The writer of Ecclesiastes has correctly observed, “What has been is what will be , and what has been done is what will be done , and there is nothing new under the sun “ (Eccl. 1:9) And so we note that the history of the world is an ever recurring order of events. Kingdoms come and go. Civilizations rise and fall as they either decay internally or as they are externally attacked and destroyed. Where are the great civilizations - the Persians , the Romans , The Greeks , the Incas of whom we only read in history books? People flee from this continent to the next, only to flee again within a few generations.
With regard to the history of the church this is also true. Through the preaching of the Word applied to the heart of the hearers by the Holy Spirit , gospel churches have been established . These churches become lampstands in a dark world, and they serve for a while , and when the church compromises , the dark world swallows them again. We see this in Revelation 1-3
We see that God’s people are repeatedly persecuted in this world (Chapters 4-7) and the judgments of God against the persecutors are repeatedly seen, but God’s judgments fail to move the persecutors to repentance (Chapters 8-11). Why is it like that ? Why do we fail to learn from history?
Behind this relentless conflict between the church and the world there is a deeper, darker reality. There is continual warfare between Christ and Satan. There is perpetual conflict between the seed of the woman (the church) and the dragon (Genesis 3:15 à Rev. 12-14)
The question which now arises is this. Will this continue forever? Will this endless vicious cycle continue forever ? Will God do something to stop this? The answer is twofold. First, we must understand that God has always acted in history in terms of His temporary judgments. Every famine , every tsunami , every so called ‘natural disaster’ or plague or war (and we have seen 2 vicious World wars in the 20th century) – all these are the temporary judgments of God. Secondly , we need to know that all this will end someday – on that day known as the day of the Lord - the final outpouring of on Judgment day. This day is often spoken about by the prophets , the apostles and the Lord Jesus Christ. William Hendriksen says : “ When the wicked , often warned by the 7 trumpets of judgment continue to harden their hearts, death finally plunges them into the hands of an angry God.” 
As we come now to the 15th chapter this day has now arrived. [15:1] Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished . When this day comes there is no further opportunity for repentance. This will be the time for God’s unrestrained and terrible wrath. The trumpets have warned and urged the world to repentance , but the bowls are poured out  on those who have not repented. Those who have received the mark of the beast, who have worshipped the dragon and the anti-christ and who have believed the deceitful words of the false prophet – who have lived in the city of the great prostitute called metaphorically , Babylon will now experience the full fury of the terrible wrath of God!
It is true that this vision of the 7 bowls of God’s outpoured wrath runs parallel to the vision of the 7 seals and the 7 trumpets, and yet this vision of judgment is greater and more terrible. It is FINAL! The 7 plagues poured out all at once symbolize divine perfection and completeness.
THE SEA OF GLASS MINGLED WITH FIRE : ( vv. 2- 4)
Before John will tell us what the 7 angels will do with the seven plagues , there is a brief interruption in vv. 2-4 in which we get a glimpse into what happens to the true believer in this time :  And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.  And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb,…
John beholds a sea of glass , and beside the sea there is a joyful multitude, playing their harps and singing the songs of Moses and the Lamb. This imagery refers to the time when in the time of Moses God closed the Red sea over the Egyptian troops who were pursuing Israel as they fled from Pharaoh (Exodus 14), after which Moses sang his famous song of victory in Exodus 15 : “ I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously ; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea…” (Ex. 15:1).
Now everything in the Bible ( particularly in the OT) has a fuller meaning and purpose. This victory over Pharaoh and his army is a small picture of the deliverance of God’s people at the end of time over Satan, the anti-christ and the false prophet. Therefore this song that the redeemed church sings here can be rightly called the song of Moses and of the Lamb . In both cases the LORD has given the victory to His OT and His NT people. He has helped them to escape from the utter destruction.
They stand by the sea of glass. We have come across this term once before in Chapter 4:6 . There the context was in heaven- a sea of glass before the throne of God , a place of perfect beauty and splendor , and here too is a picture of the redeemed people of God who are now in heaven, beside the throne of God , as the Lord prepares to pour out the seven bowls of His wrath over the wicked world. They are safe while the fire of God’s judgment upon the earth comes from the perfection of heaven.
