Great & Marvelous Signs

GREAT & MARVELOUS SIGN IN HEAVENI 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)

Seven Last Plagues – With the “seven last plagues” (variously translated as being poured from cups, bowls or vials) God’s wrath is no longer partial or temporary (as they were with the seven seals and seven trumpets). They are “last, because with them God’s wrath is completed,” irrevocable and everlasting. The partial (one-third) judgments of the trumpets suggested that God uses the sufferings and evils of this life as a warning to draw humankind toward repentance and faith. But such tribulations also foreshadow the final hour of judgment, when God’s wrath is finished and there is “no more delay.”(1)

In addition to complete, a more literal translation might be finished, or consummated. Although the plagues are still future, their certainty and finality are such that they are described as if they have already taken place and are in the past. In other words, these judgments of God are so certain of fulfillment that the future can be spoken of in the present or past tense.

This portion of the text is a summary of the vision that follows, as the angels do not actually receive the bowls until Revelation 15:7. But here, in anticipation of receiving them, they are spoken of as having them. There are no more plagues after these until the Lord’s comes in final judgment.(2) These plagues are characterized as judgments that harden mankind’s hearts in much the same way as Pharaoh was hardened.(3)

Between the sixth and seventh seals and the sixth and seventh trumpets we were told of God’s protection of, and mission for, the people of God. But with the seven bowls there is no break between the sixth and seventh outpourings of judgment. Now only wrath remains. There is no more delay. Babylon the Great, the symbol for all who have set themselves against the Most High God, will fall.(4)

But before the angels pour out their judgments, there is an interlude of blessing. Before sending the third woe (the seven bowls of God’s wrath) that was announced in the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:14), God once again reassures His faithful people.(5) 

Up Next – Sea of glass.

_______________________

References

  1. Sloan, R. B. (1998). The Revelation. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman concise Bible commentary (p. 677). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
  2. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 587). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  3. Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (p. 289). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  4. Sloan, R. B. (1998). The Revelation. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman concise Bible commentary (p. 677). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
  5. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 608). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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