Revelation 15 NIV
Seven Angels With Seven Plagues
1 I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.
In this chapter, John sees yet another sign. This time John calls it a “great and marvelous sign” because it introduces a new set of occurrences; seven angels with the seven last plagues! With the coming of these seven angels and the seven plagues, the angels are prepared to finish the destruction of antichrist (those who are deliberately hostile towards God and His ways) and with them (the plagues) God’s wraith will be completed.
The statement that these are the “last” plagues seems to show that the set of visions, now commencing carry us down to the end of the age; note that there are NO other plagues after these
In the Hebrew language, the word “plague” simply means – affliction or calamity. It is also important to note that plagues are sent forth, similar to the plagues of Egypt.
Leviticus 26:21 – “‘If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve. (the word afflictions here is the same word for plagues)
2 And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God 3 and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.
4 Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
John saw something that looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire, some translations say mingled with fire. John saw a similar sea of glass back in Revelations 4:6, but this time it was glowing with or mingled with fire. No one really knows for sure what John is really seeing, however he tries his best to describe what he sees in this vision.
The sea of glass here means a sea translucently clear, like glass: an expanse that seemed to be made of glass, that was entirely clear yet intermingled with fire! John doesn’t say he saw a literal sea, but what looked like glass.
In Revelations 4 the sea of glass represented the pure worship of heaven, yet here its given the fiery red glow, which symbolizes the showing of the wrath of God’s and the punishment of His foes.
Standing besides the sea were those who were victorious over the beast and his mark.
John using references from his own understanding to describe this vision, refers to the stories of old, perhaps was referencing the time when the Israelites escaped out of Egypt, having passed through the Red Sea, stood on the shore, and seeing their enemies overwhelmed with the waters, sung the triumphant song of Moses. So these in Johns vision, having passed through the fiery trials of this world, standing besides the sea of glass, and seeing the seven plagues about to be poured out upon their enemies, sing a song of triumph! (Exodus 14, 15)
5 After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple—that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law—and it was opened. 6 Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. 8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.The heavenly temple was opened and out of it came the seven angels fully dressed and ready for action. One of the four living creatures gives the angels a bowl each, carrying the plagues of God’s wrath.
Since the temple was opened before John, he was able to look inside, only the temple was filled with smoke, since no-one can look upon God the Father. Throughout the bible God’s presence is usually that of a cloud, however this time it’s mentioned as smoke. This is a reference to Isaiah 6, where the prophet beheld a vision of God. His train filled the temple, and the house was filled with smoke, a message of judgement was given to the prophet; that message declared that the sin of the people had reached a climax, and God’s wrath was coming.
God closes his temple, so that none shall enter until the seven plagues were completed. The meaning here seems to be, that no one would be permitted to enter to make intercession- to turn away his wrath- to divert him from his purpose- that purpose is to bring punishment on the wicked. This vision leaves us at a point where all the preparations have been made for the infliction of the punishment on the anti-christian power which had so long stood against the truth… the details follow in the next chapter!
Isaiah 6:4 (NIV)
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
Exodus 19:18 (NIV)
18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.