From Revelation 12 to Revelation 14 we have an overview of Satan’s plan to war against Christ through the deception of the Beast and his image using wicked men to persecute the saints.
Now as we come to Revelation 15 and Revelation 16 we read of God’s response to the wicked who have made their allegiance to Satan and rejected the Creator God, His Son, and have willfully pursued harm of His saints.
In our Christian journey we have sometimes found ourselves wondering if the injustice, the evil, and the sinfulness of man will ever come to an end, but in Revelation 15:1 we have the answer. Let’s jump into the highlights from our study.
Revelation 15:1 — It’s said in this verse, in the KJV, of the seven last plagues “for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” The idea is that it is maximum wrath or all the wrath possible. In the NIV we read that they are “last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.” The NIV gives the idea that it is God’s final expression of wrath or the end of wrath.
While both translations may seem different they are really both accurate, because they are both translating a phrase from Greek to English that means both maximum wrath and final wrath. The good news in this for us is we can know that God has a plan in bringing sin to an end and that plan will also avenge the persecution of His saints.
Revelation 15:2-4 — John gets a vision of the victorious saints protected and secure, unlike those who put their safety in allegiance to the Beast and his Mark. These are the same saints seen in Revelation 7:9 and Revelation 14:1-5, thus God is wanting to assure us that we will be protected and secure despite the threats of Satan’s end-time plan to harm us.
Revelation 15:5-8 — The scene we have next is an empty temple in Heaven, meaning that the intercession of our Lord, our High Priest, Jesus our Savior has ceased. The plan of redemption that goes back to the Garden of Eden has come to an end. It means these plagues conclude the drama of ages between Christ and Satan. The cry of Revelation 22:11 says it all, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
Revelation 16:2-12 — The first six plagues fall and they remind us of the plagues of Egypt. When the plagues fell upon Egypt, God spared His people by not allowing the plagues to fall on them. You can read that in Exodus 8:22, Exodus 9:4, Exodus 9:26, Exodus 10:23, and Exodus 11:7 God says He did this “that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel” or we could say between those who worship the Creator God and those who worship the Beast and his Image.
The plagues fall “upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image” (Revelation 16:2). In Revelation 9:4 we read as the fifth seal is opened and the locust are loosed from the Abyss that they are only allowed to harm “those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 promises that the trial or temptation we face can not overpower us and Psalms 91:7-8 promises “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”
Revelation 16:13-14 — John see three frog-like demonic spirits that come from the mouth of Satan, the Beast, and the false prophet. The significance here may be that all three voice or command the action “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.” Verse 16 of this chapter identifies this gathering for the battle of Armageddon.
Revelation 16:15-21 — While Satan, the Beast, and false prophet gather the wicked for what appears to be a last attempt at combating the Lord Jesus, the saints, and His Kingdom, we are reminded in verse 15 that our deliverance is at hand and it is at the Lord’s return. The promised return of Jesus Christ is truly our blessed hope and encouragement.
We have three other occasions where the announcement is made that our Lord’s return and the events of that time will be as the unexpected coming of a thief, and they are 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10, and Revelation 3:3. The interjection of the Lord’s return being announced by Jesus following the sixth plague presents some problems for those who place the Lord’s return before the plagues.
As the seventh plague falls “a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.” A great climatic intervention follows with “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 “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”
In the New Testament we have three times when “It is done” is declared and all are statements of victory over Satan’s war against God’s character. We hear “It is done” in John 19:30 from the cross of Calvary, here in Revelation 16:17 in the seventh plague, and in Revelation 21:6 when sin is eradicated and God’s eternal Kingdom on earth is restored.
In our next study we look at Revelation 17:1-19:10 and see in a little more detail God’s judgment upon Babylon — which we’ll see is the false religious system used by Satan to deny Christ a faithful following.