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differently stadia and amphitheatres. Owing to the amount of space they occupied, stadia were built outside the city. This accounts for the winepress being trodden “without the city,” an expression which, otherwise, cannot be explained.
The use of the word “stadium” for “furlong" came into use centuries after this Book was written. The far-seeing eye of prophecy is evident in this reference to stadia.
BEFORE the seven angels with the seven trumpets called down the fire of God's wrath on Jerusalem, there was silence in heaven; a heaven of Jewish saints witnessed in silence the ceremonial preparations for the destruction of Jerusalem. Heaven, reinforced by countless multitudes of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues (R. vii. 9), now rejoices at the fall of Rome. But the ritual of preparation for vengeance is duly observed, as before.
Ι. Και είδον άλλο σημείον εν τω ουρανώ μέγα και θαυμαστόν, αγγέλους επτά έχοντας πληγάς επτά, τας εσχάτας, ότι εν αυταίς ετελέσθη ο θυμός του Θεού.
I. And I saw another sign in heaven great and wonderful, seven angels having the seven last plagues ; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
If we carry our minds back to the first century, when the Roman power held the world in a grip of iron, any sign from heaven of the speedy overthrow of Rome would be great and “Davuaotóv,"_" astonishing," as well as wonderful. In the synopsis of the Roman theme, at R. ix. 18, we have a reference to the plagues of Rome, veiled under the symbolism of fire and smoke and brimstone, things which denote punishment.
Now that we have reached the punishment of Rome, seven angels having the seven last plagues appear in heaven, just as seven trumpet angels appeared to execute judgment in the Jewish theme (R. viii. 2). The number seven means the prescribed number known only to God. It had this Hebraic appeal to the “ servants" of God.
The seven “last plagues” are so called for a reason given, “ for in them is filled up the wrath of God," where, êteéo on, aorist, for future, means proximate and certain accomplishment. We have had łTENÉO On used in the same way in the parallel case of the destruction of Jerusalem, και ετελέσθη το μυστήριον
του Θεού (R. X. 7). It is introduced here again with reference to the fall of Rome, almost in the same words, ετελέσθη ο θυμός του Θεού. Bearing in mind the Seer's careful selection of words, it has the same sense. These remarks are called for because this part of the Apocalypse has been interpreted as referring to the end of the world. The “last plagues” are taken out of their Roman context, and made criteria of the last days. But we have the fall of Rome, the millennium, and the troubles of Gog and Magog, before we come to the last days, and when they appear in this Book there is no mistaking them (see R. XX. II-15).
2. Και είδον ως θάλασσαν υαλίνην μεμιγμένην πυρί, και τους νικώντας εκ του θηρίου και εκ της εικόνος αυτού και εκ του αριθμού του ονόματος αυτού εστώτας επί την θάλασσαν την υαλίνην, έχοντας κιθάρας του Θεού.
2. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire, and them that had overcome the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
In the vision of the throne of God there was before the throne“ as it were a sea of glass" (R. iv. 6). The Seer sees this crystal pavement of heaven, now, mingled with fire, which is a symbol of suffering. And standing upon it," them that had overcome the beast ”-τους νικώντας εκ του θηρίου-which may be translated " those who had come off victorious over the beast." Here the verb-vikáw -" to conquer indicates martyrdom; as frequently before the reference is to victory over death by martyrdom. We saw the martyrs of Cæsar worship at R. vii. 9, «before the throne of God” (R. vii. 15). Now, seeing the seven angels in heaven, having the seven last plagues or punishments for Rome, the martyrs hold the harps of God and are prepared to sing a canticle of triumph.
3. Και άδoυσιν την ωδήν Μωυσέως του δούλου του Θεού και την ωδήν του αρνίου, λέγοντες· Μεγάλα και θαυμαστά τα έργα σου, Κύριε ο Θεός και παντοκράτωρ δίκαιαι και αληθιναι αι οδοί σου, ο βασιλεύς των αιώνων.
3. And singing the canticle of Moses, the servant of God, and the canticle of the Lamb, saying, Great and wonderful are thy works, O Lord, God, Almighty; just and true are thy ways, O King of ages.
(S. = των εθνών.)
