Monday, December 22, 2014

SEVEN VERY BAD BOWLS (Revelation Chapter 16)

Revelation 16:1, “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
Revelation 16:9, “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues.  They did not repent and give him glory.”
Revelation 16:11, “(They) cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores.  They did not repent of their deeds.”

There is a lot of concern in our day regarding the environment.  Some suppose climate change to be the most serious threat faced by humanity.  There is concern for ocean dead zones, as the Smithsonian has reported, “Warmer waters and other factors will cause nearly all areas of low oxygen to grow by the end of the century.”  There is also concern for the increase in the frequency of earthquakes.  According to scientists the world has experienced a six-fold increase in earthquakes in a recent decade as opposed to the previous one.  We are even warned from time to time of the dangers associated with occasional solar flare ups and asteroids that pass perilously close to our planet. You can read about such things.  Alarmists demand that something be done.  But there are not many speaking to man’s far greater predicament.  Mankind has a sin problem.  In sin men “suppress the truth” and worship and serve the “creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:18, 24).  Not many are concerned about the sin problem, but judgment day is coming.  Unprecedented calamity will be visited upon planet earth and all its inhabitants.  But even in the midst of such clear evidence of God’s displeasure in His wrath against sinful rebellion, mankind will refuse to repent.
In the previous chapter John saw the “seven angels (with) seven angels full of the wrath of God” (Revelation 15:7).  Chapter 16 has to do with the pouring out of the bowl judgments.  The primary purposes of the seven bowl judgments are to: 1) exercise God’s righteous judgment against those who dwell upon the earth; and 2) to dramatically demonstrate the extent of their depravity in their continued refusal to repent of their evil deeds.
As a result of the pouring out of the first bowl “harmful and painful sores (come) upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image” (Revelation 16:2).  Reminiscent of Job’s experience and the plagues that struck Egypt (Cf. Job 2:7; Exodus 9:8-11), these sores will not only cause pain but will refuse to heal.
The pouring out of the second bowl will make the sea to become “like the blood of a corpse” (Revelation 16:3).  In the second trumpet judgment a third of the sea became blood and a third of the living creatures in the sea died (Cf. Revelation 8:8).  Now the remainder of the sea is made lifeless.  Dead marine life will litter the shores.
The third bowl turns the “rivers and springs of water” into blood.  There is a similarity here also between this judgment and the third trumpet judgment, the differences being in quantity (one third vs. all) and extent (blood vs. wormwood).  Again, this judgment bears resemblance to that which afflicted Egypt in the plagues (Cf. Exodus 7:20) and will bring unimaginable hardship and suffering to earth’s residents.
The fourth judgment affects the sun allowing it to “scorch people with fire” (Revelation 16:9).  The fifth plunges the kingdom of the beast into darkness (Revelation 16:10).  People will gnaw their tongues in anguish but will nevertheless use them to curse God (Cf. Revelation 16:11).  The sixth judgment dries up the “great river Euphrates,” preparing a way for the kings of the east (Cf. Revelation 16:12).  The seventh bowl is poured out and “a loud voice (comes) out of the temple, from the throne, saying ‘It is done” (Revelation 16:17).  The pouring forth of this bowl is accompanied by “flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was the earthquake” (Revelation 16:18).  So powerful is the earthquake that earth’s geology will suffer major alteration (Cf. Revelation 16:20).  In addition, “Great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each” will fall from heaven “on people” (Revelation 16:21).
No amount of environmental activism, governmental regulation, or FEMA planning or expenditure will work to prevent these things.  There will be no escape to another planet from Him “to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).  These judgments will come from the hand of the Creator of all things.  Man’s biggest problem is sin and his greatest need is for salvation.  Best now to trust in Jesus who “suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

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