R E V E L A T I O N Chapter 15



This chapter not only tells us that the wrath of God has a conclusion to it, but it also gives us the first glimpse at the opening of the thousand-year reign of Christ.  During those thousand years, Christ will reign, as our king and High Priest while Satan is locked away and out of the picture.

Rev 20:1-3

1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.  NIV

Now the thousand years is a time when all mankind will be taught the knowledge of the Lord… or the truth.  And that knowledge will cover the earth, so fully that it is equated with the waters covering the sea, which was told to mankind way back in chapter eleven of Isaiah. 

Isaiah 11:9-12

9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,

for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD  as the waters cover the sea.

10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.

11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.

12 He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. NIV

  As a reminder of who has ordained and predestined all this let us look at:

Revelation 4:2

At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.

Revelation 4:5

From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.

Revelation 4:6

Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.  NIV

Now that we have been reminded that it is God Almighty who sits on this throne atop the symbolic sea of glass let us begin chapter fifteen of Revelation.

Revelation 15:1

I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues-last, because with them God's wrath is completed. NIV

       We know that our creator is the author of love; nonetheless He threatened His wrath time and time again over the ages.  Now had God not been true to his word and brought forth that wrath, then among other things, a major lesson would have been lost to mankind in general.  Still his wrath, as has been pointed out before, was tempered by His love, His sense of justice, and His compassion, but most of all by His righteousness… all the things that make our creator holy.

        And so there will be no misunderstanding we will repeat the definition of the word holy…it means to be separate, distinct, one of a kind. 

The point of this is that although the warning to mankind that his wrath would be forthcoming, if the ways of man were not mended, had to take place.  It had to take place at the time assigned for this wrath by our Creator or He would have made His own word unreliable.

Just the same, God’s wrath was not to be endless, for with the end of the seven plagues comes the end of that wrath just as the first verse of this chapter has just told us with the words… because with them God's wrath is completed. 

Now as has been said before in these pages when one thing ends something else begins.  That something else was the time for the beginning of the new heavens and the new earth, which the creator has also promised. Lets take a quick peek ahead in Revelation and see where our Creator confirms this.

Revelation 21:1-3

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  

2 I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. NIV 

All of above has, at the future time assigned to it, a start that begins with the next verse.

Revelation 15:2

And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God NIV

     What a marvelous scripture this second verse is.  It is chuck full of promise and with what we have already learned of the symbolism used in this book, fairly easy to understand.  The sea represents the population of mankind in general, those that have not understood the word of God as He has given it to us.  The glass represents the platform on which Gods throne sits and is indicative of the promise of eternal life flowing freely from that throne in all directions.

      The sea of glass mixed with fire represents a time, allotted by our God, for a period of refinement being set for the sea of people or mankind in general.  How does that period of refinement take place?  It is a period of time overseen by those that have been victorious over the beast, (SATAN) his image (HIS GOVERNMENT OR SYSTEM OF THINGS) and his number (MANKIND IN GENERAL) A number we have already learned in chapter 13, which is clearly stated as 666.

Revelation 13:18

This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666. NIV

  666 is the number that symbolizes those that follow, either willingly or by deception, Satan.

     However, verse 2 is telling us that those that have been victorious over Satan and his teachings are given authority and instructions to teach the sea, or people in general, during this thousand-year reign of Christ. These instructions are coming from the Almighty Himself.  This is verified by the words “They held harps given them by God”    

     These words tell us this victorious group we learned of in chapters seven and fourteen of Revelation goes about refining the general population with a distinct voice or message, such as a harp. Now God's word or message is being symbolized as a harp because a harp has a distinguished sound and is clearly recognizable even when mixed in with the sound from a whole orchestra.   It is telling us this victorious group of members of the family of God play one tune and one tune only, which is the word of the Almighty.  As you might recall what John said, after he had been instructed to eat the small scroll in Revelation chapter ten that it would taste sweet in his mouth but bitter in his stomach.

Revelation 10:9-11

9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey."

10 I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.

11 Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."  NIV

     John always found the truth of God’s word sweet.  What John found bitter was that it had to be conveyed and explained again to those that had rejected it the first time during their lives. 

So it will also be to those that hear this song for the first time.  It will be sweet to taste the knowledge of God’s truth without Satan to confuse it during the thousand-year reign of Christ… but it will also be bitter knowledge, that in the past, they had swallowed and stomached the lies of the great deceiver.  Yet during this thousand-year reign of Christ even though all people will be instructed in the truth as God has revealed it, will all people accept the word with their hearts as well as their minds?  The answer to that unfortunately is no, which is what was learned in Chapter fourteen of Revelation.

  Revelation 14:2-3

And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. NIV

    Now we know that the number 144,000 represents all true Christians or members of the family of God (no matter what that number amounts to as time goes by, because the total number of True Christians will continue to grow forever as verified in Isaiah 9:7).

Yet the scripture above from chapter 14 is telling us not everyone will learn this new song.  In fact, only the true members of the family of God or 144,000 will be able to learn it… “…No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.”

