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Revelation 15:1

Context
The Final Plagues

15:1 Then 1  I saw another great and astounding sign in heaven: seven angels who have seven final plagues 2  (they are final because in them God’s anger is completed).

Revelation 15:5--16:21

Context

15:5 After 3  these things I looked, and the temple (the tent 4  of the testimony) 5  was opened in heaven, 15:6 and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, dressed in clean bright linen, wearing wide golden belts 6  around their chests. 15:7 Then 7  one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath 8  of God who lives forever and ever, 15:8 and the temple was filled with smoke from God’s glory and from his power. Thus 9  no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues from the seven angels were completed.

The Bowls of God’s Wrath

16:1 Then 10  I heard a loud voice from the temple declaring to the seven angels: “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls containing God’s wrath.” 11  16:2 So 12  the first angel 13  went and poured out his bowl on the earth. Then 14  ugly and painful sores 15  appeared on the people 16  who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.

16:3 Next, 17  the second angel 18  poured out his bowl on the sea and it turned into blood, like that of a corpse, and every living creature that was in the sea died.

16:4 Then 19  the third angel 20  poured out his bowl on the rivers and the springs of water, and they turned into blood. 16:5 Now 21  I heard the angel of the waters saying:

“You are just 22  – the one who is and who was,

the Holy One – because you have passed these judgments, 23 

16:6 because they poured out the blood of your saints and prophets,

so 24  you have given them blood to drink. They got what they deserved!” 25 

16:7 Then 26  I heard the altar reply, 27  “Yes, Lord God, the All-Powerful, 28  your judgments are true and just!”

16:8 Then 29  the fourth angel 30  poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was permitted to scorch people 31  with fire. 16:9 Thus 32  people 33  were scorched by the terrible heat, 34  yet 35  they blasphemed the name of God, who has ruling authority 36  over these plagues, and they would not repent and give him glory.

16:10 Then 37  the fifth angel 38  poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast so that 39  darkness covered his kingdom, 40  and people 41  began to bite 42  their tongues because 43  of their pain. 16:11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their sufferings 44  and because of their sores, 45  but nevertheless 46  they still refused to repent 47  of their deeds.

16:12 Then 48  the sixth angel 49  poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates and dried up its water 50  to prepare the way 51  for the kings from the east. 52  16:13 Then 53  I saw three unclean spirits 54  that looked like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 16:14 For they are the spirits of the demons performing signs who go out to the kings of the earth 55  to bring them together for the battle that will take place on the great day of God, the All-Powerful. 56 

16:15 (Look! I will come like a thief!

Blessed is the one who stays alert and does not lose 57  his clothes so that he will not have to walk around naked and his shameful condition 58  be seen.) 59 

16:16 Now 60  the spirits 61  gathered the kings and their armies 62  to the place that is called Armageddon 63  in Hebrew.

16:17 Finally 64  the seventh angel 65  poured out his bowl into the air and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying: “It is done!” 16:18 Then 66  there were flashes of lightning, roaring, 67  and crashes of thunder, and there was a tremendous earthquake – an earthquake unequaled since humanity 68  has been on the earth, so tremendous was that earthquake. 16:19 The 69  great city was split into three parts and the cities of the nations 70  collapsed. 71  So 72  Babylon the great was remembered before God, and was given the cup 73  filled with the wine made of God’s furious wrath. 74  16:20 Every 75  island fled away 76  and no mountains could be found. 77  16:21 And gigantic hailstones, weighing about a hundred pounds 78  each, fell from heaven 79  on people, 80  but they 81  blasphemed God because of the plague of hail, since it 82  was so horrendous. 83 

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

2 tn Grk “seven plagues – the last ones.”

3 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

4 tn On this term BDAG 928 s.v. σκηνή 1.b.α states, “ἡ σκηνὴ τοῦ μαρτυρίου the Tabernacle or Tent of Testimony (Ex 27:21; 29:4; Lev 1:1; Num 1:1 and oft.…) Ac 7:44; 1 Cl 43:2, 5,” and then continues in section 2 to state, “Rv 15:5 speaks of a ναὸς τῆς σκηνῆς τοῦ μαρτυρίου ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ. God’s σκ.= dwelling is in heaven 13:6, and will some time be among humans 21:3.”

