STUDY: PART 51
V. 1 – We have to understand that Jesus was given the authority to judge the world (John 5:22). He is also the only righteous Son of God who was worthy, therefore, able to open the scroll. When Jesus broke the seal on that Scroll and released the contents of the seven seals, He took His rightful place as Judge. This opening of the scroll loosed a series of sevens. We saw seven seals, seven churches, seven candlesticks, seven stars, seven mountains, seven kings, seven trumpets, seven Spirits of God, seven heads, seven plagues, and the mention of seven angels several times. The number seven is mentioned about 50 times in this Book. Many people say that seven in the number of perfection. It’s actually the number of completion.
Jesus gave the command as the King of kings for the angels to move forward and pour out the wrath of God. I’ve heard people discuss this truth and reach various conclusions. Some think that the Bible exaggerates about the wrath and judgment of God to scare us into following Him, but that He would never do these things John wrote about. Others think that if God is such a loving Creator, He can’t harm His children in this way. Still others think of God as spiteful and full of vengeance, just waiting to pour out His vindictiveness on the world. I could preach on these things for a long time, but I’ll spare you that tonight. But let’s look at these statements for a moment.
I’ll combine the first two here. We know from recorded history and from geological digs that God really did cause the great flood that wiped all but 8 people from the earth. We know He really did destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. We know that the plagues which befell Egypt really happened. We know that God wiped out 20,000 of His children in one day for building and worshipping the golden calf in the dessert. We know that when Israel complained against God for the lack of food, He sent a plague of serpents and that many of the people died. We know that Jerusalem was taken captive by Babylon and made to suffer terribly at their hands. We could go on, but this should suffice to make the point. God is righteous, and He will!
As for the third opinion, we know that God is not vindictive, but just and true (Psalm 19:9; 119:160). We’ve seen in the Bible that God does act out of anger. Numbers 11:1-3, for example, “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.” Notice though that God’s wrath is “kindled.” God doesn’t sit on His throne tempting us to sin (“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man…” (James 1:13) We are tempted by our own weak flesh, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:14).
So the conclusion seems to be that yes, God loves us, yes, God gets angry, and yes, God will have His righteous vengeance in the earth.
And now, Jesus gives the order, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God upon the earth.”
V. 2 – The first bowl is filled with stinky sores. If you’ve ever had an infection in an open wound, or been around someone who did, you know it stinks. It looks disgusting as it oozes gunk and tries to scab over all at the same time. It’s very hard to look at a sore like that. Yet, people will be covered with these sores. The words of this verse make me think of the people having skin cancer. I’ve seen what that looks like and it’s not something anyone would want. Maybe it will be some form of flesh eating bacteria. These sore will burn and be painful. If you sit and get back up, your skin will be stuck and will tear as you stand. If you lay down to sleep, the gunk will adhere to the sheets making getting out of bed horribly painful. These sores will most likely be incurable.
This plague is reflective of the sixth plague on Egypt when God was bringing Israel out. “And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt. And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast” (Exodus 9:8-10).
God never leaves us hopeless when He tells us what's coming. Look at the sentence of hope. “…which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.” This plague will only be poured out on the antichrist, the beast, and those who took his number and who worship the beast and his image. Anyone who is in Christ at that time will not see the sores touch their bodies. Again, same as in the sixth plague against Egypt. Also, this plague of sores will not cause people to turn to God.
V. 3 – Now the second angel will come forth from the mercy seat and pour out his bowl into the sea. We saw 1/3 of the sea turned to blood at the second trumpet. The contents of this bowl will cover the entire sea. You’ve all seen pictures of what the red tide does when it strikes the sea. It kills the creatures in that area of the ocean or sea and when they die, they float to the surface to be pushed up on shore by the tides. Dead rotting fish stinks!
This is similar to the first plague against Egypt. “And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt” (Exodus 7:20, 21).
Imagine how much of the world’s economy would be lost each year if the sea was so polluted that all living creatures in it would die. Many tongues and tribes rely heavily on the bounty of the sea as their jobs and for their food. Without the fishing industry, many nations will suffer severe famine as they endure the plague of painful sores. Just try to imagine it this way. There will be a huge red tide and it will cover every body of salt water.
V. 4 – Now the fresh water will be poisoned. Again this reflects the first plague against Egypt, except that in this case all drinking water of the whole earth will be turned to blood and rendered undrinkable. Now we see starving people with painful smelly sore and no water to drink or bathe in. I drink about a gallon of distilled water per day, not counting the water I use for tea. It would be difficult for me not to have the water I’m used to drinking. But remember, in Egypt, even the waters contained in the drinking pots were turned to blood. There will be no drinking water. What John does not mention in this verse is what will happen to the fresh water fish when the water turns to blood. Fish can’t inhale blood; therefore, they will also all die.
