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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 15

 

 

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Introduction

CHAP XV.

The seven angels with the seven last plagues. The song of them that overcome the beast. The seven vials full of the wrath of God.

Anno Domini 96.


Verse 1

Revelation 15:1.— The prophesy proceeds in this and the following chapters to open further the appointed punishment of Rome, for her oppression of the truth, and persecution of the saints. This chapter represents the solemn manner in which preparation is made for the execution of these judgments, as the next describes that execution. The happy stateof God's faithful servants, and the joyful thanksgivings with which they celebrate the goodness of God in the protection of their cause, are very elegantly represented, to encourage their constancy and perseverance.


Verses 1-8

Revelation 15:1-8. I saw another sign in heaven, &c.— God's judgments upon the kingdom of the beast, or antichristian empire, are hitherto denounced and described only in general terms, under the figures of harvest and vintage. A more particular account of them follows under the emblem of seven vials which are called the seven last plagues of God, &c. Revelation 15:1. These seven last plagues must necessarily fall under the seventh and last trumpet, or the third and last woe trumpet; so that as the seventh seal contained the seven trumpets, the seventh trumpet contains the seven vials. Not only the concinnity of prophesy requires this order, (for otherwise there would be great confusion, and the vials would interfere with the trumpets, some falling under one trumpet, and some under another:) but more-over, if these seven last plagues and the consequent destruction of Babylon, be not the subject of the third woe, the third woe is no where described particularly, as the two former woes are. Before the vials are poured out, the scene opens with a preparatory vision, which is the subject of this chapter. As seven angels sounded the seven trumpets, so seven angels are appointed to pour out the seven vials; angels being the peculiar ministers of Providence: and, in order to shew that these judgments are to fall upon the kingdom of the beast, the true worshippers of God and faithful servants of Jesus, who had escaped victors from the beast, and never submitted to his tyranny or religion, are described, Revelation 15:2-4 like unto the children of Israel after their deliverance and escape out of Egypt. For as the children of Israel, (Exodus 15.) having passed through the Red Sea, 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 the sea of glass mingled with fire, which was mentioned ch. Revelation 4:6 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, the words being in a great measure taken from the song of Moses, and other parts of the Old Testament, and applied in a Christian sense. After this, the most holy place of the temple is opened, Revelation 15:5 and, the seven angels came out of the temple, Revelation 15:6. (to denote that their commission is immediately from God,) 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 shew their readiness to execute the divine commands; with golden girdles, as emblems of their power and majesty. A vial then is given to each of the seven angels, by one of the four living creatures, Revelation 15:7 the representatives of the church; by which it is intimated, that it is in vindication of the church and true religion that these plagues are inflicted. Moreover, the temple was filled with smoke, &c. Revelation 15:8 in the same manner as the tabernacle when it was consecrated by Moses, and the temple when it was dedicated by Solomon, (Exodus 40:34-35. 1 Kings 8:10-12. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14. Isaiah 6:4.) were both filled with a cloud and the glory of the Lord; so that neither Moses nor the priests could enter therein: a further proof of the majestic presence and extraordinary interposition of God in the execution of these judgments.

Inferences and REFLECTIONS.—Let us now raise our eyes and our hearts above the low and sordid scenes of mortality, to those happy and exalted spirits who are described as standing before the crystal sea, with golden harps in their hands. Let us attentively hearken to those broken and imperfect echoes of the song of Moses, and of the Lamb, which a gracious God causes to descend, as it were, to this world of ours, and which sometimes sweetly mingle themselves with the clamor of strife, with the din of folly, with the groans of misery. Happy and glorious is their condition now, who are freed from all these evils, and who triumph over all their enemies; whom, as it was said to Israel of the Egyptians, having beheld, they shall see them no more for ever: (Exodus 14:13.) They are now acknowledging their great Deliverer, singing everlasting praises to his name, and celebrating the wonders of his works, and the righteousness and truth of all his ways. O Lord God Almighty, O thou King of saints, who would not fear thee, and glorify thy holy name? Let the nations come, and worship in thy presence; let them pay thee their humble reverence and homage, before the vials of thy wrath are poured out: those vials, which, terrible as their contents are, the benevolent spirits of heaven prepare themselves, at thy command, to pour forth with pleasure; applauding, in their responsive hymns, thy righteous judgments, even when the sorest and most dreadful plagues torment the worshippers of the beast and his image; even when their seas and their rivers are turned into blood. Whatever be the calamities, whether past or future, to which any of these particulars may refer, surely they are big with terror to those wretches who, on any pretence, are pouring forth the blood of thy prophets and thy saints. They are worthy of having blood given them to drink, and, accordingly, thou hast a dreadful draught in reserve for them. And, though some of them may have laid down their hoary heads in peace, which, we might rather have expected, would have been brought to the grave with blood, the day of thy vengeance will surely come: a vengeance so terrible, that nothing but a zeal for thy violated law, and thine injured gospel, would make the very sight of it supportable to those whose cause shall then be pleaded, and whose blood shall be visited on their tormentors and murderers.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 15:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-15.html. 1801-1803.

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