REVELATION CHAPTER 16
THE SEVEN BOWL JUDGMENTS
Revelation Chapter 16 describes the seven bowl judgments that are poured out during the additional 30 days at the end of Daniel's 70th Week. See Dan 12:11. During this time, God judges the Earth, Antichrist and his followers, and the unholy city of Mystery Babylon. The bowl judgments act to purge and cleanse the Earth of man's destruction and sin, which have defiled the Earth since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden.
The seven bowl judgments will occur with machine gun-like rapidity; a bowl will be poured out approximately every four days. The bowl judgments will produce unimaginable destruction and devastation of the Earth. This will be the most powerful demonstration of God's wrath the world will ever see. John describes each of these bowl judgments in detail, as follows:
The Seven Bowl Judgments:
The First Bowl - Boils on the skin of Antichrist's followers
The Second Bowl - Salt waters turn to blood
The Third Bowl - Fresh waters turn to blood
The Fourth Bowl - Scorching Heat from the Sun
The Fifth Bowl - Jerusalem is plunged into darkness
The Sixth Bowl - The Euphrates is dried up
The Seventh Bowl - The Devastation Earthquake
In Revelation Chapter 16, we also learn of the preparation process, as the world gets ready for Armageddon. Specifically, Antichrist will call forth three frog-like demons to rally the forces of evil together for a final confrontation with Christ in Israel at Armageddon. The frog demons will call upon the kings of Antichrist's Empire, who will march their troops through the dried Euphrates to Jerusalem.
The seven bowl plague judgments are similar to the plagues on Egypt. However, the bowl judgments are more severe and they extend to the entire earth (the Trumpet judgments extended to only one-third of the earth). This judgment is beyond anything ever mentioned before in Scripture.
THE FIRST BOWL – GRIEVOUS SORES ON THOSE WHO HAVE TAKEN THE MARK OF THE BEAST (666)
1Then I heard a loud voice (probably God the Father) from the temple (in Heaven) saying to the seven angels, "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth." 2The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores (like the sixth Egyptian Plague of boils. See Ex 9:8-12.) broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.
The First Bowl targets those who have taken the mark of the beast. The First Bowl Judgment causes loathsome and malignant boils to appear on those men who have allied themselves with Antichrist, which, at this point, will be the majority of the Earth's population.
THE SECOND BOWL – THE SEA TURNS TO BLOOD
3The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood (like the first Egyptian Plague of Blood on the Nile River. See Ex 7:19-21.) like that of a dead man and every living thing in the sea died.
The Second Bowl is poured out upon the sea, probably the Mediterranean. This bowl destroys all sea life. It is possible that the “sea” could refer to all the salt waters of the Earth.
THE THIRD BOWL – FRESH WATERS TURN TO BLOOD
4The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water (fresh waters), and they became blood (also like the first Egyptian Plague of Blood on the Nile River. See Ex 7:19-21.) 5Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters (In Rev 7:1 we have four angels controlling the four winds. Here is the angel who has authority over all the waters. The Bible reveals that angels possess various levels of authority and responsibility over different parts of the earth and the heavens. See Eph 6:12, Dan 10:12-14) say: "You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; 6for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve." (The angel of the waters declares this is justifiable repayment for those who murdered the saints) 7And I heard the altar respond: (Strangely, the only place in Scripture where the actual altar speaks. It joins with the angel to affirm that God’s acts of judgment are completely warranted) "Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments."
The Third Bowl is poured out upon the fresh waters of the Earth. Note that God is systematically judging and dismantling His Genesis Creation; the Earth was created for man, but man abused the Earth. Like He did in Noah's time, God is destroying His creation in an attempt to eliminate sin from the Earth. However, unlike the temporary solution of the flood, here God will set up His permanent Kingdom on Earth, where Christ will rule forever.
THE FOURTH BOWL – SCORCHING HEAT FROM THE SUN
8The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire (an increasing of the sun’s intensity). 9They (all who had taken the mark of the beast) were seared by the intense heat and they cursed (blasphemed) the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.
The Fourth Bowl is poured out upon the Sun. Note the significance of the Sun in the Book of Revelation. The light of the Sun was temporarily darkened during the 6th seal (See Rev 6:12) and again by the fourth of the seven trumpet judgments (See Rev 8:12). Here, God employs the intense heat of the Sun to render His judgment. Despite the overwhelming display of power by God, men continue to blaspheme the name of God and will refuse to repent. Antichrist’s kingdom is being dismantled.
