Matthew Henry Complete

Commentary on The Revelation

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Chapter 15

Hitherto, according to the judgment of very eminent expositors, God had represented to his servant, John,

  1. The state of the church under the pagan powers, in the six seals opened; and then,
  2. The state of the church under the papal powers, in the vision of the six trumpets that began to sound upon the opening of the seventh seal: and then is inserted.
  3. A more general and brief account of the past, present, and future state of the church, in the little book, etc. He now proceeds,

To show him how antichrist should be destroyed, by what steps that destruction should be accomplished, in the vision of the seven vials. This chapter contains an awful introduction or preparation for the pouring out of the vials, in which we have,

Verses 1-4 Here we have the preparation of matters for the pouring out of the seven vials, which was committed to seven angels; and observe how these angels appeared to the apostle— in heaven; it was in a wonderful manner, and that upon account,

Verses 5-8 Observe,

I. How these angels appeared—coming out of heaven to execute their commission: The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened, v. 5. Here is an allusion to the holiest of all the tabernacle and temple, where was the mercy-seat, covering the ark of the testimony, where the high priest made intercession, and God communed with his people, and heard their prayers. Now by this, as it is here mentioned, we may understand,

II. How they were equipped and prepared for their work. Observe,

III. The impressions these things made upon all who stood near the temple: they were all, as it were, wrapt up in clouds of smoke, which filled the temple, from the glorious and powerful presence of God; so that no man was able to enter into the temple, till the work was finished. The interests of antichrist were so interwoven with the civil interests of the nations that he could not be destroyed without giving a great shock to all the world; and the people of God would have but little rest and leisure to assemble themselves before him, while this great work was a doing. For the present, their sabbaths would be interrupted, ordinances of public worship intermitted, and all thrown into a general confusion. God himself was now preaching to the church and to all the world, by terrible things in righteousness; but, when this work was done, then the churches would have rest, the temple would be opened, and the solemn assemblies gathered, edified, and multiplied. The greatest deliverances of the church are brought about by awful and astonishing steps of Providence.


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