For their vine [is] of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of
This respects the false Christians in the Roman empire, who should have taken warning by the Jews, and not have embraced such sentiments of theirs, which had been resented by the Lord, and condemned in them; such as the doctrines of man's freewill, of justification and salvation not alone by Christ, but by their own works of righteousness, saying, "our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this", ( Deuteronomy 32:27 ) . Now out of the errors and heresies which arose in the primitive Christian church sprung the man of sin, the son of perdition, antichrist, or the antichristian and apostate church of Rome, the degenerate plant of a strange vine; and is here described as "of the vine of Sodom", a slip from that, transplanted from Judea, and from the worse part of it, Sodom; bearing a resemblance to the old Jewish church in its more degenerate state, reviving many of its antiquated rites and ceremonies, and embracing its unsound doctrines; especially which relate to justification, and salvation by the works of men; and having such a likeness to Sodom in its abominable practices, that it is even called Sodom itself, ( Revelation 11:8 ) ; particularly for pride, luxury, idleness, idolatry, profaneness, contempt of serious religion, and for bodily uncleanness; even for that sin which has its name from Sodom, which has not only been frequently committed by the popes and other great personages among their, and connived at; but praised and commended in printed books, published and sheltered under public authority; (See Gill on Revelation 11:8); and with this compare ( Ezekiel 16:49 ) ; "and of the fields of Gomorrah"; another city of the plain, destroyed for the same sins that Sodom was; the phrase signifies the same as before; who has not heard of the apples and fruits of Gomorrah, which are said to look very fair and beautiful without, but when touched into ashes? a fit emblem of the fair show of religion and devotion, and the many outward works of piety in the Romish church they pretend to perform, but when examined are "lies in hypocrisy", ( 1 Timothy 4:2 ) ;
their grapes [are] grapes of gall, their clusters [are] bitter;
which may denote the large number of the members of this church clustered together, and the many religious orders in it; which make a fair show in the flesh, but are in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity; and the variety of ordinances and institutions of man's devising: so as the ordinances of the true church of Christ are compared to clusters of grapes, ( Song of Solomon 7:7 ) ; the ordinances of the false church are like clusters of bitter grapes, both for their quantity and quality; and may mean also their many evil works and actions, especially their oppression and cruelty in persecuting the saints, and shedding their blood; just as the wild grapes of the vine of Judah are interpreted of oppression and a cry, ( Isaiah 5:4 Isaiah 5:7 ) .