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.

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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.

How Small Is Your Strength?

Proverbs 24:10If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Our strength may not be up to the task, but God’s strength is more than equal to it. Our weakness can turn into strength if we recognize this and rely on His strength. Then we will not falter.

My Advice – Draw your strength from God through regularly studying His Word and by constant prayer. This will prepare you for times of trouble. Otherwise, you may rely on your own strength and falter.

Three Other Angels

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THREE OTHER ANGELSThen I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” (Revelation 14:6-13)

The First Angel Proclaims the Gospel – Here the focus begins to shift from the Jewish people to the gentile world. Before the end the Gospel will be proclaimed to all “those who live on the earth.” This does not mean that all will be converted, but that all will have had a clear opportunity to choose whether they will be for Christ or against Him. This last measure of God’s grace is offered for them to repent during this age of God’s wrath before “the hour of His judgment” comes. If not, Continue reading “Three Other Angels”