Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Revelation 16 - Bowls of Divine Wrath

LINK: Revelation 16 


The last seven angels come forth with seven bowls of God's wrath which involve plagues of malignant sores, blood in the sea, blood in the rivers and springs, scorching fire from the sun for men who did not repent and give God glory, darkness thrown on the beast's throne and sores for the people who still refused to repent (amazing!), and drying up of the Euphrates. After the seventh angel poured the seventh bowl, a loud voice proclaimed: "It is done." Followed by lighting, thunder, the greatest earthquake ever recorded, and hail. See if you might find some more parallels with the plagues of Egypt in Exodus 7:14-11:10 (see also Deuteronomy 28:27, 35).

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The sixth bowl judgment that dries up the Euphrates to prepare the way for the kings of the East deserves further exploration. The Euphrates River was a natural protective boundary for the Holy Land against the empires to the east (Babylon, Assyria, Persia). Drying it up would remove that protection. Apparently, there are numerous dams on the river today. At times, it has little or no water already.

In a survey of 100 commentaries about Revelation, there are 50 interpretations of who the "kings of the East" might be (Bible Knowledge Commentary:Volume 2, p. 968).  Later, it says the "kings of the whole world" (16:14), but some commentators believe these are two different sets of kings. We do not know and can only speculate (something theologians love to do).

Remember the four wicked angels that were unbound from the Euphrates and the 200,000,000 troops in 9:14-16? These troops will accompany the kings of the whole world at Armageddon. The three spirits of demons who come out of the mouths of the unholy trinity (dragon, beast, and false prophet) will unite with the rulers of the world to battle against God at Armageddon. This is a prelude to Jesus coming! Be ready (16:15)!

Armageddon literally means, "hill or town of Megiddo." Megiddo means "place of crowds." Megiddo comes from a root, gadad, which means "slaughter." Other names for it are the Plain of Esdraelon and Valley of Jezreel. It is fourteen miles wide and twenty miles long, located southeast of the modern port of Haifa, 6 miles (10 km) from Mount Carmel and 11 miles (18 km) from Nazareth. It is the same plain where Barak defeated the armies of Canaan (Judges 5:19), Gideon met the Midianites (Judge 7), and where King Saul (1 Samuel 31) and Josiah (2 Kings 23:29) died. It was a natural corridor in ancient times for the Roman army and for the Crusaders of the Middle Ages.  The battle fulfills God's will (Revelation 17:17; Zechariah 12 and 14). What is very interesting is that there is no mount at Megiddo:

But there was no Mount Megiddo nor any mountain near Megiddo. "Harmagedon," or "mountain of Megiddo," therefore, is a contradiction. It is as if we said today that a great battle would take place at "Death Valley Mountain." The strange name may have been chosen deliberately to signal that the place was imaginary, not real, and that the great final "battle" would not be an actual battle at all. In any case, no battle is described in connection with the pouring out of the sixth bowl. Troops are assembled, but nothing happens. 
(Revelation, IVP New Testament Commentary) 
The seventh bowl judgment results in the complete collapse of the great city, Babylon which is described in greater detail in Revelation 17.


God's wrath is so hard to swallow. If you are having a hard time with the destruction, please have a frank conversation with God about it right now!


Lord, I am without words when I look at what the end of time will bring. You are a holy God. It saddens me that man refuses to repent, yet we see it everyday in the world around us. Lord, You desire that none perish. Use us in spreading the Good News before the time runs out. Amen. 
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