In response to this act of perfect justice, they praise Him for His righteous judgment in vv. 3&4 … saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!  Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Those that have persevered , and who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name represent all God’s people at all times. They have resisted Satan and his kingdom, and have escaped to heaven, just like all of Israel at the Exodus had resisted Pharaoh and left Egypt for the promised land. Do you see the parallel ?
Almost since the beginning of time Satan had been at work in this world, undermining , destroying God’s work. Abel , Enoch , Noah, Abraham , Isaac , Jacob, Job etc.– all fought the battle. All the witnesses and prophets of the Old Testament fought that same battle. All the martyrs of the NT fought that same battle. You and I , dear believer fight that same battle to escape the coming wrath . The people of God fight the same battle through all the ages, even though this battle shall be most intense before the end of time . All those that overcome are part of that great line of the men and women of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11. These are the ones that have reason to praise the Lord.
The song which they sing has nothing about man’s glory in it. It is a song that exalts the greatness and power and glory of God. It is God's greatness, God's truth, God's righteousness, God's holiness, that is celebrated here. Secondly , these singers sing from the perspective of those that are in heaven . They live now by sight, and not by faith any longer ! God's greatness is now clearly manifested in all His works. His truth and righteousness is now distinctly displayed in all His ways. It has all been realized. These multitudes sing of the final fulfillment of all prophecy, and they include the elect people of God from every nation , tribe and tongue ( v.4 àsee Rev. 7:9)
THE SANCTUARY OF THE TENT OF WITNESS IS OPENED : ( vv 5-8)
 After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened,  and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests.
As said before, the 15th chapter announces the final judgment which will come from the temple of God in heaven from the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven. The true people of God have been accounted for. They have been taken care of. Now everything is ready for that final judgment on the wicked of the earth – those who have despised God , and who have embraced Satan’s rule. This will be, as Jesus said a time of wailing , weeping and gnashing of teeth. ( Matt 24:51;25:30).
The 7 angels are His terrible executioners. The fact that they are seven (number of completion) indicates that they will complete their work now.
Formerly there were the announcements made by the seven seals and seven trumpets. After both of these there followed a long pause. The wrath of God in these each of these instances was delayed . It was partial and not final. In this instance it is final. All seven bowls are now poured out.
 And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever,  and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.
John now describes how each of the angels receive their bowls full of the wrath of God from one of the four living creatures  who are around the throne , on each side of the throne (Rev 4:6) - in special relation and proximity to the throne of God . Herman Hoeksema thinks that the four living creatures, represent all animate creation in its state of perfection.
Obviously , all this is yet in the future . It will be ( apart from the incarnation , crucifixion and resurrection of Christ) the most awesome event in all the history of the world. It will be the end of the world as we know it .
APPLICATION : WHY SHOULD WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEAVEN ?
1. Because it will be the end of all evil , strife and suffering .
2. Because this is the only place of safety from the terrible wrath of God
3. Because heaven is a place of unspeakable glory and of joy and peace ; the presence of the One who really loves us .
And so Jonathan Edwards said, “It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven … to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?”
In his early twenties, Edwards composed a set of life resolutions. One read, “Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can.”
Scripture tells us we should be “looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (). In John 14: 1-7 , Jesus promises His disciples that He would prepare a place for them and take them to heaven .
Unfortunately, many believers find no joy when they think about heaven. What is your attitude toward heaven? Do you long for heaven ? (as Paul did in Phil 1:23 ?) . How often do you think of and long for heaven? How often does your church talk about heaven ? Do you and your family talk about heaven?
When you fix your mind on heaven and see the present in light of eternity, even little choices become tremendously important. After death, we will never have another chance to share Christ with those who are going to hell. We will not have the ability to invest our money in the expansion of God’s kingdom .
The Bible makes it very clear that the one need of this life is to prepare for the next. What we need is a generation of heavenly minded people who see human beings and the earth not simply as they are, but as God intends them to be. Peter says, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with Him” ().