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Revelation 15:1-8 “The Preparation Of The Seven Bowls Of Wrath”

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THE TEXT:

 

 

Rev 15:1-8 KJV

(1)  And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
(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.
(3)  And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
(4)  Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
(5)  And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:
(6)  And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.
(7)  And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
(8)  And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

In the previous chapter, we have been presented to us the truth that the Lord will deliver His people from this fallen earth just prior to the falling of His wrath upon sinful mankind. This was symbolized by two differing reapings of the earth.  Now we continue looking at God’s wrath that will fall at His second coming by looking at the final stages of His wrath.  The last part of His wrath is called the seventh trumpet.  The contents of this trumpet will be shown to us in seven symbols.  These symbols are vials (bowls) of wrath that are poured out upon the lost.

In chapter 15, we will see the contents of trumpet 7 being prepared to fall upon Satan’s kingdoms.  In chapter 16, we see the actual bowls described in detail as they are poured out…

I.   Revelation 15:1-8
A.  Preparation For Seven Last Plagues (15:1-4)
B.  The Seven Vials Of Wrath Revealed (15:5-8)

 

II.  Revelation 16:1-21
A.  Command To Pour Out Vials (16:1)
B.  Vial One (16:2)
C.  Vial Two (16:3)
D.  Vial Three (16:4-7)
E.  Vial Four (16:8-9)
F.  Vial Five (16:10-11)
G.  Vial Six (16:12-16)
H.  Vial Seven (16:17-21)

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Rev 15:1-8 KJV

 

(1)  And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous,

John now has a new subject beginning to be presented to him.  He sees “another sign”  ie a different series of symbols now to be presented to him.  He describes these signs as:

  1. in heaven – helping us to understand that are originating from the Lord and affecting life here on earth.
  2. great – large, attention grabbing, exceeding
  3. marvelous – causes much wonder and amazement, beyond imagination

 

 

seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

John now sees angels appearing in this vision.  Angels throughout the Bible simply speak the message God gives them or does the wrok that God has commissioned them to do.  Being angels, helps us to understand that they are about to do God’s work on His behalf with His authority.  John describes them as:

  1. seven in number – the complete, perfect number. They are going to bring to perfect completion the work that God has given them to do.
  2. having the seven last plagues – these bowls will symbolize the wrath of God that will fall upon mankind. These bowls of wrath are the final stage of God’s wrath falling upon lost mankind.  It will bring His wrath to an end.  The lost of this world will be totally, physically destroyed by the end of this series of bowls.

(Note the angels will actually possess the plagues in verse 7.  John is describing them as holding the plagues now to differentiate them from other angels we have seen and will see in Revelation.)

These bowls are described as “in them is filled up the wrath of God” symbolizing that the bowls hold God’s wrath and, when tipped, will pour out God’s wrath upon lost mankind.

 

(2)  And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire:

This is the same “sea of glass” that we saw in the Rev 4:5-6 passage.  It is “mingled with fire” as it reflects the lamps of fire that are positioned near to it before the throne of God…

Rev 4:5-6 KJV – “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.  And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.”

Prior we have seen that this sea of glass symbolized the way of salvation which gives access to God.  The lamps of fire symbolize the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit, and the reflective glass symbolizes the revealing of the lost person’s true condition and the true person of Christ, both of which are accomplished through the gospel message.

 

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.

Those standing on the sea are genuine believers in Christ who have accepted the gospel message.  In the original language they are said to be “caused to stand” on the sea of glass.  In other words, they did not stand upon the sea of simply their own ability but God, through His grace caused them to stand on the sea.  He called them and gave the mthe ability to repent and believe the gospel message (John 6:44, Roms 5:6, 7:18).

They are described as (presented to us as “overcomers” – 1 John 5:4):

  1. them that had gotten the victory over the beast – They have prevailed over Satan’s kingdom
  2. them that had gotten the victory over his image – They have prevailed over the false teachings of the kingdom
  3. them that had gotten the victory over his mark and the number of his name – not selfish, humanistic, rebellious
  4. them that have the harps of God – they are prepared to worship, praise and honor the Lord.

At the very beginning of the time of God’s wrath the saints are praising the Lord for His great works (Rev 7:9-17)… now, as the final stages of His wrath begin, they are continuing to praise Him.  Apparently throughout the time of God’s wrath falling upon the lost, the saints of God will be praising and honoring Him for His justice, grace, and faithfulness to His promises.

 

(3)  And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

A part of the praise that is given to Christ during the falling of His wrath is singing songs of praise to Him.  These songs are described in two ways… the song of Moses and the son of the Lamb.

Perhaps, this is the same song given two different names.  If that is so, it is probably taking about one of the two songs related to Moses found in the Bible:

  1. Exodus 15:1-19 – the song that is sung at the deliverance of the Israelites deliverance from Egypt bondage
  2. Deut 31:30-32:43 – the song sung at Moses’s death.

Why would both of these be called the song of the Lamb?  Both of these glorify Christ (Exodus 15:1 and Deut 32:3)

Or, perhaps “the song of the Lamb” is describing an entirely different song.  If this is the case, this may be referring to one of the two songs that has been sung previously in Revelation (Rev 5:6-10, Rev 14:3) ?

 

The contents of this song include 10 reasons to praise the Lord… 

Great and marvellous are thy works,

  1. Praise for His great works among men (includes both works of salvation and works of wrath) (Psa 126:2, Psa 8:3-9)

 Lord God Almighty;

  1. Praise for who He is, the Master, One who deserves all worship, and All powerful One (Rev 4:8, 11:17, 16:7, 21:22)

 just and true are thy ways,

  1. Praise for His Justice and Truthfulness (Faithfulness) of His lifestyle and leadership (Psa 18:30, Psa 145:17, Isa 55:9)

 thou King of saints.