The canticle of Moses is the song of triumph of the Hebrews on their deliverance from the Egyptians by the passage of the
Red Sea, “ Let us sing to the Lord for he is gloriously magnified” (Exod. xv. I). The martyrs, standing before the throne, exult in their victory. The canticle of the Lamb we have had at R. v. 9, " Because thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God in thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation." The martyrs acknowledge that they have conquered by the merits of the Redeemer's blood.
Moses-Tol Soúlov toll Ocoû—“the servant of God," helps us to understand the class of men to whom the Apocalypse was sent-Tois doúrous aŭtoll (R.i. 1). The Seer uses his expressions with such precision, that we may be sure the “servants” of God stood for the Hebrew Leaders of the Church.
“Great and wonderful are thy works " corresponds with the great and wonderful” sign, at verse 1, above.
“Just and true are thy ways” refers especially to the judgments of God upon Rome. See R. xvi. 7 and xix. 2, where these expressions are repeated.
The Divine titles Kúple, ó Deos, ó mavtorpátwp, “ Lord,” “God," " Almighty,” were expressions blasphemously given to Nero and other Cæsars.
4. Τίς ου μη φοβηθή, Κύριε, και δοξάση το όνομά σου ; ότι μόνος όσιος, ότι πάντα τα έθνη εξουσιν και προσκυνήσουσιν ενώπιόν σου, ότι τα δικαιώματά σου εφανερώθησαν.
4. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and magnify thy name? For thou only art holy, for all nations shall come and shall adore in thy sight, because thy judgments are manifest.
În the last chapter an angel flying, cried with a loud voice, “Fear the Lord and give him honour and adore ye him, who made heaven and earth because the hour of his judgment is come” (R. xiv. 6, 7). The martyrs comply with this command, and echo its expressions, “ Who shall not fear thee, O Lord ?" “The hour of his judgment " they change into “thy judgments are manifest.” The seven last plagues are in sight.
“ All nations shall come and adore in thy sight.” They themselves were “a great multitude, which no man could number of all nations" (R. vii. 9), the victims of Roman persecution. The Seer reintroduces the vision of the martyrs, seen in the Jewish theme, showing that persecution is finished and retribution takes its place. Eusebius having this text in view, wrote, at the end of the tenth persecution, “Sing to the Lord a new song because he has done wonderful works. ... Thus then as the Scriptures enjoin upon us to sing a new song " (H. E. X. I).
5. Και μετά ταύτα είδον, και ήνοίγη ο ναός της σκηνής του μαρτυρίου εν τω ουρανό. .
5. And after these things I saw, and behold the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.
After the rejoicings which were called forth by the appearance of the seven angels in heaven, the ceremonial ritual of vengeance upon Rome begins. It differs from the ceremonial preparations for the punishment of the Jews at R. viii. 2-6. The Temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. This takes us back to the Temple of Judgment at R. xi. 19.
The description is essentially the same. “The temple of God was opened in heaven and the ark of his testament was seen in the temple.” Here the tabernacle is thrown open for the exit of angels of vengeance. This symbolism would appeal to Hebrew Christians of the first century who were familiar with the ritual of the Temple. At R. xiv. 15 the tableau of vengeance on Rome (the reaping of the harvest of wickedness) is begun by an angel coming out of the sanctuary (TOû vaoû), and saying, “ Put to thy sickle and reap ” (see also R. xiv. 17). Accordingly now that we have reached the harvest of vengeance, the temple is opened for the exit of the angels of punishment. These revelations are knit together by a continuous chain of linked prophecies.
6. Και εξήλθον οι επτά άγγελοι οι έχοντες τας επτά πληγάς εκ του ναού, ενδεδυμένοι λίνον καθαρόν λαμπρόν και περιεζωσμένοι περί τα στήθη ζώνας χρυσάς. .
6. And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues. clothed in clean and white linen, and girt about the breasts with golden girdles.
The seven angels of the seven plagues call to mind the seven angels of the seven trumpets (R. viii. 2). The Roman theme follows the model of the Jewish theme. The plagues are seven in number for the same reason that the trumpets are seven in number, because the number seven covers all the plagues of all kinds which destroyed the Roman power. Or as the Seer puts. it, “ for in them is filled up the wrath of God" (R. xv. I), on Rome, understood. But they are not called the seven last plagues here, as at R. xv. I. A repetition of the word “last' might lead to misconception (see R. xv. I, notes).
The punishment of Rome is not inflicted in anger. Like the punishment of the Jews, it is the result of the deliberate judgment of God, to be carried out with solemn ritual. The