and Patience - Force of
"In the Spirit" - The "Lord's Day" not the first day of the week - Akin to, but
slightly differing from, The Day of the Lord - What are the differences? - The
Sabbath, its significance and the Christian's relation to it - Opposite error
of confusing "The Lord's Day" absolutely with "The Day of the Lord" - Varying
powers of hearing - Is Heaven near or far? - What John sees on turning - The
ten dignities.

Verse 9-19. The

"I, John, who also am your brother and companion in the
tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the island that is
called Patmos, because of the word of God and of the testimony of Jesus. I
became in the Spirit in the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice as
of a trumpet saying, "What thou seest write in a book and send to the seven
assemblies, to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to
Sardis, and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea." John, the beloved disciple, first
tells us how closely he is related to us and we to him by the bond of a common
life. He is our brother. Is it not a precious thing to be one in a family with
such an one? John, Peter, Paul, are our brothers. Are we not, through rich
grace, "well connected?"

But next he lets us know the present lot of
this one family in the world. Not in Kings' Courts, nor indeed in the comforts
of earth, were these our brethren found. The earth has sent them along the same
path as their Lord, for here is the beloved disciple in close fellowship with
His Master, and so he calls himself our "companion in the tribulation of Jesus

But, beloved, permit me a word of warning here against a line
of teaching that would identify this with "the Great Tribulation." There is the
widest difference between them. The church's path, and, indeed, we may say, the
path of faith through all time, has been and ever is through tribulation. "We
must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." "In the world ye
shall have tribulation." No one would for a moment successfully dispute that
this is the normal portion of the child of God. From the first moment of
new-birth, we find ourselves opposed by the whole course of world.

there is no element of penalty in all this.. It is the "tribulation of Jesus
Christ." It is the path hallowed by His dear feet. It is marked by the
footsteps of all the flock through all ages of the past. But "The Great
Tribulation" is not only marked off as distinct from this by difference in
degree; but there is a radical difference in essence, in kind, in character. It
is not "the tribulation of Jesus Christ." It is the nation of Israel, as such,
receiving, under the righteous government of God on the earth, the retributive
penalty of its rejection of Christ, their true Messiah.

There was not
one element of penalty under God's government in John's being a prisoner in
Patmos, or Paul at Philippi or Rome, or Peter at Jerusalem. Far, far from that,
their hearts were joyous in the sense of their present perfect acceptance with
God; but that penal element which is quite lacking in these tribulations, will
be the prominent one in "The Great Tribulation ;" and the deepest suffering of
that awful time will be in the sense of the Hand of God upon the nation in its
sorrows. No comfort of the "fellowship of His sufferings" that cheered John,
will it have; whilst man's arch enemy, the devil, confined to earth, will, by
his supernatural malignancy, add unspeakable intensity to the persecutions
(Rev. xii). It is thus because God's holy Word distinguishes the Great
Tribulation, being peculiarly and characteristically (Jer. xxx :7) the time of
Jacob's trouble (and Jacob must surely mean rather Jacob's sons than the
church) - as peculiarly linked with Jerusalem and Israel's land (Matt. xxiv) -
as being different in character from the present afflictions of the church,
that the discrimination is necessitated; and that it is only by the rapture of
the heavenly people that God is free, as it were, again to take up His dealings
with His people on the earth.

