V1212The 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.. It is “the sixth” angel’s turn to pour out his bowl. The target of the content of his bowl is “the great river, the Euphrates”. The Euphrates river is the natural border between the east and the west. This plague caused the Euphrates river to become dried up. This in turn paves the way for the eastern powers (“the kings from the east”) in order to attack the restored Roman empire. Hereby you could think of countries like India, Indonesia, China and Japan. This is about the situation in which the Western-European armies have come to help Israel because Israel is threatened by the king of the north.
V1313And I saw [coming] out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs;. At this moment John gets a glance at the secret actions of the trinity of the ungodliness, “the dragon … the beast … the false prophet”. “Out of the mouth” of each of them comes an unclean spirit. These “unclean spirits” look “like frogs”. ‘Out of the mouth’ means that propaganda is being spread. The content of the propaganda is unclean. The symbol, the frog, is very fitting, for it is an unclean animal (Lev 11:10,4110But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you,41‘Now every swarming thing that swarms on the earth is detestable, not to be eaten.). Only one more time frogs are mentioned in the Scripture and that is in relation with the second plague over Egypt (Exo 8:2-142But if you refuse to let [them] go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs.3The Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls.4So the frogs will come up on you and your people and all your servants.”‘“5Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the streams and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’”6So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.7The magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt.8Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Entreat the LORD that He remove the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD.”9Moses said to Pharaoh, “The honor is yours to tell me: when shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, [that] they may be left only in the Nile?”10Then he said, “Tomorrow.” So he said, “[May it be] according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.11The frogs will depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.”12Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh.13The LORD did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields.14So they piled them in heaps, and the land became foul.; Psa 78:4545He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them,
And frogs which destroyed them.
; 105:3030Their land swarmed with frogs
[Even] in the chambers of their kings.
). They live in marshes and are most audible in the darkness of the night, which also fits with this symbol for the demonically inspired propaganda.
Uncleanness has become a trademark. Hands full of money is made with uncleanness. The many millions (!) of pornographic internet sites of which the number daily increases, prove the sensitivity of man to particularly this kind of propaganda. The advertising industry is full of it. That the unholy trinity chooses this form of propaganda makes it very clear how much man has become a creature that only lives for the satisfaction of his lusts.
V1414for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.. Just promise men to get unbridled liberties and you assuredly win them for a case against God and His Christ. With this message the “spirits of demons” – for the unclean spirits are demons – go out and get to work. They will perform “signs”, which will make their message more easily to be accepted. Their mission is to make “the kings of the whole world” to agree with their intention. That intention is to make war against God and His Christ. But as crafty and deceptive as demons have always been, they will surely present their plan otherwise, perhaps even as a peace-mission. After all, peace is necessary in the Middle-East, right?
V1515(“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”). The dark scene is interrupted by a word of the Lord Jesus for the believers who are fleeing from the beast. This statement is intended to exhort them in that turbulent time to remain expecting the Lord and to remain vigilant. They must not allow themselves to be deceived by all events and especially not by the deceiving speech. For those who are not prepared for His return the Lord will come as a thief, which means unexpectedly and undesired.
For the third time in this book the word “blessed” is sounding. It is meant as a consolation and encouragement for the living saints. While under the influence of the ‘frogs’ the people will dress and behave themselves more and more shameless, the saints will distinguish themselves by dressing and behaving themselves honorably. The spiritual application is that the people of the world are walking naked, meaning that everyone sees what the flesh is capable of. Believers have received the garments of salvation by which the flesh can be kept in the death.
V1616And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.. With the word “and” the thread is picked up again with verse 1414for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty., the gathering of the armies. Here you see that in reality God gathers the hostile armies and not the spirits of demons of verse 1414for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. that think that they have organized it themselves through their deception. The place where these armies are gathered is called by its Hebrew name. “Har-Magedon” means ‘the mountain where troops gather’. In that place the Western-European armies will be defeated by the Lord Jesus. The report of that battle, or better said, judgment, is described in chapter 19 (Rev 19:19-2119And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.20And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.21And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.).
