In this episode of Unveiling Revelation, seven angels stand poised with grim faces and eyes blazing with divine purpose, each a holding bowl filled with a terrifying promise. As this divine storm breaks, amidst a sea of glass mingled with fire, are those who were victorious over the beasts, standing tall as a prelude of what’s to come.

References to Bible Verses:

Revelation 15:1-8; Revelation 6:12-17; Leviticus 26:21; Romans 12:19; Ephesians 4:26; Colossians 3:8-10; Revelation 4:6; Revelation 7:9-17; Ephesians 5:26; Exodus 25:8-9; Hebrews 8:9; Exodus 40:35; Revelation 16:1-3; Acts 10:38; Matthew 4:23; Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23; Revelation 8:8-9; Leviticus 21:1; Exodus 7:14-25;

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Transcript

Jason: Welcome to the My Ministry Mission Podcast. We are your host, Jason.

Laura: And Laura!

Jason: Imagine feeling the ground tremble beneath your feet from the weight of impending judgment. Imagine looking up to the heavens, not for comfort, but to see the outpouring of God's fury as a crescendo in the symphony of his judgment. In this episode of Unveiling Revelation, seven angels stand poised with grim faces and eyes blazing with divine purpose, each holding a bowl filled with a terrifying promise. As this storm breaks, amidst a sea of glass mingled with fire, are those who were victorious over the beast, standing tall as a prelude to what's to come. Will the wicked tremble and repent, or will they harden their hearts and stand firm in their defiance to face the full force of God's judgment? Keep listening for the hour of reckoning draws near.

Witness, dear listener, the unveiling of the seven bowls, and tremble before the righteous anger of the Almighty.

Laura: We are stepping into finality in this section of Revelation. The next few passages mark the beginning of the final judgments upon Earth. God's wrath is directed towards the people who oppose him and persecute his believers, and God is ending this rebellion.

Jason: We begin this with a prelude and foreboding of what's to come, starting in Revelation 15:1, "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." The fury of the Battle of Armageddon has ended, but now John will circle back to describe God's judgment in more detail. Need I say the word mosaic again? We saw what seemed to be the end back in Revelation 6:12-17, but prophecy, as well as Hebrew literature in general, often likes to state events and then go back and restate events with more detail. I mean, maybe that's where Quentin Tarantino got his inspiration.

Laura: Could be. Now, the seven angels having seven final plagues is a reminder of what we've seen in 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." So these last seven plagues are God's judgment on a disobedient world.

Jason: So you know how we love our language lessons here. So let's kick off another one. The ancient Greek word for wrath here is thymos. Now, there are two words for wrath or anger in biblical Greek. This thymos represents a passionate and volatile anger. The other word is orge, which represents anger from a settled disposition.

Now, orge shows up 36 times across 34 verses in the New Testament in the King James Version. Whereas Thymos only shows up 18 times across 18 verses, but only 11 times in reference to God's wrath, and 10 of those are here in the book of Revelation. So what does this mean? It means God's fed up and his anger is burning hot white. But understand that God isn't just blowing off steam. His wrath has a specific purpose.

Laura: And on the topic of God's wrath, there is an interesting distinction between the Old Testament and New Testament. In the Old Testament, God's wrath was a divine response to human sin and disobedience, with idolatry most often the case for His wrath. Whereas in the New Testament, after Jesus paid for our sins, God's wrath is still divine judgment, but is reserved for those who reject Christ.

Now, In either case, God's wrath is justified because he's holy and perfect. Our wrath, on the other hand, is never holy and never perfect. And warned against in Romans 12:19, Ephesians 4:26, and Colossians 3:8-10. And as you'll come to see, God's wrath is terrifying.

Jason: Indeed. But next we see the scene pan to something kind of amazing in Revelation 15:2, "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 over the number of its name, they held harps given them by God."

So if you recall, back in episode 45, Revelation 4:6 spoke of the sea of glass, which was clear as crystal, which spoke to the holiness of God. But now it's mingled with the fire of divine judgment coming forth from God's holiness. Now this is also reminiscent of the Book of Exodus as it alludes to the Red Sea and deliverance from bondage. We also see plagues in Exodus as well as Moses in the tabernacle. So this kind of paints a picture of what may be the ultimate Exodus, where God's people are finally freed from a sinful and persecuting world.

