Revelation 16

Revelation 16.


In Chapter 15- we saw God’s reluctant but final decision to close the gates of heaven to any further entrants. Whereas, with the other judgments in Revelation, man still had an opportunity to be saved, now there is no longer an opportunity.
The door to heaven, to salvation, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life has been shut. “ and what He shuts no one can open.”  Since the great door to heaven is about to be closed – let us ponder for a moment the ‘doors’ the Lord has opened for us. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 16: 9: “ I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened for me, and there are many who oppose me.”  A great door of opportunity for effective teaching and witnessing was opened for Paul, but notice there was also adversity. There is a door of opportunity for us as believers to reach out to an unbelieving world. This door of opportunity is open for every believer. The Lord opens it. Remember what He said to the church @ Philadelphia : See I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you who have little strength have not denied My Name.
When we witness, the door to the mind is opened by the Holy Spirit: “ since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly SEEN and UNDERSTOOD from what has been made, so man is without excuse.” ( Romans 1: 19-20) In fact their consciences bear witness to this truth.  When we witness, we sow the Word of God and leave the rest to the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul witnessed to Festus, to King Agrippa, who said to Paul – I am almost persuaded to be a Christian. And Paul replied –‘ I would to God that you and all who hear me this day were almost and altogether such as I am except not in chains.’
We believers walk through the door of opportunity to witness, the Holy Spirit opens the door of the mind and then the hearer must open the door of their hearts. “ Behold I stand at the door and knock. The door to the heart that the unbeliever must open. “ If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your HEART God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified.” ( Romans 10:9-10) And sadly many have said through the ages- I hear you knocking but you can’t come in.
God in His foreknowledge knows the unbelievers left alive on earth have hardened their hearts to the Gospel. A heart that became harder each time they refused to open the door to the Lord’s persistent knocking.  They know God is in control of the judgments but still refuse to repent.
Verse 1: “ Then I heard a great voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “ Go pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”  These seven angels were described in Chapter 15 as being dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests signifying the uniform of priests. Remember it was priests in the temple that carried the bowls of incense representing the prayers of the saints- ‘ another angel had a golden censer came and stood at the altar..he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints.(Rev 8:3) Now they are carrying the answer to the prayers of the saints. Remember their prayer?  “ How long, Sovereign Lord, Holy and True until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
Verse 2: “ The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped his image.”  Notice the angel went..that is the angel left heaven to pour wrath on the earth.  The KJV describes these sores as noisome and grievous.  There was also no cure- no relief.  This first bowl of wrath compares to the sixth plague in Egypt described as boils. Moses was instructed to take the soot from a furnace and toss it in the air. God protected the people of Israel but all other humans and animals in Egypt broke out in festering boils.  Not only were these festering sores- painful and incurable, they were described as ugly.  What is being revealed is the ugliness of sin that literally corrupts the flesh.  In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses warns the people of Israel if you do not obey the Lord your God and follow His commands – “ the Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt”. ( Deut. 28: 27)  This bowl of wrath produces the boils which broke out on the people who received the mark of the beast.  Moses used the soot of the furnace as God commanded.  Ashes or burnt residue denotes grief-perhaps God will use soot or fall-out from a nuclear holocaust  to bring these sores that represent His sorrow for those who have rejected His grace and mercy for God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
Verse 3: “ The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died.” These bowls are being poured out in rapid succession. God’s judgments up until this time has been measured- He has held back complete destruction as noted in the judgment of the trumpets where only 1/3rd of the sea became blood and a 1/3rd of the marine life died. Again we note the similarity between the plagues on Egypt during the Exodus – the first plague was to turn the Nile river into blood. The Nile River was the very life of Egypt they depended on it for their crops, commerce, everything. They even worshipped the god of the Nile.  We know that blood is the token of life- for the life of the flesh is in the blood.  However in this plague the blood is described as the blood of a dead man and the sea becomes an open grave, a cesspool of rotting carcasses which shows what happens when the blood that represents eternal life- the blood of the Lord Jesus is refused. Commerce is paralyzed. The very air reeks of death as the seas cover 3/4th of the globe. We get upset if we go to Destin for vacation and there is a storm that muddies the waters and brings up seaweed, can you imagine the conditions created from these first two bowls of wrath?
The third bowl poured out in verse 4 is poured out on the rivers and springs of water and they become blood.  This is the earth’s fresh water supply. So that now the total water supply of the earth is cut off. Complete destruction and total chaos.
In verse 5 John tells us there is an angel in charge of the waters.  One could surmise from this statement there are angels in charge of different physical departments of the earth.  ( remember in Patton, Patton wanted the chaplain to pray a weather prayer- he may have been right).   We have read there are four angels who control the winds; we have seen God withhold the rains- and send the rains and floods, as well as hail and snow.  As one reads this account of what God is bringing down on earth, finite man may have a tendency to think God aren’t you being a little too mean?  But hear what the angel who is charge of waters has to say, for this angel has the whole story – has the heavenly perspective and declares: “ You are just in your judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” Let’s discuss holiness- for if we do not have a grasp on the holiness of God, we will not have the right view of sin, and of God’s judgment. Holiness is one of the attributes or characteristics of God. It is only when we begin to see His Holiness, His absolute purity and moral hatred of sin that we will be gripped by the awfulness of sin against a Holy God. As described in the Bible, holiness describes both the majesty of God and the purity and moral perfection of His nature. God has all wisdom, all knowledge and all power- but it is His Holiness that guides His every decision.  God has the right to do anything He wants to do  and He always does what is right for He is perfect in all His ways. God hates sin with an infinite hate- which is what is being revealed here in Revelation. Think about how much you hate it when you do wrong- or think how much you would hate someone who would harm your loved one. Then multiply that hatred by infinity and you are beginning to get a glimpse of God’s holiness and how much He hates sin- small or great. One benefit for us as Christians as we see the hatred of sin by God in His judgment of sin in Revelation- we should be literally in fear of trifling with sin. What a fearful thing for a sinful man to fall into the hands of an angry, Holy God. But Christ died  for our sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous , to bring you to God.( I Peter 3:18) His blood was shed for the remission of our sins- and not only our sins but for the sins of the world. The cup which He invited us to drink from represented His blood. God made a way for us to become holy as He is holy.   If you do not drink of the cup of the new covenant which Jesus said is my blood which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins- you will drink from this cup of God’s wrath. A covenant can be accepted or refused- it cannot be altered. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the light, no man comes to the Father except by me.
In verse 7, John tells us he hears the altar respond—these are the saints we read about in the 5th chapter who were described as the souls slain for the word of God and for the testimony they held.  But in the end, EVERY knee shall bow, EVERY tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.   That means every unbeliever, every believer will acknowledge the Sovereignty of God.
Next in verses 8 &9 we read of a real global heat wave.

