Revelation 9:20
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
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(20, 21) And the rest . . .—Translate, And the rest of mankind who were not slain in these plagues did not even repent of (or, out ofi.e., so as to forsake) the works of their hands, that they should not worship the demons (evil spirits), and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of brass, and of stone, and of wood; which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk: and they did not repent of (or, out of) their murders, nor of (or, out of) their sorceries, nor out of their fornication, nor out of their thefts. These verses make one or two points clear. First, they show us that, whatever the nature of the plagues might be, they were afflictions designed to bring about repentance, and to rouse men, whether nominally Christian or not, from the lethargy into which long indulged sin had plunged them. Those terrible revolutions which are the growth of years, and which startle men with their apparent suddenness and violence, are the great appeals of God, asking men to see the meaning of sin; they are the trumpet blasts calling to repentance. But we are told more; the remainder of the godless did not repent. We are not, indeed, told that they did not feel terror, or remorse, or momentary qualms and misgivings, but that they did not show that which alone is regarded as genuine repentance, the repentance out of sin, the repentance which turns away from sin. We need always that wholesome caution. We need it most in times when hysterical and emotional religionism is fashionable, and it is forgotten that true repentance is a repentance whereby we forsake sins. These men repented not out of their sin. And their sins are enumerated, and the enumeration again takes us back to the history of Israel as to the historical basis which the sacred seer enlarged and vivified; for the sins are just those against which Israel was warned and into which Israel fell (Deuteronomy 4:28; Psalm 106:34-40; Acts 7:41). The sins are demon-worship and idolatry: “They served idols; they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils.” (Comp. 1Corinthians 10:20; 1Timothy 4:1.) It is needful to trace these sins in the history of Israel, as it has been argued that these are heathen sins, and that therefore these plagues must be plagues which fall on those who are literally heathens. But if we bear in mind that the series of visions describe features which will accompany the advance of Christianity in the world, we shall remember that it is against worldliness, wherever found, idolatries, of whatever kind, murders and thefts, called by whatever name, that the true genius of Christianity makes war. Christ is king, and king of righteousness, and in righteousness does He make war, and the heathenisms which are called Christianity are as much the objects of His displeasure as the most obvious Paganism. It is needful to remember that Jews are addressed as if they were heathen, aye, very habitues of Sodom (Isaiah 1:10), and that the Christian Church is warned against sins which are little else than idolatries. Covetousness, the very essence of worldliness, is by St. Paul twice over called idolatry (Colossians 3:5, and Ephesians 5:5). It seems, therefore, to be foreign to the purpose to try and limit these plagues only to the non-Christian world. To do this is to get a narrow, improbable (may we not say an impossible?) interpretation; for the greatest strength of the world-power would be left untouched. It is true that the visions are not showing us the plagues which fall on apostasy and fornication within the Church; but it is true that we are beholding visions which show how terribly the world-spirit avenges itself on all who harbour it, whether called Christian or not. Gross sins, gigantic frauds, complacent familiarity with crime, followed by blunted moral sense, are heathenish, whether found in Pagan or Christian society. Heavy woes must inevitably await the society which tolerates such works; but the worst omen of the coming doom is seen when society has lost the power to repent because it has lost the power to hate evil. Such an incapacity is invariably significant of advanced moral decay. It is the climax in the growth of sin which the Psalmist noticed where men lose the sacred abhorrence of evil (Psalm 36:4). To such repentance is becoming impossible.

Revelation 9:20-21. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues — That is, the Latin Church, which pretty well escaped these calamities; yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils — Daimonia, demons, or second mediatory gods, as it hath largely been shown before, saints and angels; and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and wood — From hence it is evident, that those calamities were inflicted upon the Christians for their idolatries. As the eastern churches were first in the crime, so they were first likewise in the punishment. At first they were visited by the plague of the Saracens, but this working no change or reformation, they were again chastised by the still greater plague of the Othmans; were partly overthrown by the former, and were entirely ruined by the latter. What churches were then remaining, which were guilty of the like idolatry, but the western, or those in communion with Rome? And the western were not at all reclaimed by the ruin of the eastern, but persisted still in the worship of saints and (what is worse) the worship of images, which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk — And the world is witness to the completion of this prophecy to this day. Neither repented they of their murders — Their persecutions and inquisitions; nor of their sorceries — Their pretended miracles and revelations; nor of their fornications — Their public stews and uncleanness; nor of their thefts — Their exactions and impositions on mankind: and they are as notorious for their licentiousness and wickedness, as for their superstition and idolatry. As they therefore refused to take warning by the two former woes, the third wo, as we shall see, will fall with vengeance upon them.

