Sermon Series in Revelation # 30 Revelation 15:1-8
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.
The NASA.gov website posted on December 22nd, If you’re reading this story, it means the world didn’t end on Dec. 21, 2012. Despite reports of an ancient Maya prophecy, or a mysterious planet on a collision course with Earth, or a reverse in Earth’s rotation, we’re still here.
Every generation of humanity seems to reinvent new theories for how this world will end, but the Bible has one solid story. There is one reoccurring set of events told in the Old Testament prophetic books, the Psalms, the book of the Revelation and the direct words of Jesus Himself that explain how this world is brought to conclusion.
God doesn’t share His plans so that we can guess when it will happen. If we knew when things will end then we would delay our repentance until the last minute. Rather, God shares a repeating set of details that deepen our faith, motivate our evangelism, intensify our pursuit of holiness and encourage our worship of our awesome God.
That’s the big idea from the book of Revelation. God is so powerful that He is in control of everything. God is sovereign over all things. God is great. God is amazing! We should never stop marveling at His majesty and power. We worship and serve an awesome God.
Revelation 15 invites us to witness God’s ability to accomplish marvelous deeds.
My wife made a fabulous dinner last night. She planned it, bought all the ingredients, made it, baked it and served her family. We made a mess of it. Spilled drinks, dirty placemats and lots of parenting were included during our family time. But her love is so wonderful, that despite the mess, she cleaned up too. She brought her plan to conclusion.
God has a plan to bring the Creation to a conclusion.
This world rotates according to God’s determined will and all of our lives progresses according to His eternal plan.
It should be a comfort that sin will not make a mess so big that God cannot clean it up. The Devil will not thwart God’s design.
God wins in a big way. I believe the Bible teaches that there are more people redeemed in Heaven than are sent to Hell. Grace is greater than sin in every respect.
Chapter 15 is a snap shot of Heaven celebrating God in action, as He brings sin and darkness to their final conclusion.
Verse one, the things that happen between here and the end of the Revelation are the last drops of God’s wrath against sin. God’s great and marvelous actions bring the Creation to His desired conclusion.
The vision that starts in Revelation 15:1 will bring the first Creation story to an end.
God planned the Creation, God brought it all to pass by the power of His word, God guided it through every era of time and now God is cleaning up the dinner table. God loves us enough not to leave us in our mess.
With these actions of God, He puts an end to sin’s impact on His Creation.
Families break up at an alarming rate, but sin will never break up God’s family. Sin will never ruin the peace within God’s home. We will never grow old or frail. We will never get in debt, never get sick, never suffer or shed tears.
Why? Because God’s righteous anger cleans up the mess we added to His Creation in the Garden of Eden. We made a huge mess of His plans. God managed our mess and now will bring it all to an end.
Verse 1 promises that this will be the end of all things negative. No more talk about sin. No more sermons about Hell. Once God’s activities are done, the positive blessings of Jesus will dominate and be all that we ever experience forever and ever.
Verse 2 parallels the exodus out of Egypt in Exodus 14 and 15.
God sent plague after plague to deliver His people from the hands of His enemies. Here they are listed as bowls. These final acts of wrath secure the release of God’s people.
But, the armies of Egypt pursued Israel into the wilderness. Terrified, they trusted God’s salvation and walked through the parted waters of the Red Sea. They safely reached the Promised land and look back as God drowns their enemies under the waters of God’s judgment.
And in the midst of God’s judgment and salvation, God’s People sing a hymn of praise.
Exodus 15:1-18 (ESV) Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.
6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. 7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;
11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
16 Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone, till your people, O Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased. 17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. 18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”
That’s highlights from the song of Moses.
But Revelation tells us that it is also the song of the Lamb. Joseph and Mary fled with baby Jesus into Egypt. Jesus suffered and was afflicted more than any other man by the enemies of God. Finally, Jesus faced His enemies face to face in Herod and Pilates halls of judgment and in the judgment hall of the Jews.
Jesus then went to the cross where He suffered under the strong arm of God. He was bruised, beaten, crushed. Our sins were laid upon Him.
And Jesus died on the Cross. He was buried. He remained buried until resurrection morning when God the Father testified to the world that His Son’s sacrifice for our sin was accepted by resurrecting Him out of the grave.
And in the midst of that terrible and horrific personal story, Jesus, safe in His home land, looking back over the defeat of the Devil, sings the song of Moses in praise to the Father. Jesus joins with the people of God in praising the Father for the salvation He brings to the Creation.
It is a salvation over the Dragon. This world is controlled by a seven headed dragon. You can’t stop it. Even if you cut off it’s head, there are still six more bringing darkness and corruption upon the people of the Earth.
God promised Eve that her Son would get a flesh wound from this Dragon, but that Jesus in the flesh would strike a death blow to Satan’s head. The Cross, Resurrection and Ascension set this victory of the saints in motion.
Like Israel on the other side of the Red Sea, God’s people stand safe in Heaven. We stand in Christ’s victory over the Dragon, over the False Prophet and his use of earthy economic things that ensnare the godly.
We stand next to the Sea of God’s fire unafraid. The waters of judgment are like an at rest ocean. They are still. They are like glass. No more will the enemies of God disturb those waters. They will not break the flat surface of those waters to arise in conflict with God. The enemies of God lie at the bottom like stones in the river just as the enemies of Israel were at the bottom of the Red Sea as stones.
We stand in the presence of God’s victory and sing a song of praise to the Father. That’s the heavenly vision John sees and shares with us in this passage.
Verse 2 is God’s people celebrating God’s victory over the enemies of God’s people.
And notice that we are using musical instruments. We should develop our musical skills now in preparation for our worship in Heaven.
3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
There is a wonderful Men’s Choral piece of this song. I was part of a men’s group that sang this song at Lebanon Baptist in Roswell where I grew up. I wanted to play it for you, but I couldn’t find a copy in time.
Psalm 103 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. 6 The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
Singing of God’s power and righteous judgment has been the song of the redeemed in every generation. It will be our song in Heaven.
This vision finishes with a look back at the Tabernacle of Israel which held the two tablets of the testimony of God.
Out of this holy place came the final judgments of God against the enemies of Israel and the Church.
The angels who do God’s bidding are glorious and holy. They are sanctified for this final purpose and their glorious appearance will not be diminished because of their terrible participation in bringing God’s awesome judgment upon the Earth.
They are clothed in the exact same appearance as Jesus in Revelation 1:13.
To take that idea even further, one of the Four Mighty Angels that shoulder the glory of the Throne of Heaven takes from the Father directly these final plagues and gives them personally to the Seven Angels.
And then as these Great and Amazing acts of God are carried out the Heavenly Sanctuary is filled with the blinding presence of God. And everyone stands still while God moves.
I remember skiing at the very top of Arapaho Basin Ski Resort in Denver. While I was up there a huge snow storm moved through. The white snow came down in sheets. You could see less than ten feet in front of you. Then the most amazing thing happened. The sun started shinning right through the snow. Every crystal of snow lit up like a light bulb. The light refracted through each snowflake and blinded everyone on the mountain. It was like sticking your head inside a light bulb. We had to stop where we where and stand still until it ended.
Revelation 15:8, God’s glorious work will blind all creatures. No one will move as God performs His mighty and marvelous acts of righteousness judgment.
What a wonderful vision of God the Father to start our new year. Are you basking in the glory of God as revealed in Jesus? Why not confess Him as Lord right now.
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.