The Weekend Word
The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath
- John is back to describing the last days (as Peter defined the last days) this time in the form of bowl judgments. This is the same time period covered previously, but especially with the 7 seals and the 7 trumpets.
- Each time the intensity is ratcheted up to drive the point home. Earlier one third destruction (which would be sufficient to end life) but now complete.
- Now with the pouring out of the 7th bowl of God’s wrath, the time of repentance is over. This is how the book of Revelation spirals, covering the same old territory, but now brings it to a climax.
1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
- What is the purpose of God’s judgment / wrath? It has been the same throughout biblical history. “Wake up folks and smell the coffee.”
- Who is the loud voice? This must be God’s voice as everyone else has been locked out of the temple.
- Pouring out plagues again is to take us back to Egypt and Moses.
2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
- See Ex 9:8-12 – Boils – who receives these sores? Those with the mark of the beast – those without faith.
- Note that the description of God’s wrath spirals up to describe people. Earlier it was plants and the earth.
3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.
- This is over the salt waters
- The sea – the place of the dragon and the beasts.
- We don’t know how this happens but pollution and oil spills could be a preview.
4 The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood.
- This is over the fresh waters. See Psalm 78:44 – “He turned their rivers to blood,so that they could not drink of their streams.”
- See Exodus 7:14-25
- Waters that bring life, now bringing death.
- Again, we don’t know how this happens but with all the tragic events, whether they are oil spills, earthquakes, and famines etc. the message and purpose remains the same – reminders that this is God’s constant preaching that the end is coming but there is a refuge which is in Christ… alone.
5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.
- Interesting that there is a designation as “angel in charge of the waters”.
- Jesus is not off the hook here. Jesus brings these judgments.
- Note the similarity to Rev 1:4 – “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come,”
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”
- How is this for irony – the salt and fresh waters turn to blood. Remember the worshippers of the beast who happily shed the blood of the prophets are now themselves required to drink the blood.
- The term “For they” eliminates believers from now drinking the blood.
7 And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”
- Now the altar is talking – Is this the time that God answers the prayer from chapter 6? The 5th seal was broken and the saints cry out “How long?” At the time, God gave out white robes and told them to wait.
- This is the time they waited for.
- How is the church to react during all of this? Angels do not show up in our midst – the word of God always comes through the mouth of people, through his church.
- Even while these bowls are being dispensed, the church still has the responsibility to say something to the people around them like “yes I see these terrifying things happening, I don’t know why they are happening in this place or that place, but this is a reminder that we need to repent.”
- Again, this is another argument I find for why I think the church is still on earth being the church until the very end.