“ the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of god, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him.”
God has been warning man from days of old of His coming judgment. In Deut. 32:24- “ they shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat.”  In Isaiah 24:6- “ ..therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.”

And in Malachi 4: 11- “ For behold the day comes that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud and all that do wicked shall be stubble; and the day comes that shall burn them up says the Lord of Hosts.”
The Lord would only have to remove one or two blankets of our atmosphere which He has provided for our protection and the inhabitants of earth would be subjected to intense, burning heat. Or He could simply move the earth a little closer to the sun- He can do it anyway He wants to do. For in Him all things hold together.
His elect, the believers and the sealed 144,000 will survive this heat, making this scripture actual.  “ The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.” ( Psalms 121: 6)
In spite of all of this- the unsaved still refuse to turn to God for mercy even though they know He is in control over these plagues- they curse His Holy Name and refuse  to repent.
The fifth angel steps forward to pour out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores, but they refused to repent for what they had done.  Proud, stiff-necked unrepentant until the end- these will go into an eternity of pain still unrepentant and filled with hatred for God. Can you imagine the pain-  covered with painful, festering boils, no water- their tongues swollen, unbelievable heat and now a strange darkness ? A darkness that is described by science as ‘ black light.’ As the sun’s wattage is increased it grows darker instead of lighter. The heat will be greater but the light will be less.  Thus the kingdom of the beast becomes a kingdom of darkness and unbelievable pain.  It was the ninth plague- the next to last plague in Egypt that brought darkness to Egypt, now the end is nearing.
Have you seen the light?  The One who is called the Light of the World.

“God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all. Are you in Him? If we claim to have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood  of Jesus purifies us from all sin.” I John 1.
Satan’s kingdom is revealed for what it really is- a kingdom of darkness. Those who thought Christianity and the Word of God belonged in the Dark Ages – will now realize too late they were deceived and believed the lie of the enemy rather than the truth of God’s Word.   That is why we are warned – not to love the world, meaning the godless society that promotes sin, materialism, pride, sexual freedom, etc;.  The world and its desires pass away but the man who does the will of God lives forever. ( I John 2)
Next in verse 12, the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates and its water dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the East.

