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The Seven Bowls of God's Wrath    Listen to .mp3 propecy podcasts.

Lyn Mize

M.  The Seven Angels and the Seven Bowls of God's Wrath (Chapter 15)  

(Rev 15 KJV)  And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, 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 marvellous 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.  

Chapters 15 and 16 go together in their chronology of events, and they complete the consummation of the chronologically ordered events leading up to the second coming of Christ in chapter 19.  Chapters 17 and 18 are a parenthesis or break in the sequence of events to describe ecclesiastical and political Babylon.  Chapter 15 introduces the seven angels who are to dispense the seven bowls or vials that complete God's judgments upon the earth.  It also pictures the resurrection of the martyred saints of the last half of the tribulation period standing upon the sea of glass mingled with fire.  

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

a.  The statement that John sees "another sign in heaven" tells us that what he is about to describe is a figurative description of what is about to happen.  Consequently, the angels are not literal angels, and the bowls are not literal bowls.  The word "another" refers back to the two preceding signs of chapter 12, the "woman clothed with the sun" and the "great red dragon".  It should be remembered that the woman was a figure for Israel and the dragon was a figure for Satan.  Therefore, we must seek for other clues as to the identity of these seven angels as we study this chapter.  

b. It is important to remember that the Angel who initiated the trumpet judgments was the Lord Jesus Christ, and the seven angels who executed the judgments were the seven Presence Angels that stand before the throne of God.  This knowledge will help us shortly in identifying the seven angels who will complete the wrath of God.  

c. The phrase "filled up the wrath of God" means that these are the final judgments of God upon the earth.  

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.  

a. John also sees "as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire".  The "as it were" phrase confirms that this is not a literal sea of glass, but a figurative expression to convey some information.  We have established earlier (Rev. 4:6) that the sea of glass represents a state of fixed holiness that can only be attained by resurrection bodies not subject to the old flesh nature.  This is confirmed by the description of who is standing upon this glassy sea.  The ones described are the martyrs of the last half of the tribulation period.  The following verse identifies these saints as being both Jew and Gentile.  

b. It must be noted that this sea of glass is quite different from the sea of glass in Rev. 4:6.  First, this sea of glass is not described as being in heaven.  Consequently, it must be understood as being upon the earth (Remember that this is figurative and not literal).  This is confirmed by the fact that the sea of glass in Rev. 4:6 was "before the throne".  Second, this sea of glass is not "like until Crystal".  This means that those on this sea of glass have a fixed state of holiness, but this holiness is not like unto God's holiness, which is as crystal.  As described earlier, crystal is innately pure, whereas glass is made pure by the subjection of sand to extreme heat, which purifies it.  Therefore, those on the crystal sea in heaven have been conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, but those on this sea of glass have been purified and made holy, but they do not have the glorified body like unto Jesus Christ.  

c. Third, this sea of glass is mingled with fire.  This is a figure for showing that these martyred saints have actually gone through the judgments of God upon the earth.  The glassy sea "before the throne" in Rev. 4:6 was not mingled with fire because that sea was for the Church who were not subjected to these judgments.  

d. The statement that these saints were standing on the glassy sea shows they have been resurrected, and they now have bodies.  These are not bodies like unto Christ that are fit for heaven, but bodies like unto Adam before he sinned that are fit for dwelling upon the earth.  However, the figure of them standing on the glassy sea portrays a fixed state of holiness, so they are incapable of sinning.  They will enter into the earthly aspect of the kingdom.  

e. The fact that these have gotten the victory over the beast and his mark shows that they were martyrs in the last half of the tribulation period.  The harps depict their total and complete salvation.  

3. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.  

a. This verse confirms that those on the glassy sea are both saved Jews and saved Gentiles.  It is the Jews who sing the song of Moses, and the Gentiles who sing the song of the Lamb.  The definite article (i.e., the) before each song shows that two songs are involved and not one song.  

b. There are two songs of Moses that could be alluded to in this verse.  One is the song of Exodus 15 sung by Moses and the children of Israel after the triumph over the host of Pharaoh at the Red Sea crossing.  The other is the song of Moses recorded in Deuteronomy 32.  This song was personally written and spoken by Moses to the children of Israel at the end of his life.  This song pictures the faithfulness of God to Israel and His purpose to completely defeat their enemies.  This is the song most likely referred to, but both songs praise God for the deliverance of Israel and are similar to the song described in this verse.  Both refer to the redemption of Israel by God.  

