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V. 1. "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them is filled up the wrath of God."
Just as there were seven seals and seven trumpets which were symbols of judgment upon Jerusalem; so now there are seven vials that are symbols of judgment upon Rome.
They are called the seven last plagues; they were the last as regards Rome; the last warning she would get before her downfall. God gives men space to repent, he bears long and warns often for he is slow to anger and plenteous in mercy; but the last time comes at length.
Vs. 2-8. Then follows another scene in heaven. The course of events pauses a little before those angels pour out their vials of wrath. And while the judgment holds back a little time, we are given to see the saints in heaven that have gotten the victory over the beast and over his image and his mark and the number of his name.
And they stand on a sea of glass and with the harps of God, they sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. No doubt it is called the song of Moses in reference to the song that Moses sang on the banks of the Red Sea. That was a song in thanksgiving for deliverance; and this song of the saints is the same. It is called the song of the Lamb because they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the gracious strength afforded by a triumphant, risen, and ascended Redeemer. That little scene in heaven, before judgment falls, foretokens victory.
And the seven angels came out of the temple of God in heaven and were given the seven vials full of the wrath of God. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power, and no man was able to enter into the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
That the temple was filled with smoke indicated that God was in his temple. When Solomon dedicated the temple which he built, it was filled with a cloud to indicate God's presence and glory so that the priests could not minister by reason of the cloud.
Here it is said, no man was able to enter this temple in heaven till the seven plagues were fulfilled. This was no doubt to show that no intercession would now avail for the doomed sinners. Their day of grace was past. The judgment was now to fall without let or hindrance, just as we saw in the case of Jerusalem that an angel stood on the land and sea and lifted up his hand and swore that time should be no longer, or that no more delay should be granted. So here Rome has come to her judgment, and the vials of wrath, will be poured out, and nothing will avail to stay the judgment.
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the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20