Study of Revelation 15:1-16:21

Key Verse

“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.” Revelation 15:1

Introduction

Chapters 15 and 16 show us the devastation of the final judgments of God on all those who refuse to repent. The increase of the intensity of His judgments can be unnerving at our first evaluation, but the angels, who’s evaluation is untainted by sin, worship God because His judgments are righteous and just on those who have murdered God’s people. 

The dragon, the beast, and the false prophet once more deceive the nations and gather them to destroy the people of God, only for them to realize that they’ve gathered for their own destruction. 

Scholarly Commentary

“The victory over the Egyptians was a foreshadowing of the victory of all God’s redeemed over the beast, his image, his number. Therefore, the song that the church triumphant is singing is called the song of Moses and of the Lamb. In both cases it was the Lamb who gave the victory.”53

“It appears that the seals, trumpets, and bowls all describe events that occur in the last days, (i.e., the period between the first and second comings of Christ.) Although each series recapitulates the same time period, the judgments grow more intense with each (e.g., from ¼ to 1/3 to 1), and all deliver us to the very end of history and the last judgment.”54

“Notice that in the bowls the aspect of finality is emphasized. Whereas only one-third of the living creatures in the sea died during the second trumpet, the destruction wrought by the second bowl is complete…This is God’s final wrath.”55

“Most of the bowls, like the trumpets, recall the plagues of the Exodus: sores (16:2), water into blood (16:3-4), and darkness (16:10, and in this case its antithesis, 16:9). By recalling the plagues, this series of judgments also reminds believers that as God protected his own people in Goshen during the plagues, so he will protect them from his judgments. The final two bowls represent the promised end-time battle and the completion of God’s promises.”56

“The enemies’ defeat, however, will take them unawares. The drying of the river removes and impediment that had hindered their assault on the church, so ‘the kings from the east,’ who stand for ‘the kings of the whole world’ (Rev. 16:14), gleefully gather for the kill. Surely, now that this barrier no longer restrains their violence and separates them from their prey, their victory is imminent! But they are sadly mistaken. In fact, they are assembling to meet their own destruction. The world’s rulers gather for the war only because the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet have deceived them. From those three villains’ mouths spring three demonic spirits in the form of frogs.”57

Reflection

Does reading about these judgments cause your heart to worship like the angels and glorified saints do when they witness the judgment and justice of God? Ask God to conform your heart and mind to His so that we can worship God for all that He does, crying out with our glorified brothers and sisters: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.” 

Works Cited

53, 55 Hendriksen, William. More than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation

54 Duvall, J. Scott. Revelation

56 Keener, Craig S. Revelation

57 Johnson, Dennis E. Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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