Summary: The pouring of the seven bowls shows us that God's grace will come to a close - when the bowls are poured the end is near. How ready are we?

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Revelation 15:5-16:21

God Takes Control of Evil in this Broken World.

Have you ever had déjà vu.

Déjà vu is what happens when you are in a situation and then you think – this has happened before.

I think that when John was seeing the Revelation there must have been times when he thought, “This feels like déjà vu”. “I have seen this before”.

I’ll show you what I mean. Let’s read Revelation 15:5-16:21

God Takes Control of Evil in this Broken World.

If you have been here for the whole Revelation series you might be thinking, “I’ve seen that before”. And you would be right – it all happens back in chapter 8 & 9.

7 angels.

Seas and rivers turning to blood.

A great battle with evil.

The river Euphrates

Fire and smoke.

Plagues, Earthquakes and hailstones.

It isn’t all exactly the same, but there are plenty of similarities. Enough for us to say, “This feels a bit like déjà vu”. So what is going on?

Imagine that Revelation is like the Eiffel Tower. Now I say to you, go and get me some pictures of the Eiffel Tower.

You might get some distant shots, to give us an overall view.

You might get closer, showing some of the engineering work.

Maybe you take some inside shots.

You might get some really close, close-ups.

All those photos are of the Eiffel Tower. You can show me them in whatever order you like, it is still the Eiffel Tower. You might emphasise just one part. It is still the Eiffel tower. As you show me the pictures I might think, “I’ve seen this”. Well I have, but also I haven’t because I am looking from different perspectives.

That is what John is seeing. Except it is not the Eiffel Tower – it is a Revelation which is designed to help us understand events that are going to happen between the time when Jesus went to heaven … and the time He will return in judgement … and the events after the judgement. So there is going to be stuff here that we are familiar with, but also stuff which is new, or looked at from a different angle.

So when we read about the angels, and the plagues, and the blood-turning-to-water, and the scorching sun, and all those events we go, “Yep – I remember what that was all about”. We have seen that these are not going to be word-for-word literally fulfilled events. Rather they remind us that God is in control of history and there will be events which happen which cause us to sit up and take notice.

Famines, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Fires, Heatwaves, Environmental disasters. God does this because He wants those who are evil to wake up.

The torment of evil that creates fear, doubt, anxiety, greed, manipulation, abuse, self-indulgence, lust, misdirection, brokenness, and apprehension. God allows this to make evil people see the reality.

The resulting death – the greatest fear of so many. Coming onto mankind in so many unimaginable ways. God wants people to sit up and listen.

From the time of Jesus went to heaven up to now all these chaotic events have been taking place. And the whole time the message to those who are evil is the same … I am God – have I got your attention yet?.

The opening of the seals in chapter 6.

The sounding of the trumpets in chapters 8-9.

The pouring out of the bowls in this section.

It’s déjà vu.

… …

But it’s not all déjà vu.

Because as we go through the book of Revelation we keep getting different perspectives. Close-up views, or shots from different angles.

The first close up involves the temple which is in heaven – the heavenly temple is actually mentioned a number of times in Revelation.

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

Revelation 11:19

Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

Revelation 14:15

Why is there a temple in heaven? Hebrews 9 helps answer that question. You can turn to it with me if you like.

Hebrews 9:1

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up.

Just so you understand the tabernacle was the mobile temple. The Israelites first used the tabernacle when they left Egypt. When they got to the promised land and settled down, King Solomon was the one who built the temple. Effectively the tabernacle and temple are the same thing. So the earthly temple had regulations and a specific set-up. Hebrews 9:2-10 describes the set up and some of these regulations.

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