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Song of Solomon
Revelation 15 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)
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And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
And I saw another sign in heaven.
The last time we had this expression was in
, where the history of the war between Satan and the Church was begun. Once more we have a new departure, the seer again, as it were, returning to the beginning? in order to trace the course of the punishments inflicted on men for their worship of the devil.
. gives a short summary of this, which is expanded in
; and it is introduced, as usual, by a vision of the saints in glory, in order to comfort and support the Christian in his warfare (cf.
Revelation 6:1, 2
Revelation 14:1-5, 13
). The "sign" is what is described in the following account. "In heaven" probably merely means in a conspicuous position (cf.
Great and marvellous.
On account of the terrible nature of the events depicted.
Seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God;
seven angels having seven plagues, the last
, because in them is finished the wrath of God.
The seer describes what he sees subsequently, as if all the actors were present at one moment. In reality, he sees the actions of the "seven angels" in succession. The number
denotes the universal, all-extending nature of the plagues (see on Revelation 1:4; 5:1, etc.). They are the
plagues, because they lead on to the description of the final fall of the power of the devil in its various forms, and to the account of the last judgment of God and the eternal bliss of the saints in glory.
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark,
over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire.
"And I saw" indicates a new phase of the vision (cf.
Revelation 14:6, 14
, etc.). The
, either because of its pure transparent appearance, or on account of its consistency; the saints being subsequently described as standing on it. (For a full discussion of the meaning, see on Revelation 4:6.) The sea, the elders, and the triumphal hymns of praise are all characteristic of the vision in
Mingled with fire.
. it was described as "like unto crystal." The fire is an emblem of purity; the same idea is also conveyed by the "crystal." Fire is also a symbol of judgment, which is the theme of the song of the saints (ver. 4).
And them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God;
and them that come victorious from the beast and from his image, and from the number
, etc. Omit "and over his mark," according to all the best authorities.
, having harps.
(On "the beast" and "his image," etc., see on Revelation 13.) These victorious ones stand
(such, probably, is the force of
) the sea (see above and on Revelation 4:6). The "harps" are characteristic of the heavenly melodies (
). This multitude has been before described in
From his image
; that is, from the temptation to worship the
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous
thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true
thy ways, thou King of saints.
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.
Most probably the song of deliverance after the passage of the Red Sea (
.), to which this bears a general resemblance. Moses is called the "servant of God" in
and elsewhere. The song of Moses is also the song of the Lamb; the Old Testament and the New Testament Churches are one.
Saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty
, "And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them;" also
). This song, like that in
, is addressed to the "Lord God Almighty."
Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
The reading of the Textus Receptus,
, "of saints," is certainly incorrect. It does not appear in any Greek manuscripts, but was inserted by Erasmus to represent the
of his Vulgate, which word, however, is itself a corruption
, the true Vulgate reading representing
nations," is read in
, A, B, P, 1, 7, 8, 14. etc., An-dress, Primasius; while
, "of ages," is the reading of
, C, 95, Vulgate, etc. It has been conjectured that
(by itacism for
) has been confused with
. a parallel to the reading, " King of nations" is found in
, Hebrew text and Theodotion, but not LXX.: "Who would not fear thee, O King of nations?" which is very like the succeeding clause in ver. 5, especially in connection with the "nations" there mentioned. The title "King of the ages," or "eternal King," is applied to God in
1 Timothy 1:17
, and in the Book of Tobit twice (13:6 and 10), but seems unknown to the Old Testament.
Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for
holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
- Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy Name? Omit "thee." The latter part is from
(see on ver. 3). The former part contains the same idea as
, "Thy Name is great in might." Compare the similar ascription of praise to the beast in
. The following three clauses supply the reasons for thus fearing and glorifying God.
For thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest;
for thy righteous acts have been made manifest
(Revised Version). "Holy" is
. It is a word which is applied more particularly to human acts. Perhaps it is used here in connection with the manifest justice of God's acts before all nations; cf. the song of Moses (
), "Who is like thee, glorious in holiness," etc.? The three clauses supply the reason for fearing and glorifying God, as mentioned in the first part of the verse.
He himself is in his nature holy;
his sway extends over all nations;
the righteousness of his acts is now visible to all.
Afford adds, "Thy deeds of righteousness acted out towards the nations, both in the publication of the gospel and in the destruction of thine enemies."
And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:
And after that I looked, and, behold;
and after these things 1 saw.
The characteristic commencement of a new vision or portion of a vision (see on Revelation 4:1, etc.).
The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.
had its counterpart in heaven (
Exodus 25:16, 21
we have the reason of the title "tabernacle of the testimony" - a name which is common in the Bible (see
Numbers 1:50, 53
). The "temple" is the
, the inner shrine, the holy of holies which contained the ark of the testimony, which in
.9 is seen in connection with the judgments of God. Thence now proceed the angels bearing the plagues for men.
And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.
And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues;
there came out the seven angels that had
, etc. These angels are distinguished from the other angels only by the fact that they bore the seven plagues. These they have not yet, but they receive them directly after. The phrase is added here to distinguish the angels meant. These angels have once before (ver. 1) been described in the same manner.
Clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.
, "linen," is found in
, B, P, 7, 14, 97, Andreas, Primasius.
, [precious] "stone," is read in A, C, 38 (margin), 48, 90, Vulgate. It seems more probable that
is the correct word; for in no other place in the New Testament is
found except in
, where it signifies "flax;" while the ordinary word for linen, viz.
, is found in
Revelation 18:12, 16
, and Revelation 19:8, 14, as well as in
be the correct reading, the image is perhaps suggested by the priestly garments (cf.
). For the idea of "clothed in precious stone," the LXX. reading of
is usually quoted. We may refer also to the stones of the high priest's breastplate, and to the description in
And having their breasts girded with golden girdles
(cf. the vision of our Lord in
, and the priestly attire described in
And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels;
four living beings.
These, as representing life on the earth (see on Revelation 4:6; 5:9), are appropriately chosen as the medium for conveying to the angels the plagues about to be inflicted on men. This description is very like what is related of the cherubim - from which the idea of the living beings is evolved (see on Revelation 4:6) - in
, "And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out." (On the "seven angels," see on ver. 1.)
Seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth forever and ever.
; as showing the complete nature of the wrath of God (cf. ver. 1," In them is fulfilled," etc.).
; the characteristic of the heavenly things and places (cf.
, etc.), and which is also sometimes used of other things to indicate gorgeousness and unusual splendour (cf.
). (On "vials," see on Revelation 5:8, and compare with
, "the cup of his indignation.") Compare the expression, "who liveth forever and ever," with the possible reading of ver. 3, "thou King of the ages."
And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power.
The "smoke" suggests
the cloud, or Shechiuah, the symbol of God's presence and glory (cf.
the sign of God's active operation (
the token of judgment and calamity (
). All three significations receive their fulfilment in this place. And no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled;
should be finished
(Revised Version). Just as when God manifested his presence on Sinai the people were not allowed to approach, so here no one is allowed to approach the
, the dwelling place of God, while he is manifesting his judgments. The description is intended to convey an impression of the awful sacredness of God's presence. (For the explanation of the parts of this verse, see on previous verses.)
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