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John Brown's Commentary on Selected Book of the Bible

Revelation 15



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Verses 1-8

John Brown

Revelation 15

Introduction to the Bowl Judgments

Really into his work: Sean loved his job at the brewery. One day he was mixing up a huge cauldron of liquor, when he accidentally lost his footing and plunged in. No one found out about it until many hours later. The foreman called Sean"s wife to tell her the bad news. Though she was struck with grief, Sean"s wife told the foreman that she was glad the death was painless and fast.

"I wouldn"t say it was fast, ma" Amos ," the foreman said. "He got out three times to go to the bathroom."


A. In our last study, we finished with chapter14!

1. There were7 "Heavenly Announcements" given. The first was simply a "voice from heaven" in verse2that showed John the144 ,000 , male, Jews singing their "new song"!

2. The second was from an Angel in verse Revelation 14:6 saying, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water."

3. The third, again from an angel, was: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

4. Revelation 14:10-11 The fourth announcement, again from an Angel, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand,

10 "he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

11 "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."

5. The fifth announcement was again the voice from heaven and it's message was, "Write: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

6. In sixth announcement, Revelation 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe."

7. And finally the seventh and final announcement was in verse Revelation 14:18 "Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe."

a) And as we said in the last study, chapter14ended with the tragic and horrendous picture of Armageddon where satan and the Lord will face off in the final battle of heaven and earth that will result in a river of blood180 miles in length and approximately1mile wide!

b) The scene is quite different in our study this morning!

(1) Chapter15 is the shortest chapter in the book of Revelation , as it "sets up" chapter16.

(2) It glances backward to the Lord's former judgments, yet anticipates the glory of heaven that is soon to come!

(3) Chapter15 introduces the last7 judgments of the Lord known as the "bowl judgments".

(4) The time period is midway through the tribulation. The beginning of the end if you will of the last31/2years where the Lord will set everything right!

(a) Let's begin our study!


A. Revelation 15:1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. (NKJV)

1. After all the slaughter, John is blessed with a vision of the future.

2. The word that is translated "sign" in verse1is from the Greek word semeion it is elsewhere translated "wonder" and again as "miracle".

a) It is the3rd "sign" that John has identified thusfar in the book of Revelation.

3. This "miracle" or "wonder" John sees is a "sign". A sign is meant to teach a lesson, as were most of the "miracles" performed by the Lord and the Disciples.

4. Notice that verse1tells us that these last7 plagues are "great and marvelous"!

a) These last plagues are sequential, not parallel!

(1) In other words they are not merely restatements of the former plagues, THEY ARE IN ADDITION TOO!

(2) The seals contained plagues, the trumpets contained even greater plagues, and now the "bowls contain the final7 plagues and will be the greatest and most awesome of all!

(a) You might find it interesting that the word "plague" is often translated as "stripes" as in Luke 12:47 "And that servant who knew his master"s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (NKJV)

(b) In Revelation it is often translated "wound"!!

(c) This reminds me of our Savior that was "wounded" for our transgressions, and that it is "by His stripes" we are healed!!!

5. These7 angel who carry the "bowls" of judgment, are symbolic of all of the Lord's angels who are deeply involved with His work for the benefit of the saints!

B. Revelation 15:2 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. (NKJV)

1. As we said earlier, the angel were symbolic of all the angels whose ministry is to the "heirs of salvation" and here are those saints!

a) An assemblage of the redeemed that had given their life during the tribulation for the name of Jesus Christ!

(1) The actual gathering must come after the tribulation but John is given a glimpse into the future.

2. The sea speaks of purification and cleansing as does the fire.

a) The Priests had to wash to be ceremonially clean before coming before the Lord!

(1) And you and I must be "washed" in the blood of Jesus before we can come before Him!

b) The fire also speaks of judgment.

(1) EVERYONE nust stand before the judgment seat of the Lord!

c) Christians are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb and therefore able to stand the fire of His judgment!

3. Notice that this kind of love for such unworthiness brings about a tremendous musical celebration (harps of God)!

C. Revelation 15:3-4 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!

4Who 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." (NKJV)

1. They sing2victory songs. The "song of Moses", and the "song of the Lamb".

a) The song of Moses give further insight to the sea on which they stand.