V1717Then 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.”. Finally it is “the seventh” and last angel’s turn. Under the previous bowl judgments the whole society has been already destroyed in all of its parts. But there is one territory left and that is “the air”. The last bowl is poured out on it. The air that the people breathe will be suffocating. They will suffer respiratory disorders.
In the spiritual sense the air is the atmosphere that is ruled by satan (Eph 2:22in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.). The spiritual air that people breathe will then totally be under the judgment of God. All human relations that the most ungodly person needs, in order to have a meaningful life (family, friends, working place) will then be disappeared. Nothing will be left except for a desperate loneliness in a hopeless environment, without any prospects. This too is as it were a foretaste of hell.
In this way the judgments of God have come to an end. A loud voice announces that God’s holiness (the voice comes from the temple) and God’s righteousness (the voice comes from the throne) have been fully satisfied. With the cry “it is done!” it is indicated that all God’s intentions with His judgments have been fully accomplished. There is nothing more that still has to come under the judgment.
V1818And 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.. What still remains to follow is a description of the symptoms that accompany the seventh bowl and the consequences of pouring it out. “Flashes of lightning” underline that the judgment comes from heaven and that it will come suddenly and will be unstoppable. The lightning go together with all kinds of noises or “sounds” and with “peals of thunder”. Thunder indicate the powerful speaking of God in the judgment.
This impressive speech from heaven finds a resonance on the earth in an earthquake of such a size that puts all earlier earthquakes in the shadow (Hag 2:77I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts.). This last earthquake will radically make an end to everything that still offered man some guidance.
V1919The 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.. The earthquake will strike all living environments wherever men may find themselves. First “the great city” is mentioned. It is not quite clear which city is meant by that. According to some interpreters it is about political Rome and according to others it refers to Jerusalem (Zec 13:8-98“It will come about in all the land,”
Declares the LORD,
“That two parts in it will be cut off [and] perish;
But the third will be left in it.
9“And I will bring the third part through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”). There are two indications that to my opinion it especially relates to Jerusalem. The first is that earlier Jerusalem is called like that (Rev 11:88And their dead bodies [will lie] in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.). The second is that it is said here that the city is divided “into three parts”, which means that the city is not totally destroyed, but is partly spared (Zec 1:1717Again, proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”‘“).
“The cities of the nations” are all cities outside Israel. These are the living communities of people. In the past such cities have always been reconstructed after disasters. That will not be the case here. All rebellion of the human civilization against the government of heaven has seemed meaningless. Finally every living community completely collapses.
As final city “Babylon the great” is mentioned. There you have the religious Rome, the spiritual power, the system that has been delivering religion to an ungodly whole. That system is remembered before God separately as a special object to which His wrath is addressed. Babylon, the roman-catholic system, has arrogated itself to be God’s representative on the earth and in this way has dishonored God’s Name the most.
V2020And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.. Also the places where people fled to, in order to escape all the disasters, will fall in the earthquake. There will be no more hiding place to be found. All the living ones, probably on their way to an island or a mountain to seek a safe place, will directly be exposed to the closing part of the last plague.
V2121And 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.. The last consequence of the seventh bowl are fatal “huge hailstones … from heaven” (cf. Job 38:22-2322“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23Which I have reserved for the time of distress,
For the day of war and battle?
). The weight of the hailstones is mentioned. The weight of a hailstone is converted to about fifty kilos. The last drops from the last bowl take the form of these enormous hailstones that fall down upon the people at high speed and a devastating gravity. The only response of the hardened man who is
tortured by sores,
burned by the sun,
clothed in darkness,
deprived of every guidance by the great earthquake and
struck by an unprecedented hail
is that he blasphemes God. Here it is no more said that the people did not repent (verses 9,119Men 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.11and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.). With cursing they clench their fist to heaven and sink down to death.
Now read Revelation 16:12-21 again.
Reflection: Which warnings do the two last bowl judgments consist for you?