Revelation Devotion 22
– Pastor Timothy
It best to read Revelation chapters 15 and 16 together, where the final judgment of God falls upon the world in the 7 bowls of wrath. Victory belongs to our God, who alone determines the hour at which His final judgment comes (15:8; 16:1).
Whereas the 7 seals dealt with one-fourth of the earth (cf. Revelation 6:8), and the 7 trumpets dealt with one-third of the earth (cf. Revelation 9:15), God’s judgment now stretches over all the earth.
In Revelation 13:1, the beast emerges from out of the sea (cf. Ezekiel 32:2; Daniel 7:3), but in Revelation 15:2 John observes “standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name” (cf. Psalm 74:12-15).
This victory thus serves as a reminder of Pharaoh’s defeat in the waters of the sea after Moses led Israel out of Egypt (cf. Exodus 14:23-28). Only the victory in Revelation comes as a result of Christ’s far superior death, burial, and resurrection. G. K. Beale indicates how Daniel 7:10-11 pictures “a river of fire in heaven before God’s throne, in which the beast is judged and destroyed. The fact that the sea of glass is mixed with fire shows that the sea has become the place where the Lamb has judged the beast.”
Therefore, as the Israelites sang praises to God about the horse and its rider being thrown into the sea (cf. Exodus 15:1; 21), the church shall sing His praises all the more for deliverance from the beast. As Pharaoh was subject to just judgment, God’s final verdict on the nations shall also prove “just and true” (15:3; 16:7). The only way to escape the final verdict of God’s wrath is to clothe oneself in the righteousness of Christ (16:15).
People from all the nations will celebrate and praise the holiness of the Triune God for His just vindication (15:4). This is a picture of heaven, one that I see clearly as we wait to bring our daughter home from India. All of God’s adopted sons and daughters, from every race, culture, and station of life, will worship before the throne!
Keep in mind, any adoption into the family of God rests solely on one’s acceptance of Jesus. Keep in mind, Revelation is primarily a book of worship in response to our adoption into the family of God.
In the Old Testament, the Lord instructed Israel to build a tabernacle, where God would dwell with His people (cf. Exodus 25:8) and where they were to keep the ark of the covenant, in which the Ten Commandments were placed (cf. Exodus 25:21). Jesus brings all this to fulfillment — He came to tabernacle among us (cf. John 1:14) and to perfectly keep the Law (of which we continually fall short).
As the angel in Revelation 5:2 had asked, “Who is worthy to open the scroll?,” an angel literally communicates in Revelation 16:6 that those who worship the image of the beast are worthy to drink of God’s wrath. Humanity faces judgment before that Law, so those who reject the testimony of Jesus will suffer justly the woes associated with the seven bowls of wrath.
The matter could not be any plainer. Jesus alone is worthy of our worship, not the allures of adulterous Babylon. I agree, then, with James Resseguie that “the great eschatological battle turns out to be an individual spiritual battle.” Please, choose to follow Christ before it’s too late.
God’s final judgment upon the earth shall result in suffering falling upon the idolatrous followers of the world’s systems and upon the persecutors of God’s people (16:2-6). Those given to the idols of this age will suffer intensely because of their refusal “to repent and glorify Him” (16:8-9), which ultimately amounts to separation from Christ and walking in darkness (16:10-11).
Spiritual darkness prohibits humanity from seeing spiritual realities and truths. Spiritual darkness promotes humanity following after worldly impurities and lies.
John describes this spiritual deception as emerging from the mouth of the unholy trinity in the form of frogs. As with other plagues in Egypt, Yahweh’s sending frogs served as a direct challenge against the Egyptian false gods (cf. Exodus 8:1-15).
The Egyptians regarded Heqt, symbolized by a frog, as the goddess of resurrection. Beale points out, “The deceptive activity is appropriately portrayed as frog-like since the evil triumvirate were attempting to deceive people about the purported fact of the beast’s resurrection (cf. Revelation 13:1-5).”
Essentially, the crux of the matter is that Satan will put up a fight to the very end, and he will pull down everyone that he can with him (16:14; cf. Revelation 19:19; 20:8). Let us here take to heart Psalm 2:1-6:
“Why do the nations conspire and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’ The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath, saying, ‘I have installed My King on Zion, My holy mountain.’”
John explains the rulers will band together at Armageddon (16:16). This is a direct allusion to Megiddo, a strategic place in Israel during times of war (cf. Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29). Nations invading Israel from the north would have to pass through this narrow plain.
Original readers of John’s letter would have thus understood Armageddon as a symbolic representation of Megiddo. John does not intend to single out a specific location but to stress that God will strategically bring Satan and his followers to a place of global defeat, destruction, and judgment (cf. Revelation 17:14; 19:14-21; 20:7-10; Zechariah chapters 12-14).
The seventh bowl makes this especially clear. On the cross, Jesus pronounced, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Victory for God’s people was officially secured in that moment — the sin of all believers atoned for and Satan’s doom sealed. Still, Christians battle on until the rapture, Armageddon, and the voice from God’s throne that proclaims, “It is done” (16:17).
The crucifixion of Christ, accompanied by a quake which shook the earth (cf. Matthew 27:51), tore the veil that
separated people from the holy of holies. Looking unto Jesus in faith provides access for sinners back to the Father.
At the final judgment, however, the earth will quake again not in order to provide access to the throne of glory but to bring to fulfillment the great Day of Yahweh (16:18; cf. Ezekiel 38:18-19). At the final judgment, the plagues sent upon Egypt will be dwarfed by that of God’s plagues upon this corrupt and perverse generation with all its false gods (16:20-21).