Revelation 16:7

Monday, 3 May 2021

And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.” Revelation 16:7

It should be noted that some manuscripts leave out the words “another from.” Instead, it reads, “And I heard the altar saying.” In other words, the altar is personified, representing those who were martyred as were noted in Revelation 6 –

“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” Revelation 6:9-11

If the words “another from” are original, it could be representing the collective voice of the people (which would make less sense because they all speak in Revelation 6), or it could be another revelation of Christ, being the Representative of the altar calling out on their behalf. Whichever is correct, the voice is singular, and it calls out, “Even so, Lord God Almighty.”

It has been seen elsewhere already that the term pantokratór, or “Almighty,” is referring to Jesus. It generally must be inferred from the surrounding context, but this is certain. As such, it does not negate the voice being that of Christ.

As has been seen elsewhere, various aspects of Christ are seen to interact with one another in order for us to understand His various roles. This is not unique to the New Testament, but is seen in the Old as well, such as in Psalm 110:1 where the Lord (Yehovah) is noted as speaking to Himself in this manner. Whoever the voice issues from, it is directed to the all-powerful Lord, and it continues by calling out, “true and righteous are Your judgments.”

This follows in thought from the previous doxology called out by the martyrs seen in Revelation 15 –

“Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints!
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your judgments have been manifested.” Revelation 15:3, 4

In verse 15:3, the same word is used as here, but there it is inconsistently translated as “just.” For consistency, it should have said, “Righteous and true are your ways.” In this, the connection is made all the more obvious. The call from the altar is that the Lord is righteous and true in all His ways, including in His judgments. This is the repeated cry now in verse 16:7. He has given the offenders their just due by giving them blood to drink because they had shed the blood of the saints and prophets.

Life application: The words here call out the righteous nature of the judgments of God. One tired excuse which is often given for not accepting the Bible is that God is mean. Questions are directed against Him based on that premise – “How could He allow death in the world? What kind of God allows bad things to happen? The God of the Bible is bad because He ordered Israel to kill all of the people in the land of Canaan.” On and on it goes. People find fault with God instead of taking the time to understand who He is.

God is the Creator of time, space, and matter, and therefore He is prior to these things; He is eternal and unchanging. God doesn’t love one person more than another; God is love. God doesn’t hate one group of people more than another; God is just. God doesn’t overlook sin; God is righteous. These qualities don’t increase or decrease – they simply are.

Paul carefully explains these things in the book of Romans, but a good place to grasp them is found in Romans 3. God is holy and sin is unholy. It must be judged; God cannot compromise His own nature. It is a nature that demands the judgment of sin.

So why do some get to heaven and others go to hell? All sin receives its judgment. For some, it is in the substitutionary punishment found in the cross of Jesus, and heaven is the result. However, if judgment isn’t executed in Jesus’ cross, then it must be executed in the individual. There is no other way to satisfy a finite sin against the infinite God. Only Jesus Christ, who is fully Man and fully God, can bridge the gap between the two. When sin is judged in the individual apart from Jesus, the only possible result is hell.

If one can truly grasp this, then the judgments of God are understood to be righteous. God is both just and the Justifier of those who call on Jesus. There is only impartiality – only a completely fair execution of the sentence on sin – death. The calamity that has happened in this temporary, earthly world is not God’s fault, it is ours. He gracefully offers us a choice (faith in Jesus) in order to correct our sin nature. His judgments within the world are perfectly fair because it is we who have set ourselves at enmity with Him.

The good news for the Christian is that because Jesus is sinless, death couldn’t hold Him and this, therefore, translates to the faithful believer as well – eternal life in the presence of God, unstained by sin because of the precious blood of Christ. What a Gift! He is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. He is JESUS!

O Heavenly Father, how wondrous are Your ways! How glorious is Your plan! How righteous are Your judgments! We can only shout with a loud and resounding voice of praise at the greatness of what You did for us in the giving of Your own Son. May we never fail to proclaim the greatness of the Lord! Hallelujah and Amen.



