Revelation Episode 16

Beth's Notes

Prayer: Continue to open our eyes Lord so that we may see the wonderful Truth’s in your Law and apply them to our lives both for Your glory and our good.

Chapter Sixteen
1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” 2 The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. 3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died. 4 The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; 6 for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” 7 And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.” 8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. 10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done. 12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13 Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. 15 “Behold, I come like a thief!  Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” 16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. 17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!”  18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible. 

Chronologically speaking, Chapter Sixteen is close to the time of the second coming of Christ, and the judgments described fall in a very rapid succession. The seven angels that were given the seven bowls of plagues are now commanded by God to pour out their divine judgments upon the earth. 
With the foreshadowing of the Song of Moses in Chapter Fifteen Verse Three, some of these judgments parallel the plagues God brought upon Egypt through Moses. Also, there are undoubtedly many similarities between the trumpet judgments and the judgments inflicted by the pouring out of the bowls. Yet, these bowls represent God’s final judgments during the Great Tribulation – the latter three and a half years of the tribulation. And the judgments being poured out are greater, more severe, and more intense than anything that has happened in the preceding events. 
Falling in rapid succession like hammer blows the judgments will all be consummated within a short period of time toward the close of the Great Tribulation. They are the climax of God’s divine dealings with a blasphemous, rebellious people on earth leading up to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.   
At the pouring out of the first bowl in Verse Two, those who have taken the mark of the beast during the Tribulation will break out in severely painful sores. The wording for these sores is the same word used for the boils inflicted on the Egyptians. Almost everyone seems to comply with the demand that all people are to worship the beast and receive his mark.  The bowl judgment therefore follows this edict. The only ones escaping are the few who have refused to obey the edict and who trust in Christ in those evil days. It seems that only a small fraction of the earth’s population will resist the beast. This serves as an expression of God’s active wrath on sinners. During the church age, sinners on earth primarily experience the passive wrath of God where He allows people to experience the just consequences of their sins without actively punishing them. Remember all sins carry with them a death sentence – a death to something be it trust or love or whatever. God allows us to experience these consequences of our actions to keep us from wanting to go down the inevitable path of destruction that sin leads us down.     

In Verse Three of Chapter Sixteen the second angel poured out his bowl into the sea resulting in death to every living creature within it. The effect is beyond imagination – the stench being unbelievably unbearable.  MacArthur writes of this plague: “The transforming of the world’s seas into putrid pools of stinking death will be a graphic testimony to the wickedness of man.” All life in the sea dies and the fresh water becomes useless.

In Revelation Sixteen Verses Four through Seven we see the third bowl judgment extending the turning of water into blood to the rivers and fountains, having the same devastating effect though Scripture is quiet on the results of this plague. At this point John hears an angel with authority over the water pronouncing God’s justice in these judgments. Judgment is always an expression of God’s righteous standard. And He never lowers His standard. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.  We must either meet His standard or have a substitute, Jesus Christ, meet it in our place. When a person accepts Jesus as their Savior, God imputes Christ’s righteous life to the saved person’s account. Thus, that person is counted as having met the standard. Those who will not receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord get what they deserve for their actions.  The Lord’s judgments are both true and just. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV):
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 

