Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 15:1

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.
New American Standard Version
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Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   Anger;   Meteorology and Celestial Phenomena;   Plague;   Seven;   The Topic Concordance - Wrath;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Seven;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Last Day(s), Latter Days, Last Times;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Jesus Christ;   Order;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Number;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Miracles, Signs, Wonders;   Revelation, the Book of;   Wrath, Wrath of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Guilt;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Angels;   Fire;   Guilt (2);   Numbers;   Plague;   Sign ;   Sin;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Seven;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Sign;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Finish;   Marvel;   Number;   Print;   Retribution;   Revelation of John:;   Sign;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

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 Isaiah 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; דלוטא כסא פילי ית yath pailey casa dilvata, "the Phials of the cup of malediction " find again on Isaiah 51:22; : I will take out of thy hand the cup of malediction; דחמתי כסא פילי ית yath Pailey casa dechemti, "the Phials of the cup of my indignation."

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-15.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And I saw another sign in heaven - Another wonder or extraordinary symbol. The word “sign” here - σημεῖον sēmeion- is the same which in Revelation 12:1, Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:13, is rendered “wonder” and “wonders,” and in Revelation 13:14; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:20, “miracles.” The word is not found elsewhere in the Book of Revelation, though it is of frequent occurrence in other parts of the New Testament. See it explained in the notes on Revelation 12:1. Here it is used to denote something wonderful or marvelous. This is represented as appearing in heaven, for the judgments that were to fall upon the world were to come thence. Compare Revelation 11:19; Revelation 12:1; Revelation 14:1, Revelation 14:6, Revelation 14:13-14, Revelation 14:17.

Great and marvelous - Great and wonderful, or suited to excite admiration - θαυμαστὸν thaumastonThe subsequent statements fully justify this, and show that the vision was one of portentous character, and that was suited to hold the mind in astonishment.

Seven angels - Compare the notes on Revelation 1:4.

Having the seven last plagues - The article here, “the seven last plagues,” would seem to imply that the plagues referred to had been before specified, or that it would be at once understood what is referred to. These plagues, however, have not been mentioned before, and the reason why the article is used here seems to be this: the destruction of this great anti-Christian power had been distinctly mentioned, Luke 12:48; Acts 16:23, Acts 16:33; 2 Corinthians 6:5; 2 Corinthians 11:23. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament, except in the Book of Revelation. In this book it is rendered “wound” in Revelation 13:3, Revelation 13:12, Revelation 13:14; and plagues in Revelation 9:20; Revelation 11:6; Revelation 15:1, Revelation 15:6, Revelation 15:8; Revelation 16:9, Revelation 16:21; Revelation 18:4, Revelation 18:8; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:18. It does not occur elsewhere. The secondary meaning of the word, and the meaning in the passage before us, is “a stripe” or “blow inflicted by God”; calamity or punishment. The word “last” means those under which the order of things here referred to would terminate; the winding up of the affairs respecting the beast and his image - not necessarily the closing of the affairs of the world. Important events were to occur subsequent to the destruction of this anti-Christian power Revelation 10:7, where the word rendered “filled up” - ἐτελέσθη etelesthē- is rendered “finished.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-15.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

SECTION IV

(Revelation 15-16)

REV:15

This, the shortest chapter in Revelation, together with Revelation 16, for which it is merely the introduction, again takes us through the whole cycle of time to the eternal judgment (Revelation 16:17-21). Several times already the final judgment has been prophesied (Revelation 6:12-17; 11:15-19; 14:14-20). Many have pointed out the remarkable resemblances between the seals, trumpets, and bowls. All are judgments of God; the areas affected by them are similar, especially in the trumpets and bowls sequences. Thus, in the trumpet series: (1) the earth; (2) the sea; (3) the rivers; (4) the sun; (5) the abyss, or throne of the beast; (6) the Euphrates; and (7) the final judgment are exactly the same as the things mentioned in the bowl sequence, and in the same order. Hendriksen thoroughly developed these parallels.[1]

There is also a progression. Whereas the trumpet judgments were restricted to "one third," the bowl judgments are not so limited. However, the woman, the dragon, and the two beasts of Revelation 12-14 are operative throughout exactly the same time period; namely, all the way to the end of time.

Some scholars, such as Ladd, view those chapters (Revelation 12-14) as "an interlude between the trumpets and bowls";[2] but as Roberson observed:

The seven bowls are usually classed with the seals and trumpets; and there obviously is a close affinity, particularly with the latter; but the connection with the woman and her enemies (Revelation 12-14) is even closer. They belong to the long struggle of the church in the world.[3]

The conclusion required by all of this was stated by William Milligan:

Nothing can more clearly prove that the Revelation of St. John was not written upon chronological principles than the scenes to which we are introduced in the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of the book.[4]

"These chapters describe the entire period between the first and second coming of Christ."[5] In all of these extensive views, "John is telling us something of what will happen in the end-time and something of what goes on in human history."[6] "The statement that these are the last plagues shows that the set of visions now commencing carries us clown to the end of the age."[7] The thought is not that of focusing all of the revelation upon the very end-time, but a bird's-eye view of all time subsequent to the prophecy, including the very end.

But the vision does not move immediately to the terrible judgments. "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."[8] The anticipatory, consolatory vision of the song of the redeemed is again heard (Revelation 15:2-4).

Lenski pointed out another relation between the seals, trumpets, and bowls: "The seals reveal, the trumpets announce, and the bowls execute the long-restrained anger of the living God."[9] Earle's excellent outline of this short chapter is:

I. The waiting angels (Revelation 15:1).

II. The victorious saints (Revelation 15:2-4).

III. The emerging angels (Revelation 15:5-8).[10]SIZE>

[1] William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956), p. 26.

[2] George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 203.

[3] Charles H. Roberson, Studies in Revelation (Tyler, Texas: P. D. Wilmeth, P.O. Box 3305,1957), p. 114.

