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It is difficult to write on something that so many other scholars and want-to-be teachers have already covered in so many different formats. The FACTS don’t change. Bible content is something that cannot be copyrighted. Just like the free will of man to accept or deny the existence of a God supreme, it cannot be outlawed. Simple example in America: To pass a law about discrimination in any form does not eliminate it. This country (2016) is more polarized today than it was just 8 years ago. We can probably go back to the Civil War and see very similar hate, choosing of sides, difference of opinion in neighborhoods and a cluster of houses in a common section of almost any town feeling they are not a neighborhood-in-common.
I state the above as we close in on the end of our Revelation study. This is precisely what the Apostle John and many other bible prophets and authors of books in the bible have said for 3,000 years. They go into much greater detail, but without knowledge, how can one prepare for End Time? Simple answer… they can’t! This however does not mean End Time will also not come. It simply means that millions will lose his or her opportunity to survive it and spend eternity in a much more preferred place than hell.
A voice from out of the heavenly temple commands the 7 angels to “go their way and pour out the vials of God’s wrath upon the earth and mankind”. Note that John hears the command that all 7 angels are told to GO! Not go #1; then go #2 and so forth. There is an order or sequence but no timing is evidenced. Since all 7 are told to go with ONE COMMAND, it is highly unlikely that there is a span of much, if any time between the pouring out of the wrath bowls of God. [suggested insight follows later]
The sequence is as follows:
- Bowl #1 is great sores upon man (and woman) if they have worshiped the beast, his image or taken the mark of the beast.
- *Bowl #2 is God’s wrath on the sea. We are not told if this includes lakes, ponds, or oceans. The Greek word used here is Thalassa. Thayer and Strong point out that this is a term usually indicating the Red or Mediterranean Seas. Since Thalassa is a prolonged form of halce, which means “salt” it would be unwise to conclude it does not include the great oceans and gulfs.
- *Bowl #3 is when and where the rivers, streams, springs are included in God’s wrath. The third angel pours out his bowl upon these waters.
*a word of caution… some bible translations say “the waters turned to blood like a dead man.” Young’s Literal Translation from 1898 says “blood.” We do not know if this analogy is a comparison of similarities or the actual thing. It is not important to know which as all translations worth any study say that all living creatures within these waters die.
At this point there is a short interlude as an angel “in charge of the waters” points out (v5) that God is justified in doing this to his creation. He explains that man has shed the blood of God’s followers and “deserves” the same treatment. Then in verse 7 a voice from the alter seconds this proclamation made by the angel of the waters. The obvious…this is at the end of the Great Tribulation Period of 7 years.
We might also note that the first three bowls of judgement are similar to judgements one and six cast on Egypt at the time of the Israeli bondage in that country. Even though these Egyptian plagues were limited to Egypt, we do know what these “plagues” were limited to in durations. This may only be studied speculation, but it gives us some insight as to the possible duration of each plague in Revelation: The first Egyptian plague lasted for 7 days (Ex 7:25), the 9th Egyptian plague lasted for 3 days (Ex 10:21-23), and the 10th was for one night, beginning at midnight (Ex 12:29-31); all within a given week. This may be helpful to those who want a duration number or some possibilities given for the plagues in Revelation. For some reasonable speculation on days of duration, go to http://www.jesusalive.cc/ques219.htm.
- Bowl #4 is the sun scorching those on earth (this does not include anyone who has not worshiped the beast, his image, and/or taken the mark of the beast. One must speculate that the turning of waters into a blood-like substance is not a permanent plague. Mankind would die after a few days of no water. Add the 4th plague of a scorching sun to no available water and mankind would fall like flies in a very short period of time.
We hasten to add another note for the reader. Verse 9 states flat out that men cursed God and refuse to repent or recognize Him for who and what He was, is, (and at this point in Revelation) is to very soon come. It appears there is room for men to repent or at least give God recognition for who He is. Not to keep adding Greek to this blog, but sometimes it helps our understanding of scripture. The word “repent” in verse 9 is metanoeō in the Greek. This means to “change one’s mind.” However, we must recall what Revelation 14:9-11 states. If someone repents at this point, it could be suggested that their eternal punishment from the “books that will be opened” [Revelation 2012] could be lessened. However, changing one’s mind does not mean changing one’s heart. One can begrudgingly accept a previously denied fact but still not embrace it.
- This is a turning point for Satan, the beast, and his false prophet. Up to this point the false trinity may have escaped the plagues on earth and man. But, plague #5 is pointed… God’s wrath is turned upon the kingdom of the beast. There will be total darkness and an unspecified pain poured out on the throne of the beast and his kingdom. People will finally see that the false-god isn’t even able to prevent or immunize itself against these judgments. What a Day That Will Be!
- Now to set the possible stage for the fulfillment of Plague or curse #6. We have the angel of vial #6 drying up the Euphrates. We know that this is already happening. Type drying of the Euphrates River into your search engine and read it from secular sources. There are multiple events happening at this time. Let’s briefly look at a few of them.
- Water has by now become very scarce due to the plagues. It may even replace the demand for oil by that time. There already is and has been a short supply of drining water in the Middle East; even during the time of Jacob.
