Exultation of the Redeemed, 15: 1-8
The interlude between symbols six and seven in this section is very brief.
The last symbols pictured the opposing forces of righteousness and evil in readiness for deadly conflict.
The next series will picture the bowls of wrath of final retribution poured out on the enemies of the gospel.
An interlude of praise and thanksgiving is inserted to picture the exultation of the redeemed
as they sing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
Johns saw " a sea of glass mingled with fire."
Such a view perhaps as may be made by the reflection of the rays of the setting sun falling
on a body of water and turning it fiery red.
In chapter four, it was observed that the crystal sea symbolized the transcendence of God
-- He could not be approached by a man.
Here in chapter 15, the sea is still present.
He is still transcendent and cannot be approached by man.
But the sea does not keep those who are His and have already died from approaching Him
-- they stand " on" the sea in His very presence.
When the consummation has been passed, chapter 21 will reveal that " the sea is no more,"
and that all God's people are in intimate fellowship with Him.
Here in chapter 15, the saints who have crossed through martyrdom to be in the presence of God
have heavenly harps in their hands -- symbolical of praise.
They sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb, a song which combines praise
for the power of God, the deliverance which He gives, and the righteous character
which prompts the deliverance.
The bowls of wrath soon to be emptied will present a dread experience in the world.
The faithful, persecuted Christians have need of fortification for it.
They need to see how it is viewed in heaven.
Therefore, they are given this vision to show the condition of those who have fallen in the persecution
and, hence, their own condition if persecution unto death overtakes them.
The exultant saints in heaven are pictured to cheer and comfort the saints on earth
as they are in the midst of evil days.
The temple of the tabernacle of testimony was opened.
This seems to symbolize the heavenly repository of God's covenant.
It is not pictured as the Temple of Solomon or either of its successors.
It is the "Tent of Witness" of the wilderness tabernacle.
The tabernacle is not opened here to reveal the ark of the covenant as it was in 11:19.
It is opened to allow the seven angels to come from the Presence-Chamber to pour out the bowls
of God's retributive wrath upon the earth.
The angels were dressed similarly to the priests of old and acted as God's agents
to pour out these seven last plagues.
One of the four living creatures gave seven bowls of wrath to the seven angels.
The complete number "7" symbolizes the completeness of wrath now to be emptied.
The time has come.
During this time the tabernacle was filled with smoke symbolical of the powerful presence of God.
So completely was it filled that " none was able to enter into the sanctuary,
till the seven last plagues of the seven angels should be finished." (15: 8)
This symbolized that the wrath of God was filled -- the martyred saints of chapter 6 have been told
to wait because the time was not ripe for God's retribution -- and there was no room
for intercession during this visitation of wrath.
All this affords an easy transition over to the pouring out of the seven bowls of wrath.
Next: The Bowls of Wrath, 16:1 to 20:10