Revelation 15: Beginning of the End

February 20, 2023 at 3:21 PM Leave a comment

Video and PDF for this article is here:

Revelation 15 is really a type of prelude to the opening of the final seven bowl judgments that are poured out in Revelation 16. What is important in Revelation is what John sees happening in the heavenly realm. Readers who have been following this series of articles and/or who have studied Revelation on their own will understand that there are several preludes or parentheses in the action that occurs on earth. These parentheses often redirect John’s gaze from earth to heaven where preparations are being made for what follows.

This is the case with Revelation 15 and yet, even though no real “action” is seen happening on the earth (we don’t know for certain what is going on throughout the earth while we view what is occurring in the heavenly realm), nonetheless, these visions of heavenly action do several things:

  • they further the action by moving us to the next section
  • they focus all on God who is worthy of all praise, and
  • evidence God’s grace as time is permitted to pass while final preparations are made

Too often, we fail to understand what is happening in the heavenly or spiritual realms.God has shown us bits and pieces of glimpses behind the curtain, so to speak and apparently He doesn’t want us to know more. The fact remains though that we should always be mindful of God’s Presence and the activity that is constantly happening in the spiritual realm. At the same time, we should not try to spend time trying to figure out what’s there, what’s happening, and everything else. Instead, we must trust our Lord with the information He has seen fit to provide and be content in that.

To summarize Revelation 15, we could state simply the following.

Before unleashing the final seven of twenty-one total judgments (Revelation 16), during the coming Tribulation period, John the apostle sees numerous things happening in heaven in preparation. –John sees the temple in heaven, the sea of glass (see also Revelation 4:6), and the seven angels with seven bowl plagues appearing with them (after one of the 4 Living Creatures gives the angels their bowls).

Continuing on with what John sees, once the angels are given their bowls, the 24 elders fall down and the song of Moses and the Lamb is sung by those in heaven. While slightly different from the original song under Moses, the subject remains the same, which is filled with praise and adoration to the only wise God.

–Following the singing and praise, there is a loud voice speaking from the temple, telling the angels to go, and declaring the judgments of God to be righteous. All of this represents the beginning of the end in God’s program and that is stated in the text.

Verse 2 states in part:  “…those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name…” It is clear from the text that these are the martyrs who died for their faith during the upcoming Tribulation period of 7 years. These are said to have “conquered the beast…” etc., through their deaths. Because they were martyred neither the beast, the false prophet, Satan or any other human being can harm them either physically, emotionally or spiritually. They are beyond the reach of those who desire to harm or kill.

Because of the victory through their martyrdom, they join in singing the song of Moses as their victory march. This song, first sung by the Israelites in Exodus 15:1-27, after the people had successfully crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. They sing in verse 3 how “great and mighty are your ways…” to God, reminding themselves that He and He alone is God, above all things and exercising His will as He sees fit. Because God’s will is always accomplished, He is always being glorified and this is the way it should be since He and He alone is Creator God of all that exists. It is HIS creation and because of that, He has every right to do as He wishes.

Revelation 15:4 reveals how people who are no longer living with a sin nature see God and His will. They ask rhetorically, “…Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy Name?” The unstated answer is that ALL will fear God, willingly or unwillingly. In my previous article “Being Wrong About God,” I dealt with the subject of learning to properly fear offending the Lord. We tend to rebel at the idea that we are to fear God. How can we fear God who loves us, who gave His Son for us, who made salvation available to us?

The truth of the matter is that we should not fear God out of a sense of impending judgment because our sin has been judged at Calvary. However, if we take our relationship with God seriously, we will grow in our desire to not offend, sadden, disappoint or grieve God by willingly giving into sin’s desires. This is a process that occurs within us as we pursue God. If done correctly, this fear of offending God should grow to the point that it becomes easier and easier to simply say “NO!” to sin. Why? Because we will be seriously concerned about grieving our Lord as opposed to the person who simply fears that God will toss lightning bolts our way if we step out of line.

For every person who ever has lived, is living or will live in this life, God is always one of two people. He is either Savior or Judge. All of us before we became Christians feared His judgment (because often that is what began drawing us closer to Him and got our thinking positioning us to the point of realizing we needed Him, His love and His salvation. People who live this life and never experience a fear of His judgment will, unfortunately, experience that judgment after they die.