[4] As quoted by Albertus Pieters, Studies in the Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1954), p. 241.

[5] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 191.

[6] Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentaries, Vol. 20, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), p. 187.

[7] W. Boyd Carpenter, Ellicott's Bible Commentary, Vol. VIII (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959), p. 604.

[8] J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 1085.

[9] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 461.

[10] Ralph Earle, Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1967), p. 584.

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having seven plagues, which are the last, for in them is finished the wrath of God. (Revelation 15:1)

And I saw another sign in heaven ... Beasley-Murray connected this mention of the seven angels with "the seven angels that stand before God (Revelation 8:2),"[11] concluding that this structural parallelism between the trumpets and bowls corresponds to a parallelism in content. Lenski, however, did not agree, translating this expression without the article (the), "I saw ... seven angels,"[12] as in our version (ASV). The point would not appear to be important. The perfect number "seven" could also symbolize an innumerable company of angels waiting and ready to do the will of God. Hardly anything here is to be understood literally. Plummer observed that:

The last time this statement was made was in Revelation 12:1, where the history of the war between Satan and the church began ... Again, John returns to the beginning to trace the development of the punishments inflicted upon men for their worship of the devil.[13]

Seven plagues, which are the last ... This does not mean that they refer exclusively to the end. "Whenever in history the wicked fail to repent in answer to partial manifestations of God's anger in judgments, the final effusion of wrath follows."[14]

[11] G. R. Beasley-Murray, The Book of Revelation (Greenwood, South Carolina: The Attic Press, 1974), p. 234.

[12] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 453.

[13] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 381.

[14] William Hendriksen as quoted by Morris, op. cit., p. 187.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-15.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous,.... This chapter is a preparation to the pouring out of the seven vials, as Revelation 16:1 is to the sending of the seven epistles, and Revelation 2:1 to the seven seals and seven trumpets: the vision is called a "sign", because what was seen was significative of future events; a sign of the coming of Christ, of his kingdom, and of the destruction of antichrist; and it is said to be a sign "in heaven", where John was called up, and where he had his visions; and it was "another", a different one from that in Revelation 12:1 which represented the downfall of Paganism, but this the downfall of Popery; and it is a very "great" one, it is expressive of great things, as the fall of Babylon the great, or the judgment of the great whore, and the great glory of the church and kingdom of Christ; and it is "marvellous", for the two grand events it respects are very wonderful; as that antichrist, who was once in such power, should be destroyed, and that by such weak means, in the esteem of men, as the preaching of the Gospel, which is no less marvellous than the fall of Jericho by the sound of rams' horns; and that the church, which was in so low an estate in the wilderness, for the space of 1260 days or years, should become so glorious. The vision follows,

seven angels, having the seven last plagues; these are not the same angels that blew the seven trumpets, for they are not contemporary with them, but are more likely the same with those in the preceding chapter; though they seem rather to be different from them: if these were angels literally understood, their having plagues is no objection to their being good angels, since such are often the executioners of God's wrath; and that these good ones, appears from one of them talking with John, and showing him the judgment of antichrist, and another the bride, the Lamb's wife, and her glory, Revelation 17:1 though they seem rather to be the ministers of the Gospel, since they are said to come out of the temple, Revelation 15:6 and since the destruction of antichrist will be by the breath of Christ's mouth, or by the preaching of the Gospel; unless it should be thought that members of churches are designed, since these angels receive their vials from one of the four living creatures, Revelation 15:7 or preachers of the word; and may denote some very principal men, as kings, who will now be come to Zion, and be members of Gospel churches, and will be the nursing fathers and protectors of them; and these will hate the whore, and burn her flesh with fire; but of these angels, see more on Revelation 15:6. They are said to have "the seven last plagues"; that is, in their vials; for these seven plagues are the same with the seven vials of the wrath of God, to be poured out upon antichrist; and are no other than so many steps, ways, and means, by which God will bring on and finish his destruction: these are called the last plagues, because they will be in the last days: there have been plagues before, as at the destruction of the old world, and of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the plagues of Egypt, and the downfall of several monarchies and kingdoms, and of Paganism in the Roman empire; but these will fall upon antichrist, and will be the last upon him, for they will issue in his utter ruin; they will be the last plagues upon the earth, there will be no other after them, but the conflagration of the world, and the general destruction of the wicked in hell. These plagues are the same with the third woe, and are an explanation of it, and belong to the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which brings in the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdoms of Christ, and the time of God's wrath upon the nations, or Gentiles, the Papists, and of judging the dead, and destroying them that destroyed the earth, Revelation 11:15 for these plagues do not follow upon the harvest and vintage, nor has this vision any respect to them, nor to be connected with the preceding chapter, but with Revelation 11:1 and gives an enlarged view, both of the glory of Christ's kingdom, and of the ruin of antichrist, by these plagues, called the last:

for in them is filled up the wrath of God; upon the beast, and his followers.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-15.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And 1 I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven 2 angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

(1) This is that other passage of the acts of Christ, as I noted before {See (Revelation 14:14) }. Now therefore is shown a singular work of the judgment of God belonging to the overthrow of Antichrist and his forces, of which divine work the preparation is described in this chapter: and the execution in the next. The preparation is first set down generally and in type in this verse: and is after particularly set forth in the rest of the chapter. {(2)} Of which (Revelation 8:9) in sending forth the plagues of the world: for even these plagues do for the most part agree with those.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-15.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Revelation 15:1-8. The last seven vials of plagues: Song of the victors over the beast.

the seven last plaguesGreek, “seven plagues which are the last.”

is filled up — literally, “was finished,” or “consummated”: the prophetical past for the future, the future being to God as though it were past, so sure of accomplishment is His word. This verse is the summary of the vision that follows: the angels do not actually receive the vials till Revelation 15:7; but here, in Revelation 15:1, by anticipation they are spoken of as having them. There are no more plagues after these until the Lord‘s coming in judgment. The destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18:2) is the last: then in Revelation 19:11-16 He appears.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-15.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Another sign in heaven (αλλο σημειον εν τωι ουρανωιallo sēmeion en tōi ouranōi). Looking back to Revelation 12:1, Revelation 12:3, after the series intervening. The Seven Bowls are parallel with the Seven Seals (ch. Rev 6) and the Seven Trumpets (chapters Rev 8-11), but there is an even closer connection with chapters Rev 12-14, “the drama of the long conflict between the church and the world” (Swete).

