The Wrath of God - Revelation Chapters 15 & 16

 Jamma Mokhriby


In our last message on the Book of Revelation, "The Woeful Seventh Trumpet" we left off at verse 1 of Chapter 15. With only eight verses, Ch. 15 is the shortest of all the chapters contained in this book which is sometimes referred to as the Apocalypse. Although the Chapter is diminutive, its message is not.
Verse 1 begins the revelation of this chapter by showing seven angels having the last seven plagues of the Great Tribulation and that by these plagues the wrath of God will be completed. The ministry of these seven angels culminates and brings to a conclusion the events we have been granted to preview since the sounding of the woeful seventh trumpet in Revelation 11:14-15.
Verses 2-4 of Rev. Ch. 15 show the glorious victory of the tribulation saints after they will have refused to submit to the demands of the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet. They are shown to us joining the Church and all the host of heaven upon the crystal sea before the Throne of God revealed in Rev. 4:6, but now this crystal sea is mingled with fire from the fiery steam of our God (Dan. 7:9-10).
They are given harps and will sing before God in blessed union with the twenty-four golden crowned elders of Rev. Chapters 4:4,6 & 10 & 5:8-11.
It is noteworthy to do a comparative study between Chapters 4 & 5 of Revelation and Revelation 15. We ascertain that the twenty-four elders of Rev. Chaps. 4 & 5 are the esteemed representatives of the unique priesthood of the Church Raptured from all nations before the final 7 years of Daniel 9:27 began in Rev. Ch. 6. (See I Chron. 24, Heb. 7:11-14, I Pet. 2:4,5 & 9 & Rev. 5:8-11).
During the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period the Old Testament priesthood will be reestablished by the Jews to officiate in the rebuilt Temple prophesied of in Rev. 11. Before this priesthood's temple duties are put to a stop by the Anti-Christ (Dan. 9:27), they will be witnessed to by born again Jews who will challenge their authority and attempt to enlighten them to how the true priesthood of believers can only be established in Jesus Christ.
These tribulation saints of Rev. 15:2 are identified as those who sing the song of Moses found in Exodus 15 and the song of the Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ.
It should be noted that even in heaven the newly arriving believers from out of the Tribulation are not seen as being corporate with the body of the glorified Church of the Lord. A special identification of these children of Israel is made by the poignant reference to their song of victory, which had been sung of old by their forefathers when they were delivered from out of the hands of the Egyptians.
In similar fashion that the golden crowned elders of Rev. Chaps. 4 & 5 sang a song of united victory in the Lamb of God, so also does the chorus of the redeemed saints of Rev. Ch. 15 sing of victory, but what is notable is that they are comprised of a distinctly separate representation of Jewish believers in Jesus Christ. Gentiles can and will continue to be saved along with Israel during the Tribulation Period, but the specific promise of Dan. 9:24 is to the Jews of that time.
Verses 5-8 of Ch. 15 of the Book of Revelation then conclude the chapter with a description of what will be seen in heaven the day God authorizes His seven angels to receive the seven golden bowls filled with His terrible wrath. These are to be poured out as tremendous judgments upon the earth until the end of the Great Tribulation. So solemn is the event, none except God is permitted access to His heavenly temple during this time.
Verse 1 of Chapter 16 of the Book of Revelation read in tandem with Rev. 15:8 makes it known to us that God Himself orders from within His temple the pouring out of His wrath from these seven bowls.
In II Thessalonians 2:3-4 we are told that during the Tribulation, the man of sin called Anti-Christ, will exalt himself above all that is called God and that he will seat himself, along with an image that can speak, in the rebuilt earthily temple of God. There he will present himself to the world to be worshiped as God.
By the prophetic time line shown in the Scriptures we know that he will commit this blasphemous abomination after he has put an end to the worship of God in the Temple.
It is of a personal opinion that it will be during the time when the image of the beast is given breath to speak and demand that the world worship the Anti-Christ, that the temple of heaven will be "filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed" (Rev. 15:8).
From the time the Anti-Christ stops the worship in the Temple at the mid-point of the Tribulation, until this final provocation of God's wrath when some kind of satanically engineered facsimile stands in the Holy of Holies, the Anti-Christ will have exalted himself within its walls and survived an apparent assassination attempt. The placement and empowerment of the image of the Beast within the Temple of God on earth will be countered by the presence of God in the Temple of Heaven as the cup of His wrath overflows.
There are those who teach that the Rapture of the Church takes place at this particular point during the final 7 years. Those devoted to this teaching believe that the Rapture immediately precedes this day of wrath.
This teaching is essentially based on and built around the promise to the Church found in I Thessalonians 5:9 which reads, "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Although it is true that this Scripture read in conjunction with Rev. Ch. 16 can unequivocally be used to prove that the Rapture of the Church will have to have taken place prior to the outpouring of God's wrath in Rev. 16:1, it is not just as true that it can be used as a proof text that the Rapture will take place shortly after the middle point of the final 7 years.
