Prelude to Pouring Out the Seven Bowls of Wrath -- Part 1 (series: Lessons on Revelation)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

Commentary on the Book of Revelation

By: Tom Lowe Date: 1/15/17



Lesson: IV.B.1: Prelude to Pouring Out the Seven Bowls of Wrath (15:1-8)


Revelation 15:1-8 (KJV)

1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:
6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.
7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.


Introduction

We have already seen the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven personalities. Now the upcoming seven bowls of wrath are the worst of all. Chapter 15, besides being the shortest chapter in Revelation, is the preface to the final series of judgments that come on the earth during the Great Tribulation. These judgments are the most intense and devastating of any that have preceded them.

This is the third time in Revelation that John introduces a sign. The first was the image of a woman that represented Israel (12:1). The second immediately followed; Satan in the form of a red dragon (12:3). This third sign is the angels of destruction with seven final plagues (15:1). Seven angels were given seven bowls from which they would pour out the seven “bowl judgments,” the wrath of God, the last plagues to be visited upon the earth. They will be used to destroy Satan, bring the final and complete punishment upon wickedness, and bring about the end of the Antichrist’s reign—it will settle the issue of sin once and for all.

Some believe that all of this will occur at the end of the seven-year period of tribulation, with the seven bowls following in rapid succession after the seal and trumpet judgments. Others who see the book of Revelation as presenting a series of cyclical events say that this is the most severe of the seven judgments, also heralding the end.

The purpose of the Great Tribulation is judgment. It is not for the purifying of the church! God is going to remove the church before this time of tribulation because of His marvelous, infinite grace. If you are willing to accept His grace, then you can escape the Great Tribulation. Believe me, the bowls of wrath are not the “blessed hope” for which believers are looking. No, we are “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). My friend, if you are trusting Christ, you won’t be going through this terrible time. But you need to know what the unsaved will have to go through, and that might make you a zealous witness for Christ in these difficult days.


Commentary

1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

Now, there comes an intriguing sight indeed! In slow, solemn parade, stately as the stars, appear, seven messengers of God, with the last seven plagues. We are invited to look at the scene, along with John. “And I saw” assures us that John is still a spectator to these events. He is attending the dress rehearsal of the last act of man’s little day upon the earth.

This next event that John saw “in heaven” is also a “sign,” which he called “great and marvelous.” The vision of the woman in 12:1 was a “great wonder,” and the vision of the dragon in 12:3

was “another wonder.” Clearly these symbols point to significant events.

John described “seven angels” who had “the seven last plagues.” These “angels” are not identified. However, it is not impossible for them to be the “seven angels” (messengers or pastors) to whom the letters are addressed in chapters 2 and 3. The “plagues” were in golden bowls, given to the “angels” by one of the four living creatures (15:6-7). “The seven last plagues” are also called the seven bowl judgments. They actually begin in the next chapter. Unlike the previous plagues from the seals, which had destroyed one-fourth of the earth (chapters 6-8), and the trumpets, which had destroyed another third of the earth, these judgments were complete and final, culminating in the abolition of all evil and the end of the world.

The seven bowls were directed to every part of the world: the land, the sea, rivers and lakes, the sky, and the beast’s (Antichrist’s) kingdom. These plagues would be filled with horrors, but the sign itself was “great and marvelous” because through these plagues God would end the reign of terror by the Antichrist, the reign of Satan, and evil itself.

After the viles of God’s fury are all poured out, Jesus comes in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who do not know Him. This is the time when every eye will see Him when He comes in person to finish the judgment against the ungodliness of those who dwell on the earth. Every eye shall see Him, and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him (1:7).
2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

There it shimmers, in the light which streams out from the throne of God with currents of fire glowing in its crystal depths, the “sea of glass!” John did not say that the sea was glass, but “as it were,” or as if it was “a sea of glass.” This is similar to the “sea of glass” described in 4:6{1], located before the throne of God. Here it was “mixed (mingled) with fire” to represent wrath and judgment against the evil in the world, “for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). Note: others believe that “A glassy sea mixed with fire” represents the frightful persecution by the Beast during the Great Tribulation Period. This is the period of time, as we have seen, where no man could buy or sell unless he had the mark of the beast.

Those will be very difficult days. Someone may ask the question: Will anyone make it through the Great Tribulation? No, they won’t unless they are sealed. Although multitudes will be martyred during this period—and I think that a great many of the 144,000 will lay down their lives for Jesus—they will be faithful to Him until death. As we have seen, all of the 144,000 will be with the Lamb on Mount Zion.

John saw a company of people standing (Their position denotes victory.) on the “sea of glass.” They were those who had triumphed over “the beast” (the Antichrist), and all that he stands for—and “his image” (13:14)—“and over the number of his name” (the mark) (13:18). Those who “had gotten the victory” were those who had refused to receive “his mark,” had refused to worship “his image,” and thus had faced persecution, difficulty, and perhaps even martyrdom. This is the complete group of all the believers (see also 14:1-5). These then are the tribulation saints. And though it cost them their lives to defy the wicked one, they were the real victors. During the Great Tribulation it might have appeared that they were fools, but their defeat was only apparent. True, each had lost his life, but only to find it again. They obtained the victory, but through no strength of their own. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” (12:11). The martyrs had emerged victorious from their conflict with the Antichrist. It was the very fact that they died that made them conquerors. Had they remained alive by surrendering to the beast and worshipping him, they would have been defeated. But, “to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
In John’s vision, these conquerors are standing before the throne of God holding harps. Clearly they were preparing for a song of worship and praise (see also 5:8). If these saints can come through the Great Tribulation and still sing, you and I ought to have a song in our hearts regardless of our circumstances.





Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to John Lowe Sermons.

© 2008-2019 - All rights reserved.

No content on preachology.com may be printed or

copied to any other site without permission.

The Preaching Ezine

Click Here!

Subscribe to my free newsletter for monthly sermons and get a free book right now. Just follow the link above and get the details!


Ministry Leads

Click Here!

Anybody else want more leads and prospects for your Church, Ministry, or School, as well as, a means to follow up and communicate automatically?
Just follow the link above and get the details!


YOUR PAGES:


Your Web Page:
Want your own sermon web page? You can have one!
Your Outlines:
Share YOUR skeleton outlines.
Your Illustrations:
Share YOUR Illustrations.
YOUR SERMONS:
Encourage other ministers
by sharing
YOUR great sermons!
Your Poems:
Encourage us all
by sharing
YOUR great poems!