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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

October 22, 2014

Revelations 14:14-20, 15:1-8

  1. Recap from last week. The evil Roman Empire and its emperor worship will cause great distress, but they will not be in power forever. The angels have declared their destruction by God’s hands. The great Babylon (The Roman Empire) will fall and its fall will be awful. Just as God judged the nation of Israel, so too will he judge the pagan Roman Empire. God has a pattern of judging his people and the pagan nations afterwards. In Isaiah Chapters 9 and 10 God judged Israel and Assyria. The saints of God have to be patient and wait on the judgment of the world. Their tribulation will not be permanent.

  2. Verses 14-20. In verse 14 we see one like the son of man seated on a white cloud with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. There is no doubt that this is picturing Christ. Christ was called “one like the son of man coming in the clouds” in Revelation 1:7, 13 and in Daniel 7:13 and Matthew 24:30. Christ is coming to harvest the earth, reaping what had been sown. He swings his sickle across the earth and the earth was reaped. I believe this is picturing the righteous people of God being reaped to the Lord. The parallel would be the parable of the tares where we read about the wheat and the tares growing together. Then the wheat are reaped and taken into the barn while the tares are gathered for the fire. Once the elect are reaped, then another angel comes with a sharp sickle. He is to gather the grapes and throw them into the winepress of God’s wrath. This is a picture of devastating judgment. This imagery comes from Isaiah 63:1-6 where Isaiah used the same language. The enemies are trampled and their blood is poured out for their rebellion. Notice that this is the imagery of Revelation 14:20. The wicked are put into the winepress of God’s wrath and the blood flowed as high as a horse’s bridle for 1600 stadia (184 miles). Can you imagine how much blood would have to be shed and how many people would have to die to create a flow of blood that would pour out for 184 miles a few feet high? This is a graphic symbol to the world. Stop worshiping the beast. Those who worship the beast are going to suffer the wrath of God in eternal punishment. The emperors and the empire that you are worshiping as divine are going to fall and its fall will be so great that the blood will flow for miles. Once again this is not a literal image that blood would really flow that high and that far. Rather, the imagery makes the powerful point that its doom is coming and it is not going to be pretty. The prophecy has been made. The die is cast and the stage is set. The people of God will be gathered and those that worship the beast will be slain. Repent before it is too late because this doom will come. Chapters 15-19 will reveal the fulfillment of these prophetic declarations of the angels.

  3. Chapter 15:1-2. The first two verses of chapter 15 turn attention to the throne room of heaven. In the new sign that appears, John sees a sign that is great and amazing. He sees seven angels with seven plagues. There are two important things we are told about these seven angels and the seven plagues they carry. First, these are the last of the judgments. Once these judgments are completed then the earth will be at rest. We are not going to have any more “sevens” in judgment. The seven bowls of wrath will be the last of the judgments. The second important thing to observe is why these are the last of the judgments. God’s wrath is finished with these seven bowls. Standing beside the sea of glass mixed with fire are those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name. Conquering does not come by warring militarily with the beast but by remaining faithful and pure to the Lamb. These are the 144,000 (a number for all of Gods elect) of chapter 14 singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. Just like the new song, the song of Moses was a song of victory. Such are the words of their song.

  4. Verses 3-8. The song the conquerors sing praises God for his great and amazing deeds. His ways are just and all must fear him and glorify him. Chapter 14 has revealed God’s righteous acts as God is about to judge the beast for its sinfulness and killing of the people of God. Just as Israel praised God by the sea after he delivered them from Pharaoh, so the conquerors praise God for defeating the beast. This is another use of prophetic certainty. The beast is defeated even though it had not happened yet. We then see the seven angels each receiving a golden bowl full of the wrath of God. Bowls of wrath is an image used by Isaiah to describe God’s wrath coming to punish sinners. (Isaiah 51:17, 22). Verse 8 reminds us that these judgments are coming from God. The sanctuary is filled with smoke because God is about to declare something he wants all to hear. (Exodus 40:34-35; 2 Chronicles 5:13).

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