- Putin and Netanyahu have recently agreed to a joint venture in developing oil and gas reserves found in Israel.
- The most recent world class oil reserve has been found in Har Megiddo; i.e. Armageddon territory; 55 miles north of Jerusalem.
- When oil reserves are threatened, armies converge to protect or steal it.. Examples? The Kuwaiti war with Saddam; Iraqi War; WWII… *(See the asterisk paragraph below)
- When water becomes totally scarce the Aswan Dam in Egypt will become a terrorist target. If breached or destroyed, this will fulfill the prophecy of Ezekiel 29:9.
- The dams in Jordan, Russia, Syria, Turkey…; King Hussein of Jordan has said “the volatile issue of water could drive the region to war. (See Matthew 24:22)
- UN Secretary-General Bhoutros-Ghali, while he was still Egypt’s foreign minister, said, “The next war in the Middle East will be fought over water, not politics.”
- Ironic as it may sound, the Persians defeated the Babylonians by diverting and drying up the river waters to Babylon back in 539 B.C.. Is this a preview of the fall of the Revelation Babylon???
*There needs to be something that calls these armies together at Har Megiddo; 55 miles north of Jerusalem. We are not without strong compelling attractions to this Valley of Jezreel in northern Israel AKA, Har Megiddo. Here are a few:
- Daniel 11 prophecies battles between the King of the North (probably the anti-Christ) and the king of the South (probably Muslim nations who refuse the anti-Christ as their master.) In their final battle they meet at Har Megiddo.
- In order to protect its oil rights in Israel and as agreed upon between Putin and Netanyahu (2016), Russia marches in to fend off destruction of their oil rights only recently discovered. See Daniel 11:44.
- A dry Euphrates River allows the king(s) of the East cross over and to get into the battle to either prevent a mutual destruction or to make sure it gets its fair-share of booty after the fight (war)
- Why would they gather to do battle? Revelation 16:13; it is all God arranged.
Cataclysmic events such as islands disappear, mountains collapse and are no more, Jerusalem rises up to a high altitude as the waters from under soon-to-be Throne of God in Jerusalem begin to flow both toward the Jordan River and to the Mediterranean Sea. Jesus Christ sets foot on the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem. Zechariah (14) tells us that the place of Jesus’ return to earth will not be Zion, Illinois, but the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel. The city of Jerusalem is divided into three parts. The armies gathered in plague #6 march on Jerusalem and are judged by Jesus. Babylon the Great, city or an institutional power, is destroyed as announced by an angel in Revelation 14:8 and again in Revelation 18:21. Great and fiery hail falls from the heavens. This hail from heaven has similarities to the Exodus account of plague #7 on Egypt recorded in Exodus 19:13-35. Is it a coincident for us to overlook the fact that this hail in Revelation is plague #7, just as it was in Egypt; i.e. #7?
Much of these plague events and event to follow occur simultaneously and/or in rapid succession. These events continue to be recorded by John in the next couple of chapters in Revelation.
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army [Revelation 19:19; NIV]
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
– The pronouncement (1)
– The seven bowls of wrath (2-21)
2) What did a loud voice from the temple say to seven angels? (1)
– “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth”
3) Upon what was the first bowl poured out? What happened? (2)
– The earth; foul and loathsome sores came upon those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image
4) Upon what was the second bowl poured out? What happened? (3)
– The sea; it became blood as of a dead man; every living creature in the sea died
5) Upon what was the third bowl poured out? What happened? (4)
– The rivers and springs of water; they became blood
6) Why did the angel of the waters proclaim God’s judgments as just?
– Because they had shed the blood of saints and prophets
7) Upon what was the fourth bowl poured out? What happened? (8-9)
– On the sun; men were scorched with great heat
8) Despite these judgments, how did men respond? (9)
– They blasphemed the name of God, and did not repent and give God glory
9) Upon what was the fifth bowl poured out? What happened? (10)
– On the throne of the beast; his kingdom became full of darkness, and people gnawed their tongues because of the pain
10) What again is said about the response to these judgments? (11)
– They blasphemed God because of their sores and pain, and did not repent of their deeds
11) Upon what was the sixth bowl poured out? What happened? (12)
– On the river Euphrates; it was dried up, so the way of the kings from the east might be prepared
12) What did John see next? (13)
– Three unclean spirits like frogs coming of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet
13) What were these, and what was their mission? (14)
– Spirits of demons, performing great signs
– To gather the kings of the earth to the battle of the great day of God Almighty
14) What warning and beatitude did Jesus give at this point? (15)
– Behold, I am coming as a thief
– Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame
15) Where were the kings of the earth gathered? (16)
– To the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon
16) Upon what was the seventh bowl poured out? What happened? (17)
– The air; a loud voice from the temple of heaven, from the throne, proclaimed, “It is done!”
17) What then occurred? (18-21)
– There were noises, thunderings, lightnings, a mighty earthquake
– The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell
– Great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath
– Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found
– Great hail from heaven fell upon men
18) How did people respond to the plague of the hail? (21)
– They blasphemed God, because the plague was exceedingly great