Laura: And my commentary states that this glass sea mixed with fire represents victory through testing. The harps that they're holding are indicative of ultimate peace and the whole picture symbolizes the endurance of the saints through the fires of persecution.

Jason: Now, these people who were victorious over the beast, this came through faithfulness. until their physical death when their sanctified souls were delivered to God. These are the tribulation martyrs as described in Revelation 7:9-17. Even though the Antichrist kills these martyrs, they have victory over the beast because they remain faithful to Christ. Now, one of my commentaries has an interesting reference to the sea of glass. They suggest this may be a physical representation of the word of God as it connects to the idea of the tabernacle's laver and this washing of the water by the word in Ephesians 5:26. Because of that, they suggest that these saints may literally be standing on the word.

Laura: Hm, that does sound very interesting. And just as we saw with the 24 elders with harps, these tribulation martyrs are given this blessing of worshiping God with music in heaven. And I assume it is with these harps that we move on to Revelation 15:3-4, "And they 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. 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."

Jason: So there are two titles for this one song, "Song of Moses" and "Song of the lamb", and both of these refer to a single song. And this indicates a perfect union between law and love, or the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The song gives praise to God's works, God's ways, God's worthiness, and God's worship.

And understand that these martyrs just suffered an earthly death at the hands of a cruel dictator. I'm sure it wasn't quick and painless, yet they have the heart of true worship. Now the song mentions "your deeds," "your ways," "your name," and so on. They sing nothing about themselves. It's all about God.

Laura: And the words chosen for this song do have special meaning behind them. As these martyrs sing Lord God Almighty, it's a reminder that God is all powerful, which brings comfort and security. The truth that God is just and true is the foundation of human integrity in the lost, broken, and dying world. King of the Nations speaks of God being king of all, not just of one nation and not with limited authority.

The question, who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name, kind of seems to be a rhetorical one, as only a fool would not respect and honor the Lord. And when it says all nations will come and worship, it literally does mean all. Some will be forced to acknowledge God, but all will recognize and state it outright.

Jason: Kind of hard to miss it. But if we go back to Exodus 25:8-9 and Hebrews 8:9, it talks about the tabernacle God told Moses to build, and it was based on a heavenly design. Well, that heavenly temple is revealed here in Revelation 15:5-6, "After this, I looked and I saw in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law. And it was open. Out of the temple came seven angels of seven plagues. They were dressed in clean shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests."

So out of this temple we see seven angels emerge wearing these specific garments. I mean, first the fact that these angels are coming directly from the temple means they came directly from the presence of the throne of God. And they are obviously acting on God's authority.

Laura: Fun fact, when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom, signifying there was no longer a separation between the presence of God and his people. Until that point, humanity could not stand in God's presence and live, as he was too pure and holy for us to see face to face. Currently, those who are unbelievers are still separated from God until He is revealed to them. That ends here. In these verses, God reveals the full magnitude of His presence to all of humanity.

Jason: And I imagine that was quite a shock. The second thing to note here is that their clothing is significant. Gold has several meanings in the Bible. It's used as a metaphor for God's presence and glory. It's a symbol of faith and purity. White is also an interesting color too. We know that the presence of all light in the visible spectrum makes up white. And when we see the color white, it stimulates all of the cone cells in our eyes. In the Bible, white is often associated with purity, honesty, and cleanliness. So basically, these garments tell us that at minimum, God's judgment is pure and righteous.

Laura: And my commentaries give us a bit more on these garments, which are reminiscent of the high priest's garments from the Old Testament. Linen was a symbol of purity, and of course the color white reinforces this fact. We've talked about different angels and what their purposes were. Messengers, defenders, intercessors, and so on.

And these angels are not any of these. These angels are agents of judgment, and so the linen here also represents the justice of God's judgment as well as its purity. The gold sashes do seem to indicate that these angels are on a divine mission of justice on God's behalf.

Jason: mean, go team angels, right?

Laura: Exactly.

Jason: Finally, John witnesses the bowls being dutifully given to the angels and filled in Revelation 15:7-8, "Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels, seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. And the temple was filled to 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."

So as this scene plays out in my mind, I can imagine these angels, how proud and poised they are, but yet filled with this sorrow. And I imagine neither God nor the angels wanted this outcome, yet here we are.

