15:2 Then 3 I saw something like a sea of glass 4 mixed with fire, and those who had conquered 5 the beast and his image and the number of his name. They were standing 6 by 7 the sea of glass, holding harps given to them by God. 8 15:3 They 9 sang the song of Moses the servant 10 of God and the song of the Lamb: 11
“Great and astounding are your deeds,
Lord God, the All-Powerful! 12
Just 13 and true are your ways,
King over the nations! 14
15:4 Who will not fear you, O Lord,
All nations 17 will come and worship before you
for your righteous acts 18 have been revealed.”
15:5 After 19 these things I looked, and the temple (the tent 20 of the testimony) 21 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 22 around their chests. 15:7 Then 23 one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath 24 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 25 no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues from the seven angels were completed.
[15:2] 7 tn Or “on.” The preposition ἐπί (epi) with the accusative case could mean “on, at, by, near”; given the nature of this scene appearing in a vision, it is difficult to know precisely which the author of Revelation intended. See BDAG 363 s.v. ἐπί 1.c.γ, “At, by, near someone or someth.”
[15:3] 14 tc Certain
[15:4] sn Jeremiah 10:7 probably stands behind the idea of fearing God, and Psalm 86:9-10 stands behind the ideas of glorifying God, his uniqueness, and the nations coming to worship him. Many other OT passages also speak about the nations “coming to his temple” to worship (Isa 2:2-3, 49:22-23, 66:23-24; Micah 4:2; Zech 8:20-22). See G. K. Beale, Revelation [NIGTC], 796-97.
[15:4] 16 sn Because you alone are holy. In the Greek text the sentence literally reads “because alone holy.” Three points can be made in connection with John’s language here: (1) Omitting the second person, singular verb “you are” lays stress on the attribute of God’s holiness. (2) The juxtaposition of alone with holy stresses the unique nature of God’s holiness and complete “otherness” in relationship to his creation. It is not just moral purity which is involved in the use of the term holy, though it certainly includes that. It is also the pervasive OT idea that although God is deeply involved in the governing of his creation, he is to be regarded as separate and distinct from it. (3) John’s use of the term holy is also intriguing since it is the term ὅσιος (Josios) and not the more common NT term ἅγιος (Jagios). The former term evokes images of Christ’s messianic status in early Christian preaching. Both Peter in Acts 2:27 and Paul in Acts 13:35 apply Psalm 16:10 (LXX) to Jesus, referring to him as the “holy one” (ὅσιος). It is also the key term in Acts 13:34 (Isa 55:3 [LXX]) where it refers to the “holy blessings” (i.e., forgiveness and justification) brought about through Jesus in fulfillment of Davidic promise. Thus, in Rev 15:3-4, when John refers to God as “holy,” using the term ὅσιος in a context where the emphasis is on both God and Christ, there might be an implicit connection between divinity and the Messiah. This is bolstered by the fact that the Lamb is referred to in other contexts as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (cf. 1:5; 17:14; 19:16 and perhaps 11:15; G. K. Beale, Revelation [NIGTC], 796-97).
[15:4] 18 tn Or perhaps, “your sentences of condemnation.” On δικαίωμα (dikaiwma) in this context BDAG 249 s.v. 2. states, “righteous deed…δι᾿ ἑνὸς δικαιώματος (opp. παράπτωμα) Ro 5:18. – B 1:2 (cp. Wengst, Barnabas-brief 196, n.4); Rv 15:4 (here perh.= ‘sentence of condemnation’ [cp. Pla., Leg. 9, 864e; ins fr. Asia Minor: LBW 41, 2 [κατὰ] τὸ δι[καί]ωμα τὸ κυρω[θέν]= ‘acc. to the sentence which has become valid’]; difft. Wengst, s. above); 19:8.”
[15:5] 20 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.”
[15:5] 21 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).
[15:5] 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.
[15:6] 22 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).
[15:8] 25 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.