By Revelation 15, we begin to pick up the history where it was left off at the end of Revelation 11. The intervening chapters – 12 through 14 – had a purpose – to identify upon whom the seven bowls of wrath would be poured out. So the history of the dragon was told, and his war against Israel and the saints, and his beasts (which we saw were kingdoms of this world) and their horns (which were their rulers) and the antichrist. And the history of those who worship the beast was told. All these had to be identified, because the next portion of the prophecy concerns them – it is upon them that the wrath of God, contained in the seven bowls of wrath, is to be poured out.
Now we saw previously in Revelation, that the seventh seal was not actually a judgment in and of itself, because when the seventh seal was opened, it produced the seven trumpet judgments. So also, the seventh trumpet judgment is sounded at the end of Revelation 11:
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Revelation 11:15
The result of the seventh trumpet, is that the kingdoms of this world are no more, and they become the kingdoms of YHVH and His Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. How does that happen? The seven bowls of wrath, which was contained within the seventh trumpet, if the pattern already established in Revelation holds, judges the kingdoms of this world and brings about their fall.
The saints who did not bow the knee to the beast or worship him, who did not receive his mark, are pictured in heaven on what sounds like a sea or pavement of transparent diamond, singing the praise of God who is getting ready to pour out His judgment on the world.
I believe this scene actually takes place BEFORE the return of Jesus Christ. These are the souls of those saints who have died, for they are in heaven, and the harvest or resurrection of their bodies has not yet taken place. I say that because, in chapter 14, the sequence of events was: 1) the Lamb appearing on Mt. Zion, 2) the three proclamations, which proclaim the everlasting Gospel and which proclaim the fall of the kingdoms of this world and the punishment of those who reject the everlasting Gospel, 3) the reaping of the earth’s harvest, and 4) the harvest of the grapes of wrath, and the treading out of the winepress the wrath of God.
But then the Great Lamb actually does not make His appearance until Revelation 19:11-16. At that time He returns from heaven on a white horse, and defeats the beast (the kingdoms of this world) and his armies. But in His description, it says of Him, “He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” He is the one, with His return, who treads out the winepress that we read about in Revelation 14.
So I am thinking that chapter 14 is another summary chapter, as the passage at the end of chapter 11 was. Chapter 14 gives us the general outline of how the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, but then chapters 15 through 19 or so give us the details.
Next, the wrath of God begins to be poured out …
To be continued …