Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
SONG OF THE
VICTORS OVER THE
1. the seven last plagues--Greek, "seven plagues which
are the last."
is filled up--literally, "was finished," or "consummated": the
prophetical past for the future, the future being to God as though it
were past, so sure of accomplishment is His word. This verse is the
summary of the vision that follows: the angels do not actually receive
the vials till
but here, in
by anticipation they are spoken of as having them. There are no
more plagues after these until the Lord's coming in judgment. The
destruction of Babylon
is the last: then in
2. sea of glass--Answering to the molten sea or great brazen
laver before the mercy seat of the earthly temple, for the purification
of the priests; typifying the baptism of water and the Spirit of all
who are made kings and priests unto God.
mingled with fire--answering to the baptism on earth
with fire, that is, fiery trial, as well as with the Holy Ghost,
which Christ's people undergo to purify them, as gold is purified of
its dross in the furnace.
them that had gotten the victory over--Greek, "those
(coming) off from (the conflict with) the beast-conquerors."
over the number of his name--A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac,
and Coptic omit the words in English Version, "over his
mark." The mark, in fact, is the number of his name which
the faithful refused to receive, and so were victorious over it.
stand on the sea of glass--ALFORD and
DE BURGH explain "on (the
shore of) the sea": at the sea. So the preposition,
Greek, "epi," with the accusative case, is used for
It has a pregnant sense: "standing" implies rest, Greek
"epi" with the accusative case implies motion "towards." Thus
the meaning is, Having come TO the sea, and now
standing AT it. In
where Christ walks on the sea, the Greek oldest
manuscripts have the genitive, not the accusative as here. Allusion is
made to the Israelites standing on the shore at the Red Sea,
after having passed victoriously through it, and after the Lord had
destroyed the Egyptian foe (type of Antichrist) in it. Moses and the
Israelites' song of triumph
has its antitype in the saints' "song of Moses and the Lamb"
Still English Version is consistent with good Greek, and
the sense will then be: As the sea typifies the troubled state out of
which the beast arose, and which is to be no more in the blessed world
so the victorious saints stand on it, having it under their feet
(as the woman had the moon, see on
but it is now no longer treacherous wherein the feet sink, but solid
like glass, as it was under the feet of Christ, whose triumph and power
the saints now share. Firmness of footing amidst apparent instability
is thus represented. They can stand, not merely as victorious Israel
at the Red Sea, and as John upon the sand of the shore,
but upon the sea itself, now firm, and reflecting their glory as
glass, their past conflict shedding the brighter luster on their
present triumph. Their happiness is heightened by the retrospect of the
dangers through which they have passed. Thus this corresponds to
Re 7:14, 15.
harps of God--in the hands of these heavenly virgins,
infinitely surpassing the timbrels of Miriam and the Israelitesses.
3. song of Moses . . . and . . . the
Lamb--The New Testament song of the Lamb (that is, the song which
the Lamb shall lead, as being "the Captain of our salvation," just as
Moses was leader of the Israelites, the song in which those who conquer
is the antitype to the triumphant Old Testament song of Moses and the
Israelites at the Red Sea
The Churches of the Old and New Testament are essentially one in their
conflicts and triumphs. The two appear joined in this phrase, as they
are in the twenty-four elders. Similarly,
foretells the song of the redeemed (Israel foremost) after the second
antitypical exodus and deliverance at the Egyptian Sea. The
passage through the Red Sea under the pillar of cloud was Israel's
baptism, to which the believer's baptism in trials corresponds. The
elect after their trials (especially those arising from the beast)
shall be taken up before the vials of wrath be poured on the beast and
his kingdom. So Noah and his family were taken out of the doomed world
before the deluge; Lot was taken out of Sodom before its destruction;
the Christians escaped by a special interposition of Providence to
Pella before the destruction of Jerusalem. As the pillar of
cloud and fire interposed between Israel and the Egyptian
foe, so that Israel was safely landed on the opposite shore before the
Egyptians were destroyed; so the Lord, coming with clouds and in
flaming fire, shall first catch up His elect people "in the
clouds to meet Him in the air," and then shall with fire destroy the
enemy. The Lamb leads the song in honor of the Father amidst the great
congregation. This is the "new song" mentioned in
The singing victors are the 144,000 of Israel, "the first-fruits," and
the general "harvest" of the Gentiles.
servant of God--
The Lamb is more: He is the SON.
