Revelation Chapter Fifteen
Chapter 15 is a new vision. It unrolls before the prophet another scene, the last plagues or judgments of God, and specially that of Babylon, before Christ comes. The main object of the vision was the seven angels, having the seven last plagues; but, as ever, the saints who have to do with this scene are seen in security before the judgments begin. They have been purified, but have come through the fire of tribulation too. They stand on a sea mingled with fire. They have belonged to the time when the beast and his image were in power, but they had got the victory over it. They seemed perhaps to have succumbed---it was real victory.
Their song is very peculiar. The song of Moses is triumph over the power of evil by God's judgments. The song of the Lamb is the exaltation of the rejected Messiah, of the suffering One, like whom they had suffered; for it is the slain remnant amidst unfaithful and apostate Israel whom we find here. The song celebrates God and the Lamb, but by victorious sufferers who belong to heaven. What they celebrate are the works of Jehovah Elohim Shaddai (the God of the Old Testament), but who has manifested Himself in judgment, known by His works that are public for the people. He shewed His ways unto Moses, His works unto the children of Israel. His works are celebrated now. They are the works of Jehovah Elohim Shaddai, the Judge of all the earth. But His ways are celebrated too. There was intelligence of them, as far at least as righteous judgment went. These ways in judgment were just and true. Israel would understand deliverance, and how it came; but Moses knew God's ways. But this is all. It is not merely celebration of qualities and attributes, as the angels do, nor the full knowledge of God's work in salvation by the blood of the Lamb. It is not the heart going up in the sense of its own relationship, but a celebration of the glory of the Lord, who would now be worshiped by the nations for His judgments were manifested. It was intelligence when judgments were manifested, not when all was yet to be learned within the veil.
This celebration of what was just bursting forth being made, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened, not merely the temple with the ark of the covenant seen. That secured the result for faith, when evil was raging in power on earth; the ark of God's covenant secured Israel. It was a testimony opened out, not a covenant which secured in the hour of evil, but a testimony which made good what the ark of the covenant secured; for the temple was opened, and the messengers of judgment came forth-God's judgment for the restoration and blessing, of Israel, by the judgment of the Gentiles and all who corrupted the earth. Cleanness in God's sight and divine righteousness, characterised and animated this judgment-clean linen pure and white, and golden girdles: I apprehend the former, in answer to corruption in what should have had this-Babylon. (compare chap. 19:8.) That is, it was a judgment which required it, and was according to it, and also to divine righteousness. It is not brass burning in the fire-simply execution of judgment in dealing with men, though that took place-but God making good His own nature and character against corruption, the essential character of the eternal God, which the assembly ought to have displayed; whereas Babylon was entirely the contrary, and the beast too. The seven angels judge all according to these characters of God, because it was really the avenging of what God was, as fully revealed to the assembly; but the white linen refers, I doubt not, specially to Babylon, though the men with the mark of the beast would come under the judgment. One of the four living creatures gives the vials; for it is the judicial power of God in creation, not yet the Lamb. God's glory in judgment filled the temple; and no man could have to say to Him in worship, or approaching Him, while these plagues were executing. It was the full display of God in judgment.
The first four plagues have the same objects as the judgments of the first four trumpets-the whole circle of symbolic nature, but here directly as regards men--earth, sea, rivers, and sun; the ordered prophetic sphere of God's dealings, the masses of peoples as such viewed as unorganized, the moral principles which give an impulse to their movements, and sovereign authority. But it is not a third here (that is, the Roman earth), but in general.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Revelation》
A song of praise is sung by the church. (1-4) Seven angels with the seven plagues; and to them one of the living creatures gives seven golden vials full of the wrath of God. (5-8)
Commentary on Revelation 15:1-4
(Read Revelation 15:1-4)
Seven angels appeared in heaven; prepared to finish the destruction of antichrist. As the measure of Babylon's sins was filled up, it finds the full measure of Divine wrath. While believers stand in this world, in times of trouble, as upon a sea of glass mingled with fire, they may look forward to their final deliverance, while new mercies call forth new hymns of praise. The more we know of God's wonderful works, the more we shall praise his greatness as the Lord God Almighty, the Creator and Ruler of all worlds; but his title of Emmanuel, the King of saints, will make him dear to us. Who that considers the power of God's wrath, the value of his favour, or the glory of his holiness, would refuse to fear and honour him alone? His praise is above heaven and earth.
