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Read Introduction to Revelation

 

1“Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.” 2 So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. 3 Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died. 4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.” 7 And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.” 8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory. 10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.  

 

Chapters 12-14 were parenthetic. Chapter 15 introduces the bowl judgments. The seventh seal holds the seven trumpets.  The seventh trumpet embraces the seven bowls.  Chapter 16 begins the outpouring of the bowls of God’s final wrath.  The events of the Tribulation are coming quickly to a close in rapid machinegun like fashion. 

16:1

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”

There is much similarity yet striking differences between the trumpet judgments and the bowl judgments.  The seven bowls are an expansion of the seventh trumpet judgment. 

16:2

So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.

The first bowl judgment is a judgment of sores on those who worshiped the beast (13:17,18; 14:9-11).  This is a throwback to the ulcer-like sores of Egypt (Ex 9:9-11).  The words “foul” and “loathsome” indicate the extent of sickness these sores caused.  Those who received the mark of the beast will receive more than they first realized. 

16:3

Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.

The second bowl judgment destroys every living creature in the sea.  The sea became like a dead man floating in blood.  The idiom is one of death

16:4

Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood.

The third bowl judgment expands to the fresh water of the earth, the drinking water.  There may be water from wells but none from rivers or springs. 

16:5

And I heard the angel of the waters saying:

The third angel who has jurisdiction over fresh water applauds these judgments.

“You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things.

God is “righteous” for sending these judgments.  God is eternal; therefore, nothing slips by Him.  His plan will in due course come to pass. 

16:6

For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.

This judgment is God’s response to killing the “saints and prophets.”  They shed the blood of the saints and prophets so they will drink blood.  The punishment matches the crime.  They were thirsty for the blood of the saints so God gives them blood to drink.  What goes around, comes around.  They get what comes to them.  God always makes the punishment fit the crime.  It is about time their judgment has come.  God will vindicate Himself in time on earth. 

16:7

And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

Another voice from the altar vindicates God’s justice.  No one in hell will accuse God of being unfair

16:8

Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire.

There will be a worldwide judgment of fire.  No sunscreen will protect people against these rays. 

16:9

And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.

Although these rebels know the source of this scorching heat judgment, they became even more hardened against God.  The more people harden themselves against God the more difficult it is for them to respond to God (Ep 4:17-19; He 3:7-19).  They know that God can sovereignly turn this heat on or off yet they will not soften their hearts. 

We would think that with all these severe judgments that people would turn to God.  Some people are so perverse that they will not turn to God no matter what happens to them.  These people even “blasphemed” God in their duress.  No one will repent in Hell.  This manifests man’s congenital hatred of God.  We cannot educate people into loving God.  Loving God comes through a changed heart.  We cannot say, “Pig, I want you to be a sheep. I will teach you how.”  A pig needs to change the pig’s heart. 

16:10

Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain.

The fifth bowl of darkness (Ex 10:21-23) exacts judgment against the throne of the beast.  This is an assault by God against the authority and world rule of the dictator of the Revived Roman Empire.  This foreshadows their eternal darkness.

16:11

They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

These people remained intransigent and refused to repent (2:21; 9:21; 16:9).  Much like in the plagues of Egypt, unbelievers of the Tribulation period remain unmoved by God.  They completely rebel against God’s authority over their lives but the bowl judgments squash this revolt against God.  They even go a step further in blaspheming God (v.9).  As long as we minimize sin and not come to a full cognizance of the immensity of God’s character, we will fail to come to understand God’s plan for the universe. 

PRINCIPLE:

God is too wise to make a mistake and too good to do wrong.

APPLICATION:

What goes around, comes around.  We live in Man’s Day, a day of injustice.  One day, God will make right all wrongs.  God never retaliates tit for tat in this world.  He sent judgment on the world from time to time but never in full force and consistency.  He judged the world occasionally.  There are instances of divine intervention such as Noah’s flood.  We live in the day of the hushed heaven.  Murders go free.  Men violate women.  Man is at bat; he does as he pleases. 

1 Jn 5: 19 “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”

One day all this will come to a shocking, sudden end.  Justice will prevail.  God will straighten out all wrongs.

Ge 18: 25 “…Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

God is always on the level and fair.  We sometimes think that God is not fair. That is because we do not possess all the facts.  God always operates according to His perfect character.  God demonstrates His true character by the cross.  He cannot tolerate any sin in any amount.  That is what sent Jesus to the cross.  If we reject the cross, God has no alternative but to send us to Hell.  He must be consistent with His character.  He has no alternative.

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