The Holy Spirit propounds the history of the phials, and of the angels who pour them out, in a two-fold manner. First, generally, from the beginning of chapter xv. to the end of the fifth verse, where the vision of the seven angels holding the seven phials being related to the conclusion, before he comes to the particular description either of the angels or the phials, the narration of another vision exhibited together with them, is introduced, by which the state of the Church is described while the effusion is going on, cleansed from defilements, and the filthiness of idolatry, in that sacred laver of the temple or sea, not made as Solomon's, of brazen materials, but of crystal, and singing, during the whole time of the effusion, the Epinikion, or song of victory over the vanquished beast , and that while she was but just coming forth from the bath in which she was purified, and while she yet remained on the margin of the laver. He then goes on to the clothing and apparatus of the angels, and to the phials specially, from those words of the 5th verse.
|And the seven angels, having the seven last plagues, came out of the temple, clothed in linen, pure and splendid, and girt round the breast with golden girdles;| that is, adorned with the sacerdotal habit and girdle. Ezekiel c. xliv. v.17, 18.
Take care not to join the words which we have quoted with those of the preceding verse; for what is there said of the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven being opened, relates mot to the beginning, but to the end of the phials; for the temple, which, while the phials were pouring out, |was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power, so that no man could enter therein,| (and here there is an allusion both to the dedication of the tabernacle, Exod. c. xl. v.34, 35, and also to the twice seven days' dedication of the temple, 1 Kings, c. viii. v.10.2 Chron. c. v.13,) will be rendered so dear when the phials are completely exhausted, that the Ark of the testimony (Christ) will become conspicuous, as is the case at the sound of the seventh trumpet, ch. xi. with which it has been shown in the third Synchronism, Part 2d, the last of the phials is contemporary.