The first verse of our text offers us the introduction to this chapter. “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” We must remember where we are at this point. Out of the seventh seal came the seven trumpets and out of the seven trumpets (the last of which was the third woe) comes these seven last plagues; the vials full of the wrath of God. Many have rightly said that the entire 70th week of Daniel is within the realm of the wrath of God from the opening of the sixth seal (6:16) the complete execution of wrath at the coming of the Son of Man (19:15). When one considers such ideas like the “Pre-Wrath Rapture” that is something to be considered. But, there is a particular way in which these last seven plagues are the wrath of God.
This chapter is, in and of itself, a continuation of the signs that were seen in chapter twelve. There were two signs mentioned there, the woman who represented Israel and the dragon which represented Satan (the word used in that chapter was wonder the synonym of sign). This therefore is the answer to the wrath of Satan and the antichrist as seen in the great tribulation. The term sign reminds us that Christ has signified (1:1) this book; sets it in symbols and pictures. This is the next step on our drama as revealed by Christ and as revealing of Christ. There are two adjectives used of this sign or wonder that were not used of the previous signs. There were no adjectives in conjunction with the wonder of the dragon, the adjective “great” was attached to the sign of the woman (Israel), but here the adjectives “great and marvelous” are attached to this sign. As we march forward in this revelation we are swelling to a crescendo.
This is it for the earth. The following sign in this drama is the seven angels that carry those seven last plagues. The angels carry the seven “last” plagues that will bring this world’s Egypt to their knees. Those plagues are filled up with the wrath of God. They are the fullness of God’s wrath. This is the wine that will flow without mixture that we discussed in the last chapter (Ps. 75:5). What follows in this chapter is a description of this sign. It contains a song for the victors and describes a ceremony of angels that brings the wrath of God forward in preparation of pouring them out.