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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 15

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verses 1-8

(d) XV 1-4 The Seventh Mystery —John sees, as the closing vision of this series, the lake of crystal ’mingled with fire’ on which stand the conquerors in the battle with the Beast. They hold the ’harps of God’ and sing the ’Song of Moses and of the Lamb’. St John does indeed put on their lips the ’song of Moses’ (cf. Exodus 15:1-21, and several Psalms). But as for the Song of the Lamb, he neither does nor can tell it, any more than he could say, e.g. what the Seventh Seal revealed.

B (II) XV:5-XVI:21 The Seven Bowls containing Plagues.

XV 5-8 A Double Preparatory Vision. a. 15:5-7 The ’Temple of the Tent of the Witness’ in ’heaven is opened —The Seven Angels, to whom are given the Bowls containing the Plagues—the ’last plagues, for ’in them is consummated the wrath of God’—come forth. They are dressed as priests (Ez 9:2) about to carry out a ’liturgy’ to God’s honour.

b. 7- XVI 16:1 One of the Four Living Beings gives the Bowls to the Angels —The Temple was filled with smoke and no one could enter it till the outpouring was completed. A great Voice from the Temple bids the Angels fulfil their mission.—The 7 Bowls are equivalent to the Cup of God’s Wrath (14:10). Why is it one of those Four who gives the Bowls? If they indeed are ’Nature’, it is intelligible that human nature supplies to God, by its own actions, the material for his judgements: God cannot but act ’appropriately’ to the behaviour of mankind (see the mysterious verses in Psalms 17:25, Psalms 17:26).

8. The Sanctuary becomes inaccessible even to intercession. The wicked have sealed their doom. Do the above, and what follows, indicate a hasty composition due to John’s strong emotion and desire to reach the end? In 15:1

John sees the Angels who ’have’ the Plagues: in 16:5 the temple is opened and the Angels appear in 7, the Living Being gives the Plagues to the Angels. Moreover, we expect these ’consummatory’ events to be worked out in some detail: but they are hardly more than alluded to, and the ’scheme’ of composition, though adhered to, is but sketched.

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on Revelation 15". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/revelation-15.html. 1951.
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