Revelation 15: Prelude to the Bowls

Posted on March 4, 2021


By David Ettinger

What This Is

Back in the mid-to-late 1990s, I taught a Sunday school class verse by verse on the Book of Revelation. This series represents my notes for each class. (I have done some updating as some of my understandings have changed over the years.) I came across them recently and decided to post them. If you wish to use these notes as a study guide, the way to do it is as follows: Read the verse first in your Bible, then look at the corresponding notes here for commentary.

For some reason, I don’t have notes for Chapters 1-3, therefore this series begins with Chapters 4-5. Following the Chapter 4-5 study notes, each chapter will be presented individually.

Read Chapter 4-5 notes here.
Read Chapter 6 notes here.

Read Chapter 7 notes here.
Read Chapter 8 notes here.
Read Chapter 9 notes here.
Read Chapter 10 notes here.
Read Chapter 11 notes here.
Read Chapter 12 notes here.
Read Chapter 13 notes here.
Read Chapter 14 notes here.

* Chapters 15 & 16 bring to a conclusion the chronological evens of the Book of Revelation preceding the Second Coming of Christ.

* Revelation 19:11 will occur, chronologically, immediately after Revelation Chapter 16, following the seventh bowl.

* Chapter 15 picks up with the blowing of the seventh trumpet from Chapter 11.

* Chapter 15 is the prelude to the pouring out of the bowls.


* The type of bowl in view here is shallow and wide at the top.

* It is the kind of bowl a religious Jew would wash his hands in. The bowl serves both a spiritual and practical purpose.

* The water would then be thrown out of the bowl. Because the bowl was shallow and wide, the water would go out very quickly.

* The bowl judgments appear to be poured out in machine-gun like rapidity.

* The bowl in general was used in Jewish theology to represent God’s judgment of the Gentile nations (Psalm 69:4, 79:6; Isaiah 42:25).

* The bowls are God’s wrath poured out upon the nation in a very brief time.

* Some Bible teachers believe the bowls are specifically the wrath of God being poured out on those nations which persecuted Israel during the 70th Week of the Book of Daniel (the final 7 years of this era of human history).


* The 70th Week of Daniel has 3 segments:

1)  “The beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). The beginning time of the 7 seals.

2) The Great Tribulation, which begins 3½ years in the final 7-year period. The rest of the seals.

3) The Day of the Lord (when the trumpets are blown).

* The seals and trumpets encompass the entire 70th Week – the entire final 7-year period.

* Daniel 12:11-12: Besides the 1,260 days, we have an additional 30-day period followed by a 45-day period. It is during the 30-day period that Jesus will judge the nations with the pouring out of the bowls.

* These 30 days may also be a mourning period for Israel (Zechariah 12:10) as they realize that the One they have rejected for so long, Jesus, is indeed their true Messiah.

Verse 1
* “Another sign”: The 2 other signs were “a woman clothed with the sun” (12:1) and “an enormous red dragon” (12:3).

* The 3 signs together focus attention on Israel (the woman), the world empire (the red dragon), and the 7 angels with the last 7 plagues.

* These 7 angels, apparently, are different than any other group of angels mentioned previously.

* As devastating as the previous judgments have been, these final 7 will be more extensive and more final.

Verse 2
* The sea of glass is also seen in 4:6.

* This is not an ordinary sea, because it is mixed with fire.

* The fire represents judgment.

* NOTE: Harps are given to this specific group of people by God.

Verse 3
* There appear to be 2 songs: One of Moses, and one of the Lamb.

* There are 2 songs of Moses that could be referred to: Exodus 15, when Israel triumphed over Pharaoh; and Deuteronomy 32, which tells of God’s faithfulness.

Verse 4
* The question concerning who will fear the Lord and bring glory to Him is a question often asked in the Scriptures (Jeremiah 10:7).

* God is to be feared and glorified for 3 reasons:

1) He alone is holy.

2) All nations will come and worship before Him.

3) His righteous acts have been revealed.

Verse 5
* It appears that the angles are emerging from the inner holy place, where only the chief priest was able to enter.

* The tabernacle of the Testimony: During the days of the Tabernacle, God would meet the people in this area (Exodus 25:25).

Verse 6
* Golden sashes: Almost like Army generals carrying out orders.

Verse 7
* Four living creatures: Seen in 4:6.

* Each angel will be responsible for 1 bowl, 1 judgment.

Verse 8
* The smoke fills the Temple just as God’s cloud filled the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35).

* The entire scene is dark and ominous, and indicates a terrible sense of impending judgment.