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no man was able to enter into | plagues of the seven angels the temple, till the
self is represented as present in those which the revelator spake, the temjudgments; for we hold it to be ple had been destroyed. It was, we peyond dispute, that the judgments repeat, merely the image of it which mentioned in the Apocalypse subse- he saw in heaven, to which he requently to the 14th chapter are but ferred ; xi. 19; xv. 5. We have thus an amplification, or particularizing, brought our on this chapter of what is described in more general to a close. In the next we shall terms in that chapter. See what we find an account of the pouring out of have stated as to the character of that the seven vials; and let it be remem. chapter in the preliminary remarks bered that all seven of them, in which at the opening of our notes upon it. was “filled up the wrath of God," The temple was filled with smoke as were to be poured out upon the earth. a sign of Jehovah's presence when the vials were given out, and during
CHAPTER XVI. the whole continuance of the plagues. The judgments were irrevocable ; Preliminary Remarks. — The chapthey were not to be recalled. When ter we are now to consider is highly the plague smote the children of Israel, scenic; we can scarcely conceive of Moses sent Aaron in haste into the any composition that is more so. It temple to make atonement, and the is a metaphorical description of the plague was stayed. " And Aaron woes which were about to fall on the iook as Moses commanded, and ran Roman Empire, and which had been into the midst of the congregation; foretold by the revelator in chap. xiv. and behold, the plague was begun 8-11, and 14–20. It bears a resem. among the people: and he put on blance somewhat to chapters viii. incense, and made an atonement for and ix. Under the successive openthe people. And he stood between ings of the seven seals, had been the dead and the living; and the described the woes which were soon plague was stayed. Now they that to fall on the Jews; and in the chapdied in the plague were fourteen ters last mentioned, those woes were thousand and seven hundred, besides more fully and particularly set forth them that died about the matter of under various metaphors. So, in the Korah. And Aaron returned unto 14th chapter, the woes are denounced Moses unto the door of the tabernacle on the Romans, which, in the subseof the congregation : and the plague quent chapters, are carried out more was stayed ;" Numb. xvi. 47–50. fully under different images. The But in the case described by the reve. Gentile Christians remained firm in lator, no such arrest of judgment their devotion to God; they stood on could be had. "No man was able to " the sea of glass” and worshipped enter into the temple till the seven Him in view of his judgments. Pre. plagues of the seven angels were ful- paratory to the execution of those filled." God was present in the judgments, seven angels are reprejudgment; it was poured out with sented as coming out of the temple, his approbation, and by his com- to whom seven vials, filled with mand; it could not be remitted ; the wrath, or judgments, are given ; and whole seven of the vials must be the pouring out of the contents of poured out; the full measure of divine these vials forms the subject of the wrath or judgment must be executed 16th chapter, which we are now to upon the persecutors. The descrip- consider. tion of the temple and the smoke, of 1. Great voice out of the temple. course, is scenical; for at the time of 'This is the same imaginary temple
CHAPTER XVI. to the seven angels, Go your
ways, and pour out the vials ND I heard a great voice of the wrath of God upon the out of the temple, saying earth.
which the revelator saw in heaven, nation upon them, and let thy wrathand which he had mentioned in the ful anger take hold of them;" Psa. preceding chapter. “ And after that 24. « Now will I shortly pour I looked, and behold, the temple of out my fury upon thee, and accomthe tabernacle of the testimony in plish mine anger upon thee: and I heaven was opened ;" xv. 5. The will judge thee according to thy ways, outward temple on mount Zion had and will recompense thee for all thine been destroyed; but accustomed as abominations;" Ezk. vii. 8. See the revelator had been, in all the also Psa. lxxix. 6; Jer. x. 25; xiv. former parts of the Apocalypse, to 16; Hosea v. 10. So, also, of blessdraw his images from the temple, and ings. “I will pour out my spirit” is its appendages, and the services per- a very common expression. - For I formed there, he had conceived in his will pour water upon him that is imagination the temple as being re-thirsty, and floods upon the dry opened in heaven. See the verse last ground : I will pour my spirit upon quoted, in connection with xi. 19. thy seed, and my blessing upon thine He continues, therefore, to draw his offspring;" Isa. xliv. 3. Again: “I images from it. Seven angels. will open you the windows of heaven, This is a second series of seven and pour you out a blessing, that angels. The first series had seven there shall not be room enough to trumpets given to them ; viii. 2; the receive it ;” Mal. iii. 10. See also second seven received “seven golden Joel ii. 28, 29; Acts ii. 17, 18. We vials full of the wrath of God;" xv. see, then, that it was a common figure 7. Some importance is to be attached of speech with the prophets to speak to the number seven in this case. It of anything that God sent upon men signifies fulness, or completeness. It as being poured out. It was a kinwas a perfect number in the view of dred figure to represent the wrath of the Jews; it filled the circle. Now, God as being in vials, ready to be as all the woes that were to fall on ured out, when the command to that the Roman persecutors were about to effect should be given. I Upon the be described, the wrath of God was earth. - Mark this expression. These divided into seven parts, represented were the “ seven last plagues” of the by the seven vials, or their contents. | Apocalypse, and the angels were all If there had been but four, five or six commanded to o pour out the vials vials, we should not have got the of the wrath of God upon the earth.” idea of completeness ; we should have We are not to expect, therefore, to expected that more judgments were find that any of the judgments about to come; but the plagues were called to be described belong to the immor. the seven last plagues, because they tal state of man. By whatever metaconprehended the whole: “In them phors these judgments are held forth, was filled up the wrath of God.” See let it be remembered they were all our note on xv. 1. || Pour out the vials. executed upon the earth. The first
- This is a command to the whole, vial was poured out upon the land ; not to a part. Let this fact be re- the second upon the sea; the third membered.
