Revelation
1-4 The First, Second and Third Bowl 5-11 Testimony, the Fourth and Fifth Bowl 12-21 The Sixth and Seventh Bowl
The First, Second and Third Bowl

1Then 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.” 2So 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. 3The 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. 4Then the third [angel] poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood.

V11Then 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.”. John hears how out of the smoke-filled temple “a loud voice” sounds. ‘Loud voice’ is literally ‘great voice’. In this chapter the word ‘great’ occurs often (verses 9,12,14,18,19,219Men 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.12The 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.14for 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.18And 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.19The 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.21And 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 unrighteousness is great and God’s wrath is great. Great and extensive is the area of the unrighteousness, great and severe are therefore the means of God’s wrath.

The loud voice commands “the seven angels” to start to take action. They were to go out, each of them to the territory on earth that was assigned to them. There they have to pour out “the seven bowls of the wrath of God”. ‘To pour out’ is a sudden and complete effusion of the content on the objects of God’s wrath. In a way of speaking the wrath of God here does not consist of a tap with a stick to correct a wrong act, but of a complete overpowering and overthrow of the evil.

One bowl after the other is emptied by just one move. The plagues follow one another in a great pace. Probably these judgments that spare nothing and no one, will be finished within a few days. Therefore they will not be announced, like it was with the two previous series of plagues (seals and trumpets). They happen without any warning, because God has already warned enough (Pro 29:11A man who hardens [his] neck after much reproof
Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
).

V22So 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.. The first four bowls look a lot like the first four trumpets in chapter 8. The plagues of the first four bowls strike the same areas as the first four trumpets did. However, the difference is that the trumpet plagues struck a limited part of the earth (a third part), while the bowl plagues have no limit.

In order to emphasize the speed of action, it is not said ‘and the first angel went’, but “so the first went”. You find that also in each of the next cases. The first pours out his bowl on the earth. That is not the earth in the broad sense of verse 11Then 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.”, but in the limited sense of ‘the dry land’, because in the following there is also mention of other areas on earth (sea, rivers).

When the angel has poured out his bowl the consequences immediately become visible. The people who are related to the beast and worship his image, get a foul and incurable sore as a mark. This couldn’t be just a small sore that you may put a plaster on, but it is an enormous, striking sore that is incurable. A sore is an outburst of inner uncleanness that goes together with pain and that changes the outer beauty into repulsiveness.

To people who sacrifice everything for a perfect body, regarding both health and shape, this is a disaster of unprecedented size. They have done everything to keep their body in top condition and now by one act of God’s wrath their body turns into a wreck, a pitiful example of misery and pain. Such as satan struck Job with loathsome sores (Job 2:77Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.), God now strikes the followers of the beast with them (cf. Exo 9:1010So 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.; Deu 28:27,3527“The LORD will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed.35The LORD will strike you on the knees and legs with sore boils, from which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.).

V33The 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.. Without a renewed command from heaven – the command in verse 11Then 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.” is one command for all seven angels – the second angel empties his bowl. The area that was given to him is “the sea”. The emptying of his bowl has the direct result that the sea becomes “blood”. However, it is not blood that flows, which is still running, but it is blood that is clotted. The blood in a dead person is not running anymore. The sea turns into a clotted mass. Everything in it that is alive cannot possibly move anymore and dies immediately on its spot. The stench of the whole will be terrible and unbearable (cf. Exo 7:19-2119Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in [vessels of] wood and in [vessels of] stone.’”20So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that [was] in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that [was] in the Nile was turned to blood.21The fish that [were] in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt.).

The spiritual application is to be seen as a symbol to all nations where there is no order (in contrast to the earth as a symbol for an ordered whole). Everyone lives for himself, authority is not being respected. At the emptying of the second bowl this conduct will become a plague. In this way each individual will be left to his own, that it will be no more possible for him to be reached or to reach another person. As a result of a full spiritual desensitization, there is absolutely no form of communication anymore. Loneliness prevails. As dead as they already were in the spiritual sense concerning their relation with God, now death has also entered in their relation to their neighbor.