    Which means that at the end of the thousand years when Satan is released from his chains for a short time only those that have truly believed will remain faithful, the rest will become part of Satan’s Gog and Magog.  Nonetheless, the time of a thousand years has been decreed by God to teach his message to all nations, tongues, and peoples, unhindered by anything or anyone.  Why?  So that at the end during the period when all men will have to answer to God for their actions no one will be able to say…”Gee Lord no body ever told me, I was never given a chance to learn your truth.”

     That this group of victorious members of God’s family will be teaching the world during this time is verified in the next verse of chapter 15 as it continues the thought concerning “They held harps given them by God”.

Revelation 15:3

 and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: "Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages. NIV

     We have already learned in previous chapters that this song is the Gospel the good news of the kingdom of God.  What was the song Moses sang?

Exodus 15:1-2

15:1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: "I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.

2 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. NIV

Exodus 15:13

13 "In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. NIV

      It might be noted that the leading out of the people of Israel by Moses was a foreshadowing of the leading out of the kingdom of Satan the people that follow Christ.  Moses and the people of Israel understood the kingdom as only an earthly kingdom.  However, when Christ came he explained there was also a heavenly side to that kingdom and all was to the glory of his God and his Father and the parallel is easy to see.

    Moses taught the law of the Old Covenant. Christ introduced us to the law of the New Covenant, Love God with all your heart, mind and life and also love your neighbor as yourself.  Christ told us that if we obey these two commands we are obeying all the law given to Moses and the house of Israel under the Old Covenant.

Matthew 7:12

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. NIV

   Notice “For this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” What did Christ mean when he said “And the Prophets”

  Now…so that we don’t come to a conclusion that this was an error in translation lets look at this same teaching from the scriptures telling us of a Pharisee who tried to trick Christ with the following question.

Matthew 22:34-40

35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

37 Jesus replied: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 

38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' 

40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." NIV

    Now, Christ is not telling us that the second commandment in the Law given to the House of Israel was different than recorded in Exodus 20.  What he is telling us is that under the New Covenant there are only two commands and the two came from the original laws given by God to Moses.  Christ is also telling us that the house of Israel was given the letter of the law but the Christian is commanded to obey the spirit of the law.

  (See Galatians chapter 5 for an explanation of the spirit of the law)

  What Christ is conveying to us by his statement is that “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” meaning the prophets of old verified by their writings that the teachings of the Bible are indeed constructed around these two concepts.  Because of this we are led in Revelation chapter 15 to the next verse…

Revelation 15:4

Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." NIV

  Within the context of the verse above it is clearly implied that this verse is speaking of a future time when everyone will worship God and His Son in the manner they should by the opening sentence of the verse… Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name?  The question is phrased in such a way as to assume the idea of someone not knowing the truth of God, at that time, would be ridiculous.  “Who will…” is obviously future tense as are the words, “Will come”, in “All nations will come and worship before you”.  All of which is carrying on the thought of the time when the righteous will be teaching the unrighteous in the verse 2 and 3 of this chapter.

  Again, “All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." Is speaking of a time in the future after the conclusion of the wrath of God in verse one.  It is not speaking of today because the wrath of God has not yet been concluded, as we shall see from verses yet to come in this chapter.  Nor for that matter has Satan been locked away as yet. Nonetheless, chapter fifteen continues to explain what will happen when Satan is taken out of the picture.  

Revelation 15:5

After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony, was opened. NIV

  “…That is, the tabernacle of the Testimony, was opened.’ The meaning for this is also easy to understand. The word Tabernacle in Hebrew is “Skeenee” which literally means hut, booth, or tent used to enclose something.

Hebrews 9:3-4

3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place,

4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered Ark of the Covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. NIV

  So, the temple of the tabernacle is referring, not to the whole temple, but to the area inside the temple known as the Holy of Holies. This was an area in the center of the temple built by Solomon that contained the Ark of the Covenant, which was encircled by a curtain held up by four posts. All of which was done and made under the direction of God.  No one was allowed in this area except the High Priest and he only once a year to plead for the atonement of the entire house of Israel. It was called the tabernacle of testimony because it testified to the very presence of God amongst His people.

    It was this curtain enclosing the Ark of the Covenant that was torn in two from top to bottom by The Almighty the moment Christ died.  This tearing in two of the curtain signified that Christ had opened the way to God and that God Almighty had accepted the death of His Son as the ultimate sacrifice.  That verse five of this chapter in Revelation refers to the opening of “The tabernacle of the Testimony” means that once again God will take up residence with mankind but at that time in a very different manner than before.  Where before he was available to mankind through the High Priest only.  In the future our Eternal High Priest, the only begotten Son of God, through his earthly act of sacrifice has made the way to God open to all the family of God.

    That God Almighty is also coming along with His Son is so mind boggling to me that all I personally can say to that is… WOW. 

    But it can also be pointed out that this residence with man by the Almighty himself is verified in

Revelation 21:3

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. NIV

   That loud voice from the throne is God Almighty giving that promise. That promise is repeated again in chapter 21 of Revelation.  

