Preparation for the Pouring Out of God’s Wrath (Rev 15:1-8)

In chapter 14, we saw an angel flying overhead with an urgent message for those who dwell on the earth, calling them to repent from worshiping the beast and its image and to worship and fear God alone, because the hour of his wrath has come (cf Rev 14:7).

In chapter 15, we see that God’s patience with the unrepentant world has reached its climax. The series of judgments represented by the seals and trumpets have failed to accomplish their intended effects; as we read in Rev 9:20-21, “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, [21] nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

The stage is now set for God to pour out the last series of judgments that are depicted by the seven plagues/bowls of wrath, which in-turn usher in the return of Christ. 

Chapter 15 is broken up into three heavenly scenes. In the first scene, we see the seven angels ready with their seven plagues, awaiting God’s command.  In the second scene, we see a company of the redeemed standing in the presence of God and praising Him for His acts of justice and faithfulness in judging the nations. In the third and final scene, we see the deliverance of the plagues to the seven angels and the sanctuary filled with smoke from the glory of God and His power. And no one could enter the sanctuary until the bowls of wrath were poured out. 

This is a very solemn and sobering scene indeed. God’s final judgment is about to fall on all of his creation, and yet we see the redeemed in heaven singing praises to God. What is it that gives them cause to sing and in turn should do the same for us? In the first place, it is the fact that all evil will be judged one day. Hence, we can face injustice done against us today and trust our souls to him who judges righteously (cf.1 Peter 2:22). We do not have to avenge ourselves, knowing that our God is a just judge and He will execute justice on that day. Secondly, we can sing knowing that God’s eternal wrath will never fall on us, because we are covered by the blood of Christ.  Therefore, we can sing to the God of our salvation.