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. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 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. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled. Revelation 15:1-8.

And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. Revelation 16:1,2.

Part I
by Brother Emerson A. Wilson

 

A Great And Marvellous Sign
As we continue our study, let us keep in mind that this is the vision which was given to John on the Isle of Patmos. When he begins to say that he saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, he merely is saying that as he looked at this vision, there appeared a sign, "great and marvelous". That great and marvelous sign was these seven angels, or messengers, with the seven last plagues.

Now the reason John said this sign was great and marvelous was because of what it produced. He didn't get any thrill out of seeing plagues poured out; he didn't get any thrill from seeing God put judgment on people. The "great and marvelous" part of the seven angels appearing with the plagues was what it produced. Notice verses two and three: 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. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. It produced a people with victory over the beast, his image, his number, and his name.

Too many people under the spirit of this age are looking for results withOUT meeting the conditions to see results. They want the promise without the precept. This is one of the great failures of our time, and it continues to be one. We are living in a time when people are sowing thorns and thistles and expecting to reap grapes and figs. They are forgetting that we "reap just what we sow". Galatians 6:7-9 tells us, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

We can make our life beautiful and fruitful, or we can make it full of thorns and thistles. The devil's big move today is to cause mankind to go out here and seek something that will never come to pass. Why? Because mankind is completely unwilling to meet God's requirements for it to happen.

We will never see a people standing on the "sea of glass", shouting victory over the beast, Roman Catholicism, his image, Protestantism, and all the marks and numbers of names, UNTIL we see the appearing of this marvelous sign in heaven. Why? People MUST be told The TRUTH! The judgments must be put on false religion before people will even gain victory over false religion.

There are too many who do not know that what they are in is false. Too many do not know that what they are in is an abomination to God. They are deceived into feeling that God is "working through it". I'm not saying in any way that there are no saved people in Babylon, because there are. If they are saved, the Spirit of God is working through their life to the extent that He can. But as far as the Holy Ghost blessing Babylon, He is NOT, nor will He ever, do so!

The two witnesses, the Spirit and the Word, came out of there in the eleventh chapter of Revelation, and they have never gone back there. God is not calling preachers to go preach in Babylon. I said, God is NOT calling preachers to go preach in Babylon! God is NOT leading people to go join human organizations, but men in their deception feel that He is.

Someone might say, "I'd like to see that eighth verse fulfilled like it used to be: the temple filled with smoke from the glory of God until men can't stand to minister and nobody can come into the temple until the vials are poured out." We CAN see it if we are willing to pay the price. We can see it if we are willing to get right back and build the temple according to the blueprint. When did the glory of God and smoke move into the old tabernacle, into the old temple? As soon as it was built according to the blueprint. The power and the glory of God filled the place until the priests couldn't stand to minister.

The reason they couldn't stand to minister was because the blood of bulls and goats, the sacrifices they were offering, could NOT take away sin. It is the same reason that no man can enter the temple until these vials are poured out. Until the truth is laid bare unto people, they can't see the error of what they are in. They can't see that God is calling them out of there.

The reason we don't see more people come out of Babylon and take a stand for truth is because there is not enough judgment laid on Babylon when strangers are around. Judgment has to be put on Babylon before men can enter into the temple. "Why?" someone might ask. "They are a part of the Church of God." Yes, every born-again person is a member of The Church, but they are not in the functional, working temple until they come out of Babylon and get placed in a local, working phase of The Church of God. They are not going to enter into it until somebody pours out the plagues, until somebody tells them what Babylon is. What a terrible condition they are in out here in man-made religion.

The Bride, The LAMB'S Wife
Someone may feel that we are putting too much emphasis on the one body, The Church. Well, who showed John the evening-time Church? Let's get right down to it. John saw the morning-time Church, but he saw her go into apostasy. John wept; he thought that was the end. Who showed him that there was going to be an evening-time Church over here?

Revelation 21:9 tells us, …one of the seven angels which had the seven vials…talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. (The LAMB'S wife is the Church of the evening-time.) You can't show people the Church of God by just preaching the blood of Jesus. Brothers and Sisters, it takes some pouring out of the vials on false religion. So, who showed John the bride of the evening-time? One of the seven angels which had the seven plagues that I am preaching about. Who showed John the woman, mystery Babylon? One of the seven angels which had the seven vials.

