Summary: The Temple of Doom
Revelation 15:1, “Then I saw in heaven another significant event, and it was great and marvelous. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues, which would bring God’s wrath to completion.”
Chapters 15 and 16 present the final outpouring of God’s wrath before Christ’s return here to earth. That wrath is expressed by the effects of the seventh trumpet in 11:16, which are the seven bowl judgments described in Chapter 16. Chapter 15 is an introduction to the rapid fire bowl judgments, but shouldn’t be taking lightly for many reasons. Revelation 15 gives us a glimpse of God’s mercy in the midst of the greatest outpouring of divine justice that is God’s divine justice for sin. God is absolutely holy and demands retribution for the sins of the world. While Christ died on the Cross for our sins, and the sins of those who have accepted Him are forgiven, those who remain hidden in secret there sins still demand God’s justice, and the sins of those who do believe and yet hide in the secret places afraid to come to the Light so that God may forgive the sins they have committed. It really boils down to receiving God’s forgiveness in light of His divine justice. God is just; meaning God’s is fair. “His Word is perfect all His ways are just” (Deut 32:4).
Another significant event points to the expectation of the divine judgment about to occur. As early in the case of the seals (chapters 4-5) and trumpet (8:2-6) judgments. This would be the third sign or significant event John has thus seen in Revelation, for in 12:1 he saw the sign of a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars, while in 12:3 he saw the sign of, “a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns and on his heads were seven diadems.” Great and marvelous simply points out to the importance of this event in the final outpouring of God’s wrath on those who wish to remain hidden in sin and not come to the Light and thus know Christ. This all revolves around the word heaven simply because it is heaven that anticipates the events that will thus occur in relation to the bowl judgments as before in the seal, and trumpet judgments. What this ought to show us is that we are to be ready and not live ashamed lives, but stand at the ready as witnesses for our Lord as the saints in the Tribulation will be.
The angels will be the same angels who minister and care for God’s people (Heb 1:14) yet will bring God’s wrath to a sinful world (Matthew 13:37-42). Plege (Plagues) literally means “a blow”, or “a wound”, and is so used in such passages in relation to Luke 12:48, Acts 16:23, 33; 2 Cor 6:5 and 11:23. In 13:3 and 12 it describes the beast’s fatal wound. Thus the seven plagues are not diseases or anything else, but powerful deadly blows (9:18-20; 11:6) that will strike the world with shocking consequences.
As we shall see today the point of this is that Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues, which would bring God’s wrath to completion. This is important for us for the simple fact that it points too the completion of God’s wrath. This also would point to the fact that last indicates completion that the bowl judgments are in fact the last judgments that will occur during the Tribulation. In this then we see the fact that divine retribution and justice does in deed show mercy in the respect that God will not limit His wrath, but He will see boundaries upon His wrath so as to not cause humanity’s hope to be squandered. God desires that humanity come unto Himself and receive the Son, and have the life of God within them, but the reality is that humanity in arrogant pride stick their nose up at the face of God and instead of adopting the posture of praise; adopt the posture and posterior towards themselves and the self made glorified kingdoms and kings of this world.
To point this out though is the fact that God through the Apostle John actually prophesied that this time would come to a close. It is the culmination of the “great day of [God the Father’s and Jesus Christ’s] (6:17). It is the “third woe” predicted in 11:14; the time of destruction (11:18); the unmixed wine of God’s wrath (14:10); the final reaping of the earth (14:14-16); the final trampling of the grapes of God’s wrath (14:17-20).
God’s anger will be expressed during this time in wrath. Thumos (wrath) is a strong word describing rage, or a passionate outburst of anger. God’s anger must be shown against all sin (14:8,19). In 16:19 and 19:15 God’s wrath is called His fierce wrath. The Prophet Zephaniah expressed this well in Zephaniah 3:8, “So now the LORD says: "Be patient; the time is coming soon when I will stand up and accuse these evil nations. For it is my decision to gather together the kingdoms of the earth and pour out my fiercest anger and fury on them. All the earth will be devoured by the fire of my jealousy.” God desires that all, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.” ( 2 Peter 2:9).