Scripture Reading: Revelation 15:1-16:21

“Behold, I am coming like a theif! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” (Revelation 15:15)

John now receives his last vision of seven (seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets and now seven bowls of God’s wrath). These last seven plagues are similar to the plagues God brought on Egypt in the days of Moses (Exodus 7-11). They are called the “last plagues” because God’s wrath is made complete.

Before the final plagues are poured out, we are given a vision of the Church Triumphant — “those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing on a sea of glass with harps of God in their hands” (15:2b). They are standing on a sea of glass mixed with fire, symbolizing God’s purifying power. They are singing a song of deliverance and victory.

It is in the context of worship that the judgment of God comes. “After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linens, with golden sashes around their clothes. And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden blows full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever” (15:5-7). The bowls are full, to indicate the fierceness and unmitigated character of God’s wrath.

The outpourings of these bowls of wrath are called “the last plagues.” They are inflicted on those who refused to heed the warnings of the trumpet judgments (6:6-9:21). They are the last in that they bring about death to all who receive them. In the infliction of the seven blows of wrath, God’s temporal judgments are completed.

Throughout this entire age there has been a battle raging between the armies of two kingdoms — the kingdom of Satan (the beast) and the kingdom of Christ. It has often appeared that the kingdom of the beast is winning. But at the climax of history, just when it seems that the church can stand no more, the Lord Himself will come and put an end to the kingdom of darkness forever.

We must be ready for that day. Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming like a thief” (16:15). The final battle will take place when Jesus returns. Therefore, we must live with the end in mind. We are to live our lives as though this may be the last day. When we are engaged in difficult spiritual battles, we must remember the end — Jesus comes and He wins the war for us!

Lord Jesus, King and Judge, I know that you will come again like a thief in the night. I want to stay awake and be prepared for Your coming. Enable me to be dressed in Your righteousness, and give me power to resist the attacks of Satan. Let me live my life with the end in mind. You are coming again and You will restore all things. This gives me great hope and the desire to live my life in a manner worthy of the gospel.


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