The Epistle of Jesus #13: God’s Wrath Outpoured - Rev 16Video Link
Introduction: The bowl judgements are directed at the beast, his seat, and those who worship him. The judgements are severe, the worst up till now. Some wonder why God world be so severe so merciless? The world looks at this passage of the judgment of God in the book of Revelation and the Exodus or in the prophecies from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the other OT books, they look at these and ask how can you believe in such a cruel, bloodthirsty God?
There are denominations that have bypassed all those passages or any passages that talk of hell and judgment. Instead, they only speak of God’s love, forgiveness, mercy and grace. Of course, they fail to see that forgiveness, mercy and grace are only needed, only possible in fact, if judgment and hell are part of who God is. There is no need of mercy if God does not punish sin.
So they create a god in their own imagination, a god who has little power, little holiness and little sense. C S Lewis once said, “What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ’What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who, as they say, ’liked to see young people enjoying themselves’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ’a good time was had by all’.
But throughout the Bible we see a much different God that what the world wants. Psalms 76:7-9 Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry? Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still,
When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth.
God is Holy. God is righteous and God will judge sin. Revelation is the book that reveal that judgment upon the earth and Revelation 16 is the final series of judgments that brings it all to a conclusion. After the bowl judgments we will hear a great voice from heaven calling out. “It is done.”
We are going to read about some horrific, terrible things this morning all which fall according to the plan of God as John the apostle saw it happening about 2000 years ago. As you read this I want us to remember that yes God in His holiness is a wrathful, vengeful God, but also in that holiness that hates sin is a love that offers mercy to the those caught in sin’s web. Holiness is the reason sin is judged but it is also the reason pardon is offered. We can see this throughout the Bible and especially in the book of Revelation. Judgment is coming but before judgment is unleashed God sends warning after warning. But man in his arrogance does not care about God’s warnings. Man in his arrogance and complacency often ignore warnings of every kind.
Catastrophes often follow ignored warnings.
The Eruption Of Mount Vesuvius that buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
We have all heard about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, AD 79, it killed a thousands of people and buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Yet most if not all of the citizens could have escaped if they had just heeded the warnings. In the past two other cities had already been wiped out by the volcano, but they did not heed history. Before the the day of the eruption, Pompeii experienced series of tremors and earthquakes, caused by an increase pressure of the lava below Mount Vesuvius.
The mountain, which had been quiet and dormant, began to make groaning sounds, and the sea around the Bay of Naples became so hot that it boiled and produced bubbles. Animals, including rats, left the town in droves, while wells and streams, especially those close to the mountain, mysteriously dried up. The people of Pompeii ignored these obvious warnings and they died.
You might think, well that was ancient Rome, today we would be more aware, but we are not. Most of us can remember the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami. More than 230,000 people were killed, 500,000 were injured, and 1.7 million were left homeless on December 26, 2004, after 9.2-magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami that affected 14 countries in Asia and eastern and southern Africa. The deadliest natural disasters in recorded human history.
Seven years before the earthquake and tsunami, a top government official in Thailand warned that the country would soon be hit by a tsunami. His calls were ignored, and he was termed “crazy.” He was also banned from entering some parts of Thailand, where he was considered a threat to tourism.
The Pacific Ocean Tsunami Warning System also called the embassies and government officials of several Asian countries after the 9.2 underwater earthquake and warned them that they were at risk of a tsunami. Most countries ignored the warning, and even those that listened didn’t take any tangible action. Many countries still ignored the threat when it hit their outlying coasts and even refused to warn people living in the inlying coasts. In Indonesia, the sea receded several hundred meters after the earthquake, a clear warning of an incoming tsunami, but no one had told the people, and many ran into the retreated ocean to catch stranded fish, only to look up as a wall of water moving as fast as a speeding train rose over them and it was too late.
There were warnings about the impending bombing Of Pearl Harbor, even sitting on the President’s desk, but they were ignored. There were many warnings from many sources about Iraq’s Invasion Of Kuwait, or the danger of the Challenger shuttle launching in cold weather and so many more. Warnings that were ignored and hundreds of thousands suffered.
The Warnings of Revelation
God Warns the World
We see it all over again on a even more unbelievable scale in the book of Revelation. The entire book is one, long, impossible to ignore warning that Jesus is coming back and God will judge the sins of earth, especially exacting vengeance upon those who have persecuted His people.
Just a few Sundays ago we read in Revelation 14:6-12 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. … And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
The boundary finally reached. What we see finally happening in Revelation 16 is that God has reached the limit, not of his mercy, but of his plan for mankind. What we see is a boundary that has finally been reached.
Job 38:8-11 Or who shut up the sea with doors,
when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
When I made the cloud the garment thereof,
and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
And brake up for it my decreed place,
and set bars and doors,
And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further:
and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
What God did to the sea, He as done to all things in creation, he has set a boundary. He has also set a boundary to the rebellion, sinfulness and power of man. That boundary, that limit is reached in Revelation 16 and after this there are no more offers of mercy, no more cries for repentance. Those are past and only judgement on the earth and eternal punishment lie beyond.
The last seven plagues are the outpouring of God’s wrath directly upon the beast and his worshippers. God has taken the last of his people home with the harvest home reaping of chapter 15 and now there is only the reaping of the grapes of wrath.
Chapter 14 and 15 were the final preparations for the final act of God’s judgment against mankind upon the earth. He has brought home the 2 witnesses, the 144,000 and the vast majority of all the believers upon the earth. He has sent forth one last messenger, the angel of chapter 14, who would be heard all around the world, proclaiming the everlasting Gospel for the last time.
Now He has called forth his angels of wrath from within the Temple and they are sent to the earth and specifically to the kingdom of the Beast.
The 7 Bowl Judgments
The Last Judgments of God’s Wrath Outpoured
Revelation 16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
1st Bowl Grievous Sores
Revelation 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
The word vial in the Greek is φιάλη/ phialē, which is a small shallow cup or bowl.
There are many parallels with this last series of judgments and the plagues that God unleashed upon Egypt in the book of Exodus. Just as God targeted the kingdom of Pharaoh, He now targets the kingdom of the antichrist. In Exodus, each plague was an attack on the pagan gods of Egypt, from their river the Nile, to their sun god Ra, to the bull they worshipped as their god of fertility.
Now the plagues, the bowls are targeted at the beast, his kingdom, his city and his mark. Once again God shows that only He is God and all others must answer to Him. The great dragon, the terrible beast, the false prophet are powerless to stop the judgment of The only true, Almighty, Holy righteous God of heaven and earth.
The Greek word for grievous sore is helkos, the word that our word ulcer comes from. It is a loathsome, foul, incurable, running sore. And notice it is specifically poured upon those who have the mark of the beast and who worship Him. Suddenly, they realize that their all powerful leader can’t do a thing to help them. Just as Pharaoh was helpless before the God of Moses, the antichrist is helpless before the God of Revelation.
2nd Bowl: Sea Turned to Blood
Revelation 16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
3rd Bowl: Water to Blood
Revelation 16:4-7 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
These two vials are poured out upon the waters of the earth. The second angel turns the sea to blood, and the third angel turns the fresh water, fountains, springs and rivers to blood. Very much like the first plague of Egypt in Exodus 7:18. This is also an amplification of the plague of the second trumpet back in Revelation 8:8. The trumpet judgment only turned a third of the sea into blood; here the entire water system of the world is turned to undrinkable blood.
This angel of the waters the praises God for this terrible judgment, not because it is so harsh but because it is just. Revelation 16:5-6 Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
The people of the earth, under the power, authority and influence of Satan have shed the blood of the saints, and now they are left with only blood to drink. Pharaoh had drowned the Hebrew males, and then his army was drowned in the Red Sea. Haman, in the book of Ester planned to kill the Jewish throughout Persia and he built a gallows to hang Mordecai on but instead it was Haman and his lineage that were hanged.
This final series of judgments are the answer to the prayers of the saints from chapter 6 on. It is the answer to prayer of the persecuted saints, the people of God, the beloved of God, throughout the ages. Untold millions of Jews have died at the hand of Satan’s warlords and kings. Untold millions of Christians have been massacred, burnt at the stake, and tortured by nations, kings, pagan tribes and even by a those who dared to call them selves The Church of God, but truly were the universal church of Satan.
Revelation 6:9-11 is the prayer that summarizes and distills all the prayers of all those who have suffered as God’s people. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” This is that fulfillment, it is finally, finally here. After all the tears, all the pain, all the loss, all the persecution, God has said, “This is the boundary and the prayers of my people are answered now.
No, God is not cruel. God is just. God is righteous. God is holy and yes even as we read these terrible things we still can say, God is merciful. For He has been sending warning after warning, not just during the tribulation but throughout history. The prophets, the church, the nation of Israel, the Bible. God in his mercy is telling man to repent, warning man what is coming, but mankind is unwilling to accept their sin and therefore he also will not recognize his need for mercy.
