Revelation 15:6
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) And the seven angels . . .—Better, And there came out the seven angels who had the seven plagues from the temple, clothed in linen, pure, glistening, and girt about their breasts with golden girdles. The temple is the inner shrine, or sanctuary; it was this which was measured (Revelation 11:1); it was out of this that the angel with the sharp sickle came for the vintage of the earth (Revelation 14:7); out of this now came the seven angels with the seven plagues. It is well to remember this, for these plagues are not, like the judgments of the trumpet, calls to repentance; they are plagues on those who have refused to return, who have rejected the sanctuary, the tabernacle of witness, which the Lord pitched among men, and who have refused, like obstinate builders, the stone which has become the head of the corner. Out of the rejected temple the angels of wrath come; it is ever true that out of rejected mercies the heaviest of plagues are forged. The angels are clad in a garb resembling that of Christ (Revelation 1:13); they are come forth to do His bidding; they are clothed in raiment which indicates their righteous errand. (Comp. Revelation 19:8; Acts 1:10; Acts 10:30.) Instead of linen, some MSS. have “a stone:” the angels, according to this, were “clad in a stone, pure, brilliant.” There is a parallel thought in Ezekiel, who describes the splendour of the King of Tyre: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond,” &c. (Ezekiel 28:13).

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.And the seven angels - See the notes on Revelation 15:1.

Came out of the temple - Were seen to come from the temple; that is, from the immediate presence of God.

Having the seven plagues - See the notes on Revelation 15:1. Each one entrusted with a single "plague" to be executed upon the earth. The meaning here is, that they were designated or appointed to execute those plagues in judgments. The symbols of their office - the golden vials - were given to them afterward, Revelation 15:7.

Clothed in pure and white linen - The emblem of holiness - the common representation in regard to the heavenly inhabitants. See the notes on Revelation 3:4; Revelation 7:13. Compare Matthew 17:2; Luke 9:29; Mark 16:5.

And having their breasts girded with golden girdles - See the notes on Revelation 1:13. The meaning is, that they were attired in a manner befitting their rank and condition.

6. having—So B reads. But A and C, read "who have": not that they had them yet (compare Re 15:7), but they are by anticipation described according to their office.

linen—So B reads. But A, C, and Vulgate, "a stone." On the principle that the harder reading is the one least likely to be an interpolation, we should read, "a stone pure ('and' is omitted in A, B, C, and Andreas), brilliant" (so the Greek): probably the diamond. With English Version, compare Ac 1:10; 10:30.

golden girdles—resembling the Lord in this respect (Re 1:13).

And the seven angels; the seven ministers of God’s vengeance on antichrist, to whom the vials were given.

Came out of the temple; that is, out of the tabernacle of the testimony; for in Moses’s tabernacle there was only this inward court for the priests, the people worshipped without. They came (as the high priest was wont) out of the oracle to bring God’s answer to all his saints’ prayers.

Having the seven plagues: the answer was seven plagues, that is, that God had employed them to bring seven plagues successively upon the antichristian party, and all the enemies of his church, till by them they should be consumed.

Clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles; these angels came in the habit of high priests, when they went in to inquire of God, or came out with an answer from God. And the seven angels came out of the temple,.... By which it appears, that they are such who are of, or belong to the church of Christ; and are either ministers, or members of churches, who will be the executioners of God's wrath upon the beast, and his followers; some copies, and the Complutensian edition, read, "out of heaven":

having the seven plagues; that is, they were appointed to inflict them, and were preparing and furnishing for it, and quickly had orders to do it:

clothed in pure and white linen; in which habit angels have been used to appear, as at our Lord's resurrection and ascension, and is by some thought to be expressive of the purity and holiness of angels; but rather saints are meant, who appear in the habit of priests, being all made kings and priests; and denotes their being clothed with the pure and spotless robe of Christ's righteousness, which is fine linen, clean and white, and the righteousness of the saints, Revelation 19:8 and also their spiritual joy in their present situation, and in the view of the destruction of antichrist, their sackcloth being put off, in which they, the witnesses, before appeared. So the linen garment of the high priest was, as Philo the Jew says (n), made of "fine linen", "most pure". The Alexandrian copy, and some copies of the Vulgate Latin version, and some exemplars mentioned by Andreas Caesariensis, an ancient commentator on this book, read, "clothed with a stone, pure and white"; as if they were arrayed in garments of stone, which is not likely; unless reference is had to the stone asbestos, of an iron colour, found, as Pliny says (o), in the mountains of Arcadia, of which linen was made, called "asbestinum", and of that garments; which were so far from being consumed by fire, that they became clean and brighter by it; or to the Carystian stone, which the inhabitants of Carystus used to comb, spin, and weave, and make carpets of (p).

