go and pour out
judgments, which are last in the sequence of seals, trumpets, and bowls,
reflect many passages which indicate God will
The context points to an ultimate judgment before a time of great blessing
(the Millennial Kingdom).
bowls of the wrath of God
These judgments are
that many commentators are
unwilling to interpret them literally.
These are not historic events from the past, such as the French Revolution,
just like those of Egypt in the Old Testament.
16:2 - the first bowl
foul and loathsome sore
Dangerous and pernicious, painful and virulent wound-like ulcers or
Similar to the boils which Satan inflicted on Job
Parallel to the plague in Egypt
(Ex. 9:8-11). "Tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed" (Deu. 28:27).
upon the men who had the mark
The sore only targets those who have taken the mark of the Beast and who
worship his image.
The beast-worshippers are the "Egypt" of the end. They have violated the second commandment written on stone--the "testimony" in the ark of the covenant mentioned a few verses ago
: "You shall not make for yourself a carved image... you shall not bow down to them nor serve them" (Ex. 20:4)
16:3 - the second bowl
blood as of a dead man
During the second trumpet
a third of the sea became blood and a third of the creatures died.
of the sea and its creatures become not just blood, but like
Again, similar to the literal plague of Egypt
The essential life-supporting mechanisms in the sea,
the base of the food-chain,
The result is rotting carcasses piled high on the shores of the oceans.
16:4 - the third bowl
rivers and springs become blood
During the third trumpet,
of the rivers and springs of water became wormwood
of the rivers and springs become blood.
Another parallel with the plagues of Egypt
the bowls and trumpets differ
Although there are some similarities, the trumpet and bowl judgments are
different judgments separated in time:
partial effects (one-third)
complete effects (all)
recipients are to repent
recipients are already doomed
men are indirectly affected
men are the direct target
the temple remains open
the temple is closed
no indication of completion
"It is done!" (Rev. 16:17)
16:5 - You are righteous O Lord
You are righteous... because You have judged
God is the perfect balance between mercy, grace, and judgment. He is
His mercy and grace holds off judgment. His truth and righteousness
inevitable . "The LORD is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works" (Ps. 145:17). "Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are Your judgments" (Ps. 119:137).
who is and who was and who is to be
Literally, " the one who is and the
and the one to be. " A Hebraism, similar to Revelation
1:4. The emphasis here is on His eternality.
has "the one to be." Other manuscripts have "the holy."
16:6-7 - blood to drink
shed the blood of saints and prophets
The Harlot sits on
peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues(Rev. 17:15)
and she is
drunk with the bood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus(Rev. 17:6).
Israel shed the blood of her prophets
1900 years later, blood is still being shed. It is said more Christians
have died in our own century than in any previous century.
you have given them blood to drink
God's retributive judgment is in kind. For spilling blood, they will drink
I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine(Isa. 49:26).
16:8 - the fourth bowl
poured out his bowl on the sun
In the fourth trumpet judgment
of the sun was struck (along with the moon and stars).
to scorch men with fire
meaning "to be burned or scorched, of plants withering in heat." The sun, an object of worship throughout history, will now be the
source of a curse. That which they have trusted in (the earth) and
worshiped (the sun) are now sources of punishment.
16:9 - they blasphemed God
men were scorched with great heat
Numerous passages in the Old Testament speak of men being
and are thought to be figurative. It appears that not all aspects
of such judgment passages are figurative--some are indeed literal
descriptions of the time of the end
they blasphemed the name of God... they did not repent
We know they will not repent because they have taken the mark and
are already doomed
(Rev. 14:9-11). In the foreknowledge of God they were never written in the Book of Life.
They follow in the pattern of Jezebel on the church at Thyatira
and will not repent
Like Pharaoh, these continue to harden their hearts
16:10-11 - the fifth bowl
on the throne of the beast
May only affect the
of his kingdom. Or perhaps all those who
have the mark--although these were identified differently in the first bowl.
his kingdom became full of darkness
Like the plague which struck the land of Egypt
they gnawed their tongues
This may indicate their frenzy at being unable to respond.
Their suffering is intense and cumulative. "Their tongues have spoken blasphemies, and they themselves thus punish them."
they blasphemed God
Their swollen tongues continue to agitate against God.
They are completely unable to repent. Being guilty of
God will soon
stone themRev. 16:21.
16:12 - the sixth bowl
the Euphrates River dried up
At the sixth trumpet, four angels bound at the Euphrates were released and
a demonic invasion resulted. This sixth bowl is a
separate unrelated event
from the sixth trumpet.
The demonic horsemen attack all mankind. These kings are part of a specific
Mention of the
indicates specific geographic movements and implies a literal city of
Babylon on its banks.
Men will cross over the Euphrates "dry-shod" (Isa. 11:12-16
kings from the east
from the rising of the sun.
All this denotes is
of the Euphrates. "East" is relative to the Promised Land, not necessarily our concept of "East" (China, the Orient).
This is a separate event from the
two myriads of myriads
of demonic horsemen at the sixth trumpet.
16:13 - three unclean spirits
three unclean spirits like frogs
These are demons (see next verse).
According to the Law of Moses, frogs are "unclean," being aquatic and lacking scales and fins
These also recall the plague of frogs in Egypt
out of the mouth of the dragon... beast... false prophet
The unclean spirits
empower, influence, and promulgate
the message which the "antitrinity" speak.
Their propaganda is not just persuasive and perceptive, it is
16:14 - to the kings of the earth
spirits of demons
These are among the angels which fell from heaven with Satan
In the sovereignty and mystery of God, these demons gather the kings
God's purposes and timetable.
