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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

Revelation 15

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

REVELATION CHAPTER 15

Revelation 15:1 The seven angels with the seven last plagues.

Revelation 15:2-4 The song of them which overcome the beast.

Revelation 15:5-8 This seven angels receive the seven golden vials full

of the wrath of God.

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous; that is, a representation which appeared to John great and wonderful.

Seven angels; ministers of God, used by him in the dispensations of his providence.

Having the seven last plagues; having a commission to execute the seven last judgments of God, by which he designed to destroy antichrist.

For in them is filled up the wrath of God; for by them the wrath of God was to be executed upon him to the uttermost.


Verse 2

This sea of glass (as our learned More thinks) hath either an allusion to the sea of glass like unto crystal, reflected upon by the lamps of fire burning before the throne, Revelation 4:5,6, or to the waters of the Red Sea congealed (while the Israelites passed over) reflected upon by the pillar of fire. Others make it the church gathered out of all nations, said to be of glass, because of its splendour and glory. Others make it to signify the world, which is said to be of glass, to let us understand God seeth through it. It seemeth to me to signify heaven; for it is mentioned as the place of the glorified saints, who had overcome all temptations to idolatry, either from pagans, (which were the beast), or from antichrist and his party, (which are called the image of the beast), and had avoided all kind of compliance with them in profession of the religion which he would endeavour to impose upon them.

Harps of God signify either the most excellent harps, or holy harps. Mr. Forbes saith well, they signify hearts tempered with joy, and love, and a grateful sense of the mercies of God towards them.


Verse 3

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God; the song which Moses sang upon God’s delivery of the Israelites from the danger of Pharaoh, which we have, Exodus 15:1-27; not that they sang those words, but to the same sense.

And the song of the Lamb; a song to the honour of Christ, to the same sense that Moses sang, and upon a much like occasion.

Saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; admiring the greatness and marvellousness of what God had done in their deliverance, and giving him the glory of his Almighty power.

Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints; acknowledging, that all the acts of his providence were both just, God in them giving to every one their due, and true, God by them but justifying his promises and threatenings. These words are taken out of Psalms 145:17.


Verse 4

Acknowledging, that for this God deserved to be worshipped and served by all the world, because of his holiness, much seen in the justice and truth of his ways; declaring their faith and hope, that now all nations should own and acknowledge Christ, and be subject unto him, now that his judgments upon antichrist, and his justice in all his dispensations, was made so evident to the world.


Verse 5

Here is a plain allusion to the Jewish tabernacle or temple, in which was the holy place, and the holy of holies; into the latter the high priest only entered. There were kept in the ark the two tables of God’s law, often called the testimonies of God. From this

tabernacle of the testimony proceeded God’s oracles, there God gave answers from the mercy-seat, and therefore in the Book of Kings it is called the oracle. The sense some put upon this is: That God here showed unto his prophet the liberty that should be, after the downfal of antichrist, to preach the gospel. But in this sense it must be an anticipation of what orderly should have come in after the pouring out of the vials: I had rather understand it of God’s being now about to give out an answer to his people’s prayers for a deliverance from the tyranny of antichrist; as the place called the oracle in the Jewish temple was opened when the high priest had been inquiring of God, to give an account of the answer he had.


Verse 6

And the seven angels; the seven ministers of God’s vengeance on antichrist, to whom the vials were given.

Came out of the temple; that is, out of the tabernacle of the testimony; for in Moses’s tabernacle there was only this inward court for the priests, the people worshipped without. They came (as the high priest was wont) out of the oracle to bring God’s answer to all his saints’ prayers.

Having the seven plagues: the answer was seven plagues, that is, that God had employed them to bring seven plagues successively upon the antichristian party, and all the enemies of his church, till by them they should be consumed.

Clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles; these angels came in the habit of high priests, when they went in to inquire of God, or came out with an answer from God.


Verse 7

And one of the four beasts; one of those four beasts round about the throne, Revelation 4:6.

Gave unto the seven angels; the seven angels mentioned Revelation 15:6.

Seven golden vials: a vial is a plain pot or glass with a wide mouth, used to drink in: these were

full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. The meaning is no more than that the seven angels, before mentioned, were commissioned from God, by one plague after another, to bring antichrist to his ruin.


Verse 8

And the temple; that is, the church, as temple most ordinarily signifieth in this book.

Was filled with smoke: by smoke, doubtless, is meant confusions and troubles.

From the glory of God, and from his power; caused by God’s glorious manifestation of his power, in bringing antichrist to ruin, who had so twisted his interest with that of the civil magistracy in several kingdoms, that there was no rooting him out, without a terrible shaking of all those parts of the earth where he set his foot.

And no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled; so as no part of the church could be at rest until God had fulfilled his ruin by these plagues: nor must any quiet state of the church be expected, until this great work be effected.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 15:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-15.html. 1685.

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