Revelation 21:22-26

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.

25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.

26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. NIV

  This is again promised in…

Revelation 22:3-5

3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.

4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. NIV

   Notice in verse three above “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city”. The city spoken of here is the New Jerusalem, which in itself is not a literal city but represents the Government of God for it comes out of heaven.

Revelation 21:1-2

 I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. NIV

   And again to make it clear that the Almighty Himself we dwell with mankind we repeat the words of God reprinted earlier in this article on the Rev chapter 15…

Rev 21:1-3

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

   Now does this mean that the universe will be destroyed and a new one built by God.  Is it reasonable to assume that God would destroy what he clearly said he was pleased with simple to make literal translations of this scripture come about?  Of course not what is new about the New Heavens and the new earth is the leadership of both at that time will be in the hands of God’s only begotten Son without anyone or anything to interfere, and that is what makes it new. Also notice in verse 3 of chapter 22 “No longer will there be any curse

Genesis 3:17

"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. NIV

   In other words in the new earth the curse put upon the old by God, when Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, will be lifted.  Not only that but God’s government lead by His Son will take over the ruler ship of the whole planet.

Revelation 21:2

I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

   Is it reasonable to believe that a complete city, (the large size of which is clearly related in other scriptures) is going to fall out of the sky?  Of course not but why are we asking if it is reasonable?  Because in Isaiah 1:18 God has told us to reason with Him. 

Isaiah 1:18

"Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. NIV

    I have had people say to me that Isa 1:18 is referring to the law to which is replied of course it is.  However, how would one arrive at the conclusion that God is telling us to be reasonable about the law and unreasonable about everything else? 

   And again let us be reminded that Revelation is a book of symbolism so why should we suddenly get the idea that this is a literal city that falls out of the sky.  The city spoken of here symbolizes the body of Christ or all of Christendom. Since that is so the next verse relates its wonder…

Revelation 21:3

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. NIV

   Think about what is being said in Rev 21:3 “…and God himself will be with them and be their God.” It is not telling us that men will dwell with God but Rev 21:3 is clearly telling us that God will dwell with man, which means here on earth just as He did with the house of Israel of old only more so. Under the old covenant one approached God only through the High Priest but because of Christ we will be able to approach God directly.

   However, the words “will be” (in Revelation 15 verse 5) is also clearly denoting a future event for this will not happen until the seven plagues are poured out upon the earth which will be verified in verse 8 of this chapter.  In the meantime this chapter continues with:

Revelation 15:6

Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. NIV

   That “They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests.”  We know that a golden sash around their chests represents sons or princes of God for this was what Christ was wearing when we first see the Son of God in Revelation.

Revelation 1:13

And among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. NIV

   That angels are also sons of God should not be a surprise to anyone for we were given that information way back in Job.

Job 1:6

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. NKJV

   We are told this again in:

Job 2:1

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. NKJV

 

    Now these seven angels come out of the temple of God

Revelation 15:7

7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever.

     These bowls were to be poured out onto the earth but these are not just a new set of plagues that fall on the earth but also a new and more detailed presentation of the events concerning the seventh trumpet, which has not sounded as yet, but will herald Gods final Judgment when it does.  In other words we are given some information on how God will judge the world.

     These events are here being portrayed as being dished out from golden bowls because golden dishes were considered royal dishes in days of old. Solomon had golden dishes and cups that he ate and drank from. Since there is no one more Royal than our Creator we have seven angels being given seven golden bowls which we shall learn more about in the next chapter. 

Revelation 15:8

8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed. NIV

  There are two things to be noted about the scripture above.

  First the temple was filled with smoke.  What does that mean?  It means we are being reminded of something we were told before.  Remember the words of Christ when he was here speaking of this time of God’s wrath to his apostles he said…

Matthew 24:22

If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. NIV

     Who then are the elect?  Remember the saints who cried out for vengeance for Gods word back in chapter five?  They are the saints who make up the firstfruits of the spiritual family whom God adopted from the earth.  It is their prayers that God has already decreed to be answered

Revelation 5:7-9

7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.

8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

9 And they sang a new song:  NIV

So the smoke in the temple is God telling us that the prayers of the saints are not only being heard but they are also being answered, therefore God shortens the time, which also allows the thousand-year reign of Christ to begin sooner.  These are the same seven angels that are being referred to in this chapter but even though they are each holding seven golden bowls of incense in chapter five, here in chapter 15 notice they are given seven different bowls filled with God’s wrath.

The second thing verse 8 of chapter 15 in Revelation is telling us is that “…no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”  In other words the unquestioned and uncontested kingdom rule by Christ, on the earth, will not begin until the wrath of God is finished.

We will restate here that the purpose of God in the Bible is to create a spiritual family for His only begotten Son.  That family is supplied by those adopted from the earth. However, in the future world the earth will have been cleansed and made righteous in order for the plans and purpose of God to be completely filled so that His righteous family will continue to grow forever.



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