V. 5-7 – Remember that we said those who follow the beast in that day will be under assignment to kill all Christ-followers? That’s part of what the killing of the saints and prophets means. But let us not forget the opening of the fifth seal where we saw the former martyrs who are still under the altar waiting for God to avenge their deaths. Also, think of what Jesus said when He admonished Peter I the Garden for cutting off the ear of the Roman soldier, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword (Matthew 26:52). God will make the beast and his followers drink of the blood of the wrath of God for killing His saints and prophets. It took God a long time, according to our time, to accomplish the vengeance of the saints, but it will be finished quickly when it does come.
Amen and amen, even so, Come Lord Jesus!
STUDY: PART 52
V. 8, 9 - In the first three bowls we saw that men will be covered with foul smelling cancerous sores that will fester and cause them much pain and trouble. We saw the waters of the sea and the fresh water turned to blood, effectively wiping out much of the world’s food source. These are bad enough in my opinion, but look what’s next in God’s planned wrath against the heathen. The fourth angel will pour God’s vengeance out on the sun that will then scorch men with fire! I don’t know about you, but having put sticks into the wood stove, I know how it feels to be burned by fire. Can you imagine this fire being poured out onto the flesh that is already being destroyed by painful sores? It makes my spirit cringe to even try to think of it.
In Revelation 8:12, the fourth angel sounded a trumpet and a third of the sun, moon, and stars were darkened. For 1/3 of the day and 1/3 of the night, there was total unbroken darkness outside. Now, in 16:8, the fourth angel will make the sun so bright and hot, it will burn men as though with fire. But – look at the reaction of the people to this. They blasphemed the name of God! The Father is the only One who could put a stop to all their agony, but their hearts had waxed so cold against God, their spirits were in such rebellion, that they could not, even during this time of horrible pain and agony, bow their knees to God in repentance! Instead of giving God glory, they accused Him and reviled His name. They did as described in Zechariah 7:12, “Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.” In other words, God was fed up, and now He would have His revenge.
V. 10, 11 – The wrath of the fifth bowl is poured out against the throne and kingdom of the beast. We know from reading Revelation 13:2, “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority,” that satan gave the beast his own throne to occupy, and this is what God’s anger is now focused against. The utter darkness that will come on the earth when this bowl is poured out is not an allegory for sin. It’s a literal darkness that will turn the earth from hot to cold just about instantly and which was predicted by Joel in Joel 2:1, 2, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.”
Impenetrable, heavy darkness was one of the plagues against Egypt as well. Exodus 10:21-23, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” All of God’s children had light!
The cold that this darkness will bring will be in such contrast to the baking heat that it will cause horrendous pain to the beast and his followers.
Note: As I was writing this, the Lord gave me a picture of what will happen. Recall that the people have sores and now are burned as a chicken baked in the oven. Suddenly the cold reaches their bodies and every inch of their skin contracts and splits open. Have you ever suffered a split on the end of a finger? That is so painful! Now imagine an entire body being split in that way, but all at once! No wonder they chewed their tongues in pain.
The people will have smelly cancerous sores, burns, splits, no water to bathe in or to drink, the stench from the death of the sea and waters to deal with, and not much by way of food, even if they could eat, yet!
Will they fall on their faces in repentance?
No! They become more rebellious and once again blasphemed God! The pain and suffering they endure will be the result of their own actions of receiving the mark of the beast and for worshipping the beast, yet they cursed the very God who could save them out of it.
Do you see the futility of living life for the beast? Can you understand the significance of the times we are in now? If we all don’t share the Gospel of Jesus the Christ, we will be held accountable for many souls that will be in hell, whether or not they live through the Tribulation. If things can become this terrifying on earth, just imagine what hell is like!
V. 12-16 – The sixth angel will now pour out his bowl against the Euphrates River. Look at what Jeremiah 50:38 says, “A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.” This describes exactly what is going on during the Tribulation and the results that their idol worship will bring. The river will be dried up so that the nations who want to see Israel annihilated will be able to cross over into her.
People think I’m naïve because I don’t believe Iran will nuke Israel. This portion of Scripture, and other information I know about Israel still makes me believe that this will not be how they come against her. At least I don’t think they will before the Rapture of the church.
