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Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, [1831], at

Revelation Chapter 15


rev 15:0

The seven angels with the seven last plagues, Rev 15:1. The sea of glass, and those who had a victory over the beast, Rev 15:2. The song of Moses and the Lamb, Rev 15:3, Rev 15:4. The temple in heaven opened, Rev 15:5. Seven angels come out of the temple, who receive from one of the four living creatures seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, Rev 15:6-8.

Revelation 15:1

rev 15:1

Seven angels having the seven last plagues - Under the emblems of harvest and vintage God's judgments on the enemies of his Church have already been pointed out: but these are farther signified by the seven vials, which are called the seven last plagues of God. The seven last plagues appear to fall under the seventh and last trumpet. As the seventh seal contained the seven trumpets, so the seventh trumpet contains the seven vials. And as seven angels sounded the seven trumpets, so seven angels are appointed to pour out the seven vials, angels being always the ministers of Providence. This chapter contains the opening vision which is preparatory to the pouring out of the vials.

The Targum of Jonathan on Isa 51:17, Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury, uses the same words employed by the evangelist here: "Jerusalem, thou hast received from the face of the Lord the cup of his wrath; ית פילי כסא דלוטא yath pailey casa dilvata, "the Phials of the cup of malediction " find again on Isa 51:22 : I will take out of thy hand the cup of malediction; ית פילי כסא דחמתי yath Pailey casa dechemti, "the Phials of the cup of my indignation."

Revelation 15:2

rev 15:2

A sea of glass - A spacious lucid plain around the throne, from which fiery coruscations were continually emitted: or, the reflection of the light upon this lucid plain produced the prismatic colors of the most vivid rainbow.

Over the beast, and over his image - See the notes on Revelation 13:1-18 (note).

Revelation 15:3

rev 15:3

They sing the song of Moses - That which Moses sang, Exo 15:1, when he and the Israelites, by the miraculous power of God, had got safely through the Red Sea, and saw their enemies all destroyed.

And the song of the Lamb - The same song adapted to the state of the suffering, but now delivered Christians.

Great and marvellous are thy works - God's works are descriptive of his infinite power and wisdom.

Lord God Almighty - Nearly the same as Jehovah, God of hosts.

Just and true are thy ways - Every step God takes in grace or providence is according to justice, and he carefully accomplishes all his threatenings and all his promises; to this he is bound by his truth.

Revelation 15:4

rev 15:4

Who shall not fear thee - That is, All should fear and worship this true God, because he is just and true and holy; and his saints should love and obey him, because he is their King; and they and all men should acknowledge his judgments, because they are made manifest.

Revelation 15:5

rev 15:5

The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony - The temple which succeeded the tabernacle, in which was the testimony, viz., the two tables, Aaron's rod, pot of manna, holy anointing oil, etc. All bearing testimony to the truth of God and his miraculous interposition in their behalf.

Revelation 15:6

rev 15:6

The seven angels came out of the temple - To show that they were sent from God himself.

Clothed in pure and white linen - Habited as priests. For these habits see Exo 28:6, Exo 28:8; and see the note on Rev 1:13.

Revelation 15:8

rev 15:8

The temple was filled with smoke - So was the tabernacle when consecrated by Moses, Exo 40:34, Exo 40:35, and the temple when consecrated by Solomon, Kg1 8:10, Kg1 8:11; Ch2 5:14. See Isa 6:4. This account seems at least partly copied from those above.

When the high priest entered into the holy of holies, and the ordinary priest into the holy place, they always carried with them a great deal of smoking incense, which filled those places with smoke and darkness, which prevented them from considering too attentively the parts and ornaments of those holy places, and thus served to produce an air of majesty in the temple, which none dared to approach without the deepest reverence. To this Calmet thinks the allusion may be here.

Next: Revelation Chapter 16