Commentary on Revelation 15:5-8
(Read Revelation 15:5-8)
In the judgments God executes upon antichrist and his followers, he fulfils the prophecies and promises of his word. These angels are prepared for their work, clothed with pure and white linen, their breasts girded with golden girdles, representing the holiness, and righteousness, and excellence of these dealings with men. They are ministers of Divine justice, and do every thing in a pure and holy manner. They were armed with the wrath of God against his enemies. Even the meanest creature, when armed with the anger of God, will be too hard for any man in the world. The angels received the vials from one of the four living creatures, one of the ministers of the true church, as in answer to the prayers of the ministers and people of God. Antichrist could not be destroyed without a great shock to all the world, and even the people of God would be in trouble and confusion while the great work was doing. The greatest deliverances of the church are brought about by awful and astonishing steps of Providence; and the happy state of the true church will not begin till obstinate enemies shall be destroyed, and lukewarm or formal Christians are purified. Then, whatever is against Scripture being purged away, the whole church shall be spiritual, and the whole being brought to purity, unity, and spirituality, shall be firmly established.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Revelation》
 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.
 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
The song was sung while the angels were coming out, with their plagues, who are therefore mentioned both before and after it, verses 1-6. Revelation 15:1-6 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire - It was before "clear as crystal," Revelation 4:6, but now mingled with fire, which devours the adversaries. And them that gained, or were gaining, the victory over the wild beast - More of whom were yet to come. The mark of the beast, the mark of his name, and the number of his name, seem to mean here nearly the same thing.
Standing at the sea of glass — Which was before the throne.
Having the harps of God — Given by him, and appropriated to his praise.
 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
And they sing the song of Moses — So called, partly from its near agreement ,with the words of that song which he sung after passing the Red Sea, Exodus 15:11, and of that which he taught the children of Israel a little before his death, Deuteronomy 32:3,4. But chiefly because Moses was the minister and representative of the Jewish church, as Christ is of the church universal. Therefore it is also termed the sons of the Lamb. It consists of six parts, which answer each other: - 1.Great and wonderful are thy 2.For thou only art gracious. works, Lord God Almighty. 3.Just and true are thy ways, O 4.For all the nations shall come King of the nations. and worship before thee. 5.Who would not fear thee, O 6.For thy judgments are made Lord, and glorify thy name? manifest. We know and acknowledge that all thy works in and toward all the creatures are great and wonderful; that thy ways with all the children of men, good and evil, are just and true.
For thou only art gracious — And this grace is the spring of all those wonderful works, even of his destroying the enemies of his people. Accordingly in Psalms 136:1-26., that clause, "For his mercy endureth for ever," is subjoined to the thanksgiving for his works of vengeance as well as for his delivering the righteous.
For all the nations shall come and worship before thee — They shall serve thee as their king with joyful reverence. This is a glorious testimony of the future conversion of all the heathens. The Christians are now a little flock: they who do not worship God, an immense multitude. But all the nations shall come, from all parts of the earth, to worship him and glorify his name. For thy judgments are made manifest - And then the inhabitants of the earth will at length learn to fear him.
 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:
After these things the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony — The holiest of all.
Was opened — Disclosing a new theatre for the coming forth of the judgments of God now made manifest.
 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.
And the seven angels came out of the temple — As having received their instructions from the oracle of God himself. St. John saw them in heaven, verse 1, Revelation 15:1 before they went into the temple. They appeared in habits like those the high priest wore when he went into the most holy place to consult the oracle. In this was the visible testimony of God's presence.
Clothed in pure white linen — Linen is the habit of service and attendance.
Pure — unspotted, unsullied.
White — Or bright and shining, which implies much more than bare innocence.
And having their breasts girt with golden girdles — In token of their high dignity and glorious rest.
 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
And one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels — After they were come out of the temple.
Seven golden phials — Or bowls. The Greek word signifies vessels broader at the top than at the bottom.
Full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever — A circumstance which adds greatly to the dreadfulness of his wrath.
 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.
And the temple was filled with smoke — The cloud of glory was the visible manifestation of God's presence in the tabernacle and temple. It was a sign of protection at erecting the tabernacle and at the dedication of the temple. But in the judgment of Korah the glory of the Lord appeared, when he and his companions were swallowed up by the earth. So proper is the emblem of smoke from the glory of God, or from the cloud of glory, to express the execution of judgment, as well as to be a sign of favour. Both proceed from the power of God, and in both he is glorified.