Great and marvellous (μεγα και ταυμαστονmega kai thaumaston). ΤαυμαστοςThaumastos is an old verbal adjective (from ταυμαζωthaumazō 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 επταaggelous hepta). Accusative case in apposition with σημειονsēmeion after ειδονeidon Cf. Revelation 8:2.

Which are the last (τας εσχαταςtas eschatas). “Seven plagues the last.” As in Revelation 21:9, “the final cycle of such visitations” (Swete).

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

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-15.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

The seven last plagues ( πληγὰς ἑπτὰ τὰς ἐσχάτας )

Lit., seven plagues the last. Rev., “which are the last.” See on Mark 3:10; see on Luke 10:30.

Is filled up ( ἐτελέσθη )

More correctly, brought to an end ( τέλος ). Rev., finished. Lit., was finished, the prophetic aorist, which speaks of a thing foreseen and decided as if already done.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-15.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

And I saw seven holy angels having the seven last plagues - Before they had the phials, which were as instruments whereby those plagues were to be conveyed. They are termed the last, because by them the wrath of God is fulfilled - Hitherto. God had borne his enemies with much longsuffering; but now his wrath goes forth to the uttermost, pouring plagues on the earth from one end to the other, and round its whole circumference. But, even after these plagues, the holy wrath of God against his other enemies does not cease, Revelation 20:15.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-15.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Filled up; fulfilled, consummated.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-15.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angels

(See Scofield "Hebrews 1:4").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 15:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-15.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

Ver. 1. And I saw another sign] Distinct from the former, and describing the utter overthrow of Antichrist in this and the following chapters.

Great and marvellous] A just wonder it was indeed, the miracle that we in these last times are to look for, that the kingdom of Antichrist should be so easily and suddenly overturned by the preaching of the gospel, as once the walls of Jericho were by the blowing of rams’ horns.

Seven angels] i.e. Certain chieftains of the reformed Churches.

Having the seven last plagues] Being the several parts of the seventh trumpet, and said to be the last that shall in this life be inflicted; though far worse follow in hell, whereof all these are but typical. Here the leaves only (as it were) fall upon reprobates, but hereafter the whole trees. Here they pay but the interest only, but there the whole principal.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-15.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 15:1.— The prophesy proceeds in this and the following chapters to open further the appointed punishment of Rome, for her oppression of the truth, and persecution of the saints. This chapter represents the solemn manner in which preparation is made for the execution of these judgments, as the next describes that execution. The happy stateof God's faithful servants, and the joyful thanksgivings with which they celebrate the goodness of God in the protection of their cause, are very elegantly represented, to encourage their constancy and perseverance.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-15.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

This and the following chapter acquaints us with a fresh vision, which St. John had of the pouring forth of the vials, or the inflicting of the seven last plagues and judgments upon the world; upon the Heathen world, say some; upon the antichristian world, say most; I saw seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God; where, by seven angels, understand the ministers and executioners of the wrath of God; by the seven plagues, understand the last dreadful judgments that should be inflicted, which would make a final end of him, whoever he be, that they should be poured forth upon, one after another.

Where note, 1. How the patience, forbearance, and long-suffering goodness, of God, is wonderfully seen in his carriage towards sinners; though he punishes the wicked sometimes, to let them see that his justice is not asleep, yet he doth not stir up all his wrath, nor poureth it out all at once upon them, but gradually; desirous of and waiting for their repentance, even when he has begun in justice to punish them.

Note, 2. Whereas it is said, in them (that is, in the present seven plagues) is filled up the wrath of God; we learn, what final impenitency, and incorrigibleness under former judgments, will produce at last; namely, judgment to the uttermost: ripeness in sin will at last make men ripe for ruin; and when they have filled up the measure of their sins, God will fill up the measure of his wrath; in them is filled up the wrath of God.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-15.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 15:1. ἄλλο σημ. The manifestations in ch. 14., with which the present angelic manifestation is contrasted as an ἄλλο σημ., were also apocalyptic signs.

μέγα καὶ θαυμαστόν. The greatness (Revelation 12:1) and marvellousness lies not only in the fact that seven angels—not archangels(3593)—appear at once, but also in their peculiar equipage: ἔχοντας πληγὰς ἑπτά. Manifestly John wishes, by this expression,(3594) to say more than that they had a sign (“signatur”) of the plagues to be brought by them, as that possibly their eyes shone like flames of fire;(3595) the idea is, that they who have the ἐξουσια to bring the plagues described in ch. 16.(3596) have and hold these plagues themselves. In what way this is to be understood, is not said; it belongs to the θαυμαστόν of this vision. But it is worthy of notice with what beautiful, artistic transparency the declaration of the actual ordination of these plagues is communicated, in that (Revelation 15:5 sqq.) the seven angels, who are described again also in Revelation 15:6 as οἱ ἔχοντες τ. ἑπτὰ πληγ., receive special vials, through the pouring-out of which the plagues can first be brought to plastic representation.

