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Revelation Bible Study #22 Seven Angels Seven Plagues Seven Bowls

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Revelation #22

7 Angels and 7 Plaques

The 7 Final Bowls of God's Wrath

Revelation 15 and 16

Having seen the vision of the Harvest of Grain and the Vintage of Grapes poured in God's wrath and the result being a bloody battle, hinted to by the volume of blood as well as the picture of the Horse's covered in blood either splattered or rising to the height of their bridle, we recognize that it was speaking of the end of the Tribulation, the Great and Final Day of the Lord, the Battle that we know as Armageddon. 

Now we move to Chapters 15 and 16.  These two chapters fit together and give us a different perspective on the events surrounding the Harvest of Wheat and Grapes.

Just like the story of Christ was told to us in 4 Gospels, each covering the same basic time period, the same message, the same Life, the same Savior, yet 4 tellings each with their own slant, their own focus, their own perspective, their own stylings.  So it is with this Revelation painting the same picture and story in different ways so we can get a full picture and understanding of Jesus Christ, his majesty, his glory, his purpose, his justice, his grace, his wonder, power and might.

Chapters 15 and 16 seem to amplify for us Chapter 11:18,19

The nations rage

The Temple is Open

Amazing events on earth and in heaven

Read  Chapter 15

Viewpoints on the 7 Last Plaques:

Historicist - in general the 7 bowls of wrath find fulfillment in the judgment upon the papacy (Babylon), beginning with the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars and concluding yet in the future

Preterist -  The judgments of these bowls are largely against Jerusalem, culminating in its fall in a.d. 70, though the fifth bowl touches the Roman Empire as well-probably referring to the chaotic state of affairs that prevailed after Nero's suicide.

·     Alternatively, this section says nothing about the fall of Jerusalem and refers strictly to the judgment of God upon pagan Rome.

Futurists - The bowls represent future, global judgments that, in their devastating effect, are unparalleled in history.

·     These occur at the very end of the Tribulation period, culminating in World War III, or the Battle of Armageddon.

·     This war is the last battle to be fought by mankind, and it will be ended by the personal appearing of Christ as He comes to establish His millennial kingdom.

Spiritual / Idealist - There is a relationship between the bowl judgments and the trumpet judgments. The former may be a recapitulation of the latter.

·     The principal distinction between the trumpets and the bowls is that the former are partial in their effects and serve to warn the wicked of their spiritual danger, whereas the latter are complete and represent final judgment upon the unrepentant.

·     The same event in history may serve as a trumpet judgment for one person (a mere warning) and as a bowl judgment for another (a final judgment, resulting in death).

·     The disasters described recur in history repeatedly.

So they are saying that for you and I in life there are judgments that God brings to draw us to himself and then if rejected long enough, final judgment could occur.   But then these are not to be taken literally in their view

So, … Let's look more closely then at this Text of what I believe to be a perspective on the end of the Great Day of the Lord, the final years of the literal 7 year period known as the Tribulation and more specifically the final latter ½, the Great Tribulation.

Let's look at what we've already read and then move to chapter 16 as well.

John is IN HEAVEN -

"I saw a great and marvelous sign: 7 Angels with the 7 Last Plaques"

The Good News: LAST … because with them God's wrath is completed

John moves to a glorious view in Heaven after mentioning the 7 plaques. 

Either he has summarized FIRST including ALL of the Tribulation Saints being seen here and singing praises to God at the COMPLETION of the Tribulation, OR, he pauses before explaining the 7 plaques to tell us of the seen he is seeing in Heaven. 

I would tend to lean to the first that he tells us the WHOLE Vision spending MORE time on the glorious finish before detailing for us the vision of the 7 bowls of judgment poured out on the wickedness of the earth.

Song of the Tribulation Saints -

They are - Victorious over the Beast, his Image, his Number

They have - Harps given by God (have you always wanted to play the guitar?  Well we will in Heaven, the 24 Elders the church plays harps in Chapter 5, The 144,000 have them in chapter 14, as do these here)

They Sang - The Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb

    1. The Song of Moses - Exodus 15:1-21 - Song of Victory over the Foes of Life --- the First Recorded Song in the Bible and THIS song is the Last Recorded song in the Bible - how wonderfully they will enjoy the Song of Moses after having LIVED it.  - Slaves in the early years of our country related well to Israel, to deliverance, to the Exodus and sang spirituals longing for that kind of deliverance.  These will Sing it from the OTHER side of the Red Sea, from the other side of the Jordon

     2. The Song of The Lamb - Rev 5:8-14 - Song of Victory over Sin and Death

 Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony - that is the Temple within the Temple or the Holy of Holies that houses the Ark of the Covenant … we saw it in 11:19 this is most likely just expanding on it


  Out of It

    1. 7 Angels with 7 Plaques

    2. Dressed

      a. Clean shining linen - these are not ugly, dirty mercenaries, but are CLEAN and GLEAMING, JUST in the duty they carry out for God

      b. golden sashes around their chest

      c. these are priestly angels, they wore priestly garments and came from the Holy of Holies