And having their breasts girded with golden girdles; such an one as Christ himself was girded with, Revelation 1:13 and this some understand of the love, which the breasts of angels are filled with towards the saints, and their readiness to perform all good offices to them, and to execute the judgments of God upon their enemies, whenever they have orders: but since these angels come out of the temple, and members of Gospel churches seem designed, rather this is to be understood either of the grace of faith, which is much more precious than of gold that perisheth, which receives the righteousness of Christ, puts it on, and girds it about the believer; or of love, the love of God and Christ, which encompass the saints about, and constrain them, and engage them in fervent love to them, and one another: or of the girdle of truth, Ephesians 6:14 which is near and close to them, and which keeps them close to Christ; nor can they depart totally and finally from him, or that; or in general, this may denote their strength and readiness for what service they shall be called to; see Luke 12:35.

(n) De Somniis, p. 597. (o) Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 10. (p) Pancirol, rer. memorab. par. 1. tit. 4. & Salmuth in ib. Plin. l. 19. c. 1. Turueb. Adversar. l. 23. c. 1. Schotti Thaumaturg, l. 2. sect. 10. p. 118.

And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the {10} seven plagues, clothed in {11} pure and white linen, and having their breasts {12} girded with golden girdles.

(10) That is, commandments to inflict those seven plagues, by way of metonymy.

(11) Which was in old time a sign of the kingly or princely dignity.

(12) This girding was a sign of diligence, and the girdle of gold was a sign of sincerity and trustworthiness in taking in charge the commandments of God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 15:6. These heavenly beings are magnificent creatures, robed in gold and light (a Hellenic conception, Dieterich, 38 f.) and linen (to denote their honourable and sacred office: so the scribe of judgment, Ezekiel 9:2, and the angel in Daniel 10:5; Daniel 12:6). Plutarch (de Iside, 3, 4) explains that the linen surplice was affected by Egyptian votaries of Isis for religious reasons; e.g., the bright smiling colour of flax, its freedom from lice, and the smooth, cleanly material it yielded.6. having] We should probably read “which had”: we see in Revelation 15:7 that they did not come out having them.

white] More accurately, bright.

linen] R. V. “arrayed with precious stone, pure and bright” following a strange reading “stone” (the Greek word differs only by one letter), which is very strongly attested. If it be right, the nearest parallel is Ezekiel 28:13—where, comparing the next two verses, it seems as though the human “king of Tyrus” were identified with a fallen Angel, perhaps the patron of the city. Therefore these holy Angels may be here described as clothed in glory like his before his fall.

their breasts] As in Revelation 1:13, where see note.Verse 6. - And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues; there came out the seven angels that had, etc. These angels are distinguished from the other angels only by the fact that they bore the seven plagues. These they have not yet, but they receive them directly after. The phrase is added here to distinguish the angels meant. These angels have once before (ver. 1) been described in the same manner. Clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. Λίνον, "linen," is found in א, B, P, 7, 14, 97, Andreas, Primasius. Λίθον, [precious] "stone," is read in A, C, 38 (margin), 48, 90, Vulgate. It seems more probable that λίθον is the correct word; for in no other place in the New Testament is λίνον found except in Matthew 12:20, where it signifies "flax;" while the ordinary word for linen, viz. βύσσος or βύσσινος, is found in Revelation 18:12, 16, and Revelation 19:8, 14, as well as in Luke 16:19. If λίνον be the correct reading, the image is perhaps suggested by the priestly garments (cf. Exodus 28:42, and vide infra). For the idea of "clothed in precious stone," the LXX. reading of Ezekiel 28:13 is usually quoted. We may refer also to the stones of the high priest's breastplate, and to the description in Revelation 17:4. And having their breasts girded with golden girdles (cf. the vision of our Lord in Revelation 1:13, and the priestly attire described in Exodus 28:8). Linen (λίνον)

The Rev. follows the reading λίθον stone, after the analogy of Ezekiel 28:13, "Every precious stone was thy covering." The idea is that of raiment studded with precious stones. See on Revelation 2:17.

White (λαυπρὸν)

Mostly applied in the New Testament to clothing, as Luke 23:11; Acts 10:30; James 2:2. Also to the water of life (Revelation 22:1), and the morning-star (Revelation 22:16). Rev., bright.

Girt round their breasts

As the Lord in the vision of Revelation 1:13; where, however, μαστοῖς paps is used instead of στήθη breasts.

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