Lesson 33

Revelation 15 - 16

     In Revelation 15 – 16, we come to the final seal of God’s wrath. Remember that all of these seals are against mankind and not Satan and his allies. The battle against Satan is yet to come, but it will come.

    In 15:1, John tells us that he saw a great and marvelous sign in heaven.

Revelation 15:1

     And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in      them is filled up the wrath of God.

    There are two important keys to what is about to happen in this verse. The first key is that there are seven angels, which is important because the number seven generally means completeness. Therefore, with this key, God will complete His plan for mankind even while Satan still has access to them. God has completed all that He can do for mankind without making mankind robots. You ask, what has he done? God has put mankind in places and situations where he can choose to turn to God and be able to come home to the Father forever. The second key in this verse is a summary of what is to take place in verse 7; that these angels are filled with the wrath of God. Up until this point, mankind has had opportunities to turn from evil and come to God, but they have chosen not to seize God’s love. Please take a moment to read Revelation 6:15 – 17.

Revelation 6:15 - 17

    15. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty          men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the          mountains;
    16. And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the          throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
    17. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

    What do you read and see here. Up until this point, what has been these people’s choice when it came to embracing God’s love for them? It has been to refuse God’s love and His plan for them. In fact, some of mankind turns the opposite way as fast as they can.

    Isaiah 63:1 – 6 tells us that it will be the Word of God, Jesus (John 1:1 – 5), Who will be the One to remove sin from the world.

Isaiah 63:1 – 6

    1. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel,         travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
    2. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?
    3. I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in         mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I         will stain all my raiment.
    4. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
    5. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine         own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
    6. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down         their strength to the earth.

John 1:1 – 5

    1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    2. The same was in the beginning with God.
    3. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
    4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
    5. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

    You may ask, what about the deeds of mankind, can they help themselves? No, because it will be God who makes the decision and will remove those who have not seized upon His mercy and love. For it has been God who has been reaching out to mankind from the moment that sin entered the earth, to bring mankind back into a right relationship with Him. God will use these seven angels to carryout His plan of punishment. This wrath of God that is talked about in verse 1 means that they have provoked God to very hot and passionate anger.

    We are studying a future event. Nevertheless, we need to take a few moments to examine our own lives and ask a couple of questions of ourselves.

    1) Am I turning away from all the efforts God is making toward me to show His love?
    2) Am I letting God have my total life?

Please do not rush pass these questions, because your answers to them will affect the rest of your life. No matter how you answer these questions, you will experience God continually reaching for you. God truly wants to show you His love and His desire so that you will be with him forever. As we move deeper into this study, remember that God is still showing His love by telling mankind what is to come. With information comes power and the ability to correct the problem before it is too late. So with this in mind let us move on to see what else God has John to share with us.

    In Revelation 15: 2 – 4 we read of joy, glory, and worship that the world has not seen or experienced in all of the history of the world. In verse 2, it reads

    "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."

    We clearly see that the folks John is talking about come out of the great tribulation. Why? They have victory over the beast and his image, his mark and his number. These events only take place in the great tribulation. Also in Revelation 4:6 we are told about the sea of glass, but this is mingled (mixed) with fire. The fire stands for the trials and anguish they went through. Notice John says a sea of glass. When you think of the sea, often there is a picture of waves and maybe restlessness or pounding as they hit the shore. This is not the picture you see here. It is a picture of the sea without waves or anything that would interfere with you and your rest. Therefore, the representation is that when these folks go through their trials and anguish they have a peace about them for they know what is waiting for them on the other side. They have this peace without the Holy Spirit being present in their daily lives on earth. Isn’t that amazing! Here we are with the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and many of us act as if we have no peace. Take a moment to read John 14:26 – 27 and 2 Timothy 1:7 -10:

John 14:26 – 27

    26. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all          things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you.
    27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world giveth, give I to you. Let not your heart          be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

2 Timothy 1:7 – 10

     7. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
     8. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker         of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
     9. Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own         purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
   10. But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and         hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

    God's saints do not find any kind of rest, except the rest of God, which causes them to sing two songs. There are two songs of Moses found in the Bible, Exodus 15:1 – 18 and Deuteronomy 32:1 – 43. The song that is found in Deuteronomy 32:1– 43 is a summary of what God did in Israel’s walk with God, God’s future plans for His people, His vengeance being withheld, and His plan for deliverance of His people.

    The song that we are dealing with in Revelation 15:3 is found in Exodus 15:1 – 18.

