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"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 23

Seven Angels with the Last Plagues

Revelation 15

GOD is angry. At what? At whom? Certainly we do not desire to be among those against whom his anger is directed at present and upon whom his anger will be poured out at his chosen time. (Psalm 7: 11) So now is the occasion for us to give careful attention and study to all expressions of his anger before the climax comes. We know that he has reason to be angry, and that the expressions of his anger are righteous. Rather than personally feel these outpourings of his anger and blaspheme him because of them, we prefer to be in harmony with his outpourings, in support of them, because they are poured out upon the ones who merit them. Revelation, chapter fifteen, reveals that there will be persons who will praise God for righteously expressing his anger in his time of judgment. Happy will we be if we can join them in praising God.

With the utmost pleasure and satisfaction the apostle John looked upon the next meaningful sign. Likely he saw himself included in the sign. He says: "And I saw in heaven another sign, great and wonderful, seven angels with seven plagues. These are the last ones, because by means of them the anger of God is brought to a finish." (Revelation 15:1) Long ago the ten plagues that Moses was instrumental in bringing upon ancient Egypt were most literal; but in our time, since the fall of Babylon the Great in 1919, the seven last plagues

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under the control of the seven angels prove to be symbolical. They bespeak the anger of God, and are evidently revelations from God's Word. Yet Babylon the Great, among others, feels them sorely. They point out the various world conditions viewed from God's judicial standpoint. They portend what is to result to the world from his judicial opinion as to the peoples of the world. Such revelations from God's Word must, of course, be published and declared by his remnant, pictured by John who saw this great and wonderful sign in prophetic vision. As John saw the prophetic sign, so they see the actual modern-day fulfillment of the sign.

As seven is a Bible number meaning perfection, there needs to be no more than seven of these symbolic plagues. Seven of them are enough to bring the expression of God's anger to a finish. Angels perform their part in expressing them.

The heavenly sign that is about to be enacted at the due time is nothing unrighteous. On the occasion of starting off this sign there are faithful worshipers of God who can praise him. The apostle John calls our attention to them before the seven last plagues are poured out. As if now before God's throne, John says:

"And I saw what seemed to be a glassy sea mingled with fire, and those who come off victorious from the wild beast and from its image and from the number of its name standing by the glassy sea, having harps of God. And they are singing the song of Moses the slave of God and the song of the Lamb, saying:

" 'Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal? For all the nations will come and worship before you, because your righteous decrees have been made manifest.' " — Revelation 15:2-4. NW; F. Delitzsch; Salkinson-Ginsburg (Hebrew), 1941 edition.

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Who are these who have come off victorious from the Devil's visible political organization and from the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations, and from the imperfection, failure and oppression that the name-number of the symbolic wild beast represents? They are the remnant still on earth of the 144,000 followers of the Lamb of God. Their history to this day testifies that they have come off victorious; their foreheads and their hands are clear of any mark showing agreement, cooperation and compromise with the symbolic wild beast and its image. They give no worship to such political institutions. They are not marked with its numerical name that sums up to 666. They have heeded the warning of the third angel given in Revelation 14:9-12 and have endured all the world opposition and persecution because of their faithfully observing the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ.

They have victoriously obeyed the divine commandments to keep themselves without spot from this world and to preach the good news of God's established kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a witness. They have displayed the same kind of faith that Jesus Christ displayed when he was on earth. (James 1:27; Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10; John 13:15-17) Since these victorious ones are described as "having harps of God" and singing, they must be included among the 144,000 singers with harps, spoken of in Revelation 14:1-3.

Their harps being "harps of God," these have been furnished to them by God. They are the means to give pleasant-sounding accompaniment, support and harmonious background to their singing. In effect, their harps would be the written Word of God with all its teachings, its prophecies, its revelations and its history of God's works. In addition to God's Word, the remnant on earth of the 144,000 have the many printed helps for understanding and explaining the Bible, namely, bound books, booklets, tracts and magazines, produced in

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printeries where all the workers are fully dedicated and baptized witnesses of Jehovah. As they sing God's message to such an accompaniment, they are standing before what looks like a glassy sea. This "sea" must have resembled a tremendous basin of water, like the great basin that rested on the backs of twelve metal bulls in King Solomon's temple, as it, too, was called a "sea."  — 1 Kings 7:23-46; 2 Kings 25:16; 2 Chronicles 4:2-6. 15.