THE FIFTH BOWL – DARKNESS UPON JERUSALEM
10The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast (The throne of the Beast will be set up in the City of Jerusalem), and his (Antichrist's) kingdom was plunged into darkness (like the Ninth Egyptian Plague of Darkness. See Ex 10:21-23). Men gnawed their tongues in agony (due to the intense pain and the fear of this supernatural darkness) 11and cursed the God of heaven (for the second time in this chapter (v.9), and like the Antichrist, his followers blaspheme God. See Rev 13:6) because of their pains and their sores (men are still suffering the effects of the first bowl judgment, which is apparently increasing), but they refused to repent of what they had done. (Like Pharaoh, they will harden their hearts. See Ex 8:15, 32; 10:1)
The Fifth Bowl is poured out upon the throne of the Beast in Jerusalem, and his evil kingdom is plunged into total darkness. Instead of repenting, men continue to blaspheme the God of Heaven, just as Pharaoh hardened his heart to the miracles of God as performed by Moses.
THE SIXTH BOWL – THE EUPHRATES IS DRIED UP
12The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates (the river is 1800 miles long and runs from modern-day Turkey through the Middle East to the Persian Gulf), and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. (This will allow the kings of the East – China, Japan, and other countries - to cross the Euphrates in time to arrive for Armageddon.)
The whole world, many nations are gathering the most massive army of all time in order to do battle against Jesus at Armageddon in a vain attempt to prevent Him from setting upon His kingdom. The nations do not all arrive at the same time, but slowly over a period of 30 days. But the coming of Jesus will be like a thief. It will be sudden and unexpected. Jesus will not build up his forces. He will appear suddenly and the unprepared will be put to shame. The details of this battle are given in Revelation 19.
THE WORLD PREPARES FOR ARMAGEDDON
13Then I saw three evil spirits (demons) that looked like frogs they came out of the mouth of the dragon (Satan), out of the mouth of the beast (Antichrist) and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs (it seems demons are openly visible on the earth during this time), and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty (Satan employs demonic influence on the entire world as preparations for Armageddon have begun).
This demonic deception is released by the unholy trinity in order to gather the kings of the earth to battle Jesus.
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.
John gives us, the modern day reader, an additional warning concerning the coming of Christ at Armageddon. The bowl judgments will come rapidly, every few days; men will not be able to digest these supernatural events. Those believers who are alive during this time must be ready for Armageddon. The point is this: if you come to this battle – you will die!
16Then they (Antichrist and the False Prophet) gathered the kings (the kings of the entire earth – East and West) together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
This is the only place in the Bible where the word Armageddon occurs! This battle will take place on the battlefield of Megiddo east of Mount Carmel in the northern part of Israel. The Sixth Bowl is poured out upon the Euphrates, preparing the way of the Kings from the East to access Israel. These Kings are rallied by the three unclean spirits - the three frog demons. Antichrist amasses the largest army in the history of the world in order to battle Christ at Armageddon. Armageddon will be the place of God's great slaughter of the gentile nations, which is depicted in Rev. 19:11-21.
THE SEVENTH BOWL – THE DEVASTATION EARTHQUAKE & GREAT HAIL
17The 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!" (This final judgment is God's ultimate destruction of the Earth, which comes in the form of a severe earthquake. Note that the phrase echoes Jesus' proclamation at his death in the Book of John that "It is finished." See John 19:30) 18Then 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. (The world will undergo the worst earthquake of all time, the Devastation Earthquake. The Devastation Earthquake will be unparalleled in all of human history, and will produce total, world-wide devastation)
19The great city (Jerusalem) split into three parts (any significance to three parts is not stated), and the cities of the nations (throughout the world) collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great (Mystery Babylon, a.k.a., Babylon the Great, is the source of the world’s spiritual adultery and receives the worst expression of God’s wrath) and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.
The capitals of the world crumble and Jerusalem is literally split in three parts. See Rev. 11:8, Rev. 18:2. What is left of Mystery Babylon will be utterly destroyed by fire less than one hour after the earthquake occurs. See Rev 18:10, 17, 19.
20Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found (all the islands of the earth are submerged and the mountains are brought down). 21From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. (like the Seventh Egyptian Plague of Hail. See Ex 9:23-26). And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.