Summary: Climax of the judgments of God on this planet before the return of Christ. Awful, awful, times. Most believers are gone, not by rapture, but by persecution and death. Yes it is possible: think, North Korea. So, his wrath is not falling on His people...
The Seven “Bowl” Judgments
The end has come and gone again. Any further talk of judgment must be a close-up, or review, of something already covered. That is where the bowls come in. Now, in the sixth seal and seventh trumpet days, in which the seven bowls are poured out, the intensity is raised even more. You will recall that the first four seals spoke of 25% and the first six trumpets spoke of 33%. But now, at the grand climax of it all, the figure is 100%.
The bowls are where the wrath of God finds its ultimate fulfillment. Reading through Revelation as though it were chronological would cause one to believe that the wrath falls at least three times, but in fact this is one event recorded in three places: 6:17, at the end of the 6th seal, “...the great day of His wrath has come.”; 11:18, during the days of the 7th trumpet, “...Your wrath has come”; and now, 15:1, “...the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.”
Introduction to angels and saints (15:1-4). So, we are now talking of the period before the end of the seventh trumpet. Notice that believers who overcome are mentioned first. Such is the pattern in chapter 7:9-17. The overcomers of 15:2 are the same saints as those who “come out of great tribulation” in 7:14 during the sixth seal. They are identical also to the ones who “overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” mentioned just after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, 12:11. This is a continuing theme. Those who die in Jesus are welcomed home. There is a praise service when they arrive. But not all are yet present. In chapter 16, during the height of the bowl judgment, Jesus calls out to His own a warning, an encouragement to be faithful (16:15).
15:2, the sea of glass. Mention of this beautiful part of the Throne Room and the harps takes us all the way back to 4:6 . A Heavenly scene precedes the revealing of the Scroll in chapters 4 and 5. There is “Heaven” also before the trumpet soundings of 8:1-6. More Heaven comes at the proclamation of the three angels, 14:1-5. And now still more at this pre-wrath scene. One more view is to come: chapter 19:1-9 shows what is happening in Heaven just before Jesus comes! It is so important that readers of this book keep their eyes fixed on these Heavenly portraits, so as to understand the Holiness and power of Almighty God and His justice in doing what He does.
15:2, antichrist. Notice the tie-in to chapter 13’s discussion of the man of sin here at the end of verse 2. His person, his image, his mark, his number, are all defeated.
15:3-4, the song of Moses, the song of the Lamb. There are two songs of Moses recorded in Scripture. One is in Exodus 15:1-21, a song of deliverance from Egypt and victory. The introductory words call it “the song of Moses and the children of Israel”. It is probably the one meant here because a portion of the two passages are the same: Revelation 15:4a and Exodus 15:14. Another song , and this one is specifically belonging to Moses, called a prayer of his, is what we know of as Psalm 90. This is a song of the eternity of God, and the frailty of man. In my opinion this would also be an appropriate message here. In both cases, the phrase “song of Moses” means “the song composed and/or sung by Moses.”
But what of the “song of the Lamb” ? Except for the fact that all Scripture is God-breathed, and therefore “of the Lamb” , I am not aware of a song sung particularly by Jesus, or composed by Him for the church to sing. In the book of Revelation, we have already seen in 5:8-10, the “new song” sung by the living creatures and elders to the Lamb who has taken the Book and redeemed us to God and made us kings and priests to reign with Him on earth. And more to the point, that same group of praisers being discussed here in 15 is singing a song to the Lamb because of His salvation. Is this the “song of the Lamb”? Or is there coming to His people a song created and sung specifically by Jesus? That God sings, is more than suggested in Isaiah 5:1-6, and Hebrews 2:12.
15:5-16:1, the directive given. The mood changes in Heaven. The praise meeting is suspended, and from the inner sanctuary of the Temple, meaning perhaps the very presence of God as He really is, come seven most final angels (15:6). In passing, note the golden “belt” or “sash”. Jesus Himself wears this heavenly gold in 1:13, and, it would seem, in Daniel 15:6, speaking of “a certain man.” The dress of Heaven is both uniform and glorious.