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The Seven Angels of the Bowls
The crisis of the book is drawing near. The enemies of Christ and His Church—Satan, the empire, and the Provincial Government—have been shown in their power and cruelty. In Revelation 14 these were left standing in their might, while the blessed safety of the people of God was pictured. In this chapter is described the approach of the judgments which are about to fall on the empire and on the heathen world.
1-4. Seven angels appear, they to whom are committed the ’plagues,’ i.e. scourging punishments, ’which are the last’ (RV), because in them the temporal judgments of God are fully carried out (RV ’finished’). But yet once more there is a pause, as if the safety of God’s people in the midst of all this sin and judgment could not be insisted on sufficiently, and a vision is granted of the blessedness of those who by faithfulness even unto death have conquered the beast. They stand by the ’glassy sea’ (RV), i.e. the firmament (see on Revelation 4:6), having harps of God, i.e. harps such as are suited to the heavenly worship of God (Revelation 15:2). They sing ’the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb,’ i.e. a song called out by the deliverance wrought by Christ, as the song of Exodus 15 was called out by the deliverance from Egypt—a song in praise of God who from the time of Moses to the time of Christ has never forgotten His oppressed people (Revelation 15:3.).
3. Cp. Psalms 98:1; Psalms 111:2; Psalms 139:14; Psalms 145:17; Jeremiah 10:7.
Saints] RV ’the ages’: cp. 1 Timothy 1:17; (RM).
4. Cp. Psalms 86:9; Isaiah 66:23. Judgments] RV ’righteous acts’: cp. Psalms 51:4; Romans 5:18.
5-8. Again, as in Revelation 11:19, is opened the sanctuary of the heavenly tabernacle, by which is symbolised that presence of God to which the worship of heaven is directed, and from which the actions of heaven proceed, and which was typified on earth by the earthly tabernacle. In Revelation 11:19 it was God’s mercy, represented by the ark of the covenant, which was manifested; now it is the declaration of His holy will, represented by the ’testimony,’ i.e. the ten commandments, which is to be enforced (Revelation 15:5). From the Divine Presence come forth the angels of the plagues, as priests, but arrayed with flashing gems (Revelation 15:6). To them are given golden ’bowls’ (RV), corresponding to the basons used by the priests for the blood in the sacrificial ritual (cp. Exodus 27:3) full of God’s wrath (Revelation 15:7). The Presence of God, sanctioning the service, is manifested by the smoke of His glory: cp. Exodus 40:35; 1 Kings 8:10.; Isaiah 6:4; (Revelation 15:8).
6. Clothed.. linen] RV ’arrayed with precious stone, pure and bright.’
7. Beasts] RV ’living creatures.’
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Revelation 15". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27