Revelation 15:1-8

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 22, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Next Saturday is our One-Day Men’s Retreat.

In the evening we will be treated with the movie “Courageous

But the best part of the day will be the time we get with one of my favorite speakers, Gayle Erwin.

The apostle John found himself caught up into heaven before the throne of God.

He saw Jesus take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals.

As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little further, events begin to take place on the earth and the time that we call the Tribulation begins to unfold.

The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.

We have now passed the middle of the Tribulation period when the antichrist has been unmasked as pure evil, and we are making the final turn to see the final judgments brought on the world.

15:1-4 The Martyr’s Song

:1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.

:1 another sign in heaven

John has already described two other “signs in heaven”.

The first was the picture of Israel giving birth to the Messiah:
(Re 12:1 NKJV) Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.
The second was the picture of Satan’s persecution of Israel and her Messiah:
(Re 12:3 NKJV) And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
Now there is a third sign, which will bring God’s victory over evil through the end of God’s wrath.

Again, John is seeing things happen in heaven that will affect the earth.

:1 greatmegas – great

:1 marvelousthaumastos – wonderful, marvelous; worthy of pious admiration, admirable, excellent

:1 great and marvelous

This phrase only appears one other time in the Bible, in Rev. 15:3.

:1 seven angels … seven plagues

We’ve seen three groups of seven angels.

There were the seven angels over the seven churches (chapters 1-3).
There were the seven angels that blew the seven trumpets (chapters 8-11).
These seven angels will have seven bowls.

We’ve seen three groups of seven plagues.

The seven seals
The seven trumpets
The seven bowls

:1 plaguesplege – a blow, stripe, a wound; a public calamity, heavy affliction, plague,

:1 lasteschatos – extreme; last in a series of places; the last

:1 wraththumos – passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again

:1 in them the wrath of God is complete

This is it. This last group is going to be the grand finale.

is completeteleo – to bring to a close, to finish, to end; to perform, execute, complete, fulfill

This is the same word Jesus used:

This is the same word Jesus used:

(Jn 19:30 NKJV) —30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
This is the verse that shows that on the cross, Jesus completely paid the price for our sins. Jesus considered the transaction complete and finished.

With these seven last plagues, God’s wrath will be complete on this unbelieving world.

This will finish it. There will be no more wrath.
I for one will be glad to stop talking about judgment and wrath.

In a sense, what we are seeing in heaven is the preparation for the last blow.

It’s like the fireworks show where there’s a brief pause for the pyro-technician to reload all his mortars and then light up the sky with the grand finale.

:2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.

:2 glasshualinos – of glass or transparent like glass, glassy

:2 mingledmignumi – to mix, mingle; not the complete blending of ingredients into a new compound, but just the intermingling of ingredients.

It’s like going to the paint store and the clerk adds the colors into your base color, but doesn’t mix it completely.

This “sea” has fire mixed into it.

Perfect passive participle

:2 like a sea of glass mingled with fire

We’ve seen throughout the book of Revelation how the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon were models of the real thing in heaven.

For both the Tabernacle and Temple, there was a source of water made out of brass.

In the Tabernacle, the laver was like a large coffee pot full of water.
In the Temple, the bronze sea was the size of a swimming pool filled with water.
The purpose of both these objects was to supply water for the purifying of the priests – to clean their hands and feet.

We saw this same “sea of glass” earlier in Revelation before the throne of God.

(Re 4:6 NKJV) Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal…
Instead of a large bronze swimming pool filled with water, this “sea” is made of glass, but still filled with water.

Now this glassy sea has fire mixed in to the water, like the Fantasmic show at Disneyland where they light the water up with fire.

Throughout scripture, fire is equated with judgment (Matt.5:22)
The picture here is the purifying of God’s people like the priests were, but instead of washing them with water, they have been purified by fire.
They have been purified by the fire of the Tribulation, the persecution of the antichrist.

I think it’s a little like what Peter wrote,

(1 Pe 1:6–9 NKJV) —6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
Our faith is purified like gold is, through the fire, through difficult times.
These believers are in heaven, having been purified through the fire.

:2 over his image … mark number

We talked about these things back in chapter 13.

Whether it’s the statue or image of the beast that the false prophet will make, or the mark that supposed to be put on the head or hand, or the infamous “666”, These believers did not give in to worship the antichrist.

Here’s few more ideas about that number.  Can you guess what each one is?

660 - Approximate number of the Beast.
1-666 - Area code of the Beast.
$665.95 - Retail price of the Beast.
666i - BMW of the Beast.
666oF - Oven temperature for roast-Beast.

:2 harpskithara (“guitar”)

:2 those who have the victory over the beast

These are the ones who have come to Christ during the Tribulation period and have been killed by the antichrist.

They have “victory” over the antichrist simply because they said no.

They may be dead, but they’re in heaven.


