VICTORY IN JESUS
Realistically, chapters 15 and 16 belong together. They contain the 7 bowls of wrath. Bet you thought the worst was over. Well, the worst is yet to come. We left off the chronological order with the judgments of the trumpets. All this other stuff has just been a foretelling of what will come. Now, let’s go back to our chronological order of events. First there were the 7 seals, then the 7 trumpets. Next came the interlude where we were introduced to different personalities that would be present during the last 7 years. Now this chapter 15 introduces us to the last series of judgments, called thee 7 bowls judgment. These are the most intense and the most devastating of any that we have seen up to now.
Just what is the purpose of the tribulation anyway? It is twofold. First it is for judgment, but it is also to give Satan his final opportunity. The Church is removed before this time, only because of God’s marvelous grace. If you are trusting Christ, you won’t be going through this terrible time, so it will not be terrifying to you.
Why does Satan get another opportunity? Well, we learn in Job that Satan goes before God and says to God, “Hey, how do you expect me to tempt Job when you have a hedge of protection around him? If you would just let me through that hedge, I bet I could turn Job against You.” Then we found that God did lower the hedge and allow Satan a chance to get at Job, only Job didn’t turn against God (of course God knew that he wouldn’t). Well, in the last days, Satan will once again, get a chance at God’s people, without the hedge of protection, known as the Holy Spirit. With the Christians gone, the Holy Spirit goes as well, because the Christian is the residing place of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will still work in the world, but not through the Christians as He does today.
Do you realize that you are the instrument through which the Holy Spirit works? The Holy Spirit works through you to reach the lost world for Jesus. If you do not tell the lost about the Savior, how will they know?
There is always that question, will any believe be able to stand up against the Antichrist? We will find the answer here – Yes, there will be some who will be saved in the beginning of the 7 years of tribulation. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First let’s look at the final preparation for the final judgment of this time period. Turn to Revelation, chapter 15:1-2
Revelation 15:1 (another interlude) 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.
This is bringing us to the end of the awful tribulation. Then we will see the coming of Christ in His glory. “And I saw” – John is still a spectator to these events. It is as if he is attending a dress rehearsal of the final act of man on earth. This verse also gives us “another sign” which connects with chapter 12. In chapter 12 the “sign” was Israel. We are going to be retracing our steps here, of things which we have previously seen only a glimpse. Now we are going to be told about it in more detail. This is not the first time we have seen scripture played out this way. Genesis 1 and 2 give an account of creation. Chapter 2 lifts out the account of the creation of man and goes into more detain.
Again, we have the giving of the Mosaic law in Exodus and then in Deuteronomy, the interpretation, and some added details. In the New Testament, we have 4 different accounts of the Gospels.
“Was finished” or “is completed” in the Greek is written so as to consider an event in the future as if it has already been accomplished. Remember Jesus on the cross, said “it is finished”. “The wrath of God” marks the final judgment of the great tribulation. God has been slow to anger, but no more. Judgment proceeds from God, not from Satan, and not from the Beast. It is God who judges.
Rev. 12:2 And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They had harps given to them by God. (with the kind of music we have today, some would probably prefer a drum so they could beat it loud so Satan could hear it.)
“a glassy sea mingled with fire” what could that be? This is a sea of people, but with an added ingredient of fire. This is smoldering rage, people at rest but angry. Carrying martyrs on their shoulders. Ever see a victorious team carry their coach off the field on their shoulders? Again, we ask the question, “Will any make it through”? Yes, we know the 144,000 will. But not the converts. Why? You might ask. These we see in this vision are the martyrs who have laid down their lives rather than renounce Jesus. These martyrs have their harps, they are singing the song of victory. Look what they have endured, yet they are singing a song of victory.
What about us? How easy it is to lose our joy when trouble comes. If these saints can come through the tribulation and even lose their lives, yet still have a song in their hearts, surely you and I can certainly have a song in our hearts regardless of our circumstances. Remember Psalm 30:5 says, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Don’t lose the joy of your salvation over a temporary setback.
3. and they sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the lamb: “great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.