Exodus 15:1 – 18

     1. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto          the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
     2. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him          an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
     3. The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.
     4. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the          Red sea.
     5. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
     6. Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the          enemy.
     7. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou          sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.
     8. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap,          and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
     9. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon          them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
   10. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
   11. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises,         doing wonders?
   12. Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
   13. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy         strength unto thy holy habitation.
   14. The people shall hear, And be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.
   15. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them;         all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
   16. Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy         people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
   17. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which         thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.
   18. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.

     This song came after God brought the Israelites out of slavery. Understand that more than the Israelites that came out of Egypt. In Exodus 12:43 - 51, God tells Moses and Aaron this:

Exodus 12:43 – 51

   43. And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger          eat thereof:
   44. But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat          thereof.
   45. A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.
   46. In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house;          neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
   47. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
   48. And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be          circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for          no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
   49. One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
   50. Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
   51. And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of          Egypt by their armies.

    God will allow others to come to Him through those who have accepted Him as Lord. Remember, all people are created in God’s image and likeness. He wants mankind reconciled to Him, but still many reject Him. This is part of the reason God fills these angels with HIS wrath. God has been using everything and everyone to convince mankind to come home to him, yet many of these who are left on the earth refuse to accept Him.

    In the song of Moses, God’s name is honored, exalted, and praised for the victory He has won. These saints recognize that it is God who delivered them out of the hands of their enemies. This is true for the people of the great tribulation, but the important point that some will miss is that in both of these times, the Holy Spirit is not active in the people.

    The song to the Lamb is found in verses 3 and 4 of Revelation 15; it reads:
3.“… Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
4. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and     worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. “

    Let us examine the words in this song based on the original language (Greek). As we do this, think about what these saints have come through. Then you get the full impact of the song.

    3. “… Great (splendid) and marvelous (extraordinary) are thy works (deeds), Lord God Almighty (omnipotent);     just (righteous) and true (genuine) are thy ways (manner of thinking), thou King of saints (nations).
    4. Who shall not fear (reverence) thee, O Lord, and glorify (magnify, praise) thy name? for thou only (alone)     art holy (undefiled by sin): for all nations (people) shall come and worship (give homage) before thee; for thy     judgments (righteous acts) are made manifest (visible, known). “

    The scene changes in the next 4 verses to the temple and there are several things taking place. So let us examine them and see what God is showing us through John. Before the seven angels come out of the temple something takes place, which we cannot miss. We are told in verse 5, “… the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:” which literally means the shrine, which is the temple, holding the witness of the saints, was opened. At this point, Revelation 6:9 – 11, KJV is completed.

Revelation 6:9 – 11

     9. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the          word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
   10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge          our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
   11. And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a          little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should          be fulfilled.

    These seven angels come out of the temple (shrine) where God dwells clothed in pure white and gold. So the judgment they are about to issue is without fault and purely based on God’s standards. All mankind knows these standards because God has used the same standards as He has pursued mankind, on a level that each could see and understand. As these seven angels leave the temple, we are told that the temple is so filled with smoke that no one is able to enter the temple. It is like this until the seven have completed their tasks. Also one of the living creatures gives the seven angels their bowls, which are filled with the wrath of God. So the scene is set for God’s judgments on mankind, because they have refused to come home to God.

    As we open the 16th chapter of Revelation, we have John hearing a great voice coming out of the temple. Remember, the temple is the dwelling place of God, so the voice is that of God. Hear what this voice is telling the seven angels to do. Again, I remind you that NO ACTION taken in this universe can happen without God’s permission. Read Job 1:6–12 , 2:1–7 and Romans 8:28. Also know that God does not have to let us know His full plan (Matthew 11:25 – 26 and 1 Corinthians 13:11 – 12). We hear through John that God is speaking to all seven angels at the same time. This is very important for it let’s us know that these seven angels will all come at the same time or right after each other without time between events. Remember that God has reached the point that He has given mankind all the time they need to come home to Him. So when looking at these seven angels we see no limit being placed on them as we saw in the angels of the trumpets in Revelation 8 – 11.

    As we read Revelation 16:2, we see that this first angel is dealing only with them that have the mark of the beast and worship his image.

    “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image.”

    Let us go deeper into this verse to see what this angel pours out on this people. We will find the key into want level of pain God allows this angel to pour out in these words

    “…there fell (came into existence) a noisome (affliction) and grievous (a labor of pain as in retributive action) sore (a wound producing discharging pus)…”

    God uses sores (boils, botch) to represent punishment for those leading people away from God with sorcery and disobedience (Exodus 9:8 – 12 and Deuteronomy 28:27, 35). Notice that God did say let these sores kill them. We have a picture of them with boils, which have pus running out and causing pain that they have not known. Moreover, the sores are around at least until the fifth angel. In addition, we see that those who have these sores will be able to spot the true believers in God for they will not have these sores. This is a foretaste of what is awaiting these worshipers of the image and followers of the beast.

