Advent with Revelation (Ch 15)
December 11, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


Chapter 15 (Third Sunday of Advent)

Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended. 

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and 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:
‘Great and amazing are your deeds,
   Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
   King of the nations!
Lord, who will not fear
   and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
   All nations will come
   and worship before you,
for your judgements have been revealed.’ 

After this I looked, and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robed in pure bright linen, with golden sashes across their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever; and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended. 


These pictures of judgment are immediately followed in chapters 15-16 by the series of visions concerning the seven bowls of wrath with which “the wrath of God is ended”. Thus they refer to the conclusion of the time of the end and to the final intensification of the struggle between Christian and anti-Christian forces. More than ever, the scene shows the heavenly liturgy (in which those who are predestined and triumphant have a share: 15:2-4) to be simultaneous with the punitive judgment of the earth. After the hymn praising God’s judgment, which is righteous and worthy of all adoration, there are solemn descriptions of the seven angels proceeding from the open covenant tabernacle, their liturgical vestments, the giving of the bowls and the filling of the Temple with the incense of the divine anger. This simultaneity of liturgy and judgment is perhaps the most all-pervading leitmotif of the Book of Revelation. It shows how much heaven is involved in earthly destinies but also how little such involvement interrupts the occupations of the heavenly ones. In the constant hymning of the divine attributes of the hidden Father, of the Lamb and of the sevenfold Spirit, there is no neglect of the praise of eternal righteousness, which is just as worthy of worship (15:3-4) as all the other qualities of God’s being. The heavenly worship, which includes the prayers of those who have “conquered”, is doubtlessly mingled in the bowls of wrath, just as, earlier, the prayers of the saints were mingled in the incense (8:4). (We are not told in 15:2 whether those who have “conquered” have already died or are still living on earth, nor do we know whether they belong to the Old Covenant—the Song of Moses—or the New—the Song of the Lamb.) Indeed, the praise of God’s righteousness is continued even while his wrath is being manifested (16:5-7). 

Musical Selection

Victorious army with God-given hearts in their hands
A sea on fire, they all sing the song of the Lamb.


Just and true are Your ways, King of Ages
So great and marvelous are all Your deeds
Oh Lord God Almighty, who will not fear You
And bring the glory to Your Name.

A temple in heaven and angels with bowls in their hands
Smoke and glory, and the power of God to command.

Yes, Lord God Almighty, Your judgments are true
They've slain saints and prophets, now give them their due.


God of glory and compassion,
at your touch the wilderness blossoms,
broken lives are made whole,
and fearful hearts grow strong in faith.
Open our eyes to your presence
and awaken our hearts to sing your praise.
To all who long for your Son’s return
grant perseverance and patience,
that we may announce in word and deed
the good news of the kingdom.
We ask this through him whose coming is certain,
whose day draws near:
your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.