The figure of pouring upon the rivers and fountains ; the out, whether we speak of blessings, or fourth upon the sun; the fifth upon judgments, is very common among the seat of the beast, or the place of the prophets. "Pour out thine indig- I his power; the sixth upon the great
2 And the first went, and earth; and there fell a noisome poured out his vial upon the and grievous sore upon the men river Euphrates, and the seventh, or tionably meant the seven last plagues last, into the air. Whatever this mentioned in chapter xv. scenery may intend, we may be con- 2. Poured out his vial upon the earth. fident that temporal or earthly judg- - The first angel poured out his vial ments only are intended, since all the upon the earth, i. e., upon the land, vials were to be poured out upon, or for the second vial 'is said to have into, the earth. It is worthy of note been poured out upon the sea. The here, that the revelator is only ampli- angels, as we have said under the fying the judgments mentioned in preceding verse, poured out their xiv. 9–11, where we were told that vials as follows: 1st, on the earth; the wrath of God is poured out into 2d, on the sea; 3d, on the rivers the cup of his indignation, and men and fountains ; 4th, on the sun; are made to drink it, and are tor- 5th, on the seat of the beast, (i. e., mented in fire and brimstone in the the place of his power ;) 6th, on the presence of the holy angels, and the Euphrates; and, 7th, into the air. presence of the Lamb. This wrath The whole, remember, is mere imof God was to be visited on those who agery. The judgments of God upon worshipped the beast and his image; the Jews had been described in a simand beyond all doubt represented the ilar way by the revelator. See chapsame judgments described under the ters viii. and ix. The angel took fire metaphors of the seven vials of God's from the altar and cast it into the wrath, which also were poured out on earth; viii. 5. This was to denote “the men who had the mark of the that judgments were about to begin. beast, and upon them which wor- Under the sounding of the first angel shipped his image;" xvi. 2. If we the judgment fell on the earth; viii. look closely at the 14th chapter, we 7; under the second, on the sea; shall find that the judgments de ver. 8; under the third, the scribed under the metaphor of drink. Wormwood fell on the rivers and ing the wine of God's wrath, and fountains of water; verses 10, 11; suffering torment in fire and brim. under the fourth, the sun was smitstone, ver. 10, are described in the ten ; ver. 12; under the fifth, the succeeding parts of that chapter, judgment was prepared against Jeruunder the metaphors of the harvest, salem, the seat of the power of the verses 14–16, and the vintage, verses Jews; under the sixth, the operations 17–20. These judgments were on were in the regions of the Euphrates; the earth. “ The harvest of the earth ix. 14; and under the seventh, in the is ripe ;'' ver. 15; the angel thrust in region of the air, and there were great his sickle on the earth, and the earth voices in heaven uttering, “ The king. was reaped ; ver. 16; the vine whose doms of this world are become the clusters were gathered was the vine kingdoms of our Lord and of his of the earth; ver. 18; and the angel Christ;". xi. 15; and this agrees prethrust his sickle into the earth, and cisely with the effects attending the gathered the vine of the earth; ver. pouring out of the seventh vial; ver. 19; and the wine-press was trodden 17. Thus it will be seen, there was without the city, and blood flowed to a method in the revelator's meta-. the horses' bridles ; ver. 20. How phors; they were not all chaos. can reflecting persons suppose that There was a similarity between the any other than temporal or earthly construction of that part which treated judgments are here described ? By of the judgments that fell upon the the seven vials of wrath are unques- | Jews, and the part now before us,
which had the mark of the poured out his viał upon the beast, and upon them which sea; and it became as the blood worshipped his image.
of a dead man; and every liv3 And the second angel ing soul died in the sea.
which treats of the judgments that grievous sores, the revelator followed fell upon the Romans. It is some. the authority of the prophets. We times asked, what does the pouring see here the source from whence he out of the different vials upon the derived his imagery.