From Revelation 15:5, where the ναός in heaven is opened, and then the seven angels proceed therefrom, Züll., De Wette, Ebrard, etc., correctly infer that in Revelation 15:1 a point cannot be designated lying within the vision actually before Revelation 15:5, as though John in Revelation 15:1 had only first beheld the seven angels themselves, but in Revelation 15:5 their coming forth from the ναός, etc.; rather in Revelation 15:1, the chief subject of the entire vision extending to Revelation 16:21, yea in a certain way embracing the entire final development,(3597) is first given preliminarily, while the more detailed account as to how the seven angels actually come forth follows then (Revelation 15:5) after the heavenly hymn, Revelation 15:2-4,—during which the angels are to be regarded as in the still closed ναός,—has praised beforehand the righteousness of the judgment to be executed by them; and then they themselves are certainly equipped for (Revelation 15:7) their work, and directed (Revelation 16:1) to fulfil their calling. Cf. Revelation 12:6 in its relation to Revelation 12:13 sqq.

τὰς ἐσχάτας. Not “the last in this way,”(3598) nor the last which a certain portion of the enemies has to endure,(3599) but for the reason: ὅτι ἐν αὐταῖς ἐτελέσθη θυμὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.(3600) This is misunderstood, however, by Hengstenb., who concludes that with Revelation 16:21, where the seven plagues are at an end, the entire final judgment has been recounted,—as should have been the case also in Revelation 11:19 and several times before,—and that then, with Revelation 17:1, a repetition of that final judgment occurs which renders prominent new sides. Yet not only the very number indicates a meaning analogous to that of the seven last plagues, as the plagues described in the seal- and trumpet-visions, which do not contain the final judgment itself, but have only introduced that immediately before which belongs in the seventh trumpet,(3601) and consequently in the seventh seal;(3602) but, in the sense of the Apoc., the judgment cannot occur at all under the conception of a plague, since, according to the description in ch. 17 sqq., the judgment extends infinitely far over what is contained up to Revelation 16:21. The plagues described also in ch. 16.,(3603) not without a reference to those of Egypt,(3604) have in themselves something preparatory to which the final action corresponds. As by the trumpet-plague the dwellers on earth are not brought to repentance,(3605) so also neither are they by the vial-plagues.(3606) The more certain and immediate, therefore, is the actual final judgment, whose description then also immediately follows that of the last plagues,(3607) and to which, therefore, we are directed in the midst of the plagues as to something immediately impending.(3608) The result of this is that the fulfilment of the wrath of God ( ἐτελέσθη)(3609) is to be understood only relatively; viz., in so far as it is manifested in the “plagues.” No more plagues will come after the vial-plagues; but then the Lord himself will come to administer his final judgment.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-15.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

REVELATION CHAPTER 15

Revelation 15:1 The seven angels with the seven last plagues.

Revelation 15:2-4 The song of them which overcome the beast.

Revelation 15:5-8 This seven angels receive the seven golden vials full

of the wrath of God.

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous; that is, a representation which appeared to John great and wonderful.

Seven angels; ministers of God, used by him in the dispensations of his providence.

Having the seven last plagues; having a commission to execute the seven last judgments of God, by which he designed to destroy antichrist.

For in them is filled up the wrath of God; for by them the wrath of God was to be executed upon him to the uttermost.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-15.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

ярость Божия См. пояснения к 11:18; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15; ср. Рим. 1:18-21.

(5:1-8) Глава 15-я представляет 7 чаш гнева – последние Божьи суды в конце 7 лет годины искушения. Чаши гнева придут стремительно, в виде стаккато, с нарастающей яростью и силой. Чаши – последние бедствия, исходящие от звука седьмой трубы; они завершают седьмую печать (см. пояснение к 6:1).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-15.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Seven last plagues; those which would accomplish the wrath of God against the beast, and result in his final and utter overthrow. Whether these seven plagues are a more detailed account of the harvest and vintage described in the preceding chapter, or follow after them as additional judgments, can be known only by their fulfilment.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-15.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

The Church, having been prepared in the preceding Chapter, by seeing her Safety in Christ, is in this Chapter taught concerning the Ministry of the seven Angels, with the seven last Plagues. The Song of Moses and the Lamb. The seven Angels come forth from the Temple.

Revelation 15:1

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

This is a short, but sweet Chapter. It seems in its contents, principally designed to fortify the Church with the assurance of victory, that the Lord's people, in the worst of times, might feel no fear from any outward exercises, being strengthened with inward grace. It opens with a sign, which John calls, great and marvellous. And great and marvellous it always is, when the worm Jacob is made to thresh the mountains. And great and marvellous also upon another account, when grace is so blessedly shown to the Church, in the same moment, the wrath of God is poured out on the ungodly. There is nothing so affecting to a child of God, as when, in the time he feels: some new token of God's love, is conscious, when receiving it, he merits God's displeasure; and beholds that displeasure poured out on others, no more undeserving than himself. The words, upon such occasions, burst involuntarily from the heart, overwhelmed under a sense of distinguishing grace: Lord! how is it that thou dost manifest thyself unto me, and not unto the world, John 14:22.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-15.html. 1828.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having seven plagues which are the last, for in them is finished the wrath of God.’

The seven plagues are the last to be described not the last chronologically, for the seven seals and the seven trumpets which run parallel to them also involved the wrath of God. They are the last because they sum up God’s judgments. As Paul emphasised ‘the wrath of God IS (at this present time) revealed from Heaven’ (Romans 1:18 compare Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6; Romans 5:9) for we are ‘by nature children of wrath’ (Ephesians 2:3).

The idea of the wrath of God is applied to the final judgment, ‘the day of wrath’ (Romans 2:5; Romans 2:8; Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7; John 3:36; Romans 9:22; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 6:16-17; Revelation 11:18; Revelation 14:10; Revelation 14:19; Revelation 19:15) and to the present wrath of God revealed in various ways (Luke 21:23; Romans 1:18 with Romans 1:24-32; 1 Thessalonians 2:16; Revelation 15:1; Revelation 15:7; Revelation 16:1; Revelation 16:19). It is not anger as we know it but righteous anger like the anger of Jesus (Mark 3:5), a righteous response to the awfulness of sin, the sign of an antipathy to sin. In His holiness God must react against sin.