    The second and third angel deal with water, but there is a major difference in what happens and this needs to be examined. The second angel in verse 3 pours his bowl into the sea and everything in the sea dies. Remember that in Revelation 8:10 – 11, that a 1/3 of the waters were turned bitter and this causes some of mankind to die. Now God is dealing with all of condemned mankind through the rest of the waters that are left on earth. Think about that for a moment everything in the sea (plants, coral reefs, fish, and mammals) die. If ships are out in the sea, how do they get back to port? We are also told that the sea becomes like the blood of dead men, which is thick and dark red. So the image is that the sea will become as dark red as dead men’s blood and thick because there is NO life in it. We cannot imagine the stench that will fill the air and what kinds of disease these rotting carcasses will bring to the land and mankind.

    When the third angel pours his vial “…upon the rivers and fountains (springs) of water…” he is affecting all that need water on the earth, which is everything and everyone. When he pours his bowl, all water turns red as blood. We have seen this before in Exodus 7:20 – 21 and with the second trumpet angel in Revelation 8:8 – 9. In Exodus 7:20 – 21 God allows Moses to turn the waters to blood, because the Egyptians worshiped the river gods which kept people from searching for God. Here I believe that God is telling the followers of the beast that since they would not let anybody buy or sell without the mark of the beast, then God will take away all that they buy or sell. All things they need for life must come by the way of water: water for food, shelter and most everything else in life. This time these events happen not to bring them to God, but to punish them. Remember, this is not the end of their punishment, but just the tip of it (Revelation 14:9 – 11).

    From verses 5 – 7, we are given more information about this event. We are told that John heard the angel that is over the water say,

     “… Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. “.

    I cannot tell you anything about this angel of the waters, except that he is over all the water, because this is the first time he is talked about in God’s word. We know from these two verses that God’s wrath has been building from the beginning of sin. This third angel says that the enemies have been killing prophets. For we know that a prophet is one who delivers a divine message of God openly to the people. The last two to do this are the two witnesses of Revelation 11 and this is before the great tribulation. Jesus made it clear about what would happen to people who will not hear the truth in Matthew 10:15 and remember Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for their action against God. In Matthew 23:33 – 35, we are told that the blood that was shed would be accounted unto the enemies of God. In Isaiah 49:25 – 26, we read the results of those who made His children their captives.

Isaiah 49:25 – 26

    25. But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible          shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.
    26. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own          blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer,          the mighty One of Jacob.

    In verse 7, we hear a voice out of the altar. Remember the altar was talked about in Revelation 6:9 – 11. The altar is a place of sacrifice. Therefore, these souls must have sacrificed something to get there. The sacrifice was their belief in God’s word instead of following the world. The word “believe” is an action verb, so they put their belief, their faith, into action even though they would be killed. This also tells us that there are people who will kill to keep God’s word from taking hold in the world. We can see this today in the world. These saints have a testimony (a record, a witness) to which they hold fast. These souls sound like they are not going to allow anything to stop them from keeping true to God. Therefore, the voice out of the altar is able to praise God for condemnation of those who killed His saints. We are only at the third angel and there is praise going on in heaven for God because He is starting His punishment of those who would not come home to Him. God has been reaching out to mankind to come to him from the very moment that mankind sinned against God. Read 2 Peter 3:9 and Matthew 25:41 and you read that God did not want mankind to perish in hell, due to the fact that hell was meant for the devil and his angels.

2 Peter 3:9

  9. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward,       not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Matthew 25:41

    41. Then will he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared          for the demon and his angels:

    Therefore, mankind must chose to go to hell. Take a moment, think on this, and ask yourself a couple of questions.
    1) What choice have you really made?
    2) Are you telling anybody else of the choice they need to make?

    The fourth angel now pours out his vial or bowl on the sun, which will intensify the sun’s heat and scorching power. Remember that mankind has only experienced a sun that is only 2/3 as bright and powerful (Revelation 8:12). Now God allows this angel to pour out his bowl on the sun, which will cause the sun, at 2/3 brightness, to send out fire onto mankind. However, there will be no water to put out the fire, because the water is now blood.

    Before we go deeper into this PLEASE REMEMBER that these last seven plagues are against those who took the mark of the beast and worshipped the image. Just as God protected the Hebrews, which were in Egypt from the plagues, so God here will protect his saints.

