Seven Wrath Bowls
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60. Seven Wrath Bowls
Revelation 16.1-7

"Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, 'Go, pour out God's seven wrath bowls on the earth.' The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people with the beast's mark who worshiped its image. The second blood 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. The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and water springs, and they became blood. 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 your holy peoples' and your prophets' blood, 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.'" (Revelation 16.1-7)✞

Festering Sores

Ten Plagues of EgyptThe scholar Dr. William Barclay (1907-1978) wrote about these verses in "The Revelation of John." "Here we have the last terrible plagues and sores associated with them. They do not connect to Egypt's ten plagues and the terrors following the seven trumpets' sounding in Revelation 8-11."

Seven Egypt Bowls

The First Bowl - the loathsome sores appear on the people.
The Second Bowl - the sea turns to blood.
The Third Bowl - the rivers turn to blood.
The Fourth Bowl - the sun burns the planet.
The Fifth Bowl - the thick darkness descends.
The Sixth Bowl - the Euphrates River dries up.
The Seventh Bowl - the global earthquake occurs.✞

Egypt Disasters

We read in Exodus 9.8-12 of the ten plagues and painful plague sores when Moses confronted Pharaoh with God's wrath. "Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 'Take handfuls of furnace soot and have Moses toss it into the air in Pharaoh's presence. It will become fine dust over Egypt's whole land, and festering boils will break out on the people and animals.' So they took furnace soot and stood before Pharaoh. Moses tossed it into the air, and festering boils broke out on people and animals. The magicians and all the Egyptians could not stand before Moses because of their sores. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses." The water turned into blood, and the frog invasion appeared. Lice-like dust filled the air, then flies swarmed around the people and animals. Plague sores appeared on the cattle, and then boils followed on Egypt's people. Thunder and hail came from the skies, and locusts swarms ate up all the greenery. Finally, darkness enveloped the whole land. In Exodus 12.29-30, the Lord slew every Egyptian family's first child and the firstborn of the livestock. "At midnight, the Lord struck down all Egypt's firstborn. The Lord struck all from Pharaoh's firstborn, who sat on the throne, the dungeon prisoner, and all the livestock. Pharaoh, his officials, and the Egyptians arose during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead."

Blood Angel

TerrorsRevelation's second blood angel poured out his bowl onto the sea, and it turned to blood. Every living thing in the waters died, and the terrors followed the seven trumpets' sounding. Hail, fire, and blood came upon the earth, and a third of the trees and green grass withered. The trumpet blast alarm sounded in Revelation 8.7-9, "The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth burned up, a third of the trees destroyed, and all the green grass incinerated. The second angel sounded his trumpet and threw something like a huge blazing mountain into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood. A third of the living sea creatures died, and a third of the ships destroyed." The flaming mountain fell into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. The star or angel called "Wormwood" fell into the waters to make them bitter and poisonous. "Wormwood" is described in Revelation 8.10-11 as the "Great Star Blazing." "The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and the water springs. The star's name was Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people die from the bitter waters." This event destroyed and darkened one-third of the sun, moon, and stars.

Abyss

A star (possibly an angel) comes to unlock the abyss, from which smoke and demonic locusts arise in Revelation 9.1-21. The four angels are set loose on the Euphrates River area, and the demons come from the east. God announces the final victory despite the nations' rebellious anger in Revelation 11.15. Revelation 16 sets out the seven bowls' wrath terrors when everybody breaks out in ulcerous sores. The sea becomes like blood, and the rivers and fountains flow red. The sun becomes scorching hot. Darkness falls over the beast's kingdom in its agony. The Euphrates River dries up to open a way for the eastern kings' hordes. The air is polluted, and the accompanying terrors in nature, thunder, earthquakes, lightning, and hail appear. William Barclay commented, "In this final series of terrors, John seems to have gathered together the horrors from all the stories of God's avenging wrath and to have hurled them on the unbelieving world in one last terrible, disastrous deluge."

Blood Terrors

The Revelation blood terrors and destruction upon the earth, which followed are justifiable punishment by God. These blood terrors have much in common with early Christians' occurrences. Hail, darkness, blood in the waters, ulcerous sores, and the coming of the terrible hordes from beyond the Euphrates River are all experiences Christians could have known. In Revelation, there is a difference between terrors after trumpets and those after bowls. In the former, punishment on God's enemies is always limited. In the latter, destruction is complete.

"Seven Wrath Bowls"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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