Questions to ask in Revelation Fifteen

15 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.  And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

“Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty;

Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!

4 “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For all the nations will come and worship before You, For Your righteous acts have been revealed.”

5 After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened, and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever 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 until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.

 

  1. What does this portion of Scripture reveal about Jesus? – I would like to note that God had a plan, note that there is an ending to this Great Tribulation.
  2. What does this portion of Scripture reveal about the church?  The raptured church isn’t mentioned in this chapter.
  3. What does this portion of Scripture reveal about the world? They will be judged although they live now as though there are no consequences.
  4. What does this portion of Scripture reveal about the Evil One?   All that goes on in heaven, Satan knows what is coming and for some unknown reason, he just follows the plan.
  5. Can you see Christ’s Mercy towards humanity in the passage?  Notice that those that had overcome the Beast, are given special recognition.
  6. Can you see Christ’s judgment of disobedience?  That is very vivid in this passage.

 

 

Thoughts:
• This is the beginning of the end of the pouring out of the wrath of God.  These are going to come quickly because if they don’t, there will be no one alive.
• This is also setting the stage for what happens in the next few chapters, as the close of the rebellion of Satan and those who followed him are fully and completely judged.
• Interesting how the Revelation brings together the OT and NT with the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb.  God never abandoned the OT message, but He has revealed more of His plan since then.
The meaning and tense the Greek verb telew or “to finish,” means “to be brought to a conclusion, or to complete” There are those who believe the rapture will occur before these seven bowls of wrath are poured out upon the earth. They reject the view that the church will be raptured prior to the beginning of the Tribulation period, which is called a “pretribulation view”.  Instead, these people hold to what they call a “pre-wrath view” because, among other things, they believe that this scene, previewed in chapter 15, is when the wrath of God really begins to be poured out. So they hold that the rapture will occur prior to this point, allowing the church to be rescued from the wrath to come, as God promised the church in Revelation 3:10closeRevelation 3:10 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. (ESV) closeRevelation 3:10closeRevelation 3:10 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. (ESV) 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. (ESV) . However, John the apostle does not write in this verse that the wrath of God begins with these plagues. Instead, he writes that these plagues are the last expression of the wrath of God during the Tribulation.  (from Steven Davey)

Outline:

  1. Then I saw another vision. John uses this several time to introduce a transition.   Chapter 14 he was watching thing on Mt Zion, now he’s back in heaven watching this drama unfold.
  2. This is an introduction to the completion of the judgment over sin. The phrase “in them, the wrath of God is finished” literally means that the wrath of God is complete.  This is not the beginning of the wrath of God, but rather the final part of it.
  3. In verse two, John tries to explain what he sees as he looks into the heavens. He doesn’t have the words to describe it, so he uses something as close as his imagination can comprehend.  Honestly, it’s a good thing he does, because I suppose if he used only heavenly vocabulary, none of us would have any idea what he meant.  Now at least, we can visualize this a little.
    1. A sea of glass mixed with fire. Already mentioned in Chapter 4 but this sea we see fire – what does fire represent in scripture?  God’s judgment.
    2. those who had been victorious – what do you suppose it means to be victorious? Can you imagine that Satan thought that he won the crucifixion?   Satan also thinks that when he kills a believer during this time, that he is victorious.  But Satan is blinded by his own idolatry of himself.
      1. over the beast and
      2. his image
  • and the number of his name
  1. Standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. These can only be those who lived during the tribulation.  Not the saints from the centuries before.
  1. The Heavenly Choirs break out in song
    1. The Song of Moses – most likely a shortened version of the song that rose from Moses when God delivers the children of Israel from Egypt. From Exodus 15closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'.  This is sung at every Passover by Jews.  I was thinking about the folly of Pharaoh attempting to cross the Red Sea.  It is said that after his army was drowned, very little was hear of this Pharaoh.  But his error was this:  He tried to follow a path that God intended to be used for His children.  It’s not like you expect the world to learn any lessons from Scripture, but this could have saved their lives.
    2. The Song of the Lamb – The focus of both these songs is the Lord, not what the saints lived through or died because of.
  2. The temple is opened.
    1. Seven angels come out – clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes. They have just come from meeting with God, which is what the temple represents.
    2. One of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God – “bowls” – it means a shallow saucer.
      1. The word “plague” is quite an interesting word. Because the Greek word is plegos, it means a blow, or a stripe, that is a wound, a scar. It can even mean a calamity. It doesn’t have to be what we think of like the black plague, but 7 vicious strikes against the earth.
      2. They will come in such rapid fire, that there will not be time to wonder if it will touch you. This is not spread by rats or fleas, this is a divine judgment.
  • In Rev 9:12closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST', we are told the first woe has passed. In Rev 11:14closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST' we are told the second woe has passed, This is the third woe and final woe
  1. The temple is closed – the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. Why would God not allow anyone to enter the temple?
    1. Could be that He didn’t want anyone to attempt to intercede for mankind.
    2. Could be that He is closed for any counsel until his wrath is complete.
    3. Could be that He is not happy that it has come to this, but he knows it must happen. I can’t believe that God rejoices to judge mankind, but in His holiness, He must.
    4. Could it be that (as Ray Stedman suggests) that “The time has come when men can no longer repent. It is too late to pray when this judgment scene begins.”

 

 

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