9:13-21 The sixth angel sounded, and here the power of the Turks seems the subject. Their time is limited. They not only slew in war, but brought a poisonous and ruinous religion. The antichristian generation repented not under these dreadful judgments. From this sixth trumpet learn that God can make one enemy of the church a scourge and a plague to another. The idolatry in the remains of the eastern church and elsewhere, and the sins of professed Christians, render this prophecy and its fulfilment more wonderful. And the attentive reader of Scripture and history, may find his faith and hope strengthened by events, which in other respects fill his heart with anguish and his eyes with tears, while he sees that men who escape these plagues, repent not of their evil works, but go on with idolatries, wickedness, and cruelty, till wrath comes upon them to the utmost.And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues ... - One third part is represented as swept off, and it might have been expected that a salutary effect would have been produced on the remainder, in reforming them, and restraining them from error and sin. The writer proceeds to state, however, that these judgments did not have the effect which might reasonably have been anticipated. No reformation followed; there was no abandonment of the prevailing forms of iniquity; there was no change in their idolatry and superstition. In regard to the exact meaning of what is here stated Revelation 9:20-21, it will be a more convenient arrangement to consider it after we have ascertained the proper application of the passage relating to the sixth trumpet. What is here stated Revelation 9:20-21 pertains to the state of the world after the desolations which would occur under this woe-trumpet; and the explanation of the words may be reserved, therefore, with propriety, until the inquiry shall have been instituted as to the general design of the whole.

With respect to the fulfillment of this symbol - the sixth trumpet - it will be necessary to inquire whether there has been any event, or class of events occurring at such a time, and in such a manner, as would be properly denoted by such a symbol. The examination of this question will make it necessary to go over the leading points in the symbol, and to endeavor to apply them. In doing this I shall simply state, with such illustrations as may occur, what seems to me to have been the design of the symbol. It would be an endless task to examine all the explanations which have been proposed, and it would be useless to do so.

The reference, then, seems to me to be to the Turkish power, extending from the time of the first appearance of the Turks in the neighborhood of the Euphrates, to the final conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The general reasons for this opinion are such as the following:

(a) If the previous trumpet referred to the Saracens, or to the rise of the Muhammedan power among the Arabs, then the Turkish dominion, being the next in succession, would be what would most naturally be symbolized.

(b) The Turkish power rose on the decline of the Arabic, and was the next important power in affecting the destinies of the world.

(c) This power, like the former, had its seat in the East, and would be properly classified under the events occurring there as affecting the destiny of the world.

(d) The introduction of this power was necessary, in order to complete the survey of the downfall of the Roman empire - the great object kept in view all along in these symbols.

In the first four of these trumpets, under the seventh seal, we found the decline and fall of the Western empire; in the first of the remaining three - the fifth in order - we found the rise of the Saracens, materially affecting the condition of the Eastern portion of the Roman world; and the notice of the Turks, under whom the empire at last fell to rise no more, seemed to be demanded in order to the completion of the picture. As a leading design of the whole vision was to describe the ultimate destiny of that formidable power - the Roman - which, in the time when the Revelation was given to John ruled over the whole world; under which the church was then oppressed; and which, either as a civil or ecclesiastical power, was to exert so important an influence on the destiny of the church, it was proper that its history should be sketched until it ceased - that is, until the conquest of the capital of the Eastern empire by the Turks. Here the termination of the empire, as traced by Mr. Gibbon, closes; and these events it was important to incorporate in this series of visions.