Thus when a well-known writer, a strong
advocate of the 'Delayed-Coming theory,' says: "Side by side with converted
Israel, the church goes through the Great Tribulation to the end," he certainly
has not the slightest justification, for it is simple confusion. As long as
believers in the Son of God, whether Jew or Gentile, are "of the same body,"
and, in Him, cease to be either Jew or Gentile, there cannot be the two
distinct and opposite operations going on side by side. From the day of
Pentecost, as soon as a Jew was "converted" he really ceased to be a Jew (Gal.
iii :28), and although God's mercy lingered over Israel, so that offers of
restoration were made to the nation, and the doctrine as to church was not at
once proclaimed, yet converted Israel and the church have never, as yet, gone
on side by side. When will they begin to do so? At what moment will a Jew being
"converted," or new-born, be separate and distinct from another Jew; like Paul,
for instance, or Adolf Saphir; so that one believing Jew is a member of the
Body of Christ; and as such has his mind set on Christ and the things above,
whilst side by side with him another believing Jew, not a member of His Body,
has his thoughts on God's dwelling on the earth? 'What will cause this strange
difference? One "convert," or child of God, turns away from earth and looks for
deliverance by being caught up to meet His Lord in the air, and only prays for
his enemies, whilst at the same moment and side by side with him another
"convert," or child of God, longs only for God's "righteous judgments to be
abroad in the earth" (Is. xxvi :8-il), and only looks for deliverance by the
destruction of his foes! Surely there are many things "clearer than" this, to
use the words of this same writer, in the Bible!

But we are in the
"Kingdom" of Jesus Christ, a kingdom, however, not yet displayed. He has it not
in power and actuality yet. He sits not yet on His own Throne; but is still on
His Father's; and there, In patience, He awaits His Father's will as to the
tune of taking that kingdom. Oh, my dear reader, let us be very careful to make
no mistake here, it is vital to our whole view of life. The Corinthians were in
grave danger, for they were "reigning as Kings." They had forgotten that we
share the patience of the Lord Jesus, and the apostle adds "without us :" he
would have nothing of this world without Christ. We are in "the tribulation,
and kingdom, and patience of Jesus Christ."

We now come to a verse full
of interest. "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day and heard, behind me, a
great voice as of a trumpet" as the verse reads in our A.V. and R.V. Yet,
whilst thus supported there are a few differences that there can be no question
are permissible. For instance, there is no article before "Spirit." "On" may be
"in" the Lord's Day, and "was" may be equally correctly translated "became." It
is not the ordinary, normal, spiritual state of a Christian that is here
predicted; it is something abnormal. "I became."

What is the force of
the expression "en pneutnati" in Spirit. We have exactly the same form in Matt.
xxii. "How doth David in Spirit, etc.," where it is very clearly not his own
spirit, but the Holy Spirit, that is referred to; for so Mark xii :36 divinely
assures us. In i Cor. vii :34 it is equally clearly the human spirit. There
seems an intended indefiniteness about the expression; as if it might include
both the human spirit and the divine; the human spirit being caught up and
energized by the divine: the body is dropped, no longer is it the medium of
communication; the soul too takes a subservient place, and the spirit free, but
helpless by its own powers, is transported into other scenes by the Spirit of
God, who communicates to that which is now the man, the visions here related.
The 4th chapter is evidently in a way a new beginning analogous to this; there,
too, the same trumpet-voice speaks; there, too, the Seer becomes in the Spirit
and there, too, there is a movement, a change of place in response to the
invitation, "Come up higher." There was no movement of the body necessarily,
that was still captive in Patmos, but of the divinely-possessed spirit. Compare
c. xvii :3 and c. xxi :io.

So here the words "in the Lord's day" are
closely connected with "in Spirit." In the power of .the Spirit of God his
spirit is carried outside the region of physical sight or sense. He sees with
another eye now than with that of the body; he is in quite another surrounding.
Patmos with its persecution; man's day with its evil spirit in ascendancy is
gone; he is in the Lord's Day, where his Lord is all, where He is even now
"judging in the midst of the churches."

