Today, Friday June 17
Seven Golden Bowls of Wrath
“After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. 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. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”
First, again let me thank everyone for your prayers for our daughter, Kimberly, her husband Chris and their new micro preemie Michael Luke. Luke is continuing to do fine. All his vitals are stable and a machine is breathing for him as his lungs develop. We appreciate your continued prayers specifically this week for comfort on vent, blood pressure doesn't go down, his head/brain and no bleeding, no infection, being mindful of noise and over stimulation, and bruising will heal. Edith and I were allowed to spend time with Luke yesterday and prayed special prayers over him. Thanks again for your continued prayers.
Verse 1 indicates that the angels with the seven vials (bowls) carry the seven last plagues. You will recall that in Rev. 10:7, Christ had announced that, with the pouring out of these vials, the "mystery of God" would be completed and there would be no more delay. In these seven last judgments, God will complete His wrath. Satan at this time is pouring out terrible wrath upon believers, the Jews especially (12:12); but God will have the last word.
Once again, the temple of heaven is opened. The earthly temple has been taken over by the Beast (Rev. 13:13-18; 2 Thes. 2:3-4), but the Beast cannot touch the heavenly temple. All he can do is blaspheme it (13:6). The opening of the temple is another reminder that God will keep His covenant with His people, Israel.
Seven angels come out of the temple. Seven is the number of completion, and with seven angels delivering these vials of wrath, God's judgments are completed on earth. The angels come out of the holy of holies, where the ark and the tables of the law are kept. The wicked world has defied and disobeyed God's Law, but now judgment is coming. The robes of these angels signify holiness and royalty. The white linen reminds us of the dress of the OT priests; the golden girdle speaks of the king. This is another reminder that the saints of God are "kings and priests" (Rev. 1:6), a royal priesthood. Their dress also takes us back to the description of Christ in 1:13; for He is the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek.
One of the living creatures delivers the bowls of wrath to the angels. All of nature (symbolized by these four creatures) will taste of the wrath of God.
The heavenly temple is now filled with smoke from the glory of God. When the OT tabernacle was dedicated, God's glory filled the tent (Ex. 40:34-35), as it did when the OT temple was dedicated (2 Chron. 7:1-4). During these events no smoke mingled with the glory. Here, however, we have smoke, usually a symbol of judgment (9:2). When the Prophet Isaiah saw the glory of God, the whole house was filled with the smoke (Isa. 6:4). This was because Isaiah's message was one of judgment as well as mercy. John states that nobody in heaven was allowed into the temple until the bowls of wrath had been poured out. No saint or angel could go into the temple to intercede for the nations of the world. The nations were "beyond intercession"; God's long-suffering had come to the end, and His judgment was about to fall.
Students of prophecy are not agreed on the chronological arrangement of the seals, trumpets, and vials. I seem to get the ideal that that the first six seals will be broken and the seven trumpets will sound during the first three and one-half years, and that the vials covers the last three and one-half years, and mainly at the very end.
We might not be able to figure out the exact timing of these coming judgments but we can be sure that they will come to the earth during this time. May the Lord help us today to be like the Thessalonian Christians who “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)