Monday, March 31, 2014


With this post we continue our study of the fall of Babylon as detailed in Revelation 17-18. 

Revelation 17:5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

I pointed out that this woman called “Babylon the Great” is identified as the “mother” of harlots, all those prostituting the false religions of this world in rejection of worshipping the Almighty God, the One true God.   I think it is important to note that it is as the originating source of these false religions, she is also credited with originating the “abominations of the earth.” 

The Greek for abominations directly identifies idolatry.  The idolatry promoted by these false religions encouraged its participants to worship false gods using practices that directly violated the morals established by God Almighty.  The worship of these false gods justified prostitution and drunkenness.  The murder of children was justified in the form of qualifying as sacrifices pleasing to these false gods.

Paul specifically addressed God’s response to these practices in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 1:20–32 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

The comparison to the attitude predominant in much of the world is too obvious to ignore.  I can’t help but focus on the moral culture of my own country, America, especially in light of the biblical principles upon which our nation was established.  I was born in 1951 and grew up in a time in which those principles were still embraced by the nation as a whole.   I memorized Psalm 23, 24, 100 and the Christmas story from Luke 2 as part of school assignments.  The Bible was removed from the schools in 1963 and the moral decline of our nation has tracked steadily downward with ever increasing speed since then.  As I read the passage in Romans above, I see God denouncing through Paul those things that are justified as acceptable today.  In his letter to Timothy, Paul identifies such morals as characteristics of the end times that would precede the return of Jesus as King.

2 Timothy 3:1–5 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

John goes on to declare that the woman in the guise of these false gods was responsible for killing those who identified themselves as followers of God Almighty and His Son Jesus. 

Revelation 17:6 “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”

The word drunk implies drenched or satiated.  This woman was responsible for killing so many that she was drenched in their blood.  John could only look at her with “great admiration” or wonder.  I would compare it to the way we are drawn to watch televised reports of “terrible” accidents or situations (e.g., 9-11-01) and try to process what we are seeing.

(to be continued…)

Friday, March 28, 2014


In the last post we established a direction connection between the woman on the beast and the kingdom of the Antichrist.  John next reveals the identity of the woman.

Revelation 17:4–5 “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

It is significant that the woman is dressed in purple and scarlet, colors associate with the dress of the high priest in Israel and often associated with royalty.  This seems to indicate that she is associated with “religion” and a position of power and influence.  I think she represents the religious authority that is supported by and exerts great influence in league with Satan in the person of Antichrist.

This woman is holding a golden cup that is filled with abominations (especially idolatry) and filthiness (moral impurities) that are part of her fornication.

I liked this comment by E. W. Bullinger in connection with this verse:  “The cup is one.  This tells us that the corrupt streams which flow from this one fountainhead are all one in essence, character, and effect.  It is the religion originally instituted at Babylon, by Nimrod, at the instigation of Satan.  It is seen in all the great religions of the world.  They are all alike in substituting another God for the God of the Bible:  a god made either with the hands or with the imagination; but equally made.  And a religion consisting of human merit.  These things are common to all systems of false religion, and unite them in one.”

I believe the writing in her forehead affirms Bullinger’s statement.  There is nothing good about these false religions; they all lead to eternal damnation.


Many people use the word mystery to jump off into other possibilities for identifying Babylon, such as Rome or New York City.  Personally, I believe the reference to be the Babylon of scripture.  Note that John describes her as the “mother of harlots.”  In other words, she was the mother that gave birth to idolatry and the detestable things associated with it that was given root through the leadership of Nimrod at the tower of Babel in (Genesis 11).  Babel is in the land of Shinar, the land that eventually became known as Babylon.            

Genesis 10:8-11”And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”

That makes an interesting tie in to the following verses in Zechariah that I think are a reference to the kingdom of Antichrist.

Zechariah 5:6-8&11 “And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.  And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.  And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.  And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.”

The ephah represents business transactions.  The fact that the woman is described as wickedness indicates that Babylon will become the base of evil business operations.  This is especially interesting since a worldwide base of wicked business practices could not have described the Babylon of Zechariah’s day.  Today is a different story; and if, as I believe, the Antichrist establishes his base there, this would again have direct application to end times.

