The Seven Angels and the Seven Plagues.[a] 1 Then I saw in heaven another great and wondrous sign: seven angels with the seven plagues, the last plagues of all, for through them the wrath of God is completed.
The Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb.[b] 2 I saw something that looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire. Standing beside the sea of glass and holding the harps that God had given them were those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They were holding harps given them by God 3 and singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
“How great and wonderful are your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
4 Who shall not fear you, O Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your acts of justice have been revealed.”
The Justice and Triumph of God[c]
Vision of the Temple. 5 After this, in my vision, the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony,[d] was opened in heaven, 6 and from the temple emerged the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were robed in clean, shining linen, and breastplates of gold were fastened around their chests.
7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven gold bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. 8 The temple was filled with the smoke from the glory of God and from his power, so that no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.
- Revelation 15:1 These constitute the decisive sign of the Judgment, whose execution will be set forth later.
- Revelation 15:2 Those who have resisted are like the Hebrews after their crossing of the Red Sea. Here the mass of water, so terrifying to the ancients, seems marvelously tamed. It is the turn of the martyrs to chant the song of liberation (see Ex 15:1-8), playing on instruments far superior to any earthly musical instruments.
- Revelation 15:5 Will heaven be mute in the presence of oppression by political authorities or by a civilization that turns human beings into slaves and claims to pass as God? Are the sufferings and martyrdom of victims a cry that is perhaps useless and fades away in the history of the world? The conscience of believers protests against this possibility. But it is necessary to determine in what God’s Judgment consists: it will unmask the imposture and recognize the courage of those who have resisted this perversion. Here some scenes of this Judgment flash before our eyes.
- Revelation 15:5 The temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony: i.e., the heavenly sanctuary. The phrase conflates the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon. The Old Testament had described in blazing images the God who mysteriously took possession of the temple. In the same images (see 1 Ki 8:10) we here contemplate the true temple of heaven, the manifestation of God. It is a description of the Judgment.