Monday, February 8, 2010

#Revelation 16> Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> Bowl Judgments ( #Prophecy )

3. The things which shall be hereafter (4-22) 
     A. Judgment on the inhabitants of the earth (4 - 19) 
          6. The Bowl Judgments (15-16) 
                a. Grievous sores (v2) 
                b. Bloody seas (v3) 
                c. Bloody rivers and springs (v4) 
                e. Scorching sun (v8-9) 
                 f. Darkness and pain (v10-11) 
                g. Drying of the Euphrates (v12-16) 
                h. Destruction of Babylon the Great, and huge hailstones 
                    (v18-21) 

Bringing seven bowls full of judgment, the seven angels complete God's wrath on earth dwellers. What happens as each bowl is emptied on earth? 

a. Grievous sores (v2) 

The first bowl causes a grievous sore upon the men which have the mark of the beast, and who worship his image. This refers to those, in chapter 13, whom the false prophet forces to receive the name of the beast, or the number 666 on their hand or forehead, if they want to buy or sell. 

b. Bloody seas (v3) 

Next, the second angel pours a bowl of judgment which causes the sea to become "as the blood of a dead man". Every living soul in the salt waters will die. This is similar to the seal judgment of 8:8-9, but three times more severe. 

c. Bloody rivers and springs (v4) 

The third angel's bowl causes the rivers and fountains of waters to become blood. It is difficult, today, to think that an unsaved loved one could go through the tribulation, but sympathy, in this plague, will be for the martyrs. 

In chapter 6:9-11, tribulation martyrs cry out for God to avenge their blood. Here, in the very act of judging men this way, God will be declared righteous. "They have shed the blood of saints and prophets", and God has given them blood to drink" for "they deserve it". A voice from the altar, which is where tribulation martyrs were seen in 6:9-11, confirms this by saying, "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous [are] thy judgments. 

e. Scorching sun (v8-9) 

When the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun, men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, but did not repent to give Him glory. It seems clear, from this and other prophecies, that dramatic changes will occur in the climate during the tribulation. 

f. Darkness and pain (v10-11) 

Bowl number five fell upon the beast, causing his kingdom to become full of darkness. The fifth trumpet is similar to this, in that it causes darkness, but has to do with demon possession instead of physical pain. Those who worship and have the mark of the beast, "gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores. Nevertheless, they "repented not of their deeds". 

g. Drying of the Euphrates (v12-16) 

The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates, drying up its water, and preparing the way of the kings of the east for a battle at Armageddon. Much speculation exists as to the identity of these kings and their armies. 

Chapter 9, verses 13ff. relates this event to the releasing of the four angels which are bound in the Euphrates river, and describes the army as "200,000,000" horsemen. Although it is difficult to say beyond doubt, China and India are east of the Euphrates, and may, with "the kings of the whole world", be able to contribute 200,000,000 horsemen. 

Three unclean spirits, like frogs, come out of the mouth of the dragon (Satan), the beast (revived Roman empire headed by anti-christ), and false prophet. These are the spirits of devils, who work miracles, as they go about to gather the kings of the earth to "the battle of that great day of God Almighty. This "day" may include Anti-christ's campaign into Egypt (Daniel 11:40-45, a siege of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2), and the final, war at Armageddon (v16), a mountain near the city of Megiddo and the plain of Esdraelon. 

It is not clear why the three spirits would motivate the nations to come against Jerusalem, when anti-christ is the Satanically energized head of a world government, but Zechariah 14:1-5, indicates that, upon this occasion, Christ will return, and "fight against those nations". 

Christ pronounces a blessing upon those who watch (for He will come as a "thief"), and who keep His garments. Although the meaning is not entirely clear, this is an exhortation to the nation of Israel (cf. Zechariah 12-14:5; Matthew 24:14-25:46; Luke 12:37). 

h. Destruction of Babylon the Great, and huge hailstones (v18-21) 

Finally, the seventh angel empties his bowl into the air, causing the most severe earthquake in history, and 100 pound hail to fall on man. They will blaspheme God due to this plague, because it will be "exceeding great".From His temple throne in heaven, God says, "It is done", signifying the completion of His plagues, prior to Christ's return. 

Voices, thunders, and lightning precede the "great earthquake", which will divide the city of Babylon (a literal city, as well as a false world religion, and political system--cf. chapters 17 and 18) into three parts. The cities of the nations will also fall, every island will flee away, and the mountains will disappear, in the devastation of this climactic upheaval. 

This concludes the series of judgments God and the Lamb will pour on earth from their throne in heaven. Chapters 17-19 give a more detailed view of the final aspects of these last plagues, as they describe the fall of Babylon, and return of Christ.

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