    Let’s go back to this fourth bowl and the affects it has on mankind. They are not able to escape the heat no matter where they go or what they do. We do not know if they are able to see that this heat and the sores do not affect all of mankind. However, if they are able to see that some are not being affected by these plagues, can you imagine how this adds to their pain especially since they had a choice on the condition that they are in? Yet, they still do not take the blame or responsibility for their condition, but “…blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues…” instead of asking for forgiveness. We do not know if God would have forgiven them, because they had pushed God to this point by not accepting His love earlier. With their blaspheming they blame God for their condition. In fact, this is how many people today feel about God. They do not accept that it is their disobedience to God for their life conditions. They do not know that He is trying to reach them through their circumstances. So if you are going through something that seems rough, take some time to see if God is trying to get your attention to bring you to His love through Jesus Christ.

    The fifth angel pours his bowl on the seat of the beast. This is the spot that all of the false signs and miracles were performed that caused some of mankind to make this statement “…Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4). Here God attacks the very seat that has been established to overthrow Him. But wait it even gets better! God is light and Satan is darkness. What this fifth angel pours out is darkness on to the very center of Satan’s false kingdom. However, this darkness can only be compared to the darkness that the Egyptians went through when God was calling His people out of Egypt. In case you do not remember, the Egyptians could not see their hands in front of their face. This is in the same vein, but is even more intense, because there is pain that goes along with this darkness. In Revelation 16:11, they blasphemed God because of their pains and sores. The pain may be a combination of heat and this darkness, because the darkness is weighing on them. In other words, they can feel the darkness. They are not able to see their own hands before their faces. Then you add that they are still experiencing sores with pus running out and causing pain they have never known before.

    Before we move on to the sixth and seventh angel, we need to examine one of the promises God made to Israel through Abram (Abraham). We will find the promise about the size of Israel in Genesis 15:18 – 21, but pay close attention to verse 18.

Genesis 15:18 – 21

   18. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land,         from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
   19. The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
   20. And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
   21. And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

    In verse 18, we see that two major rivers are its boundaries. One of these boundaries will be the gateway the enemies of God will use to attack His saints. In addition, these rivers have been major sites in the history of God’s people.

    When the sixth angel pours his bowl out on the Euphrates River and it dries up, these questions come to mind: 1) How is this causing God’s wrath to pour out on the people? 2) Why does God allow the enemies of His saints to have a path to them? Again these questions go back to some of the same questions that mankind has been asking for a very long time. Why is God not punishing those who hurt His people? In addition, why does God seem to make it easy for the enemy to have a clear path to His people? Remember that God has a plan that we do not understand clearly. In reading Isaiah 54:16 – 17, we see that God knows the one making the weapons that Satan will use.

Isaiah 54:16 – 17

   16. Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument         for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
   17. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in         judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is         of me, saith the LORD.

    You see, God knows all and has a plan that will cause the enemies of God to think that they are smarter than He is and that He makes mistakes. When we get to chapter 19 we will see how this path is used and how God has set a trap for them.

    In addition to the Euphrates River drying up, the false trinity has frogs come out of their own mouths. Remember that each one of these three represents something bigger than their immediate images of dragon, beast, and false prophet. The false prophet stands for every false religious system, the beast symbolizes the government and the dragon is the imitator of Jesus Christ. These three have been keeping mankind away from God, but you cannot blame them alone for the condition of mankind. God always has shown that these were NOT His representatives. With all that is taking place on earth, these frog spirits (demons) are able to gather all of the kings of the earth to come and fight against God and His saints in the place called Armageddon. These demons cause mankind to fight against God and His saints. Satan is not in this battle. His day is coming and we will get there soon in this lesson series.

    In the beginning of Revelation, God tells John to write this letter to ALL seven churches. This letter is a warning of events to come and to give hope to those who may have to go through these days. Here in Revelation 16:15 God gives a promise to them that will go through this time.

    In Revelation 16:17 – 21, we have the affects of the seventh and final angel on the earth. With this angel pouring his bowl into the air, we have God’s voice coming out of the temple saying it is done. We have never experienced earthquakes like these anywhere in the history of mankind. Moreover, there is hail falling from the heavens that weighs equal to a talent (60 – 180 pounds). Picture this! The ground is opening up and hail is falling that equals 180 pounds. Where do you go to hide? We also see that all the mountains and islands are gone. Some think that this great city is Jerusalem and others think that it is Babylon. We are told that Babylon comes into the remembrance of God for all that she has done and she is about to get ALL that is coming to her. With all of the earthquakes and hail, all of the cities of the earth are in ruin. More detail of these events of Babylon will come in chapters 17 -18 of Revelation.