4.Who will not fear you, O 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”. Here is another worship service in heaven. The song of Moses is recorded in Exodus and Deuteronomy. The song of the Lamb is in Revelation 5. You see Revelation is about Christ; centered in Christ. Keep your eyes on Jesus, not on the bowls of wrath, not on the horsemen, not on the trumpets. Christ is in charge. He is Lord. This is the unveiling of Jesus Christ in all His glory and holiness, and in His power and might
In verse 3 the phrase, “King of the ages” is sometimes rendered in other translations as “King of saints and other times as “King of all nations”. These terms have several meanings, simply stated, they mean that there is no place where He will not be worshipped. Wonderful!! We can go places today where He would not be welcomed. And, as Christians, we don’t feel “comfort-able” there. Not so when He comes again. There will be no place where He is not welcomed and worshipped.
Question: Who will not “fear the Lord, and glorify His name?” Today, there is very little fear of God, even among believers. If you are a child of God, you had better not do as you please. If you think God won’t send trouble your way, or rather, allow trouble to come, wrong! Good is to be feared. Our God is a Holy God!
“Nations shall come and worship before thee”. That is not true today. The day will come when it will be true. We have a national prayer breakfast, and a National Day of Prayer. We have “In God we trust” on our money. But do we live in a Christian nation? NO! we do not. But the day will come when we will. All nations will be His someday. Psalm 2:8 “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for they possession.”
Isaiah 11:9 – for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
Today it is nauseating to see the scandals, the immorality, the godlessness and the injustice in our country. What can we do about it? Pray for our country and rejoice that there is one coming who will execute justice and judgment upon the earth. I love Philippians 2:9-11 – “Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, in the glory of God the Father.” Those in hell won’t acknowledge him as their savior, but they will acknowledge that He is the ruler. “For His judgments are made manifest” – What God is doing may not look right to you, but if you don’t think God is doing the right thing, you are wrong, not God.
At this point, the temple of the tabernacle is opened in heaven so that the seven angels can emerge with the 7 golden bowls of wrath.
5. After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony, was opened.
6. 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.
Something very important I want you to see here. Look at the words Temple, tabernacle, and testimony. First: Temple = referred to 15 times in Revelation. In the first part of Revelation, chapter 1-3, the church is the subject, there is no mention of temple. Beginning with Chapter 4, the scene shifts to heaven, the temple is seen in heaven. The Temple on earth is patterned after the one in heaven. There is no temple in the New Jerusalem where the church is going. WHY? Because the church is not identified with a temple. This makes it very clear that, beginning with chapter 4, God is dealing with people who have a temple. Only to Israel did God give a temple, patterned after one in heaven. In this instance, the reference is specifically to the tabernacle (skenes) and the holy of holies in which the ark of the testimony was kept.
In the ark were the tablets of stone. Both the tabernacle and the tablets of stone were duplicates of the originals in heaven. (Look at Exodus 25:40 – “And see that you make them after their pattern, which was showed you on the mountain.”) The originals are referred to in Rev. 11:19 where we read: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” By this, we must conclude that the actions of God here in chapter 15 are based on the violation of His covenant with Israel – the broken law. God is righteous in what He is about to do. He will judge, then He will carry out His covenant with Israel. The angels leave the temple where mercy reigns and now God will act in justice instead of mercy.
“Clothed in linen” and “golden girdles” – look how the angels are dressed. One interpretation of the original text says that the linen robes were studded with precious stones. Reminds us of the priests’ garments in the Old Testament. No more conducting priestly activity, now He is on a mission of judgment.
7.Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever.
8.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.
Again, notice the use of the number 7 – reminds you that 7 does not stand for perfection. It stands for completion. Sometimes completion is perfection, but not always. God created the earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th, not only because it was complete but because it was also perfect. But here, it stands for completion. We have a complete history of the church in the 7 churches. We have a complete judgment of the earth in each of the judgments of 7 “bowls full of the wrath of God” – Not filled with the Love of God, but the wrath of God.
“the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God” – The Church is not involved here, only Israel. The 7 golden bowls represent the final part of the great tribulation period. This judgment is not brought on by Satan or man but by God Himself. This is the direct action of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is no longer man against man. Now it is God against Satan AND man.
We will continue with these 7 last judgments, next week in chapter 16.
Blessings, dear ones,