Revelation 16:6

Sunday, 2 May 2021

For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
And You have given them blood to drink.
For it is their just due.” Revelation 16:6

This verse continues the doxology of praise to the Lord based on the pouring out of the bowl on the rivers and springs of water. The last clause of the previous verse said, “Because You have judged these things.” That judgment is now described, beginning with, “For they have shed the blood of the saints and prophets.”

This is speaking of the nations and people of the world. They have taken the mark of the beast, they have allied themselves against the Lord, and they have martyred those who have refused the mark. They also killed the two witnesses (the prophets), and any others who spoke forth the word of the Lord concerning turning from their sins and to holiness in Christ.

The term “prophet” does not necessarily mean one who is commissioned by the Lord to prophesy under inspiration. It can also mean in the wider sense of the word as simply speaking forth what is recorded in the word of God, as a preacher or teacher of the word might do.

Because of this, the doxology continues with, “And You have given them blood to drink.” This is referring to the judgment of the pouring out of the third bowl and the waters turning to blood. This does not necessarily mean the waters have become blood, but blood stands representative of life and/or death. When it is said that blood is shed, such as in a sacrificial animal or when referring to Christ, it means that the life is shed and thus death is the result. Therefore, giving “them blood to drink” may simply signify that the waters they drink result in death. With that understood, the verse finishes with, “For it is their just due.”

The words translated as “their just due” are more of a paraphrase. It is an adjective, not a noun. The KJV says, “for they are worthy.” This is closer to the intent, but “worthy” normally carries a positive connotation. A better translation would be, “For they are deserving.” They have heaped up the measure of their sins and they are deserving of death. This is the idea being conveyed.

Life application: Blood for blood – the people of the world are receiving their just due for their violent and ungodly actions, having shed the blood of the Lord’s people.

Revelation is speaking of the time of tribulation at the end of the age, so this verse is surely referring first to those who have died during the church age and also leading into the tribulation period. But more specifically, it is referring to the wholesale slaughter of God’s people during the tribulation.

A saint is anyone who has called on Jesus Christ as Lord. This is evidenced time and again in the epistles and obviously bears little resemblance to those designated “saints” by the Roman Catholic Church.

A saint is a saint based on a relationship with Christ, not a congregation. The saints of the church age have often been faithful even unto death, starting with the first recorded martyr in the New Testament – Stephen in Acts 7. Throughout the bloody ages, God has not forgotten any of them or their deeds. The “prophets” are those who prophesy on behalf of the Lord. There are two types of prophecy – foretelling and forth-telling.

Foretelling is what the prophets of old and the apostles of the New Testament did. They spoke the word of God to the people of God. Foretelling ended at the time the book of Revelation was complete, but prophets still forth-tell to this day. Faithful men of God – pastors and preachers who speak the word of God to the world – are today’s prophets, speaking the sealed words found in the Holy Bible. They have, along with the other saints, been martyred for their faithfulness. But like all of God’s faithful martyrs since the creation of the world, He has remembered them and their shed blood.

For their slaughtering of these people, the world is now given blood to drink, “for it is their just due.” God has seen, God has judged, God has sentenced, and God now executes the sentence – blood for blood.

For those in Christ who have died, it is a temporary thing. There is the hope of an eternity of days ahead, walking in the glory of God and reveling in what He has done through His Son. He is great. He is glorious. He is JESUS!

Lord, You have watched and seen what has been done to Your faithful over the centuries. A time is coming when all wrongs will be made right, and all penalties will be executed with speed and finality. We can be assured that our faithful witness for You will not go unnoticed, and we thank You for Your watchful eye upon our souls. Amen.



Revelation 16:5

Saturday, 1 May 2021

And I heard the angel of the waters saying:
“You are righteous, O Lord,
The One who is and who was and who is to be,
Because You have judged these things. Revelation 16:5

The previous verse saw the third angel pour out his bowl on the rivers and springs of waters, turning them to blood. With that done, it now records a doxology of praise to the Lord, saying, “And I heard the angel of the waters saying.” This is the angel set over the waters, just as there were angels who were in charge of the winds in Revelation 7:1 –

“After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.”

