THE BOOK OF REVELATION
~ The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Revelation Chapter 15
The scenes described in this chapter give a pictorial summary of the preparation for the outpouring of the seven last plagues. A vision of the great multitude of (the Great Tribulation) saints consisting of Gentiles and Jews was once again shown to John but this time the tribulation martyrs were seen standing upon a sea of glass before the Throne of God in Heaven. Then a vision of the temple in Heaven (seen earlier in Revelation 11:19) followed. But, the temple had become smokey and the Ark of the Testament could no longer be seen. When God starts pouring out the seven last plagues, He will have left the Mercy Seat and He will cease to show any more mercy.
Verse 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.
This is the third and last great sign (or wonder) in heaven that the Apostle John had seen of the many visions God showed him on the Isle of Patmos. The first and the second signs are described in Revelation chapter 12, verses 1 and 3. The first sign the Woman and her Manchild shows the Mystery of Godliness; the second sign the Great Red Dragon shows the Mystery of Iniquity. The Manchild and the Dragon will fight for the dominion of the world. But the third wonder shows what is to be accomplished by the seven last plagues which are God's great and final wrath being poured upon the ungodly opposing forces of the Dragon, his Beast and his False Prophet, and also all those who worship him and his image. As the Prophet Zephaniah had prophesied: Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy (Zeph.3:8). So, the seven angels having the seven last plagues will fully accomplish the intended purpose of the wrath of God. Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name (Psa.79:6).
The Sea of Glass Mingled with Fire
Verse 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.
In Revelation chapter 4, we saw the sea of glass like unto crystal before the throne of God, which symbolized a people refined and perfected by the Word of God. The sea of glass is seen here mingled with fire, which is the fire of the Great Tribulation. And those who stand in this sea of glass mingled with fire are the Great Tribulation Saints. They are purged and perfected by the fire of the Great Tribulation. They came through that fire when the Beast was given the power to make war and to overcome them during that period of time (cf. Rev.13). But they died willingly for their faith as the Beast could only overcome them physically. Therefore, they had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name. And they have the harps of God which symbolize their victorious joy as they stand before His throne in the Heavenly Tabernacle. This was the same great multitude, which no man could number that John saw in his earlier vision in Revelation 7:9-17.
Verse 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.
There are two different songs mentioned here: the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb. This shows that there are two groups of people saved out of the fire of the Great Tribulation. (Some preachers believe that these songs are sung only by a group who are Jews but converted to Christ.) The Jewish group will sing the song of Moses and proclaim Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty for they believe in Yahweh, the Lord God Almighty. But to the Gentile group, Jesus Christ is the King of saints and of the nations, and they will sing Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. However, as the Jewish group stands before the Throne of God, they will all come to the revelation that the Jesus of Nazareth (Whom their forefathers had crucified) was after all their Messiah, whether or not they have the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ during their lifetime on earth. Amen. It is God's grace to them.
[Note: Some Christians argue that if the Body of Christ, the Church, is called the Bride, how could Christ 'rapture' only a part of His Body for a Bride and leave His other part on earth to face the wrath of the Antichrist? It is important to come to grips with the fact that the Scriptures do teach that not all who are called Christians are truly Christians just as not all Israel are true Israel (cf. Rom.9:6; Matt.7: 21-23). True, the Apostle Paul had called the CHURCH the Bride and espoused her to Christ (2 Cor.11:2). But the Church as it is today cannot be compared to that which existed in Paul's days. If Paul were here today, he certainly would not call the Church the Bride of Christ. Why? Because the Church has fallen from the faith that was once delivered to the saints. The Church is now made up of religious people who belong to religious organizations or denominational cults and who practise different traditional faiths. Remember, there are wheat and there are tares. The wheat belong to Christ but the tares belong to the Devil. Of the wheat, there are wise virgins and also foolish virgins. And being virgins, whether wise or foolish, they are all saved. Unlike the wise virgins the foolish virgins make the mistake of not carrying a ready supply of oil; they fail to have the revelation of the importance of the Word and Spirit in the crucial hour of going to meet the Bridegroom. Hence, they miss the marriage and will also miss the Grand Wedding Supper. As for the wise virgins, they certainly deserve an excellent reward a better part and position in the Body of Christ.]
