Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, [and] over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
Scriptures Mentioning The Sea Of Glass
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was known to the Egyptians at a very early period of their national history, at least B.C. 1500. Various articles both useful and ornamental were made of it, as bottles, vases, etc. A glass bottle with the name of Sargon on it was found among the ruins of the north-west palace of Nimroud. The Hebrew word "zekukith" (Job 28:17), rendered in the Authorized Version "crystal," is rightly rendered in the Revised Version "glass." This is the only allusion to glass found in the Old Testament. It is referred to in the New Testament in Rev. 4:6; 15:2; 21:18, 21. In Job 37:18, the word rendered "looking-glass" is in the Revised Version properly rendered "mirror," formed, i.e., of some metal. (Compare Ex. 38:8: "looking-glasses" are brazen mirrors, R.V.). A mirror is referred to also in James 1:23.
Sea of glass
a figurative expression used in Rev. 4:6 and 15:2. According to the interpretation of some, "this calm, glass-like sea, which is never in storm, but only interfused with flame, represents the counsels of God, those purposes of righteousness and love which are often fathomless but never obscure, always the same, though sometimes glowing with holy anger." (Compare Ps. 36:6; 77:19; Rom. 11:33-36.)
burning of waters, supposed to be salt-pans, or lime-kilns, or glass-factories, a place to which Joshua pursued a party of Canaanites after the defeat of Jabin (Josh. 11:8). It is identified with the ruin Musheirifeh, at the promontory of en-Nakhurah, some 11 miles north of Acre.
a rock, now es-Sur; an ancient Phoenician city, about 23 miles, in a direct line, north of Acre, and 20 south of Sidon. Sidon was the oldest Phoenician city, but Tyre had a longer and more illustrious history. The commerce of the whole world was gathered into the warehouses of Tyre. "Tyrian merchants were the first who ventured to navigate the Mediterranean waters; and they founded their colonies on the coasts and neighbouring islands of the AEgean Sea, in Greece, on the northern coast of Africa, at Carthage and other places, in Sicily and Corsica, in Spain at Tartessus, and even beyond the pillars of Hercules at Gadeira (Cadiz)" (Driver's Isaiah). In the time of David a friendly alliance was entered into between the Hebrews and the Tyrians, who were long ruled over by their native kings (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Kings 5:1; 2 Chr. 2:3). Tyre consisted of two distinct parts, a rocky fortress on the mainland, called "Old Tyre," and the city, built on a small, rocky island about half-a-mile distant from the shore. It was a place of great strength. It was besieged by Shalmaneser, who was assisted by the Phoenicians of the mainland, for five years, and by Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 586-573) for thirteen years, apparently without success. It afterwards fell under the power of Alexander the Great, after a siege of seven months, but continued to maintain much of its commercial importance till the Christian era. It is referred to in Matt. 11:21 and Acts 12:20. In A.D. 1291 it was taken by the Saracens, and has remained a desolate ruin ever since. "The purple dye of Tyre had a worldwide celebrity on account of the durability of its beautiful tints, and its manufacture proved a source of abundant wealth to the inhabitants of that city." Both Tyre and Sidon "were crowded with glass-shops, dyeing and weaving establishments; and among their cunning workmen not the least important class were those who were celebrated for the engraving of precious stones." (2 Chr. 2:7,14). The wickedness and idolatry of this city are frequently denounced by the prophets, and its final destruction predicted (Isa. 23:1; Jer. 25:22; Ezek. 26; 28:1-19; Amos 1:9, 10; Zech. 9:2-4). Here a church was founded soon after the death of Stephen, and Paul, on his return from his third missionary journey spent a week in intercourse with the disciples there (Acts 21:4). Here the scene at Miletus was repeated on his leaving them. They all, with their wives and children, accompanied him to the sea-shore. The sea-voyage of the apostle terminated at Ptolemais, about 38 miles from Tyre. Thence he proceeded to Caesarea (Acts 21:5-8). "It is noticed on monuments as early as B.C. 1500, and claiming, according to Herodotus, to have been founded about B.C. 2700. It had two ports still existing, and was of commercial importance in all ages, with colonies at Carthage (about B.C. 850) and all over the Mediterranean. It was often attacked by Egypt and Assyria, and taken by Alexander the Great after a terrible siege in B.C. 332. It is now a town of 3,000 inhabitants, with ancient tombs and a ruined cathedral. A short Phoenician text of the fourth century B.C. is the only monument yet recovered."
