Sunday, 25 April 2021
Then 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. Revelation 15:7
The previous verse introduced the seven angels having the seven plagues full of the wrath of God. John now begins this verse with, “Then one of the four living creatures.” This refers back to Chapter 4. In that chapter, a meticulous description was given of each of the four creatures around the throne. One of them now gives “the seven angels seven golden bowls.”
These are shallow, flat bowls. The term “vials” which is given by some translations doesn’t really convey that thought. The word is phialé. One can see the etymological root of the word vial in it, but the word vial as is used today does not convey the idea of what is being seen. It is the same word used in verse 5:8 –
“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
In that verse, the bowls were used in offering the incense, signifying the prayers of the saints. Using the same type of bowl now, it appears to be an ironic response to those prayers. Whereas the prayers were offered out of those bowls to God, and as they are containing the prayers of the saints, these bowls are said to be “full of the wrath of God.”
These bowls now certainly include payment for all of the injustices done to God’s people and all of the other wickedness that has been propagated by the world. Finally, John says in reference to God that it is He “who lives forever and ever.”
The term is referring to Jesus. The same wording was used of Him in verse 1:18. The reason for including this term now is that though wickedness has grown to the highest levels on the earth, and that man feels God is completely removed from the picture, the opposite is true. God was, He is, and He shall be. He is eternal, and His seeming slowness to act is because man is limited and looks at things from his own perspective. He fails to take into account the fact that God has a program set forth that spans millennia. God is not slow to act at all. Rather, He is always in the process of working out His plans.
Life application: In man’s attempt to cast off God’s rule, his vile conduct will grow to the point where only judgment and punishment is left as a remedy. This was seen at the time of Noah, it has been seen again and again in the history of man since then, and it is coming upon the whole world someday.
The focal point of all judgment is the Lord’s Christ. He came to take upon Himself the judgment of His people. In the tribulation period, it is He who will execute judgment on man who has rejected Him. In the end, God’s judgment must be executed upon sin. And that judgment is realized in one way or another through the giving of JESUS.
Lord, it is terrifying to know that a time is coming when there will be no remedy left for the people of the world except that they are to receive judgment, punishment, and condemnation. Give each of us a heart willing to tell of Jesus’ great act of love and reconciliation now, so that those around us can hear and hopefully call out to You and be saved. Make us instruments of sharing this wonderful message of reconciliation and peace, O God. Amen.