Revelation 15

The Word Made Fresh

1Then I saw another great and amazing sign in heaven; there were seven angels with the last seven plagues, because the wrath of God ends with them.

2I saw what looked like a sea made of glass mixed with fire. Those who had defeated the beast and its image, and the number of its name were standing beside the sea of glass, holding God’s harps in their hands. 3They sing the song of God’s servant, Moses, and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God the Almighty!
Fair and honest are your ways, O King of all the nations.
4Oh Lord, who would dare not fear and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy! All the nations will come and worship before you,
For your righteous deeds have been revealed.”

5Then I looked and saw the temple, the heavenly tabernacle of witness, open, 6and the seven angels came out with robes of pure shining linen and golden sashes across their chests, bearing the seven plagues. 7Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. 8And the temple filled with smoke from God’s glory and power, so that no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended.


1: So, it turns out that the seven seals and the seven trumpets and the Son of Man with the sickle aren’t quite enough destructive power to express God’s wrath. Now John sees another seven angels with seven more plagues (notice how the recurrence of the number 7 with regards to God overcomes the recurrence of the number 6 with regards to the “beast”).

2-4: This scene seems to jump ahead in time, for now the “beast” is conquered. So, is John foreseeing the time when the Roman Empire is no more? Probably he is not. By “conquering” he means refusing to worship the “beast;” remaining loyal to the Lamb. He pictures those who have kept the faith despite persecutions — the 144,000 – standing beside the sea of glass (see 4:6) with harps, singing a song of praise to God, ascribing to God the title “King of the Nations” and declaring that all nations will join them in their worship. Notice that they sing “the song of Moses.” The Exodus from Egypt becomes the framework on which John’s vision is based. The sea of glass echoes the Red Sea, where Moses sang a song of victory to God (see Exodus 15 for Moses’ song which ends with “the Lord will reign forever and ever”).

5-8: Now John sees the “heavenly tabernacle of witness,” mirroring the tabernacle in the wilderness. Out of it come the seven angels with the seven final plagues. Dressed in white with golden sashes, they are each given a bowl of wrath by one of the four “living creatures” (see 4:6b-8). The heavenly temple fills with smoke (as did the slopes of Mt. Sinai – see Exodus 19:18).


The text of Revelation can be very disturbing, yes. But the bottom line of all of it is simply that God is in charge. Don’t worry about evil. Yes, we may have to go through a time of trial and suffering, but God will handle it.