V44Then the third [angel] poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood.. In case there might still be any hope that fresh water can run to the sea from the rivers, which may cause it to live again, then this hope is erased by the third angel. The bowl that he pours out, strikes “the rivers” that they become blood. This also happens to the “springs of water” that stand in themselves. There is no water to be drawn for one’s own refreshment or for one to refresh another.

The water has totally turned into blood. Every possibility to bring life where death is, is cut off. When man is isolated from God and from his neighbor, he is fully subjected to the influence of death, without any alternative.

Now read Revelation 16:1-4 again.

Reflection: What do you find compelling in the description of these bowl judgments?


Testimony, the Fourth and Fifth Bowl

5And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; 6for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.” 7And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.” 8The fourth [angel] poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. 9Men 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. 10Then 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, 11and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.

V55And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things;. After the third had emptied his bowl and before the fourth empties his bowl, the voice of another angel is to be heard. He is furthermore indicated as “the angel of the waters”. The waters seem to be the area that was given to him by God in order to act there (cf. Rev 7:11After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.; 14:1818Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.”). In this way he will be in a special way in relation to the second and the third angel. The angel speaks to God and says to Him that from His judgments it appears that He is “righteous”. The angel agrees to its lawfulness.

He also recognizes that from God’s judgments it appears that He is Who He has always been already, the One Who is and Who was. God’s judgments over the world at the end of history are not different than His judgments in the beginning as seen in the deluge and over Egypt. He is not an unsteady ruler with changing standards all the time. In His judgments He is all the way consistent.

V66for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.”. Concerning the bowl judgments God acts according to the principle of ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’ (Exo 21:2424eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,). You may also say that man reaps what he has sown (Gal 6:77Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.). The angel gives an expression of that by telling that those who have shed blood also have had to drink blood in both previous judgments. Just as they have shed blood, just like that blood came out of the bowls which caused their death.

The words “they deserve it” are sometimes used in a positive sense (Rev 3:44But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.; Lk 20:3535but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;), but also in a negative sense. A person also receives the judgment that he ‘is due’. He who has shed “the blood of saints and prophets” has clearly shown that he hates everything pertaining to God (‘saints’) and that reminds him of Him (‘prophets’). In that way he has got rid of every blessing that God was still giving through His saints and prophets. In that way you make yourself due to the judgment yourself.

In a spiritual sense God provided His people with His blessing by His prophets. But these ‘rivers’ were rejected by them, which caused them to change to blood. Also now all ‘rivers’ are being rejected and therefore they are changed into rivers of blood. God’s Word and His institutions were given to be a blessing. But people got rid of them.

The result is that selflessness turns into self-assertion, the submissiveness of children to their parents changes into rebellion, the exclusive love of the husband for his wife in marriage turns into feelings of being crushed and people start to live in alternative forms like co-habitation and homosexual relationships; the submission of the woman has now been considered to be slavery to which feminism opposes; euthanasia becomes a form of respect towards older people; abortion is being committed out of respect towards life; obedience to principalities and submission of employees are being answered by rights. All virtues of God are an abomination to the modern autonomous man. God will judge him in accordance to that.

V77And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”. After the angel of the rivers John is also hearing how the altar agrees with a “yes” to the truthfulness and the righteousness of God’s judgments. The altar addresses the Lord Jesus to Whom the whole judgment is given (Jn 5:22-2322For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,23so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.) and Who at the same time is God Almighty. This altar refers to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and the redemption of all believers. God’s righteousness has never been shown more clearly than in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. He went through the judgment over the sins of all who believe in Him.

Therefore they are free from all the judgments that go over the earth like a scourge. But all who have rejected His sacrifice will be struck and perish by the scourge. The serious oracle goes out of the altar that God’s judgment over the stubborn unbelievers will be as truthful and righteous as the judgment that went over the Lord Jesus for the sake of those who believe in Him.

