Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Revelation 1:3.

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. Revelation 15:1,2.

Part I
by Brother Emerson A. Wilson

The Key To Symbolic Language
Many people feel that it is not time for the Revelation message, or else feel that it is past. The enemy wants to shield people from the greatest book in the Bible. Our scripture text tells us, …the time is at hand. It IS time to hear it. You cannot "hear" it just because you read it. You must "have ears to hear", a mind to hear, and a heart to hear.

Most of know that the book of Revelation was written in the Greek alphabet, but more than being written in the Greek alphabet, it was written in symbolic language. Symbolic expressions are used throughout the Bible because they are more descriptive. They also "paint word pictures", which allows us to more clearly "see" (understand) that which the Word says to us. Through symbols, one word can clear your mind and you will get the message which might have taken several pages to write out in words. Jesus called Herod "an old fox", and He got the whole message across. In another place, Jesus spoke of Himself as a vine; every true Christian who is born again and grafted into Him is another branch. Symbolic language gets right to the point.

A second reason for symbolic language is because interpretation of words can become confusing. One reason people do not get more truth is because the devil has sold them on the idea, "That is your interpretation, and I have mine." Words may be interpreted in many different ways, but symbols cannot. There is only one meaning when the symbol is used.

Symbolic expressions were used in the morning time, and also in a great way today they are still being used, as the means of conveying truth without stirring up unnecessary persecution. In Jesus' time, in John's time, and it is still pretty much so today, no man could be charged in court because he had written or read symbolic language.

In order to understand the symbols, we must have a key. It is necessary that we have keys for everything. Without keys, our vaults, automobiles, and homes would remain locked. Jesus said in Revelation 1:18, …I…have the keys of hell and of death. He has the keys to all eternal things. He said in John 13:3 that the Father put all things into His hands. In Revelation 3:7, we read of Jesus, …he that hath the key of David…openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.

So many people have removed Jesus from his rightful position in their lives. He has been taken from His rightful position in the channels of religion. Men are telling you that they can "put you in" and "take you out" of The Church. (They can do this in "their" church, but NOT in THE CHURCH.) Men are prescribing creeds and doctrines by which they say you must abide, or you have no part with them. Friends, Jesus and nobody else, has the key.

We need to see Jesus as He is, today! In Revelation the first chapter, we see Him as He is today. He said, I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore…

What was He before He became a LAMB? He was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. What was He when He rose from the dead and ascended to the Father? He was made head over all things to The Church, FAR ABOVE all principalities and powers. You can also get a picture of what Jesus will look like when He comes again: in the first chapter of Revelation. He was stirred with The Church in the morning time, and He is stirred with The Church today.

The Way To Find True Peace
There is too much coming short of the real Church of God. So many people have loosened Christ's hold on their lives; that is why we have so many troubles! If Christ had control of people's lives as they "say" that He has, there would not be nearly the problems in the lives of so-called Christians that there are! Judgment needs to be put on The Church now, as never before. How troubled our world is today. How hard they have sought to unlock peace, yet we are FURTHER FROM peace today than we have ever been!

Science, politics, education and even religion have miserably failed. There is very little, if any at all, peace in so many people's hearts who "claim" to be Christians. Much that calls itself religion (Christianity) has failed tragically. They are fulfilling the words of the prophet, crying, "Peace, peace," where there is NO peace, where it is impossible to have peace. You can run all over the country, try everything you want, and wear yourself out, growing old doing it, trying to find peace-but there is only ONE place to find TRUE, GENUINE, LASTING peace: Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY ONE who has the key to peace.

Isaiah said in Isaiah 53:5, … the chastisement of our peace was upon him… He is the ONLY ONE Who took the chastisement for our peace. We find in Proverbs 3:1,2 that in the keeping of His commandments, peace is added to our lives. For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart. Isaiah 9:7 says, Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end… What did Isaiah mean? The more you let Christ govern your life, the greater your peace will be. Shall I repeat that for you? It's certainly worth it: The more you let Christ govern your life, the greater your peace will be. There is NO end to His government and His peace, but people refuse to let Jesus govern their lives. They seek peace, talk about peace, sing about peace, but they do not have it. Now why is that???

Brothers and Sisters, the ONLY place where REAL PEACE can be found is where we make a 100% commitment, I repeat, a 100% commitment of our lives into the hands of Jesus Christ, and LET Him be the governor of our lives. Here, let's go there again: The ONLY place where REAL PEACE can be found is where we make a 100% commitment of our lives into the hands of Jesus Christ, and LET Him be the governor of our lives. Oh no, no, no-we just can't do that, can we? WE, with all our "knowledge" (believe me, all that we know is less than nothing compared to the wisdom of God), WE want to be in control, we want to be the dictator of all that transpires in our lives, don't we? And then we wonder how they get so fouled up??? And then we add to the confusion and mass chaos by insisting on trying to control others! Yet, there is a solution: my friends, you CAN have peace in an experience that IS everlasting.

