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A Brief Commentary On The Apocalypse by Sylvester Bliss

The New Jerusalem.

|And there came to me one of the seven angels, who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come, I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit to a vast and high mountain, and shewed me the holy city Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; having a wall vast and high, and having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written on the gates, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. On the east, three gates; on the north, three gates; on the south, three gates; and on the west, three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them, the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he, who talked with me, had a golden measuring-reed to measure the city, and its gates, and its wall. And the city lieth square, and the length is as much as the breadth: and he measured the city with the measuring-reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length, and the breadth, and the height of it are equal. And he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the structure of its wall was jasper: and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was a jasper; the second, a sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, a sardonyx; the sixth, a sardius; the seventh, a chrysolite; the eighth, a beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was of one pearl; and the wide street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.| Rev.21:9-21.

|And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb. In the midst of its wide street, and on each side of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit monthly, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there will be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it; and his servants will serve him: and they will see his face; and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no night there; and they have no need of the light of a lamp, nor of the light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they will reign forever and ever.| Rev.22:1-5.

Objects of great interest, of which only a passing glance was permitted in previous visions, are again and again presented, until their relative glory is sufficiently manifested. Thus the new earth was considered worthy of being the subject of a special vision; and now the Bride, the Lamb's wife, although before referred to, is again made the subject of a special vision, under the symbol of a city, explained to be the bride.

The descent of the city, to harmonize with corresponding scriptures, has been shown to be at the commencement of the millennium, when those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb descend from the clouds of heaven, to receive |an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you ... ready to be revealed in the last time,| 1 Pet.4:5.

|The glory of the Lord,| which is the light of the city, is explained to be |the Lamb| (21:23), which |is the light thereof.| |In him was life, and the life was the light of men.| |That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,| John 1:4, 9. In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:9), so that as the Holy Shekineh illumined the pathway of ancient Israel, the nations of the redeemed will walk in the light of His glory.

The gates of the city correspond with the number of the tribes of Israel; and the |names of the apostles| are in its foundations. Thus Paul affirms that the |fellow citizens| of |the household of God| are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, Eph.2:20.

The dimensions of the city are in length equal to the breadth -- and 1500 miles in circumference, or 375 miles square. The length is in all parts equal; and so is the breadth, and the height, -- the latter being 216 feet.

Its splendor is fully equal to all that inspiration has recorded respecting those on whom the Lord will have |everlasting kindness;| and to whom he saith: |O thou afflicted, tossed with the tempest, and not comforted! behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee,| Isa.54:11-14. |Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation; I the Lord will hasten it in his time,| Isa.60:11-22.

O scenes surpassing fable, and yet true,
Scenes of accomplish'd bliss! which who can see,
Though but in distant prospect, and not feel
His soul refresh'd with foretaste of the joy?
Rivers of gladness water all the Earth,
And clothe all climes with beauty. The reproach
Of barrenness is past. The fruitful field
Laughs with abundance; and the land, once lean,
Or fertile only in its own disgrace,
Exults to see its thistly curse repeal'd.
The various seasons woven into one,
And that one season an eternal spring,
The garden fears no blight, and needs no fence;
For there is none to covet: all are full.
The lion, and the libbard, and the bear,
Graze with the fearless flocks; all bask at noon
Together, or all gambol in the shade
Of the same grove, and drink one common stream.
Antipathies are none. No foe to man
Lurks in the serpent now: the mother sees,
And smiles to see, her infant's playful hand
Stretch'd forth to dally with the crested worm,
To stroke his azure neck, or to receive
The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue.
All creatures worship man, and all mankind
One Lord, one Father. Error has no place;
That creeping pestilence is driv'n away:
The breath of Heav'n has chas'd it. In the heart
No passion touches a discordant string,
But all is harmony and love. Disease
Is not: the pure and uncontaminate blood
Holds its due course, nor fears the frost of age.
One song employs all nations; and all cry,
|Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain for us!|
The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks
Shout to each other, and the mountain-tops
From distant mountains catch the flying joy;
Till, nation after nation taught the strain,
Earth rolls the rapturous Hosanna round.
Behold the measure of the promise fill'd!
See Salem built, the labor of a God!
Bright as a sun the sacred city shines:
All kingdoms and all princes of the Earth
Flock to that light; the glory of all lands
Flows into her; unbounded is her joy,
And endless her increase. Thy rams are there,
Nebaioth, and the flocks of Kedar there:
The looms of Ormus, and the mines of Ind,
And Saba's spicy groves, pay tribute there.
Praise is in all her gates; upon her walls,
And in her streets, and in her spacious courts,
Is heard salvation. Eastern Java there
Kneels with the native of the farthest west;
And AEthiopia spreads abroad the hand,
And worships. Her report has travel'd forth
Into all lands. From ev'ry clime they come
To see thy beauty, and to share thy joy,
O Sion! an assembly such as Earth
Saw never, such as Heav'n stoops down to see.
Thus Heav'nward all things tend. For all were once
Perfect, and all must be at length restor'd,
So God has greatly purpos'd: who would else
In his dishonor'd works himself endure
Dishonor, and be wrong'd without redress.
Haste then, and wheel away a shatter'd world,
Ye slow-revolving seasons! we would see
(A sight to which our eyes are strangers yet)
A world that does not dread and hate his laws,
And suffer for its crime; would learn how fair
The creature is, that God pronounces good,
How pleasant in itself what pleases him. -- Cowper.

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