Monday, November 21, 2016

Revelation 15:1-8

Revelation 15:1-8
And I saw another great and wonderful sign in heaven: seven angels having the seven last plagues, that the strong passion of God is finished in them.  And I saw a sea of glass having been mixed by fire and the ones who conquer out of the beast and out of his image and out of the number of his name, who have set upon the sea of glass, and who haves lyres of God.  And they sing the song of Moses – God’s slave – and the song of the lamb while saying, “Your works are great and wonderful, Lord God Almighty.  Your ways are righteous and true, King of the nations.  Who should surely not be afraid, Lord, and who will glorify you name?  Since you alone are holy, every nation will come and will bow down to worship in your presence for your righteous acts were made known.  And after this I looked, and the temple – the tabernacle of the testimony – was opened in heaven.  And the seven angels went out of the temple, the ones who have the seven plagues, who have been clothed in clean shinning linen, and who have girded themselves with a golden belt around their chests.  And one out of the four living beings gave the seven angels seven golden bowls that are full of the strong passion of God, the one who lives into the eras of the eras.  And the temple was being filled with smoke out of the glory of God and out of his power.  And nobody was powerful enough to go into the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels should be finished.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

I’m going to look at this passage over two consecutive days.  The reason that I am doing this is because I want to speak about the beginning and end of this chapter in one day and then speak about the middle verses in a different day.  I think there is too much material here of one days, and there is no good way to divide in in order of the verses.

As we open this passage, notice that we have a third set of seven.  This is the third set of angels who come out with God’s judgment upon the whole earth.  We know that it is God’s judgment because this set of angels comes out of the temple.  Remember that the number seven represents completion.  The number three is the divine number.  John’s point?  There will come a day and a time when God’s judgment over the earth will be complete.  None in creation will be able to avoid God’s judgment.  He rules over all, as it should be.

Is God the Lord of your life?  Are you taking His ways into every aspect of your life?

Second Thought:

Once more we also hear about being clothed in white and being girded with a golden belt.  What is John’s point?  John wants to remind us about the purity of these angels.  Even though they come to put God’s wrath on display, they are doing the will of God.  They are pure.  Once can remain pure while doing unpleasant things.  One can remain pure while executing righteous judgment.  The golden sash reminds us that these are working in the same fashion as priests.  In other words, once more we hear a reminder that they are from God, doing His will.  We are about to talk about some very unpleasant demonstrations of God’s power.  But they are righteous.  They are holy.

How do you feel about God and His servants being able to remain righteous and holy even in the midst of wrath and punishment?  How well are you able to remain righteous in the midst of your anger?

Third Thought:

Finally, we are told that smoke rose out of the temple until this last set of judgments would be fulfilled.  It is possible that we can learn from this that God’s plans are often clouded from human perception.  Certainly this is a reality.  It can also be a reminder that as human beings we are truly incapable of dwelling in the presence of God in our current condition.  However, I think the deepest meaning is found when we notice that this state has a limit.  The temple is unapproachable until this set of judgment is completed.  I think what God is telling us is that we cannot interfere with God’s active will.  When God decides to do something, we will not be able to stand against it.  God’s will issues forth and happens. When it is God’s will to judge us, our only choice is to receive it as it comes.

Do you ever feel as though you can counter the will of God?  Even if you would never admit this, does your life ever testify to the fact that you could be living this way?  Why is it important for us to remember that while we have free will, God’s will will always be superior to our will?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 15:1-8 (Part II)
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