We have, in this series of studies on the Book of Revelation, shown that the Lord has abundantly made clear since Rev. Ch. 5 that His Church will not be residing upon the earth once the 7 year Tribulation Period of Daniel's 70th week begins.
The correctly extrapolated absence of the Church, which is verified by the comparing of I Thess. 5:9 & Rev. 16:1, is just a continuation of the same unhalting revelation which Jesus has repeatedly made known throughout our study of Revelation...that is, that the Church has not, and still is not found upon the earth since before He opened the first seal at the start of the Tribulation Period.
It should also be noted that the exclusive use of I Thessalonians 5:9 in an attempt to prove the exact time for the Rapture of the Church, as has been done in the Pre-Wrath teaching, cannot be justified when properly examining the scriptures contextual interpretation. When this Scripture is read carefully it is easily discerned that it primarily pertains to "salvation."
The wrath spoken of in this Scripture is not a specific one time event as recorded for the close of this age, but it is in fact an ever present condition abiding on all the unsaved.
Quoting from John 3:36 we read, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
Every born again believer in Jesus Christ, since Jesus was crucified and rose from the grave almost 2000 years ago, has already been delivered from the wrath of God. There is no scriptural support to the teaching that believers must wait until the days of the Great Tribulation to escape God's wrath.
Continuing on in Rev. Ch. 16:2-21 we read of the judgments which will be experienced upon the earth as the seven bowls of God's wrath are poured out. These bowls are still the results of the sounding of the woeful seventh trumpet of Rev. 11:14-15.
The final seven bowl judgments from heaven should not be viewed as entirely separate from the earlier trumpet judgments, but are in fact cumulative. The horrors of the trumpet judgments have not all ceased, but still linger upon the earth. The bowl judgments are like gas upon a pre-existent fire.
At the pouring out of the first bowl a loathsome sore comes upon those who have taken the mark of the beastly Anti-Christ and have agreed to worship his image.
It seems that grievous reactions or a vile infection will fester at the location where the unsaved have received the mark. Perhaps new marks will need to be put on everyone because of this sore.
The second bowl turns the remaining two thirds of the seas which were not affected by the second trumpet judgment of Rev. 8:8 to blood, and every living creature in the sea will die. The stench from this judgment will be unbelievable as bloated sea creatures rot in the blazing sun for as far as the eyes can see in every direction.
At the pouring out of the third bowl the remaining fresh water supplies not affected by the third trumpet of Rev. 8:10-11 are also turned to blood.
Revelation 16:6 says of this righteous judgment of the Lord, "For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You [Oh God] have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due."
Revelation 11:3 & 6 tells us that for 3 ½ years prior to this time no rain will fall upon the earth. Now the remaining rivers and springs of fresh water will be found to be contaminated.
The fourth bowl unleashes the scorching power of the sun upon men's flesh. At the sounding of the fourth trumpet in Rev. 8:12 the appearance of the sun has been reduced by a third, now when it does shine during the time of God's wrath we are told in Rev. 16:9 that, " were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.:"
This judgment, read in conjunction with the judgment of Rev. 8:12 and the judgment to come in Rev. 16:10, supports that the earth will be further shifted off of its current axis.
Isaiah 24:20 says that in these last days, "the earth shall be reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut..."
The continual repositioning of the earth because of a precarious wobble would explain much of the apparent celestial disarray seen from the earth. The heavens would no longer appear familiar and dependable. The changing distance between the earth and the sun, along with incomparable solar flares, would explain the incredible rise in the sun's heat.
When the fifth bowl is poured out in Rev. 16:10-11 the utter torment being experienced from these plagues is enhanced as complete darkness comes upon the kingdom of the Anti-Christ. At this time, the remaining light of the moon and even the comforting twinkle of a few familiar stars left within view since the fourth trumpet of Rev. 8:12 will be extinguished.
Physicians have long noted without explanation how many pains intensify for patients during the nighttime. Because of this plague of darkness we re told in Rev. 16:10, "...they gnawed their tongues because of the pain," while Rev. 16:11 makes particular mention of their sores.
Initially, at the first bowl in Rev. 16:2, only a single sore was mentioned. Now there is a mention of sores, plural. The passage could be speaking of everyone's individual Revelation 16:17 concludes our study for now with the pouring out of the seventh bowl and the announcement, "It is done!" - thus fulfilling the promise made for the things of the woeful seventh trumpet promised in Rev. 10:7. That is, that in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel the mystery of God would be finished.
We will save the remainder of this chapter so that we might include it with our study of Chapters 17 & 18 of Revelation which we have simply titled, "Babylon's Two & Three."