Chapter 12 Seven Bowls

Angels pour out God’s wrath upon the earth from seven gold bowls. God’s wrath comes from his intolerance of sin, from his holiness. God’s command center during the plagues that follow is the temple in heaven. Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. (Revelation 15:6-7; NIV)

The seven angels who pour out God’s wrath on the earth leave the temple wearing golden sashes, symbolic of royal and priestly functions. God’s wrath is awe inspiring: And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power (Revelation 15:8a). Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”  (Revelation 16:1)

BOWL #1: So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image. (Revelation 16:2)

This plague could be anthrax, which causes boils on both people and animals. Israel is spared these sores because only people having the mark of the beast are afflicted. This event is similar to the plague of boils Moses brought against Egypt. So they took soot from a kiln, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils breaking out with sores on man and beast. (Exodus 9:10)

BOWL #2: The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died. (Revelation 16:3)

The oceans and sea turn into blood. Again there is a similarity to another plague that God delivered through Moses. Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned to blood. (Exodus 7:17)

BOWL #3Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.” And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments. (Revelation 16:4-7)

The martyrs under the altar are now satisfied seeing this blood judgment. Remember that these martyrs had cried out at the fifth seal, and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10b) These martyrs respond with approval after seeing the severity of this judgment.

BOWL #4:  The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9)

The sun will scorch people with intense heat; it is likely that natural protections in the atmosphere will have been destroyed. People responded by cursing God. With hardened hearts these enemies of God are incapable of repenting. This type of hardening occurred in ancient Egypt—when the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart. (see Exodus 10:27)

BOWL #5Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds. (Revelation 16:10-11)

Moses delivered a similar judgment against Egypt: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt.” (Exodus 10:21)

BOWL #6: The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. (Revelation 16:12)

The flow of water on the Euphrates River is stopped, opening the way for the armies belonging to kings from the east. The destination of these armies is the valley of Har-Magedon (Armageddon) in northern Israel (Revelation 16:16). It would not take a supernatural event for the Euphrates River to become dry. Turkey has a dam that can stop the flow of the Euphrates; the Ataturk Dam dried this river while filling a large reservoir in 1990. Draught and water mismanagement have at times reduced flow of the Euphrates, resulting in international disputes over limited water resources.

Armageddon is derived from the Mount of Megiddo, which is an archeological site where the remains of ancient cities over millenniums created a large mound; excavations have unearthed 26 layers of ruins. An immense portion of the valley of Armageddon, more commonly called the Jezreel Valley, is in view from Megiddo. This valley is the only place in Israel where massive armies could gather; it has been the site of numerous battles for the control of Israel.

Upon arrival these armies will attempt to destroy Jesus as he returns to earth. It will be an extra planetary war of unfathomable proportions. The battle of Har-Magedon is the final battle of this Age (Zechariah 14:2-9; Revelation 19:11-21).

BOWL #7: Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe. (Revelation 16:17-21)

The final judgment features the destruction of Rome. God gives this city of the false king, which is the Antichrist, and the religion of Christian religious traditions that originated in ancient Babylon, the fierceness of his wrath. “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, you mighty city of Babylon! In one hour your doom has come!’ (Revelation 18:9-10; NIV)

Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley can be found on Google Maps.

Bowl poured out on the

Result

Bowl #1 – Land

Sores upon people with the mark of the beast 

Bowl #2 – Sea

The sea turns to blood; the sea dies

Bowl #3 – Rivers

Rivers and springs turn into blood

Bowl #4 – Sun

Sun scorches people with intense heat

Bowl #5 – Throne of the beast

Kingdom of the beast is plunged into darkness

Bowl #6 – Euphrates River

River dries to allow armies to cross on march to Armageddon 

Bowl #7 – Into the air

Massive earthquakes and hailstones; Rome is destroyed