Scripture Focus- Revelation 15 and 16
Revelation is a prediction about the future, and a promise, of what still remains unfulfilled but which will come to pass.
Ch 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.
We are in the heart of Chapters 6-19, which focus on the time of the Tribulation in the future, which will take place before the Second Coming of Jesus.
John the Apostle saw in the right hand of God a scroll with writing on both sides, sealed with seals. The scroll is perhaps symbolic of the title deed of the earth, and represents the events to come in the judgment during the time of the Great Tribulation. The Triumphant Lamb of God steps forward and takes the scroll. There are seven seals in the scroll.
Seals 1-4 cover the first half of the Tribulation.
Seal 5 bridges to the second half of the Tribulation.
Seals 6-7 describe the intensity of the Great Tribulation. The 7th seal contains the 7 Trumpet Judgments and the 7 Bowl Judgments. This is the last of the seven seals marking the prophetic judgments of God, His wrath to come in the Tribulation.
The wrath of God is His divine response to human sin and disobedience. Wrath is God’s righteous indignation expressed. The wrath of God is fearsome. Unbelievers should consider the reality of it and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Believers can have confidence. Since we now have been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! Romans 5:9.
The two chapters we are considering today represent the final outpouring of the wrath of God before the Second Coming of Jesus. The wrath revealed by the effects of the seventh trumpet in Chapter 11:15 are the seven bowl judgments we are coming to.
Read Chapter 15:1-4
John sees the sign of seven angels who had seven plagues. Angels care for and minister to God’s people and will also bring God’s wrath upon the world. “Plague” means “a blow” or “a wound.” The seven plagues are, in effect, deadly blows that will come on the earth.
John saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire. He saw the same thing in Ch 4:6. Gathered around the throne of God were those who had been victorious over the beast because of their faith in the Lord.
The false prophet will perform many false wonders to lead people astray. One will be to set up an image of the beast which everyone will be ordered to worship. He will require everyone to take a mark representing the beast’s name or the number of his name. Those without the mark will be unable to buy or sale and will face execution.
The Tribulation saints are seen holding harps and praising God. The glorified saints sing a song of praise to God, the Song of Moses. This is a song of triumphant victory. The redeemed will sing the song of the Lamb, the eternal Redeemer.
John Phillips compared the two songs:
The song of Moses was sung at the Red Sea, the song of the Lamb will be sung at the crystal sea; the song of Moses was a song of triumph over Egypt, the song of the Lamb is a song of triumph over Babylon; the song of Moses told how God brought His people out, the song of the Lamb tells how God brings His people in.
The song of Moses was the first song in Scripture, the song of the Lamb is the last. The song of Moses commemorated the execution of the foe, the expectation of the saints, and the exaltation of the Lord; the song of the Lamb deals with the same three themes.
There is not one single word about their own achievements, only gratitude to the Lord.
First- The Lord’s works are great and awe-inspiring.
Great and awe-inspiring are your works, Lord God the Almighty. V3
Psalm 66:1-3 Let the whole earth shout joyfully to God! Sing about the glory of his name, make his praise glorious. Say to God, How awe-inspiring are your works! Your enemies will cringe before you because of your great strength.
Psalm 111:2-3 Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
The works of the Lord are so great, all who know them cannot help but proclaim them.
The Lord’s work in creation is great and awe-inspiring. It reveals His attributes and helps us understand better who he is. Look at the design of the world around us- the beauty of the mountains, the overwhelming power of the ocean. Exploring God’s creation is an inexhaustible pursuit.
The Lord’s work in salvation is great and awe-inspiring. The Lord’s work in salvation is past, present, and future. When we are born again we are saved from the penalty of sin. We are now being saved from the power of sin. We will one day be saved from the presence of sin.
Jonah was delivered from the belly of the great fish, when he acknowledged- Jonah 2:9 Those who cherish worthless idols abandon their faithful love, but as for me, I will sacrifice to you with a voice of thanksgiving; I will fulfill what I have vowed. Salvation belongs to the LORD. God waited until Jonah recognized he could not save himself. Salvation is not a self-improvement program, it is a rescue from God.
The only right response to the Lord’s salvation is to stand firm and abound in the work of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Second- The Lord’s ways are just and true.
Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. v3b
The Lord is just. People universally recognize the value of justice and the terrible nature of injustice. The character of God is the standard for justice and our awareness of a standard of justice is due in part to the fact we have been created in his image.
God’s just nature is evident throughout the Bible.
Deuteronomy 32:4 The Rock- his work is perfect: for all his ways are just. A faithful God, without bias, he is righteous and true.
Psalm 33:5 The Lord loves righteousness and justice.
Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne, love and faithfulness go before you.
God’s justice is displayed in salvation. Sin violates the law of God. God’s justice has to be satisfied. Jesus Christ offered the sacrifice that satisfies the justice of God.
21 But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, attested by the Law and the Prophets. 22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as an atoning sacrifice in his blood, received through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus. -Romans 3
The Lord is true.
The Prophet Jeremiah declared- The LORD is the true God. Jeremiah 10:10
The Old Testament word for truth comes from a root word meaning firmness, stability, or a reliable basis of support.
Isaiah also called him the God of truth in Isaiah 65:16 but he used a word translated as “amen” every time it is used in the Old Testament. The word amen means verily or true. When it is applied to God it means He is the God who truly is, the only true God, the God of truth, the God who is truth.
Jesus is also called the Amen in Revelation 3:14. He is the embodiment of all that God is.
The New Testament word for truth is the idea of being open and unconcealed, real and genuine.
God is true, he reveals what is true, and he requires what is true.
Third- The Lord’s worship is certain and deserved.
Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you because your righteous acts have been revealed. V4
Psalm 86:9 All the nations you have made will come and bow down before you, Lord, and will honor your name.
Your . . . Your . . . You . . . Your . . . You . . . You . . . Your: This worship is only focused on God. They did not even focus on their own costly and glorious victory. They have the heart of true worship, understanding that it’s all about God, not about us.
To worship is to show reverence and adoration for all God is and all God has done.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The Lord reigns forever. Psalm 146:6-10
Until the time comes when all nations worship the Lord in the future, our responsibility is to take the Gospel to them.
Read Ch 15:5-16:1
In John’s vision the tabernacle of testimony was opened. Seven angels came out of it with seven plagues with golden sashes around their chests. They are given seven golden bowls filled with wrath from the eternal God. Smoke filled the temple from the glory of God and his power, and nobody could enter the place until the plagues were completed.
Focus on Ch 16:1 Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on earth.
The First Bowl
2 The first went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and severely painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped its image.
The target of this plague is those who have worshiped the Antichrist.
The Second Bowl
3 The second poured out his bowl into the sea. It turned to blood like that of a dead person, and all life in the sea died.
A third of sea life has already died with the sounding of the second trumpet and now the rest of it is gone. The oceans are dead.
The Third Bowl
4 The third poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. 5 I heard the angel of the waters say, You are just, the Holy One, who is and who was, because you have passed judgment on these things. 6 Because they poured out the blood of the saints and the prophets, you have given them blood to drink; they deserve it! 7 I heard the altar say, Yes, Lord God, the Almighty, true and just are your judgments.
The rivers and freshwater springs turn to blood.
The Fourth Bowl
8 The fourth poured out his bowl on the sun. It was allowed to scorch people with fire, 9 and people were scorched by the intense heat. So they blasphemed the name of God, who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give him glory.
The sun is allowed to scorch people with fire and they were seared with intense heat. Rather than repent, they cursed the name of God but refused to repent and glorify him.
The Fifth Bowl
10 The fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues because of their pain 11 and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they did not repent of their works.
The pain and suffering of the wicked intensifies so much that people gnaw their tongues in agony. Yet they still refuse to repent and blaspheme God.
The Sixth Bowl
12 The sixth poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the east. 13 Then I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming from the dragon’s mouth, from the beast’s mouth, and from the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are demonic spirits performing signs, who travel to the kings of the whole world to assemble them for the battle on the great day of God, the Almighty. 15 “Look, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who is alert and remains clothed so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame.” 16 So they assembled the kings at the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
The sixth angels pours out judgment on the Euphrates River. The river is dried up. Three unclean spirits that looked like frogs coming from the mouths of Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. The demons perform miracles and deceive the kings of the earth and gather them to the final battle. The Kings gather together to the place that, in Hebrew, is called Armageddon.
The Seventh Bowl
17 Then the seventh poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. And a severe earthquake occurred like no other since people have been on the earth, so great was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the Great was remembered in God’s presence; he gave her the cup filled with the wine of his fierce anger. 20 Every island fled, and the mountains disappeared.21 Enormous hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell from the sky on people, and they blasphemed God for the plague of hail because that plague was extremely severe.
The seventh-bowl is emptied into the atmosphere. There are flashes of lightning and a severe earthquake. Jerusalem is split into three parts and the cities of the world collapse. Islands are flooded and mountains disappear. There are giant hailstones. Yet they still blasphemed God.
Ch 16:15 Look, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who is alert and remains clothed so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame.
Jesus will come quickly to claim what is rightfully his. When he comes the battle will be over almost as soon as it begins as the Lord will be victorious with his people.