(Acts 21:2) = Phenice (11:19; 15:3; R.V., Phoenicia), Gr. phoinix, "a palm", the land of palm-trees; a strip of land of an average breadth of about 20 miles along the shores of the Mediterranean, from the river Eleutherus in the north to the promotory of Carmel in the south, about 120 miles in length. This name is not found in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament it is mentioned only in the passages above referred to. "In the Egyptian inscriptions Phoenicia is called Keft, the inhabitants being Kefa; and since Keft-ur, or 'Greater Phoenicia,' was the name given to the delta of the Nile from the Phoenician colonies settled upon it, the Philistines who came from Caphtor or Keft-ur must have been of Phoenician origin" (compare Deut. 2:23; Jer. 47:4; Amos 9:7)., Sayce's Bible and the Monuments. Phoenicia lay in the very centre of the old world, and was the natural entrepot for commerce with foreign nations. It was the "England of antiquity." "The trade routes from all Asia converged on the Phoenician coast; the centres of commerce on the Euphrates and Tigris forwarding their goods by way of Tyre to the Nile, to Arabia, and to the west; and, on the other hand, the productions of the vast regions bordering the Mediterranean passing through the Canaanite capital to the eastern world." It was "situate at the entry of the sea, a merchant of the people for many isles" (Ezek. 27:3, 4). The far-reaching commercial activity of the Phoenicians, especially with Tarshish and the western world, enriched them with vast wealth, which introduced boundless luxury and developed among them a great activity in all manner of arts and manufactures. (See TYRE T0003737.) The Phoenicians were the most enterprising merchants of the old world, establishing colonies at various places, of which Carthage was the chief. They were a Canaanite branch of the race of Ham, and are frequently called Sidonians, from their principal city of Sidon. None could "skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians" (1 Kings 5:6). King Hiram rendered important service to Solomon in connection with the planning and building of the temple, casting for him all the vessels for the temple service, and the two pillars which stood in the front of the porch, and "the molten sea" (1 Kings 7:21-23). Singular marks have been found by recent exploration on the great stones that form the substructure of the temple. These marks, both painted and engraved, have been regarded as made by the workmen in the quarries, and as probably intended to indicate the place of these stones in the building. "The Biblical account (1 Kings 5:17, 18) is accurately descriptive of the massive masonry now existing at the south-eastern angle (of the temple area), and standing on the native rock 80 feet below the present surface. The Royal Engineers found, buried deeply among the rubbish of many centuries, great stones, costly and hewed stones, forming the foundation of the sanctuary wall; while Phoenician fragments of pottery and Phoenician marks painted on the massive blocks seem to proclaim that the stones were prepared in the quarry by the cunning workmen of Hiram, the king of Tyre." (See TEMPLE T0003610.) The Phoenicians have been usually regarded as the inventors of alphabetic writing. The Egyptians expressed their thoughts by certain symbols, called "hieroglyphics", i.e., sacred carvings, so styled because used almost exclusively on sacred subjects. The recent discovery, however, of inscriptions in Southern Arabia (Yemen and Hadramaut), known as Hemyaritic, in connection with various philogical considerations, has led some to the conclusion that the Phoenician alphabet was derived from the Mineans (admitting the antiquity of the kingdom of Ma'in, Judg. 10:12; 2 Chr. 26:7). Thus the Phoenician alphabet ceases to be the mother alphabet. Sayce thinks "it is more than possible that the Egyptians themselves were emigrants from Southern Arabia." (See MOABITE STONE T0002586.) "The Phoenicians were renowned in ancient times for the manufacture of glass, and some of the specimens of this work that have been preserved are still the wonder of mankind...In the matter of shipping, whether ship-building be thought of or traffic upon the sea, the Phoenicians surpassed all other nations." "The name Phoenicia is of uncertain origin, though it may be derived from Fenkhu, the name given in the Egyptian inscriptions to the natives of Israel. Among the chief Phoenician cities were Tyre and Sidon, Gebal north of Beirut, Arvad or Arados and Zemar."