I had thoughts that the “mystery” of Babylon could be the seemingly resilient nature of Babylon.  She has featured prominently in past history in association with Nimrod’s kingdom and again as the empire that took Judah captive.  God scattered the inhabitants of Nimrod’s kingdom by confusing the language of the people according to Genesis; Archbishop Ussher dates this at 2,242 BC. 

Genesis 11:5-9 “And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.  So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”

Babylon, the capital of the empire that took Judah captive, was conquered by Cyrus and made part of the Medo-Persian empire; Usher dates this at 538 BC. 

If my understanding is correct, the rise of Babylon to world prominence in the tribulation period will mark her third rise to prominence.  This would certainly defy historical precedence and present a “mystery.”  I’m just convinced that it is an area of great satanic stronghold where he exerts great influence and false religion holds sway. 

The “mystery” could also make reference to the many forms in which false religions have emerged.  They have all, however, found unity in the fact that they all rejected and sought to usurp the authority of Almighty God.

(to be continued…)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


In chapters 17-18 we come to the last pairing of three sections of scripture that tell us about the final destruction of Babylon; the other two are Isaiah 13-14 and Jeremiah 50-51.  I have heard it said that the Bible is a story of two cities—1) Babylon, established to the worship of false gods, and 2) Jerusalem, the city designated by the One True God as the place for His chosen people to worship Him.

Revelation 17:1–3a “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.  So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness:”

John lets us know that he recognizes the angel that is coming to talk to him next as an angel that poured out one of the seven vials. (Not that it matters, but I tend to think it was probably the fifth angel that poured out his vial over the kingdom of the beast.)  This angel wants to direct John’s attention to a particular judgment and takes him “in the spirit” to a wilderness location to explain things to him.

The judgment concerns a “great whore” that sits on many waters and who has committed fornication with the kings of the earth.  She has made the inhabitants of earth drunk/intoxicated by encouraging them to practice idolatry and indulge in unlawful lusts.  Jeremiah prophesied against Babylon using the same terminology.

Jeremiah 51:7&13 “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad….O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.”

Waters are used as representative of many things in scripture, but they represent nations and peoples according to verse 15 of this chapter. 

We are also reminded of the message of the angel in Revelation 14:8:  “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

Revelation 17:3b “…and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”

A whore is a term used in reference to a woman who is sexually immoral, and it seems obvious that the woman in verse 3 and the whore in verse 1 are the same being.  John sees this woman sitting on a scarlet colored beast; this is a picture of the fact that she is supported by and derives her power from the beast.

This beast is full or swelled out with blasphemies and has 7 heads and 10 horns.  This directly connects to the Dragon from chapter 12 and the beast from the sea, Antichrist, from chapter 13.

Revelation 12:3 “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.”

Revelation 13:1 “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”

There also seems to be a direct connection with the dream of the prophet Daniel regarding the four major world kingdoms significant to bible prophecy.

Daniel 7:23-27 “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”

It seems obvious to me that Babylon is directly connected to the kingdom of Antichrist.   Note that Daniel says he will “devour the whole earth” and “wear out the saints.”

Revelation 13:7 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Daniel also prophesies that this beast will “speak great words against the most high” and will be allowed to rule for “a time and times and the dividing of time,” 3.5 years or 42 months.  (Hebrew for time = “ a set time; technically a year"……for dividing = "a half")

Revelation 13:5–6 “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”

Daniel tells us that the kingdom of the beast will eventually be destroyed and the kingdom of the saints of the Most High established—as will be described in these last few chapters of Revelation.

(to be continued…)

Saturday, March 22, 2014


With this post we have reached the final plague of the tribulation period.  Just as Jesus declared, “It is finished.” from the cross when His work of redemption was accomplished; so, too, will heaven declare, “It is done.” when the last vial of judgment is poured out upon the earth and His vengeance against the nations accomplished.

Revelation 16:17–21 “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”

After the seventh angel pours out his vial into the air, John hears a “great voice” from the throne inside the temple in heaven saying, “It is done.”  In his commentary, David Guzik makes a good point, “The fact that the bowl is poured into the air may show judgment against the prince of the power of the air and his allies.”

Ephesians 2:2 “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience….”

“It is done”—God’s wrath is complete; the time has come for Jesus to remove Satan from power and assume His kingship on earth.