This brings us to the next
words "in the Lord's day." This must refer either to the first day of the week,
or is a practical equivalent to "the day of the Lord." It is, by the great
majority of commentators, taken to be the former. So many, and so worthy of
respect, are the names that can be marshalled in support of this - so very
early in the history of the church was the first day of the week called the
Lord's Day, that it is not hastily, or without hesitation, that one ventures to
oppose what Is so powerfully accredited. Yet, even if the truth depended on
human authorities, names might be given in support of the other interpretation,
that would represent neither poor scholarship nor inferior spiritual

A foundation truth for scriptural interpretation we have
taken to be this, the Spirit of God is here with us "to lead us into all
truth," and that thus even the "little children" "need not that any one should
teach" them, for "the anointing teaches them all things" (1 John 1:2) Nor is
this intended clearly to foster a proud spirit of independence of one another.
Far from it; but that we must not submit ourselves blindly to the teaching of
any, but cherish humble dependence on the Lord, and His Word, Which is in
itself quite able to make the man of God perfect.

And this is
important here. If we are dependent on ecclesiastical history, how many of us
could fulfil the injunction to "prove all things"? If, however, the Word in our
hands, and the Spirit in our hearts, give perfect competency, then indeed may
the youngest, or most ignorant, be preserved from mistake. If the "Lord's Day"
be the First day of the week, then of course it has little or no connection
with the words "in the Spirit." John must have been in the first day of the
week, in any event, apart altogether from the Spirit. It is a mere note of the
time, or day, on which these events occurred. Whether they suit that day, or
not, we will consider directly. Or it is stated as a fact worthy of divine
record that the aged saint was in a peculiarly spiritual state of mind on this

Thus, if these words mean our Sunday, then they would alter, and I may
say alter in a way utterly out of harmony with their unquestioned bearing in
chapter iv :5, the being "in the Spirit," which, in this case, would be little
more than a spiritual state of mind, instead of a "transport," as is, I am
assured, the literal force of the phrase. Nowhere else in the Scriptures does
exactly the same term "the Lord's Day" occur, so that we must judge of its
bearing from the context. Thus there is really little or no force in the common
objection that when "the Day of the Lord" as a dispensational epoch is intended
a different form of words is used: not "hee kuriakee hemera" The Lord's
Day, but "hee heemera tou kuriou," The Day of the Lord.

A fair
and complete answer to this would be that when "the first day of the week" is
referred to, not only a slightly different, but a completely distinct form of
words is used; it is always called "the first of the week" "tee inia toon
Sabbatoon" as Luke xxvi :1, and it is not unworthy of remark that this form
occurs exactly seven times, as if completing, in a perfect way, the references
to the Resurrection Day, and thus confirming the thoughts that no reference to
this day is intended here.

Surely the form of words "The Lord's Day" have,
in themselves, and apart from the traditional meaning we have attached to them,
greater affinity to "The Day of the Lord" than they have to "The First of the

Indeed it is difficult to see more difference be-tween "the
Lord's Day" and the "Day of Lord" than between the "fleshly lusts" of i Pet. ii
and "the lusts of our flesh" of Eph. ii :3. or than there would be between "the
Lord's Supper" and "the Supper of the Lord." Yet may there not be a reason for
the very slight o distinction in the form, even though both expressions refer
to the scene of the Lord's judgment. This, when displayed on the earth, is "the
Day of the Lord," the emphasis being on "day," as in contrast with the day of
the display of man's evil. But even now there is a scene in which the Lord is
judging - it is in His own House, where judgment must ever begin (i Peter iv,
Ez. ix), and in this scene it is even now the Lord's Day. From man's authority,
from man's persecution and injustice, John is transported to a day in which the
Lord alone is seen judging, as He soon will on earth. The differences in terms
may be intended to suggest these distinctions of scenes, or spheres of
judgment. But judgment it most clearly is, in both cases, as the contents of
our book evidence, and how perfectly this is in harmony with the meaning given
the words need hardly be pointed out.

But is the idea of judgment
consonant with the memories of that day in which He arose, the first of the
week? That is not a day of judgment in any sense, surely. That is, as it ever
was, a day in which He still reminds us of the Peace He has made, ever and
again calling our wandering eyes and hearts back to consider the cost of it in
wounded hands and feet, and the remembrance of His love for us in death. Not
one vestige of this do we see here in this glorious majestic Personage, before
whom, he, who had put his head so confidingly and with such holy intimacy, upon
His breast, falls as dead.

