Daniel and Revelation

Page 680

Picture on this page.

Page 681

This chapter introduces the seven last plagues, a manifestation of Heaven’s unmingled wrath, in its full measure upon the last generation of the wicked. The work of mercy is then forever past.

Verse 1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 2 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. 3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. 4 Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest. 5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 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. 7 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. 8 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.

A Preparatory Scene. —Thus reads the fifteenth chapter. By it we are carried back to a new series of events. The whole chapter is but an introduction to the most terrible judgments of the Almighty ever to be visited upon this earth— the seven last plagues. What we behold here is a solemn preparation for the outpouring of these unmixed vials. Verse 5 shows that these plagues fall after the close of the ministration in the sanctuary, for the temple is opened before they are poured out. They are given to seven angels clothed in linen pure and white, a fit emblem of the purity of God’s righteousness and justice in

Page 682

the infliction of these judgments. They receive these vials from one of the four beasts, or living creatures. These living beings were shown in comments on Revelation 4 to be a class of Christ’s assistants in His sanctuary work. How appropriate then that they should be the ones to deliver to the ministers of vengeance the vials of the wrath to be poured upon those who have slighted Christ’s mercy, abused His long-suffering, heaped contumely upon His name, and crucified Him afresh in the persecution of His followers! While the seven angels are performing their fearful mission, the temple is filled with the glory of God, and no man— {Greek- oujdeiv$} oudeis, “no one, no being” — can enter there. This shows that the work of mercy is closed, since there is no ministration in the sanctuary during the infliction of the plagues. Hence they are manifestations of the wrath of God without any mixture of mercy.

God’s People Remembered. —In this scene the people of God are not forgotten. The prophet is permitted to anticipate somewhat in verses 2-4, and behold them as victors upon the sea which had the appearance of glass mingled with fire. They sing the song of Moses and the Lamb as they stand upon that sparkling expanse of glory. The sea of glass upon which these victors stand, is the same as that brought to view in Revelation 4:6, which was before the throne in heaven. As we have no evidence that it has yet changed location, and the saints are seen upon it, we have here indubitable proof in connection with Revelation 14:1-5 that the saints are taken to heaven to receive a part of their reward. Thus, as if the bright sun should burst through the midnight cloud, some scene is presented or some promise given to the humble followers of the Lamb in every hour of temptation, to assure and reassure them of God’s love and care for them, and of the certainty of their final reward. “Say ye to the righteous,” wrote Isaiah of old, “that it shall be well with him;” but, “Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him.” Isaiah 3:10, 11.

The song the victors sing, the song of Moses and the Lamb, is given here in epitome: “Great and marvelous are They works,

Page 683

Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.” It is a song of infinite grandeur. How comprehensive in its terms! How sublime in its theme! It appeals to the works of God which are a manifestation of His glory. With immortal vision the saints will be able to comprehend them as they cannot in the present state, even though astronomy reveals enough to fill all hearts with admiration. From our little world we pass out to our sun ninety-three million miles away; on to its nearest neighboring sun, twenty-five million million miles away; on to the great double polestar, from which it takes light four hundred years to reach our world; on past systems, groups, constellations, till we reach the great star Rigel, in Orion, shining with the power of fifteen thousand suns like ours! What then must be the grand center around which these myriads of shining orbs revolve! Well may the song be sung, “Great and marvelous are Thy works.” But the song covers another field also, the field of God’s providence and grace: “Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.” All the dealings of God with all His creatures in the eyes of the redeemed and the sight of all worlds will be forever vindicated. After all our blindness, all our perplexities, all our trials, we shall be able to exclaim at last in the exuberance of satisfied joy, “Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.”