Saturday, February 20, 2010

Revelation 15:1-4

Chapter 15

Verse 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.”

Now seven angels (again the number of perfection, seven) appear before the throne of God and they carry what we shall soon see are vials which are filled with the wrath of God. Note that we are told that now and only now is God’s wrath being poured out. Before now none of the plagues which were afflicting mankind were referred to as God’s wrath. In Rev. 10:7 it said that when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet the mystery of God would be finished. Then in 11:15-18 the seventh angel sounds his trumpet and the kingdoms of the world become Christ’s again. (The mortgage reverts to its owner.) The twenty-four elders then announce that God’s wrath has come. All of this has been shown to occur at the end of the 1260 days. When the first angel in chapter 14 preaches the gospel, he also announces that the hour of God’s judgment has come. We are told by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:52 that at the last trump (the seventh trumpet, the one sounded in Rev. 11) that the dead will be resurrected and the rapture will occur. We know that we are not appointed to God’s wrath, so the rapture has to occur before God’s wrath can be poured out. All of these things confirm that the rapture has just occurred in chapter 14 after the 1260 days, and that God’s wrath or the seven vial/bowl judgments which occur at the last trump or seventh trumpet are now about to be poured out. There were seven seals, the last seal being the seven trumpets. The seventh trumpet announces and contains the seven vials of God's wrath. If one were to write this in outline form, the seven seals would be Roman numerals I-VII. Under Roman numeral VII would be alphabet numbers "A-G" which would be the trumpets. Under "G" , the seventh trumpet would be numbers 1-7 which are these vials. This negates any theory that the seals, trumpets, and vials are simultaneous judgments, as some preach. They are consecutive.

Verse 2-4 “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. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 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.”

It may appear at first reading that this is a repeat of the multitude which appeared on the sea of glass after the sealing of the 144,000. Its following the mention of the 144,000 might initially make some think that this is a replay of that first group, but a closer look (just as a closer look at the 144,000 revealed the difference) shows that they are not the same. The first group is said to have come out of the tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white (had to be purged of their compromises). They have made it to heaven, but they were not victorious over the beast's campaign against them, although victorious in that their salvation is secure. The second group has gotten victory over the beast and the mark. He has not been able to kill them. They are victorious not only in the spiritual sense of enduring to the end, but also in the physical sense. The first group was martyred. The second group has lived through it all to be raptured, so they have ultimately been victorious in that they have lived through the beast's reign and have beaten him. In the first group, they held palm branches and said, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb.” There is no connection to the Old Testament. In this group, they hold harps. This group sings the song of Moses and the Lamb. The songs of Moses were victory songs about the escape from Pharaoh, and God's provision for them in all that was happening. This group would have experienced the same sort of escape, protection, and provision that the children of Israel experienced during the exodus and wilderness wanderings. This group also sings the song of the Lamb. Again this seems to indicate, as mentioned in the last chapter, that these are both Messianic Jews and Gentiles who are observing the commandments and keeping a more Judaic style of Christianity (as opposed to a paganized style of Christianity with the pagan Sabbath, holy days, and even music, which is how Christianity is observed today). Ps. 111.10 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." They have not had to be purged of all the sins and problems that were mentioned in the letters to the seven churches. This group is the Philadelphians. While the first group in chapter seven only sang to and about the Lamb, because at that point that is his role, this group sings about Christ the King, as He has now taken up his crown and scepter and is reigning. All of the nations will now be required to worship Him for now His judgment of mankind is going to be manifested. In other words, God's wrath is now going to commence and be more than just a threat. It is going to be manifest or actually come to pass. It has been merely a prophecy, or promise, or threat up until now. Now, in these final vials God's wrath is going to be poured out. Again, this confirms that the other judgments were not God's wrath, which only again confirms that the rapture has just taken place.

Also in this passage the sea of glass is mingled with fire. This group has literally come out of fire. The world has been undergoing a purging fire in various places since the trumpet judgments began, and it will finally be completely purged in the bowl or vial judgments.

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