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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 15

 

 

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Verse 1

Revelation 15:1. And I saw a sign in heaven, great and marvellous — Such as fixed my attention, and will demand that of the reader: seven angels (doubtless holy angels) having the seven last plagues — Hitherto God had borne with his enemies with much longsuffering, but now his wrath will go forth to the uttermost. But even after these plagues the holy wrath of God against his other enemies does not cease, Revelation 20:15.


Verses 2-4

Revelation 15:2-4. I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire — It was before clear as crystal, (Revelation 4:6,) but is now mingled with fire — Emblematical of the judgments whereby God’s enemies were about to be devoured; and them that had gained — Or were gaining, as τους νικωντας rather means; the victory over the beast and his image — And not submitted to his tyranny or religion, having steadfastly refused, though at the expense of their property, liberty, and lives, amidst so many who were devoted to him, to receive his mark, and the number of his name

Expressions which seem to mean nearly the same thing; standing on the sea of glass — Which was before the throne; having the harps of God —

Given by him, and appropriated to his praise. And they sing, &c. — Like unto the people of Israel after their deliverance and escape out of Egypt, when, having passed through the Red sea, they stood on the shore; and, seeing their enemies overwhelmed with the waters, sung the triumphant song of Moses. So these, having passed through the fiery trials of this world, stand on a sea of glass, and, seeing the vials ready to be poured out upon their enemies, sing a song of triumph for the manifestation of the divine judgments, which is called the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb, because the words are, in a great measure, taken from the song of Moses and other parts of the Old Testament, and applied in a Christian sense; but chiefly because Moses was the minister and representative of the Jewish Church, as Christ is of the church universal: therefore it is also termed, the song of the Lamb. Saying, Great and marvellous are thy works — We acknowledge and know that all thy works, in and toward all the creatures, are great and wonderful; just and true are thy ways — With all the children of men, good and evil. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord — Stand in awe of thee, revere thy justice and thy power, and fear to offend thee; and glorify thy name — Honour and praise, love and serve thee; for thou only art holy — And in thy presence the holiness of all other beings disappears, as utterly unworthy to be mentioned. Or, as the words may be rendered, thou only art gracious, and thy grace is the spring of all thy wonderful works, even of thy destroying the enemies of thy people. Accordingly, in the 137th Psalm, that clause, for his mercy endureth for ever, is subjoined to the thanksgiving for his works of vengeance, as well as for his delivering the righteous. For all nations shall come and worship before thee — Shall serve thee as their king, and confide in thee as their Saviour with reverential joy: a glorious testimony this to the future conversion of all the heathen. The Christians are now a little flock; and they who do not worship God, an immense multitude. But all the nations, from all parts of the earth, shall come and worship him, and glorify his name. For thy judgments shall be made manifest — And then the inhabitants of the earth will, at length, learn to fear thee.


Verses 5-7

Revelation 15:5-7. After that I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle — In which was the ark of the testimony in heaven, was opened — Namely, the most holy place, disclosing a new theatre for the coming forth of the judgments of God, now made manifest. And the seven angels came out of the temple — From the immediate presence of God, to denote that their commission was immediately from him; having the seven plagues — Already mentioned; clothed — Like the high-priest, but in a more august manner; in pure and white linen — To signify the righteousness of these judgments; and having their breasts girded — To show their readiness to execute the divine commands; with golden girdles — As emblems of their power and majesty. And one of the four living creatures — The representatives of the church; gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials — Bowls, or censers; the Greek word signifies vessels broader at the top than at the bottom; full of the wrath of God — By which it is intimated that it is in vindication of the church and true religion that these plagues are inflicted; who liveth for ever and ever — A circumstance which adds greatly to the dreadfulness of his wrath, and the value of his favour; and that he is to be regarded as the most formidable enemy, as well as the most desirable friend, to immortal beings.


Verse 8

Revelation 15:8. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God — In the same manner the tabernacle, when it was consecrated by Moses, and the temple, when it was dedicated by Solomon, were both filled with a cloud, and the glory of the Lord; which cloud of glory was the visible manifestation of God’s presence at both times, and a sign of God’s protection. But in the judgment of Korah, when the glory of the Lord appeared, he and his companions were swallowed up by the earth. So proper is the emblem of smoke from the glory of God, or from the cloud of glory, to express the execution of judgment, as well as to be a sign of favour. Both proceed from the power of God, and in both he is glorified. And no man — Not even those who ordinarily stood before God; was able to enter into the temple — As neither Moses could enter into the tabernacle, nor the priests into the temple, when the glory of the Lord filled those sacred places; a further proof of the majestic presence and extraordinary interposition of God in the execution of these judgments: till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled — Or were finished: till they had poured them out by the divine command.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 15:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-15.html. 1857.

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