The rise and character of the Turkish people may be seen stated in full in Gibbon, Decline and Fall, iii.-101-103, 105, 486; iv. 41, 42, 87, 90, 91, 93, 100, 127, 143, 151, 258, 260, 289, 350. The leading facts in regard to the history of the Turks, so far as they are necessary to be known before we proceed to apply the symbols, are the following:

(1) The Turks, or Turkmans, had their origin in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea, and were divided into two branches, one on the east, and the other on the west. The latter colony, in the 10th century, could muster 40,000 soldiers; the other numbered 100,000 families (Gibbon, iv. 90). By the latter of these, Persia was invaded and subdued, and soon Bagdad also came into their possession, and the seat of the caliph was occupied by a Turkish prince. The various details respecting this, and respecting their conversion to the faith of the Koran, may be seen in Gibbon, iv. 90-93. A mighty Turkish and Moslem power was thus concentrated under Togrul, who had subdued the caliph, in the vicinity of the Tigris and the Euphrates, extending east over Persia and the countries adjacent to the Caspian Sea, but it had not yet crossed the Euphrates to carry its conquests to the west. The conquest of Bagdad by Togrul, the first prince of the Seljuk race, was an important event, not only in itself, but as it was by this event that the Turk was constituted temporal lieutenant of the prophet's vicar, and so the head of the temporal power of the religion of Islam. "The conqueror of the East kissed the ground, stood some time in a modest posture, and was led toward the throne by the vizier and an interpreter. After Togrul had seated himself on another throne his commission was publicly read, which declared him the temporal lieutenant of the prophet. He was successively invested with seven robes of honor, and presented with seven slaves, the natives of the seven climates of the Arabian empire, etc. Their alliance (of the sultan and the caliph) was cemented by the marriage of Togrul's sister with the successor of the prophet," etc. (Gibbon, iv. 93).

The conquest of Persia, the subjugation of Bagdad, the union of the Turkish power with that of the caliph, the successor of Muhammed, and the foundation of this powerful kingdom in the neighborhood of the Euphrates, is all that is necessary to explain the sense of the phrase "which were prepared for an hour," etc., Revelation 9:15. The arrangements were then made for the important series of events which were to occur when that formidable power should be summoned from the East, to spread the predicted desolation over so large a part of the world. A mighty dominion had been forming in the East that had subdued Persia, and that, by union with the caliphs, by the subjugation of Bagdad, and by embracing the Muhammedan faith, had become "prepared" to play its subsequent important part in the affairs of the world.

(2) the next important event in their history was the crossing of the Euphrates, and the invasion of Asia Minor. The account of this invasion can be best given in the words of Mr. Gibbon: "Twenty-five years after the death of Basil (the Greek emperor), his successors were suddenly assaulted by an unknown race of barbarians, who united the Scythian valor with the fanaticism of new proselytes, and the art and riches of a powerful monarchy. The myriads of Turkish horse overspread a frontier of 600 miles from Taurus to Arzeroum, and the blood of one hundred and thirty thousand Christians was a grateful sacrifice to the Arabian prophet. Yet the arms of Togrul did not make any deep or lasting impression on the Greek empire. The torrent rolled away from the open country; the sultan retired without glory or success from the siege of an Armenian city; the obscure hostilities were continued or suspended with a vicissitude of events; and the bravery of the Macedonian legions renewed the fame of the conqueror of Asia. The name of Alp Arslan, the valiant lion, is expressive of the popular idea of the perfection of man; and the successor of Togrul displayed the fierceness and generosity of the royal animal. ('The heads of the horses were as the heads of lions.') He passed the Euphrates at the head of the Turkish cavalry, and entered Caesarea, the metropolis of Cappadocia, to which he had been attracted by the fame and the wealth of the temple of Basil" (vol. iv. 93, 94; compare also p. 95).

(3) the next important event was the establishing of the kingdom of Roum in Asia Minor. After a succession of victories and defeats; after being driven once and again from Asia Minor, and compelled to retire beyond its limits; and after subjecting the East to their arms (Gibbon, iv. 95-100) in the various contests for the crown of the Eastern empire, the aid of the Turks was invoked by one party or the other until they secured for themselves a firm foothold in Asia Minor, and established themselves there in a permanent kingdom - evidently with the purpose of seizing upon Constantinople itself when an opportunity should be presented (Gibbon, iv. 100, 101). Of this kingdom of Roum Mr. Gibbon (iv. 101) gives, the following description, and speaks thus of the effect of its establishment on the destiny of the Eastern empire: "Since the first conquests of the caliphs, the establishment of the Turks in Anatolia, or Asia Minor, was the most deplorable loss which the church and empire had sustained. By the propagation of the Moslem faith Soliman deserved the name of Gazi, a holy champion; and his new kingdom of the Romans, or of Roum, was added to the table of Oriental geography. It is described as extending from the Euphrates to Constantinople, from the Black Sea to the confines of Syria; pregnant with mines of silver and iron, of alum and copper, fruitful in grain and wine, and productive of cattle and excellent horses. The wealth of Lydia, the arts of the Greeks, the splendor of the Augustan age, existed only in books and ruins, which were equally obscure in the eyes of the Scythian conquerors. By the choice of the Sultan, Nice, the metropolis of Bithynia, was preferred for his palace and fortress - the seat of the Seljukian dynasty of Roum was planted one hundred miles from Constantinople; and the divinity of Christ was denied and derided in the same temple in which it had been pronounced by the first general synod of the Catholics. The unity of God and the mission of Muhammed were preached in the mosques; the Arabian learning was taught in the schools; the cadis judged according to the law of the Koran; the Turkish manners and language prevailed in the cities; and Turkman camps were scattered over the plains and mountains of Anatolia," etc.

(4) the next material event in the history of the Turkish power was the conquest of Jerusalem. See this described in Gibbon, iv. 102-106. By this the attention of the Turks was turned for a time from the conquest of Constantinople - an event at which the Turkish power all along aimed, and in which they doubtless expected to be ultimately successful. Had they not been diverted from it by the wars connected with the Crusades, Constantinople would have fallen long before it did fall, for it was too feeble to defend itself if it had been attacked.


20. the rest of the men—that is, the ungodly.

yet—So A, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic. B and Aleph read, "did not even repent of," namely, so as to give up "the works," &c. Like Pharaoh hardening his heart against repentance notwithstanding the plagues.

of their hands—(De 31:29). Especially the idols made by their hands. Compare Re 13:14, 15, "the image of the beast" Re 19:20.

that they should not—So B reads. But A, C, and Aleph read "that they shall not": implying a prophecy of certainty that it shall be so.

devils—Greek, "demons" which lurk beneath the idols which idolaters worship.

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues; the two-thirds of men that should be left, for we read of one-third part destroyed; and this also must be understood of men dwelling in countries subject formerly to the Roman empire on this side of the Euphrates.

Yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils: this leaves this applicable to none but papists; for there are none else but them who worship demons, Greek, daimonia, or idols of gold and silver. By

devils are meant demons, that is, persons that are dead, whom the heathens made their petty gods, and worshipped as middle beings between them and the supreme gods, according to their notion; which is the same thing the papists are guilty of, with this only difference, (as Mr. Mede excellently observeth), that the heathens made many supreme gods, and these modern idolaters own but one in that notion, but as many deastri or demons as they did, which are all those saints to whom they pay an adoration, as to those who should present their desires to God, which, as Mr. Mede sufficiently proves from writers, was the very work the pagans allotted for those whom they canonized after death. From whence came the names of Baal and Bel, &c., but from Belus, who is said to have been the first prince, whom, being dead, they made a god, and adored? Which demons God in Scripture calleth devils. Nor do any but they now worship images, the works of men’s hands, made of

gold, silver, brass, and wood, who are here described in the same words as by the psalmist, Psalm 115:4 135:15. Notwithstanding God’s great judgment executed upon the Grecian churches, yet they repented not of their idolatry and superstition; so as God hath brought them wholly under the power of those barbarous enemies; and though the Romish party seeth this, yet neither do they repent; which may give them cause to fear that God should make use of the same adversary to destroy them likewise; especially considering that neither to this day do they repent.

And the rest of men which were not killed by these plagues,.... By whom are meant the western antichristian party; and such of them as were not plagued, harassed, and destroyed by the Turks, as in Germany, at least some parts of it, France, Spain, Italy, &c.

yet repented not of the works of their hands: their idols, their images of saints departed, which their hands had made; the goodness of God in saving them from the depredations of the Turks, should have led them to repentance for their idolatrous worship of images, but it did not:

that they should not worship devils; or demons, a sort of deities with the Heathens, that mediated between the superior gods and men; and here design angels and saints departed, which the Papists worship, and use as mediators of intercession for them; and this is no other than worshipping of devils, in God's account, and is downright idolatry, and the doctrine of it is the doctrine of devils:

and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood; which are the several materials of which the Popish images are made: and what aggravates the stupidity of the worshippers of these images, and of the persons represented by them, is, that these are such

which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk; can neither see their persons, nor hear their prayers, nor stir one foot to their help and assistance; see Psalm 115:4.