There appears to be a variety of ministries assigned to angels in Revelation. The angel declares that because evil unbelievers have killed God’s people, He is righteous in cursing them with blood to drink. Just as believers are worthy of rest and reward so too are those that are evil worthy of chastening and judgment. Remember, the bloodletting during the Great Tribulation of God’s saints with the slaughtered believers by the thousands, is without parallel in the history of the human race. Christ declares it will be a time of trouble unequaled in Matthew 24:21-22 (NIV):
 21 “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” 
Combining the judgments of the second and the third bowls, it appears that all water is turned into blood, serving as a universal testimony to all humanity that God will avenge His martyred saints. This is also further evidence that these final plagues must be poured out just before Christ returns because the earth could not sustain life very long in this condition.
In Revelation Sixteen Verses Eight – Nine, the fourth angel pours out his bowl on the sun which in turn scorches the inhabitants on earth with fire.  This marks a supernatural departure from the sun’s historic pattern of providing heat and light. Yet even as people are seared by this intense heat they continue to curse the name of God Who had control over these plagues and refused to repent and glorify Him – much like Pharaoh did.  Those who have taken the mark of the beast have confirmed their allegiance to the forces of darkness and are hardened against the Lord and His Gospel. They are set against turning to God even though they know that He has the power over these plagues.  Instead, they increase their hatred and blasphemy of Him. The wishful thinking of some that people would repent if they only knew the power and righteous judgment of God is shattered by the frequent mention in this chapter of the hardness of the human heart in the face of the most stringent and evident divine discipline. It is also clear from this and other prophecies that dramatic changes in climate will occur in the Great Tribulation.
The continuing hardening of one’s heart as Pharoah did amongst these unbelievers is frightening. Pharoah hardened his heart and hardened his heart until God finally hardened his heart and there was no turning back then. Proverbs 28:14 (NIV) states:
14 Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.   

The fifth angel pours out his bowl in Verses 10-11 of Chapter 16 on the beast’s throne and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. The imposed darkness and the inflicted painful sores of Verse Two leads to such intense pain and emotional darkness and anguish that people gnaw their tongues in self-mutilation – a description of severe and intense agony. And all the while they are blaspheming God because of their sores and their pains yet refusing to repent of their works. This is the last reference to their failure to repent. Again, the Scriptures plainly refute the notion that evil people will quickly repent when faced with catastrophic warnings of judgment. When confronted with the righteous judgment of God, their blasphemy is deepened and their evil purpose is only accentuated. There is not a hint of repentance to be found. No glimmer of a contrite heart. The scene is a child cursing his parents when he is getting punished. Such a reaction inevitably leads to more punishment.

God desires our hearts to be like those repentant in Nehemiah’s time who had returned from captivity Nehemiah Chapter 9:5B-37 (NIV):
“Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.” “Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. 6 You alone are the LORD.  You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” 7 “You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites. You have kept your promise because you are righteous.” 9 “You saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea. 10 You sent miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land, for you knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. 11 You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. 12 By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take. 13 “You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. 14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses. 15 In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock; you told them to go in and take possession of the land you had sworn with uplifted hand to give them.” 16 “But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, 18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies. 19 “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. 20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. 21 For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen. 22 “You gave them kingdoms and nations, allotting to them even the remotest frontiers. They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan. 23 You made their sons as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land that you told their fathers to enter and possess. 24 Their sons went in and took possession of the land. You subdued before them the Canaanites, who lived in the land; you handed the Canaanites over to them, along with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with them as they pleased. 25 They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness.” 26 “But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they put your law behind their backs. They killed your prophets, who had admonished them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. 27 So you handed them over to their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.” 28 “But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time. 29 “You warned them to return to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, by which a man will live if he obeys them. Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples. 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” 32 “Now therefore, O our God, the great, mighty and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes--the hardship that has come upon us, upon our kings and leaders, upon our priests and prophets, upon our fathers and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today. 33 In all that has happened to us, you have been just; you have acted faithfully, while we did wrong. 34 Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the warnings you gave them. 35 Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil ways.” 36 “But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our forefathers so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces. 37 Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.” 

We all fall short of the glory of God and are in dire need of the righteousness of Christ. Repentance is the correct posture.

As God carries out the sixth bowl judgment in Revelation 16 Verse 12, He is providentially guiding history toward the battle of Armageddon.  According to John’s revelation, the sixth angel poured out his bowl and dried up the river Euphrates to prepare the way for the kings from the East. This is related to the great river Euphrates as it is the water boundary between the Holy Land and Asia to the east. It was also prophesized by the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 11:15-16 (NIV) where the Prophet  predicts it to dry up as well:
15 The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals. 16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt. 

There has been endless speculation about “the kings from the East,” with many expositors trying to relate them to some contemporary leaders of their generation. The simplest and best explanation, however, is that this refers to kings or rulers from the Orient or East who will participate in the final world war. The great river Euphrates dries up and opens a travel route for armies of the orient – “the kings from the east” - to converge on the Middle East with the forces of the Antichrist and other world armies. 