Likewise, an angel was noted in verse 14:18 having “power over the fire.”

What is probably the case is that this “angel” over the waters is another revelation of Christ Jesus. As the Creator, He is in charge of all aspects of His creation. In the first four verses of this chapter, four aspects of the created order have been noted – heaven (verse 1), earth (verse 2), the sea (verse 3), and the fountains of waters (verse 4). This angel then says, “You are righteous, O Lord.”

It is a note that what has occurred in the judgment is appropriate. There is nothing unjust in the actions against the people, but rather the Lord is justified in taking action appropriate to the state of the people of the earth. The angel next says, “The One who is and who was and who is to be.”

It is another confirmation of the deity of Christ. This concept, or one similar to it, is found so far in Revelation 1:4, 1:8, 4:8, & 11:17. Each directly or indirectly refers to Christ Jesus. Here, it refers to Him as “Lord God Almighty” in verse 16:7. It is the deity of Jesus Christ that is on prominent display throughout the book.

The nature of God in Christ is unchanging. The standard of His judgments does not change, but they come in response to the sin of man. Everything He judges will be perfectly judged, and the resulting punishments will be in accord with that unchanging standard. This is the reason for, again, calling Him the One who is and who was and who is to come. Understanding that, the next clause continues with, “Because You have judged these things.”

In accord with His standard, the judgment has been made, and the punishment has been meted out. That will be described in the next verse.

Life application: As referred to above, an interesting concept has slowly developed through the chapters of Revelation. We have seen the angels with power over the winds in Revelation 7. Then we saw the angel who had power over fire. This verse now shows us the angel of the waters.

Unlike other religions which ascribe a deity to the elements, the Bible proclaims that God is sovereign over His creation. Either He has directly controlled them (if these angels are revelations of Christ), or He has designated a created angel with authority over each of these things. Either way, the control of the elements is subservient to His direction for those things.

In this verse, the angel of the waters (be it Christ directly or an angel appointed under His authority) acknowledges this. Instead of questioning why the waters under His care are harmed, the angel states that God is righteous in His judgment. He also clearly identifies and calls into remembrance that God is sovereign over time itself. He is “the One who is and who was and who is to be.”

Because of this, His transcendence over time means that He is outside of time and therefore before the creation. Thus, it is His to direct. And in the time of tribulation, that direction includes the judgment of the people of the world through the elements.

In the end, whether through earthquake, famine, flood, lightning, or any other natural disaster, we have no right to question God when disaster occurs in such ways. He created, and the creation is His to direct for His purposes. Let us understand this and know that God is just when He judges. Let us be grateful that our judgment for sin has been taken out on another at the cross of Calvary. We can have release from condemnation if we simply call out in faith for the saving grace of God that is found in JESUS.

Lord, the elements can scare us because we are powerless to do anything about them, but we also know that they are under Your control. Should we be afflicted by natural disaster, it didn’t happen apart from Your knowledge. Help us to remember this and to give You praise at all times, even when we don’t fully understand what has occurred or why. Amen.



Revelation 16:4

Friday, 30 April 2021

Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Revelation 16:4

This closely corresponds to the effects of the sounding of the third trumpet –

* Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. (bowl)

* Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. (trumpet)

With that understood, John begins the verse with, “Then the third angel poured out his bowl.” The sequence of bowls being poured out is given in order for us, but it does not mean that they do not overlap in time. We are simply being presented with the effects of the events in order to know what occurs with each one. The effect of this outpouring is “on the rivers and springs of water.”

As with the previous two outpourings, the Greek reads eis, into, not epi, upon. The effect of the outpouring goes into the rivers and springs of water, mixing with them, “and they became blood.”

The verb in the Greek is singular. Therefore, instead of saying, “they became,” it should more precisely say, “it became,” or “there came.” Despite this, the words here convey the same thought as the previous outpouring. Without saying it this time, the result is probably the death of everything in them, but this is not explicitly stated.

Life application: At the sounding of the third trumpet, only a third of the rivers and the springs of water were affected. However, no such distinction is made here. Either these words here are speaking in general terms, or the plague is vaster in its scope.

