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.
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(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.

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.

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.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 thaumaston. The 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, Revelation 14. That might be spoken of as a thing now well known, and the mention of it would demand the article; and as that was well known, and would demand the article, so any allusion to it, or description of it, might be spoken of in the same manner, as a thing that was definite and fixed, and hence, the mention of the plagues by which it was to be accomplished would be referred to in the same manner. The word "plagues" - πληγὰς plēgas, from, πληγή plēgē - means properly a wound caused by a stripe or blow, and is frequently rendered "stripe" and "stripes," 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 19-22, but these were the plagues which would come finally upon the beast and his image, and which would terminate the existence of this formidable enemy.

For in them is filled up the wrath of God - That is, in regard to the beast and his image. All the expressions of the divine indignation toward that oppressive and persecuting power will be completed or exhausted by the pouring out of the contents of these vials. Compare notes on Revelation 10:7, where the word rendered "filled up" - ἐτελέσθη etelesthē - is rendered "finished."


Re 15:1-8. The Last Seven Vials of Plagues: Song of the Victors over the Beast.

1. the seven last plagues—Greek, "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 Re 15:7; but here, in Re 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 (Re 18:2) is the last: then in Re 19:11-16 He appears.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.

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.

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 Geneva Re 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 Re 8:9 in sending forth the plagues of the world: for even these plagues do for the most part agree with those.

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 ὁ 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.

[3593] Züll., Stern; cf. also De Wette.

[3594] Cf. Revelation 17:6, Revelation 6:5, Revelation 10:2.

[3595] Hengstenb.

[3596] Cf. Revelation 16:9, Revelation 21 : ἡ πληγή.

[3597] Cf. Revelation 17:1, Revelation 21:9.

[3598] C. a Lap.

[3599] Beng.: “After the fulfilment of the seven plagues, the holy wrath of God, therefore, against other enemies does not cease.”

[3600] So too, with formal correctness, Beng.

[3601] Revelation 10:7.

[3602] Revelation 6:17, Revelation 7:1, Revelation 8:1.

[3603] Cf. chs. 6, 8., 9

[3604] Cf. also Revelation 15:2 sqq.

[3605] Revelation 9:20 sqq.

[3606] Revelation 16:21.

[3607] Revelation 17:1 sqq.

[3608] Revelation 16:15.

[3609] Cf. Revelation 10:71. another sign] Besides those of Revelation 12:1; Revelation 12:3. Here preparation is made (as in Revelation 8:2) for another sevenfold series of visions. Some have attempted to see a sevenfold series in the three preceding chapters—its elements being the successively appearing figures of the Woman, the Dragon, the Man Child, Michael, the Beast, the False Prophet, and the Lamb. But this seems rather far-fetched: at any rate, it is not likely to have been consciously present to St John’s mind.

the seven last plagues; for] Literally, seven plagues, the last, for: i.e. the fact that “in them is filled up [or rather “fulfilled, finished”] the wrath of God” is given as the reason why these plagues are the last.

Verse 1. - And I saw another sign in heaven. The last time we had this expression was in Revelation 12, where the history of the war between Satan and the Church was begun. Once more we have a new departure, the seer again, as it were, returning to the beginning? in order to trace the course of the punishments inflicted on men for their worship of the devil. Revelation 15. gives a short summary of this, which is expanded in Revelation 16; and it is introduced, as usual, by a vision of the saints in glory, in order to comfort and support the Christian in his warfare (cf. Revelation 6:1, 2; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 14:1-5, 13). The "sign" is what is described in the following account. "In heaven" probably merely means in a conspicuous position (cf. Revelation 12:1). Great and marvellous. On account of the terrible nature of the events depicted. Seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God; seven angels having seven plagues, the last [ones], because in them is finished the wrath of God. The seer describes what he sees subsequently, as if all the actors were present at one moment. In reality, he sees the actions of the "seven angels" in succession. The number seven denotes the universal, all-extending nature of the plagues (see on Revelation 1:4; 5:1, etc.). They are the last plagues, because they lead on to the description of the final fall of the power of the devil in its various forms, and to the account of the last judgment of God and the eternal bliss of the saints in glory. Revelation 15:1The 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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