How often do you watch or read happy or encouraging news these days? Probably not often. Our current events consist of unfortunate wildfires across the globe, human trafficking, mass shootings, pandemic plagues and so much more. We live in a fallen world and sadly, we don’t need anyone to tell us evil and sin exist. Just open your eyes to what’s in front of you or watch the news for 5 minutes.
We are knee deep into the book of Revelation by now, and if you have been following along you can see clearly this is God’s final word to mankind. This type of apocalyptic reality and tribulations seen within the text are all examples of God’s wrath. Chapter 15 falls between the trumpet judgments and is the prelude to the bowl judgments in the following chapter. At this time, seven churches have received a message from Jesus, seven seals have been opened, and seven trumpets have sounded.
I mean, let’s picture pure chaos happening at this point. Hail and fire and blood released to the earth – this is often associated with divine judgment or wrath (Genesis 19:24). Earthquakes, wildfires, demonic locusts, and ultimately, humanity is not getting any better and refusing to repent and becoming more depraved following the rapture. In this chapter, we see the prelude to the final seven plagues of which represent the final outpouring of God’s judgment completed on earth, and the earth prepared for the reign and return of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 15, verses 1-2 say,
"Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels with seven plagues; which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire – and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands."
The sea of glass that is before the throne of God is now being mingled with fire for the fiery judgments that are to come.
Verse 3 says, "And they sing the song of Moses, the Servant of God, and the song of the Lamb."
Here we see the redeemed Israel who have been saved during the Great Tribulation period who received Jesus Christ as the result of the two witnesses and the 144,000 who will also bear witness. So, they sing in verse 3 “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”
Here is the song that is proceeding the final judgments of God poured out upon the earth and again the justice of God is declared. All the way through this Great Tribulation period, voices from the throne, from beneath the throne, crying out "holy and just are thy ways, righteous and true are thy judgments".
There will never be a question or a doubt of the righteousness of God. Man does that now. How could a God of love do this or that or the other? And man challenges the justice and the righteousness of God now, but when the final time comes throughout eternity there can never be any challenge of the fairness of God, of the righteousness of God or the judgments of God. There will always be that declaration of "holy and true are thy ways, thy judgments, O Lord".
Even as God sought to protect the innocence of Jesus in His death, by many testimonies, Pilate examined Him even by scourging. And after this Roman inquisition, Pilate said, "I find no fault with Him" in John 19:4, a testimony of the innocence of Jesus. Judas, the one that betrayed Him, when he threw the money down on the floor said, "I have betrayed innocent blood" in Matthew 27:4, a witness to the innocence of Jesus. And finally, as He was hanging there on the cross, the one thief said to the other, "We are here because we deserve to be here, but this man has done nothing amiss" in Luke 23:43.
God protected the record. Jesus was innocent. He was the just one dying for the guilty. Now through the Great Tribulation, God's justice, God's righteousness, God's fairness is constantly being vindicated and declared. Just and true are thy ways thou King of Saints.
Continuing on to verses 4-6
“Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed. V5: After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, V6: and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright (white) linen with golden sashes around their chests."
At this point, there are seven angels bringing the seven final plagues, the judgments of God, and from here God’s judgment is complete.
"And one of the 4 living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden vials (little bowls) full of wrath of God who lives forever and ever. V8: and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished."
So, now in heaven as we see the temple of God, we see this cloud covering it during this final pouring forth of the judgment of God. And no man is allowed entrance during this period of time. I believe the reason why is that God is in His temple weeping over what is taking place on earth.
Jesus said to His disciples one day, "He who has seen me has seen the Father, why say then, show us the Father" (John 14:9). You remember when Jesus was looking at Jerusalem, and He began to weep. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that stones the prophets and all that have come from God to thee; how often I would have gathered you together as a hen that gathers her chicks, but you would not; and now is your city lays desolate" (Matthew 23:37). Your children are going to be slain in the streets. They are going to put an embankment around you. And He was describing the agony, the judgment that was going to come upon Jerusalem because of their failure to recognize their day of visitation. "If you would have only known in this day that things that belong to your peace, but they are hidden from your eyes; and now as a result of the judgment that is going to come." And Jesus was weeping as He could see the judgment that was going to come upon them. Jesus said, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father."
God does not delight in the death of the wicked. In fact, through the prophet Ezekiel, God said, "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die; behold I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezekiel 33:11)
It can be speculated that God is weeping over the wickedness of man and those that remain adamant in their rebellion against God to death. And so, as God's final plagues are poured out, the temple is closed for man and covered with a cloud, as I believe God sits in the temple weeping over what man has necessitated as a result of his rebellion. And God is forced to put away the evil in order to prepare the earth for the righteous reign of His Son throughout the kingdom age.
When God defeats His enemies and judges His foes, people are inspired to worship Him. Sometimes we are tempted to forget this, thinking that talking about God’s judgment will scare them away. But God’s victory over His enemies is part of the good news of the gospel. As we tell of His judgment, we are faithful to the fullness of biblical revelation, and people see that they must worship Him for His might and glory.
Are there any areas in your life that aren’t completely surrendered to God? What areas in your life do you need to release and trust God to take care of for you? He is kind and merciful. He is also mighty in defeating His enemies and judges the wicked. I urge you today to put your trust in Jesus. When you do, all of His promises become promises to His people – you and I. Sin and all of its consequences show us how much we need Jesus. Without the option to do wrong, the choice for Jesus would not mean anything. We have a choice! We have the option of either serving ourselves or serving Him. Evil is real and we are completely free to choose it if we wish to. Only God’s ways are “just and true" (Revelation 15:3) and what God promises will always come to be, and it will always be good for those who love Him and follow His ways.
We are in our last days, guys! The Lord is coming soon! When the dust settles, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, standing and ruling in triumphant, sovereign and indescribable glory. In the words of Jesus to us in this day is, "Watch ye therefore and be ready for you know not the day or the hour the Son of Man is coming." Look up, lift up your head, your redemption is drawing near. I urge you to walk with Him. I would say, run with Him. You won’t want to be left behind.