In this chapter the seven last plagues are to be poured out. We will see seven golden bowls of the wrath of God. People, mountains, and rivers will all be destroyed. But keep in mind that this will not be the end for the people that took the mark of the beast, because there remains a judgment for all that will not worship the Lamb of God. Armageddon is just around the next bend of the road. So, let’s dig in, put on our seat belts because this will be a bumpy ride through this chapter.
Revelation 16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
The very first thing I see here is the voice of God commanding the angels that have the seven bowls of the wrath of God to go forth and pour them out upon the earth. The voice comes out of the temple, or better the Holy of Holies with the command to go and carry out the orders.
Please notice that these bowls will be poured out in rapid succession. There will be little time passing between the bowls as they are seen to be poured out one after the other with no chance of resting in between them.
The first bowl of the wrath of God!
Revelation 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
The result of the first bowl is grievous sores. The Analytical-Literal Translation says ‘and a foul and malignant ulcerated sore’. The American Standard Version says ‘a noisome and grievous sore’. The Message Bible says ‘loathsome, stinking sores’ and lastly the New American Standard Bible says ‘a loathsome and malignant sore’.
Some have said that this must be some sort of skin cancer translating the word malignant to refer to cancer. This would not be a pretty site at all. Others think that this must be something like boils. If you have ever seen anyone with boils they can be very painful, look very bad, and when lanced they have a very bad smell.
I do not believe that this is just a replay of the sixth plague that God brought upon Egypt because it is different. From the following verses in the Old Testament book of Exodus we see that the boils were to be upon man and animals.
Exodus 9:8 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, Take for yourselves handfuls of soot from a kiln, and let Moses throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh.
Exodus 9:9 It will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and will become boils breaking out with sores on man and beast through all the land of Egypt.
These sores pictured here in Revelation are just on the people and only the people that had taken the mark of the beast or worshipped the beast. Many Bible commentators try to link the seven vials of the wrath of God with the seven plagues of Egypt, but there are many differences between them and although there are similarities, they are not the same.
Now a thought on the sores! Wouldn’t it be so very fitting if the sores that were inflicted on those that had taken the mark were in fact located at the very point of the mark? That would make the mark of the beast the punishment for taking the mark in the first place. Now this is just a weird thought that ran through my mind and it is not scripture and should be considered as such.
Now, for the next verse.
Revelation 16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
Now we have the second bowl of the wrath of God poured out on the sea. I do not see this as a particular sea but all seas. Although this is similar to the second trumpet of Revelation chapter 8, it is different. In the second trumpet only one third of the ocean dwellers died, and here everything that has life will die.
Where the verse says became as the blood of a dead man we will picture this as dark red and clotting. It wasn’t the blood of dead men but similar to the clotting blood of death.
Notice that it says every living soul died in the sea. This means everything! Fish, whales, everything dies. Notice the word soul as it is used here in this verse. Soul here is from the Greek word Pso-khas per the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #G5590, meaning breath which in this usage would be as regarding human, animal and aquatic life.
The next word for soul would be Pneuma, Pnyoomah per the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #G4154. meaning a current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy spirit: – ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind.
And the final usage that I found was zoe dzo-ay’ per the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #G2198, meaning life (literally or figuratively): – life (-time).
Now this should leave us all slightly confused so to clear it up we are not talking about destroying the soul of man, the pneuma, but only the breath that is within. This is like killing the flesh, and as a side note animal and aquatic life lack one thing that human kind all have which is a human soul, the pneuma.
So we see all life in the seas has now died. This would be a devastating blow to the economy of the world if they had any time left to be devastated.
The third bowl of the wrath of God.
Revelation 16:4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
Revelation 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
Revelation 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
Revelation 16:7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
Once again we have a similarity with the third trumpet of Revelation chapter 8, but once again this bowl of wrath is more severe than the third trumpet. During the third trumpet only one third of the waters turned to blood. This judgment is upon the rivers, streams, artesian springs and any other source of fresh water. There is now no supply of fresh water and this would cause destruction of human life on an unparalleled scale.
Dr. J. Vernon McGee stated that this angel was the superintendent of the world’s water supply and called him a ministering angel. This angel now makes a statement that thou art righteous oh Lord, and that is exactly correct. The bowls of wrath are the righteous judgments of God on sin and depravity, on idol worship and blasphemers.
Some have said that this cannot be fair because how can a loving God commit to all this destruction. The problem with the question is that the one asking does not know who God is. God has been calling sinners to himself through the person of Jesus Christ whom He sent into the world for the very purpose of seeking the lost. What have the majority of the world’s population done with the person of Christ? They crucified Him; they rejected Him even though He showed Himself to be God in human flesh.