The basin that John saw was made of glass, evidently clear glass, transparent glass. (Revelation 21:18, 21; Job 28:17) Thus the contents of the sealike basin could be seen through the sides. As Revelation 4:6 states that this glassy sea like crystal was before God's heavenly throne, the victorious singers with harps must be standing as in God's presence and addressing their songs to him and letting heaven hear their singing and harping.

In Solomon's temple the "sea" was filled with water and "was for the priests to wash in it." Since the victorious singers stand by the glassy sea, it suggests that they are spiritually of the priestly class, of the "royal priesthood" that is under the Chief Priest Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2;9; Hebrews 3:1) As with the "sea" in Solomon's temple, so the water in the "glassy sea like crystal" pictures the truth of God's Word, for it both quenches spiritual thirst and has a cleansing effect upon the Christian's life, heart, mind and works. But as John looked through the transparent sides of the glassy sea, he could discern that its contents were mingled with fire. He thus foresaw that the truth of God's Word contained fiery judgments and that these judgments were to become prominent at this particular time after Great Babylon fell. The priestly remnant of the 144,000 would have to proclaim these fiery judgments.

However, what are they singing? It is said to be the "song of Moses the slave of God and the song of the

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Lamb." Moses the slave of God sang a song of praise to Jehovah after the Egyptian chariots were stopped in their pursuit of the fleeing Israelites by drowning in the Red Sea. Forty years later, before taking his farewell of the Israelites at the borders of the Promised Land, Moses sang another song of praise to Jehovah. (Exodus 15:1-19; Deuteronomy 32:1-43) Both songs bespoke the vengeance of Jehovah God against his enemies and those of his dedicated people. Moses as prophet prefigured a still greater Jewish prophet, Jesus Christ, "the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." (Deuteronomy 18:15-18; Acts 3:22, 23; John 1:29) Jesus Christ was fully in agreement with Moses' songs, and here in the Revelation to John he refers to Moses' songs. He will see to it that the prophecies in those songs are carried into fulfillment. While on earth, Jesus sang Jehovah's praises and declared his vengeance. (Matthew 26:30; Luke 19:41-44; 21:20-22) As it is now the time for the final fulfillment of the songs of Moses and Jesus, the remnant of the 144,000 sing them.

They sing forth for all people to hear that Jehovah is God the Almighty, and that his works of vengeance and vindication are great and wonderful, works that only an Almighty God could perform.

Just as Moses at the Red Sea sang that Jehovah would rule as king to time indefinite, even forever, so they sing of Jehovah as "King of eternity," whose ways are righteous and true even when he deals with his enemies. They make known his name, Jehovah, and glorify it themselves. They ask who there is that will not fear this God and glorify his name. Why? Because he is a loyal God, and his worshipers can depend upon him. And as Moses, in Deuteronomy 32:43, sang out: "Be glad, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and he will pay back vengeance to his adversaries," so these victorious singers quote Bible prophecies to the effect that the gladdened people out of all nations will come and worship

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before Jehovah and become his witnesses. Why? Because he will have made manifest his righteous decrees against his foes, and these people approve of them and are gladdened by them and by the execution of them. Already the singers have seen hundreds of thousands of such gladdened people come and worship Jehovah.

Singing as they do by the glassy sea, the victorious remnant of the 144,000 are at the spiritual temple of Jehovah, the temple that was opened and in which was seen the ark of God's covenant, betokening God's presence there. (Revelation 11:19) What, then, does the remnant, pictured by the apostle John, see? John tells us:

"And after these things I saw, and the sanctuary of the tent of the witness was opened in heaven, and the seven angels with the seven plagues emerged from the sanctuary, clothed with clean, bright linen and girded about their breasts with golden girdles. And one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls that were full of the anger of God, who lives forever and ever. And the sanctuary became filled with smoke because of the glory of God and because of his power, and no one was able to enter into the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. " — Revelation 15:5-8.