Too many feel that because they are saved and sanctified, they have come to an end of His government. I have a news flash for you: there is NO END to His government, the same as there is no end to Truth. God's Word is settled in Heaven. The bottom of this spring is in Heaven. It is God's eternal Word. It is infinite, all powerful, and never ending.

The Purpose Of The Revelation
God had a purpose in sending the Revelation. When He told John to write down what he heard, He told John to send it to the seven churches. EVERY ONE of the seven letters ends this way: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches," letting it open out to any congregation, anywhere, that needs that particular truth.

What is the purpose? He begins in the first chapter by opening our minds to the purpose. There we see a vision of Christ walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, representing the seven congregations of The Church. The letters were given to THOSE congregations, and Jesus so positively said to five of the seven, "Repent, or else." The first purpose of the Revelation is for everyone to know that He is STILL in charge. We need to see a repeated vision of Christ as He is today.

So many people think that Christ, or Christ's leadership, Christ's authority, Christ's power, ended when He "went back" to Heaven. Apparently, they must-they hold Him in such little regard any more. Let me tell you this: Jesus Christ is STILL in full control of all. I said, Jesus Christ is STILL in full control of ALL. Not only has He NOT lost any of His authority or power, He sent us "The Comforter", the Holy Ghost, to abide within us, even TODAY! These lies from the pits of hell that it all "ended" when Jesus died, or when He ascended to Heaven, or when the "last apostle" died is just that: lies from the pits of hell to delude and deceive!

Now I want you to notice something MOST vital: The Revelation is NOT written like a book wherein you read chapter after chapter. It it written in SEVEN series. A series begins in a certain place in the Revelation and carries you through a portion of the Gospel Day, clear up to the end. This is how you can know when a series ends: that series brings you up to the threshold of the second coming of Christ. Then the next chapter will start another series.

There are SEVEN series:

  1. Chapters One through Three are the letters to the seven churches in Asia, or letters that cover seven periods of time.
  2. The second series is Chapters Four and Five, a vision of God's throne and the government of The Church, the opening of God's plan of salvation, and how God lined out His people in the government of The Church.
  3. The third series is Chapters Six through Eleven: the opening of the seven seals and the consequences that follow.
  4. The fourth series is Chapter Twelve: the parental phase of The Church, showing the pure woman, The Church, bringing forth her new converts, and the power of Pagan Rome working in that day to devour her converts.
  5. The fifth series, Chapters Thirteen through Nineteen, shows the false systems of religion brought forth by the devil and how The Church overcame them.
  6. Chapter Twenty is a series in itself, picturing the binding and the loosing of the dragon.
  7. The seventh series, Chapters Twenty One and Twenty Two, gives a clear vision of The Church in the evening time, letting us see, Thank God, that she is just as complete, perfect, and powerful in the evening time as she was in the morning time.

John knew all about the morning-time church, but an angel, a messenger or a minister, had to show him the evening-time church.

John's Vision
We are going to study the pouring out of the seven last plagues, or vials, of God's judgment on everything false. When John was talking about Heaven, he was sitting on the Isle of Patmos. God gave him a panoramic vision stretched across the sky. We read in Revelation 9:17, And thus I saw the horses in the vision… He let us know over and over that it was just a vision; he did NOT see actual happenings. He saw a vision of things that would happen right here on earth after his day(s).

Before we begin reading the 15th Chapter of Revelation, I want to clarify something. A sign throughout the Revelation means that it is a prophecy, a token of something else coming. Many people trying to teach prophecy get the sign of Christ's coming confused with His actual coming. The sign of His coming is one thing, and His actual coming is quite another! As an illustration, when you see a sign that says, "Drink Coca-Cola," you cannot stop and drink (from the sign). It is just an advertisement telling you about Coca-Cola. As John was watching this portion of the vision, he was told to write what he saw.

In Revelation 15:1,2, he wrote: And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Now I want you to note some things: the "seven angels" are seven messengers or seven ministers. The "sea of glass" is a symbol of the Word of God. As you look into it, you see yourself as you truly are. You seek Jesus, and then look to the power of the Holy Ghost. He changes you into that same image. In the Old Testament, the sea of glass was that brazen place where the priest washed before he entered the temple (tabernacle). It was a type of the reality of the New Testament.

Paul said in Ephesians 5:25,26, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That washing was a type of God's Word. So John saw a sea of glass there in Revelation 15:2. The "fire" that was mingled in the "sea of glass" is the fire of the Holy Spirit. So, so far John had seen people standing on a Word that is anointed, that is preached, which is "mingled with fire".

John said, … I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous… There are not too many people who think the minister pouring out the vials of God's wrath on all falsity is great or marvelous. There, the ministers were with the last plagues, vials full and running over with the wrath of God. John thought it was great and marvelous because of what it was going to produce. It produced a people with victory over the beast and his image, a people with clear lives, a people with harps, praising God for His wonderful goodness.

