Revelation Study Guide: Week 20, Chapters 15 & 16
By Coty Pinckney
Read Revelation 15:1, and 15:5 to 16:21 three times, without referring to notes or commentaries.
(1) Make a chart with 7 columns and three rows. The first row stands for the seal judgments (6:1-8:1), the second for the trumpet judgments (8:2-11:18), the third for the bowl judgments. Fill in the chart by briefly summarizing each of the seven judgments for each cycle. What similarities do you find across seals, trumpets, and bowls? What differences? How would you describe the major difference between the bowls and the trumpets? Is your inference from the details of the judgments consistent with the description of the bowls in 15:1 and 15:5-8?
(2) What is the significance of the smoke filling the temple? See Exodus 40:34-35 (at the completion of tabernacle) and 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 (at the dedication of the temple). Why can no one enter?
(3) Consider 16:5-7. What speaks in 7? (see also 6:9, 8:3-5, and 14:18). What does this signify? God's judgments are said to be true, righteous, and just (remember that the word "righteous" in Greek is the same as that translated "just.") Why are they just? Some today would argue that this kind of judgment is not in accord with God's love and mercy. In this text, what argues against that view? See also Isaiah 49:25-26, 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10, and Hebrews 10:26-31.
(4) In verses 8-11, what is the impact of the judgments upon the people? How do they respond? Is this related to your answer to question 3?
(5) Consider verses 12, 13, 14, and 16. Look ahead to 19:20. Who then is the false prophet? Who is gathering together for war? Who prompts them to do so? Look at Ezekiel 38:15-39:22 and Joel 3:9-14.
(6) Why is verse 15 included here? For "thief," recall 3:3; see also Matthew 24:42, Luke 12:40, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 and 2 Peter 3:3-12. Why are we told to "keep" or "guard" our garments? What do the garments symbolize? See 3:4, 3:18, 6:11, 7:9, as well as Zechariah 3:1-5 and Matthew 22:1-14.
(7) In verse 17, who says, "It is done"? What is done? For "great city," see 11:18, but also 17:18 and chapter 18. How would you characterize the impact of the final bowl? See Hebrews 12:25-29.
(8) How do you respond to this section? Are you fearful, awestruck, confused, or angry? Or all of the above? Do verses 5-7 of chapter 16 reflect your response, or not?
Now read Stedman's sermon on chapters 15 and 16 as well as Wilcock pages 139-150. This is a particularly helpful section of Wilcock, especially (but not only) pages 139-141. Revise your answers, if necessary, in light of the insights of these two commentators.
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