I want you to see why this was a sign, "great and marvelous", to John. These seven angels unfolded to John a picture of The Church of the evening-time. His vision changed. Through the preaching and teaching of these angels who had the seven vials, he saw who the eighth beast was, this deceptive thing that faces us today. John not only wondered after that beast, but the whole world also wondered after it. The World Council of Churches, incorporating churches of all kinds, is wondering after that beast. Very few are pouring out the vials.

John saw this as a "great and marvelous sign" because the appearance of these plague angels meant that the vials of judgment were going to be poured out on false religion. For what other reason was it a "great and marvelous sign"? 'Way back in the sixth chapter of Revelation, John heard the souls under the altar over in Heaven who had been beheaded, burned, and martyred for the Word of God. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

When John saw a ministry that was going to put judgment on Babylon, it was a "great and marvelous sign" to him. Brothers and Sisters, when this ministry came and began to pour out their vials, false religion was going to get what was coming to it. The Church was going to be encouraged, blessed, strengthened, and able to be the Church of God in these closing days of time.

Right here is the message that will put the power and the fire back into The Church. It will do it. One of these angels showed John the evening-time Church, and he showed John who Babylon is. So when these angels appear, someone is going to see something. Sometimes people see more than they want to see. There is going to be a revelation both ways as these angels pour out the vials: a revelation of false religion that will turn you away from it, and a revelation of truth that will point you to The Church.

Truth Reveals The Church
Let us read Revelation 15:5. And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. This is just another expression of The Church. He said, "After that I looked…" After what? The fourth verse said, …all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. Mark it down, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven is going to be opened.

Why is The Church called "the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven"? In Hebrews 9, Paul taught that there was a temple built by the first testament. That first temple was just a shadow of the heavenly temple. He goes on to tell you what the heavenly temple is: The Church of the Firstborn, the Body of Christ, The Church of The Living God.

So, when the judgment was made manifest, he said, …behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. The Church begins to open up before the minds of men and women. People cannot come to a knowledge of truth UNTIL they hear the truth. When they hear the truth, if they are willing to receive it and obey it, truth will call for a move. You must "come to" that knowledge of truth that God gives you.

Why is it called the "testimony in heaven"? There was only one temple built by the Old Testament, and there is only one temple built by the New Testament. Hebrews 12:22,23 tells us, But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God…church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven… We read in verse 25, …if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth [under the first testament], much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven. So this is the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven; God is speaking out of Heaven to give divine direction to His people in this day and time.

"O Earth, Earth, Earth..."
Let's read Revelation 16:1,2. And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men…

For people who have not studied the Revelation, we want to make it plain that it was not poured out on the terra firma. The Bible said that it fell on men: …there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men… What kind of men? Why does one verse say it was to be poured out upon the earth? My friends, it is poured out on earthly-minded people, people who are bound by the things of time, disregarding the heavenly.

There has never been such a time when man was so bound by the earth as he is now. My friends, some people's minds are completely taken up with earthly things. There is no place at all within their thinking for heavenly things. Jesus came down to bring us heavenly things. His kingdom is a "heavenly kingdom", called the "kingdom of heaven", right here on the earth. Friends, through REAL salvation, we can be brought into the heavenly kingdom, right while we live here on the earth.

When this vial was poured out on the earth, it fell as a noisome and grievous sore upon men. The prophet Jeremiah helps us to understand how this vial is poured out on the earth. In Jeremiah 22:29, he says, O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. Three times over, he cried to mankind of his day. Why is there a three-fold adjuration? Friends, the very thought of crying, "Earth, earth, earth," brings forth a picture of the great indifference and the great reluctance on man's part to hear God's voice of mercy.

I want you to begin to understand why the plagues are necessary. The Jews have a saying, that God spake as truly to Israel by the ten plagues on Egypt as He did by the words on Sinai. When God brought those plagues on Egypt, He not only brought them on Pharaoh and the Egyptians to punish them, but it was also teaching His own people the lesson that He means what He says.

Hear The Word Or Feel The Rod
The prophet Micah said, The Lord's voice crieth unto the city…hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it. Micah 6:9. The rod is spoken of in the Old and New Testaments as being the Word of God. My friends, if we will not hear God's voice in the Word, then we will soon be made to feel the weight of the rod upon us. You had better listen to God, because the rod will come down upon you. God will get your attention that way if you will not pay any attention to Him through His Word.