First mentioned in Gen. 10:11, which is rendered in the Revised Version, "He [i.e., Nimrod] went forth into Assyria and builded Nineveh." It is not again noticed till the days of Jonah, when it is described (Jonah 3:3; 4:11) as a great and populous city, the flourishing capital of the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 19:36; Isa. 37:37). The book of the prophet Nahum is almost exclusively taken up with prophetic denunciations against this city. Its ruin and utter desolation are foretold (Nah.1:14; 3:19, etc.). Zephaniah also (2:13-15) predicts its destruction along with the fall of the empire of which it was the capital. From this time there is no mention of it in Scripture till it is named in gospel history (Matt. 12:41; Luke 11:32). This "exceeding great city" lay on the eastern or left bank of the river Tigris, along which it stretched for some 30 miles, having an average breadth of 10 miles or more from the river back toward the eastern hills. This whole extensive space is now one immense area of ruins. Occupying a central position on the great highway between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, thus uniting the East and the West, wealth flowed into it from many sources, so that it became the greatest of all ancient cities. About B.C. 633 the Assyrian empire began to show signs of weakness, and Nineveh was attacked by the Medes, who subsequently, about B.C. 625, being joined by the Babylonians and Susianians, again attacked it, when it fell, and was razed to the ground. The Assyrian empire then came to an end, the Medes and Babylonians dividing its provinces between them. "After having ruled for more than six hundred years with hideous tyranny and violence, from the Caucasus and the Caspian to the Persian Gulf, and from beyond the Tigris to Asia Minor and Egypt, it vanished like a dream" (Nah. 2:6-11). Its end was strange, sudden, tragic. It was God's doing, his judgement on Assyria's pride (Isa. 10:5-19). Forty years ago our knowledge of the great Assyrian empire and of its magnificent capital was almost wholly a blank. Vague memories had indeed survived of its power and greatness, but very little was definitely known about it. Other cities which had perished, as Palmyra, Persepolis, and Thebes, had left ruins to mark their sites and tell of their former greatness; but of this city, imperial Nineveh, not a single vestige seemed to remain, and the very place on which it had stood was only matter of conjecture. In fulfilment of prophecy, God made "an utter end of the place." It became a "desolation." In the days of the Greek historian Herodotus, B.C. 400, it had become a thing of the past; and when Xenophon the historian passed the place in the "Retreat of the Ten Thousand," the very memory of its name had been lost. It was buried out of sight, and no one knew its grave. It is never again to rise from its ruins. At length, after being lost for more than two thousand years, the city was disentombed. A little more than forty years ago the French consul at Mosul began to search the vast mounds that lay along the opposite bank of the river. The Arabs whom he employed in these excavations, to their great surprise, came upon the ruins of a building at the mound of Khorsabad, which, on further exploration, turned out to be the royal palace of Sargon, one of the Assyrian kings. They found their way into its extensive courts and chambers, and brought forth form its hidded depths many wonderful sculptures and other relics of those ancient times. The work of exploration has been carried on almost continuously by M. Botta, Sir Henry Layard, George Smith, and others, in the mounds of Nebi-Yunus, Nimrud, Koyunjik, and Khorsabad, and a vast treasury of specimens of old Assyrian art has been exhumed. Palace after palace has been discovered, with their decorations and their sculptured slabs, revealing the life and manners of this ancient people, their arts of war and peace, the forms of their religion, the style of their architecture, and the magnificence of their monarchs. The streets of the city have been explored, the inscriptions on the bricks and tablets and sculptured figures have been read, and now the secrets of their history have been brought to light. One of the most remarkable of recent discoveries is that of the library of King Assur-bani-pal, or, as the Greek historians call him, Sardanapalos, the grandson of Sennacherib (q.v.). (See ASNAPPER T0000347.) This library consists of about ten thousand flat bricks or tablets, all written over with Assyrian characters. They contain a record of the history, the laws, and the religion of Assyria, of the greatest value. These strange clay leaves found in the royal library form the most valuable of all the treasuries of the literature of the old world. The library contains also old Accadian documents, which are the oldest extant documents in the world, dating as far back as probably about the time of Abraham. (See SARGON T0003227.) "The Assyrian royalty is, perhaps, the most luxurious of our century [reign of Assur-bani-pal...Its victories and conquests, uninterrupted for one hundred years, have enriched it with the spoil of twenty peoples. Sargon has taken what remained to the Hittites; Sennacherib overcame Chaldea, and the treasures of Babylon were transferred to his coffers; Esarhaddon and Assur-bani-pal himself have pillaged Egypt and her great cities, Sais, Memphis, and Thebes of the hundred gates...Now foreign merchants flock into Nineveh, bringing with them the most valuable productions from all countries, gold and perfume from South Arabia and the Chaldean Sea, Egyptian linen and glass-work, carved enamels, goldsmiths' work, tin, silver, Phoenician purple; cedar wood from Lebanon, unassailable by worms; furs and iron from Asia Minor and Armenia" (Ancient Egypt and Assyria, by G. Maspero, page 271). The bas-reliefs, alabaster slabs, and sculptured monuments found in these recovered palaces serve in a remarkable manner to confirm the Old Testament history of the kings of Israel. The appearance of the ruins shows that the destruction of the city was due not only to the assailing foe but also to the flood and the fire, thus confirming the ancient prophecies concerning it. "The recent excavations," says Rawlinson, "have shown that fire was a great instrument in the destruction of the Nineveh palaces. Calcined alabaster, charred wood, and charcoal, colossal statues split through with heat, are met with in parts of the Nineveh mounds, and attest the veracity of prophecy." Nineveh in its glory was (Jonah 3:4) an "exceeding great city of three days' journey", i.e., probably in circuit. This would give a circumference of about 60 miles. At the four corners of an irregular quadrangle are the ruins of Kouyunjik, Nimrud, Karamless and Khorsabad. These four great masses of ruins, with the whole area included within the parallelogram they form by lines drawn from the one to the other, are generally regarded as composing the whole ruins of Nineveh.