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A Brief Commentary On The Apocalypse by Sylvester Bliss

The Tabernacle of God with Men.

|And I heard a loud voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them, even their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said, Write, for these words are faithful and true. And he said to me, It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him, who thirsteth, from the fountain of the water of life freely. He, who overcometh, will inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he will be my son. But the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, will have their part in the lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.| Rev.21:3-8.

The utterances of the |great voice out of heaven| are not what John saw, but are what he heard; and are therefore to be interpreted, not by the laws of symbols, but by those of tropes and literal language.

The |tabernacle of God with men| is explained in the same connection to be his |dwelling with them.|

|When our Saviour was incarnate, and vouchsafed to dwell amongst the children of men, the same phrase is used by this same author, Eskeenoose (John 1:14), 'The Word was made flesh, and tabernacled amongst us: and we beheld his glory,' etc. We read it, he dwelt amongst us: but rendered more closely, it is, he set his tabernacle amongst us. And that which the Hebrews call the Shekinah, or divine presence (Maimon, Mor. Nev. par.1, chap.25), comes from a word of the like signification, and found with the Greek word here used. Therefore there will be a Shekinah in that kingdom of Christ.| -- Tho. Burnett.

When Israel first entered the wilderness, God entered into a covenant with them (Ex.19:3-8), in consequence of which he said to Moses, |Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them,| (Ex.25:8) -- the pattern of which was shown Moses in the mount; and when completed |the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle| (Ex.40:34), and there |the Lord talked with Moses,| Ex.33:9. Thus did God dwell among them while they were in a probationary state; but he indicated a more intimate connection with them, by promising, if they were obedient to his statutes in all things, that |I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people,| Lev.26:11, 12. This promise was not fulfilled to the Jews, because of their sins; but Paul quotes it (2 Cor.6:16), and applies it as a promise still to be made good to the church of Christ. Thus, the |Word| that |was God,| who was made flesh and tabernacled among us at his incarnation, is again to come and dwell with us in his human tabernacle, as at his first advent. Then will God enter into a new covenant with his people, as he has said: |Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord; but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more,| Jer.31:31-34.

As the saints, before the resurrection of |the rest of the dead,| |reign with Christ 1000 years,| (20:4); it follows that during that period the tabernacle of God is with men, when he dwells among them, which is an additional evidence that |the restitution of all things| (Acts 3:21) is at the commencement of the millennium.

This is a tearless state -- all tears being then wiped from every eye. Isaiah predicted, when |He will swallow up death in victory,| that |the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces: and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation,| Isa.25:8, 9. The commencement of the tearless state is thus placed by Isaiah at the resurrection, and at the appearance of Christ; which is confirmed by Paul, in his inspired commentary on the same, who affirms that at the last trump, |when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory,| 1 Cor.15:54. This state was also promised to the entire company |which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,| Rev.7:14-17.

There shall then |be no more death| -- for that |last enemy shall be destroyed| (1 Cor.15:26), and there shall be nothing to |hurt nor destroy, in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.| Death will have been swallowed up in victory, (Isa.25:8) -- the redeemed having been ransomed |from the power of the grave,| Hos.13:14. |Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection,| Luke 20:36.

After the destruction of death, there shall be |neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.| This was to be when |the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away,| Isa.35:10. And one of these songs was to be: |Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue, and people and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth,| Rev.5:9,10.

Then, everything which distinguishes the present world from that, will have passed away; for all things will be created anew. These words, uttered by Him who is the |Alpha and Omega,| are no rhetorical flourishes, nor mere figures of speech, but contain the exact and literal truth, and are not to be set aside as unmeaning figures. For He who sat upon the throne has declared: |These words are true and faithful.| Faithful is He who hath promised, and he will surely make good his words -- bestowing on the righteous the inheritance of all things; and on the wicked, their fearful doom.

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