Monday, February 8, 2010

#Revelation 15> Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> Bowl Judgments ( #Prophecy )

3. The things which shall be hereafter (4-22) 
     A. Judgment on the inhabitants of the earth (4 - 19) 
          6. The Bowl judgments (15-19) 

As chapter four, with its vision of the heavenly throne, set the stage for the seal judgments, so chapter 15 does for the bowl plagues. Beginning with the vision of a sign in heaven, we see the realm from which the final, most severe plagues will issue. Seven angels, with seven last plagues, will fulfill God's wrath upon the inhabitants of the earth. These judgments reflect and complete God's righteous anger towards the earth dwellers. 

First, John saw a sea of glass mingled with fire. This is similar to the crystal sea described in chapter four. Here, however, the glass is mingled with fire, perhaps symbolizing God's holy anger. 

Also in this vision, are "them that had gotten the victory over the beast". This evidently refers to tribulation saints who refused to worship the beast or receive its mark, and who died during the tribulation. 

Standing on the sea of glass, and playing harps, tribulation saints will sing the song of Moses. This may refer to one of two songs. One, Exodus 15, relates to God's deliverance of the Israel. He had just poured out his plagues on Egypt, and thereby rescued His people. Israel stood before the Red Sea, and sang of God's salvation. 

Another possibility is Deuteronomy 32, which proclaims God's vindication of His people on idolatrous nations. Either song would be a fitting praise. 

Also praised, is the Lamb, to whom is ascribed "marvelous" works, all power and sovereignty, truth, and kingship of the saints. Following the judgments of the tribulation, Christ will establish His millennial kingdom, when "all nations shall come and worship before" him. The tribulation saints sing and praise God and the Lamb, as His righteous judgments are revealed against the earth dwellers. 

After viewing God's praise, the scene now turns to the war room of heaven. "The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven" refers to the true heavenly temple, as typified by the OT tent of Israel (Exodus 36ff). "Tabernacle of the testimony" pictures the whole structure, whereas "the temple of the tabernacle" describes the holy of holies. 

The holy of holies was the place where God's presence resided, upon the ark, which contained the testimony of the tablets of stone (ten commandments). Only the high priest was allowed to enter this part of the tabernacle, and then only once a year, but not without blood to offer as atonement (cf. Hebrews). 

That these final plagues originate from the temple, emphasizes God's holiness, and righteousness in judging the earth. Seven angels, with the seven plagues, came out of the temple, "clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles." Pure and white linen may view the holiness and righteousness of God in bringing judgment. Golden girdles may picture the reflection of God's glory in this act. 

One of the four beasts gives the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, "who liveth for ever and ever". God's glory fills the temple with smoke, until the seven plagues of the seven angels are fulfilled. This heavenly scene reveals an ominous view of God's righteousness and holiness in judging the earth, and the complete, eternal, intense nature of His plagues.

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