We learn in Revelation 15:4 that God is indeed holy and that He holds sway over all nations. How many? ALL. We also learn again that the righteousness of His acts are now visible to all people (referencing the action of Revelation 15/16, when that occurs in earth’s timeline). What this means is that both the Gospel being preached throughout the world and the destruction of His enemies throughout all nations will occur. Why? Because He has stated that these will.

Revelation 15:5 tells us what John sees next:  “…And after that I looked, and, behold…” Statements like this by John are simply his way of telling us that he is now focusing on what he next sees, which is the “…sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened…”

–This references the heavenly temple or tabernacle of which the earthly tabernacle was perfectly patterned. So –John is seeing the Old Testament type Tabernacle in heaven and readers will recall how Moses was provided accurate descriptions of this tabernacle so that it could be perfectly replicated on the earth. It is interesting to consider that there exists in heaven currently this tabernacle, with all the compartments and aspects of the one we note was standing during the time of Moses. What is also interesting is that we see that there is the “opening” of this tent of witness, which points to the coming judgments.

Verse 6 informs us that “…out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues…” These seven angels have a job to do. It reminds me of the time I spent involved in community theater years ago. When it was time for me as my character to make an entrance, I would stand just off stage waiting for my cue to enter. These seven angels waited for their cue to exit the Tabernacle, which was then the door opened. They walked out fully prepared to do the Lord’s will and dressed for the part. They wore clothing of pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests. All of this point to their purity, righteousness and holiness. This provided for them an undivided purpose. Their job was to purify the earth on behalf of God by pouring out these final seven plagues.

At this point, verse 7 tells us that “one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God” Nothing happens by accident. All aspects of this pageantry are directed by God and perfectly accomplished. This scene we see goes back to Revelation 5:8 where we read God’s reference to the prayers of the saints to Him in bowls. Those previous prayers connect with these coming judgments to be poured out in Revelation 16 so there is a cause and effect at play here.

We then read again of the fact that “…God who lives forever and ever…” which reminds us of the fact that God has no origin. He always was and always will be. This is a tremendous reminder to us of God’s power and greatness, Who has NO end. Can He not meet every need we have? Can He not deal with every problem that comes into our life, if we will but give Him the chance?

Revelation 15:8 highlights something interesting, which reminds us of what also occurred in the Old Testament under Moses. Verse 8 tells us “…and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power…” and that hearkens back to the time when the original earthly Tabernacle was completed and dedicated to God through the many sacrificial offerings. God was pleased and because of it, His glory indwelt the Tabernacle and because of it, no one could enter.

This same thing occurs here when John sees the glory of God fill the heavenly tabernacle. Isn’t that interesting? In a place were sin does not approach, yet in spite of the perfection of that situation, God’s glory was still a sort of blockade that would not allow others to go into the Tabernacle. His Presence/glory remains there until the pouring out of the final 7 bowl judgments.

Revelation 15 is similar in some aspects to Revelation 8. Readers will recall this is when the Lamb broke the original seal there was silence in preparation for what was coming. Here in Revelation 15, the action of the Tribulation is about to begin again (to occur in Revelation 16). Revelation 15 presents the pageantry leading up to the final judgments of the Tribulation. It is another break in the action whereby we should stop and consider. No one can escape God’s judgments except through salvation. Those who refuse it are destined to a terrible eternal death, where they will suffer the consequences of their continued rejection of God’s love. In essence, they have chosen to submit themselves to the Lake of Fire and God has no choice but to grant their request.

Once these seven judgments are emptied onto the earth, our Lord will physically return (that actual event occurs later in Revelation), to this earth (Matthew 24), and judge the nations in what is known as the Sheep and the Goats judgment (Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus will then establish His Millennial Kingdom over which He will rule the earth with a rod of iron for 1,000 years. Do I hear an “AMEN!!”?

During these growing difficult days that will ultimately lead us to the start of the final seven years of human history known as the Tribulation, we must learn to see God in the details and to praise Him without letup for all that He provides. We must learn to grow in a fear of offending Him (which is what we actually already do with people we love who are in our lives now, isn’t it?).

Friends, fellow believers, God is good. He is awesome in power and He wants us to submit ourselves to Him so that He might give us salvation and a life-changing character growth where we will be increasingly transformed into the character of His Son. Are you with me?

Entry filed under: christianity, eternity, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , .

Being Wrong About God Rev 14B: Reaping the Harvests

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Our Books on Amazon

Study-Grow-Know Archives

Blog Stats

  • 1,126,494 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,036 other subscribers
Follow Study – Grow – Know on

%d bloggers like this: