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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Revelation 15

 

 

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Verse 1

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.

The seven last plagues - `seven plagues the last.'

Is filled up - `was consummated:' prophetic past for the future, the future being to God as though past, so sure of accomplishment is His word. This is the summary of the vision that follows: the angels do not actually receive the vials until Revelation 15:7; but here, by anticipation, they are spoken of as having them. There are no more plagues until the Lord's coming in judgment. The destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18:1-24) is the last: then (in Revelation 19:1-21.) He appears.


Verse 2

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, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Sea of glass - answering to the molten sea or great brasen laver between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, for purifying the priests: typifying the baptism with water and the Spirit of all made kings and priests unto God.

Mingled with fire - answering to the baptism with fire, i:e., fiery trial (Matthew 20:23), as well as with the Holy Spirit, which Christ's people undergo to purify them, as gold loses its dross in the furnace.

Them that had gotten the victory over - `those (coming) off from (conflict with) the beast conquerors.'

Over the number of his name. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic, omit "over his mark." The mark is the number of his name which the faithful refused to receive, and so were victorious over it.

Stand on the sea of glass. Alford, 'on (the shore of) the sea:' at the sea. [So epi (Greek #1909), with the accusative, is used for at, Revelation 3:20. 'Standing' implies rest; epi (Greek #1909), with the accusative, motion toward.] Thus the meaning is, having come TO the sea, and now standing AT it. In Matthew 14:26, where Christ walks on the sea, oldest manuscripts have the genitive, not the accusative. Allusion is maple to Israel standing on the shore at the Red Sea, after passing victoriously through it, when the Lord had destroyed the Egyptian foe (type of Antichrist) in it. Moses' and Israel's song of triumph (Exodus 15:1) has its antitype in the saints' 'song of Moses and the Lamb' (Revelation 15:3 : cf. Isaiah 2:15). Still, "on the sea" is consistent with Greek; Cyprian and Vulgate support it: the sense is, As the sea typifies the troubled state out of which the beast arose, and is to be no more in the blessed world (Revelation 21:1), so the victorious saints stand on it, under their feet (as the woman had the moon, Revelation 12:1, note); now no longer treacherous, wherein the feet sink, but solid like glass, as it was under the feet of Christ, whose triumph the saints now share. Firm footing amidst apparent instability is represented. They stand, not merely as victorious Israel at the Red Sea, and as John upon [ epi (Greek #1909) with accusative] the sand of the shore (Revelation 13:1), but upon the sea itself, now firm, and reflecting their glory as glass: past conduct shedding the brighter luster on their present triumph. The happiness is heightened by retrospect of danger through which they have passed. So Revelation 7:14-15.

Harps of God - in the hands of these heavenly virgins (Revelation 14:4), infinitely surpassing the timbrels of Miriam and the Israelitesses.


Verse 3

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

The song of Moses ... and ... the Lamb. The New Testament song which the Lamb shall lead, "the Captain of our salvation" (as Moses was leader of Israel), and in which those who conquer through Him (Romans 8:37) join (Revelation 12:11), is antitype to the triumphant Old Testament song of Moses and Israel at the Red Sea, (Ex

15.) The Old and New Testament churches are essentially one in conflicts and triumphs. The two appear joined in this phrase, as in the "twenty-four elders." Isaiah 12:1-6 foretells the song of the redeemed (Israel foremost) after the antitypical exodus and deliverance at the Egyptian sea. The passage through the Red Sea under the pillar of cloud was Israel's baptism, to which the believer's baptism in trials corresponds (1 Corinthians 10:1). The elect after their trials (especially those from the beast) shall be taken up before the vials of wrath be poured on the breast and his kingdom. So Noah and his family were taken out of the doomed world before the deluge; Lot out of Sodom before its destruction; the Christians escaped by a special interposition of Providence to Pella, before the destruction of Jerusalem. As the pillar of cloud and fire interposed between Israel and the Egyptian foe, so that Israel safely landed on the opposite shore before the Egyptians were destroyed, so the Lord, coming with clouds and in flaming fire, shall first catch up His elect people "in the clouds to meet Him an the air," then shall with fire destroy the enemy. The Lamb leads the song in honour of the Father amidst the great congregation (Psalms 22:25). This is the "new song," Revelation 14:3. The singular victors are the 144,000 of Israel, "the first-fruits," and the "harvest" of the Gentiles.