And none — Not even of those who ordinarily stood before God.
Could go into the temple — That is, into the inmost part of it.
Till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled — Which did not take up a long time, like the seven trumpets, but swiftly followed each other.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Revelation》
Chapter 15. Sing the Song of Moses
A Sea of Glass
Mixed with Fire
I. Seven Angels with Seven Plagues
II. Victors Sing Two Songs
III. Seven Angels Complete Seven Plagues
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Fifteen General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To see how the stage is set for the final outpouring of God's wrath
on the beast and upon those who followed him
2) To note the comforting scene of those victorious over the beast
praising God for His righteous judgment
With the main adversaries identified (the dragon, the sea beast, the
land beast, and
) and the people of God reassured of ultimate Babylon
victory (chs. 12-14), the full out-pouring of God's wrath is about to
be shown. Chapter fifteen is a "prelude" to the seven bowls of wrath
described in the next chapter.
We are introduced to seven angels who have the seven last plagues in
which the wrath of God is complete (1). Before the seven angels are
given their bowls, however, John sees those victorious over the beast
standing on a fiery sea of glass having harps of God. Singing the song
of Moses and the song of the Lamb, they praise God for His righteous
judgments (2-4). This scene is reminiscent of the Israelites praising
God for their victory over the Egyptians after crossing the
(cf. Exo 14:30-15:21).
The seven angels with the seven plagues then proceeded out of the
temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven, clothed in bright
linen and chests girded with gold bands. One of the four living
creatures gave them seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God. At
that point the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and
His power, preventing anyone from entering the temple until the seven
plagues were completed (5-8). Perhaps this scene was designed to
convey that the time of God's longsuffering was over, and the
outpouring of His wrath was the result of fulfilling the covenant He
had with His people. God is about to avenge His saints!
I. PRELUDE TO THE SEVEN BOWLS OF WRATH (1-4)
A. A GREAT AND MARVELOUS SIGN IN HEAVEN (1-2)
1. John sees seven angels
a. Having the seven last plagues
b. In which the wrath of God is complete
2. John sees a sea of glass mingled with fire, and a great
a. It is those who have the victory over the beast, his image,
his mark, and the number of his name
b. They are standing on the sea of glass, with harps of God
B. SINGING THE SONG OF MOSES AND OF THE LAMB (3-4)
1. The multitude is singing the song of Moses, and the song of
2. A song which praises the Lord God Almighty, King of the saints
a. For His great and marvelous works
b. For the truth and justice of His ways
c. For He is worthy of reverence and glory
d. And all nations shall come and worship before Him, for the
manifestations of His judgments
II. SEVEN ANGELS AND SEVEN BOWLS OF WRATH (5-8)
A. THE SEVEN ANGELS (5-6)
1. The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven is
2. Out come the seven angels having the seven plagues
a. Clothed in pure bright linen
b. Having their chests girded with golden bands
B. THE SEVEN GOLDEN BOWLS (7-8)
1. One of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels:
a. Seven golden bowls
b. Full of the wrath of God who lives forever
2. The temple was filled with smoke
a. From the glory of God and from His power
b. No one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- Prelude to the seven bowls of wrath (1-4)
- Seven angels and seven bowls of wrath (5-8)
2) What great and marvelous sign did John see in heaven? (1)
- Seven angels having the seven last plagues, in which the wrath of
God is complete
3) Who was standing on a sea of glass mingled with fire? What were
they doing? (2-3)
- Those who have the victory over the beast, his image, mark, and
number of his name
- Singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb
4) For what were they praising the Lord God Almighty? (3-4)
- His great and marvelous works
- His just and true ways
- His holiness
- The manifestation of His judgments
5) What did John see after these things? (5-6)
- The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven opened
- Out of which came the seven angels with the seven plagues
6) What did one of the four living creatures give to the seven angels?
- Seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God
7) What happened to the temple at that point? (8)
- It was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power
- Preventing anyone from entering the temple till the seven plagues
Sing the song of Moses
A sea of glass
Mixed with fire
I. Seven angels with seven plagues
1. See a sign
2. Great and marvelous
3. God’s wrath is completed
II.Victors sing two songs
1. Hold harps
2. Redeem the body
3. Redeem soul and spirit
III. Seven angels complete seven plagues
1. Out of the temple
2. Seven golden bowls
3. No one can make a petition
── Chih-Hsin Chang《an Outline of The New Testament》