The Revelation of John: Chapter 15 – The Righteous

14 Oct

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests

Revelation 15

This chapter is probably the shortest chapter, but it has many important concepts presented in it. Remember that in chapter 14 we saw a great deal of what will happen just prior to the second coming. In the second half we read of two harvests, one of the righteous the other of the wicked. The main theme of chapter 15 is what the righteous will experience in the harvesting. This theme runs throughout the chapter and should be remembered when reading it.

 

Verse 1

“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.”

This verse is a preview of chapter 16. The seven plagues mentioned are described in that chapter, and are what the wicked will experience when they are harvested. The two chapters go together and should be understood together.

 

Verse 2

“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.”

This verse tells us two different things.

First, the righteous will be victorious over all the cunning plans and seductions of Satan, as seen in their victory over every aspect of the Beast. This is an important message, and is the primary message of the entire book of Revelation. There will be an eventual victory of God over Satan and good over evil. In the past several posts I have delved into the details of this revelation, but none of it is as important as this. God will win and the righteous will be justified. If we don’t understand this message than the rest of it is basically meaningless.

The second aspect of this verse is the sea of glass mingled with fire. This was mentioned in chapter four as well. In my commentary on that chapter I mentioned that D&C 77:1 we read that it “is the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state.” That it is seen as a sea of glass because “This earth…will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim…” (D&C 130: 9). However, in this we also see it mingled with fire. This is because, as Joseph Smith says, those who inherit the Celestial Glory will dwell in everlasting burnings; a description of the glory and light of God.

 

Verses 3-4

“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”

The song of Moses in recorded in Exodus 15: 1-19. It was song by Israel after the Lord had destroyed the Egyptians in the Red Sea. Its main theme is praise to God for deliverance from bondage in Egypt. The saints in the Celestial Glory will again sing this song in praise of Christ delivering them from the bondage of sin.

 

Verses 5-8

“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.”

We again see a preview of what is to come. These verses show the preparation for the harvest and destruction of the wicked. As we read we see the process.

The seven angels come out of the temple, or from the presence of God. They are clean of all sin, as seen in the whiteness of their garments. Also, they have glory and authority, as seen in the golden girdles.

Then, one of the four beasts (which one is not specified) gives the angels the vials that actually contain the plagues. It was said in verse one that the angels had the plagues, but here we see them being given the vials. So, the first statement meant that they had the authority to pour out the plagues, and now the time has come to do so.

Lastly the temple is filled with smoke from the God’s glory, preventing anyone from entering it until the angels have poured out the plagues. Heaven and the world are not ready for the destructions and plagues to happen just before the second coming.

 

On a final note the plagues are full of the wrath of God. Also, there are seven plagues. This number is important. Seven is a number of completion, or finishing. So, these plagues represent the completion or finishing of the Lord’s judgments against the wicked.

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