He did it first by offering a way of redemption and providing a means of ‘propitiation’ through Jesus Christ and His death on the cross (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2), which was a way of righteously dealing with sin while forgiving the sinner, but for those who refuse that way His wrath against sin means that He must ultimately deal with sinners, first by attempts to make them consider their ways, and then in final judgment.

‘Another sign in heaven, great and marvellous’, compare the signs in Revelation 12:1; Revelation 12:3. We have seen the sign speaking of the true people of God, we have seen the sign of the Evil One who seeks to destroy God’s handywork, now we see the sign of God’s response to that evil, seven angels having the seven plagues which finalise God’s programme of wrath against sin. But before these are emptied we must see the safety of the redeemed.

The fact that there is no article before ‘angels’ suggests these are nottheseven angels, but merely seven selected from among many. It is not, however, a matter of great importance. What matters is that Heaven is at work.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-15.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

(1) The sign of the seven angels--15:1-2.

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--15:1. The "sign in heaven" carried the same import as observed in previous comments on other visions and in the Lord's own preview of the destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew 24:31. What was here envisioned in heaven (the sphere of authorities) was carried out on earth (among the inhabitants of Palestine) with special reference to Judah and Jerusalem.

The seven angels with the seven vials and plagues formed a visional recapitulation of the seven seals and trumpets of the first series of visions--the difference existed in the central figures of the visions. The first series surrounded Christ, the Lamb; the second series surrounded the church, his Bride. The second series, though repetitive, was also a progressive development of the events in an enlargement of judicial punishments inflicted on the empire-beast. The seven plagues in the hands of the seven angels were contained in seven vials, as mentioned in verse 7, and this chapter had the effect of an introduction to the pouring out of the plagues contained in the vials of the following chapter.

In reference to the seven vials, verse 1 stated that in them is filled up the wrath of God, which indicated the fulfillment of time. The function of the seven angels therefore was to execute the seven plagues in the series of cosmic woes to be poured out on the earth--the land of the Jews. The visions of these final plagues, or woes, anticipated the overthrow of apostate Jerusalem, referred to previously as the fall of the harlot Babylon. Later, the same seven angels were seen showing to John the new Jerusalem emerging as the spiritual Jerusalem in contrast with the old apostate Jerusalem.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-15.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The announcement of the seven last judgments15:1

This verse serves as a superscription for chapters15,16 and even, perhaps, for the rest of the book. One writer argued that Revelation 15:1 concludes the previous revelation rather than introducing what follows. [Note: Michael Wilcock, The Message of Revelation, pp137-40.] Most scholars disagree.

"And I saw" (Gr. kai idou) again introduces a new scene, this time in heaven (cf. Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:11; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 14:6; Revelation 14:14; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 15:5). The "sign" John saw signified God"s final judgments on earth-dwellers during the Tribulation (cf. Revelation 12:1; Revelation 12:3). The former signs were the woman and the dragon.

"They [the signs] point beyond themselves and disclose the theological meaning of history." [Note: Mounce, p285.]

This sign, however, is both great and marvelous, especially awesome. It is awesome because it signifies the climax of the outpouring of God"s wrath on nature, humankind, the dragon, and the two beasts. The sign itself is the seven angels who control seven plagues. As with the seals and trumpets, angels were God"s agents in pouring out His wrath in this series of judgments. These angels were now ready to do their duty (cf. Psalm 103:20). They appear seven times as a group ( Revelation 15:6-8; Revelation 16:1; Revelation 17:1; Revelation 21:9) and nine times individually ( Revelation 16:2-4; Revelation 16:8; Revelation 16:10; Revelation 16:12; Revelation 16:17; Revelation 17:7; Revelation 21:9). John simply introduced them here. They do not begin to act until Revelation 15:6 (cf. Revelation 8:2; Revelation 12:6; Revelation 21:2).

The bowl "plagues" that follow have many similarities to the plagues that God sent on Egypt, as we shall see. All seven of these judgments reprise in varied ways the plagues of Egypt. These similarities suggest that God"s purpose in both series of judgments is the same: to punish godless idolaters and to liberate the godly for future blessing and service.

Some interpreters believe the bowl judgments are the same as the seal and trumpet judgments. One advocate of this position wrote as follows.

"The bowls go back in time before what is depicted in ch14and explain in greater detail the woes throughout the [inter-advent] age culminating in the final judgment." [Note: Beale, p786.]

He explained their being described as "the last" this way.

". . . they portray the full-orbed wrath of God in a more intense manner than any of the previous woe visions." [Note: Ibid, p788.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-15.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 15:1. The angels spoken of have seven plagues which are the last; and the reason is assigned why they are so named, for in them is finished the wrath of God. God’s last and most terrible judgments are at hand.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-15.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 15:1. And I saw a sign in heaven, great and marvellous — Such as fixed my attention, and will demand that of the reader: seven angels (doubtless holy angels) having the seven last plagues — Hitherto God had borne with his enemies with much longsuffering, but now his wrath will go forth to the uttermost. But even after these plagues the holy wrath of God against his other enemies does not cease, Revelation 20:15.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-15.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

I saw....seven Angels, having the seven last plagues. Many by these understand chastisements that will fall upon the wicked a little before the end of the world, and so take these plagues and vials that are poured out, in the next chapter, mostly in a literal sense. Others apply them to different calamities that happened to heathen Rome; but the applications are so different, that they serve to convince us how uncertain they are. In the mean time St. John seems to repeat the same things in a different manner, and some times by way of anticipation, as here the saints are introduced rejoicing, in view of that happiness in heaven which is prepared for them. (Witham) --- Here is a new vision, great and wonderful, seven Angels holding the figurative symbols of seven plagues. They are called the last, because in them is completed the wrath of God, being inflicted on mankind in the last period of the world, the period of Christianity. The first of these scourges takes place shortly after the commencement of the Christian era, and the seventh puts an end to the world. (Pastorini)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-15.html. 1859.

