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.

 

 

Revelation 16:2

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Revelation 16:2

The previous verse instructed the seven angels to go and pour out their bowls. With that stated, it now reads, “So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth.” As in verse 1, the preposition signifies “into” rather than “upon.” There is a sequential order to the pouring out of the bowls, just as there has been a sequential order to the breaking of the seals and the sounding of the trumpets. As for this first bowl, it says, “and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men.”

This does not match the first trumpet. There, the action was directed to the trees and the green grass. This is directed towards mankind, upon whom falls this sore. The Greek words used to describe it are the adjectives kakos (evil, rotted, poisoned) and ponéros (evil, pain-ridden, agonizing). The cognate nouns are both used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:8 –

“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

In the rejection of that which is good, and in focusing on that which is filled with malice and wickedness, the world will receive a just punishment in like-kind upon themselves. In this judgment, there is a connection to the sixth plague that fell upon Egypt –

“So the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.’ 10 Then they took ashes from the furnace and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses scattered them toward heaven. And they caused boils that break out in sores on man and beast. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians.” Exodus 9:8-11

Though no specific disease is indicated, the connection to the boils of Egypt may be what will again afflict the people. Also, it may be that the sores coming upon the people are similar to those Job would have experienced –

“So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” Job 2:7

They may affect the entire body, and they will probably be abscessed and malignant. Deuteronomy 28:35 gives a description of such sores as well – “The Lord will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.”

Whatever it is, it will be something that will terribly afflict the people it lights upon, meaning those “who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.”

It is of note that the sores will come specifically upon those who have taken the mark of the beast. With modern technology bringing the world closer and closer to this inevitable moment in time, many new ways of solidifying power are coming about. There are vaccines that are being developed, and vaccine passports are being initiated so that only those who accept these things have certain privileges.

There are also injectable tracking devices such as RFID chips. These, and several other types of technologies, could certainly lead to one which will be decided upon for all people to receive. However, that very mark may be the means of bringing about these horrifying sores.

This doesn’t seem far-fetched at all. Many of these technologies that are supposedly intended for good are already showing horrifying side effects. When the mark of the beast is decided upon, it may be that it will take a year or two for the effects to manifest themselves. By then, it will be too late, and the sores will come.

Life application: This will be a worldwide and ongoing series of calamities, and there will be no petitioning for God to lessen the suffering – the heavenly tabernacle is closed until the judgment is finished.

In today’s world, people think it’s fun to proclaim they are atheists. There are seminars set up for people to rage against God, and it is fashionable to write books and make movies about the liberated state of humanism. And, with more people following this path, the cooler it seems. But a time is coming (and remember, this is only the first plague) when giving allegiance to the beast will be a sorely (pun intended) regretted decision.

All of this could be averted by just calling out to God and acknowledging Him and receiving His offer of peace. Let us be wise and look to our Creator and His open hand of grace. Let us come to JESUS.

Heavenly Father, the pains we suffer and the trials we face almost always come directly from our own bad decisions. And a time is coming when the world will collectively face them. Why can’t we just look at the creation and acknowledge that it isn’t mere chance that we’re here? Why can’t we just give You the glory You’re due? Forgive us and heal us. Amen.

 

 

Revelation 16:1

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.” Revelation 16:1

With the completion of the prelude to the coming bowl judgments revealed in Chapter 15, this chapter now begins with the details of that scene starting to be filled in. In this, John opens the words of Chapter 16 with, “Then I heard a loud voice.”

This is the often-repeated phrase going back to verse 1:10 and having been used quite a few times since then. The heralding of a new part of a scene, or the introduction of a new event, is preceded by a loud voice. This one is said to be “from the temple.”

It was just said in the previous verse that “no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.” Therefore, this is the voice of the Lord Jesus Himself (the God/Man) calling out and “saying to the seven angels, ‘Go.’”

As noted, the seven angels might be (and probably are) “the seven Spirits who are before His throne” of Revelation 1:4. They are His “angels,” meaning “messengers,” of destruction upon the world that has rejected Him. They are told to “Go.” It indicates the set time has come, and the purposes of God will now be met in their going forth. Their purpose is to “pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”

Rather than “on,” the preposition signifies “into.” The measure of iniquity of man has reached its fullness, and the time for God to judge the earth has come. It is the same thought as that which occurred in Genesis at the coming of the flood of Noah. It is what occurred when Egypt was judged. It is the same for the Amorites in Canaan when they were exterminated by Israel. There is a point where God’s wrath is poured out on those who have rejected Him. This is, again like at the time of Noah, which is to be on a global scale.

Life application: The direction is given and there will be no holding back on what is coming. The trumpet judgments were limited in their size and scope, and served as warnings concerning what would come if the world wouldn’t turn to God. And, of course, it didn’t. Therefore, the bowl judgments are on their way. They will pour out plagues in full strength, and no one on earth will be spared from what is coming.

We tend to think that if we just store up enough food, money, or other things, then we will be secure from troubles that other people will be caught in. In fact, the concept of IRAs and other retirement funds is to provide security during the years of difficulty that lay at the end of every working life. But relying on these things is tenuous at best. A little hiccup in an economy can wipe away vast fortunes.

A set of worldwide calamities will take away every thought of security. People will live day to day and feel the effects of these judgments continuously. We think we can hide from God, but He is ever-present. When His judgment comes, it will be a terrifying thing.

For the Christian, we know that our security isn’t in gold or silver, nor is it in the US dollar, a hedge fund, or an IRA. Our security is in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and in the power of His resurrection! And that is security we can bank on. Thank God for JESUS!

Lord, let us take a moment to thank You for the surety we have in You! Thank You for Your shed blood and the offer of peace that comes through it. Now we can rest in absolute surety that we will stand in Your presence without any fear of condemnation! Great are You, O Lord, and greatly to be praised! Hallelujah! Yes, Praise the Lord! Amen.