God is speaking; His voice is crying in the city. Every time the Gospel truly goes forth, God is crying in the city. Every person who could have heard that Gospel, but didn't, will be just as responsible as if they had. They have been afforded an opportunity.

Friends, we need to be awakened in a little greater way to the fact that when we are dealing with God, we are not dealing with some man. No, man changes his mind through different ages of time and circumstances. Man will change his mind, but God is the same yesterday, today and forever. So the prophet Micah said, The Lord's voice crieth unto the city…hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it. In other words, hear God through the Word which is spoken to you. People have been so lulled to sleep and so numbed by unbelief that they can sit right under the sound preaching of God's Word and not even hear Him speaking.

Some people can see no need for the plagues. Well, mankind today is met day by day in their public walk with warnings from God. There are divine impressions from God, and He is the author of them. If we go on and refuse to turn to God, then we might feel the weight of the rod. In every family affliction, every sudden death, every wounded affection, every disappointed ambition, and every ruined hope, God comes near us and speaks to us in accents that cannot be misunderstood.

If we won't hear the voice of God, we may feel the weight of the rod. God IS going to get your attention! If He can't get your attention under the sounding of the Gospel, He can (and will) get it some other way. If you won't hear the voice of His Word, you are going to feel the weight of the rod. Why? Because God knows what is ahead of you. God knows how long eternity is. God knows how great Heaven is, and how awful hell is. God will stop at nothing to awaken you.

God's voice is crying in the city every day. God moves close to us when the circumstances come, and He speaks in accents that cannot be misunderstood. When His voice cries out in the city, if you are wise, you will hear what He has to say. You will NOT wait and make Him use a providence to lay the weight of the rod on you to awaken you.

When God's voice cries out in the city, what does He say to man? In the Old and New Testaments, God's voice cries out: "Return unto me, for I have redeemed you!" Every leaf in the Bible has a voice saying, "Return. Return." All the threatenings and promises say one thing: "Return unto me, and I will return unto you."

God Can Become Your Enemy
Let's read Isaiah 28:16-20.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.

When judgment is laid to the line of your life, you will never rest any more a bit more than a man can rest on a bed that is too short, with not enough covers to cover him up.

Verse 21 of that same chapter tells us, For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon… Now Mount Perazim was in David's time when the Lord rose up against the Philistines. Gibeon was where Joshua fought and overcame the Canaanites. God is telling us that He is going to give us a foundation if we will take it, or believe it. If you really believe it, you will not make haste. You will not go hunting for any other foundation(s). If you really believe it, you will build your life according to the line and according to the plummet.

If you refuse to do it, it will take away what rest you may have had. It will be as it was at Mount Perazim when the Lord, through David, rose up against the Philistines. And it will be like it was in Gibeon when the Lord rose up against the Canaanites. When we who profess to be members of God's Church allow pride and scornfulness to make us just like the Philistines and the Canaanites that God had to drive out, then God is going to move on us just as He did them back there. He is going to become our enemy, and you have something on your hands when God becomes your enemy.

God has NOT changed, yet there are people today who claim to be Christians acting just as the Philistines did back there. What do I mean? God wants to take some more ground in their lives. He wants to move in their lives in a greater way, and it is going to cause them to do some moving. They have to move up, but they feel like the Philistines: "I am not going to do it; this is as far as I am going." Well, God will turn against them, become their enemy, and treat them just as He did the Philistines.

Verse 21 in its entirety reads: For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. Why does He call this His strange act? My friends, it is a work that is backwards for Him to do. The Bible says that God delights in mercy (Michah 7:18). This is what He likes to do, have mercy. The Bible says He does not afflict willingly (Lamentations 3:33). It is a strange work, indeed, when God Who is love and God Who wants to have mercy on us turns and fights against us. It is called a strange work for God to have to do what He hates to do, but He WILL do it.

God said, My spirit shall not always strive with man… Genesis 6:3. The Bible also says, The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. Psalm 103:8,9. So, my friends, when we begin to talk about plagues, we begin to talk about judgment, and the Bible calls it God's strange work. It is unusual, but He does it. He can be pressed to do it.