How To Find Strength And Courage
Another purpose for the Revelation was to bring encouragement and strength to God's people, and it will STILL do it. Some congregations never will be strong until they are taught some of these divine truths. What was the first thing Jesus said to the Churches? "Grace divine, strength and peace be unto you. Blessed are you if you will read, hear, and keep this Book. It will bring strength back to you." Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Revelation 1:3.

The devil is robbing us poor of our praises, of our overcoming power, of the real victory God wants us to enjoy. Men and women in the past have laid down their lives, and nothing could stop them from going forward and living for God. Too many are so spiritually weak today.

I want to ask you a question: are you a part of the TRUE Church of God? Take a look. Do you have a harp? If you have a harp, are you free to play it? You can get in a condition where your harp is hung on the willow. Brothers and Sisters, if you look at the world, and look at the situations going on, it will get anybody down, but the Bible tells us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith… Hebrews 12:2.

You cannot look unto Jesus and get discouraged. I said, you canNOT look unto Jesus and get discouraged. If you are operating under a spirit of discouragement, you are looking somewhere OTHER THAN unto Jesus. No one has ever gotten discouraged looking unto Jesus. The devil tries to get us to look at something else: all our problems, all our burdens, the shape the world is in, the problems we have in our schools, the problems we have on our jobs. Look unto Jesus!!

The Revelation was sent for encouragement and strength. Who needed encouragement? John needed it, and many others who were living on the earth at that time. Why did they need encouragement? They had watched false religion work; they had watched the power of Satan work through false religion. They had watched their brethren (and sisters) thrown to the animals, burned at the stake, beaten, misused, and chased out of town.

Jesus was saying that it was enough: there was message for them and for us. If you will read the entire book of Revelation, you will see that millions of others who were being misused needed an encouraging message. They had already felt false religion's sting. They were made to wonder if God would ever come to the rescue and put His judgment on it.

This message was not only for the saints here on earth. You can read in Revelation 6:9 and 10 that under the altar the souls of them that had been slain and had made it to Glory asked God "how long" before He would bring vengeance and judgment down on the powers and systems that were working so against real salvation. The Revelation is an answer to that cry. They had pleaded for judgment, and now it was time for the wrath of God to be poured out through the preaching of the Word against those false systems.

Pouring Out The Plagues Of Judgment
When God pours out preliminary judgment today, the same kind of judgment you are going to meet in the last day, except it is poured out early, it is called preliminary judgment. God, through preliminary judgment is judging you in mercy when He pours out judgment on a condition that is wrong. Why? He could just let you live right on up to the final judgment and come up short, and be cast away into eternal torment. Instead, through preliminary judgment, through the pouring out of His Word, He lets us see our true condition while there is still time to "get right"!

There are lots of things today that man tells you about sin. They say that God smiles on it, but the Bible says that God HATES sin. It is an abomination to Him! Preliminary judgment brings out the hidden works of darkness, so that man may see and flee before it is everlastingly too late.

Why are the plagues called the seven last plagues? The plagues were poured out on Pharaoh in Egypt, and before God poured out any of the plagues, He said, "Let my people go." Oh yes, He did. He gave ole' Pharaoh the opportunity to soften his hardened heart and do that which was right, but each time, Pharaoh refused. Today, God's people have gotten hooked up in religious organizations and societies that are abominations to God. There are honest hearts who are not saved in the darkness of these things, and God, in His love and mercy, is pouring out the vials of wrath, the plagues. What does He want? He wants His people loosed, whoever they are and wherever they are, so they can serve and worship Him in spirit and in truth as He has ordained.

God is pouring out the plagues of truth and judgment so that the truth will set you free. Judgment is part of truth. I said, judgment is part of truth. Jesus said, And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32. Hallelujah! People need to hear the truth about false religion today. Some people say, "Now, don't say anything about them." It is almost to the place where they charge you with being "unChristian" if you tell people the TRUTH of God's Word about false religion!

There will not be a child of God left in Babylon (false religion) before Jesus comes. Read Revelation 18:1,2. Babylon will completely become the habitation of devils: And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Jesus is trying to set people free-of course, in order to do so, they have to be willing to accept freedom, and we get freedom from where? From the TRUTH. It is the TRUTH that sets us free! According to the Revelation, those vials are filled up with the wrath of God.

In Revelation 15:6, you can read: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. These are the seven angels (ministers; messengers) that came out of the temple clothed in pure and white linen. I must keep myself pure inside and clean outside. They had golden girdles around their breasts. Friends, God's wrath is stirred. Why is He so stirred? Christ's offices and Christ's authority have been usurped by men. The Pope of Rome used the expression, "Dominus Deus Noster Papa", which means "I am Lord God, the Pope." I want you to understand this VERY CLEARLY: the "Pope" is NOT Lord God! Men today have usurped offices that belong to Jesus Christ alone.