{"Once the wrath of God was placed on Jesus Christ because of what He was doing for sinners.  In the future, the wrath of God will be placed on (unrepentant) sinners because of what they are doing to Jesus Christ." John MacArthur}

We all rejoice when we see the wicked witch and other evil characters in story books get their due in the end or in true life stories where the good guy, underdog, wins and the boastful, bad guy, champ loses. But for some reason we are still shocked by the wrath of God Who has suffered the greatest injustice in all of human history; His rightful ownership of us through His creation and the cross and yet man's rejection of Him and His Son's love.  And yet when He vindicates Himself and His Son in perfect justice the world screams, UNFAIR!. Yet, imagine His restraint in withholding His wrath. His perfect holiness demands punishment of the wicked and His mighty power can render it instantly. Yet He waits, not wishing that any one perish (2 Peter 3:9).  The very same God Who ultimately must pour out His wrath on Satan, demons and unrepentant man (the proud biped) is the same God Who poured out His wrath on His Son so that none should perish but have everlasting life, He has no pleasure in the punishment of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11) so He sacrifices His own Son and warns people year after year to repent and be saved from His wrath. Even in the Great Tribulation He continues to call people to repent. But for those who refuse and reject His love He confines them to hell forever – eternal damnation. Heaven cannot have even one unrepentant, sinful person. Like cancer cells, sin spreads quickly and takes over and heaven would soon be hellish. 

Again we see that the book of Revelation helps us to see the forest (God's over arching, wonderful and eternal plan for those who trust Christ) and not just the trees (our personal earthly but temporary trials and struggles).            

"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." This chapter is a prelude (heavenly view) of the coming bowl judgments seen (on earth) in Chapter 16 "the last plagues" ("wounds"- the final judgments of God). These two chapters continue the chronology of the three series of judgments (seal, trumpet and now bowl judgments) that immediately precede and include the battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ (Chapter 19). Chapters 17-18 contain parenthetical material. These final judgments are what the prophets spoke of in the Old Testament as the "day of the Lord" (Zeph. 1:14-18).

"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 and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb."  Here are the saints that were saved and martyred in the tribulation. They may have looked defeated by Antichrist on earth but they were victors in God's sight and now sing for joy in His presence. The sea of glass is the same as seen in chapter 4 which is the platform for God's holy throne and on which these victors are standing. In this scene the sea is mixed with fire, revealing God's fiery judgment against His enemies. Steve Griffith believes the sea of glass also represents "rest" for the saints as it is a picture of a calm versus stormy sea of this life. Obviously it is not a sea at all but a crystal like glassy platform that refracts and reflects the multiple and glorious attributes of God. These saints probably include Jews and Gentiles but we know that saved Jews are seen here because the Jews were the ones who sang the song of Moses (Ex. 15; Deut. 32). Both the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb (Rev. 5) are songs celebrating God's deliverance of His people and His judgment of their enemies; Moses' song showing temporal deliverance and the song of the Lamb, eternal deliverance.  Thus the song seen in the next verses is a summary of God's delivering power for those who put their trust in Him.    

"Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty.  Just and true are your ways, King of the ages (nations). 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." Here the saints praise God's perfect justice revealed in His righteous wrath against His enemies and His holiness; and they praise the truth of His Word and how He keeps the promises seen in His Word – the ultimate Promise Keeper. Note the number of pronouns referring to God (you, your) showing us that our life is to be focused on Him, not ourselves. As they see God's holiness, might and justice they show us the only proper response to God- awe, worship and lives lived for His glory. We also see a foretaste of the Millennial kingdom where all nations will "stream" to Jerusalem to be taught by God. (Isa. 2:2-4)

"After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony, was opened. 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. 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. 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."  John's vision now takes him right into the heavenly tabernacle/temple (the one on earth is only a shadow and copy of the one in heaven; Hebrews 9:24; 8:5 & 9:1) where God has commissioned seven more angels for His service – to pour out seven bowls "filled with the wrath of God."  The linen clothes picture righteousness in action (See Rev. 19:8). Where there's smoke there's fire. God often reveals Himself with fire (Ex. 19:18, 1 Kings 18:24) and He Himself is called a "consuming fire" (Heb 12:29). Fire is a picture of His holiness, jealousy and wrath and even His glory and we see it here in full blaze. {"The heavenly tabernacle is filled with smoke, just as the glory of God filled both the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-38) and the temple (1 Kings 8:10-11). But the glory then was a mark of God's presence and blessing. The glory John saw was an announcement that God's wrath was about to be poured out on a wicked world." Warren Wiersbe – With the Word}

 "filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever."  {"The eternal God will not have sin and sinners destroying His universe forever.  He is going to live forever, but He's not going to allow sin to live forever.  And so this is the unfolding of His plan.  He will destroy sin.  He will destroy sinners.  He will remove them from His presence and the presence of His redeemed and from the environment of His holy new creation.  God's plan is holiness.  God's plan is peace.  God's plan is perfection.  God's plan is joy.  That's indicated to us, as we shall see, when we get to chapter 21 and read of the magnificence of the eternal state.  And the One who lives forever and the One who promises eternal joy and eternal peace is not going to allow sin to live forever." John MacArthur} 

The seven angels are dressed and ready when "a loud voice from heaven (maybe Christ) gives the word: "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth." (16:1


1) What is your main take away from today's message and table discussion and how can you apply it to your life this week

2) Read Zephaniah 1:14-18 and Revelation 15-16 – Do you think unregenerate man has any concept of the magnitude of the future wrath of God?  Do you think that born-again Christians perhaps don't even fully appreciate the impending wrath of God?   Does God's wrath seen in chapter 16 but more so in the doctrine of hell and eternal punishment seem right and just to you? Why or why not?

3) How does 2 Cor. 4:16-18 relate to this passage?

4) In Rev. 15:3-4 we once again see a group of Tribulation martyrs in heaven worshiping God.  What strikes you the most about this worship?

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