A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scriptures

THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES OR VIAL JUDGMENTS.

Revelation 15:1.

"And I saw another SIGN in Heaven, great and marvellous, SEVEN ANGELS having the "SEVEN LAST PLAGUES"; for in them is filled up the WRATH OF GOD."

This is another "SIGN" or "Wonder." It was great and marvellous, because it "FILLED UP THE WRATH OF GOD," that Isaiah, it completed the pouring out of the accumulated "WRATH OF GOD."

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Larkin, Clarence. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/clr/revelation-15.html.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

The first sign was the woman with child, the second a great red dragon and now we have the third. (Revelation 12:1; Revelation 12:3) In the seals (Revelation 5-8:5), we saw Christ revealed and his saints persecuted and martyred. The trumpets (Revelation 8:6-13; Revelation 9:1-21; Revelation 10:1-11; Revelation 11:1-19) served as warnings from God since only one-third of earth, sea, etc., are hurt. Men could have followed Christ or repented at the first two, but this third completes the process (Thayer) of God"s wrath and presents his punishment of those who will not repent.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-15.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

saw. App-133.

another. App-124.

sign. App-104. See Revelation 12:1.

in. App-133.

heaven. See Revelation 3:12.

seven angels. Occurs seven times; here, and: Revelation 15:6, Revelation 15:7, Revelation 15:8; Revelation 16:1; Revelation 17:1; Revelation 21:9.

seven. See App-10and App-197.

plagues. See Revelation 9:20 and App-197.

filled up. Compare App-125.

God. App-98.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-15.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

The seven last plagues - `seven plagues the last.'

Is filled up - `was consummated:' prophetic past for the future, the future being to God as though past, so sure of accomplishment is His word. This is the summary of the vision that follows: the angels do not actually receive the vials until Revelation 15:7; but here, by anticipation, they are spoken of as having them. There are no more plagues until the Lord's coming in judgment. The destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18:1-24) is the last: then (in Revelation 19:1-21.) He appears.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-15.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XV.

(1) And I saw another sign in (the) heaven.—The sign is, as we noticed before (Revelation 12:1), a token, not a mere empty wonder. This sign is called “great and marvellous;” it introduces a new set of scenes; the same characters will reappear, but we must start with fresh attention.

The seer sees seven angels (not “the seven angels;” it is perfectly needless to ask what angels, or to try and identify them with the trumpet angels) having seven plagues, the last, because in them is completed the wrath of God. The statement that these are the last plagues seems to show that the set of visions now commencing carry us down to the end of the age; there are no other plagues after these: they are the last plagues; the vials, like the seals and the trumpets, run up to the final consummation. They are plagues; the word carries us back to Egypt: on Egypt fell the ten plagues which showed forth God’s righteous power, and exposed the hollow pretensions of the magicians and their gods; the wild beast-power and the false prophet-power of that day was crippled and exposed. In like manner upon the wild beast-power of later ages the plagues of God fall. They are plagues, because they are sent forth, not like the trumpets to warn men to repent, but upon those who have obstinately refused to return; they are not goads to the wavering, but they are strokes upon the wilful and hardened; they are directed against those who are deliberately hostile.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-15.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
I saw
12:1-3; Daniel 4:2,3; 6:27
seven angels
6; 8:2,6; 10:3; 16:1-17; 21:9; Matthew 13:41,42,49,50
last
8:13; 11:14; 16:17-21; 17:1
is filled
7; 14:10,19; 16:19; 19:15; Daniel 12:6,7,11,12
Reciprocal: Genesis 3:15 - thou;  Joshua 6:4 - seven times;  Jeremiah 51:48 - the heaven;  Daniel 8:19 - the last;  Luke 14:21 - being;  Revelation 11:18 - and thy;  Revelation 15:8 - till;  Revelation 17:17 - until;  Revelation 22:18 - God

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-15.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

ANOTHER SIGN. Revelation 15:1-8.

Revelation 15:1. — "And I saw another sign in the Heaven, great and wonderful: seven angels having seven plagues, the last; for in them the fury of God is completed."

We have had the "great sign" of the woman, Israel (12. l), then "another sign," that of the dragon (v. 3), now we have "another sign" spoken of as "great and wonderful." Those three signs are each seen in the Heaven — the dwelling place of God and angels. What makes the third one of such solemn import, even more so than the two preceding, is, that corresponding to the third Woe, the fulness of God's wrath is poured out upon the Beast, the diabolic persecutor of the woman. The first sign directs attention to Israel, the second to the real instigator of the evil, the dragon, and the third to the apostate civil power, who under Satan blasphemes God and persecutes Israel.

"Seven angels." There are three numbered groups of angels: of four (Revelation 7:1), of seven (Revelation 8:2; Revelation 16:1), and of twelve (Revelation 21:12). In the ministry of judgment under the Trumpets and under the Vials there are two distinct groups of seven angels. Those connected with the Trumpets are evidently a highly honoured company, as they are spoken of as those "who stand before God,"{*See remarks on Revelation 8:2.} and are likewise introduced by the definite article "the seven angels" (Revelation 8:2). Not so the Vial angels.

"Having seven plagues, the last." The Seal judgments were succeeded by the Trumpet series, and now the seven Vial plagues are about to be poured out, in which the pent-up and concentrated wrath of God is fully expressed. These providential judgments are the last. Emphasis is laid upon this expression of finality; not that the Vials close up the story of divine wrath, but they bring to an end the providential judgments of God. Further strokes of the divine vengeance are most surely inflicted, but these are by the Lamb in Person at His Coming (Revelation 19:1-21; Matthew 25:31-46).

