Today’s reading: Revelation 15
In today’s reading, we see seven more plagues being prepared to be unleashed. Some details are key:
Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and wonderful, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended. And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.
This appears to be the same “sea of glass” from chapter 4 that surrounds the throne of God. Thus, these plagues come directly from God but they are mediated out by the righteous in heaven. Next:
And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and wonderful are thy deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are thy ways, O King of the ages! Revelation 15:3
Thus, it is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and the New that will bring about the end times. Next:
After this I looked, and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6 and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robed in pure bright linen, and their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives for ever and ever; and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended. Rev 15:5-8
We see here several important details. First, the plagues come out of the heavenly temple. Second, it mentions the “four living creatures” who we previously identified as the Gospel writers. Third, they are wearing linen with gold sashes that are evocative of priestly vestments. Fourth, they hand the angel’s golden bowls. Similar bowls were used in the Jewish temple to collect the blood of the sacrifices. Thus, this scene is liturgical and has something to do with formal worship.
Tomorrow: Revelation 16