In Chapter 15 we are introduced to the seven angels with the seven plagues. The images provided in this vision are amazingly vivid in as we gaze upon the preparation of God‘s devastating wrath about to be poured out upon the earth. Those who have died because of their refusal to take the mark and number of the beast are there looking on playing harps and singing glory to God. Then out of the “tent of witness in heaven” come the seven angels clothed in bright linen and golden sashes. One of the living creatures hands each of them a bowl filled with the wrath of God and His glory fills the sanctuary in what appears to be smoke. The reader is filled with trepidation anticipating what will happen next.
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”(Revelation 16:1, ESV)
The first three angels pour out their bowls on the earth, the seas, and rivers and springs respectively. The fourth angel then pours its bowl upon the sun. Amazingly, we are then told that many on earth cursed God at this time and refused to repent (verse 9). What that informs us is that these people must realize that God is the author of these tribulations but they are too self absorbed to accept responsibility for their sins which have caused God’s wrath in the first place. The fact that we are told that they refuse to repent implies that this remains an option for them. After the fifth angel pours its bowl upon the throne of the beast we witness similar results. God is cursed and people refuse to repent. Even as God pours out His full wrath upon the world, He remains steadfast in His love for humanity and allows anyone to repent and come to Him. God is great and awesome.
The sixth plague demonstrates that God controls the events that occur and will occur on earth for this bowl dries up the Euphrates “to prepare the way for the kings from the east” (v. 12). It must, therefore, be part of God’s ultimate plan that they assemble at Armageddon (v. 16) in preparation of the day of God. the seventh bowl brings about a massive earthquake which devastates the entire world causing many more people to curse God.
In the midst of these tragic events a benediction is pronounced to the believers still alive and suffering on earth and we are reminded of Jesus’ words to the churches of Sardis (c.f. 3:3) and Laodicea (c.f. 3:18), “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” (Revelation 16:15, ESV).
The most amazing and irrefutable theme within this vision of the seven plagues is not the plagues themselves. The fact is that even at the time of God’s greatest wrath He is still willing to accept anyone who will turn to Him. Also, Jesus is still calling out to believers and encouraging them to remain faithful, reminding them to remain vigilant for he is indeed coming at anytime. In midst of the most horrible turmoil God remains steadfast and faithful. Hope is eternal.
- Revelation 1: Spiritual Gifts (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)
- Revelation 3: Hope in Jesus (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)
- Revelation 6: The First Six Seals (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)
- Revelation 7: Hope Comes Before the Storm (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)
- Revelation 8: The Seventh Seal (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)
- Revelation 9: All Hell Breaks Loose In Woes (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)
- Revelation 10 & 11: The Little Scroll and the Two Witnesses (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)
- Revelation 12 – 13: The Woman and the Dragon and the Two Beasts (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)
- Revelation Chapter 14: Repent for the End is Near! (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)