And, after all, the bearing of the context
is always of the first importance as a proof - it is the atmosphere in which
the true meaning alone lives. Tradition, and tradition alone, is against this;
and for those who reject unsupported tradition as authority; there remains
little or nothing to uphold any other interpretation.

But so
universally is the term Lord's Day identified with the first day of the week,
that whilst for the sake of a correct interpretation, and the bearing this must
have on our understanding of this book as a whole, I have given my convictions
on the point, yet I would not desire to be understood as contending against the
sense in which it is universally understood.

Our blessed Lord has
significantly enough marked this first day of the week as His own, in a sense.
On its first morning, before its sun had risen on His tomb. He had burst the
gates of that tomb, and brought a more joyous light than any natural sun could
give on our death-shadowed world, in "Life and Immortality." Ere its close He
had appeared again and again to His beloved flock; and He permitted the whole
week to pass before He again appeared to them on the next first-day. So the
book of the Acts tells us that the disciples were accustomed to come together
on the day thus marked off by their Lord, to break bread in the remembrance of
Him (Acts xx). Little wonder is it, therefore, if the term "Lord's Day" very
early began to be applied to it. Nor do I see any need to quarrel with such a

A more serious matter is the other name by o which it is also
known amone Christians, the "Sabbath." This, too, comes to us with its head all
hoary with antiquity, and decked with all the venerableness of religious
pretension, and on this account, making claim upon our reverence. To such
claims we must ever say, the Word of God is older still, and this must govern
our every thought with absolute authority. We are quite safe as long as we
prefer this to all mere tradition. My dear reader, turn to your Concordance
now, and note how many times, and in what way, the Word Sabbath is used in
connection with distinctive Christianity; that is, after the coming of the Holy
Spirit to abide with us. Just once and in this way. "Let no man therefore urge
you in respect of the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of good things to come."
Does that look as if the Sabbath were in existence, or a continuation of its

The Sabbath speaks of rest from work, and is certainly of
true value when it can be enjoyed with God i e., when He, too, can rest. But He
can only rest when "everything is very good." Thus He saw everything after the
six days' work; everything was exactly as it should be; there was nothing that
needed to be put right; no sin, no death, no sorrow, no pain, no groan, no tear
anywhere. He could rest. Thus He sanctified and blessed the seventh day, i. e.,
Saturday, so called, but not for long did He rest. Man's sin and sorrow broke
rudely into God's Sabbath, and He, in a tenderness we so little appreciate, has
never, from that moment up to the present, enjoyed any rest, any Sabbath. On
the contrary, as the Lord said when He had done some mighty work of kindness on
the Sabbath day, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," and as long as there
is a groan heard, or a tear-drop to be seen in any eye, God will not, can not
rest; or He would not be the God of love He is.

This has ever been the
contention between God and religious man, who would maintain his own
righteousness: man ever claiming that he could keep the Sabbath; the Lord ever
insisting that on all sides were proofs that this was impossible. Man claiming
everything to be "very good ;" the Lord pointing to sin and its consequences.
Aye, in order that the Sabbath might be maintained in its integrity, they
begged that the legs of the crucified be broken and their bodies taken from the
cross. It was thus that the last Sabbath was ushered in by man, religious man,
whilst God look-ing down on the earth to see if "everything was very good," so
that He might rest; saw His Son slain and His holy body lying in Joseph's tomb!
Was that "very good"? Can we, dare we, beloved reader, claim the Sabbath, in
any scriptural sense, now? Nay, nay, we look for one yet to come.

