The Seven Bowl Judgments – Revelation 16

 

The seven bowl judgments are the final judgments poured out on the world during the tribulation period. They are intense and powerful. The inhabitants of the earth during this period will go through a time of suffering that is beyond anything this world has ever experienced or seen. It will be horrific and devastating. These final judgments come at the end of the tribulation period. Soon, Christ will come and wipe out the nations that follow the antichrist and will establish His kingdom on this earth.

The first bowl. The first bowl judgment is seen in verse 1-2. And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. 2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”[1] This first bowl judgment is a terrible sickness that comes about all who have the mark of the beast. The interesting thing is that any who are still alive during this time that have not taken the mark of the beast will be spared from this judgment. This goes to show the amazing grace of God given to those who believe on Him. God has a way of caring for those who follow Him and refuse to follow after Satan. Those on whom these sores fall will suffer greatly. “Revelation 16:10–11 suggests that these sores do not disappear; for by the time of the fifth vial, people are still in pain from the first judgment. Yet their pain will not cause them to repent (see Rev. 9:20–21).”[2] It is interesting how that even with great pain and the threat of death and eternal separation from God, people still do not repent and turn to Christ. William R. Newell used to say, “If men are not won by grace, they will never be won.”[3]

The second bowl. “The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.” [4] Can you imagine; every living thing in the sea dies? With this, there will be a huge shortage of food and other resources. Commerce will literally come to a halt. “As most of the earth’s surface is covered by the seas, this is a worldwide, tremendous judgment.”[5]

The third bowl. “The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say            “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!” And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!” [6] With this judgment, the entire water supply of the earth of affected. Not only will food be scarce, but the water will not be safe to drink. A declaration of praise is made from the angel concerning the justice of God. Those who follow the antichrist deserve such judgment because of their treatment of the saints of God and their failure to follow Christ.

The fourth bowl. “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.” [7] Here we have a fervent heat that scorches the earth. It is sad to see that even after such great suffering, the followers of the antichrist refuse to repent. The hearts become hard during judgment and they curse the name of God. “Anyone who has been on the desert knows how merciless the sun’s heat can be. Remembering too that the water system is now useless, you can imagine how people will suffer from thirst. Alas, even this judgment will not bring men to their knees! (see Mal. 4:1)”[8]

The fifth bowl. “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” [9] The sores they came upon the followers of the antichrist are still with them even to this point. Imagine how painful this will be. They are plagued with severe sores all of their body, they cannot drink the water, the food supply is diminishing, they are burning with the heat of the sun, and now the whole kingdom of the antichrist is turned to darkness. Yet, they still will not repent.

The sixth bowl. “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” [10] This sixth bowl judgment is the gathering of the armies of the earth to do battle in Armageddon. “The name Armageddon comes from two Hebrew words, har Megiddo,the hill of Megiddo. The word Megiddo means “place of troops” or “place of slaughter.” It is also called the Plain of Esdraelon and the Valley of Jezreel. The area is about fourteen miles wide and twenty miles long, and forms what Napoleon called “the most natural battlefield of the whole earth.” Standing on Mount Carmel and overlooking that great plain, you can well understand why it would be used for gathering the armies of the nations.”[11] It is at this battle that Jesus will return to the earth and wipe out the antichrist and His followers and will then set up His kingdom on the earth. “The outcome of the “battle” is recorded in Revelation 19: the Lord returns and defeats His enemies. Obviously, the assembling and marching armies create no problem for Almighty God. When the nations rage and defy Him, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure” (Ps. 2:4–5).”[12]

The seventh bowl. “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” [13] This is the final bowl judgment. At this point, the judgment upon the earth is coming to an end. ‘It is done.’ The kingdom of the antichrist is overthrown, all the great nations fall, and a great earthquake shakes up the earth one last time as the second coming of Christ has come.

Once again, we are reminded of the fierce wrath of a holy God. Yet, He is a loving God, giving mankind multiple opportunities to repent. The day will soon come when all will come to an end and Jesus will establish His kingdom on this earth. What a glorious day that will be!

 

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 16:1–2). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 609). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 609). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Re 16:3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5] Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 967). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Re 16:4–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[7] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 16:8–9). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[8] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 610). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[9] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 16:10–11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[10] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 16:12–16). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[11] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 610). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[12] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 611). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[13] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 16:17–21). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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