1. the seven last plagues--Greek, "seven plagues which are
is filled up--literally, "was finished," or "consummated": the prophetical past for the future, the future being to God as though it were past, so sure of accomplishment is His word. This verse is the summary of the vision that follows: the angels do not actually receive the vials till Revelation 15:7; but here, in Revelation 15:1, by anticipation they are spoken of as having them. There are no more plagues after these until the Lord's coming in judgment. The destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18:2) is the last: then in Revelation 19:11-16 He appears.
2. sea of glass--Answering to the molten sea or great brazen laver
before the mercy seat of the earthly temple, for the purification of the
priests; typifying the baptism of water and the Spirit of all who are made kings
and priests unto God.
mingled with fire--answering to the baptism on earth with fire, that is, fiery trial, as well as with the Holy Ghost, which Christ's people undergo to purify them, as gold is purified of its dross in the furnace.
them that had gotten the victory over--Greek, "those (coming) off from (the conflict with) the beast-conquerors."
over the number of his name--A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic omit the words in English Version, "over his mark." The mark, in fact, is the number of his name which the faithful refused to receive, and so were victorious over it.
stand on the sea of glass--ALFORD and DE BURGH explain "on (the shore of) the sea": at the sea. So the preposition, Greek, "epi," with the accusative case, is used for at, Revelation 3:20. It has a pregnant sense: "standing" implies rest, Greek "epi" with the accusative case implies motion "towards." Thus the meaning is, Having come TO the sea, and now standing AT it. In Matthew 14:26, where Christ walks on the sea, the Greek oldest manuscripts have the genitive, not the accusative as here. Allusion is made to the Israelites standing on the shore at the Red Sea, after having passed victoriously through it, and after the Lord had destroyed the Egyptian foe (type of Antichrist) in it. Moses and the Israelites' song of triumph (Exodus 15:1) has its antitype in the saints' "song of Moses and the Lamb" (Revelation 15:3). Still English Version is consistent with good Greek, and the sense will then be: As the sea typifies the troubled state out of which the beast arose, and which is to be no more in the blessed world to come (Revelation 21:1), so the victorious saints stand on it, having it under their feet (as the woman had the wherein the feet sink, but solid like glass, as it was under the feet of Christ, whose triumph and power the saints now share. Firmness of footing amidst apparent instability is thus represented. They can stand, not merely as victorious Israel at the Red Sea, and as John upon the sand of the shore, but upon the sea itself, now firm, and reflecting their glory as glass, their past conflict shedding the brighter luster on their present triumph. Their happiness is heightened by the retrospect of the dangers through which they have passed. Thus this corresponds to Revelation 7:14,15.
harps of God--in the hands of these heavenly virgins, infinitely surpassing the timbrels of Miriam and the Israelitesses.
3. song of Moses . . . and . . . the Lamb--The New
Testament song of the Lamb (that is, the song which the Lamb shall lead, as
being "the Captain of our salvation," just as Moses was leader of the
Israelites, the song in which those who conquer through Him [Romans
8:37] shall join, Revelation
12:11) is the antitype to the triumphant Old Testament song of Moses and the
Israelites at the Red Sea (Exodus
15:1-21). The Churches of the Old and New Testament are essentially one in
their conflicts and triumphs. The two appear joined in this phrase, as they are
in the twenty-four elders. Similarly, Isaiah
12:1-6 foretells the song of the redeemed (Israel foremost) after the second
antitypical exodus and deliverance at the Egyptian Sea. The passage
through the Red Sea under the pillar of cloud was Israel's baptism, to which the
believer's baptism in trials corresponds. The elect after their trials
(especially those arising from the beast) shall be taken up before the vials of
wrath be poured on the beast and his kingdom. So Noah and his family were taken
out of the doomed world before the deluge; Lot was taken out of Sodom before its
destruction; the Christians escaped by a special interposition of Providence to
Pella before the destruction of Jerusalem. As the pillar of cloud and fire
interposed between Israel and the Egyptian foe, so that Israel was safely landed
on the opposite shore before the Egyptians were destroyed; so the Lord, coming
with clouds and in flaming fire, shall first catch up His elect
people "in the clouds to meet Him in the air," and then shall with
fire destroy the enemy. The Lamb leads the song in honor of the Father amidst
the great congregation. This is the "new song" mentioned in Revelation
14:3. The singing victors are the 144,000 of Israel, "the
first-fruits," and the general "harvest" of the Gentiles.
servant of God--(Exodus 14:31, Numbers 12:7, Joshua 22:5). The Lamb is more: He is the SON.