  One of the 4 Living Creatures Gave them 7 Golden Bowls Filled with God's Wrath

  Temple Filled with Smoke

  No One Could enter until the 7 plaques were complete

    1. When God's glory was in the Temple or Tabernacle, no one could stand it, as with Moses as with Solomon's Temple

    2. If God's goodness is that Great, how much more his Wrath, no one in Heaven will enter it while his Holy Wrath comes from the Holy of Holies.  His wrath and his grace come from the same place, the Holiness of God

Chapter 16 - Read Verse/Section at a Time

V1 - Then I heard a Loud Voice from the Temple

    1. Go

    2. Pour Out

    3. On The Earth

You should take NOTICE of the Rapidity and Severity of these Bowls in comparison to the Seals and the Trumpets which have come before. Notice the similarity between the plaques of Egypt as well as the previous judgments in the Tribulation which were "lighter" versions of these, i.e. 1/3 of life if the seas being destroyed and now ALL, etc.

1st Bowl - v2

    1. On the LAND

    2. Ugly, Painful (this word can be translated malignant - which literally means troubles pressed together) , loathsome Sores (a wound producing a discharge of pus) - same Greek word is used here as is used in the Greek Septuagint Translation of the Old Testament in referring to the Egyptian Plaque of Boils, And the Boils of Job, as well as the Greek word used in the New Testament for Lazarus and his Boils.  These are LITERAL not figurative and they affect ALL people who have chosen NOT to worship Christ and have worshipped the Beast and received his Mark.  All the glitters is NOT gold, all that appears beautiful and beneficial is NOT and they are seeing their wicked hearts of sin now manifesting on the outside and feeling the pain that it brings and a forbearance of what eternity will bring

2nd Bowl - v3

    1. On the SEA

    2. Turned into blood LIKE a dead man's - that is not red, life-giving, active blood, but this means like blackened, clotting, thick, stinking, lifeless blood, such that EVERY living thing in the sea died --- How can we apply this to ANY event in history so far?  It MUST be literal or the word EVERY would not be there.  It is the Greek word PAS which means individually, each, every, all, the whole.  EVERY fish, every lobster, crab, dolphin, whale, coral, starfish, seahorse, ALL will die, imagine, thousands and thousands of Whales beached, millions of fish floating, dead and rotting.  Imagine the sea gulls plucking at the waters

3rd Bowl - vv8-9

    1. On the RIVERS and SPRINGS

    2. Became Blood

    3. The Angel pouring, as if amazed by the immensity yet proclaims God's Justice "You are Just in these judgments"

      a. because they shed the blood of saints and prophets

      b. they now have blood to drink

    4. The Altar Responds - "Yes, Lord God Almighty, True and Just are your judgments"  -

      a. Why the Altar?  Because at that Heavenly Altar the sacrifice was made for the Salvation of All men and they who have rejected it have taken on this judgment on themselves

      b. Hebrews says that Jesus Christ ascended and presented himself on the altar of God, his OWN blood for our Sins.  What cries out from the Altar of Heaven is the Very Blood of Christ that calls out having not been tried and found wanting but LEFT UNTRIED and it cries out You spurned me and now God is JUST in Judging You

He is True and Just/Righteous … True is the word alethinos /al-ay-thee-nos/ - means that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the REAL nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, GENUINE - God IS who he says he is FIRST TO LAST through and through and those who follow the counterfeit will NOT get what's promised but what is deserved.  Romans 6:23 - the wages of sin is DEATH …

4th Bowl - vv8-9

    1. on the SUN

    2. intense heat - power to scorch with fire

    3. cursed the name of God - funny I thought they didn't believe in him

    4. refused to repent and Glorify God (confess)

5th Bowl - vv 10,11

    1. on the THRONE of the Beast

    2. Kingdom was plunged into darkness - happens all at once

    3. Could be centered ONLY on the region of his throne probably Babylon or more worldwide

    4. Scriptures - Isaiah 60:2; Joel 2:1,2,31; Nahum 1:6,8; Mark 13:24,25

    5. The relief from the sun will only be a temporary blessing as the complete darkness will become excruciating.  Most likely limited electricity will be available with the water need to produce it transformed into blood - in the agony they gnaw at their own tongues and CURSE the God of Heaven


6th Bowl - vv12-16

    1. On the EUPHRATES River

    2. Water dried up to Prepare the way for the Kings of the East (literally kings from the sun's rising) These are most likely an Asian Confederacy, perhaps coming against the Antichrist for his failings in these times to meet their demands or their needs … yet they will be turned from their bent on destroying him to turn against Christ

    3. 3 Messengers of Evil - I saw three evil (unclean) spirits … looked like frogs

      a. frogs were seen as unclean and evil in many backgrounds including in Judaism.  But these slimy, cold-blooded, creatures come

      b. out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, the false prophet -

      c. they have the task of convincing the kings of the entire earth to bring their armies to the region

      d. no doubt no one will be of the mind or ability to fight anyone let alone the God of Heaven, but in this time, these slimy messengers will perform miracles and wonders in order to convince the kings that this is a needed pursuit and ultimately a "winnable" attempt. - READ Joel 3:9-11; Ps 2:1-4

    4. they will gather for "the Battle on the Great Day of God Almighty"

    5. v 16 says they will gather at Armageddon

      a. means "Valley of Megiddo" or the "Plain of Esdraelon" -

      b. Barak defeated the Canaanites there; Gideon defeated the Midianites there

      c. Saul and Josiah were BOTH killed in battles on this battlefield

      d. in the central part of Palestine --- It is HUGE … My Father needed 3 images to capture all of it in a picture

      e. Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have been deeply moved when he saw it and said "this is the ideal battleground for all the armies of the world"

      f. the name comes from the root word meaning "to cut off, to slay"

    6. A Word to the Wise from Christ - v15

      a. Behold, Look, Pay Attention, Take Heed

      b. I AM coming like a thief in the night - that is unexpected, sooner than you think, unannounced, when you are unprepared,

      c. Stay Awake - Keep Closing near --- that you aren't caught Naked, in Shame

      d. Blessing CAN come if you listen to me

      e. there will still those who had NOT bowed to the Beast AND had not received Christ … Even as Judgment is coming, to the End, Christ calls, "Whosoever Will May Come"  - Rom 13:12-14 - The Night is Nearly Spent, Wake Up … Cast off Deed of Darkness … Put on Jesus Christ

7th Bowl - vv17-21

    1. Poured INTO the AIR

    2. Voice from the Temple "It Is Done" - this is a Cry of Defeat for Satan and those who have chosen his way and a Cry of an End to the Groanings of the Earth longing for restoration, and Vindication for the saints.  Much like the Cry of Christ on the Cross "It Is Finished" a cry of Victory over sin, and completion of the Sacrifices.

    3. Lightning Flashes, Rumblings, Thunder, SEVERE Earthquake (worst ever in History)

    4. Scriptures - Zechariah 14:1-8; Ps 125:1; Micah 4:7

    5. The Great City - some think Babylon, but I believe, as do Criswell, Seiss, MacArthur, this to Be Jerusalem as matching to the above scriptures. 

      a. split in 3 parts - if this matches to Zechariah 13:8 then some suggest that 2 of the 3 parts will be destroyed leaving on the one for God's restoration.  But notice that Jerusalem survives

      b. the Cities of the Earth though are destroyed - Especially Babylon which gets a FULL cup of God's wrath, which we will see more of all of this in Chs. 17 and 18;

    6. Every Island Fled away - either disappeared or MOVED in location - Perhaps the Heat of the Sun has melted some of the Polar Ice Caps and covered the islands … Perhaps the plates of all the earth are shifting causes the world wide earth quake

    7. Mountains not Found whether some or all doesn't matter

      a. God is getting the EARTH read for Recreation, for the New Earth of the Millennium … This is his Bull Dozer and Earth Movers at work

      b. Isaiah 40:4,5 - Every Valley, Exalted, Mountain made Plain …

    8. Hailstones of 100 pounds fall on the earth taking out men ---

      a. they curse God

      b. these judgments affect men but are poured out on the earth … God is making way for Christ and his redeemed


<Story about George Washington Liberating New York City more than a year after peace was signed between the United States and England in Paris.>

Noon November 25, 1783 George Washington gathered in Harlem to March with 1000 handpicked officers and men.  Peace had been signed more than a year earlier in Paris, but Sir Guy Carleton, the British Commander would not leave Manhattan until he had written orders from London.  Washington round down Broadway after 7 years of occupation, Orchards and fences stripped for firewood.  He ran into crowds with victory twigs of laurel in their hats.  Retired officers and soldiers in the crowd alongside women and children cheering.  Some wept some just watched in silence.  He had reason to be proud of these rail thin men in faded uniforms as they marched along

Washington lost his fortune and much of his property during the war. 

Peace was signed and Victory was won but the enemy stayed until orders came and Ownership was claimed

One day Christ will come back and Kick Satan out.  Satan is defeated, he knows he is defeated, he is just squatting, aggravating trying to maintain power

But his day will come and the order will go out and liberation of the Redeemed as well as liberation of this earth WILL come

Even as those in that day the words of Christ are apt for today

Blessed are those who are AWAKE and CLOTHED

We do NOT have to experience the Tribulation and experience God's wrath

We can remove our name from the appointment book of wrath

Wake up from Slumber the Sleep of those Dead in Trespasses and Sin

Clothe Yourself in the Lord Jesus Christ

And Live Expectantly, Excitedly, ready for his Return

What do we do in the meantime

2 Peter 3:10-18

?10? But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.?a?

?11? Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives ?12? as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.?b? That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. ?13? But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

?14? So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. ?15? Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. ?16? He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

?17? Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. ?18? But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

 Wednesday Night Bible study Fall 2005-Spring 2006

The following resources were used among others in preparation


Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary – Steve Gregg

W.A. Criswell Expository Sermons on Revelation

Dr. J.A. Seiss Expositions on Revelations

MacArthur Bible Studies: Revelation – John MacArthur

Dr. David Jeremiah Expositions on Revelation

The Pulpit Commentary: Revelation

Wiersbe: The Bible Exposition Commentary

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