"There remaineth a Sabbath-keeping for the people of God ;" but it is not here
nor now. "Let us therefore labour to enter into that rest" (Heb. iv). And yet
as one so beautifully speaks, "In the work finished by the Lord Jesus Christ
God again rests, as in His works of old, with fullest complacency. This
finished work is altogether according to His mind. By the resurrection of
Christ the Father has said of it, "Behold, it is very good." It is His rest
forever; He has an abiding delight in it; His eyes and His heart are on it
continually. The work of Christ, accomplished for sinners has given God a
rest." Through mercy, the first day of the week has been given us when we may
be in freedom from earth's cares and occupations, and this privilege no
spiritual mind would undervalue for itself, or seek to diminish for others;
nor, whilst maintaining o the liberty from legal observances wherewith Christ
has made us free, would Christian love ever throw a stumbling-block before
saints who, in this day of confusion, are still bound by a conscience which
lacks light, to consider the first-day a Sabbath.

To return to our Book.
John the apostle, thus in the Spirit in the Lord's day, heard behind him a loud
voice, as of a trumpet; which speaks of majestic authority, expressed with
unmistakable clearness, every word understood instantly. Have you noticed how
moral or spiritual condition affects the hearing? The bodily ears of a company
of men may all be in the same condition exactly, yet when God speaks, some men
will hear nothing, some will hear a mere sound, yet not giving an intelligible
idea, whilst to others, every word will be simple and clear. In John xii the
Lord sent up a prayer to His Father, "Glorify Thy name ;" the response was in a
"voice from heaven," and some of the people "said it thundered ;" they could
distinguish no words at all: others caught something more intelligible, and
said "an angel spoke to Him," but to His ear every word was simple and clear.
Again, when He Himself, exalted to the highest glory, struck down by that
glory, Saul of Tarsus upon his way to Damascus, the men travelling with Saul
heard a voice, but not a single word did they catch. Yet had' they the same
ears, and were in the same external position, as he to whom every word was so

Aye, my brethren, heaven is near or far, within speaking
distance, or beyond the power of any voice to reach, or eye to pierce, as our
spirits are awake or asleep, alive or dead. Stephen, about to die, filled with
the Holy Ghost, needed no help to look into it as if it were beyond the
farthest star. To him the sight of heaven was very near and clear, but to no
one else in all that throng, nor would the most powerful telescope man ever
made have brought it one inch nearer to them. So when this glorious voice shall
be heard awakening the dead, not all the dead shall hear it, but those only who
are Christ's, and have become more or less familiar with it in life; nor shall
all the living see that wondrous sight of the rapture of His own to Himself; it
is a secret rapture.

So John is told to write what he sees in a book,
and to send it to the seven assemblies now named specifically. But John has to
"turn" in order to see what he is to record. He is not naturally facing in the
right direction. The voice is "behind" him. He has been looking on a scene
where the shades of declension and degeneracy were fast falling on the churches
as God's witnesses on the earth. He has been looking at the constant triumph of
evil; the strength of all that was of Satan, the apparent weakness of all that
is of God. Depressing enough is such a view of things, and he must "turn" to
see another sight, and it is this he is told to record, in order that he may
not alone have the comfort of it, but that even you and I, dear reader, if
grace opens our eyes, may see what he saw. But we must be, in some measure, by
the side of suffering John. He that is very near the world, basking in its
sunshine, will always be too far off to see these precious visions. Alas,
beloved, that our eyes are so world-filmed, and our ears so heavy; that is, if
I may be permitted to speak for any but myself.

Verse 12: "And I turned to see the voice that spoke
to me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lamps, and in the midst of the
lampstands one like (the) Son of man." What a change from the earth he had been
contemplating from the mines of Patmos. It was long since one had mourned
because "all they that are of Asia are turned away from me," and had told the
young Thessalonians that the "mystery of iniquity was already working." Here,
when turned, John looks on a scene of perfect order and beauty, and the
assemblies are all golden lampstands. But evidently the lampstands are only
referred to in order to give the surroundings, as it were, of that wondrous
personage who is "in the midst," i.e., the place of importance none must have
but One who is seen like unto the Son of Man." And this title "Son of Man" is
the first of ten dignities that John here sees upon Him. Yet it marks Him out
not merely man, but like unto the Son of Man. He has marks that no mere man
ever had, as we shall see. It is only in the guise in which He has suffered
rejection and humiliation that the Father has decreed He shall receive the
highest honour and glory, for it is written "The Father judgeth no man, but
hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son,
even as they honour the Father." "And hath given Him authority to execute
judgment also, because He is (the) Son of Man" (John v:22-23, 27).