It was earth, the sea, the rivers, the sun, &c. entirely the invention of his own &c., mean? We answer, it does not fancy.' | Mark of the beast. We mean anything distinct from the have explained this imagery in sevgreat fact that the Roman Empire eral instances. See notes on xiii. 16, was to be judged. These things are 17; xiv. 9; xv. 2. 1 Worshipped his only the dress which the imagination image. — On the subject of the worship of the revelator supplied, and are to of the beast, see xiii. 4, 8, 12; xiv. 9, 11. be regarded merely as parts of the 3. Upon the - The second imagery. He who seeks to find a angel poured out his vial upon the distinct judgment for every vial, sea. This is the same figure, in subentirely overdoes the matter of ex- stance, which occurs in Rev. viii. 8: planation, and makes the subject “ And the second angel sounded, and darker, and not brighter.
as it were a great mountain burning desire to do, in regard to these meta- with fire was cast into the sea; and phors, is to show the method of them, the third part of the sea became and their origin, or the sources blood.” Such having been the metawhence the revelator derived them, so phor by which the revelator described far as we can. There fell a noisome the judgments coming upon the Jews, and grievous sore, &c. — By sores, the he uses it again to describe the judgsacred writers were accustomed to ments coming upon the Romans. represent afflictions and troubles. Became as the blood of a dead man. We are inclined to think that the We think this metaphor, as well as revelator had in his mind the judg- the former one, (ver. 2,) had its origin ments that God sent upon the Egyp- in the plagues of Egypt, which had tians, because they would not let the been so prominent a matter in the children of Israel go up out of the sacred history of the Jews. By those land of bondage. One of the judg- plagues God punished the oppressor menis that fell upon them was a of old ; and the revelator, being a breaking out of sores upon man and Jew, drew his style and figures from beast. See Exod. ix. 8—11. See, the sacred history, which was so dear also, Psa. xxxviii. 11. The diseased to the heart of every one of his pious moral condition of God's rebellious countrymen. See Exod. iv. 9. And children was described as follows: read the following passage : “And the " From the sole of the foot even unto Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto the head there is no soundness in it; Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out but wounds, and bruises, and putrefy- thy hand upon the waters of Egypt, ing sores: they have uot been closed upon their streams, upon their rivers, up, neither bound up, neither molli- and upon their ponds, and upon all fied with ointment;" Isa. i. 6. So their pools of water, that they may Lazarus, the representative of the become blood ; and that there may Gentiles, was laid at the rich man's be blood throughout all the land of house full of sores; Luke xvi. 20, 21. Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and It cannot be denied, then, that in rep- in vessels of stone. And Moses and resenting troubles and afflictions by 'Aaron did so, as the Lord com
4 And the third angel poured fountains of waters: and they out his vial upon the rivers and became blood. manded; and he lifted up the rod ments are represented to fall upon and smote the waters that were in Judea, some are said to fall on the the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, lanı, others on the sea, others on the and in the sight of his servants; and trees, (chap. vii.,) not necessarily sig. all the waters that were in the river nifying such a separation of the judg. were turned into blood. And the fish ments, some on this, some on that that was in the river died; and the part, but the whole nation together, river stank, and the Egyptians could on which all those judgments fell, not drink of the water of the river; and this indeed agreeable to what we and there was blood throughout all read of the judgments that fell on the land of Egypt;" Exod. vii. 19— Egypt, where though some of them 21. It will appear very plainly to were caused by the signs that Moses all, that the revelator used the judg. wrought upon the land, Exod. viii. ments which came of old upon the 16; others by smiting of the waters, Jews, as a kind of dress, or imagery, streams, rivers and ponds, and all their by which to represent the judgments gathering together of waters, Exod. about to fall upon the Romans. vii, 19; and so again, viii. 5; yet it
4. Rivers and fountains of waters. is manifest that the judgments thus This figure is like the last. We produced by every one of these, (each understand nothing different from smiting of his rod there being proporwhat is meant in the preceding verse. tionable to the pouring out of a vial It is merely a part of the scenery. here,) fell indifferently on the whole That sound old writer, Dr. Ham- land, and not one judgment on one mond, says, in his note on this place, part, another on another; and so that the earth, or land, on which these sure is it to be understood in this vials were to be poured, “in all place. Many judgments were to be reason signifies the Roman Empire, poured out on the Roman Empire, the thing represented in these visions, and by all of them together the whole as before it signified the nation and heathen part of it destroyed. This people of the Jews. And there is no consideration makes it unnecessary reason to affix any nice critical nota- further to inquire into the productions tion to either of these single, that the of the several vials, what each of them land, should signify severally, and so distinctly signified, it being sufficient the sea, and the rivers, but to take all that each of them notes some kind together for that which was meant by of destruction ; and the number of the land, ver. 1; for so the series seven being a perfect number, the here requires, where the angels, that seven angels, and their seven vials, and were commanded to pour out their their seven effusions, signify utter devials on the earth, pour them out on struction, and not necessarily any these three, evidently noting these more, unless it be this, that it was three to be the distribution of that not all at once, but by several deone, and so all one with it. So, chap. grees, and several sorts of judgments, xiv. 7, God is described as the Crea- those that ordinarily bring destructor of heaven, and earth, and sea, and tions upon provoking people, that fountains of water, where all those have filled up the measure of their latter three are set to denote that iniquities, infectious diseases, famines which is elsewhere ordinarily called and wars ; and that these, in a very the earth, and no more, in opposition remarkable manner, fell upon the to heaven, that is, this inferior, terres. Roman Empire about these times, trial globe, and all in it. To this appears as by all histories, ecclesiasmay be added, that when the judg. I tical and profane, so especially by St.