"For in them the fury (or wrath) of God is completed." The reason is here given why these seven plagues are the last. "For" therein the wrath of God is exhausted, that is, His providential dealings in judgment with a wicked and apostate scene.{*"The wrath of God," as an expression occurs six times in the Apocalypse: Revelation 14:10; Revelation 14:19; Revelation 15:1; Revelation 15:7; Revelation 16:1; Revelation 19:15. In Revelation 19:15-16 God's wrath and the Lamb's wrath are united in action.} On the conclusion of the Vials, the wrath of the Lamb, even more terrible than the wrath of God, is openly expressed on the subjects of vengeance. "Commission to act is given to Christ as soon as the ministration of the Vials ends." The secret providential dealings of God are brought to an end with the Vials, or Bowls of wrath, after which the Lamb in Person publicly assumes the government of the world. But as the nations at His Coming are in armed rebellion — apostate and wicked beyond all human conception — the wrath of the Lamb burns in its fierceness. The wrath of God is finished in the Vials, to be succeeded by the wrath of the Lamb.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-15.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The preceding chapter describes the vision before John that came down to the day of judgment and to the final assignment of all mankind to their eternal destinations. The present chapter goes back some distance (as the book has done before), and will again take up the judgments of God that were poured out upon the apostate church for her worship of idols and her persecution of the faithful servants of God. Seven angels are seen as a symbol of the completeness of God's system for executing his wrath upon the wicked of the earth.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-15.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 15:1

Revelation 15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

Here followeth the third principal prophecy of this Book; that Isaiah, the vision of the seven vials of the last plagues of God almighty, which contain the third woe denounced, { Revelation 8:13} and mentioned. { Revelation 11:14}

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous.

It's called another sign, because it differeth from the former both in time and signification;

great and marvellous,

because it foretold great and wonderful events of the wrath of God against the kingdom of the beast. By angels here, we may understand those that shall be instruments in the ruin of the beasts kingdom, the Roman papacy, which are the kings of the earth, who shall hate the great whore, mystical Babylon, and burn her with fire. { Revelation 17:16} And make her desolate. Also the ministers of Christ, called angels, { Revelation 1:20} by declaring and denouncing the righteous judgments of God against the Beast, the false prophet, and the great whore, the Church of Rome, the mother of harlots, likewise the holy angels of God, and our Lord Jesus Christ the angel of the covenant, { Malachi 3:1} who shall execute his vengeance upon the beast, { Revelation 19:19-20} etc. They are called

the seven last plagues,

because by them God will put a final end to the kingdom of the beast.

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Bibliographical Information
Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-15.html.

D.S. Clark's Commentary on Revelation

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.

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Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ch. 15 Revelation 15:1. And I saw another sign in heaven, great and wonderful; seven angels, that had the last seven plagues; for with them is finished to wrath of God. A great and wonderful sign (comp. the expression, "a great sign," in ch. Revelation 12:1, and "another sign" in ch. Revelation 12:3) this vision is called, not in respect to the others, but considered by itself; not in contrast to the others, but as a part of the whole. This book consists of simply such signs. The words indicate, that a new scene begins. That the sign is called great and wonderful on account of the height of the matter denoted by it, is evident from the intentionally corresponding expression in Revelation 15:3, "Great and wonderful are thy works."

The question, whether the seven angels here are identical with the angels to whom the seven trumpets were given, is a frivolous one. As seven angels are mentioned quite indefinitely, we are alike without grounds for considering them either as identical or as different.

For the present, John sees merely the seven angels, and only afterwards the temple and their proceeding out of it. That they are there represented as coming out of the temple, does not imply, that they had been shut up in the temple. Their connection with the temple serves merely to express a thought, which still could not he distinctly expressed here.

The angels have the seven last plagues. The instruments of these plagues, the seven vials, are only said to have been given to them at Revelation 15:7. How John should have already known, that they had the seven last plagues, is not said. But they no doubt had their signature, which was revealed to him by the Spirit. Their countenance alone must have bespoken them to be ministers of judgment. The eye as of a flame of fire speaks not less distinctly than the vials.

It has often been supposed, that this verse supplies the place of a superscription, introduces by a brief anticipative survey, what is reported at length in the description that follows. And undoubtedly, it is the case, that the verse to some extent supplies the place of a superscription. But it is not the less certain, on the other hand, that it is not reported on the appearance of the angels by way of anticipation, but that a preliminary view of the seven angels was already granted to the Seer. What was perceived by him in Revelation 15:2-4 implies this; it must have been intelligible to him, if he had not previously seen the great and wonderful sight of the seven angels. It is to what these were destined to accomplish that the song of praise refers, which was raised by those who stood on the sea of glass mingled with fire. Only in the presence of the seven angels could they sing as they did. The song forms a commentary on the appearance of the angels. We have an air without words, if these did not precede. Ch. Revelation 8:2 is quite analogous. There the prophet sees the angels with the seven trumpets. Then in Revelation 15:3-5 follows a sort of prelude, the vision of the angel with frankincense. Thereafter commences the work of the seven ministers of divine vengeance.

