There will be a day when the patience of God runs out. When heaven is opened and the earth is completely purged in preparation for the Son of God’s millennial reign upon this earth. When those who refuse to drink from the cup of God’s salvation will drown in His bowls of wrath.
Revelation 15 introduces this future time of judgment; coming events that are to be known as “the seven plagues.” Verses 5-6 read:
After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened, and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes.
As I have been sharing in previous posts on the book of Revelation, Dr. Walvoord’s commentary is a valued resource for the student of God’s Word. His verse-by-verse expositions are paralleled by only a select few (examples include Constable, MacArthur, and Thomas).
Here’s his explanation of the angelic players in God’s unfolding drama1:
This is a later vision that John sees, marked by the familiar phrase, “I looked,” which always introduces something dramatically new. Here the new element is the introduction of the judgments represented in the seven bowls. John sees the Holy of Holies in the heavenly tabernacle being opened. We know the location because the word “sanctuary” refers to the inner holy place of the tabernacle, the design of which God gave to Israel during the wilderness wandering. The “tent of witness” refers to the whole tent-like structure, a portion of which contained the Holy of Holies. In turn, the Holy of Holies contained the ark of the covenant in which were the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments (cf. Ex. 32:15; Acts 7:44). This is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament (Ex. 38:21; Num. 1:50, 53; 10:11; 17:7-8; 18:2).
As John looks intently on the scene, the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the outer portion of the heavenly tabernacle is parted, and he sees seven angels coming out of the sanctuary. The holy place, into which the high priests alone could go, and only after proper sacrifices, does not exclude holy angels who have no sin. Each of the angels is carrying one of the bowls containing the seven plagues, and each is clothed in pure white linen and a golden sash, which befits these holy and majestic creatures. Linen here, as in the garment of the wife of the Lamb (19:8), represents righteousness in action, also certainly proper for holy angels. If gold reflects the glory of God, it would point to the conclusion that these angels pouring out righteous judgments on the earth thereby bring glory to God.
The whole scene is very symbolic of what is about to happen. The angels coming out of the sanctuary indicate that the judgments to be poured out stem from the holiness of God and are properly required of God, who must do all things right…
It is an ominous sign of impending doom for those who persist in their blasphemous disregard of the sovereignty and holiness of God.
Do you know God—meaning, have you repented of your sin and believed upon Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? All who reject Jesus will one day face Him as their Judge. They will drown in God’s judgment.
God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.
The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.
Friend, how will you respond?