The immediate effect on planet earth is to hear voices, thunderings and lightnings.  The resulting earthquake is described as the most devastating earthquake ever to occur on planet earth since the creation of man.

As I have continued to meditate in Revelation, it occurs to me that this seems to indicate that that there might have been an earthquake that would have compared to this earthquake before man was on the earth.  This again takes my thoughts back to the fall of Satan and his angels and that event’s probable impact on our planet.  (See my journal on Genesis 1 at

Both Babylon and Jerusalem are referred to as the “great city” in scripture.  I believe John is referencing Jerusalem as the great city divided into three parts.  The statement referencing Babylon begins with “and” (also, too) which indicates the thought of another city.  Also, the important truth about Babylon is that it will be destroyed (as we will see in the next two chapters).  There would be no significance to its being divided that I can see.

I think this means exactly what it says and is referenced by the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 40:4 “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”

Then the exclamation point—men are pounded with great hailstones from heaven weighing from 83-95 lbs. (as defined in Easton’s Bible Dictionary).  It was the largest Hebrew measurement and was considered to be the largest weight a man could carry.  

Do the inhabitants of earth finally repent?  No.  They again blaspheme God because of the exceedingly great calamity and misery caused by the hail.

There is a section in Job that has application here I believe.

Job 38:22-23 “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?”

I think it appropriate at this point to repeat a quote attributed to John Abent regarding the sixth seal and the seventh vial judgments.  He states that they “form a giant inclusio in the Greek.  With the sixth seal open we are told that the great Day of God’s/the Lamb’s wrath ‘has come’ and with the seventh vial we are told ‘it is done.’”

(to be continued…)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


With this post we have come to the next to the last plague to be inflicted upon planet earth before the return of Jesus as King of kings.

Revelation 16:12–14 “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”

The effects of this plague will occur over a period of time.  The vial is poured over the waters of the Euphrates River to dry it up to prepare a crossing for a great army led by the kings of the east.

John also sees spirits that look like “frogs” emerge from the mouths of the dragon/Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet—the false trinity.  They are empowered to work miracles (supernatural wonders/signs) and will use these supernatural powers to persuade the kings of the earth to join forces with the Antichrist.  Note that these spirits are recruiting the armies of the nations of the world—not just the east.  The drying up of the Euphrates is to facilitate the movement of those coming from the east.

Again we see from scripture how the actions of invisible spiritual forces work in conjunction with humanity in accomplishing God’s purposes.  We see these forces (both good and evil) at work throughout the whole of scripture, and they are just as surely at work today.  Paul very clearly stated that our fight is primarily against “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The writer to the Hebrews declares that the angels are “sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.”

Hebrews 1:13–14 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

I liked the observations on spiritual warfare made by Tony Evans in answer to questions from Jim Dailey (for an interview published in the February 2005 issue of Decision Magazine):  “…if we are to be victorious over the devil and his army, we must learn to fight him on a spiritual level through the power of the Holy Spirit…. The spiritual realm precedes, influences and, to many degrees, determines the physical realm. The better we understand the spiritual and how it relates to the physical, the better we are able to operate as Christians…. The materialistic nature of our culture camouflages the spiritual world and makes it seem insignificant and unimportant. That is to our spiritual detriment. As Christians we have contributed by not giving the spiritual dimension high play. Look at the theologies out there today that emphasize a physical blessing as the sum of all things. We have to help people understand the cause-effect relationship. There frequently is a strong link between the spiritual and physical. That is, what we are dealing with in the physical realm often can be determined by what is taking place in the spiritual realm. Our failure to deal with the spiritual cause of the problems we encounter can really mess us up.”

We are not left to wonder at the purpose of this great gathering of armies.   They are gathering to do battle against “the great day of God Almighty,” the return of Jesus as King of kings.  At this point Jesus tells John to record a word of encouragement to His followers.

Revelation 16:15 “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”

This statement is made in context with encouragement for the believer to stay strong in his faith so as not to suffer shame, and I think it references the characteristic of a thief to come suddenly and unexpectedly.  The rule of evil will be at its height, and it will be easy for one to begin to have doubts about the outcome—just as John the Baptist did when things looked the darkest to him.

Luke 7:19 “And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?”

Jesus declares that those who stay vigilant and guard their faith as they await His return will be “extremely blessed”(makarios, supremely blest).