The prophet sees the angels who have the seven last plagues. Why they are so called is expressly stated: "because by them is the wrath of God finished." We have here a clear and certain proof for the division of the Revelation into groups. After these seven plagues no others can come. If the wrath is finished (comp. Isaiah 9:20; Daniel 11:36; Lamentations 4:11) no further manifestations of it can possibly enter. Bengel's remark, "after the completion of the seven plagues, the holy displeasure of God toward the other enemies does not therefore cease," is only an evidence of embarrassment. The subject of discourse is of the last plagues generally, of the finishing of the wrath of God, without any limitation as to the object. The song, also, which the conquerors sing on the sea of glass, shows that matters can proceed no farther on the same scene. It implies, that the end is absolutely reached. And if still in the chapters that follow (Revelation 17-20), there are delineated frightful judgments of God, the only possible explanation is, that a co-ordinate series is introduced, that at ch. 17 we have a new beginning. By these seven plagues the worldly power is completely annihilated. But this does not hinder, that in the following portions other aspects of this great drama should be exhibited; nay, it is necessary that this should be done; a group must still follow, to disclose what we naturally expect after the vision of the three enemies in Revelation 12-14. These plagues are all inflicted on the first beast and his worshippers; of the fate of the second beast, and of the great author of the seduction, Satan, we learn nothing here. And even in regard to the first beast, we still do not receive a complete answer to the questions which naturally arise out of Revelation 12-14. The beast is here always represented as a whole, and as the object of the judicial severity of God. But in ch. Revelation 13:1 mention is made of the heads and horns of the beast. What becomes of these, of the former in so far as they are still present and future, we expect some disclosure to be given. We expect to find represented, not merely the judgments on the beast, the ungodly power of the world in general, but the judgments also on its individual phases. Now, all this we do find in Revelation 17-20, to which the present group stands in the relation of a prelude.

The "last" judgments of God are represented also by the two groups of the seven seals and the seven trumpets.

This is as certain as that they each bring things to a termination, have their issue in exhibiting the ungodly world prostrate on the ground. The difference between the present group and these earlier ones is merely, that the former take for granted what is described in Revelation 12-14—that here the judgments alight on the ungodly power of the world, while there the object of the judicial severity of God is more generally delineated. There ungodliness, here the ungodly power of the world. It accords with this, that the seven plagues are here brought in. This designation of the judgments of God has respect to the plagues of Egypt (comp. Exodus 9:14), the object of which was not the ungodly world in general, but specially the ungodly world-power. The plagues and the beast necessarily go together. Because the name of plagues was formerly appropriated to denote the judgments of God on the first phase of that power, so here also the judgments that were impending over it are called by the name of plagues.[Note: That the word has here the limited sense indicated above, is clear from the correspondence of the references to the Egyptian plagues, which pervade the whole description, and is also confirmed by ch. 11:6. It is only in an exceptional way, that in ch. 9:20, the judgments of the trumpets are denoted by plagues. The general phraseology does not exclude the particular. If this finds place here, then the plagues, even apart from the explanation we have given, cannot be called the last with reference to earlier ones; for no earlier plagues had been spoken of.]

As compared with the two earlier groups the shortness of this, in its representation of the judgments of God, is peculiar. These follow stroke upon stroke. The meaning of this racy shortness—which has the same end in view as elsewhere the full delineation—which is but one of diverse ways to impress the mind, and is here the more in its place, as the exhibition of the important sixth group hastens on—has been quite misapprehended by those, who conclude from it, that the seven plagues, which accompany the worldly power through whole centuries, and each of which brings together in a condensed form what is constantly repeating itself anew, as often as the worldly power renews its hostility toward the kingdom of God, shall have to run their course in a very brief space of time.

The expression, "is finished" is used by way of anticipation; it shall be finished, when all the seven shall have taken effect.

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Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-15.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2. The chapter of War Preparation (at Jerusalem) for Babylon’s destruction, Revelation 15:1-8.

The seven destroying angels in the temple; presented with the vials, Revelation 15:1-7.

1.And—As the menaces of the last chapter were in Jerusalem and the temple, so here we are still in the temple at the glass sea; the martyr spirits on its shore are chanting anticipated victory over the beast, 1-4; the tabernacle is opened, 5; the seven angels of the last plagues come from the temple, 6, 7; while the divine presence of Jehovah himself stays in the temple, 8, until the seven plagues do their fatal work on antichrist’s capital.

Another sign—Or symbol. Another, in addition to those in Revelation 12:1; Revelation 12:3.

In heaven—That is, in the heaven or region, of symbol. Note Revelation 4:11. The seven angels, as being the main figures in the great overthrow, are mentioned before their time, (which comes at Revelation 15:6,) and as emphatically the sign’ great and marvellous. Or, we may say the sign’ great and marvellous comprehends the entire exhibition of this chapter; nay, perhaps even including the process and catastrophe of next chapter. And thus this another sign forms a marvellous antithesis to the two of 12 and 13.

Last plaguesLast as being final for Babylon.

For— Assigning reason for their being a finality; they fill up the retribution due to Satan’s capital.

Plagues—The Greek word for plague signifies, literally, a blow, a smite; and the infliction is thus assumed to be made by a divine stroke. It is as if the outpouring of the vial was the external sign; but a stroke from Jehovah from his secret place in the temple (Revelation 15:8) made the infliction.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-15.html. 1874-1909.

The Bible Study New Testament

1. Then I sawanother mysterious sight in the sky. Again and again we see a cycle of events in Revelation – the cycle of the church. The Holy Spirit produces faith in the hearts of people through the preaching of the Good News of God’s act in Christ to set men free. Those who believe and are baptized (Acts 2:41)are added to the group [the church: the messianic community], The Devil fights against them through human agents, and we see that again and again, the church is persecuted [chapters 47]. We see God again and again send warning-judgments against the persecuting world [chapters 811], but these people do not repent. [Some few do.] This constant warfare between the world and the church points to the deeper conflict between the “child of the woman” [Christ] and the Dragon [chapters 1214]. But, when the Trumpets of Warning fail to produce repentance, and wicked men fail to turn to God, what then? Will God close his eyes to it all until the Judgment??? Chapters 1516answer this. Whenever in our world, wicked men ignore the Trumpets of Warning, the Bowls of God’s Wrath are poured out! These are the Last Plagues! Death plunges these rebels, who will not accept forgiveness, into the hands of an angry God! [Notice that the same event may be a Seal to the believer; a Trumpet of Warning to the wicked; and a Bowl of Wrath to the rebel.]

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 15:1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-15.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.