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Presentation 10. Presentation 11 Chapter 15 begins by introducing the seven angels who will later receive the seven bowls of wrath which are poured out.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation 10. Presentation 11 Chapter 15 begins by introducing the seven angels who will later receive the seven bowls of wrath which are poured out."— Presentation transcript:

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3 Chapter 15 begins by introducing the seven angels who will later receive the seven bowls of wrath which are poured out on the entire heathen world. These bowls form the third series of seven; seals, trumpets and bowls. God’s judgement is revealed in the seals, announced in the trumpets and now executed by the bowls. Beware of assuming that this pattern provides us with a precise chronology of the consummation of history. God’s final acts of judgement break in upon men who have rejected him throughout the course of history, albeit leading to a final Day of judgement, which is the completion of God’s wrath against all unrighteousness. Presentation 11 Preparation For The Bowls - Plagues [15:1-8]

4 Prior to the execution of judgement, we have a picture of the saints of God rejoicing in the triumph of righteousness. Their song, that of Moses and the Lamb, celebrates the redemptive activity of God. In the OT. it found its focus in the redemption of God’s people from Egypt [Ex. 15] and culminates in the NT. in the redemptive activity of Christ upon the cross. The one deliverance prefigured the other. Hence not two songs but one. The song does not celebrate the judgement of God on his enemies but the righteousness of his redemptive acts. The universal recognition of God of which they sing was both the OT. expectation [Ps. 86:9, Mal. 1:11] and the NT. prediction [Phil. 2:9-11]. Presentation 11

5 After this John sees the heavenly temple open and the seven angels of devastation emerge. The fact that the seven angels come from the temple leave us in no doubt that God is the author of the devastation. Each angel receives a bowl of wrath from the four living creatures, the guardians of the throne. As the bowls of judgement are given, the temple is filled with smoke symbolising the power and glory of God [Ex. 19:18, 40:34, Isa. 6:4] thus indicating God’s presence in all his power and glory to carry out his judgements Presentation 11 Preparation For The Bowls - Plagues [15:1-8]

6 No one was allowed to enter the temple until the seven plagues are finished for there is a finality associated at this stage of God’s judgement. No one can turn God back. The time for intercession is past. No longer does God stand knocking. Only fearful judgement awaits. Christ gives last knocks. When your heart becomes hard and careless then fear lest Christ may have given you a last knock. ROBERT MURRAY McCHEYNE’S warning to a Kelso girl. Presentation 11 Preparation For The Bowls - Plagues [15:1-8]

7 The Plagues Poured Out [16:1-21] The plagues detailed here parallel the series of interim judgements in chap 8-11 but with a number of differences. The first plague is universal, it affects the whole earth unlike the interim judgement of God in 13:11 that touched only a third of the earth. In 8:8 a third of the sea became blood, here in v3 ‘every living thing died.’ Secondly, the trumpets summoned men to repentance but these judgements are final. The evil sores brought by the first plague were not simply judgement for sin but an evidence that sin was already there. In this sense sin is its own judgement. God simply commands sin to expose itself and then go to its own place. Presentation 11

8 The second plague turned the sea into blood. As a result the sea is incapable of supporting life. Those who shed the lifeblood of God’s people and who thirsted for their blood now appropriately have a sea of blood to contend with. The third plague affects the inland waters. They too are turned to blood. Water is a staple requirement for life but this is being denied those who deprived God’s people of their lives. [ cf. Isa. 49:6]. The judgement of God is neither vengeful nor capricious but an expression of his just nature and his intense hatred of sin. Presentation 11 The Plagues Poured Out [16:1-21]

9 The fourth plague affects the sun. Men are scorched by its intense heat. Fire is often associated with judgement in scripture [ Deut. 28:22, 1 Cor. 3:13, 2 Pet. 3:7 ]. In contrast with this judgement of God cf. the blessing of God’s people in heaven, ‘The sun will not beat upon them nor any scorching heat’ [7:16] The fifth plague affects the throne of the beast i.e. the first beast who represented evil government. Here is the final overthrow of the monstrous regimes of men, from ancient Pharaohs, to the Hitlers and Stalins. When God eclipses such rulers the darkness of those, who have been their avid followers, only intensifies producing personal suffering. They are bereaved and grieve over the fallen evil power they had given themselves so unreservedly to. Presentation 11 The Plagues Poured Out [16:1-21]

10 The sixth plague affects the Euphrates and the river dries up preparing the way for attack from the kings of the East. At least fifty different interpretations have been advanced for the kings of the East. The immediate historical context would cause John’s readers to think of the Parthians who lived across the Eurphrates beyond the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire. The kings of the East [ v12 ] are seen to be distinct from the kings of the whole world [v14]. Three unclean spirits come out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet, suggesting the persuasive and deceptive propaganda that, in the last days, will cause men to side unconditionally with the cause of evil. Presentation 11 The Plagues Poured Out [16:1-21]

11 While it is true that this is a pattern that repeats itself throughout history, it clearly leads towards the climax of v16 - Armageddon. [cf. Ezek. 38-39, Joel 2:11, 3:2]. A warning in the midst of this prophetic passage is appropriate. When the forces of the beast gather for the last battle, the believer will enter a period of supreme crisis. The words of Jesus are cited, ‘Lo I am coming as a thief’, reminding us of the unexpected nature of Christ's return and intervention in the historical process. Presentation 11 The Plagues Poured Out [16:1-21]

12 The faithful are encouraged to remain faithful, i.e. to keep their trust in the garments of Christ’s righteousness as the source of their justification and sanctification. The place of God’s final clash with evil governments is described as Armageddon. A great deal of energy has been expended in attempting to locate its geographical location. What is of greater importance is the fact that there is a day coming when the powers of evil will be finally defeated and be seen to be defeated. Presentation 11 The Plagues Poured Out [16:1-21]

13 The seventh bowl is poured out and followed by a great voice from the temple declaring that God’s purpose is accomplished cf. 11:15, 18-21. The plagues are over and man stands now on the threshold of eternity. This time is marked by the greatest of all earthquakes. There is no general agreement about the identity of the great city, split into three, some understand it symbolically as ‘civilised man ordering his affairs apart form God’ [Morris]. The storm of divine wrath reaches its climax with hailstones of around 100lb in weight - for God’s use of hailstones see Josh. 10:11 and Ezek. 38:18-22. Note the effect of divine retribution only serves to intensify man’s implacable opposition to God! Presentation 11 The Plagues Poured Out [16:1-21]

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