God has used unclean spirits
Paul informs us that "God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie" (2Th. 2:11).
This is part of the "unrighteous deception among those who perish" which Paul wrote about
(2Th. 2:9-10). Signs themselves are no reliable indicator of their source.
See our discussion on deceptive signs in the class on
The deception is so powerful that no amount of sophistry, education, power,
or wisdom will prove adequate to resist. Only regeneration by the Spirit
will be sufficient to resist.
to the kings of the earth and of the whole world
the inhabited world.
This includes the ten kings who are allied with the Beast and go to war
against the Lamb
Like Gog in Ezekiel
God draws the kings to their doom!
gather them to the battle of that great day of God
They are gathered to "Armageddon" (see next verses). "That great day" is the
Day of the Lord
which we have discussed in a previous class.
It begins with the Tribulation, includes the actual day on which
Christ returns, and stretches into the Millennial Kingdom--a
time of great blessing on earth. "Battle" is
which is more properly translated
(NASB). It is not a single battle, but a more extended engagement involving
16:15 - I am coming
I am coming
I am presently coming.
His arrival is imminent--He is already on His way.
Two possible interpretations:
The words are primarily for believers on earth during this time and relate
to His Second Coming in judgment.
The words are for all the recipients of John's writing, like the
promises to the seven churches
and relate to His coming for the Church before this time.
as a thief
He comes as a thief only upon those who are not watching
Believers are to watch and pray to
the things coming upon the whole earth
16:16 - gathered to Armageddon
From the Hebrew,
referring to the town of "Megiddo." Megiddo
may mean "a place of troops."
a campaign, not a single battle
A series of battles stretching over almost 200
Valley of Jehoshaphat
Plain of Megiddo (Jezreel Valley)?
judgment of man's rebellion
The nations have attempted to throw off God all through history, but
at the end there will be a specific concerted effort
God will "cleanse the planet" in preparation for the Millennial Kingdom to follow
This includes judging the nations for their treatment of
Promised Land(Joel 3:2)!
All Nations against Jerusalem
Isaiah describes a bloody slaughter involving
in Bozrah in the land of Edom
Micah describes the threshing of the nations who are ignorant of what He is
Zechariah describes Jerusalem as being a burdensome stone for
all nations(Zec. 12:1-12).
The Messiah shall arrive on the Mount of Olives with the saints
and defend Jerusalem
Isaiah saw God coming
from Bozrah in Edom
with blood-stained garments
John will be shown the same event: the Second Coming of Messiah Jesus
16:17 - the seventh bowl
into the air
This bowl brings about the Campaign of Armageddon--the previous bowl only brought about the gathering in preparation.
Perhaps the air is the target because this judgment also overthrows
Satan's throne, "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2).
The judgments of the seventh bowl extend all the way to the Millennial
Kingdom and include the binding of Satan
and the emprisonment of demons in what was once Babylon
It is done!
The voice must be that of God the Father since the Temple was closed during
the bowl judgments
(Rev. 15:8). "In these seven plagues, the wrath of God is complete" (Rev. 15:1).
16:18 - a great earthquake
noises, thunderings, lightnings, earthquake
These manifestations of judgment point back to the opening scenes
in the throne room in Revelation
4:5. God has now delivered that which was threatening!
Similar manifestations attended the angel of the altar's censer full of
fire which was thrown to the earth
as had not occurred since men were on the earth
There have been many earthquakes associated with the Tribulation period
but this is the big GRAND DADDY!
This is probably when Messiah steps on the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem's
topography is altered
16:19 - cities fall
the great city was divided into three parts
Probably refers to Jerusalem. It is contrasted with the "cities of the nations (Gentiles)" and Babylon.
Although used of Babylon, the phrase
is also used of both Jerusalem
and the New Jerusalem
Babylon's destruction is no mere dividing, but a total devastation
never to be inhabited again!
all the cities of the nations fell
which is often translated "Gentiles." All other cities of the world are taken down by this earthquake!
They supported the Harlot
and now drink the "wine of the wrath of her fornication" from God's cup
great Babylon was remembered before God
alludes to Nebuchadnezzar's boastful statement immediately before he was
struck by God for
seven years(Dan. 4:30).
Jerusalem is to be restored
and serve as the capital of the Millennial Kingdom, whereas Babylon is
destined for permanent catastrophic destruction becoming a prison
for unclean spirits
16:20 - islands flee, mountains fall
every island fled away and the mountains were not found
There will be massive loss of life during this seismic convulsion
and a radical alteration of the geography of the earth
regeneration of the earth
Scripture records that there will be a "regeneration" (palingenesi'a),
an "again Genesis" (Mat. 19:28
Jerusalem will be literally lifted up above the surrounding lands
to form the mountain of the Lord's House
16:21 - great hail
Similar to the Egyptian plague
God uses large hail in a similar way numerous times in history.
For example, in the long day of Joshua
and in the overthrow of Gog who attacks Israel
This is the "treasury of hail which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war" (Job 38:22).
stoned by God
This hail, combined with the noises (or voices), lightnings,
thunderings, and earthquake make up the
same manifestations of judgment
which we saw when the ark was revealed following the sounding of the
This is the "delivery" of the judgment which was initiated in response to the "testimony" which resides in the ark: the Ten Commandments.
The earth-dwellers are now stoned for blasphemy
about the weight of a talent
Figures vary between about 58 and 135 pounds depending upon which
talent and whose numbers are used.
For additional information on this topic, see the commentary.