(1) Exodus 15:1-2; Exodus 15:13; Exodus 15:18 Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: "I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!

2The LORD is my strength and Song of Solomon , And He has become my salvation; He is my God, . . .

13You in Your mercy have led forth The people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength To Your holy habitation.. . .

18 "The LORD shall reign forever and ever." (NKJV)

(2) This sea was also used by the Lord as an instrument of deliverance of God's people and judgment of their enemies!

(a) Noah is another example!

(b) Baptism is yet another, where the "old man" that condemns us is drowned and our new life in Christ begins!

(3) The "sea of glass" before the throne of God in heaven will perpetually remind of the Lord's mercy, love and deliverance!

b) The second song was that of the Lamb.

(1) There would be no "overcomers' if it weren't for the "blood of the Lamb"!

(2) So as they sing of victory they also sing of the One who made them victorious!!

D. Revelation 15:5 After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. (NKJV)

1. The Holy Spirit uses very unique terminology in this verse!

a) John had already been shown this tabernacle and even recorded that the long lost Ark of the Covenant was there!

b) The ark was often referred to as "the ark of the testimony" and the entire tabernacle that housed it was called "the tabernacle of the testimony".

(1) This title stressed that the most important aspect of the tabernacle was as a dwelling place for the Ten Commandments- God's "testimony"!

(2) All of Scripture is divinely inspired but the Ten Commandments are divinely "inscribed"!

(a) Written by the finger of God Himself.

(3) The word "tabernacle" simply means "dwelling place."

(a) John has been given a vision of the temple where God's testimony lives forever!

c) While on earth, only the High Priest could enter the most sacred place and then only once a year!

(1) You see it was the place where God lived and the beauty of His holiness would consume anyone with sin in his life!

(2) But the day of the cross, the thick curtain that separated God from the people was torn in half from the top to the bottom by the Lord Himself!

(3) This temple in heaven is OPEN, not closed like it was on earth!

(4) There is nothing to keep man from God when he comes in the name, and covered by the blood of Jesus Christ!

(a) But as we see in the next verses, not all will allow Jesus to be their covering: their Savior!

(b) And it is for them that the next7 plagues are intended!

(c) You see, if we do not accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, the we must face Him as God and Judge!

(d) And at this point in the tribulation, the world is experiencing the full force of His wrath.

E. Revelation 15:6 And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. (NKJV)

1. Out of the temple where the never ending "testimony" of God's mercy dwells comes7 angels carrying the7 plagues.

a) They are rightly clothed in the purity and royalty of white-linen.

b) Not only does the linen speak of royalty, but the golden belts are symbolic of riches and beauty!

(1) Quite different than the lies the unholy trinity of satan, the beast, and the false prophet had been telling everyone!

F. Revelation 15:7-8 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.

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. (NKJV)

1. This is one of the4living creatures that cries "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!" from chapter4! It is one of these that give the angels the7 golden bowls full of the wrath of God who live forever and ever!

2. The term forever and ever literally means "for aeon after aeon".

a) It is wonderful to see that in the last chapter, the Lord uses this same phrase in regard to you and me!

(1) Revelation 22:5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (NKJV)

(2) We shall live in the Glorious Light of God's presence, the "tabernacle" of the Lord, they place where He lives, for aeons after aoens!!!!

A couple of country bumpkins were tramping along the railroad tracks when they found a human leg. "You know what that looks like?" one boy said to the other. "That looks like Joe Bob"s leg." After looking at it a few minutes, the boys agreed that it was Joel -Bob"s leg. They resumed their walking, but soon came upon a tattooed arm. "Funny thing," one boy remarked. "This looks an awful lot like Joel -Bob"s arm." "It do indeed," his friend answered. Later on down the tracks, they found a head. "Now I"m fer certain that that"s Joe Bob"s head," one boy asserted. The other boy reached down and grabbed the head by the ears, shook it, and yelled, "Joe Bob! Joe Bob! Is you hurt?


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Brown, John. "Commentary on Revelation 15:4". John Brown's Commentary on Selected Books of the Bible.

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