I. Prelude To The Bowl Judgments 15:1-8
A. Victorious Worshippers
1. V. 2 John Describes Them
a. John described the end of the age in Chapter 14. He now re-states it in more detail.
b. John describes this group as those who have victory over the Antichrist.
c. Their victory isn’t that they were protected physically, but spiritually. (Rev. 13:7)
d. Revelation 7:14 “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
e. They stand before God, not condemned, but as worshippers.
f. God can physically protect His people from any harm, but He often doesn’t.
g. The greatest victory is spiritual, not physical.
h. Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
2. Vs. 3, 4 The Song They Sang
a. V. 3a The song they sing has two titles.
b. Vs. 3, 4 7x’s the words You or Yours are used. This is a very God focused song.
c. The holy actions of God; the holy nature of God; the ultimate worship of God.
d. The worshippers gave their lives to follow Jesus, but they don’t sing of their troubles.
B. Seven Angels With Seven Plagues (The Bowl Judgments)
1. V. 1 This is the finality of God’s wrath
a. Wrath– thymos– a volatile, passionate anger. Used 11x’s in N.T.; 10x’s in Revelation.
b. Thymos as opposed to orge- orge is anger from a settled disposition.
c. Complete- not just finished, but as having reached an aim or a goal.
d. The time for God’s settled anger has now turned into the time of God’s displayed anger, and this display of His anger has as its aim the punishment of evil men. The display of His anger is for the purpose of righteous judgment.
2. Vs. 5, 6 They came out of the Temple (God’s presence) They act on God’s authority
a. These angels have a clear knowledge of the holiness of God; an untarnished view.
b. They may hate evil more than we do, yet they do not act without God’s permission
c. John 8:29 I always do those things that please Him.
d. James 1:19-20 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
e. We ought to have a holy hatred of sin, and yet act only as God leads us.
3. V. 7 Plagues were given to them to pour out. Measured out judgment comes from God.
4. V. 8 Everything came to a stop in Heaven until these final plagues were poured out.
a. In the Old Testament, God often manifested His presence by smoke.
b. Exodus 40:34-35 Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
c. The angels came forth from God, the judgments came forth from God, and as God began to execute His final judgments, all other activity in His presence ceases.
II. The Seven Angels Pour Out Their Bowls 16:1-21
A. Angels Praise God During His Judgment On Humanity
1. Vs. 5, 7 The holy angels praise the righteousness of God as He judges wicked humanity.
a. Forgiveness was extended to these people with up to the last minute.
b. God’s people ought to have a somber but appropriate appreciation of God’s judgment
2. V. 6 God judges according to what people deserve. This is not vigilante judgment.
a. God set limits for human judgment in the O. T., so that people wouldn’t overreact.
b. Exodus 21:22-25 “If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
B. The Seven Last Plagues
1. V. 1 The command is given. Nothing happens without God’s direction.
2. V. 2 The first bowl judgment- sores upon the flesh of mankind who refused Jesus and chose the Antichrist.
3. V. 3 The second bowl judgment-complete annihilation of all life in the oceans.
4. V. 4 The third bowl judgment- complete contamination of fresh water sources.
5. Vs. 8, 9 The fourth bowl judgment- men scorched by the sun; no repentance, no worship.
a. Guzik– The failure of men to respond with repentance shows that knowledge or experience of judgment will not change man’s sinful condition. Those who are not won by grace will never be won.
6. Vs. 10, 11 The fifth bowl judgment
a. This will be physical darkness that can be felt. The pain will be real.
b. This is a preview of Hell. Jesus described Hell as outer darkness. (Matthew 25:30)
c. Exodus 10:21-22 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.
d. They acknowledge that it is from God, but they don’t turn to God.
7. Vs. 12-14 The sixth bowl judgment
a. V. 12 Eventually, great armies from the east will march towards Jerusalem.
b. Vs, 13, 14 This military attack will be Satanically inspired through signs and wonders.
8. V. 15 A last minute encouragement to the saints on Earth, those not killed by Antichrist
9. Vs. 16-18 The seventh bowl judgment
a. V. 16 The unclean spirits inspire the nations to gather at Megiddo. This may look like a human effort, but in reality, it is a spiritual event.
b. philologos.org– Armageddon is Greek for “Mount of Megiddo.” This valley has seen more climactic battles than any other place on earth. Originally, Megiddo was one of the capital cities of the Canaanites. The Egyptian king Thothmes III, the founder of an empire, once said “Megiddo is worth a thousand cities.” The reason is that it sits on the pass leading through Mount Carmel to the Mediterranean, one of the most strategic crossroads in Palestine. Anyone who wishes to control the Middle East must control the vital trade and military routes which connect Europe, Africa and Asia.
Napoleon stood at Megiddo before the battle that thwarted his attempt to conquer the East and rebuild the Roman Empire. Contemplating the enormous plain of Armageddon, the marshal declared, “All the armies of the world could maneuver their forces on this vast plain.”
c. Vs. 17-21 The last bowl judgment is poured out. V. 21-talent-100 lbs.= 45.36 kilos
- Do you emotionally praise God for His blessings, but not for His holiness and justice?
- God is unbelievably longsuffering with wicked mankind, but His patience will one day end.
- Given the incredible hardness of heart in the midst of God’s clear judgment, isn’t it amazing that if you are a Christian today, it is because God granted unto you repentance? How is it that you repented under less severe circumstances, considering how hard man’s heart truly is?
- 2 Timothy 2:24-26 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,
25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.