And now they still reject Him even during the worst time of tribulation they will continue to curse God and yell unfair, unfair. God is fair and just and holy and must one day judge sin.
The angel testifies that the people that receive the wrath of God are worthy of that wrath. They are now reaping what they have sown, only a million times greater. God’s people have been martyred, persecuted, burned alive and beheaded for the faith and now vengeance is being poured out on all that had fun living in ungodliness. When a person lives like there is no God then that same person should be prepared for what ever judgment God delivers.
Psalms 14:1a The fool has said in his heart that there is no God.
And I say, Ah but there is and He is sending judgment.
We move on to verses 8 and 9, and the fourth bowl of God’s wrath.
Revelation 16:8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
Revelation 16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
I believe that this event was predicted several times in the past both in the Old Testament and New Testament.
Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
Luke 21:26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
We see this also in the following Old Testament passages as well.
Deuteronomy 32:24 They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
Isaiah 24:6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
Isaiah 42:25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.
Malachi 4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
We can choose to ignore everything God has said throughout the ages if we want to. We can choose to believe that there is no God and that we are all here by some unimaginable coincidence which by the way takes more faith to believe than what God requires for faith in Christ.
We can ignore that we are wonderfully and marvelously put together with every part of our body serving a useful function. We can choose to believe the lie of Satan, but we will not be able to ignore the wrath of the seven bowl judgments and the lake of fire that awaits every unbeliever.
I had a fellow tell me one time that if a person was cast into the lake of fire that they would just burn up in an instant and that would be that, they would just cease to exist. The problem with that thinking is it goes contrary to the teachings of the Bible.
We will all, believers and unbelievers alike, receive resurrection bodies, bodies that are eternal. The lake of fire is eternal, where the Bible says there will be suffering, wailing, gnashing of teeth, torment, burning, and utter darkness and it will go on for eternity, forever. If this sounds exciting to you, you may choose to ignore God and reject His call.
So we have here the sun which is now producing much more heat than normal and literally scorching people, burning the flesh. The angel himself seems to have the power to burn the flesh also. Men were scorched with great heat, and would anyone repent and turn to God for repentance? No, instead they blasphemed God, they shake their scorched fist in the face of God rather than repent and ask for mercy and give God glory.
Our American culture may take the cross off of Mount Soledad in San Diego, California. We may remove the Ten Commandments from the courthouses and take the words under God out of our pledge. We may restrict our chaplains from preaching Christ, but we will not escape the judgment of God unless we repent and turn to Christ for mercy.
Judgment day is coming and by looking at the world situation today with all of the rogue nations building nuclear weapons it may not be very long before it is here.
Now we go to the next two verses, and the fifth bowl of wrath.
Revelation 16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
Revelation 16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
God now attacks the kingdom of the beast and turns everything dark. The connotation here is that it is so very dark that it causes pain. Think of Carlsbad Caverns when the lights go out and you cannot see anything. It is so dark that the sense of direction is lost. It is said that if a person were to stay in that darkness for one week they would go completely mad.
Look at the response from the people that are now in the dark. They blasphemed the God of Heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
We see here that the throne of the beast, meaning the beast in Revelation chapter 13 is a man. He has deceived, slandered, lied, and misled the multitudes into believing that there is no god other than him. He came on the scene promising peace and safety and now even the beast will gnaw his tongue in pain.
The prophet Joel said the following words in the Old Testament.
Joel 2:1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
Joel 2:2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
God has warned His chosen people time and time again, His grace has stretched for thousands of years and they would not repent.
Revelation 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
Rev 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Rev 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
In the previous verses we saw the first five vials poured out upon the earth, we saw noisome and grievous sore, the sea became as the blood of a dead man, the rivers and fountains of waters and they became blood, men were scorched with great heat and then darkness that caused men to gnaw their tongues. We also saw that after all of the pain and suffering that men would not repent nor give God glory.
Now we have the sixth vial poured out in rapid succession and it causes the great River Euphrates to be dried up. Why would God do this, well the answer is right here in this verse. The River Euphrates would not be passable for a large army with all of their weapons of war. When an army moves swiftly they need bridges to convey the tanks and the artillery and the men.
God now dries up the river so that the military can pass over without any problem. that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. We are talking about 2 million men marching towards the battle. Remember the Israel and Hezballoh conflict recently? Israel bombed the bridges and roadways preventing the movement of men, machinery and weapons.
Now you may ask the way of what kings, and the answer would be, the kings of the east, the Orient. This is the opening for the troops that will come to the battle of Armageddon. They will cross over on dry ground and not be impaired in their march. We see this in verse 14 with the words to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Verse 13 talks about three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are not frogs, as the language is symbolic of something advancing in stages.
