Revelation | 1-3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14:1-5 | 14:6-20 | 15 | 16:1-7 | 16:8-21 | 17 | 18 | 19:1-10 | 19:11-21 | 20-22 | PDF |


Join us as we study through Revelation verse by verse. Our Bible study guides contain discussion questions, verse by verse commentary, and applications which can help you or your small group get the most out of this book as you grow in understanding and obedience.

Revelation 15 Bible Study Guide With Questions – Worship And Wrath

Outline

I. The Song Of The Saints (1-4)
II. The Seven Angels Bringing Seven Plagues (5-8)

I. The Song Of The Saints (1-4)

Discussion Questions

  • What did John see?
  • Why were these plagues called the “last?”
  • What might the sea of glass with fire represent?
  • Who did John see there?
  • In what way did these people “conquer” the beast and its image?
  • How can you in like manner conquer those who persecute or pressure you?
  • What is the song of Moses? What is the song of the Lamb?
  • What aspects of God’s character do they praise?
  • What can you learn from this passage about worship?
  • How can you become a better worshipper of God?

Cross-References

Revelation 4:6 -And before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

1 Corinthians 15:57 – But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 6:13 – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Romans 8:37 – No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

John 4:23-24 – But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
Hebrews 13:15 – Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Verse 1 – Chapters 14 and 15 are a transition between the trumpet judgments and the last seven judgments (the bowl judgments). John is given a vision of the next step of God’s plan. Seven more judgments are going to be poured out upon the earth. These are described as the “last,” and “with them the wrath of God is finished.”

One of the main purposes of the tribulation is for God to pour out His righteous judgment upon a world that will be crazed with sin and rebellion. By this point, we have already seen fourteen judgments sent upon the earth. Now the end is nearing. After the final seven, that step of God’s plan will be finished and Jesus will then return.

2. The wrath of God – God is good and righteous, but He is not tolerant of sin. He is not apathetic or distant.

In the Chronicles of Narnia series, C.S. Lewis writes about Aslan (a lion representing Christ). He writes that Aslan is a good lion, but he is not a tame lion.

Our God is good, kind, loving, merciful, gracious, and patient. But that does not mean that He will not punish evildoers. Throughout the book of Revelation, we see that God’s mercy and justice are shown side by side. The very same plagues that are sent in judgment are also a manifestation of mercy. These supernatural signs are meant to wake up a world hardened by sin and turn them to repentance. However, they are not only manifestations of mercy. They are also clearly God’s wrath and judgment against sin.

The scope of these judgments should show us very clearly how much our Lord hates sin. Make no mistake. He is angry. Repeated and willful rebellion against His good commands is not met with silence. He offered the world a carrot many times. But if they won’t accept the carrot, then it is going to be the stick.

Romans 1:18 Bible verse

Salvation is available. Anyone who wants to escape that wrath can. Only one thing is necessary. Accept His Son.

John 3:36 – Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Application: Make sure that you are in right standing with God so that you will not have to face His wrath.

3. A sea of glass mingled with fire – John said that he saw what “appeared” to be a sea of glass mingled with fire. In Revelation 4:6 he describes it as “crystal.” He is unable to describe this amazing sight perfectly, because he had never seen anything like it on earth. And because he can’t describe it, he uses qualifiers like “appeared.” That was the best he could do with the limited language and experience available to someone from this world.

His very description seems to contradict itself. Glass is stationary, but a sea generally has waves and moves. And fire doesn’t mix well with water. Whatever John saw had qualities of each of these. Since John mentions it twice, this sea is prominent and has some deeply significant purpose. One day we will find out what that is.

1 Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Now we see things dimly. We have just a glimpse of heaven and it is hard to understand. It is as though we are looking at a very poor mirror. One day we will see the Lord (and all of these other things) face to face and our comprehension will be far greater than it is now.

Application: Be diligent to study so that you can understand as much as you possibly can now about the Lord. Always pray and seek enlightenment from the Spirit in those difficult-to-understand areas.

4. Those who had conquered the beast – Martyred saints will be there next to the sea in heaven with the Lord. It is a great title which is given to them, “those who had conquered the beast.”

The beast gets his power from Satan himself. He and the false prophet will have very impressive supernatural powers. In addition to these powers, they will be backed up by the best technology and most powerful armies the world can provide.

And yet believers will be able to overcome these powers of evil. That victory will not be through force of arms. It will not be through subterfuge or sabotage.

Revelation 12:11 Bible verse

Saints will overcome him through the blood of the Lamb. It is not through self, but through the power of Christ. Only by looking to and clinging to Christ’s work on the cross, will believers be able to remain steadfast during this terrible time of persecution.

The saints that conquer will almost all be martyred. But death is not losing. Remaining faithful to death proves that their names are written in the Book of Life. Refusing to give in to pressure to renounce the Lord will be the ultimate victory.

Just as King Nebuchadnezzar was furious with the three men who would not bow to his idol, so the beast will be furious that even though he will be reigning over the world he will not have absolute power over the soul.