Let’s see what John Hagee says about Israel’s mineral deposits. “The mineral deposits in the Dead Sea are so great they can’t be properly appraised on today’s market. It is estimated that the Dead Sea contains two billions tons of potassium chloride, which potash needed to enrich that soil that is rapidly being depleted around the world. The Dead Sea also contains twenty-two billion tons of magnesium chloride and twelve billion tons of sodium chloride. The wealth of the Red Sea has the Russian bear salivating.” No one wants to destroy what they so desperately need; therefore, I don’t believe we will see nuclear war in Israel.
Let’s look at the statistics of the River Euphrates, or the Great River. It is 1780 miles long and ranges from 300 to 1200 yards wide. Its depth ranges from about 10 to 30 feet. From the Persian Gulf inland small vessels can navigate it for about 1200 miles. That’s plenty of space for invading forces to approach on foot, in vehicles and on horseback.
Praise God we will not be here for those events. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering the people of that day will deal with.
STUDY: PART 53
V. 17 – The declaration at the end of this verse, “It is done,” fulfills the announcement the angel made in Revelation 10:5-7, “And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.”
What is done? The Great Tribulation of the people of the earth and of the earth is done. The seventh of the last of the sevens has been accomplished. There is nothing left of the wrath of God to be done. Now Jesus will come as Judge and claim the earth for Himself. The only thing left to do is the Great White Throne Judgment.
This is not the first time Christ shouted, “It is done.” In John 19:30, while Jesus hung on the cross, He said, “It is finished.” This in Greek is the word Tetelestia, or “it is done”. It is in the perfect tense of Greek and means, “It has been accomplish and remains so forever.” So on the cross salvation was accomplished. With this bowl outpouring, God’s wrath is done, both finished forever. All the wicked armies of the world that have come against Jerusalem at Armageddon are destroyed.
The content of this bowl is poured into the air, or atmosphere, where it will pollute the air so that even the lungs of men will hurt. Ephesians tells us that “the air” is the domain of evil spirits. Ephesians 2:2 says, "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience..."
V. 18 – Noises, and thunderings and lightnings began the Great Tribulation and now they end it. Revelation 4:5, “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” This bowl will bring the most enormously wide-spread earthquake ever to shake the earth. This will exceed all measurements from the Richter scale greatly.
V. 19 – The great city which was divided into three portions is Jerusalem. The “cities of the nations” is the world. Babylon is mentioned yet again. This time, this vile thing that made others drink from “the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8) will be made to drink from “the cup of the wine of the fierceness of God.” The dragon, the beast out of the sea, and the beast out of the earth will be defeated; Babylon totally destroyed forever.
V. 20 – In Revelation 6:14 we saw that “every island and mountain was moved out of its place.” Here in 16:20, we read that “…every island fled away and the mountains were not found.” Islands will sink, mountains will crumble and disappear. Imagine Mount Everest (29,028 feet measured from sea level) vanishing from sight? That’s what will happen to all the mountains.
V. 21 – “And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent.” The weight of the Greek talent is 56 pounds. The weight of the Jewish talent is 114 pounds. Since this judgment is for Jerusalem, I believe God will use the Jewish weight. The people will literally be “hail-stoned’ to death as they stand. When the five kings of the Amorites stood against Gibeon, they called on Joshua to come help them. God told Joshua to go, he would prevail. Joshua went up and many we killed by the sword that day. The interesting part of this story to me as it connects to Revelation is that God “…cast down great stones from heaven upon them…” That is great hailstones. This is another reason I believe that the weight of the hailstones will be measured according to the Jewish talent.
The hailstones are the last plague of the Bible. It was also one God sent against Egypt that caused great destruction to man and beast. Exodus 9:22-26, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt. And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.”
This is what’s going to happen again. All those who do not have the mark of the beast will be covered and protected from all the wrath of God and His plagues. That will enrage the people who do worship the beast and bear his mark. But does this cause anyone to bow their knee in repentance before the Lord? No! It causes them yet again to blaspheme God. This is the blasphemy from which there is no salvation. Mark 3:28, 29, “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.”
Let’s close with the reading of Hebrews 2:3. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him…?” Our final destination is determined by the choice of master we serve. We choose Jesus, we get heaven. We choose satan, we get hell. Even almighty God who is love, Jesus who is Savior, and the Holy Spirit who is Comforter and wields the sharp, two-edged Sword of the Word cannot make that decision for anyone. We go with God or with satan by our own free will. Whoever chooses to neglect accepting Jesus as Savior has cast his vote and there is no remission of sin for him once the last bowl has been poured out.
For us, the last bowl to be poured out might be cancer, a car wreck, even a lightning bolt. If we are not ready to be called home, we can’t go home. In that case one would live eternally separated from God. Please, let’s be sure we are saved!
The Tribulation is ended; only the Great White Throne Judgment remains to be fulfilled.