And if you recall back in episode 45, we talked about these four living creatures, which are the cherubim. They hand each of these angels a golden bowl filled with God's wrath. My commentaries describe these bowls as broad, flat bowls, or saucers, that are used for ritual drinking or pouring libations in sacrifice. And these types of bowls were used in this manner because the contents could be quickly, easily, and completely poured out. Now, the King James Version refers to these as vials, but more than once I've read that that is a poor translation. And Strong's translation of the word philae is a broad, shallow bowl or deep saucer. So, I mean, I'm not knocking the King James Version here, but I wanted to kind of point that out.

Laura: Yeah, and everybody has their own favorite translation. Anyway, the smoke that fills the temple from God's glory, and fun fact, the presence of God's glory is sometimes called Shekinah. Anyhow. While this smoke is present, nobody can enter the tabernacle. We saw this in Exodus 40:35, when Moses was not allowed to enter into the tent of congregation because a cloud from the glory of the Lord had filled the tabernacle. This serves as a reminder of God's special presence and glory, which is relevant even during the devastation of his judgment. Okay,

Jason: And we're about to go over the most severe judgment the world will ever see. These seven bowls of God's wrath have been given to their charges. And now, this world living under the wickedness of the Antichrist is about to fall. The sinful presence of evil has reached its peak, and God is about to purge the world of these heathens.

And as we roll into chapter 16, I'd like to clarify that the first four bowls are directed against natural phenomena. And then the final three bowls are directed against the beast and his government.

Laura: Okay, so Revelation 16:1 begins with a continuation of the vision that ends chapter 15, and the order from God to begin the judgment, also known as the third and final woe. "Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth."

We know this is God because at the end of chapter 15, we are told that his presence fills the temple and nobody is allowed to enter until these judgments are complete. And also the use of the phrase "loud voice" indicates a voice of authority. Not unlike the teacher voice I have to use every now and again. It's generally agreed that these judgments, or the wrath of God, occur at the end of the seven year tribulation period, just before the return of Jesus. We're also going to see that many of these judgments are images from the plagues sent upon Egypt during Israel's exodus.

Jason: Now, in the NIV translation, as well as others, it indicates that God's wrath is being poured "on" the earth. However, other translations, like the older NASV and then Concordant Literate, translate this as "into" the earth. The reason behind this latter is this. Since we are made of the dust of the earth. These bowls are being poured into the lives of people.

Now, there is a challenge for full preterists here, because the term "on the earth" becomes unclear under the full preterist lens. Matthew Poole, a 17th century English nonconformist theologian and biblical commentator, has some suggestions on what the term earth could mean.

Poole suggested that earth might mean some part of the earth, or the common people, or maybe the Roman empire, or even the Roman Catholic clergy. And this illustrates the challenge of full preterism in this context, because if the word earth doesn't mean, well, earth, then there's really no way to tell what it does mean.

In Exodus, scripture is clear about the plagues being poured out on Egypt. And David Guzik goes on to write in this reference to this, "The point is clear. If earth doesn't mean earth, then no one can tell what it means and God may as well not have written it."

Laura: Exactly that. And there is nothing in scripture that is not God appointed. And that being said, let's move on to Revelation 6:2 and the first bowl. And to quote Lord of the Rings here, "So it begins." Anyway, "The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land. And ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped its image."

Now this should remind you of Exodus 9:8-12 with the plague of boils. And what's interesting to note here is that those who worshipped the beast and received his mark are now being marked by God with these ugly, festering sores, or loathsome sores in other translations. These boils are reminders of the impurities and sin left behind after rejecting Christ's offer of salvation.

These are symbols of the spiritual abnormalities that bring death, that is, spiritual death. Now, the New Living Translation refers to these as malignant sores, and that kind of makes me wonder if it's some nasty form of skin cancer.

Jason: Now that makes sense. But now, an interesting point of clarification, and I know there are some Christians out there who may still subscribe to the idea that every illness we suffer is God's judgment. That is not the message this symbolism is meant to convey. Now, we know that sickness is in this world because of introducing sin. Immoral living is probably the cause of many diseases, but again, that's not the point of this message. Truthfully, it's not our role to determine the cause of people's illnesses as judgment or not judgment. But sometimes sickness is just sickness. It's ugly and it's unfortunate. But it's often just a symptom of living in a broken world.