5 tn Grk “the temple of the tent of the testimony” (ὁ ναός τῆς σκηνῆς τοῦ μαρτυρίου, Jo naos ths skhnhs tou marturiou). The genitive “of the tent” is probably an appositional genitive and should be rendered as “the temple, which is the tent.” The entire expression, then, would be “the temple which is the tent of testimony,” that is, “the heavenly equivalent of the tent or tabernacle that was with Israel in the wilderness” (G. K. Beale, Revelation [NIGTC], 801-2).

sn In the OT the expression “tent of the testimony” occurs frequently (130 times in Exodus through Deuteronomy). The “testimony” refers to the ten commandments, i.e., the revelation of the righteous will of God (Exod 16:34; 25:21; 31:18; 32:15; 40:24). It is little wonder that the wrath of God upon an unrighteous, lawbreaking humanity follows in John’s description.

6 tn Or “wide golden sashes,” but these would not be diagonal, as some modern sashes are, but horizontal. The Greek term can refer to a wide band of cloth or leather worn on the outside of one’s clothing (L&N 6.178).

7 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

8 tn Or “anger.”

9 tn Grk “power, and no one.” A new sentence was started here in the translation. Here καί (kai) has been translated as “thus” to indicate the implied result of the temple being filled with smoke.

10 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

11 tn Or “anger.” Here τοῦ θυμοῦ (tou qumou) has been translated as a genitive of content.

12 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the directions given by the voice from the temple.

13 tn Grk “the first”; the referent (the first angel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

14 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

15 tn Or “ulcerated sores”; the term in the Greek text is singular but is probably best understood as a collective singular.

16 tn Grk ‘the men,” but this is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") and refers to both men and women.

17 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “next” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

18 tn Grk “the second”; the referent (the second angel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

20 tn Grk “the third”; the referent (the third angel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

21 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the somewhat parenthetical nature of the remarks that follow.

22 tn Or “righteous,” although the context favors justice as the theme.

23 tn Or “because you have judged these things.” The pronoun ταῦτα (tauta) is neuter gender.

24 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate that this judgment is the result of what these wicked people did to the saints and prophets.

25 tn Grk “They are worthy”; i.e., of this kind of punishment. By extension, “they got what they deserve.”

26 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

27 tn Grk “the altar saying.”

28 tn On this word BDAG 755 s.v. παντοκράτωρ states, “the Almighty, All-Powerful, Omnipotent (One) only of God…() κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ π. …Rv 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 21:22.”

29 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

30 tn Grk “the fourth”; the referent (the fourth angel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

31 tn Grk “men,” but this is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") and refers to both men and women.

32 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “thus” to indicate the implied result of the bowl poured on the sun.

33 tn Grk “men,” but this is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") and refers to both men and women.

34 tn On this phrase BDAG 536 s.v. καῦμα states, “burning, heat Rv 7:16καυματίζεσθαι κ. μέγα be burned with a scorching heat 16:9.”

35 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

36 tn For the translation “ruling authority” for ἐξουσία (exousia) see L&N 37.35.

37 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

38 tn Grk “the fifth”; the referent (the fifth angel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

39 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so that” to indicate the implied result of the fifth bowl being poured out.

40 tn Grk “his kingdom became dark.”

41 tn Grk “men,” but this is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") and refers to both men and women.

42 tn On this term BDAG 620 s.v. μασάομαι states, “bite w. acc. τὰς γλώσσας bite their tongues Rv 16:10.”

43 tn The preposition ἐκ (ek) has been translated here and twice in the following verse with a causal sense.

44 tn Grk “pains” (the same term in Greek [πόνος, ponos] as the last word in v. 11, here translated “sufferings” because it is plural). BDAG 852 s.v. 2 states, “ἐκ τοῦ π. in painRv 16:10; pl. (Gen 41:51; Jos., C. Ap. 2, 146; Test. Jud. 18:4) ἐκ τῶν π. …because of their sufferings vs. 11.”

45 tn Or “ulcerated sores” (see 16:2).

46 tn Grk “and they did not repent.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but nevertheless” to express the contrast here.

47 tn Grk “they did not repent” The addition of “still refused” reflects the hardness of people’s hearts in the context.

48 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

49 tn Grk “the sixth”; the referent (the sixth angel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

50 tn Grk “and its water was dried up.” Here the passive construction has been translated as an active one.

51 tn Grk “in order that the way might be prepared.” Here the passive construction has been translated as an active one.

52 tn Grk “from the rising of the sun.” BDAG 74 s.v. ἀνατολή 2.a takes this as a geographical direction: “ἀπὸ ἀ. ἡλίουfrom the east Rv 7:2; 16:12; simply ἀπὸ ἀ. …21:13.”

