People have already made their choice either for God or for Babylon. Before Christ comes, however, the destructive winds of Satan’s fury that have been restrained (Rev. 7:1-3) are unleashed, followed by the seven last plagues.
Read Revelation 15:1 along with Exodus 7 – 11. How are the Egyptian plagues, considered the backdrop for the seven last plagues, instructive regarding their purpose and meaning?
The seven last plagues are referred to as the “last” plagues because they come at the very end of earth’s history. In contrast, the plagues of the seven trumpets cover the time period that includes the entire Christian age and are restricted in their scope. They are executed while the gospel still is being preached (Rev. 10:8-11:14) and intercession is taking place (Rev. 8:2-5). They are mixed with mercy, and their purpose is to bring the enemies of God’s people to repentance.
On the other hand, the seven last plagues are poured out just prior to the Second Coming. They are poured out upon those who, like Pharaoh, hardened their hearts against God’s redeeming love and would not repent (Rev. 16:11). Divine wrath is God’s righteous judgment on the choices people have made (Rom. 1:26-28), and at that time the lost are reaping the consequences of their own choices.
Read Revelation 15:5-8 along with Exodus 40:34-35 and 1 Kings 8:10-11. What does the statement that “no man was able to enter the temple” (Rev. 15:8) suggest about the timing of the seven last plagues?
The expression “no one was able to enter into the temple” (Rev. 15:8, NKJV) points to the close of probation (Rev. 22:11). As Christ’s mediatorial ministry in heaven comes to an end, the door of opportunity to repent closes forever. Therefore, the last plagues will not bring anyone to repentance, but only disclose the hardness of the hearts of those who chose to side with Babylon, prompting them to hate God even more (Rev. 16:9, Rev. 16:11).
|Look around at the world today, which is going to get only worse. What does the fact that the plagues have been delayed this long teach us about God’s mercy and patience?|