Laura: And I would like to point out a fallacy in believing that God currently gives us sicknesses as judgment or punishment for our sins, especially those of us who've put our faith in him. Now, I'm not a parent, so Jason might have to shed a bit of extra light on this. But, would a loving parent intentionally inflict illness on his or her child as a punishment?

Most parents I know do everything in their power to alleviate their child's symptoms because it causes that child pain and discomfort. And did Jesus, when he was working his earthly ministry, tell anyone that they were too healthy and give them leprosy or some other illness? A thousand times no. He went around healing all who were oppressed by the devil, Acts 10:38. And Matthew 4:23 says that He healed "every kind of sickness and disease." And think about this. If we really believed it was God's will for us to be sick, that He puts these things on us to teach us a lesson or to punish us for something, why would we try so hard to get healthy? I mean, as Spock would say, this is highly illogical.

Sickness and disease are part of the curse that Adam and Eve brought on mankind with their sin. And it's also part of the curse that Jesus became for us and redeemed us from when he died on the cross. Galatians 3:13 says, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree." And in that verse, the Apostle Paul was quoting Deuteronomy 21:23, "Anyone who is hung is cursed in the sight of God." And that was a scrabbit trail of my own making.

Jason: I like the new word scrabbit, but you're correct. I would, I mean, I would never inflict sickness on my own child as punishment. No loving parent would do such a thing. Now there are natural consequences that happen and sometimes we parents will let that occur, but you don't do it out of punishment. You don't permanently scar or inflict damage to your child for no reason. But that being said, these bowls of judgment are not being poured out on God's people. They are being poured out on those who have completely rejected Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross. If there are still believers on earth during this time, I mean, we believe that they will be spared these horrific judgments.

And just like with other judgments and everything else in Revelation, there could be a secondary interpretation of these bowls of judgment, but it's hard to get anything else out of malignant sores other than You know, things mentioned.

But moving on to the second bowl in Revelation 16:3, "The second angel poured out his bowl onto the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person and every living thing in the sea died."

So, back in Revelation, 8:8-9, we saw this on a smaller scale with partial contamination of the sea, but with the second bowl, this judgment is made complete and every living creature in the sea dies.

Laura: Much of the wealth for this area involved the shipping and fishing industries. I mean, if all the living creatures in the sea die, then that would further cripple the economy, not just for this area, but across the entire world.

Jason: Yep. And my commentaries point out something kind of interesting. This verse doesn't tell us that the sea is actually becoming blood. It's turned into blood like that of a dead person. Now, this may suggest that it's taking on the appearance and characteristics of the blood in a dead man's body. This is also reminiscent of Leviticus 21:1, where the Lord orders Moses to tell Aaron's son, the priest, to not "make himself unclean by touching a dead person." now, I don't know if this is actually relevant here in Revelation, but I did want to point it out. What is relevant here is that this is also related to the first plague in Exodus 7:14-25, where the waters were being turned to blood.

Laura: Right. Now, I've recently read through the first few books of the Old Testament, where the original laws were given. And I don't recall reading anything about blood from the living making one unclean. I mean, except for during a woman's cycle. Most of the references to being ceremonially unclean comes from touching the body or blood of a dead person or animal. It could be argued then that the sea is now ceremonially unclean, and so is anyone who touches it.

Jason: Regarding Exodus 7, one of my commentaries suggested that if the magicians wanted to truly do something miraculous to impress Pharaoh, They should have just made the bloody rivers clean again, but they couldn't, because Satan does not have the power to perform a cleansing miracle. He can bring about supernatural destruction, but not goodness, not creation. Plus taking away human suffering is not in Satan's plan for humanity. Conversely, we see that God has the power to both create and destroy, which only goes to support what we mentioned in the Heavenly Battles episode. that God has no equal.

Laura: You have no rival. You have no equal, now and forever, God you reign. Yours is the kingdom, yours is the glory. Yours is the name above all names.

Jason: And that's where we'll end today's episode. Join us again in a week for unveiling revelation, the seven bowls part two, and that episode, we'll finish going through bowls three through seven. As we watch God's wrath being poured out onto Satan's followers.

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When the episodes are published until next time, remember to read your Bibles. Remember to love each other and may the Lord bless you and keep you. God bless everyone.

Laura: Bye