Prelude of the outpouring of God’s wrath – Revelation 15:1-8

 

The shortest chapter of the book of Revelation is chapter 15. In this chapter we find a prelude to the bowl judgments. The seven bowl judgments are the final outpouring of the wrath of God on the unbelieving world. Even though this chapter is a prelude to the pouring out of God’s wrath, there are also some great encouragement that comes from this text.

The wrath of God. Verse one mentions that the seven last judgments are filled with the wrath of God. 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.” [1] There is no doubt that God is a God of love and grace. Just the fact that He gives mankind so many opportunities to repent is a testimony of His love and grace. However, how is it that God is a God of love and grace, while at the same time He is a God of wrath? God is a holy and righteous God. He cannot have anything to do with sin. His wrath must be poured out on sin, because sin goes against His very character and nature. Sin is everything that God is not. Sin is the opposite of anything that is good. Because God is a good and righteous God, He must punish sin. His wrath, in a sense, is an act of love. Through His wrath, He will rid the world of sin, saving the world from the terrible plight of sin. Without God’s wrath on sin, all would perish. None would be saved. Yet, in His love and wrath, many will come to Him and be saved. The good news is that you do not have to experience God’s wrath. You can experience His love and grace, if you will come to Him and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. You can be saved from wrath by faith in the person of Jesus Christ. If someone suffers the wrath of God, it is because of their own choosing. You do have a choice. You do not have to face God’s wrath. The question is, will you make the right choice?

The victory of the martyrs. In verses 2-4, we see those who are victorious over the antichrist. “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.” [2] “John saw the believers from the Tribulation who had overcome “the beast” and his system. These are the people who “loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11). Since they did not cooperate with the satanic system and receive the mark of “the beast,” they were unable to buy or sell (Rev. 13:17). They were totally dependent on the Lord for their daily bread. Some of them were put into prison and some were slain (Rev. 13:10); but all of them practiced faith and patience.”[3] These who suffered so much under the rule of the antichrist, are rejoicing for the wrath of God that is about to fall on the antichrist and his followers. God is about to avenge the blood of the martyrs. Anytime evil is destroyed, it is cause for rejoicing. This world is overrun by evil. Yet, there is coming a day when God will rid this world of all evil. That day will be both horrific and wonderful.

The glory of God. The glory of God is seen in verses 5-8. “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.”[4] It is interesting to note that the wrath of God on the sinful world displays the glory of God. God is glorified in His wrath. Evil must be destroyed in order for God’s glory to shine. At the cross, we see the wrath of God on sin, at the same time, we see God glorified through the shedding of the blood of Jesus. Toward the end of the tribulation, God receives even more glory as His wrath is poured out on the unbelieving world. God is glorified in both His wrath and in His grace. Therefore, we should rejoice in that we have received God’s grace and that God’s wrath will be poured out on the unbelieving world. For through both, God is glorified.

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 15:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 15:2–4). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[3] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 608–609). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 15:5–8). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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