Revelation 15:1 NASB Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last because in them the wrath of God is finished.
I saw another sign in heaven?
John is making a statement that speaks to his Jewish audience. I know you think this was written for our present day, Gentile church; but, if it was written exclusively for us, then why don’t we, for the most part, understand what he is talking about?
A former pastor of mine accosted me publicly and said, “no one can understand the Revelation.” With hardly a second thought I responded with, well, I do and will gladly teach others what I know.
In our study of the Revelation, we have seen other signs in the heavens.
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her
feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.” (Revelation 12:1-2 NASB)
This is an actual, astronomical alignment of stars in the heavens, and it only recently came to pass.
Let’s get something straight, this has nothing to do with astrology. This knowledge of star alignments was central to the Magi’s understanding and they, based upon this knowledge, followed a star or an alignment of stars that they ascertained would lead them to the now two-year-old Messiah, which had been born in Bethlehem.
We are not left to struggle as we try to figure out what this sign is that John saw. It is “seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.” This is the opening of the door to the end of the judgments, all a part of God’s wrath. We will finish out chapter fifteen, but you have to jump over to chapter sixteen to grasp what is next the seven bowls of judgment.
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” (Revelation 16:1 NASB)
So, although, chapter 15 speaks of an end, it, like much of the Revelation, takes a momentary detour.
Revelation 15:2-4 NASB And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. (3) And they *sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! (4) “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.”
Is this sea of glass something new?
Not at all, and the Jewish audience had a familiarity with this sea of glass as it comes from Exodus; and, notice that Moses was not alone when this sea of glass was seen.
“Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.” (Exodus 24:9-10 NASB)
Previously John spoke about this sea of glass in Revelation 4.
“and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.” (Revelation 4:6 NASB)
Hold this thought in your thinking, where is this sea of glass?
Before the throne.
Who else stands before the throne?
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;” (Revelation 7:9 NASB)
These are the martyred saints.
“Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;” (Revelation 7:13-16 NASB)
Many will read this statement, “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” and think, these people simply washed their clothes in the blood of Jesus. Don’t be ridiculous, these people, having in the simplest of ways, shown their allegiance to Christ, were killed and their blood was shed. Since by our acceptance we became integrated into Christ, then it is His blood that is now washing their clothing as they bleed out. To prove my point.
“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;” (Revelation 6:9 NASB)
“those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name.”
This statement moves this event into a particular time frame, three and one-half years into the time of wrath and the influence of the false prophet.
How do I know that?
Because we do not see any reference to the image of the beast or the number of his name until at least halfway through the seven years.
Revelation 13: 14-15 is the only place we find this conversation.
“And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” (Revelation 13:14-15 NASB)
I want to think about this word victorious for a moment. It is the Greek word nikaō, and according to Thayer’s Definitions means to conquer, but it also means to carry off the victory or to come off as victorious.
In what way can I perceive these, so-called, victorious people as being conquerors?
I have been talking about Joel chapter two verses 28 and 29 for years and how non-religious people, who, during the time of wrath, turned their hearts toward God, and began to live like the prophet Elijah who called fire down from heaven. What a coincidence since these people may have had the two witnesses from God as an example of the power that God intended us to live in. The other thing that makes what Joel said important is the fact that on the day of Pentecost he told those who were listening, that this prophecy was fulfilled in their hearing. God did not make a temporary ruling for the moment and then rescind it, it stills stands fulfilled; and yet do we walk in this power? No.
“ telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life.”
If you have been following my posts on the Revelation, then you know that the beast who sustained the wound that made the world think it was dead, is an empire/kingdom. The empire that fits this description with precision was the Ottoman Caliphate.
Now, how do you make an image of a Caliphate?
You got me; they either make an image of the Caliphate or of this fallen angel who passes himself off as Allah, and the false prophet gives the image breath, a voice, and the ability to speak – this sign causes many of the Jewish leadership to worship the beast; and, as they do, so does the nation of Israel. Considering that Revelation 13:15 tells us that those, whose names are written in the book of life will NOT worship the beast, perhaps this is what being victorious over the beast looks like.
Revelation 15:4 MKJV Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You only are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your (righteous acts) were made known.
I have known the Lord for a long time and so the question, “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name,” seems odd and illogical, because I see God in everything and my heart longs for and worships Him.
“For all nations shall come and worship before You,”
Do the nations, in general, do that now?
Not a chance, but a day is coming in which they will. King David tells us,
“All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name.” (Psalms 86:9 NASB)
The prophet Jeremiah, almost word for word, declared what John would later write about.
“Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? Indeed it is Your due! For among all the wise men of the nations And in all their kingdoms, There is none like You.”
(Jeremiah 10:7 NASB)
On that day, every nation will bow before Him in worship.
“I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” (Isaiah 45:23 NASB)
False teachers will tell you that only Christians enter the 1000 year reign. This is NOT true.
Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem, will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. (Zechariah 14:16 NASB)
This time of celebration may NOT be a time of celebration for some. Perhaps another way of understanding this is to consider that most, among the nations, would NOT worship Him. Here, they will worship or have their rain taken away for a year – it is hard to grow crops without rain. Try that same trick the following year and a plague is put on you in which you dry up and turn to dust almost instantly. So, worship, during the 1000 year reign, will be mandatory for many.
This next verse is probably confusing to most because we are Gentiles. Perhaps it is time that we accept our new heritage and learn its ways.
And after these things, I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony was opened in Heaven. (Revelation 15:5 MKJV)
Everything done on earth had already been done in Heaven.
“Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen (in heaven.)” (Acts 7:44 NASB) Italics mine.
This became very important as Jesus traversed from the cross to the throne, because, as the high priest, He had to pour out His own blood on the heavenly utensils in heaven.
“For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.” And in the same way, he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world, but now once at the consummation of the ages, He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (Hebrews 9:19-28 NASB)
Consider this word testimony. It is the Greek word martyrion and means evidence as well as testimony.
“You shall put into the ark the testimony (evidence) which I shall give you.
(Exodus 25:16 NASB)
Evidence of what, and what was the evidence?
First of all, this chest, covered in gold, became the mercy seat of God. If you are trying to find God’s character this might be a good place to start. Even during the time of what many see as the oppressive Law, the most vital piece of furniture behind the veil is the mercy seat.
Secondly, the items place inside the rather large chest were things meant to remind them that God is real and what He had done for them. Sadly, it does not take us long to forget. I suppose that is why it is necessary to remind people constantly.
What were the items?
A jar that held the manna. Israel had been given specific instructions pertaining to the collection of the manna, Disobey or disregard those instructions and the manna rotted. As far as we know, the manna remained fresh in the jar until someone disturbed its contents. There was also Aaron’s rod that budded, and, the stone tablets that contained the Law of God – ten commandments.
Do I need those items to assure me of my salvation?
No, we have God’s word and faith. Consider something, Jesus was taken by the Jewish council, beaten, and then handed over to the Romans to be killed – the Jews could not legally or morally have done such a thing, but the Romans, who were thought to be godless Gentiles, easily could. So, Jesus was put on a cross and He physically died while on that cross. Historically, we know that He was placed in a borrowed tomb, over which a stone was rolled and sealed with a Roman seal.
Jesus was “dead” for three days; this is important because for the Jews, after three days the spirit leaves the body and you are officially dead. We see this timing in the story of Jonah, and with Lazarus. Since the spirit never dies Jesus continued to carry out the Father’s plan of redemption, and He went to hell, defeated Satan there, took his keys, and set the prisoners free.
Many of you know what happened next, He appeared in the Garden, near the tomb, on the third day, and we are told that Mary, once she recognized that it was Him, hugged Him. Jesus responded in a peculiar manner as He said, I have not been to the Father yet.
What was that all about?
This is where Hebrews 9:19-28 comes into play, for He still had to go to the heavenly altar, cleanse it, and offer His own blood on our behalf.
The pastor made an interesting point this morning as he tried to explain how people say, why would a loving God send people to hell? The problem with their question, which demonstrates how little they know about God’s word, is not that God is sending anyone to hell, we were all on that path because we inherited damaged, sinful genetics from Adam. It was Jesus who gave us the opportunity to put the brakes and halt the actions that would have been our only option. Now, we, through faith, have the chance to change our path and redirect back to the Father.
Revelation 15:6-8 NASB and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes. (7) Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. (8) And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.
There are seven angels and I do not feel as though more needs to be said about them.
The next phase of God’s judgment is the bowls and we are now there. In verse 8 we are told that the bowls contain plagues. This could be a coverall statement for whatever is coming next or, it may be an addendum to what is being pushed upon the globe currently. This C19 jab is a plague and of that, I am convinced. Look at what Leviticus says.
“If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins.” (Leviticus 26:21 NASB)
I do not feel comfortable conjecturing what these plague effects will look like, just knowing what has been happening to people who have submitted to the jab, is already depressing enough.
There is only one hope and that is to turn your life over to Jesus.