Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Revelation 15:2-16:2
Pastor Steve Schell
Revelation 15:2
Verse 2: John’s vision is drawn back to the area around the throne of God. As we saw before (Rev 4:6; Eze 1:22; 10:1) a large, flat, crystal-like surface serves as a floor or ground. Standing on that “sea of glass” are all the men and women whether Jew or Gentile who refused to worship the antichrist and remained loyal to Christ (Rev 12:11). They have undoubtedly arrived in heaven largely by martyrdom (Rev 20:4). Some may have died natural deaths but all have victoriously resisted attempts to force them to worship the antichrist’s image. Though the antichrist may have had the power to kill them, he could not accomplish his ultimate goal which was to separate them from Christ. By withstanding his best efforts they have defeated him.

Revelation 15:3
Verse 3: Holding harps, an instrument which symbolizes worship (Rev 5:8; 14:2), they sing the “song of Moses” because their escape from the antichrist is similar to Israel’s escape from Pharaoh during the Exodus. Once Israel passed through the Red Sea, God’s people were free from Egypt’s power to return them to their former slavery. In the same way, these believers who have come out of the tribulation are eternally free from Satan and his antichrist. They, too, can sing the song Moses composed to celebrate freedom (Ex 15:1-18), but instead of standing on the eastern shore of the Red Sea, these men and women worship in the “sea of glass.”

Revelation 15:3, 4
Verse 3, 4: And they also sing another song which John calls, “the song of the Lamb”. Undoubtedly the song will be filled with thanksgiving to Jesus Christ. By taking the role of a sacrificial lamb, He made it possible for them to enter the “promised land” of heaven (Heb 11:16). As John records it, their song will also extol God for His power over all the nations of the earth. This final generation of believers will watch the nations of the earth unite into a monolithical empire determined to prevent them from serving Jesus Christ. But God will allow that terrible persecution to last only for a brief season. They can be confident He will judge His empire, thereby fulfilling ancient promises to bring all His enemies into submission (Jer 10:10; Ps 86:9; Is 66:23).

Revelation 15:5
Verse 5: After seeing victorious believers worshipping God, John’s vision turns to the preparations for judgment being made in heaven. He sees a doorway open in the “Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.” The term combines the Temple with the Tabernacle. Both structures served as the place where God resided among His people during different periods of Israel’s history. The Tabernacle which was also called the “Tabernacles of the Testimony” (Ex 38:21; Nu 1:50) was the mobile tent which traveled with the nation during the Exodus and later was pitched in different locations in the land of Israel. The second was the Temple built by Solomon (2Ch 2; 1; 3:1, 2) which was a more permanent version of the Tabernacle built from stone.

Revelation 15:6, 7
Verses 6, 7: As John looks, seven angels emerge from this symbolic Temple in heaven carrying golden bowls filled with the wrath of God. They are beautifully dressed in white linen and have golden sashes high around their waists in a fashion similar to what was worn by Jesus Himself in an earlier vision (Rev 1:13). Each bowl contains a “plague” which will be poured out on the earth. Verse 7: Though the events that are about to take place will bring terrible suffering to the earth, no one should doubt that they come directly from God. The bowls filled with wrath are handed to the seven angels by the four living beings who abide in the immediate presence of His throne (Rev 4:6-8).

Revelation 15:8-16:1
Verse 8: The Tabernacle and the Temple were at times filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to such an extent that no one could enter (Ex 40:34-38; 1Ki 8:10, 11). In the same way when the time comes for these bowls to be poured out, the “smoke from the glory of God and from His power” will again fill God’s heavenly Temple “until no one is able to enter” (Ex 40:34-38; 1Ki 8:11). The justice God will administer though brutal will be a holy expression of His justice. Revelation 16:1: John next hears a loud voice from the Temple command that the seven bowls be poured out. Whether the voice comes from God Himself or is spoken by one of the four living beings (Rev 6:1, 3, 5, 7) or an angel, doesn’t change the fact that it must ultimately come from God Himself.

Revelation 16:2
One at a time, the angels pour out their bowls and, as each performs this prophetic action, a physical calamity erupts on the earth. When combined together, these will create a chaotic environment which will draw the antichrist’s army to a location where they will be destroyed (Rev 16:16). As these plagues progress, we should note how similar they are to those experienced by Egypt when God pressured Pharaoh to release Israel from slavery (Ex 7:14-12:36). As in Egypt, boils will appear on people’s skin (Ex 9:8-12); water will turn to blood (Ex 7:14-24); darkness will cover the land (Ex 10:21-29); and hail and lightning will bring devastation (Ex 9:13-35). Only this time the “plagues” will be worldwide. Verse 2: The first bowl produces ulcerous sores (boils?) on those who have worshipped the antichrist’s image and, therefore, received his mark (Rev. 13:15-17). These sores might possibly be caused by a contagious disease, or a systemic reaction to the marking of people’s skin, or even skin cancers resulting from the increasing heat of the sun (Rev. 16:8, 9).

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