{15} And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:

(15) Now remains the event (as I said on the first verse), see Geneva Re 9:1 which followed so many grievous judgments in the most wicked world, namely an impenitent affirmation of the ungodly in their impiety and unrighteousness, though they feel themselves most vehemently pressed with the hand of God: for their obstinate ungodliness is showed in this verse: and their unrighteousness in the verse following Re 9:21. So far has been the general history of things to be done universally in the whole world: which because it does not so much belong to the Church of Christ, is therefore not so expressly distinguished by certainty of time and other circumstances, but is woven, as they say, with a slight hand. Also there is no other reason why the history of the seventh angel is passed over in this place, then for that the same more properly appertains to the history of the Church. But this is more diligently set out according to its time, Re 11:16 as shall appear on those places.

Revelation 9:20 sq. The plagues that have been introduced cause no repentance in the survivors.[2670]

οἱ λοιποὶ τ. ἀνθρ. The contextual reference to Revelation 9:18 is yet expressly marked: οῖ οὐκ ἀπεκτ. ἐν τ. πληγ. ταύτ. As the ἐκ is meant to limit the οὐ μετενόησαν, the final clause, ἵνα μὴ, κ.τ.λ.,[2671] is explained: they repented not of the works of their hands, in order not (any more) to worship, etc. The μετανοεῖν ἐκ τ. ἔργ. τ. χειρ. αὐτ. would have as its intention the ceasing henceforth the προσκυνεῖν, κ.τ.λ. But by the words ἵνα μὴ προσκ., κ.τ.λ., not only is the pregnancy of the clause μεταν. ἐκ τ. ἔργων τ. χειρ. αὐτ., which in itself is readily intelligible, explained, but an authentic interpretation is also given to the expression τ. ἔργ. τ. χειρ. αὐτ., which it is here impossible to designate as the entire course of life,[2672]—which by no means follows from Revelation 2:22, Revelation 16:11, since there the characteristic τῶν χειρῶν αὐτ. is lacking,—but just as Acts 7:41, in connection with O. T. passages like Deuteronomy 4:28, Psalm 135:15 sqq., must designate idols made with their own hands.[2673] It is, indeed, to be observed, that not only the expression τ. ἔργ. τ. χειρ. αὐτ. in itself, but also the allusion to the material whence human hands have fashioned the idols, and to their blindness and dumbness, refer to O. T. descriptions. But that the discourse is first in general concerning “the works of men’s hands,” and that then a more minute presentation follows (ἵνα μὴ προσκ., κ.τ.λ.), contains what is objectionable as little as the directly opposite order of Acts 7:41.

τὰ δαιμόνια. Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:20. Bengel suffers here a peculiar embarrassment, because he regards “the rest of men” especially as “so-called Christians,” and then must give the explanation as to how far they worshipped devils. But he knows how to help himself. Notwithstanding the incursions of the Turks, he says that the Christians of that time retained the worship of images and of saints; and now there might be many among the worshipping saints who abode not in heaven, but in hell.

καὶ οὐ μετεν. The repetition is necessary, because the former οὐ μετεν., Revelation 9:20, is already too remote to admit of a connection[2674] with what follows in Revelation 9:21 (ἐκ τ. φόνων, κ.τ.λ.), but is entirely irrelevant for the more detailed explanation of the whole text.[2675] Concerning the sequence of the particles Οὐ, ΟὔΤΕ, ΟὔΤΕ, cf. Winer, p. 457.

ΦΑΡΜΑΚΕΙῶΝ. Sorceries, xviii. 23.[2676] Ebrard understands it symbolically of “seductive enchantments.” He reaches this conclusion, because in Revelation 9:20 he finds sins against God; in Revelation 9:21, sins against one’s neighbor, while actual sorcery, as a sin against God, does not belong in Revelation 9:21.[2677] But the established linguistic usage suits no arbitrary dispositions. It is also to be stated against those who have regarded the ΦΑΡΜΑΚ. in a certain combination with the preceding ΦΌΝΩΝ,[2678] or with the succeeding ΠΟΡΝΕΊΑς,[2679] that the very generally expressed idea of sorcery,—the plural also should be observed,—according to its nature, does not admit of a more specific determination, as the text itself does not give such.