The Victory of “No”

The temptation during the Tribulation will be to give in to the pressure and take the mark of the beast.
Taking the mark will allow you to buy food for your family.  It also means that you choose to worship the antichrist.
These people in heaven said “no”.  They had victory over the antichrist simply because they said “no”.
We don’t face the temptation of the mark of the beast, but we do face other temptations.  Remember this from the 1980’s?
PlayJust Say No” clip
Sometimes we get discouraged in our fight against temptation.  We feel that because we gave in one too many times, that we can never win.
Baseball is a strange game.  Things can change at any time through a game.

Yesterday the Red Sox were playing the Yankees at Fenway Park.

In the fifth inning the Yankees might have been feeling pretty discouraged as they were losing 9-0.  In the sixth inning the Yankees scored a run.  In the 7th inning the Yankees scored seven more runs.  By the time the game was over, the Yankees had won 15-9.

As the famous Yankee Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over”

You have to play to the end of the game.

You might feel like you’re too far behind to find a victory, but keep trying until the end.  Don’t Stop.

Listen to the message of a little girl named Ryan.

Play Don’t Stop video

There is a victory when we say “no”.  Don’t stop trying.

:3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:

:3 singado – to the praise of anyone, to sing

:3 songode – a song, lay, ode

:3 servantdoulos – a slave, bondman, man of servile condition

:3 the song of Moses

Most commentators suggest this is referring to a specific song.

Moses wrote several songs.

Psalm 90 is a lesson about trusting in God all life long.

Exodus 32 was designed to be a warning against disobeying the Lord.

The song of Exodus 15 was sung the day after the people made it through the Red Sea and were delivered completely from Pharaoh who was out to get them.

(Ex 15:2 NKJV) The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.

:3 the song of the Lamb

Many have suggested that this is the song back in Revelation 5

(Re 5:9 NKJV) …“You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood…

:3 the song of Moses … and … the Lamb

Instead of pointing to specific songs, I wonder if this might simply be saying that these are Jewish believers.

They are Jews because they sing the song of Moses.
They are believers because they also sing the song of Jesus the Lamb of God.

“Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!

:4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”

Look at the content of their song …

:3 Great and marvelous are Your works

greatmegas – great

marvelousthaumastos – wonderful, marvelous; worthy of pious admiration, admirable, excellent

The things that God does are awesome and amazing.

:3 Just and true are Your ways

justdikaios – righteous; upright, virtuous, keeping the commands of God

truealethinos (“not” + “hidden”) – the opposite of fictitious; true, sincere

God’s decisions are completely upright and sincere.

:4 Who shall not fear …and glorify

:4 fearphobeo – to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away); to fear, be afraid; of those struck with amazement; to reverence

:4 glorifydoxazo – to be of (good) opinion; to praise, extol, magnify, celebrate; to honor; to make glorious, clothe with splendor; to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged

Any person with half a mind ought to look at what God has been doing and both tremble in fear before Him as well as ascribe honor to Him.

:4 For You alone are holy

:4 holyhosios – undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, pure, holy

:4 all nations shall come and worship before You

This was prophesied:

(Ps 86:9 NKJV) All nations whom You have made Shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And shall glorify Your name.

And it will happen:

(Php 2:10 NKJV) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…

:3 Great and marvelous are Your works


Responding to tragedy

These are men and women who have lost their lives.
They have been treated unfairly in every way.
When they arrive in heaven, they turn to God and worship Him.
They even have guitars to help with the praise.
How do you respond when life is unfair?
Job was a man who had more than his fair share of tragedies.  Turn to …
(Job 1:13–21 NKJV) —13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; 14 and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

If I had lost everything like Job, I’m not sure how I’d respond.

Job responded by blessing God.

How can the saints in heaven respond to their tragic deaths this way?  Because of what they know about God.
His works are great and marvelous.
His ways are just and true.
He is good.

We might think that sometimes God has a wicked sense of humor when tragedy strikes, but there is nothing that is further from the truth.

(1 Jn 1:5 NKJV) This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

There is nothing evil, dark, or deceptive about God.

In heaven we’re going to realize that it really didn’t matter if we didn’t get that raise or win that argument or beat that disease.
All that matters is that we made it to heaven.
In heaven we’re going to realize just how awesome God is and that it has all been worthwhile.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t fight against injustice or try to fix the problems we are facing on earth.
But there are going to be times when we are not going to be able to fix what we’re facing.
And so we trust Him and demonstrate that trust by giving Him praise.

15:5-8 Angels and Bowls

:5 After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.

:5 templenaos – temple, but only of the main structure itself – the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.

:5 tabernacleskene – tent, tabernacle

This is the word used to describe the tent that Moses made for the Ark of the Covenant.

:5 testimonymarturion – testimony

It seems that the door to Heaven’s Temple must open and close. We already read:

(Re 11:19 NKJV) Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

:6 And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands.

:5 clothedenduo – to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self. Perfect tense

:5 girdedperizonnumi – to fasten garments with a girdle or belt; to gird one’s self

:5 chestsstethos – the breast

:5 bandszone – a girdle, belt, serving not only to gird on flowing garments but also, since it was hollow, to carry money in

:6 out of the temple came

The judgments that are about to happen on earth are coming directly from the throne of God, directly from God.