  1. Praise for His Rulership in the lives of His people (Dan 7:14, Jer 10:7, I Cor 15:25)

 

(4)  Who shall not fear thee, O Lord,

  1. Praise for His greatness and the need to reverence and fear His chastening and punishment of sin (Isa 8:13, Prov 1:7)

 and glorify thy name?

  1. Praise for His deserving of the greatest honor and praise possible. (Psa 22:23, 1 Pet 4:11)

for thou only art holy:

  1. Praise Him for He is sinless, totally separated from sin and separated to the use of God (Isa 6:3, Exo 15:11, Psa 99:9)

for all nations shall come and worship before thee;

  1. Praise Him for He is Savior of All Mankind (Jew and Gentile alike) (John 3:16)
  2. Praise Him for He is so great all men (both lost and saved) will come before Him and bow to Him (Psa 22:27-28, Isa 66:23)

for thy judgments are made manifest.

  1. Praise Him because His decisions are fair and just. (Psa 103:6, Zeph 3:5, Rom 2:2)

In summary this song is sung to praise Him because of His works, His person and His authority that He possesses over all things.

 

(5)  And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:

John now sees the doors of the temple in heaven (a symbol of God’s presence and worship in the midst of heaven) to now open.

The title given to this symbolic temple is important.  John describes it as “the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven”.  In other words, it is the:

  1. temple – dwelling/worship place of God
  2. tabernacle – that was associated with the tent of worship in OT
  3. testimony – that testified of the Lord to those who see it
  4. in heaven – located in the eternal dwelling place of God.

This heavenly temple is being emphasized to be the revealer of the Lord.  By studying the symbolism of the temple of Revelation and those that entered and departed from it, we can learn MICH about the Lord and His workings among men on earth and throughout eternity.

 

(6)  And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.

John now sees seven angels departing out of the temple.  This tells us that these angels are about to do the bidding of God.  They are coming from His presence, indicating they have been sent on a mission.

These angels are described as:

1.  seven angels – their work is perfect and will complete the work that God has given to them.

2.  they possess the seven plagues of God – identifying them from all the other angels John has seen. Their role in completing God’s wrath upon the lost sets them apart from any other angels he has seen

3.  clothed in pure, white linen – they were sinless (not fallen angels). They are about to send God’s RIGHTEOUS wrath upon lost mankind.  It is deserved wrath, they will not be committing sin by sending it.

4.  they wear gold girdles (breastplates)– the priests wore gold breastplates symbolizing Christ’s ministry of mediation and intercession. How can the work of the OT priest help us to understand the work of these angels?…

5.  The work of these angels will be as the “go-between” between God and sinful man, sending His wrath upon them. In that sense, they are God’s intercessors standing between God and sinful mankind at His coming.

6.  Also… they are seen seeking God’s face then coming out of the temple prepared to obey His commands. This, too, is like the priests who would enter the temple seeking to know God’s will and then depart and fulfill His will among the Isrealites.

 

(7)  And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.

John now sees one of the four living creatures giving these angels the bowls of the eternal God’s wrath.  Remember, the prayers of the saints play a very important role in initiating God’s wrath and final defeat of sinful mankind.  (Revelation 8:1-5)

These are said to be full of His wrath, symbolizing for us that His patience has come to an end and final defeat of the lost is at hand.  The holding back of any of His wrath has now come to an end and it is time for it to be poured forth fully.

 

(8)  And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power;

The temple is now filled with smoke as His anger and wrath have reached its “boiling point”.  In this we can see His great glory and power as His wrath will be displayed to its fullest with these final bowls being poured forth.

 

and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

The smoke of His wrath is so great none can enter His presence until His wrath is now brought to completion.  It is not a time for grace or mercy (in allowing men to enter His presence) now is the time for His judgment against sin to commence, as His judgment against sin reveals His majesty.  Job 14:13, Psa 76:7, Nahum 1:6, Exo 40:36, Ezek 44:4, Isa 6:4, 1 Kings 8:10

 

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In this section of Revelation we see Christ presented as both the Savior and the Holy Judge of all mankind…

  1. As the Savior of His people we see Him receiving the praise, honor and worship of His people throughout eternity.
  1. As Holy Judge, we see His wrath falling upon sinful mankind through His holy angels. This wrath is being sent to punish their rejection of Christ as their Creator, Lord, and Savior; and to recompense their abuse and opposition to His people.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

The truth of Christ being both Savior and Judge goes hand in hand… each role enhances the other…

  1. As He judges the lost, His people see the punishment they deserve and grow in appreciation for what He has done for them.
  1. As Savior, His work on the cross was a clear display of God’s righteous anger against sin. This display of anger enhances our understanding of the greatness of His wrath that will fall at His second coming.

 

As we stop and dwell upon Christ as our Savior and the Judge of all mankind, may we see both His grace and just wrath with a new, greater understanding and appreciation for all He has done for us.

 

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SYMBOLS EMPLOYED IN THIS TEXT:

 

  1. another sign in heaven
  2. seven
  3. angels
  4. sea of glass
  5. fire
  6. the beast
  7. his image
  8. his mark
  9. his name
  10. harps of God
  11. the Lamb
  12. the temple
  13. the tabernacle
  14. heaven
  15. was opened:
  16. pure and white linen
  17. breasts girded with golden girdles

18,  seven golden vials

19.. smoke

 

 

 

THE RELATED SCRIPTURES:

 

 

SUPPLEMENTAL STUDIES/NOTES:

 

 

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