c. The song of the Lamb speaks of redemption from sin by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Therefore, it would pertain to the Church, the Jews and the Gentiles, but in this verse it has special reference to saved Gentiles who cannot sing the song of Moses.  They can sing the song of the Lamb.  

d. The Church has already sung this song of redemption.  The Firstfruits of the Church sang this song in Rev. 5:9, and the Main Harvest of the Church sang this song in Rev. 14:3.  

e. Praise is ascribed to God for his great and marvelous works.  They are great in extent, and the word marvelous means they arouse wonder or astonishment.  

f. God is also described as just and true.  He is just because He is perfectly righteous, and He is true because He keeps His promises.  

g. The expression "King of saints" is recorded in the better manuscripts as "King of the ages".  

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.  

a. This ascription of praise is futuristic and points to the millennial kingdom.  The nations neither fear God nor glorify Him now, but everyone in the millennial kingdom will fear and glorify Him.  The question beginning this verse is rhetorical and implies that the answer to the question is "no one".  

b. Only God is holy and all nations (i.e., Gentiles) shall go to Jerusalem during the millennial kingdom and worship Jesus Christ according to the following Scripture:  

(Zec 14:16-17 KJV)  And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. {17} And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.  

c. All nations will come to worship Jesus Christ because they will have seen the application of divine judgments to the wicked earth.  This is what is meant by the clause "for thy judgments are made manifest".  There will be some on the millennial earth who are born during the millennium who will not want to go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, but they will be afraid not to go.  The Lord and the overcomers in the Church will reign and rule during the millennium with an iron rod of correction. 

5. And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:  

a. The expression "I looked, and behold" always introduces something dramatically new.  The Greek word for temple is naos and it refers to the inner sanctuary or Holy of Holies in this context, and the tabernacle refers to the whole heavenly structure.  It is called the tabernacle of testimony because the Ark of the Covenant is located there.  This verse expressly states that this is the Holy of Holies in heaven that is opened.  If the prepositional phrase "in heaven" had not been used, then it would be referring to the temple on the earth.  

b. It is the Holy of Holies where close communion and fellowship with God takes place.  It is the Holy Place where close communion and fellowship with other believers take place.

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.  

a. These seven angels are the sign referred to in verse 1, so they are not literal angels.  We must determine whom these seven angels represent from the description of them.  They come out of the Holy of Holies, so they clearly represent a group that has close communion and fellowship with the Lord God Almighty in heaven.  Since they are not literal angels, this narrows it down to either the four living creatures or the 24 elders.  This is confirmed by the statement that they are clothed in pure and white linen.  Pure and white linen represents the righteous deeds or acts of those in the Church who are overcomers.  

b. The statement that they are girded about the chest with golden girdles signifies their authority to exercise judgment.  This judgment will be released upon the earth, and it is figuratively described as bowls of God's wrath that will be quickly poured out upon the earth.  

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.  

a. We are now told that one of the four living creatures dispenses the seven bowls to these seven angels.  This excludes the four living creatures as being represented by the seven angels, so the seven angels would represent the 24 elders that will dispense the judgments of God against the earth.  

b. We remember that it was Jesus Christ who initiated the trumpet judgments in Rev. 8:3, so it would be highly appropriate that His bride (i.e., the four living creatures) would be the one to initiate the seven bowl judgments.  It was the seven Presence Angels that announced the trumpet judgments, so it would be appropriate for the 24 elders to pour out the bowl judgments.  The fact that Christians will judge the world is confirmed in the following Scripture:  

(1 Cor 6:1-2 KJV)  Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? {2} Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  

"The saints" in this verse of Scripture refer to Christians in the Church.  Please note that it does not say the Church or the Body of Christ will judge the world.  It will be a select group of Christians out of the Church who will do the judging.  Based on this verse of Scripture, it appears that the 24 elders will execute the bowl judgments under the authority of the four living creatures, which represent the bride of Christ, or the highest level of rule in the kingdom of the heavens.  

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.  

a.  The smoke is the glory cloud from God's holy presence.  The brilliance of His holiness and the invincibility of His power are the signal that the wrath of God is about to be poured out without measure upon a rebellious earth.  Even the redeemed hosts closest to the throne of God are unable to enter the Holy of Holies until the seven last plagues of God's wrath have been fulfilled.  

b. There have been similar occasions on the earth when those closest to God were unable to enter into the tabernacle because of God's presence.  The Scriptures are as follows:  

(Exo 40:34-35 KJV)  Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. {35} And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  

(1 Ki 8:10-11 KJV)  And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, {11} So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.