And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:…
From this point commences the final delineation of the overthrow of the kingdom of evil. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to interpret the symbolical language in detail into realistic descriptions. Probably such interpretation is misleading. But the great ideas stand out prominently, and afford matter for contemplation, and, without puzzling the lowly reader, will help him to a knowledge of the "ways" and "judgments" of God. The complete vision of the destruction of "Babylon" reaches to the end of the eighteenth chapter. The portion named above is preliminary. A glance through the whole is sufficient to assure us that it represents a widespread struggle - a struggle of the utmost intensity and severity, and a final one. Within it occur the significant, prophetic words, "It is done!" Let this first glance, starting at the first words and reaching to the last, embrace the whole in a preliminary view, and we shall be instantly arrested -
I. BY THE SEVERITY OF THE JUDGMENT THREATENED. The vision is one of judgment, not of warfare. It is only incidentally that the idea of war is introduced (Revelation 16:14, 16; Revelation 17:14). Judgment is the burden of the vision. The severity of the judgments is seen in the terms used. There are seven vials, or bowls. The first becomes "a noisome and grievous sore," etc. (ver. 2); the second a cause of death - "every living soul died;" the third turns "the rivers and fountains of the waters" into "blood ;" the fourth, "men were scorched with great beat;" the fifth, "they gnawed their tongues for pain;" the sixth prepares the way for the coming of (antagonistic) kings (this requires a subsequent interpretation); the seventh brings "lightnings and voices and thunders" and "a great earthquake, such as was not since there were men upon the earth." Thus is set forth ideally the utmost painfulness and severity of judgments. Much of the imagery carries us back to Egypt's plagues.
II. We are further arrested by the UNIVERSALITY OF THE JUDGMENT. There is no reference to portions of the earth, as earlier (Revelation 8:7-11).
III. BY THE FINALITY OF THE JUDGMENTS. "In them is finished the wrath of God." It is the judgment of "Babylon the great," "the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters." "Babylon the great, the mother of the harlots, and of the abominations of the earth," whose flesh they shall eat, and "shall burn her utterly with fire." Thus by outward materialistic judgments are we to see a spiritual conquest and destruction and judgment ideally represented. Blessed are they who are not included in "the judgment of the great harlot"! - R. G.
Parallel VersesKJV: And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: