"Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, 'Go, pour out the God's seven bowls wrath on the earth.' The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the beast's mark and 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)✞
Dr. William Barclay (1907-1978) wrote about these verses in "The Revelation of John." "Here we have the last terrible plagues and the sores associated with them. They do not connect to Egypt's ten plagues and the terrors which followed the seven trumpets' sounding in Revelation 8-11."✞
1. First Bowl - loathsome sores on the people.
2. Second Bowl - the sea turns to blood.
3. Third Bowl - the rivers turn to blood.
4. Fourth Bowl - the sun burns the planet.
5. Fifth Bowl - thick darkness.
6. Sixth Bowl - the Euphrates River dries up.
7. Seventh Bowl - a global earthquake.✞
We see in Exodus 9.8-12, the ten plagues and painful plague sores when Moses confronts 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 land's 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 occurred on the cattle, and then boils followed on Egypt's people. Thunder and hail came from the skies, and locusts swarmed and 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 even the firstborn livestock. "At midnight, the Lord struck down all Egypt's firstborn. All were struck from Pharaoh's firstborn, who sat on the throne, the dungeon prisoner, and all the livestock. Pharaoh and all his officials and the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead."✞
Revelation'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, 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 something like a huge blazing mountain was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships destroyed." Here the flaming mountains were cast 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. In the Hebrew Bible, "wormwood" is mentioned seven times, meaning a "curse" or a "bitter substance." "Wormwood" is described in Revelation 8.10-11 as the great star blazing. "The third angel sounds his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, falls from the sky on a third of the rivers and the water' springs — the star's name is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people die from the waters that had become bitter." The word "wormwood" may also refer either to a famous person or to a celestial event. This event destroyed and darkened one-third of the sun, moon, and stars.✞
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 hordes of the eastern kings. 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."✞
The Revelation blood terrors and destruction upon the earth, which followed are justifiable punishment by God. These lists of Revelation blood terrors have much in common with early Christians' everyday 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 the trumpets and those after the bowls. In the former, destruction is always limited on God's enemies. In the latter, the damage is complete.✞