Τῆς ΠΟΡΝΕΊΑς ΑὐΤ. The sing. designates all the particular forms of manifestation[2680] of the always same kind of sins. Beng. says appropriately: “Other crimes are committed by men at intervals; ΠΟΡΝΕΊΑ alone is perpetual with those who are destitute of purity of heart.”

The entire description of sins, Revelation 9:20-21, which is to be comprehended in its unity, is manifestly directed to essentially heathenish godlessness, so that they of whom the third are killed, and two-thirds survive but are not converted, are to be regarded essentially as heathen.[2681] [See Note LXII., p. 294] It is the mass of the ΚΑΤΟΙΚΟῦΝΤΕς ἘΠῚ Τῆς Γῆς,[2682] in contrast with the sealed.[2683] From the fact that the latter are not affected by the plague of the sixth trumpet, it is to be inferred, according to the standard of Revelation 9:4, that the armies in this vision, like the locusts of the fifth trumpet, are of a demoniacal kind.

[2670] Cf. Revelation 16:11.

[2671] Cf. Winer, p. 428.

[2672] “All the deeds of life” (Ewald, De Wette, Ebrard).

[2673] Beng., Hengstenb.; also Ew. ii.

[2674] Ewald, etc.

[2675] Possibly as a designation of ἕργ. τ. χειρ αὐτ. (Revelation 9:20), or a classification of sins.

[2676] Cf. Meyer on Galatians 5:20.

[2677] Cf. also Hengstenb., who, besides, notes the ten sins against the first table (Revelation 9:20)? and the four sins against the second table.

[2678] Hengstenb.

[2679] Ewald.

[2680] Cf. 1 Corinthians 7:2.

[2681] Cf. De Wette, etc.

[2682] Cf. Revelation 6:10.

[2683] Cf. Revelation 7:1 sqq.

Revelation 9:20-21. The impenitence of the surviving two-thirds of men, who persist in worshipping daemons and idols (Weinel, 3, 4). Hellenic superstition (Plut. de defectu orac. 14) attributed to malignant daemons these very plagues of pestilence, war, and famine. Plutarch is always protesting against the excessive deference paid to such powers, and on the other hand against the rationalists and Christians who abjured them entirely.

δαιμ., either the gods of paganism (LXX) or the evil spirits of contemporary superstition. In Enoch 19:1, the spirits of the fallen angels “assuming many forms defile men and shall lead them astray to offer sacrifices to demons as to gods”; cf. Enoch 46:7 (of the kings and rulers) “their power rests on their riches, and their faith is in the gods which they have made with their hands”. (See Clem. Strom, vi. ver 39, 4)—ἀργυρᾶ, contracted form, as in 2 Timothy 2:20 (Helbing, pp. 34 f.).—φαρμ., here in special sense of magic spells inciting to illicit lust (Artemid. ver 73), a prevalent Asiatic vice (cf. Greg. Naz. Orat. iv. 31). But in the imprecatory (c. 100 B.C.) inscription of Rheneia (Dittenberger, Syll. Inscript. Graec. pp. 676 f.), punishment is invoked from tov τὸν κύριον τῶν πνευμάτων (cf. Revelation 22:6) upon τοὺς δόλωι φονεύσαντας ἢ φαρμακεύσαντας the hapless girl. The three vices of the decalogue occur here (as in Matt.) in the Hebrew order, not in that of the LXX (Romans 13:9; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20). cf. on Revelation 21:8, and, for the connexion of polytheism and vice, Harnack’s Mission and Exp. of Christianity, i. (1908), pp. 290 f. Repentance here (as in Revelation 16:9; Revelation 16:11) is primarily a change of religion, but the prophet has evidently little hope of the pagan world. There is no polemic against the Egyptian worship of animals, and, in spite of the Jewish outlook upon the dolores Messiae, the Apocalypse ignores family disturbances and false messiahs as harbingers of the end.—Once more (cf. Revelation 7:1 f.) between the sixth (Revelation 9:13-21) and the seventh (Revelation 11:15-19) members of the series, a passage (this time of some length) is intercalated (Revelation 10:1 to Revelation 11:13), in which the personality of the seer now re-emerges (on earth, instead of in heaven). The object of Revelation 10:1-11 is to mark at once a change of literary method and a transition from one topic to another. The passage, which certainly comes from the prophet’s own pen (so Sabatier, Schon, and others), looks backward and forward. Now that the preliminaries are over, all is ready for the introduction of the two protagonists (Revelation 9:11-13.) whose conflict forms the closing act of the world’s history (Revelation 15:1 to Revelation 20:10). One of these is Jesus, the divine messiah, who has hitherto (Revelation 9:5-9.) been depicted as the medium of revelation. Since his rôle is now to be more active, the prophet expressly alters the literary setting of his visions. The subsequent oracles are not represented as the contents of the book of Doom (which is now open, with the breaking of its last seal). Dropping that figure (contrast Revelation 5:2 and Revelation 10:1) the writer describes himself absorbing another roll of prophecy received from an angel. Evidently he intends to mark a new departure, and to introduce what follows as a fresh start. This new procedure is accompanied by an explicit assurance—intended to whet the reader’s interest—that the Apocalypse has now reached the verge of the final catastrophe; the prophet apparently makes this eagerness to reach the goal the reason for omitting a seven-thunders vision (or source) which otherwise he might have been expected to include either at this point or subsequently. It is quite in keeping with the wider outlook and rather more historical atmosphere of 11 f., that a freer and less numerical method pervades these oracles. In short, Revelation 10:1-11 is a digression only in form. It serves to introduce not simply the Jewish fragment (Revelation 11:1-13)—whose strange contents probably required some express ratification—but the rest of the oracles (13 f.), which are thus awkwardly but definitely connected with the foregoing design (through the closing trumpet-vision: Revelation 10:7 = Revelation 11:15 f.).

