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Tuesday, May 28th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 15

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books

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Judgment Without Mercy Revelation Fifteen

Revelation Fifteen provides a sad picture of God's judgment being poured out without mercy on the ungodly. Revelation Fourteen provided an overview of that judgment. Revelation Fifteen begins to provide the details of God's horrible judgment against the wicked. God's wrath will now be poured out undiluted by neither mercy nor grace.

These are "the seven last plagues." In Revelation Fourteen the righteouses are pictured as being around the throne of God singing a "New Song." Here they stand on a sea of glass enjoying peace and victory. The "fire" purifies the righteous and burns the wicked as stubble. God's judgment will cause every knee to bow before Him. ( Rom_14:10 , Php_2:10 )

God's presence is associated with "the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven." This is where the high priest made intercession, and also where God communed with His people, and heard their prayers. Here God is pictured as avenging His Son whose offices and authority had been usurped. He defended His Son whose name had been dishonored. God brought vengeance on those that opposed the purpose of the Lord’s death.

The temple was opened so that John was permitted to look inside. He was allowed to look upon the very dwelling-place of God. The angels came from His presence to execute judgment on those that opposed Christianity. They were attired in a way that was fitting their rank and the somber work they had to do.

One of the four beasts that were introduced in the early part of Revelation gave the seven angels seven golden vials. These golden vials were full of the wrath of God. The temple was filled with smoke. This represented the Divine presence. No one would be allowed to intercede in order to divert God from the wrath He intended to pour out on the wicked. This chapter closes as we await the outpouring of that wrath.

Verses 1-2

The victory over the beast Rev_15:1-2 : God's judgment was to be poured out on the wicked. It would be judgment without mercy. The judgment would be complete. When God's judgment had been seen earlier in the book of Revelation it was mixed with mercy. Often only one-third of the number was affected. Now His wrath is to be poured out "without mixture." "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb." ( Rev_14:10 )

John is given a brief glimpse of saints on life's other side. "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." ( Rev_15:2 ) In the early pictures given in the book of Revelation the sea pictured God as perfect and that man could not approach Him. Later the sea will be no more and then man is allowed intimate fellowship with the Almighty. God's people give Him praise as symbolized by the harps. The sea of glass mingled with fire pictured the judgment of God.

Verses 3-4

The song of Moses and the Lamb Rev_15:3-4 : The redeemed ones sing "the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb." The song of Moses was a song of deliverance for the people of God. "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." ( Exo_15:1 ) This deliverance was a type of deliverance for the faithful children of God.

This victory song included four areas of praise for God. First, God's works were praised, "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty." Second, God's ways are praised, "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." Third, God's name was praised. "Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy." The only thing God magnifies above His name is His truth. "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." ( Psa_138:2 ) Fourth, God's judgments or His righteous acts were praised. "For all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest."

When righteousness is seen we can only think of God. "Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD." ( Psa_97:8 ) The things they sung about God were all true. He deserves all praise and honor!

Verse 5

The temple in heaven is opened Rev_15:5 : John said, "And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened." ( Rev_15:5 ) We are now allowed to view the place from which the judgment comes. The judgment comes from the place where God dwells.

The expression "the tabernacle of the testimony" is found only one time in the New Testament. It is a part of Stephen's sermon in Act_7:1-60 . "Our fathers had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness, even as he appointed who spake unto Moses, that he should make it according to the figure that he had seen." ( Act_7:44 ) (ASV) It is amazing how New Testament writers say so little about the Jewish Temple. God told Moses to build the Tabernacle not the Temple according to the pattern He had shown him. "The tabernacle of the testimony" was that which kept the two tables of stone that revealed to the Jews the will of God for that day. The opening of "the tabernacle of the testimony" had to do with the clear discovery of God's truths and a practice of them.

Verses 6-8

The seven golden vials full of the wrath of God Rev_15:6-8 : The seven angels with the seven bowls pictured the complete destruction awaiting the disobedient. The angels were dressed very much like the Old Testament priests. God's wrath will last forever against the ungodly. No one could enter the Temple to intercede for Rome.

Even if Rome decided to repent at this point it was too late. God's final judgment was on its way and Rome would face the consequences of its sins. When God's good time has come, nothing can stop final judgment. Do not wait too late to prepare to meet God.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 15". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/revelation-15.html. 2014.
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