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The Scriptorium

The Seven Plagues

The beginning of the end begins.

Revelation 12-15: The Fifth Facet

Week 7, Sunday: The beginning of the end
This chapter could go in either the fifth or sixth facet. We include it here, with the fifth facet, to remind us that what occurs at the end of chapter 14 is not actually the end of all things, but merely a glimpse toward one aspect of it. More is yet to come, and more must be understood in order for the Church to continue enduring in the Kingdom amidst the tribulations of the world.

Read Revelation 15

Meditate on Revelation 15.1-8
1.      It’s safe to assume that what’s about to follow is a further unpacking of the Lord’s work of judging the earth in anticipation of the final judgment to come. All the parties in heaven seem to be pretty worked up about what’s about to happen. Why? What are they anticipating?

2.      The saints in heaven stand on the sea of glass and above the fire that is within it. What do you suppose this is meant to symbolize (given what we have seen about fire in Rev. 14.18)?

3.      Here is another song from the chorus in heaven, celebrating the works of God (vv. 3, 4)? Which works appear to be in view? How should men respond to these works? Compare verse 4 with Philippians 2.9-11. How would you describe the “worship” which seems to be in view here?

4.      Seven plagues of judgment are about to unfold on earth during the last days. These again are meant to be symbolic, intended as a measure of the severity of sin and the hatred God has of it. Meditate on Hebrews 12.3-11. Does God judge His people? In what ways? Why? Is that judgment meant to be pleasant? But is it meant to accomplish a good purpose? How might you summarize, in a general and overall sense, the role of divine judgment in the unfolding of the divine economy?

5.      Entering the temple appears to be symbolic of coming into the unobstructed, unmediated presence of God. On previous occasions God kept people out of His presence because they were not prepared to meet Him in His holiness (cf. Ex. 40.34, 35; 2 Chron. 7.1, 2). The implication is that we will not be fit for that final state of being in God’s presence until all His judgment has been completed. But, recalling Isaiah’s experience in the temple (Is. 6), what do we hope for in the face of God’s judgment (cf. Rom. 8.1)? How does the judgment of God put this hope (Good News) in proper relief?

My Reflection
Can you say that you fear the Lord? Should you? Why is fearing God essential to loving Him, as seems to be implied in Deuteronomy 10.12-16 (recall Friday’s lesson)?

The Glory of God
The glory of God can be understood as the presence of God. Based on what we see in this chapter, how should the glory of God affect us? How should it affect us according to Psalm 16.11? Is it possible to experience both of these responses at the same time? Explain.

Glory to Glory
Make a list of the unbelievers you expect to see today. Spend some time in prayer for them. Make a point to initiate a conversation with each one today, for the sole purpose of opening a conduit for the grace of God (Isaiah 6) to flow to them in the midst of whatever trial or tribulation – or judgment from God – they may be experiencing. Is it reasonable to expect angelic help in this effort?

Today, share your memory verses for this week (Revelation 12.10, 11) with a Christian friend, and briefly explain what you have learned about these verses.

Closing Prayer
Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
Praise the name of the LORD!
Blessed be the name of the LORD
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The LORD’s name is to be praised.
The LORD is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the LORD our God,
Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
That He may seat him with princes—
With the princes of His people.
He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the LORD!

Psalm 113

T. M. Moore

The book of Revelation is the culminating episode in the story of God’s covenant. To learn more about that covenant, and to discover the way it integrates all of Scripture into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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