Revelation 15:5 - 16:21

Overview Recap
(1) Revelation has many Old Testament inferences (around 500?), but no quotes.
Requires a working knowledge of the Old Testament.
(2) Genre of Revelation does not exist any more (popular 2nd century BC - 2nd century AD), it is not familiar to us. It is a genre full of metaphors, symbols, mixing of metaphors / symbols.  Jesus described as son of man, lion, lamb. Church described as 144,000, two witnesses, offspring of woman, bride, new Jerusalem. It is a genre which is not chronological - although it has a beginning and an end inbetween in uses a literary device called recapitulation (doubles back on itself).
(3) The most popular approach to the book has the idea of "The Rapture" - taking away, snatching away of the church. The belief that the church is gone at the end of chapter 3 - and it concerns those who are 'left behind'. Periods of time become literal in this approach. However, the lamb has conquered and he is coming... so keep you eyes on the throne. It is not a book of information for us but of exhortation to us to persue being marked by the lamb in the age of the dragon. This is approach heresy in some circles!

Chapters 6 to 19 are chapters of judgement - daunting.
But we have interludes where we get to look into the heavenlies and we get to rest a little, get to sing, get to stand in the presence of Him on the throne and the lamb.
How are we the approach these judgements, how are we to respond to them?

Nine Things to See / Ways to Respond to the Judgements

(1) These should not be read chronologically or literally.
Each offers a different perspective of the same events of judgement.
Different vantage points and insights are offered.
Each series of judgements ends in finality.
Rev 8:5, Rev 11:9, Rev 16:18
End of age takes place when the seventh seal removed, seventh trumpet blown ... etc ...

Judgement and reward given in chapter 20, but previously described in chapter 11.
Each of the seven sequences end at the same time.

(2) Why are the same events described as Seals, Trumpets and Bowls?
What is their connection with judgement?
God is calling us to look at his plans and purposes of judgements and grace from 3 different perspectives.
Why these images, what does God want us to see?

Seals - remind us only one worthy to open them.
God's plans and purposes are wrapped up in the lamb who was slain.
Seen from the perspective of the suffering church (cry of martyrs).

Trumpets - his judgements are to be seen / taken as warnings.
Provide a wake up call!
Seen from the perspective of the world and the beast.

Bowls - these speak of immediacy, comes up on us like a thief.
These are broad and shallow vessels, shaped like a saucer, so their contents can be poured out completely and suddenly.
Seen from perspective of throne of God.

We are not called to leave legacies, but to store treasure in heaven.
The trumpets are blowing for all of us.

(3) We need to see how these judgements are packaged.
We need to step back  / get high up to view them in totality, get the big picture.

We have 3 sets of 7. Speaks of completeness and perfection.
7 - speaks of completion, 3 - speaks of many.

We see judgement being brought on the dragon, the beast and those who follow the beast and take his number.
Those who take the number of the beast : 666 - number of man, number of incompleteness.
In Revelation we see 777 bringing total destruction to 666.

(4) Judgements, plans, grace flow out of God's holiness and the rejection of His law.
See Revelation 15:5
Temple - holiest room, holiest place of God
  Tablets with 10 commandments kept there.
  The place where God met with His people. See Exodus 33:7
  Judgements from temple. See Isaiah 6.
  Angels dressed in clean linen - speaks of holiness
  The bowls are golden - speaks of royalty, perfection

The bowls are the logical response of holiness to evil and impurity.

(5) God's judgement is deserved (Revelation 16:5-7).
Justice has to be fair (Biblical principle - eye for eye, tooth for tooth)
  A common error - making sin too light
  Our cry for justice comes from a viewpoint warped by sin.

SIN === I want to be God!
SIN === I think God is out to get me!

God is just and good === FAIR
Grace is not fair! He offers a way out!

(6) Judgement is to lead to repentance (Revelation 16:9,21).
Grace is always available.
No repentance! Why?
Mark of beast is hostility to God - we become what we worship (Revelation 13:15).
Today, is the day for salvation. No promise of tomorrow if you reject Him today.
Your heart will not get softer to God the older you get.

Don't store God's grace in barns for another day (Luke 12:13-21).
There may not be a tomorrow.

People duped by the beast and the false prophet (Revelation 15:14).
Jesus affirmed this deceiving work in Matthew 24:5,11-24.

(7) Judgement is quick (Revelation 15:15).
How do we stay awake?
We follow and worship the lamb.
Living our lives as if Jesus is coming today.

(8) Depiction of God's judgement is to overwhelm us.
Primary objective should not be to figure each judgement out.
Dont miss seeing the forest because of the trees.

"Who can stand" - the bigger idea is to overwhelm us.

Acts 2:15-21 "This is coming to fulfillment"
Tongues of fire - wind blowing? Where?
Peter is saying something bigger is going on - they are not drunk.
What was going on in the unseen?
Do some of the images show what is going on in the heavenlies / cosmos?

(9) Judgement is to encourage use.
Encourage us to bear witness and live for Jesus today.
Freedom is coming - the plagues in Egypt led to freedom for the people of God.

Further Reading

Revelation 15:1-4
Revelation 16:17-21. 19:19-21
Deuteronomy 32, Exodus 15
Revelation 15:5-8
Exodus 40:34-38