Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Revelation 15:5-16:1 Saints' Prayers Bring God's Wrath


KEY TEXT: Revelation 15:5-16:1 After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests. And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, "Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God."

KEY THOT: The first time the “golden bowls” was mention in Revelation is in chapter 5, verse 8, “the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” The golden bowls contain the prayers of the saints offered to God as incense of worship. As the incense of prayer and praise rises up “day and night and night and day”, it reaches God’s nostrils as it were. And God’s reaction to our incense of prayers and worship will result in outpouring of his wrath and power. 

One example of this principle is found in Acts 16:25-26, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened.” God’s response to our prayers and praise is the release of his power on earth – to save and also to judge. In this particular incident, it resulted in the demonstration of God's power for deliverance. 

When we worship and offer to God our prayers and praise, we must expect that God will act on our behalf. Worship is a form of spiritual warfare that can bring in God's power to work on behalf of God's people and also execute His judgment.

In the case of the seven angels, they were handed the seven bowls of God’s wrath and asked to pour the wrath of God upon the earth. All the prayers of the saints for God’s vengeance uttered by those were martyred for their testimony will be collected and answered in the final acts of God’s vengeance: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:9-10). And they were given a white robe and told to rest a little longer “until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been” (Revelation 6:11). 

God will right all wrongs when He executes his vengeance in the final hours before the end comes. Whatever injustice or evil committed by wicked men who remain impenitent will be set right by the seven bowls of God’s wrath. Without the execution of God’s wrath, God’s moral universe will be tainted by sin and evil forever. All unremitted sins will be judged and eliminated before the kingdom of God arrives in its fullness. God has done this once in Genesis 6 when he destroyed all living creatures in the Flood in Noah's generation: 
  • Matthew 24:37-40 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 
Abba-Father, may You execute Your vengeance against all who practice and perpetuate evil, thinking they will be able to get away with their wicked deeds. Come Lord Jesus! Revenge Your people who were unjustly killed! Amen.

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