V88The fourth [angel] poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire.. Then the wrath of God addresses “the sun”, when “the fourth” angel pours his bowl on it. The result is that the sun will be burning in such a way that its beams become a fire which causes men to be burned (cf. Mal 4:11“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”). There is no sun protection oil that can possibly protect anyone against this burning sun, even if the oil has the highest protection factor. This fire is a harbinger of hell.

To be applied spiritually, the sun represents great rulers. The “men” are the unbelievers. During the great tribulation those rulers are hostile to God. While the people were thinking that these rulers sought their best interest, these rulers will due to the fourth bowl turn into merciless rulers who turn against their subjects and persecute and consume them with satanic pleasure. They did not want the gentle yoke of Him Who said that He is meek and humble of heart. Now an iron yoke is imposed on them that oppresses them without compassion (cf. Deu 28:4848therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.).

V99Men 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.. The heat will cause an enormous pain. They know that the plagues come from God and they will not try to find a logic explanation for it anymore, like it happens today at all natural disasters. The people however refuse to admit that God speaks clearly to them in these natural disasters that they may repent themselves. Enormous physical pains or heavy inner torments or both will drive them out to God. However, they do not come to God to confess their sins, but to blaspheme Him.

Against their better judgment they blame Him for all misfortune. Their aversion to God comes out in all their intensity in those tragic circumstances. They have been indoctrinated and brainwashed by the beast in such a way that it doesn’t occur to them to give God glory. The propaganda of the beast (Rev 13:66And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, [that is,] those who dwell in heaven.) has worked its disastrous effect in its followers. They have never wanted to repent themselves and they still do not want to now. The future propaganda of the beast is casting its shadows already. Through the newspaper, radio, television and internet more and more expressions and programs appear in which the aversion to God is woven. Whoever preaches the (biblical) gospel, experiences that people become more and more harsh and unreachable.

V1010Then 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,. “The fifth” angel pours out “his bowl on the throne of the beast”, which means on the center of his power. The result is a darkness that extends itself from this center over his whole kingdom. The darkness makes you think of the darkness in Egypt, the ninth and second-last plague (Ex 10:21-22). With the fully-blown darkness it is impossible to take one step, because of the missing of any form of orientation and communication.

In that darkness man is fully delivered to himself. He doesn’t know where he is, doesn’t see any outcome and can go nowhere for help. In this darkness people have no distraction of the pains that torture them. In great despair and at the same time with undiminished hatred they “gnawed their tongues because of pain”. Earlier they were saying with arrogance who was able to make war with the beast (Rev 13:44they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”; 19:1919And 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.). Here is God’s response.

The beast received his throne from the dragon, which is satan (Rev 13:22And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like [those] of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.). With the super high intelligence of the beast, his knowledge and insight, it looked like the light on the world began to shine brightly and the economy was flourishing again. All crushing Christian truths have been rejected as darkness. But now here the moment has come that all the bragging about higher light and higher knowledge is not only put into the shadow by God, but it is fully covered in darkness.

When God reveals the truth it means darkness to everyone who has disconnected Him. He makes the light that has been rejected to become darkness (Mt 6:2323But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!). They will not be able to know where they are or where they should go to. They will not even see any neighbor anymore. In this total isolation the soul is alone with himself and eats himself up in hatred, envy, bitterness and wormwood.

V1111and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.. “Their pains” and “their sores” are a reason for the people to blaspheme God. They blame Him for that. Instead of repenting they persevere in their sinful works. Psychologists and politicians may draw people’s attention through conferences, in order to explain their reactions. Every explanation, how illogical it may be, is better than admitting that you are a sinner and that you are to repent. They refuse to give up anything of their debauched life and they rather choose to die than to bow their knees under the final plagues of God.

Now read Revelation 16:5-11 again.

Reflection: Why do the people refuse to repent, while they are being tortured by the judgments of God?


The Sixth and Seventh Bowl

12The 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. 13And 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; 14for 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. 15(“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.”) 16And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. 17Then 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.” 18And 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. 19The 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. 20And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21And 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.

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?


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