53 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

54 sn According to the next verse, these three unclean spirits are spirits of demons.

55 tn BDAG 699 s.v. οἰκουμένη 1 states, “the inhabited earth, the worldὅλη ἡ οἰκ. the whole inhabited earthMt 24:14; Ac 11:28; Rv 3:10; 16:14.”

56 tn On this word BDAG 755 s.v. παντοκράτωρ states, “the Almighty, All-Powerful, Omnipotent (One) only of God…() κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ π. …Rv 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 21:22.”

57 tn Grk “and keeps.” BDAG 1002 s.v. τηρέω 2.c states “of holding on to someth. so as not to give it up or lose it…τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ Rv 16:15 (or else he will have to go naked).”

58 tn On the translation of ἀσχημοσύνη (aschmosunh) as “shameful condition” see L&N 25.202. The indefinite third person plural (“and they see”) has been translated as a passive here.

59 sn These lines are parenthetical, forming an aside to the narrative. The speaker here is the Lord Jesus Christ himself rather than the narrator. Many interpreters have seen this verse as so abrupt that it could not be an original part of the work, but the author has used such asides before (1:7; 14:13) and the suddenness here (on the eve of Armageddon) is completely parallel to Jesus’ warning in Mark 13:15-16 and parallels.

60 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the resumption and conclusion of the remarks about the pouring out of the sixth bowl.

61 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the demonic spirits, v. 14) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

62 tn Grk “gathered them”; the referent (the kings and [implied] their armies, v. 14) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

63 tc There are many variations in the spelling of this name among the Greek mss, although ῾Αρμαγεδών (&armagedwn) has the best support. The usual English spelling is Armageddon, used in the translation.

tn Or “Harmagedon” (a literal transliteration of the Greek), or “Har-Magedon” (NASB), meaning “the Mount of Magedon” in Hebrew.

64 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “finally” to indicate the conclusion of the seven bowl judgments.

65 tn Grk “the seventh”; the referent (the seventh angel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

66 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

67 tn Or “sounds,” “voices.” It is not entirely clear what this refers to. BDAG 1071 s.v. φωνή 1 states, “In Rv we have ἀστραπαὶ καὶ φωναὶ καὶ βρονταί (cp. Ex 19:16) 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18 (are certain other sounds in nature thought of here in addition to thunder, as e.g. the roar of the storm?…).”

68 tn The singular ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used generically here to refer to the human race.

69 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

70 tn Or “of the Gentiles” (the same Greek word may be translated “Gentiles” or “nations”).

71 tn Grk “fell.”

72 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of Babylon’s misdeeds (see Rev 14:8).

73 tn Grk “the cup of the wine of the anger of the wrath of him.” The concatenation of four genitives has been rendered somewhat differently by various translations (see the note on the word “wrath”).

74 tn Following BDAG 461 s.v. θυμός 2, the combination of the genitives of θυμός (qumo") and ὀργή (orgh) in Rev 16:19 and 19:15 are taken to be a strengthening of the thought as in the OT and Qumran literature (Exod 32:12; Jer 32:37; Lam 2:3; CD 10:9). Thus in Rev 14:8 (to which the present passage alludes) and 18:3 there is irony: The wine of immoral behavior with which Babylon makes the nations drunk becomes the wine of God’s wrath for her.

75 tn Grk “And every.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

76 tn Or “vanished.”

77 sn Every island fled away and no mountains could be found. Major geographical and topographical changes will accompany the Day of the Lord.

78 tn Here BDAG 988 s.v. ταλαντιαῖος states, “weighing a talentχάλαζα μεγάλη ὡς ταλαντιαία a severe hailstorm with hailstones weighing a talent (the talent=125 librae, or Roman pounds of c. 343 gr. or 12 ounces each) (weighing about a hundred pounds NRSV) Rv 16:21.” This means each hailstone would weigh just under 100 pounds or 40 kilograms.

79 tn Or “the sky.” Due to the apocalyptic nature of this book, it is probably best to leave the translation as “from heaven,” since God is ultimately the source of the judgment.

80 tn Grk “on men,” but ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used here in a generic sense to refer to people in general (the hailstones did not single out adult males, but would have also fallen on women and children).

81 tn Grk “the men”; for stylistic reasons the pronoun “they” is used here.

82 tn Grk “the plague of it.”

83 tn Grk “since the plague of it was exceedingly great.”



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