"Divine" and "wrath" are not two words that you normally expect to find together. We know that God is longsuffering, forgiving, and loving; but we must never forget that God is also holy and just. Ever since Adam and Eve, mankind has allowed Satan to influence him into living a lifestyle outside of the design and commands of God – to live selfishly to please himself with no regards for eternity or the effect that his actions will have on others. Rather than repenting when mankind begins to encounter the awesome power of God in the final days, he will blame God for the tragedies and choose to follow after Satan in rebellion – attempting to establish their own kingdom outside of the control and design of the creator. In Revelation 15 and 16, we will see the end of God's longsuffering, the squelching of rebellion, and God's rightful assertion of Himself as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
The scene begins with those gathered together in heaven who have been martyred during the reign of the Anti-Christ because of their faith and refusal to follow the Anti-Christ.
The temple itself opens and seven angels come out from before the presence of God. They are given seven bowls, or containers, containing the final wrath of God to be poured out upon those who defy His rule. These open containers remind us of God's words to Jeremiah, "Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. (Jeremiah 25:15, NIV)," and they symbolize the speed and finality of this judgment which is going to be dumped upon the earth – there will no longer be any holding back.
First will be grievous sores, which will break out upon those who have received the mark of the beast. Then the seas will become as the blood of dead men and all the sea creatures will die, followed by the rivers and springs of water turning into blood as well – just payment for those who have shed the blood of the believers. The heat of the sun will intensify until it scorches men with its heat, and then the earth will be plunged into total darkness until men will literally gnaw their tongues in agony – yet, they will still refuse to give glory and honor unto God. The Euphrates river will be dried up, which will provide a way for the Anti-Christ to gather an army together to march against Jerusalem and wage war against God, and then the seventh angel will announce that, "It is finished." There will be flashes of lightening, rumblings, thunder, and the greatest earthquake that the world has ever experienced which will split the great city into three parts (which I assume is Rome where the Anti-Christ has established his kingdom).
There will be a shout of victory coming forth from heaven and Jesus will appear in full battle array (described in the vision of Revelation, chapter one).
At this second coming, the saints of all the ages will be aligned behind Christ who will descend to stand upon the Mount of Olives to claim what is rightfully His. (Zechariah, chapter 14) The Mount of Olives will split in two and living waters will begin to flow east to the Mediterranean and west to the dead sea bringing life back to the dead sea. The armies of the Anti-Christ will engage Christ in battle in the present day valley of Esdraelon, which are the plains surrounding the ancient city of Megiddo and stretching all the way from the Mediterranean near Mount Carmel across to the Jordan River (therefore referred to as the Battle of Armegeddon). The armies of the earth will be destroyed by Christ to the point that the Bible describes the results in Revelation 14:20 as, "They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia." It will take seven months to bury all the dead and the vultures will have the feast of their lives at this marriage supper of the lamb (Ezekiel 39), and at this time Jesus will set up His physical kingdom upon the earth.
Some may join the scoffers recorded in 2 Peter 3:4 as saying, "Where is this 'coming' he promised?
Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." We must not forget Peter's answer to them, "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat." 2 Peter 3:8-12 (NIV)