4th Bowl: Scorching Of the Sun
Revelation 16:8-11 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
The judgments of the fourth and fifth angels as they pour out God’s wrath touch the sky, the heavens. The 2nd and 3rd plagues were upon the water and now the plagues are poured out even on the heavens themselves. The fourth angel’s bowl causes the sun to scorch men. God turns up the power of the sun. It may mean that the buffering layer of the ozone or the magnetic belts has been damaged by the strikes from the comet and the asteroid, or it just may be the power of God over the sun and He just sends a sun storm so powerful it sweeps through the solar system and burns everyone exposed to it.
Malachi 4:1 seems to describe this day, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
5th Bowl: Darkness In The Kingdom of the Beast
Revelation 16:10-11 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
The fifth angel’s outpoured bowl of wrath brings not brightness but darkness. It is poured upon the seat of the beast, again much like the 9th plague in Egypt the plague of darkness. This darkness is so terrible, so overwhelming that it seems to drive those in the Beast’s kingdom, his seat of power mad. Vs. 10 says, “they gnawed their tongues for pain.”
Joel 2:1-2 describes the darkness of God’s judgment, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness,
The 6th Bowl: Gathering of the Armies
Revelation 16:12-16 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
In Exodus, God delivered Israel from Egypt by drying the Red Sea, here God dries up the Euphrates river to not to save his people, but to set a final trap for the armies of the kings of the east, who come to aid the anti-Christ in his attack on Jerusalem, but instead the they are gathered together, by the demons that look like vile frogs. These demon bring all these armies under the complete control of Satan and the Beast. They then are gathered to Armageddon. Armageddon literally means the hill of Megiddo and it is a description of the vast hundreds of square miles battlefield that begin at the foot of Mount Megiddo and run sall the way to Jerusalem.
Verse 15 is a promise to the saints on earth at that time. Jesus is telling them, “I am coming, don’t give up, don’t give in. I am coming!”
The 7th Bowl It is Done
Revelation 16:17-21 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
In Revelation 10:6–7, God promised that “the mystery of God” would be finished when the seventh angel poured out his vial. This is the fulfillment of that prophecy.
God’s plan for the ages is finished.
The angel pours his vial into the air because Satan is “the prince of the power of the air.” Once again God shows it is He who has all power, not the great dragon.
When the seventh bowl is poured there is a voice from the throne, a voice that has been heard over and over since the first seal was opened. This great voice is the voice of God the creator as He marks the events that are taking place according to His sovereign will and plan for the ages. With this last bowl the term loud or great is heard. God is bringing His plan to completion, this is the climax of His judgment and only the return of Jesus the son, the Messiah awaits.
A great earthquake divides Jerusalem into three parts and a hail falls again like the the seventh plague of Exodus 9:22–26. These hailstones that weigh 125 pounds, weight of a talent of silver in John’s day. Everything in the path of this storm will be utterly driven into the ground. Like an inescapable carpet bombing upon the anti-Christ kingdom.
It is finished
That phrase “It is done!” has a precedent in the Bible and it also marked a great finish of God’s sovereign plan.
John 19:28-30 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
When Jesus died upon the cross he fulfilled God’s plan for man’s redemption. He paid the price with his own life’s blood. He offered His own soul for the ransom of man. On Mount Calvary He called out it is finished.
In Revelation 16 when God calls out “It is done” it marks the end of His plan, not for man’s redemption but for man’s judgment. Instead of Mount Calvary and the lamb of God giving his life, now we see Mount Megiddo and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah coming to take the life of Satan’s army, Satan’s false Christ and destroy Satan’s corrupted kingdom.
Two Mounts, one of mercy one of judgment. Two Christs one who gave his life for all mankind and a false on that brings mankind to their utter rebellious battle against their Creator.
Which Mount is the place where you will meet Jesus?
Have you looked up at Calvary and there seeing Jesus dying for you, have you called out for mercy? Have you repented? Have you accepted Jesus sacrifice on your behalf? If you have, if you will then God’s judgment is satisfied. God’s wrath is appeased.
But if you have not looked to Mount Calvary then you must instead look to the judgment that Mount Megiddo represents. You must understand that you are being manipulated, draw and deceived by the powers of Satan to a place that can only be a scene of destruction and eternal judgment.
Listen to God’s invitation in Isaiah 1:18-20 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Can the choice be any clearer? One path leads to Calvary, the other leads to Meggiddo. Which path have you chosen today?