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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Revelation 15

 

 

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Introduction

Revelation 15, 16. The Seven Bowls.—This new cycle of catastrophes is parallel to the seals and the trumpets. Ch. 15 is introductory, and simply sets the stage for this new movement in the drama.


Verses 1-8

Revelation 15:1-8. The Preparation for the Vision of the Bowls.

Revelation 15:1. which are the last: an indication that we are nearing the end of the tragedy.

Revelation 15:2. Before the plagues are poured out from the bowls we have a new vision of heaven and the triumphs of the redeemed.—glassy sea: cf. Revelation 4:6.—mingled with fire: this addition to the description of the heavenly sea is difficult to explain. "The crystal light of the sea of glass is reddened as by fire," and "The red glow on the sea spoke of the fire through which the martyrs passed, and yet more of the wrath about to fall upon the world which had condemned them" (Swete). This seems to be the only possible explanation. The lurid light of the coming judgment was reflected in the sea of glass. [There may, however, be no symbolism intended. The writer may use features in his description suggested by physical phenomena, in this case by the sunset on a still sea or lake. Details in these descriptions are perhaps not to be pressed any more than details in parables.—A. S. P.]—victorious from the beast: i.e. those who had refused to worship the Emperor and suffered martyrdom in consequence.—the number of his name: i.e. 666 (cf. Revelation 13:18).

Revelation 15:3. the song of Moses: the song of triumph after the passage of the Red Sea which is given in Exodus 15.—the song of the Lamb: the new song of the redeemed. The character of this song is rather surprising. We should have expected a reference to the martyrs and certainly an allusion to the Lamb. Swete suggests that "In the presence of God the martyrs forget themselves, and their thoughts are absorbed by the new wonders that surround them . . . they begin to see the great issue of the world-drama, and we hear the doxology with which they greet their first unclouded vision of God."

Revelation 15:5. the tabernacle of the testimony: Revelation 11:19*. Both in Hebrews and the Apocalypse the Tabernacle, rather than the later Temple, is the symbol of the Divine presence.

Revelation 15:6. the seven angels . . . plagues: see ch. 16.arrayed with precious stones: there is an interesting variation in the Gr. text here which accounts for the difference between AV and RV. The difference is explained by the fact that the Gr. words for "linen" (linon) and "precious stone" (lithon) are spelt exactly alike with the exception of a single letter, and might be easily interchanged. Authorities differ in their preference for one or other of two readings. Those who, with RV, adopt "precious stones" interpret the phrase by a reference to Ezekiel 28:13. [The RV is intrinsically so improbable that one would hesitate to accept it even if it stood in the autograph, were that accessible. No one who has had much experience in the extent of error that arises in copying or in writing from dictation will easily believe that any weight of MS testimony could justify the acceptance of a reading so incredible. Ezekiel 28:13 speaks of a number of stones, not of one, and Toy renders "adornment" rather than "covering."—A. S. P.]

Revelation 15:7. living creatures: see Revelation 4:6*.—golden bowls: see Revelation 5:8

Revelation 15:8. temple . . . smoke: based on Isaiah 6:4.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Revelation 15:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/revelation-15.html. 1919.

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