This would be like a leap forward and then a pause and then another forward surge and another pause. These would be the evil spirits deceiving the Oriental kings into coming to battle God Almighty Himself. It is said that they perform signs so that the kings will follow them to destruction. This is the precursor to the great battle of Armageddon.
What kings might be east of Israel and east of the Euphrates River? Let’s do a little geography lesson. To the south of Israel we have Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to the north of Israel we find Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, and of course to the west the Mediterranean Sea. What do we find to the east of Israel? We find Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, India and China. If we move a little north and east we will find Mongolia and Russia. These are the countries or kings that would benefit greatly when the Euphrates River is dried and passable. This would allow the movement of military might to the land of Israel, and their appointment with God Almighty! Once again, we are reminded of Who is in charge, God Almighty.
We find a prophecy of this in the Old Testament book of Zechariah.
Zechariah 14:1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
Zechariah 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Zechariah 14:3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
Zechariah 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Zechariah 14:5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
Zechariah 14:6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
Zechariah 14:7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
Zechariah 14:8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
Zechariah 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
Zechariah 14:10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.
Zechariah 14:11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
Zechariah 14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
Zechariah 14:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.
Zechariah 14:14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
Zechariah 14:15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.
Zechariah 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zechariah 14:17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
Zechariah 14:18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zechariah 14:19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zechariah 14:20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar.
Zechariah 14:21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
Notice with me the following verse.
Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Once again the warning, I am coming as a thief, watch and be prepared, or I will find you naked and ashamed, translate this unrighteous, and unsaved.
True, they will come before the Judge of the universe with sores, plagues, cancers and scorching and misery, but they will come for judgment. And, not just them but all of the unsaved dead will stand before God at the Great White Throne and receive the just reward for their unbelief.
Revelation 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Now there is no doubt that the battle is about to be engaged. Where is this Armageddon located? The following is taken from Dr. Barnes.
into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. The word Armageddon occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and is not found in the Septuagint. It seems to be formed from the Hebrew word Har Megidow – Mountain of Megiddo. Compare 2Chronicles 35:22, where it is said that Josiah came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. Megiddo was a town belonging to Manasseh, although within the limits of Issachar, Joshua17:11. It had been originally one of the royal cities of the Canaanites Joshua12:21.
Megiddo is a hilly country and the battles have been fought in the valleys. It is said that the valley of Megiddo is below sea level and rises at each end and the sides so that it could trap liquid like a bowl would hold your soup. This is where the blood will flow up to the horse’s bridals.
Revelation 14:20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
This will be the final battle before the Millennial reign of Christ and we will see it soon in Revelation chapter 19.
Now we will see the final vial poured out into the air with what I believe is the loud voice of God Himself.
Revelation 16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
Revelation 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
We have seen similar words before in the scriptures. Jesus Christ spoke the words it is finished, done, just before giving up His Spirit to God the Father. This meant that the plan of salvation was complete, that He had finished the work and there was nothing left undone.
We see it again in Revelation 21:6 where Jesus says; And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. This is a picture of the completed work of Christ and in the next verses in chapter 21 we get a picture of the Heavenly city.
It is done represents the last of the seven vials and then the lead up to Armageddon. The last vial is the end. We see noises, thunderings and earthquakes, and not just some puny little shakers but massive quakes mighty in force, the like of which has never occurred before.
Geologists say that this planet is literally shaking all of the time and that this last plague could be the earth shaking itself apart. People will be hiding in fear and torment and the earth will start to shake. It will be a time of great fear for anyone trusting in their own goodness. But, we see from God’s word we can not trust in our own goodness. It is not good enough.
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Only when we wear the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ are we at peace with God.
Revelation 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
Revelation 16:20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
Revelation 16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
We now see the great city, Babylon splitting into three parts and the cities of the nations falling. It says here that God is now ready to pour out the fierceness of His wrath upon the great city Babylon.
Now if you relate the next words to the earthquakes you will start to get the picture of what is happening here.
every island fled away, and the mountains were not found, and to me this means flattened so as to no longer be mountains. We have great hail falling, about 100 pounds for each hailstone, and now observe the response of the people.
In the midst of this calamity, the devastating earthquakes, mountains disappearing, islands disappearing, hailstones that could crush the life out of a person, look at the response.
and men blasphemed God no repentance, no cry for mercy, no glory to the Creator who formed man from the dust of the earth, just cursing and blasphemy because they would not believe.
Remember what the scriptures said in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2?
2Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Thessalonians 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Why do you think that these people do not repent and trust God and live?
Because God has allowed a strong delusion that they should believe the lie of the devil. Just as Pharaoh of Egypt hardened his heart, and when God saw the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart He hardened it a little more so that His wonders might be seen in all the land. God helps these people in their hardness of heart also so that they will not repent.