Summary: A study of the book of Revelation chapter 15 verses 1 through 8
Revelation 15: 1 – 8
Okay, You’re Up
1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. 2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. 3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! 4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are Holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.” 5 After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. 6 And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. 8 The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.
It is noteworthy that before each vision dealing with activities on earth there is an assurance that God’s people are well catered for. The seven seals (chapter 6) are preceded by the vision of Heaven. Some people try to insult us by saying that we have our heads in the clouds. To that remark, I say thank you very much.
The seven trumpets (chapter 8-9) are preceded by the sealing of the people of God and the heavenly multitude (chapter 7). The attacks on the two witnesses are preceded by the measuring of the Temple (chapter 11). The attacks of the monster and the beast (chapters 12-13) are preceded by the victory cry with respect to the redeemed and by the deliverance of the woman (12.10-11, 14-16). The judgment of the world is preceded by the gathering of the redeemed on the heavenly Zion (chapter 14). Now again, before the outpouring of the bowls of wrath, we have a picture of the redeemed (15.2-4).
15.1 ‘And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having seven plagues which are the last, for in them is finished the wrath of God.’
The seven plagues are the last to be described not the last chronologically, for the seven seals and the seven trumpets which run parallel to them also involved the wrath of God. They are the last because they sum up God’s judgments.
The idea of the wrath of God is applied to the final judgment, ‘the day of wrath’ It is not anger as we know it but righteous anger like the anger of The Lord Jesus, which is a righteous response to the awfulness of sin, the sign of an antipathy to sin. In His holiness God must react against sin.
He did it first by offering a way of redemption and providing a means of ‘propitiation’ through The Precious and Holy Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, which was a way of righteously dealing with sin while forgiving the sinner, but for those who refuse that way His wrath against sin means that He must ultimately deal with sinners, first by attempts to make them consider their ways, and then in final judgment.
Please note the statement of ‘Another sign in heaven, great and marvelous’, We have seen the sign speaking of the true people of God, we have seen the sign of the Evil One who seeks to destroy God’s handiwork, now we see the sign of God’s response to that evil, seven angels having the seven plagues which finalize God’s program of wrath against sin. But before these are emptied we must see the safety of the redeemed.
Chapter 14:1-20 seemed to describe the consummation of all things, ending with the fury of the Battle of Armageddon. But now John will go back and describe God’s judgment in more detail. This idea of stating and re-stating in more detail is common with prophecy and with Hebrew literature in general. As is the plan of the prophet, he reviews, he recapitulates, and he enlarges upon the scene he has already sketched.” Remember, we already “saw the end” in chapter 6:12-17. Then John took us over the same material in greater detail again. This reminds us that Revelation is not strictly chronological in its arrangement.