Application: If you cannot conquer a bit of peer pressure now, how could you hope to stand when the persecution gets cranked up? God gives you chances to be “faithful in a little thing” now. Thank God for those times of persecution and pressure. And stand up for what is right without wavering. Remember, that God is the one on the throne and not any earthly figure, no matter how powerful he or she seems to be.

5. The Song of Moses – This may be a reference to a poem of praise recorded by Moses in Deuteronomy 32. As Moses praised God, so will they.

6. The Song of the Lamb – Part of this song is recorded in Revelation 15:3-4.

Revelation 15:3-4 Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Reflect: What can you learn from this passage about worship?

Again and again, in the book of Revelation, we see that in heaven God’s people actively sing His praise. Worship is a very important component of what we will be doing there. In heaven, God will be worshiped in the right way as He wants to be worshiped. Therefore, it is a useful study, to study carefully the content of the songs recorded.

Here are a few key observations about the worship we see in this passage:

• It is very God-centric. The focus is on God and not man.
• It mentions what He has done (Great and amazing are your deeds).
• It mentions the goodness of His actions (Just and true are your ways).
• It mentions who He is. God’s character is described and praised.
• It encourages everyone to join in praise.

Reflect: How can you become a better worshipper of God?

II. The Seven Angels Bringing Seven Plagues (5-8)

Discussion Questions

  • What is the sanctuary of the tent of witness?
  • Why do the angels come out of this tent?
  • What do you notice about their garments?
  • Do you remember the role of the four living creatures?
  • What do the coming judgments reveal about God’s nature?
  • Why does the smoke fill the sanctuary and how does this relate to God’s glory and power?
  • Why do you think no one could enter the sanctuary until these plagues were finished?
  • How does this passage help you more deeply understand God’s character?
  • How should God’s holiness and glory affect your everyday life?
  • How will meditating on God’s holiness change you?

Cross-References

Acts 7:44 – Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen.

Revelation 3:5 – The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

Exodus 19:18 – Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly.

Exodus 40:34-35 – Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Tabernacle of Witness – There are many names for the tabernacle including; Tabernacle of the Testimony (Exodus 27:21, Numbers 1:50), Tent of Meeting, (Leviticus 1:1, Exodus 39:32, Exodus 40:2), Sanctuary (Exodus 15:17), and Temple of the Lord (1 Samuel 1:9).

Each name depicts a different purpose or aspect of the tabernacle/temple. The word “sanctuary” reminds us of its holiness. It is a place for reverent worship of God. And the word “witness” shows us that it is a place to witness and learn of God’s greatness. At the same time, it is a place to share with others testimonies praising the Lord.

The earthly tabernacle was a copy of the heavenly one.

Hebrews 8:5 – They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.”

From this, we learn that there is a heavenly temple.

2. The angels will come out of this heavenly temple to unleash the last seven plagues – Seven angels will come out of the heavenly sanctuary of witness. Coming out of the sanctuary is a reminder to the world that the judgments coming are holy and righteous. They are sent by a holy, righteous God. And those plagues will be a witness to the fact that God is not happy with the rebellion on earth.

It is clear that these seven angels are directly commissioned by God for this task of judgment.

3. Their garments – Like saints who overcome (Revelation 3:5), the angels also will be clothed in pure, bright linen. It does not specifically mention that it is white, but this is likely.

We often don’t think it, but angels were also faced with temptation. When Lucifer tried to seduce the angels to rebel against God, they had a choice to make. Those who chose to worship God remained holy in the state He created them.

4. The bowls are full of the wrath of God – In many ways, this wrath is being stored up. The longer God’s patience goes and His wrath is held back, the more these bowls fill up.

One can imagine that God’s grace and patience are something like a dam holding back floodwaters. As that water is held back, the area behind the dam fills up higher and higher. The longer those waters are held back, the more torrential will be their release when the dam is released.

Thus, these bowls are full. The effects of these judgments will be extremely serious. It will be no divine slap on the wrist.

5. Who lives forever and ever – God existed long before man or his sin. We are reminded that He is longsuffering. But one day that patience will run out.

6. The sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God – Smoke in this context seems to have several purposes.

Firstly, it conceals. The smoke will conceal the presence of God, reminding all Creation of His glorious transcendence.

Secondly, where there is smoke there is fire. Fire represents perfection and purity. God is absolutely holy and the smoke points to this.

Thirdly, smoke can depict anger, the burning of God’s wrath. His righteous anger will be unleased against sin.

Application: Remember the character of the God you serve. He is not tame.

7. No one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues were finished –

Ephesians 2:18 Bible verse

Through Christ, we can approach the Father. However, here we see that occasionally it seems that physical access may not be 24/7.

Will this restriction be forever removed when His judgment is complete? Or will there be times when God chooses to be alone?

We cannot be sure of the answers to those questions now. But this verse reminds us of God’s holiness, His “otherness.” We are created in His image, but we are not wholly like Him. He is transcendent and He is different from us. At the same time, He is willing to have a relationship with us. For that, we should be thankful.

Application: It is a blessing to be allowed into God’s presence. Let us not waste this opportunity.

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Revelation Bible Study Guide – If this study is helpful, you can download the whole Revelation study PDF, get the paperback from Amazon, or also get the 7 Churches in Revelation study.

Revelation 16:1-7
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