Attention!
15 million Ukrainian are displaced by Russia's war.
Millions miss a meal or two each day.
Help us change that! Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Revelation 15

Verse 1

Another sign in heaven (αλλο σημειον εν τω ουρανω). Looking back to Revelation 12:1; Revelation 12:3, after the series intervening. The Seven Bowls are parallel with the Seven Seals (ch. Revelation 15:6) and the Seven Trumpets (chapters Revelation 15:8-11), but there is an even closer connection with chapters Revelation 15:12-14, "the drama of the long conflict between the church and the world" (Swete).

Great and marvellous (μεγα κα θαυμαστον). Θαυμαστος is an old verbal adjective (from θαυμαζω, to wonder) and is already in Matthew 21:42. The wonder extends to the end of this vision or sign (Revelation 16:21).

Seven angels (αγγελους επτα). Accusative case in apposition with σημειον after ειδον. Cf. Revelation 8:2.

Which are the last (τας εσχατας). "Seven plagues the last." As in Revelation 21:9, "the final cycle of such visitations" (Swete).

Is finished (ετελεσθη). Proleptic prophetic first aorist passive indicative of τελεω as in Revelation 10:7. The number seven seems particularly appropriate here for finality and completeness.

Verse 2

As it were a glassy sea (ως θαλασσαν υαλινην). Accusative case after ειδον and ως here, not in Revelation 4:6, which see for the symbol.

Mingled with fire (μεμιγμενην πυρ). Perfect passive participle of μιγνυμ, to mix, and the associative instrumental case πυρ. This item not in Revelation 4:6 (a vision of peace), but here it adds to the splendour of the vision. This parenthesis (Revelation 15:2-4) gives a picture of the martyrs in their state of bliss.

Them that come off victorious (τους νικωντας). Present active articular participle of νικαω, accusative after ειδον, "those that come off victorious" (Revelation 14:4).

From the beast and from his image (εκ του θηριου κα εκ της εικονος αυτου). This use of εκ after νικαω is unusual, also with εκ του αριθμου. For these items see Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:14; Revelation 13:17; Revelation 14:9; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:4.

By the glassy sea (επ την θαλασσαν την υαλινην). Or "upon" more likely (Revelation 4:6) with the accusative as in Matthew 14:25.

Harps of God (κιθαρας του θεου). Objective genitive, for the worship of God (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 14:2; 1 Chronicles 16:42).

Verse 3

The song of Moses (την ωιδην του Μωυσεως). Exodus 14:31; Exodus 15:1-19. A song of victory like that of Moses after crossing the Red Sea.

And the song of the Lamb (την ωιδην του αρνιου). A separate note of victory like that of Moses, though one song, not two. Charles finds it impossible to reconcile the two expressions, if genuine, but it is a needless objection. The words come from the O.T.: "great" (μεγαλα) from Psalms 111:2, "wonderful" (θαυμαστα) from Psalms 139:14, "O Lord God the Almighty" (Κυριε ο θεος ο παντοκρατωρ) from Amos 4:13 (Revelation 4:8), "righteous and true" (δικαια κα αληθινα) from Deuteronomy 32:4, "Thou King of the ages" (ο βασιλευς των αιωνων) like Jeremiah 10:10; 1 Timothy 1:17. Some MSS. have "the king of the saints" and some "the king of the nations," like Jeremiah 10:7. John thus combines in Hebraic tone the expressions of the old and the new in the song to the Glorified Messiah.

Verse 4

Who shall not fear? (τις ου μη φοβηθηι;). Rhetorical question with ου μη (double negative) and first aorist passive subjunctive of φοβεομα future passive in Jeremiah 10:7).

And glorify (κα δοξασε). Change here to the future indicative instead of the aorist subjunctive, as often. Cf. Psalms 86:9.

Thou only art holy (μονος οσιος). Both predicate adjectives, "Thou art alone holy." God alone is perfectly holy (Revelation 16:5).

Shall come (ηξουσιν). Future active of ηκω.

And worship (κα προσκυνησουσιν). Future active of προσκυνεω. Both from Psalms 86:9.

Have been made manifest (εφανερωθησαν). Prophetic first aorist passive indicative of φανεροω. This martyr's song has the ring of great poetry.

Verse 5

The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony (ο ναος της σκηνης του μαρτυριου). Charles calls this "strange" language. Probably the tabernacle or tent of witness (Numbers 9:15; Numbers 17:7) is in mind and the tent of meeting (Exodus 27:21 rather than the temple in Jerusalem.

Was opened (ηνοιγη). Second aorist passive indicative of ανοιγω as in Revelation 11:19. For ναος see Revelation 3:12; Revelation 7:15; Revelation 14:15; Revelation 14:17; Revelation 16:1; Revelation 16:17.

Verse 6

There came out (εξηλθαν). Second aorist active indicative of εξερχομα with -αν rather than -ον. Proleptic and prophetic aorist.

The seven angels (ο επτα αγγελο). Those in verse Revelation 15:1.

The seven plagues (τας επτα πληγας). The bowls are not given them till verse Revelation 15:7.

Arrayed (ενδεδυμενο). Perfect passive participle of ενδυω.

With precious stone pure and bright (λιθον καθαρον λαμπρον). Accusative case retained with verb of clothing as so often, literally "with a stone pure bright." For both adjectives together see Revelation 19:8; Revelation 19:14. Some MSS. read λινον (linen). For λιθον see Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:16; Ezekiel 28:13.

Girt (περιεζωσμενο). Perfect passive participle of περιζωννυω. See Revelation 1:13 for both participles. For στηθος (breast) see Luke 18:13.

With golden girdles (ζωνας χρυσας). Accusative case after the perfect passive participle περιεζωσμενο as in Revelation 1:13.

Verse 7

Seven golden bowls (επτα φιαλας χρυσας). Golden saucers, but not full of incense as in Revelation 5:8, but "full (γεμουσας for which see Revelation 5:8) of the wrath of God who liveth for ever and ever" (του θυμου του θεου του ζωντος εις τους αιωνας των αιωνων). Portents of dreadful events.

Verse 8

Was filled with smoke (εγεμισθη καπνου). First aorist passive indicative of γεμιζω (from γεμω), to fill full, and with the genitive καπνου (smoke). Smoke is here the symbol of God's presence (Exodus 19:18; Isaiah 6:5).

Till should be finished (αχρ τελεσθωσιν). Temporal clause for future time with αχρ (equal to εως in import) and the first aorist passive subjunctive of τελεω, a metaphorical and symbolic "smoke screen" to keep all out of the sanctuary for the time being.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/revelation-15.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.