Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


The Revelation
Revelation was taught by Dr. James Modlish

Chapter Fifteen

Seven Vials Of Wrath


Here we have a prelude to the pouring out of the vials of the wrath of God. Before the seals were opened, we were given a picture of the scene in heaven (4-5), and also before the trumpets were sounded (8:1--6). This is a reminder that what is happening on earth is controlled from heaven, that God is on His throne. John gazes upon two scenes;



We have met these saints before; for they are the believers of the tribulation period who refuse to bow the knee to the Beast and, as a result, lost their lives for the sake of Christ (12.11; 13:7-10). John sees them as victors, standing by the heavenly sea. We think immediately of Israel in Ex. 15, after God had delivered them in victory from the bondage of Egypt. Please note that the "sea of glass" now has fire mingled in it; back in (4-6), this crystal sea was clear. The fire reminds us that the wrath of God is now about to be revealed (Heb. 12:29).

These saints were slain for their faith, yet John says that they "got the victory" over the Beast! They would not wear his mark or worship his image, so they lost their lives; but in losing their lives for Christ's sake, they found them again! Even if the Christian dies in his witness, he is the victor, not the loser! Here we see these saints singing by the heavenly sea; in (20:4), we see their bodies raised so that the company might reign with Christ during the Millennium. If we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with Him.

Back in (14:3), the 144,000 sang a new song that nobody else could sing; but here we have the Song of Moses and the Lamb. The song of Moses is probably Israel's song of victory at the Red Sea in (Ex. 15). Note the refrain, "The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation!" (Ex. 15:2) is repeated in (Ps. 118:14 and Isa. 12:1 ff). In each case, there is a deliverance for Israel. The Jews sang the Song of Moses when they were delivered from Egypt at the exodus; but they also sang it when they returned to their land after the captivity for (Ps. 118) is very likely a post-captivity Psalm. Isaiah 12 looks forward to the time when Israel will be regathered from the nations of the world and returned to her land; so in each case, the song celebrates Israel's deliverance from the enemy. Back in (Ex. 15), God's people stood by an earthly sea; but here it is a heavenly sea. In Exodus, they have been delivered by the blood of the Lamb. God's Law is being vindicated; God's grace is at work. The Old and New Covenants are having their fulfillment as Christ judges the nations and prepares to come to reign.

Check these references in Psalms and you will see the origin of the song given in verses (3-4; 90:1-2; 92:5; 145:17; 86:9; 111:9; 98:2). 


Verse 1 indicates that the angels with the seven vials carry the seven last plagues. You will recall that in (10:7), Christ had announced that, with the pouring out of these vials, the "mystery of God" would be completed. There would be no more delay. In these s even last judgments, God will have completed filled full-His wrath. Satan at this time is pouring out terrible wrath upon believers, the Jews especially (12:12ff); but God will have the last word.

Once again, the temple of heaven is opened see 11:19. The earth temple has now been taken over by the Beast (13:1ff; 2 Thess. 2:3-4) but the Beast cannot touch the heavenly temple. All he can do is blaspheme it (13:6). The opening of the temple is another reminder that God will keep His covenant with His people, Israel. Many of the believing Jews have fled to Edom, Moab, and Ammon, where God will protect them. Others will die for their faith, along with many Gentiles.

Seven angels come out of the temple. There are seven since this is the number of completion, and with these vials of wrath, God's judgments are completed. The angels come out of the holy of holies, where the ark and the tables of the Law are kept. The wicked world has defied and disobeyed God's law, but now judgment is coming. The robes of these angels signify holiness and royalty. The white linen reminds us of the dress of the Old Testament priests; the golden girdle speaks of the king. This is another reminder that the saints of God are "kings and priests" (Rev. 1:6), a royal priesthood. Of course their dress takes us back to the description of Christ in (1:13); for He is the High Priest and King, after the order of Melchisedec.

One of the living creatures delivers the vials of wrath to the angels. All of nature (symbolized by these four creatures will taste of the wrath of God).

The heavenly temple is now filled with smoke from the glory of God. When the Old Testament tabernacle was dedicated, God's glory filled the tent (Ex. 40:34-35); likewise when the Old Testament temple was dedicated (2 Chron. 7:1-4). But there was no smoke mingled with the glory. Here, however, we have smoke; and this is usually a symbol of judgment (9:2). When the prophet Isaiah saw the glory of God in the temple, the whole house was filled with smoke (Isa. 6:4). This was because Isaiah's message was one of judgment as well as mercy. John states that nobody in heaven was allowed into the temple until the vials of wrath had been poured out. No saint or angel could go into the temple to intercede for the nations of the world. The nations were "past intercession"; God's patience has come to the end; God's judgment is about to fall.

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