Summary: Teaches how to become an overcomer and how to grow in faith.
“Revealing the Revelation”
“The Beginning of the Wrath”
February 21, 2010
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 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 held harps given them by God and 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. 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."
After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony, 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.
In our last study we concluded with the earth being reaped. The angels swung their sickles and the wicked were thrown into the winepress of God’s wrath. Although the wine press was in a particular place – outside the city – and the blood that flowed was measurable, 800 miles and as high as a horses bride, we concluded that it was probably symbolism. The point was that the wicked will be overcome and righteousness will eventually prevail. I believe that the specificity of this chapter has some significance. I believe it is important. I also believe we will probably only understand it at the proper time.
In this chapter John sees another great vision and sign. That means the last one was conclude and this is something new. He sees seven angels with seven last plagues. He plainly states that these are the ‘last’ plagues. There will be no more. God’s wrath is complete. God’s ‘hot, passionate, anger” is complete with this last act. It is finished.
I want you to understand that God is always holy; always loving; always good. Sometimes we have a hard time understanding the wrath of God – which Strong’s Greek Lexicon defines as a ‘hot, emotional, anger”. In our understanding and experience, we think of an angry father. Maybe we ticked him off and in hot, passionate anger, he smacked us or beat us. And it is usually excessive and wrong.
God’s wrath isn’t like that. He is holy and good – always. This wrath is kind of like if you saw someone abusing a child. Would that not make you angry? It is like someone hurt an innocent defenseless individual. That ought to make you hot. That ought to make you emotional or passionate. If not – something is wrong with you. Evil angers the good. We ought to get angry more often!
So our holy, good, pure hearted, loving Father, has had enough. He has seen enough. He can tolerate no more wickedness and rebellion. But he still loves – and He sends seven angels with seven bowls filled with His wrath – and His love. Can it be both? I think so. I think His motivation for these bowls is to give these wicked people one last chance. He wants to make it so painful to rebel against Him that the wise thing to do – the smart thing to do – would be to repent. But they don’t. Still – God is not angrily getting even. He is lovingly hoping His rebellious creation will repent.
John sees in his vision some righteous people. He says,
“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 held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb”
The sea generally refers to people – so it seems to me that John sees a sea of people, who had been through the fire. Beside them were a very special people. They were those who had been victorious. The others, the sea of people, had been though the fire – but they were not victorious. The victorious ones were victorious over the beast; they were victorious over the statue or whatever his image was, and they were victorious over the number of his name – which was 666. My feeling is the number 666 represents money. These people that John first shared his vision with were familiar with the Old Testament. They had read in Kings and in Chronicles about Solomon’s 666.