Great and marvellous are thy works, &c.--part of Moses' last song (Deuteronomy 32:3,4). The vindication of the justice of God that so He may be glorified is the grand end of God's dealings. Hence His servants again and again dwell upon this in their praises (Revelation 16:7, 19:2, Proverbs 16:4, Jeremiah 10:10, Daniel 4:37). Especially at the judgment (Psalms 50:1-6, 145:17).
saints--There is no manuscript authority for this. A, B, Coptic, and CYPRIAN read, "of the NATIONS." C reads "of the ages," and so Vulgate and Syriac. The point at issue in the Lord's controversy with the earth is, whether He, or Satan's minion, the beast, is "the King of the nations"; here at the eve of the judgments descending on the kingdom of the beast, the transfigured saints hail Him as "the King of the nations" (Ezekiel 21:27).
4. Who shall not--Greek, "Who is there but must fear
Thee?" Compare Moses' song, Exodus
15:14-16, on the fear which God's judgments strike into the foe.
thee--so Syriac. But A, B, C, Vulgate, and CYPRIAN reject "thee."
all nations shall come--alluding to Psalms 22:27-31; compare Isaiah 66:23, Jeremiah 16:19. The conversion of all nations, therefore, shall be when Christ shall come, and not till then; and the first moving. cause will be Christ's manifested judgments preparing all hearts for receiving Christ's mercy. He shall effect by His presence what we have in vain tried to effect in His absence. The present preaching of the Gospel is gathering out the elect remnant; meanwhile "the mystery of iniquity" is at work, and will at last come to its crisis; then shall judgment descend on the apostates at the harvest-end of this age (Greek, Matthew 13:39,40) when the tares shall be cleared out of the earth, which thenceforward becomes Messiah's kingdom. The confederacy of 'the apostates against Christ becomes, when overthrown with fearful judgments, the very means in God's overruling providence of preparing the nations not joined in the Antichristian league to submit themselves to Him.
are--literally, "were": the prophetical past for the immediate future.
5. So Revelation
11:19; compare Revelation
16:17. "The tabernacle of the testimony" appropriately here comes
to view, where God's faithfulness in avenging His people with judgments on their
foes is about to be set forth. We need to get a glimpse within the Holy place to
"understand" the secret spring and the end of God's righteous
behold--omitted by A, B, C, Syriac, and ANDREAS. It is supported only by Vulgate, Coptic, and PRIMASIUS, but no manuscript.
6. having--So B reads. But A and C, read "who have": not
that they had them yet (compare Revelation
15:7), but they are by anticipation described according to their office.
linen--So B reads. But A, C, and Vulgate, "a stone." On the principle that the harder reading is the one least likely to be an interpolation, we should read, "a stone pure ('and' is omitted in A, B, C, and ANDREAS), brilliant" (so the Greek): probably the diamond. With English Version, compare Acts 1:10, 10:30.
golden girdles--resembling the Lord in this respect (Revelation 1:13).
7. one of the four beasts--Greek, "living creatures."
The presentation of the vials to the angels by one of the living creatures
implies the ministry of the Church as the medium for manifesting to angels the
glories of redemption (Ephesians
vials--"bowls"; a broad shallow cup or bowl. The breadth of the vials in their upper part would tend to cause their contents to pour out all at once, implying the overwhelming suddenness of the woes.
full of . . . wrath--How sweetly do the vials full of odors, that is, the incense-perfumed prayers of the saints, contrast with these!
8. temple . . . filled--(Isaiah
6:4); compare Exodus
40:34, 2 Chronicles
5:14, as to the earthly temple, of which this is the antitype.
the glory of God and . . . power--then fully manifested.
no man was able to enter . . . the temple--because of God's presence in His manifested glory and power during the execution of these judgments.