Revelation 16:16 “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”

This is a very interesting “he” used here.  You immediately think of the Antichrist as the one who is gathering his forces together to do battle.  The last person speaking to whom the he would apply is Jesus.  Jesus is the one in control and has been all along—He will dictate the time and place of this gathering.  Where did He choose?  Armageddon—the hill country of Megiddo.  Though the armies will gather in the plains of Megiddo where other great battles have been fought, scripture declares that the final battle will be fought in the valley of Jehoshophat outside the walls of Jerusalem.

Joel 3:2 “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.”

The Hebrew for the word “plead” makes reference to “avenge.”  It is the completion of this battle that will accomplish God’s vengeance against those that have persecuted the nation of Israel.

(to be continued…)

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Continuing in our verse-by-verse journey through Revelation, we have reached the point where the last seven plagues will be poured out on planet earth.  The first plague results in all those that have the mark of the beast and that worship his image developing a diseased, painful, ulcer-like sore.

Revelation 16:2 “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”

The second vial judgment is poured upon the sea and causes the water to become like the blood of a dead man.  Every living soul in the sea dies.

Revelation 16:3 “And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.”

The next plague is directed at fresh water sources.

Revelation 16:4–7 “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.”

Note that John declares that they become blood—not “as” or “like” blood.  I am reminded that the trumpet judgments were specific as to impacting “thirds” of their targets.  These judgments appear to be universal; they are different.

It’s interesting that after the third vial is poured out, the angel of the waters (which I believe is the angel pouring out the vial) takes the time to declare the righteousness of God in using this judgment.  Water is life giving.  Unrepentant man deserves this judgment since he is responsible for taking the life, “shedding the blood,” of the saints and prophets.  They deserve being given blood to drink.
Another voice then speaks from the area of the altar.  He basically says, “Amen to that!” 
Again, the angels seem to take every opportunity to praise the God of eternity, Lord God Almighty, and affirm the rightness and righteousness of His judgments.
The fourth angel pours out his vial upon the sun; his purpose—to scorch men with fire.

Revelation 16:8–9 “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.”

What does man do when he experiences this great heat?  Does he repent and beg for mercy?  No.  He blasphemes, reviles and abuses the name of God, the power behind the plagues.  I found a verse in Malachi that seems to apply here.

Malachi 4:1 “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”

The fifth angel pours out his vial upon the seat or power base of the beast causing complete darkness.

Revelation 16:10–11 “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”

If literal, this darkness prevents them from accessing any type of pain relief for the sores and burns suffered from the previous plagues.  However, the wording allows for the thought that this “darkness” could be a reference to spiritual darkness, the overwhelming evil and wickedness that covers the world at this time.  No reference is made to the sun or moon as specifically referenced in previous judgments.  Many verses in scripture use darkness as a reference to evil.

Matthew 6:23 “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”

Luke 11:34 “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness”.

John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Again, do people repent and ask for mercy?  No.  They continue to blaspheme the God of heaven.  They realize He is the one judging them and causing their pain and sores.

(to be continued…)

Thursday, March 13, 2014


The last post ended with the emergence of the seven angels carrying the last seven plagues that will dispense the full measure of God’s wrath and vengeance against the heathen nations.  Next John sees “the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony” open.

Revelation 15:5–7 “And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.  And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.”

This is interesting.  After looking up all the words in the Greek, this is my paraphrase:  John sees the temple in heaven open—the place that houses the Decalogue.  This seems to have a direct connection with Revelation 11:19 providing another affirmation that the ark of the covenant is in heaven.
Revelation 11:19 “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”

John now reveals that the angels are clothed appropriate to the righteousness of the judgments that will occur as a result of the plagues they hold.  It’s interesting to note that the angels are given vials full of the wrath of God to mix with their plagues.  These vials represent God’s power and authority for the judgment that is about to be poured out upon the earth and its inhabitants.

I think it is significant that those delivering the judgments of God are willing servants.  They are totally loyal and committed to obeying God.  They know His character; they know His actions are holy, just and righteous.

Emphasis is given to the fact that these vials are FULL (swelled out) of the wrath of God.  This seems to indicate that these last judgments are going to bring about the worst torment ever experienced by man on planet earth.  This conclusion is reinforced by the words of Jesus that in context reference the period of time following “the abomination of desolation” when Satan in the person of Antichrist declares himself to be “god” in the temple.