In Verses 13-14 of Chapter 16 we discover the convergence of armies for history’s final war which will not be simply a geopolitical event but rather a supernatural event. There will be demonic spirits performing signs and traveling to the kings of the whole world to assemble them for battle.  They are pictured as frogs coming from Satan’s mouth, from the beast’s mouth and from the mouth of the false prophet. These three evil figures will employ miraculous signs to rally the nations behind their cause. This final world conflict is clearly the work of Satan since it is against God. The passage is best understood as referring to kings from, literally the “sun rising,” referring to Oriental rulers who will descend upon the Middle East in connection with the final world conflict described a few verses later.  

In Verse 15 of Chapter 16 Jesus gives us a personal warning to be ready.  He states His return will be both sudden and unexpected - like the coming of a thief in the night. To avoid shame in that day is to be spiritually alert as well as clothed with the righteous life of Christ Jesus.  Christ’s return is often compared to the coming of a thief. It implies suddenness and unpreparedness as far as unbelievers are concerned. Just as Christians are not to be surprised by the Rapture of the church as Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:4 (NIV):
4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
So, too, believers at the time of the Second Coming are to be anticipating His return. Blessings are promised to the one who is prepared for the coming of the Lord by being attired in the righteousness or clothing which God Himself supplies.
In Verse 16 of Chapter 16 with the enticements of Satan, the Antichrist, the false prophet and their demonic cronies all the kings of the earth are assembled and gathered in the Middle East in a place described as Armageddon. Though the armies are lured by the demons under the direction of Satan, they nevertheless fulfill the Word of God.
Taken by some to mean the “Mount of Slaughter”, or as Scripture calls it “Armageddon” it geographically relates to the Mount of Megiddo located adjacent to the plain of Megiddo to the west.  It is an ancient hilltop settlement in northern Israel near Haifa. The history of the city Megiddo lends weight to the idea that this is the location intended. Many critical battles took place at Megiddo, one of the most strategic cities in the region now called Palestine. Many battles of the Old Testament occurred there. The deaths of King Saul and Josiah also happened here. Scripture indicates that this area is the central point for the military conflict that ensues. This entire conflict is part of the latter stages of the Great Tribulation period just prior to the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus.
In Chapter 16 Verses 17 and 18 we discover the seventh angel pouring out his bowl into the air. With both the seal and trumpet judgments there was an interlude of time before the execution of the sixth and seventh judgments yet there is no such break with the bowl judgments. Their outpouring seems relentlessly continual. The bowl of the seventh angel also results in a catastrophic destruction on the earth with flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder along with a severe earthquake – like none other. It is accompanied by a great voice from heaven saying, “It is done!”, announcing the imminent end of history. The wording indicating an accomplished action – the final act of God before the return of Jesus in the Second Coming. John’s attention is piercingly focused on the mighty acts of God as nature begins to quake and convulse.  
In Verse 19 of Chapter 16 we see the great city of Babylon, which represents the entire secular world system in total opposition to God, receiving the cup filled with the wine of the fury of His wrath. That is, she will experience a terrible outpouring of His divine judgment. 
In Chapter 16 Verses 20-21 God releases His mighty anger in judgment and every island flees and the mountains disappear much akin to Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 40:3-5 (NIV)
3 A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 

Every city in the world will come under terrible judgment because of this great earthquake leaving the world in shambles – the fierceness of God’s wrath is visible in the entire earth. What’s more, enormous hailstones fall from the sky on people weighing about 100 pounds each bringing forth much devastation. Yet, through all this – amazingly - unbelievers are still unrepentant, continuing to blaspheme God, enraged at the severity of the hailstones. Their response is as irrational as it is immoral. The unmistakable impression of the Scriptures is that the whole world is being brought to the bar of justice before Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. There is no escape from divine judgment except for those who receive the grace of  God in that day by faith in Jesus Christ. The utter depravity of human nature, which will reject the sovereignty of God in the face of such overwhelming evidence, confirms that even the lake of fire will not produce repentance on the part of those who have hardened their hearts against the grace of God.    

These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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