title Son of Man so often taken by that blessed One is filled with
significance. It speaks of the grace whereby He became a little lower than the
angels, and it speaks too of His claim to take that kingdom which the first man
lost and which none of his sons has been able to regain. He is the One who is
heir to all that was given to man. As heir, He takes the name "Son of Man." He,
as such, has once more stood on the battlefield in which the first man was
defeated, and conquering, He binds the strong man, and spoils his goods. Yet
that we may have part with Him in that victory, He must suffer, and that
suffering has its double character, of an atoning work towards God for men, and
persecution and rejection from them. Thus it is, as Son of Man that He shall
yet be seen in His glory, and as Son of Man it is we see Him here with that
glory commencing in the judgment of His own house, which shall spread in ever
widening circles, till the universe is cleared of all that is opposed to God.

Second: "Covered with a garment
reaching to the feet." The nature of this garment is not given; nor indeed is
there any word for garment. It is, literally, "enclothed to the feet." The one
idea to be brought before our minds is the complete en-veloping of His body.
This is His dignity. Now His work is done. Not, as once, is He now seen with
garments "laid aside," John xiii. No longer are His loins girt for active
service. That is past; His robe drops in easy dignity to His feet. He is here
now, not to work, but to judge.

Third: "Girt about the breasts with a golden girdle." Why at the
breasts is He girt? Many years before this had that same John seen that same
beloved Person and also "girded"; but not with a golden girdle for He had work
to do; and then He girded Himself with a towel; symbol of lowly ministry of the
love that put Him even at the defiled feet of His people. What a striking
contrast now! A contrast upon which we may meditate to our profit. Then love
flowed out "to the end" following His poor saints in all their needs, and
meeting those needs; but now, His breasts are girt and with gold. Here in every
detail it is the dignity of His person that is expressed. As the girding of the
loins spoke of toil and work to be done, the breasts are expressive of
tenderness - affection - hence these seats of affections are now encircled -
held in by that which speaks to us of God's own holy nature. His affections are
there indeed, but they must only move now in the circle of divine holiness, of
which gold speaks. It is as Judge He appears, and not as ministering grace, but
seeing how the churches fulfill their ministry and calling them to account for
it. It is as if the priest were walking with the golden snuffers in the
sanctuary of old, and tending the lamp therein.

Fourth: "His head and His hair white, as white -as
wool - as snow." No priestly mitre, nor diadem of sovereignty, now adorn His
head, yet is He crowned with a mysterious dignity, that another o seer had
earlier seen on Him and recorded. If you will turn to 7th chapter of Daniel,
you will find "the Ancient of Days with the hair of His head like the pure
wool." Our Lord Jesus is then here the Ancient of Days, i.e., with all the
dignity of Age and that of an immeasurable Eternity. Not years or days of time
whiten His glorious Head, or are the measure of his wisdom or experience. Far
less is there a gray hair to speak of impaired powers through the sapping of
time. No, indeed, no. It is the glory of perfect holiness (white) only; and the
wisdom of Eternity that crowns Him! He is "the Word who was in the beginning
with God, and God." Can any question be too difficult - any problem too
intricate - for that glorious Head to answer or to solve?

Fifth: "His eyes as a flame of fire." How thoroughly judicial is
this figure. Those eyes that had been dimmed with human tears, how different
now! They are piercing, searching, all-devouring, unmerciful towards everything
that will not bear them as fire. They burn up "wood, hay, stubble." They spare
nothing opposed to holiness, light, truth. It is not time nor place, again it
is evident, for pity or compassion towards sin or sinner. He maintains, in
other character, the position of His true saints through all their weakness,
failure, and errors, but it is not mercy or love to allow those errors. He will
not. His eyes, as a flame of fire, insure the holiness of His people. No
darkness covers, no secret thought is hidden, from them.