The Euphrates River is dried up- perhaps evaporated from the intense heat; but regardless of how God accomplishes this- it removes a natural border between Israel and it enemy. After the Euphrates is gone, the great hordes of the East will pour into the area – an army of 200 million. This great army referred to as the  kings from the east are most likely from Red China. The way for this great invasion has literally been paved by a highway constructed by China through the Himalayas of Kashmir to Pakistan. When this highway was built India lodged a protest with the UN saying this highway was a threat to peace.
After this bowl is poured out, John describes something he sees coming from the mouths of the dragon( Satan) the beast (AntiChrist) and the false prophet. These three represent the unholy trinity. John describes three evil spirits that looked like frogs coming out of their mouths. John then identifies them as spirits of demons performing miraculous signs to enlist the armies of the world to gather for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. There will be a campaign of propaganda and miracle to convince others to join them in this battle.    This will be the battle of Armageddon where the final battle will be fought. The blood shed there will reach to a horse’s bridle- four feet and completely cover the Jordan Valley for two hundred miles.
Now the Lord says He will come like a thief. He is speaking to unbelievers- those who refused to open the door to His knocking. They locked Him out- but He will come like a thief. Listen to I Thess 5:  “ Now brothers, about times and dates we  do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, Peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that the day should surprise you like a thief. So be alert and self controlled.”
This is what the Lord means when He says be awake a keep his clothes with him.
Verse 16 announces the great battle- ‘they gathered the kings together in a place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
Verse 17 – the seventh angel pours out his bowl into the air and out of the temple (in heaven) comes a loud voice from the throne say, “ It is done!”

Earthquakes, lightning, thunder, like none ever before.

Cities of nations collapsed. New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Memphis, Nashville, Jackson, London, Paris, Rome, every city, town and village destroyed all over the world.  From the sky huge hailstones weighing 100 pounds.. could this be describing an all-out full scale exchange of nuclear weapons?
However it occurs, the devastation is complete and even in their last moments, deceived man curses God. Yet I believe that anyone who ends up in hell and in this Great Tribulation is without excuse – having been given the opportunity.
What keeps people from getting saved?  What hinders them from receiving the word and believing?  Does God save some and not others?  Is predestination a policy of God’s that says some I will save and some I will not – no- absolutely not.  The Bible tells us clearly- For God so loved the WORLD…  It also tells us ‘ and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.   And Peter tells us He is longsuffering and not WILLING that any should perish but come to repentance.
God’s Sovereignty and man’s free will has always been a mystery. They both exist.
How is a man saved?
Adrian Rogers used the story of the paralytic man in John 5 to explain this great mystery.  Let me close with this- for if there is anything that this chapter should do- it should motivate us to tell the unsaved how to be saved- to avoid what lies ahead. But even more for the unsaved person to find the purpose for which they exist- which is a personal relationship with the True and Living God.
Ephesians 2: 8&9 tell us the process of salvation. Verse 10 tells us the result of believing faith. The good works came post salvation not pre..

Take note of the three prepositions:  by- through and unto.
Romans 10: 9&10 also echo this message as do many other scriptures
Now look at John 5 and a true story of a real miracle- but within this story is the story of salvation and how it works , as Adrian Rogers explained.
The first step of salvation is the confession ( agreement) that one is without strength? Lame- blind- sick and dying because of your powerlessness over sin. The sick are those who call on the physician. Romans 5: 6 tells us: For while we were yet without STRENGTH in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  ( Jesse Ventura, a former Navy Seal said religion was crutch for the weak.  He actually was closer to the truth than he realized- those who realize they are without strength will ask for help.
We are told this man’s circumstances and how he had been infirm for 38 years. For me it was almost 32 years I was without strength.

Jesus asked this man a simple question?

Wilt thou be made whole? ( Will)
The man answers with his ‘ if only story’ which all people have one. It’s not their fault… It’s their lists  excuses for the situation there are in- it is the circumstances, it’s the bad luck.. etc. What they need to do is look in the mirror and say it’s me who have sinned..
Jesus said : Rise, take up your mat and walk.  And immediately the man was made whole, took up his mat and walked.
First we admit we are powerless.

Then having admitted we are powerless- sin-sick- WILL we be made well Jesus asks? We must Activate our will.
“ Rise” said Jesus.   The man was made whole. Did he rise in his own strength? His own works? No, it was by the Grace of God. By Grace, Jesus said Rise, by faith in the Lord he did rise as an act of his will. There it is the grace of a Sovereign God received by faith that activated this powerless man’s will and he took up his mat and walked.  That is what happened to me… I admitted I was powerless. I went down on my knees confessing I was paralyzed by alcohol and powerless over it… will you be made whole, tim?  Rise and walk.  I rose up- called AA and walked out of the room – into an AA meeting within 30 minutes of that prayer.  If I had not walked into that meeting…I am not sure what would have happened to me.
We must activate our faith- put some legs in it and step out in obedience.
Take up your mat and walk.  By grace- he arose; he receive the grace through faith and then he unto the good works he begin to walk in.
He did not do good works in order to gain the use of his legs… he gained the use of his legs because he obeyed the command to rise by faith.
See- Jesus asked the man ‘ will you be made whole?’  the process involved the man’s will and the Lord Jesus’ sovereignty.
We can still take people to the doctor…to the great physician where they can be made whole…we can tell others about how we were – what happened .


Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal
Last modified: 08/12/14