Servant of God - (Exodus 14:31; Numbers 12:7.) The Lamb is more: He is the SON (Hebrews 3:5-6).

Great and marvelous are thy works ... Part of Moses' last song. God's vindication of His justice, that He may be glorified, is His grand end. Hence, His servants again and again dwell upon this (Revelation 14:7; Revelation 19:2; Proverbs 16:4; Jeremiah 10:10; Daniel 4:37). Especially at the judgment (Psalms 1:1-6; Psalms 145:17).

Saints. A B, Coptic, Cyprian, read, 'of the NATIONS' 'Aleph (') C, 'of the ages;' so Vulgate and Syriac. The point at issue in the Lord's controversy with the earth is, whether He, or Satan's minion, the beast, is 'King of the nations;' here, at the eve of judgments descending on the kingdom of the beast, the transfigured saints hail Him as 'King of the nations' (Ezekiel 21:27).


Verse 4

Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Who shall not - `Who is there but must fear thee?' Compare Moses' song, Exodus 15:14-16, on the fear which God's judgments strike into the foe.

Thee. So 'Aleph ('), Syriac; but A B C, Vulgate, Cyprian, reject "thee."

All nations shall come. Alluding to Psalms 22:27-31 : cf. Isaiah 66:23; Jeremiah 16:19. The conversion of all nations shall be when Christ shall come, and not until then; the first moving cause will be Christ's manifested judgments preparing all hearts for receiving Christ's mercy. He shall effect by His presence what we have in vain tried to effect in His absence. The present preaching of the Gospel is gathering out the elect remnant; meanwhile "the mystery of iniquity" is at work, and will at last come to its crisis: then shall judgment descend on the apostates at the harvestend of the age (Matthew 13:39-40), when the tares shall be cleared out of the earth, which thenceforward becomes Messiah's kingdom. The confederacy of apostates against Christ becomes, when overthrown with fearful judgments, the very means, in God's overruling providence, of preparing the nations not joined in the anti-Christian league to submit themselves to Him.

Judgments - `righteousness.'

Are - `were:' the prophetic past for the immediate future.


Verse 5

And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:

So Revelation 11:19 : cf. Revelation 16:17. 'The tabernacle of the testimony' appropriately comes to view, where God's faithfulness in avenging His people with judgments on their foes is set forth. We need a glimpse within the Holy Place to "understand" (Daniel 10:14) the secret spring and the end of God's righteous dealings.

Behold. So Vulgate; but omitted by 'Aleph (') A B C, Syriac, Andreas.


Verse 6

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.

Having. So 'Aleph (') B but A C, 'who have:' not that they had them yet (cf. Revelation 15:7), but by anticipation described according to their office.

Linen. So B 'Aleph ('), 'linens;' but A C, Vulgate [ lithon (Greek #3037)], 'a stone.' The principle, that the harder reading is least likely to be an interpolation, favours 'a stone pure, (and is omitted in 'Aleph (') A B C, Andreas) brilliant' [ lampron (Greek #2986)], probably the diamond (cf. Acts 1:10; Acts 10:30).

Golden girdles - resembling the Lord (Revelation 1:13).


Verse 7

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.

One of the four beasts - `living creatures.' The presentation of the vials to the angels by one of their living creatures implies the Church's ministry as medium for manifesting to angels the glories of redemption (Ephesians 3:10).

Vials - `bowls:' a broad shallow cup. The breadth in their upper part would cause their woe-contents to pour out all at once, with overwhelming suddenness.

Full of the wrath. How sweetly the full of odours - i:e., incense-perfumed prayers of saints-contrast (Revelation 8:3-4).


Verse 8

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.

Temple was filled (Isaiah 6:4 : cf. Exodus 40:34; 2 Chronicles 5:14) - the earthly temple, of which this is antitype.

The glory of God, and ... power - then fully manifested.

No man was able to enter into the temple - because of God's manifested glory and power during these judgments.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 15:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-15.html. 1871-8.

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