Brothers and Sisters, the abomination of false religion that man has lifted to the sky is full of darkness. There is no light in it, no God in it, but it has been exalted until man accepts it on a level right equal to (even with) true Christianity. Well, God has become stirred. He is not only stirred with those people who are putting up with that, but He is also getting stirred with us when we do not take the right stand against it as we ought. So, judgment is God's strange work. He would lots rather have mercy, but when it is necessary, He will bring judgment. He will pour out the plagues.

Hear The Word Of The Lord
Jeremiah 22:29 says, O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. In Revelation 15:3, it says that these people sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of The LAMB. Did you know that Moses sang his song on three different occasions? Each time he sang it, it had different verses. The book of Revelation, in symbols, takes up these truths that happened back in ancient Israel to give us understanding of the truth that is hidden in this Revelation in symbolic language.

The first place Moses sang his song was at the Red Sea. In Exodus 15:1-6, we read a portion of that song: I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea…The Lord is a man of war…Thy right hand, O Lord…hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

The second place Moses sang his song was at the borders of Canaan, forty years later, when Israel could have gone straight into Canaan without crossing any stream whatsoever, but unbelief took hold of them. They sent spies in to spy out the land and see if what God said was true. Brothers and Sisters, unbelief has us when we cannot believe what God says is true without getting somebody to "spy it out" for us! Come on, this IS where we are today, now! This is why we are hung up on divine healing. You cannot believe God for healing simply because His Book says so. You want me to SHOW you someone who has been healed who had the same condition that you have. That is "spying out". What kind of faith is that? What did Jesus say to Thomas in John 20:29? …blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

When those spies went in, they never found one thing different from what God had told them. I am here to tell you today, when you STEP OUT ON FAITH in God's Word, you will not find anything different from what God has told you in His Word. Hallelujah! Old unbelief, my friends, is just the same today as it was from the very beginning. You know, we want someone else to "try it out, first". If they make it all right, then we are going to believe God.

Well, God will not work through the spies. He will do with you just as He did with Israel. He let them send the spies in, and they came back with the reports of the bountiful land. Well, God did not let them go in then; they had to go back to the wilderness of sin and die. Why? We are NOT going ANYWHERE unless we GO BY FAITH. When you go by faith, you do not need to send an advance party of spies. God hates unbelief. Why? It makes Him out a liar!

Well, forty years later from the time they crossed the Red Sea, Moses is singing again: Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended. Deuteronomy 31:19,29,30. They were at Canaan's border, and he was talking to them.

I want to back up for just a quick moment. Did you notice there in Deuteronomy 31:29 that Moses saw an apostasy coming? What brought it about? Unbelief: failing to move on when God said to move.

God Is Jealous
As we go into the 32nd chapter, just before he died, we read Moses' words to the whole world. He sang a song at the Red Sea, he sang one at the border of Canaan, and then he sang one to the whole world. He was speaking to the earth. This first vial was poured on the earth. I want you to see whom it was for: it was for earthly-minded people who refused to think on the things of God, or people who were losing hope in the things of God. It was for people who were allowing unbelief to get into their lives.

Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. Deuteronomy 32:1-5, 16.

They provoked God with strange gods and abominations. We see the same picture in the Revelation message: Revelation 17:5-7, speaking of the harlot who is riding the eighth beast, says, …and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. Now, God has never changed. Just as Israel provoked Him to anger back there by worshipping false gods and by abominations, so do people provoke Him today. Remember, we are reading from a song of Moses. This is what the people who are standing on the "sea of glass" sing, the song of Moses and the song of The LAMB.

Let us read further: They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. Deuteronomy 32: 16,17,22.

Note where it reads, "They sacrificed unto devils, not to God…" That is what is going on. God is not receiving the sacrifices offered upon the altars of false religion. They are sacrificing to devils.

Then there is where the scripture tells us, "For a fire is kindled in mine anger…" That is God speaking. God has NOT changed His mind! These abominations stir God's anger, and He is never going to get over it. False religion today would make you feel that God has changed His mind about lots of things. His anger is going to burn until it burns into the lowest hell. The Bible lets us know that there are categories of hell, and who is going to suffer the lowest degree? It will those people who carry on in hypocrisy in religion, not truly worshipping God. God has more respect for the drunkard or adulterer who never darkens a church door, than for people who go on under the garbs of religion with old hateful spirits.

 

 


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