Sixth: "His feet like white-hot brass, as if in a
furnace they glowed." Whilst the word translated "Fine brass" (in A. V.) is
difficult as occurring nowhere else in literature, one may at least safely see
in it, in connection with the explanatory words that follow, "as if they glowed
in a furnace," a bright glowing metal instinct in itself with life - that
inherent: principle, that so emphatically ever characterizes the glorious
Person of the Lord. He is never dependent on anything outside of Himself. He is
in Himself the Source of Light and Love. As in the transfiguration, His very
raiment not only doos not hide His glory, but itself glitters effulgent,
flashing forth light, justifying the touch of need and faith, which ever
discerned that His garments were affected by His Person. He gave them honour;
they gave Him none, as they do to us.

Brass,- or more properly copper,
to which His feet are like, is, as the hardest of metals, the symbol of
endurance. It resembles closely in appearance Gold, and said in one case to be
of equal value (Ezra viii :27) ; therefore, I judge, that it also figures His
divinity. The altar of Burnt-Offering was made of this metal, and so shadowed
forth that Him which alone enabled Him so endure the judgment of God. But here
it is not passive, but active, and therefore must speak of unyielding,
unflinching, irresistible judgment, alive and instinct with the essential glory
of His divine Person; and this further intensified by the accompanying idea of
the glowing furnace. Who or what can resist the treading down of such

Seventh: "His voice as the
voice of many waters." All must be in harmony with His majesty, and so that
voice that has been sung by David’s harp in the 29th Psalm, Jehovah’s
voice, is here heard outbalancing the murmurs of the seas, and all waters. It
is thus Ezekiel has told us of Him, "And behold the glory of the God of Israel
came from the way of the East, and His voice was like the voice of many waters"
(chap. 19 xliii :2). Surely all this tells us that it is no mere man here, but
Jehovah, like unto the Son of Man.

Eighth: "In His right hand seven stars." We will not
permit any diversion by asking what the stars mean; that will come up later.
Now it is solely the glory of Him who has this dignity, that we see; He holds
in His right hand all that gives light to the earth through the dark night.
They are supported alone by Him and are in His complete control. What strength,
what glory!

Ninth: "Out of His
mouth went a sharp two-edged sword." This shows how purely and intensely
figurative is every feature. He speaks, and that speech is the Word of God. Not
as the scribes does He teach, but with an Authority that is alone possible to
One who is Divine, and Himself the source of all authority. That Word is sharp
and cuts between soul and spirit. It explores the innermost recesses of
man’s complex being, and throws its light into the central chambers of the
heart. It is a divine glory!

"His countenance as the Sun shining in its power." Transfigured once again, but
not now temporarily, as on the holy mount, but forever in glory transcendent.
What a contrast with the day when that Face was blindfolded, smitten, mocked,
and spit upon!

Beloved, may I venture to ask if you have thought much
of this aspect of the Lord Jesus? We so naturally linger about what speaks of
His grace, His tenderness; suiting our present needs so well; but here it is
not the needs of the individual paint that are in view, and which He, in a
never-failing grace, meets; but the testimony of His churches in the world that
is before Him, and how different the character He bears. It does not contradict
the other, but balances it, as God is not only Love but Light (and this needs
equally to be taken to our hearts and consciences), so is He who is the exact
expression of God. He is not here in that tender character so fully in harmony
with the "first day of the week ;" but in all the glorious, holy, judicial
dignity that conforms to "the Lord’s Day." May we behold Him thus, for the
Name of the "Son born," the "Child given," is "Wonderful, Counsellor, The
Mighty God, The Father of Eternity, The Prince of Peace."