Notice the words used by all these Great Tribulation saints as they glorified God.
Verse 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.
Yes, the message of the 144,000 had affected the lives of these saints, both Jews and Gentiles, when they prophesied, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters (Rev.14:7). If God had not given to the 144,000 the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people (Rev.14:6), then almost everyone in the whole world would have bowed down to the Beast. The message of the 144,000 gave strength and courage to these saints for them to remain faithful to the Lord even unto death. It gave these saints the patience and persistence to hold on to their faith till they had found their rest accompanied by the deeds they had done (Rev.14:12-13).
Of course, after the Great Tribulation when the Lord God has turned the earth upside down with His wrath, there will be few people left of every nation on this earth (cf. Isa.24:1,6). These people will be judged before the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ begins. Those who are found worthy will live and repopulate the earth during the thousand years. (Read Matthew 25:31-46.) Truly, as the Great Tribulation saints had proclaimed, they would have to go and worship the Lord in Jerusalem for all nations shall come and worship before thee. The words of Prophet Zechariah declared, 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 (Zech.14:16; cf. 8:20-23). Read also Isaiah 2:2-4.
The Temple and Tabernacle of the Testimony in Heaven
Verse 5: And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:
The opening up of the tabernacle all the way into the Holy of Holies speaks of the ending of God's plan of redemption as Mercy gets off the Ark of the Covenant and turns into Wrath. Unlike the vision of Revelation 11:19, in which the Ark of the Covenant was seen to show that some kind of mercy was still available, this vision shows the end of it. To look upon the Ark without the Sacrificial Blood upon It spells death. (To have a glimpse of the wrath of God and how He glory in it, read the account recorded in 1 Samuel 6:19.) Mankind have rejected the Word of God; now they have to face His judgement.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Wrath came forth out of the temple in the form of the seven angels who had the seven last plagues and who were arrayed with precious stone pure, bright, and girt about their breasts with golden girdles (Numeric Bible). The Seven Angels were so arrayed to show that the Word, the Urim and Thummim, the Breastplate of Judgement (that the High Priest wore when performing his service in the temple) is now ready to judge the world in righteousness. There would be no more mercy at this time of judgement for they were given seven golden vials full of the wrath of God. [Note: The phrase “clothed in pure and white linen” in the K.J.V. Bible is a mistranslation.]
Verse 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.
Notice that it was smoke, not cloud, from the glory and power of God. Cloud signifies grace (cf. Ex.40:34-36; 1 Kgs.8:10-11) but smoke signifies judgement and/or destruction (cf. Ex.19:18; 2 Sam.22:9; Psm.74:1; Deut.29:20; Isa.6:1-4). So, we see that as the Seven Angels came out of the temple with the golden vials of God's wrath, the glory and the power of God filled His temple. This signifies that God is magnifying Himself in His saints as He judges the world in righteousness with the outpouring of the plagues. During this period of time, no one can enter into the temple and no one can approach God till the intended wrath of God (His indignation) is executed on the earth.
Of course, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven does not refer to a literal structure in Heaven. Rather it refers to the Lord Jesus Christ in the assembly of His saints who are the Testimony of His Word (that is, the Truth is one with them). Yes, the Word and the Bride are one. While the world comes under the power of the Antichrist, the Lord and His saints are glorified and honored together in Heaven in the Grand Marriage Supper of the Lamb. As the glorious event closes out, God begins to judge the world. The Ark of the Covenant is then put away and with It the Blood that is on the Mercy Lid. Mercy is no more for wrath has taken its place. Smoke fills the temple for Judgement has come.
There is much activity in Heaven when God's judgement hits the earth. Amen.
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Revelation Chapter 16
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