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A Brief Commentary On The Apocalypse by Sylvester Bliss

The Angels with the Seven Vials.

|And after this, I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened; and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure white linen, and girded around the breasts with golden girdles. And one of the four living beings gave to the seven angels, seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.| Rev.15:5-8.

|And I heard a loud voice out of the temple saying, to the seven angels, Depart, and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.| Rev.16:1.

|The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven,| must symbolize heaven itself. It corresponds with the tabernacle |after the second veil,| -- called |the holiest of all,| where the tables of the covenant were deposited by the command of Moses, Heb.9:1-5. There, the |cherubims of glory| over-shadowed the mercy-seat, -- a type of the presence-chamber of the Almighty. Consequently, when it is symbolized as being opened in heaven, the angels who come out are divinely commissioned executors of God's purposes.

The |seven angels,| are the ministers of the divine vengeance, -- the rectitude of their character and the dignity of their office, being symbolized by their |white robes| and |golden girdles.|

The period of time symbolized by the pouring out of the vials, must be anterior to the second advent; for in the analogous instances of God's judgments, he visits his enemies with plagues previous to the deliverance of his children. Thus were the ancient Egyptians visited, before the Israelites escaped from their power, Ex.5-11.

The deliverance of the vials to the angels by one of the four |living creatures,| indicates that the intelligences in the divine presence, which are thus symbolized, are cognizant of God's design, and acquiesce in his purpose to visit the subjects of his wrath with these plagues.

By these being called |the vials of God's wrath,| we learn that their infliction is not corrective, but judicial; -- that they are not agents of mercy, but of vengeance.

The filling of the temple with the smoke of God's glory, to the exclusion of all persons during the pouring out of the vials, shows that during that period, there will be no intercession with God for him to refrain from the execution of the purposes thus symbolized. They are inevitable; and there will be no supplication for their suspension. When Moses had finished the type of the |Holiest of all,| a |cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle,| Ex.40:34, 35. It was only when Moses could enter the tabernacle, that he could there commune with God face to face, Ex.33:9, 11.

The voice from the temple to the seven angels, shows that the acts commanded are the subjects of divine appointment, -- the angels simply designating the commencement of the several judgments.

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