Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. Location: Ellis BS 2825.53.O73 2002
III. God in Majesty and Judgment (4:1-16:21) pp. 218-602.
B. Great Conflict between God and the Forces of Evil (12:1-16:21) pp. 451-602
2. “Great Conflict Culminated (15:1-16:21)” pp. 558-602.
“a. Introduction to the Bowls - Angels with Final Plagues (15:1-8)” pp. 559-575”
Osborne reminds his readers that Revelation 12-14 served as an interlude in God’s judgments (Osborne 2002, 558). Now we return to a description of the sovereign God preparing to end this age with his judgment.
Revelation 15:1-8 “both concludes the vindication of the saints and judgment of the sinners from chapter 14 and prepares for the final set of judgments in the bowl septet of chapter 16” (Osborne 2002, 559). In this regard, Osborne considers the passage to pull several themes together into a comprehensive whole.
Osborne observes that in Revelation we meet several “great signs,” specifically in 12:1 and 12:3. Here, in 15:1, the third appears, both “great” and “amazing” (Osborne translates θαυμαστόν as “wondrous.”) (Osborne 2002, 560). Here, there is a foreshadowing of seven angels with plagues, which will be seen again at 15:8. These plagues are to be the last in history, as they complete God’s work. Osborne notes that here, as often, the passive voice is used with no actor stated, assuming God as the one who ultimately does the work (Osborne 2002, 561).
Revelation 15:2-4 is a vision of saints in heaven, beside what is translated as “like a glassy sea mixed with fire.” Osborne finds this alluding to Revelation 4:6 and the presence of God’s throne (Osborne 2002, 561). He considers the fire to refer to God’s acts of judgment (Osborne 2002, 562). The saints are pictured as victorious, though the victory was gained through their death (Osborne 2002, 563). They inherit eternal life and a new dwelling place, including the many promises made in the letters of Revelation 2-3. The saints are engaged in worship, with harps and singing songs which portray victory. Osborne notes that though only one song is given, it is a song “of Moses and of the Lamb,” suggesting one and the same song (Osborne 2002, 564). The song describes God in two parallel ways, then asks two rhetorical questions, answered with three “because” clauses. Osborne sees this as the same structure as a hymn of praise in Exodus 15. The hymn speaks of God’s deeds as praiseworthy and just (Osborne 2002, 565). Because of God’s justice his judgments are recognized as true, not only for Israel but also for the nations. The question raised is who would not fear God or bring glory to Him (Osborne 2002, 566). The three reasons given in answer are that only God is holy, that all nations will worship Him (Osborne 2002, 567), and that his glory and righteousness have been revealed (Osborne 2002, 568).
In Revelation 15:5-8 seven angels will come out of the heavenly temple. Osborne notes that the language used of the temple is reminiscent of the tabernacle in the wilderness, as well as the ark of the covenant, where God’s covenant wit hHis people resides. Because God’s people broke the covenant, these became places of judgment (Osborne 2002, 569). The angels carry plagues, but are also clothed in pure linen, appropriate for priests. The angesls receive golden bowls, which Osborne observes could be used to pour out offerings to God, but these are filled with God’s wrath (Osborne 2002, 570). Osborne notes other places where God’s wrath is described as being poured out. The smoke of God’s glory fills the temple, an event which Osborne finds common in the Scripture, sometimes described as a cloud (Osborne 2002, 571). Because of the presence of God’s glory and wrath, nobody can enter the temple. Osborne notes commentators who say the temple is closed because intercession is ended or because God’s glory is simply too strong. However, Osborne does not choose from the options (Osborne 2002, 572).