Matthew 24:21–22 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

John then tells us that the temple is filled with the smoke of the glory of God, evidently providing a visual representation of His power. 

Revelation 15:8 “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.”

This reminds me of God’s appearance to the Israelites at Mount Sinai.

Exodus 19:18 “And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.”

No one is allowed in the temple until the seven plagues have accomplished their objective.  This seems to imply that access was open until this time.  Next John tells us that he hears a voice of command from within the temple.

Revelation 16:1 “And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.”

The angels are told to go and empty their vials upon the earth.  Go your ways”—indicates that they each have a specific direction to follow.  The Greek for “pour out” states “to pour forth…gush (pour) out…spill.  This seems to imply that the vials will be emptied quickly and with a drowning like impact.  They are all sent out at the same time, and the next few verses indicate that these judgments come in rapid succession.

(to be continued…)

Monday, March 10, 2014


In the last post Jesus, the Son of Man, was told that the time had come to harvest the earth, judgment that would begin purifying the earth in readiness for the establishment of His kingdom.  We are told that He indeed authorizes this judgment by thrusting His sickle against the earth.

Revelation 14:16–20 “And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”

At His thrust, another angel comes out of the temple in heaven carrying a sharp sickle.  He is followed by yet another angel who is identified as having the power over fire.  Again, it appears that there are angels with areas of delegated authority over the creation.  This angel tells the angel with the sharp sickle to go and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth because the grapes are fully ripe. 

I believe this statement is directly connected to the closing thoughts in the previous post concerning the sin of the Amorites.  God has determined that the sin of man on earth is “full.”  I am reminded of a verse in Joel.

Joel 3:12–13 “Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great.”

Isn’t it interesting that the angel with the power over fire is the one sending out the angel to gather together those that will end up in the lake of fire.

The angel carries out his task immediately.  This task seems directly related to the final battle of Armageddon that will occur outside the city of Jerusalem.  John compares this judgment to putting grapes into a winepress.   So much blood will be shed that it will reach to the horse’s bridles for a space of 600 furlongs, or about 75 miles.

The prophet Joel makes specific reference to the valley of Jehoshaphat, identified in Jewish tradition as the valley between the temple mount and the Mount of Olives.  I will once again share the comments of Joseph Seiss:  “The probabilities are...that a line of encamped forces shall extend from Bozrah, on the southeast, to Megiddo, on the northwest. And, singularly enough, this would measure exactly 1600 stadia (furlongs), the distance named in the text as that over which the blood from this great winepress of Jehovah’s anger flows.”

In his comment, Mr. Seiss is referencing Isaiah 63.

Isaiah 63:1–4 “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.”

This connection makes sense to me and tells me that Jesus will first go to deliver the Jewish remnant from their protected place in Bozrah en route to defeating the forces of Satan coming from Armageddon. 

Revelation 15:1–4 “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”

At the beginning of chapter 15 John witnesses another sign in heaven—seven angels with the last seven plagues of the seven-year tribulation period.  He tells us that these plagues will mark the end of God’s wrath.  It seems odd to describe this sight as “great and marvelous.”  However, when you think of it in the perspective of bringing an end to this terrible time of judgment and ushering in Messiah’s Kingdom, it makes more sense. 

John also sees a gathering of those that had gotten the victory over the beast and refused to take his mark. Note that this group is distinct from those in Revelation 7:9 and is specifically identified as composed of tribulation believers.  The implication to me is that those believers who die during the tribulation are immediately translated into incorruptible bodies to the presence of the Lord.

These victorious saints all have harps and are singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.  It would seem that these saints are gifted with musical ability once they arrive in heaven.  They will relate specifically to these songs because they represent deliverance and victory.

At one time or another in life, I think we all question why God in His omniscience chose to work with man the way He has.  Why did He create man when He knew we were going to make such a mess of things?  The words of these saints declare that He can’t be questioned as to the rightness and righteousness of all that He has done—the path He foreordained to be able to enjoy the fellowship of man.  All of His ways are true and just!  The Lord God Almighty is the only holy One, the only true God.  All peoples will fall in worship before the Lord in recognition of the righteousness of His judgment.

(to be continued…)