In heaven the angels do have access to God's presence, possibly into the sacred part pictured by the Most Holy in Israel's tent of worship and into which sacred place the resurrected Jesus Christ entered to present the value of his human sacrifice to God. (Matthew 18: 10; Hebrews 9: 24-26) In John's vision the angels pictured by the "seven angels" are granted admittance into the temple of God's presence, or into the "sanctuary of the tent of the witness." There "one of the four living creatures" gave them seven golden bowls full of God's anger. According to Revelation 4: 6-9, these "four living creatures" are near the glassy sea and also around the throne of Jehovah God. So, when

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one of these creatures gives the seven angels the bowls of God's anger, it must be because those angels have been admitted into God's presence.

The action next to follow has to do with pouring out the "anger of God" in vindication of him and to prove his righteousness. Hence the "living creature" that gives the bowls would be the "first living creature" that was "like a lion," rather than any one of the other three, which were, respectively, (2) "like a young bull," (3) possessed with a "face like a man's," and (4) "like a flying eagle." In Scripture the lion symbolizes Justice, Judicial Righteousness; and this is what was to be expressed by pouring out God's anger. The pouring out would be by means of angels under the command of Jehovah's crowned King, "the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David." King Solomon, David's son, had two carved lions beside the armrests of his throne, and twelve such lions on the steps leading up to his throne, one on each side of the six steps. (Revelation 4:6, 7; 5:5; 1 Kings 10:18-20; 2 Chronicles 9: 17-19) Hence it would be quite fitting for the lionlike "living creature" to give the seven angels the golden bowls "full of the anger of God, who lives forever and ever."

God is holy. Quite appropriately, then, in harmony with other scriptures, like Isaiah 6:1-4 and Revelation 1:12-17. the seven angels who entered into God's presence were "clothed" in a comely manner, "with clean, bright linen and girded about their breasts with golden girdles." They were clean and righteous in the sight of the holy God, and they were girded in a way to signify that they were assigned to a most precious service according to God's will. He had summoned them. It was from him that they received, through the special living creature, the means by which to pour out the expression of God's anger upon those who justly deserved it.

After these seven angels emerged from the "sanctuary of the tent of the witness," a glorious sight took

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place. "The sanctuary became filled with smoke because of the glory of God and because of his power." That smoke was due to God's presence in the sanctuary; it betokened his presence there, like in the case of inaugurating Solomon's temple to Jehovah long previously. (Revelation 15:8; 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14; 1 Kings 8:10-13) Jehovah was determined to stay in the sanctuary to see that the seven last plagues were poured out. Report was to be made to him at the sanctuary that all bowls had been obediently poured out. His judicial presence in glory and power at his heavenly temple backed up the seven angels in pouring out the bowls of his anger.

What, now, is to be the order of events? Upon what or whom were the seven bowls to be emptied out, each one in its order? What does the pouring out of one bowl after the other reveal to us to be the state of affairs among men that calls for a show of God's anger? What does each pouring out disclose to be God's judicial view of the situation that presents itself? What does each bowl reveal is the real thing plaguing those who are afflicted by it? How do those who are affected by the pouring out of a bowl react to it? Why is each one of these pourings out a plague from God? Why should the presentation of God's judicial pronouncement regarding human society and conduct be a plague to those who disagree with him in opinion? In what will the "seven last plagues" culminate or end up?

Each one of these "seven golden bowls that were full of the anger of God" symbolizes a pouring out of revealing information from God, a judicial decision rendered by him regarding men who are on judgment before him and who are awaiting the execution of his sentence. Have these "bowls" begun to be emptied out? If so, what evidence do we have to prove it? Who on earth, if any humans at all, have been used as agents in pouring out these plagues? With the keenest interest we peer into recent history to see the things that fulfill what the apostle John saw unveiled before his eyes.



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