:6 clothed in pure bright linen

:6 linenlinon – linen clothing made from flax

Some of the ancient Greek manuscripts have lithon here, “clothed in stone”. That sounds a bit uncomfortable.
The church, the Bride of Christ will also be wearing something similar:
(Re 19:8 NKJV) —8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
fine linenbussos – linen made from byssus (a type of Egyptian flax), very costly, delicate, soft, white and also of a yellow color

This is where we get the idea to dress our brides in “white”.

:6 purekatharos – clean, pure

:6 brightlampros – shining; brilliant; splendid, magnificent; from the word for “torch”

The angels are dressed like priests, coming out of the Temple to do priestly things.

The angels are going to be doing something that we might tend to call “dirty work”.
But they’re not putting on their old overalls.
They’re wearing clean, bright linen robes.
There is nothing improper or “dirty” about the judgment that is going to be poured out.

: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.

:7 one of the four living creatures

These are the cherubim, special angelic beings who are very close to God.

They have multiple wings and each cherub has four different faces.

They are the model of the angels molded on top of the Ark of the Covenant.

:7 bowlsphiale (“vial”) – a broad shallow bowl, deep saucer

We’ve seen this word back in Rev. 5, describing the bowls of incense that the living creatures and elders each had.

(Re 5:8 NKJV) Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

In the Greek Old Testament (LXX), this word translates the Hebrew word “mizrak”, the containers used in the Tabernacle and Temple worship. It might be used for grain, oil, wine, or blood. They are used to collect stuff, like the blood from a sacrificial animal. They are used for sprinkling stuff, like the blood from a sacrifice.

The Temple Institute has made a few of these mizrakim, and they have handles.

bowlmizraq – bowl (for wine); basin (vessel for throwing or tossing a liquid)

(Nu 7:13 NKJV) —13 His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering;

(Am 6:6 NKJV) —6 Who drink wine from bowls, And anoint yourselves with the best ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

(Zec 9:15 NKJV) —15 The Lord of hosts will defend them; They shall devour and subdue with slingstones. They shall drink and roar as if with wine; They shall be filled with blood like basins, Like the corners of the altar.

(2 Ki 12:13 NKJV) —13 However there were not made for the house of the Lord basins of silver, trimmers, sprinkling-bowls, trumpets, any articles of gold or articles of silver, from the money brought into the house of the Lord.

:7 fullgemo – to be full, filled, full

:7 wraththumos – passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again

:7 seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God

I wonder if the content of these bowls is related to what we saw last week:

(Re 14:19 NKJV) So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

When these bowls are poured out on the earth, terrible things will happen. We will see these events in the next chapter.

:8 The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

:8 filledgemo – to be full, filled, full

:8 filled with smoke from the glory of God

This is what is referred to as the “Shekinah” glory of God.

It appeared when Moses first set up the tabernacle, the glory filled the tent, and it was so thick, Moses couldn’t go in (Exo 40:34-35).

(Ex 40:34–35 NKJV) —34 Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

When Solomon dedicated the temple, the same thing happened.

(2 Ch 7:1–2 NKJV) —1 When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.
It also happened earlier when the praise music first began (2Chr. 5:13-14)
(2 Ch 5:13–14 NKJV) —13 indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying:For He is good, For His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.

In both instances, God was showing with His presence that He was honoring the things that were taking place.

The judgments that are coming are the same – God is in it, God is behind it.

:8 glorydoxa – opinion, judgment, view; in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honor, and glory; splendor, brightness

:8 powerdunamis – strength, power, ability

:8 was abledunamai – to be able, have power; to be capable, strong and powerful

:8 were completedteleo – to bring to a close, to finish, to end; to perform, execute, complete, fulfill

:8 no one was able to enter the temple

Note: In the next chapter, there will be a “loud voice” coming from the temple. Since no one has been able to go in, guess whose voice it is? God’s.

If no one is able to enter the temple, then nothing else is going to be done in heaven until this is finished.  Everything stops.

No more prayers answered. No other directions given.
It’s kind of like landing in a jet airliner – they tell you to turn off all your electronic devices until the plane is finished landing.  Everything stops until the plane lands.

In other words, it will be too late to pray. It will be too late to ask for mercy.


It’s not too late yet

The good news, is that this hasn’t happened yet!  Prayers can still get into heaven.
The Bible says,
(Is 55:6 NKJV) Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.
The Bible tells us that Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” (2Pet. 2:5).  I imagine that means that he warned the people that one day there would be a flood.
(2 Pe 2:5 NKJV) —5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
Perhaps the people didn’t pay attention because they didn’t even know what rain was.
But there came a day when it was simply too late.
The boat was loaded.  The door closed.  The rain came down.

It was too late.

But for us, it is not too late.
The door to heaven is not closed yet.
God loved you so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross and pay for your sins.  If you will pray and ask God for help, the message will get through.
The Bible says,
(Ro 10:13 NKJV) For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
It’s not too late to ask God to save you.