20. that they should not worship … idols] This verse gives us the only clue we have to the interpretation. It is a plague on idolaters that is here described—neither on unfaithful Christians, nor on antichristian infidels of a more refined type—unless the latter shall in the last days, as in the age of the Roman persecutions, and one may almost say of the Renaissance and Reformation, ally itself against the Gospel with the vulgar or sensuous idolatry which it was its natural tendency to despise.

Revelation 9:20-21. Οὔτεκαὶ οὐ) A Predicate of two members—in Latin, neque, neque (neither, nor). There are similar particles, John 4:11; 3 John Revelation 9:10; Mark 5:3-4. [Their repentance had been the aim of the plagues.—V. g.]—τὰ εἴδωλα, idols) The worship of images was solemnly established in the East, A. 842.—τῆς πορνείας) The plural, πορνεῖαι, is used, 1 Corinthians 7:2; and yet in this place the singular number is placed between plurals. Other acts of wickedness are performed by men at intervals: there is one perpetual πορνεία in the case of those who are without purity of heart.

Verse 20. - And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues; the rest of mankind (Revised Version). That is, the two thirds (ver. 18). Some understand "these plagues" to refer to the first six trumpets. It may be so, but it seems more correct to limit it to the sixth, as the same phrase, which occurs in ver. 18, must be so limited. Mankind must be taken to mean the worldly only. Of the ungodly, some are killed (the third part), the rest yet do not repent. The vision is not concerned with the fate of the righteous. Yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk. "The works of their hands" refers to idolatry, as shown by the succeeding words. This verse begins to prepare us for the seventh judgment. Men will not repent; therefore the last final judgment becomes necessary. The absurdity of idolatrous worship is frequently thus set forth by Old Testament writers (cf. Psalm 115:4; Psalm 135:15; Isaiah 2:8; Ezekiel 22:1, 4; Hosea 13:2). See also the description in Daniel 5:23 which seems to have suggested the wording of this part of the vision. It has been well remarked that in this verse mention is made of sins against God; in the following verse man's sins against his neighbours are detailed. Revelation 9:20Repented not of the works (οὔτε μετενόησαν ἐκ τῶν ἔργων)

Lit., "out of the works." The preposition ἐκ out of with repent, denotes a moral change involving an abandonment of evil works. See on Matthew 3:2; see on Matthew 21:29.

Works of their hands

Not their course of life, but the idols which their hands had made. Compare Deuteronomy 4:28; Psalm 135:15; Acts 7:4.

Devils (δαιμόνια)

More properly, demons. See on Mark 1:34. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:20; 1 Timothy 4:1.

See, hear, walk

Compare Daniel 5:23.

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