The Seven Bowl of God’s Wrath
In this chapter, we are given the description of the Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath, which will pour out the Seven Last Plagues. The pouring out of the Seven Bowls will complete the Wrath of God against the Inhabitants of the Earth who will shed the blood of God’s holy people during the Great Tribulation. The first of these plagues will cause festering boils to break out on those who take the Mark of the Beast.
The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. Rev. 16:2
When the Second Bowl is poured out, every living creature in the sea will die, and when the Third Bowl is poured out, the rivers and springs of water will turn into blood.
The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died. Rev. 16:3
The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Rev. 16:4
When the Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath are poured out on the Inhabitants of the Earth, the voice of the martyrs at the alter of God will respond by proclaiming that God’s judgments are true and just.
Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.” Rev. 16:5-7
The above exchange is a reference back to the events of the Fifth Seal when John first saw the Martyrs in Heaven praying at the Throne of God for judgment and revenge. At that time, the martyrs were told that their blood would not be avenged until the full number of their brothers and sisters were killed in the Great Tribulation.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. Rev. 6:9-11
Following the Great Tribulation, these martyrs will declare that God is true and just when they witness the Wrath of God being poured out on the Inhabitants of the Earth as promised.
Despite the suffering that the worshipers of the Beast will experience during the events of the Seven Last Plagues, they will refuse to repent and glorify God as can be seen in the events of the Fourth Bowl.
The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed 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. Rev. 16:8-9
The Battle of Armageddon
Following the events of the Fifth Bowl, which will cause darkness to fall over the kingdom of the Beast, the Sixth Bowl will be poured out to make way for the kings from the East. In addition to the kings from the East, the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet will send out demonic spirits to entice the decimated kings of the world to gather at Armageddon.
The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. Rev. 16:12-16
In the above verses, the dragon represents Satan, the Beast is another name for the antichrist, and the False Prophet is the one who will cause anyone who does not worship the Beast to be killed. Together, these three will send out demons in order to gather the kings of the whole world to battle. At the time of the gathering of the kings to Armageddon, the Remnant of Israel, who will escape into the wilderness during the Attack on Jerusalem, will be the only nation or group of people, left on earth, who are openly defying the Beast. (To read about the Remnant who will escape during the Attack on Jerusalem, see Revelation Chapter 8.) Accordingly, the gathering of the armies at Armageddon will be an attempt by Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet to strike back at God by striking His people.
When the armies of the nations encircle the Remnant of Israel, the Seventh Bowl will be poured out and a severe earthquake and huge hailstones will destroy the gathered host.
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible. Rev. 16:17-21
When the Seventh Bowl is poured out, a loud voice will announce, “It is Done”, signifying how the Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm of the Seventh Bowl will complete the Wrath of God on the Inhabitants of the Earth. These are the same events that were originally shown to John through the opening of the Sixth Seal when the generals and everyone else will hide in caves from the same Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm.
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” Rev. 6:12-16
These are also the same events that are described in the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet, which will announce the Reign of Christ on earth and the same Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm.
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Rev. 11:15
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. Rev. 11:19
In each of the above accounts, we read of the Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm, which will destroy the armies of the Beast at the Battle of Armageddon, and that will cause everyone to hide in caves. In the description of the pouring out of the Seventh Bowl, we learn the additional information that the Great Earthquake will be larger than any earthquake that has ever occurred on earth, and the Severe Hailstorm will contain hailstones that weigh about a hundred pounds. In this way, the events of the Seven Seals, the Seven Trumpets and the Seven Bowls will all conclude with the Battle of Armageddon.
NOTE: The Revelation is divided up into Three Sections that take place in consecutive order. The First Section consist of the first three chapters of the Revelation, which contain John’s vision of Christ and the Letters to the Seven Churches. The Second Section contains the chapters that describe of the opening of the Seven Seals, the sounding of Seven Trumpets, and the pouring out to the Seven Bowls. The Third Section contains the final three chapters that describe the events that will occur following the Battle of Armageddon, including the Reign of Christ on Earth and the Day of Judgment. In this way, the Revelation is written in consecutive order with the events of the First Section being followed by the events of the Second Section, which, in turn, are followed by the events of the Third Section. Within this order, the events that are described in the Second Section, including the Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets, and Seven Bowls, overlap one another.
Babylon the Great
The destruction of the armies of the Beast at the Battle of Armageddon will also lead to the destruction of the city from which he will rule known as Babylon the Great.
The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Rev. 16:19
When the Great Earthquake destroys the armies of the Beast at the Battle of Armageddon, it will also strike the great city known as Babylon the Great, which will serve as the center of his rule. The use of the words, the great city, to describe Babylon the Great are the same words that are used to describe Jerusalem in the events of the Two Witnesses.
Their (the Two Witnesses) bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified (Jerusalem). Rev. 11:8
When we read that, both, Babylon the Great and Jerusalem are described as the great city, it tells us that Jerusalem is the city that is symbolically referred to as Babylon the Great. In this verse, Jerusalem is also figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, which is a description of how under the rule of the Beast, Jerusalem will become a slave to sin (Egypt), and will lead the rebellion against God (Babylon), before she is destroyed at the Battle of Armageddon for her wickedness (Sodom).
The future rule of the Beast over Jerusalem can also be seen in the following prophecy by Daniel that describes how the Beast will invade Israel and pitch his royal tents at the beautiful holy mountain.
“The king (the Beast) will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place… He will also invade the Beautiful Land(Israel). Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain (Mount Zion). Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.” Dan. 11:36, 41-45
In these verses, the king is identified as the Beast by how he is described as subduing the three nation of Egypt, Libya, and Cush, which corresponds with how earlier we read that the Beast will subdue three of the ten kings in his coalition. The Beast is further identified by how he will annihilate many, which refers to the events of the Sixth Trumpet when the Beast will fight a war against the nations from the north and east and a third of mankind will be killed. Having identified the king as the Beast, we are then told that he will set up his tents at the beautiful, holy mountain (Mount Zion), which is to say the Beast will establish his headquarters in Jerusalem after attacking the city. When the Beast establishes his rule on Mount Zion, the fallen city of Jerusalem will lead the world in the rebellion against God as Babylon the Great just as the ancient city of Babylon once did. When the armies of the Beast are destroyed by the Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm at the Battle of Armageddon, the city of the Beast will also be destroyed and the Reign of Christ on earth will begin.
Order of Events of the Last Days
1. Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
2. The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal) – The 144,000 are sealed
– 1/3 of earth is burned up in world-wide drought (1st. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of sea turns to blood, Satan’s kingdom defeated (2nd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of waters are poisoned, Satan cast out 3rd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of Israel is struck, the Attack on Jerusalem (4th. Trumpet)
3. The Great Tribulation – the full number of God’s people are killed
– The Plague of Locusts (5th. Trumpet)
– The Plague of Fire, Smoke, and Sulfur (6th. Trumpet)
– The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath (Bowls 1-5)
– The nations are gathered at Armageddon (6th Bowl)
4. The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm – the Battle of Armageddon (6th. Seal, 7th. Trumpet, 7th. Bowl)
5. Silence in Heaven – the enemies of God are defeated (7th. Seal)
6. The Reign of Christ on Earth