Preparation for the Bowl Judgments
Verse 1 – Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of is God complete.
The seven last plagues are also called the seven bowl judgments. These actually begin in Chapter 16. Unlike the previous plagues, these are universal.
Verse 2 – And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.
This will be the second glassy sea to appear in heaven. The first glassy sea will be clear as crystal. This one will be mixed with fire. The sea symbolizes the masses of humanity, and the fire represents judgment.
These saints standing on this glassy sea will be those who were victorious over the beast and were killed for their faith to God. People on earth, during this time think that Satan has overcome the saints, but he actually just sent them into eternity to be with the Lord. The kind of triumph these martyrs of the Tribulation will experience will be deliverance through fire, not out of it.
Verse 3 – And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the Saints!
Just prior to the seven bowl judgments, the saints in heaven will sing the song of Moses, which is found in Exodus 15:1-9. They sang because of their deliverance.
The song of the Lamb is in this verse. It celebrates God’s reign and victory over all nations.
Verse 4 – Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.”
Verse 5 – After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.
This “temple of the tabernacle of the testimony” is where the “Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant is. Most people, including Jews, don’t realize that rejecting Christ is rejecting God. Those who reject the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, will be judged according to the Law. And let’s not forget, no one could keep the law perfectly, only Jesus.
Verse 6 – And out of the temple came the seven angels having seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bans.
The “pure brightness” signifies their righteousness and the “golden bans” signify their royal priesthood.
Verse 7 – Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever.
Some Bible versions say these are “vials” instead of bowls. However, when a liquid bubbles out of a vial, it bubbles out slowly, but when a bowl is upset the liquid is suddenly dumped out. and that is exactly what happens here. God’s wrath is suddenly dumped out on the inhabitants on the earth.
Verse 8 – The temple was 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.
There will be no more mercy, no more delays, and no more opportunities to repent until the seven plagues have passed. At some point in the Tribulation Period, God will say, “It’s over. The destiny of those who keep rejecting My Son is sealed forever.”