No matter which, life can’t survive without water, and so the people will be forced to drink what is available, even if it brings about agony and death. In the modern world, filtration is available, but not on a grand scale. Much of the earth will be forced to drink this water in its polluted state. And, depending on what has contaminated the waters, filtration may not be able to completely purify it.

The world is reaping the harvest it has sown and in a most personal way. Every mouth will loathe what it is offered, and yet it will be forced to accept it anyway. The mouths which should have given praise, honor, and glory to the Creator are now forced to drink of the corrupt creation that they worshiped. The irony is truly palpable in this plague, and it will certainly consume a great many people in the process.

Be sure to pray for the lost now, and also to take every chance to tell them the good news of the gospel. And more, be a living testimony to the goodness of God that says forgiveness is available for all who come to Him through faith in the precious Gift of JESUS.

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” Amen.



Revelation 16:3

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died. Revelation 16:3

This second bowl judgment is not unlike the second trumpet judgment. Placed side by side, this becomes evident –

* Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died. (bowl)

* Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. (trumpet)

Having noted that, John begins the words with, “Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea.” The first bowl was poured out into (Greek: eis) the earth. Now, rather than the earth, the second bowl is poured out into (Greek: eis) the sea.

This bowl judgment closely corresponds to the first plague upon Egypt –

“So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. 21 The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.” Exodus 7:20, 21

This correlation is seen in this verse as John continues by saying, “and it became blood as of a dead man.” It is debated what the meaning of these words is. Does it mean “very bloody,” as in someone who has been stomped on and mangled, or does it mean “dark and lifeless,” as in the blood of a corpse which has no oxygen flowing to it and which has been corrupted?

Either way, the symbolism is probably of a great sea battle where countless people have slaughtered one another. Or, maybe more likely, some cataclysmic disaster – such as radiological, biological, nuclear, etc. – has occurred. If the latter, the sea dies and takes up a dead color demonstrating a lack of oxygen and vibrancy. Because of this, John next says, “and every living creature in the sea died.”

One thought by some scholars is that this “sea” is the same symbolism used elsewhere to designate the “sea” of people in the world, not the literal sea of the ocean. This is certainly not what is being portrayed here. If “every living creature in the sea died,” then it is not referring to people of the nations. The term is a general term, not a specific term like “every person in the sea.” The general nature of the terminology demands a literal rendering of “sea.”

The result of such a cataclysm, and the resulting decrease in oxygen, would be death as the life in the sea suffocates. This would cause an immense smell to arise, and from there, the sea life would wash up on shores leading to pestilence and disease.

The scope of this judgment is not stated. Is this speaking of the area of Israel alone? If so, it may be the Mediterranean Sea. It could extend to one of the greater seas in the world as well. However, it is unlikely that it would encompass the entire earth. Even the most severe disaster would hardly kill every living thing in all of the world’s oceans. Being dogmatic at the scope of the event is currently pointless, but when it occurs, it will be known as the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Life application: In Leviticus 17:11, it says this – “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” The life is in the blood, but when this second bowl is poured out, it “became blood as of a dead man.” In other words, there is death in the waters and not life; the opposite effect of what God originally intended for His creatures.

The terminology here allows that this is not real blood, but what would resemble the blood of a dead person. It would stink and have death-producing effects. God is using this horrifying form of judgment as a punishment upon the world. It will be an immensely effective tool because the waters of the oceans affect all the land they come in contact with.

Depending on the actual scope of the plague, the world will lose a large source of food, and it will only lead to greater disaster as the bowl judgments continue, all because people have decided to reject God’s offer of peace through His Son. God has made the offer, and the entire focus of what occurs throughout redemptive history towards man – be it positive or negative – is the result of how we respond to that offer. Everything is centered on our Lord, JESUS.

Lord, when the great judgments of the end times come, the people of the world will certainly curse You and say that You are unfair in Your dealings. But for those of us who believe Your word as it is written, we know that Your judgment is right because You have let us know in advance what is coming. Great are You when You judge, O God. Amen.