Quite a short chapter today, only 8 verses, but some more powerful stuff for us to take in, culminating in the unstoppable power of the presence of God Himself.
1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.
2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire–and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
4 Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
5 After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6 and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests. 7 And 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 and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.
After the carnage of chapter 14, things settle down for a short time and seven angels appear with seven plagues, which signify that the wrath of God is finished. Chapter 14 gave us Armageddon, the fury of the wrath of God poured out, now we go back and review, quite a common prophetic writing technique…actually, quite a common Biblical technique (think Genesis 1 and 2).
More imagery comes our way with what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, the sea being a glorious creation of our glorious God, and fire bringing judgement, burning away impurities, and fire is mesmerizing, isn’t it, you can’t help but look at fire. So John sees what appears to be sea and fire, but in reality he saw something glorious and mesmerizing…it’s hard to communicate clearly the incommunicable glories of God…poor guy.
Then, a wonderful hymn to our God, signing of His law and of His love (the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb), and with an absolute focus on God, not ourselves (For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.)
After this a wonderful scene ensues, angels appear carrying representations of God’s pure, just, and holy judgement on a fallen world (seven angels…clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests.), and then God Himself makes His presence seen in the sanctuary; the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.
Wow – the smoke from the glory of God filled the sanctuary and nobody could enter.
One fascinating thing about the book of Revelation is the Old Testament references; more than 500 allusions to it, and around 280 references.
Here we see a strong allusion to Exodus 40
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
The presence of God has been, and is now, so awesome that nobody can be in it.
That will change in a couple of chapters, but for now, the presence of God is so powerful, amazing, and wonderful that nobody can be in it. Don’t be taken in by false teachers who say the glory cloud rests upon them, rests in their church, follows them around, descended during worship…just read those verses from Exodus 40, and this passage in Revelation 15 and you’ll see that the presence of God has been, and is now, so awesome that nobody can be in it.
It’s unstoppable, inimitable, irreplicable, undeniable, and world-endingly powerful…and the God who IS this kind of power, the God who wields this level of power, this God loves you, wants you, will do all He can for you, and will give you just a taste of this power in your life right now. Seek, knock, ask, taste and see…don’t expect the cloud to to descend, but be prepared!