Great and marvellous are thy works, &c.--part of Moses'
(De 32:3, 4).
The vindication of the justice of God that so He may be glorified is
the grand end of God's dealings. Hence His servants again and again
dwell upon this in their praises
(Re 16:7; 19:2;
Especially at the judgment
(Ps 50:1-6; 145:17).
saints--There is no manuscript authority for this. A, B,
Coptic, and CYPRIAN read, "of the NATIONS." C reads "of the ages," and so Vulgate
and Syriac. The point at issue in the Lord's controversy with
the earth is, whether He, or Satan's minion, the beast, is "the King of
the nations"; here at the eve of the judgments descending on the
kingdom of the beast, the transfigured saints hail Him as "the King of
4. Who shall not--Greek, "Who is there but must fear
Thee?" Compare Moses' song,
on the fear which God's judgments strike into the foe.
thee--so Syriac. But A, B, C, Vulgate, and
CYPRIAN reject "thee."
all nations shall come--alluding to
The conversion of all nations, therefore, shall be when Christ
shall come, and not till then; and the first moving cause will be
Christ's manifested judgments preparing all hearts for receiving
Christ's mercy. He shall effect by His presence what we have in vain
tried to effect in His absence. The present preaching of the Gospel is
gathering out the elect remnant; meanwhile "the mystery of iniquity" is
at work, and will at last come to its crisis; then shall judgment
descend on the apostates at the harvest-end of this age
Mt 13:39, 40)
when the tares shall be cleared out of the earth, which thenceforward
becomes Messiah's kingdom. The confederacy of 'the apostates against
Christ becomes, when overthrown with fearful judgments, the very means
in God's overruling providence of preparing the nations not joined in
the Antichristian league to submit themselves to Him.
are--literally, "were": the prophetical past for the immediate
"The tabernacle of the testimony" appropriately here comes to view,
where God's faithfulness in avenging His people with judgments on their
foes is about to be set forth. We need to get a glimpse within the Holy
place to "understand" the secret spring and the end of God's righteous
behold--omitted by A, B, C, Syriac, and
ANDREAS. It is supported only by Vulgate,
Coptic, and PRIMASIUS, but no manuscript.
6. having--So B reads. But A and C, read "who have": not that
they had them yet (compare
but they are by anticipation described according to their office.
linen--So B reads. But A, C, and Vulgate, "a stone." On
the principle that the harder reading is the one least likely to be an
interpolation, we should read, "a stone pure ('and' is omitted in A, B,
C, and ANDREAS), brilliant" (so the Greek):
probably the diamond. With English Version, compare
Ac 1:10; 10:30.
golden girdles--resembling the Lord in this respect
7. one of the four beasts--Greek, "living creatures." The
presentation of the vials to the angels by one of the living creatures
implies the ministry of the Church as the medium for manifesting to
angels the glories of redemption
vials--"bowls"; a broad shallow cup or bowl. The breadth of the
vials in their upper part would tend to cause their contents to pour
out all at once, implying the overwhelming suddenness of the
full of . . . wrath--How sweetly do the vials full
of odors, that is, the incense-perfumed prayers of the saints,
contrast with these!
8. temple . . . filled--
as to the earthly temple, of which this is the antitype.
the glory of God and . . . power--then fully
no man was able to enter . . . the temple--because of
God's presence in His manifested glory and power during the execution
of these judgments.