1: And I saw seven holy angels having the seven last
plagues - Before they had the phials, which were as instruments
whereby those plagues were to be conveyed. They are termed
the last, because by them the wrath of God is fulfilled
- Hitherto. God had borne his enemies with much longsuffering;
but now his wrath goes forth to the uttermost, pouring plagues
on the earth from one end to the other, and round its whole
circumference. But, even after these plagues, the holy wrath
of God against his other enemies does not cease, (Re 20:15).
2: The song was sung while the angels were coming out,
with their plagues, who are therefore mentioned both before
and after it, verses 1 - 6. (Re 15:1-6)
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire - It was
before "clear as crystal," (Re 4:6), but now
mingled with fire, which devours the adversaries. And them that
gained, or were gaining, the victory over the wild beast - More of
whom were yet to come. The mark of the beast, the mark of his
name, and the number of his name, seem to mean here nearly
the same thing. Standing at the sea of glass - Which was
before the throne. Having the harps of God - Given by him, and
appropriated to his praise.
3: And they sing the song of Moses - So called, partly
from its near agreement ,with the words of that song which he
sung after passing the Red Sea, (Ex 15:11), and of that
which he taught the children of Israel a little before his
death, (De 32:3,4). 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 sons of
the Lamb. It consists of six parts, which answer each other:
Great and wonderful are thy
works, Lord God Almighty.
For thou only art gracious.
Just and true are thy ways, O
King of the nations.
For all the nations shall come
and worship before thee.
Who would not fear thee, O
Lord, and glorify thy name?
For thy judgments are made manifest.
We know and acknowledge that all thy works in and toward all
the creatures are great and wonderful; that thy ways with all
the children of men, good and evil, are just and true. For
thou only art gracious - And this grace is the spring of all
those wonderful works, even of his destroying the enemies of
his people. Accordingly in (Ps 136:1-26), 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 the nations shall come and worship before
thee - They shall serve thee as their king with joyful reverence.
This is a glorious testimony of the future conversion of all the
heathens. The Christians are now a little flock: they who do
not worship God, an immense multitude. But all the nations
shall come, from all parts of the earth, to worship him and
glorify his name. For thy judgments are made manifest - And
then the inhabitants of the earth will at length learn to fear
5: After these things the temple of the tabernacle of
the testimony - The holiest of all. Was opened - Disclosing a
new theatre for the coming forth of the judgments of God now
6: And the seven angels came out of the temple - As
having received their instructions from the oracle of God
himself. St. John saw them in heaven, (Re 15:1)
before they went into the temple. They appeared in habits like
those the high priest wore when he went into the most holy place
to consult the oracle. In this was the visible testimony of
God's presence. Clothed in pure white linen - Linen is the
habit of service and attendance. Pure - unspotted, unsullied.
White - Or bright and shining, which implies much more than
bare innocence. And having their breasts girt with golden
girdles - In token of their high dignity and glorious rest.
7: And one of the four living creatures gave the seven
angels - After they were come out of the temple. Seven golden
phials - Or bowls. The Greek word signifies vessels broader at
the top than at the bottom. Full of the wrath of God, who
liveth for ever and ever - A circumstance which adds greatly to
the dreadfulness of his wrath.
8: And the temple was filled with smoke - The cloud of
glory was the visible manifestation of God's presence in the
tabernacle and temple. It was a sign of protection at erecting
the tabernacle and at the dedication of the temple. But in the
judgment of Korah the glory of the Lord appeared, when 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 none - Not even of those who ordinarily stood
before God. Could go into the temple - That is, into the inmost
part of it. Till the seven plagues of the seven angels were
fulfilled - Which did not take up a long time, like the seven
trumpets, but swiftly followed each other.