I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues —last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:
“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple —that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law —and it was opened. Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”
The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
In chapter fifteen, we learn about seven angels having seven plagues, which constitute the “completed wrath of God.” John also is shown a multitude of people who had victory over the Antichrist and refused to take his mark. They were singing a song of Moses, which is the song of the law. They were also singing the song of the Lamb, which is the song of love. In his commentary on Revelation, G. Campbell Morgan writes, “They have learned perfectly how law and love mingle and merge in the divine economy.” The bulk of this song is a praise to the Lord God Almighty. His words, His ways, His character, His acts are all referred to. Despite living through all the terrible times of stress and strain, these saints have walked by faith. Now for them at last faith is lost in sight, and they praise the God whom they served even at the cost of suffering and death.
After this, John is shown another vision. John saw the opening of a temple in heaven. It is identified as “the tabernacle of testimony.” From this temple proceed seven angels having the seven final plagues. These seven angels are given the seven bowls of God’s completed wrath. John states that no one could enter the temple until God’s final judgment is fulfilled.
In chapter sixteen, John continues to write about what he has seen and heard. A loud voice from the temple instructs the seven angels to “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” In the verses that follow, we are given a condensed and graphic description of God’s final judgments being poured out on a rebellious and sinful creation. God is getting ready to uphold His righteousness and holiness by judging everything that is ungodly and unholy. The fifth angel pours his bowl, and the kingdom of the Antichrist is wrapped in darkness. Rather than repent and turn to God, these evil people “cursed the God of heaven.”
In his commentary on the book of Revelation, J.V. McGee points out two facts from this text. “God is righteous in pouring out bowls of wrath. Jesus is the judge. He is in charge of handing out the punishment. Yet mankind is not led to repentance through this suffering. The apostle Paul predicted this in Romans 2:4-5. And here it is—the righteous judgment of God. And man continues to harden his heart and refuses to repent.”
Tomorrow we will look at chapters seventeen and eighteen as we see the demise of Satan’s kingdom and the beginning of Christ’s millennial reign.
Questions to Ponder
Why must God pour out His judgment on a world that has rejected His offer of love and forgiveness? How is God’s divine economy different from the world’s way of doing things? Which one of God’s attributes is most meaningful to you? Why? In the end, how is our faith rewarded?
- Praise the Lord God Almighty, who is the Holy, Righteous Judge. All power, authority and dominion have been given to Him.
- Confess any sin/transgression and receive His forgiveness.
- As you sit in his mercy and grace, thank the Lord using your own words.
Faithful Father, Holy and Righteous God, I thank You for Your love and forgiveness. I ask, Lord, that you would strengthen our hearts with Your supernatural peace. Continue to give us power to be in the world but not of it. Show us the way of love today, and lead us into Your truth, oh God. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.