There are 3 sets of judgments. The 7 seal judgments which took
place during the first 3 * years of the tribulation, which Christ
called the beginning of woes.
The second was the 7 trumpet judgments which took place during the
great tribulation period or the last 3 * years. Now the last set
of judgments are the bowl judgments which take place right at the
very end of the world, or at the end of th great tribulation.
The seal judgments & the trumpet judgments were limited judgments.
In other words they only did a limited amount of devastation.
But the bowl judgments are total. Complete and final devastation
will fall on the ungodly and evil of the world. No one left on
earth, even in the deepest caves or the most hidden valleys, will
be able to escape the effects of at least some of them.
These plagues show that the day for salvation & repentance is past.
The 7 angels wait until a loud voice out of the temple commands
them to go and pour out the seven bowls of God's fury on the earth.
This great voice is either the voice of God or the voice of Christ,
because remember from the last chapter no one else is allowed to
enter the temple or sanctuary until the bowl judgments are over.
There have been many who have tried to symbolize these judgments.
Four of these 7 judgments occurred literally in Egypt during the
history of Israel, when Pharaoh would not let the Israelites leave
Egypt during the time of Moses. If the plagues of Egypt were
literal (and they were) why should we not expect these awful
judgments likewise to be literal.
BOWL 1 - PLAGUE of SORES, Verse 2
This is the first bowl or vial which is used in the King James
Version. Those who have taken the mark of the beast now receive
marks of a different type now. This plague brings bad, foul, and
angry sores on every one of them, men and women alike. So no one is
spared. These sores are not ordinary, they are abscessed, ulcerated,
and malignant. They are sores from which you cannot be healed.
They will itch, hurt, smell terrible, darken the skin and
disfigure so you can hardly be recognized. This plague is similar
to the one which God plagued Egypt with. (Exodus 9:8) They will
be more painful than those suffered by Job or the Egyptians.
BOWL 2 - WATERS, SEAS 'AS BLOOD' Verse 3
The second angel pours out his bowl upon the sea, the second plague.
This again affects the water. This plague causes the sea to become
like the blood of a dead man. This may not mean actual blood, but
like the appearance of blood, blood that is decaying. The blood
which under the Law represented life, here it becomes the means of
judgment and death. Once again this will be far worse than the
plague when Moses lifted his rod and struck the waters of the Nile
river. John see's that every living soul in the sea dies because of
the terrible pollution. Every creature in all the oceans and sea's
of the world dies. Some interpreters have tried to symbolize this
plague making the "sea" representative of the nations in general.
If that were true then every person in the world would die but
that is not the case as there are more plagues to come.
BOWL JUDGMENTS Revelation 16, Verses 4 thru 7
This is the third bowl judgment. It is poured out on the fresh
waters, rivers, streams, and springs to become as blood.
Again there is no limits on this judgment. All source of water for
drinking for washing are turned to blood. The Bible doesn't tell
us but this plague must bring much suffering and death, because
the people of Egypt were able to dig away from the river and find
water that had been filtered by the soil and they were able to
drink it. Exodus 7:24
There is not indication that anything like that will be possible
when this plague is poured out. Those who question God's
righteousness in His judgments do not understand sin's terrible
evil or God's intense hatred of it. Tim LaHaye made a statement
I thought interesting. He says whether this means literal blood
is inconsequential, for if Christ can turn water into wine,
He certainly can turn water to blood.
This angel of the waters justifies this terrible plague.
He recognized God as righteous. He also knows that God is the
Eternal One, which art, and wast, and shalt be. This angel also
recognizes that God has demonstrated his nature by judging the
unrighteous followers of the antichrist. God's righteousness and
justice are demonstrated also in the inhabitants of the earth.
They were all a part of the world system that shed the blood of
saints and prophets. By the time of these final plagues if there
are any believers they will have been martyred. All those who take
the mark of the beast share in the guilt of their death.
In verse 7 another voice out of the altar confirms the message of
the angel of the waters. He says no one can question God's acts of
judgment for they are true & righteous. He has the power to carry
out that he is. The world does not understand the exceeding
sinfulness of sin, nor do they understand the holiness of God.
So those who reject this provision for salvation through the blood
of Jesus must be punished. Those who do not deal with their sin at
the Cross, by confessing it and accepting God's forgiveness must
have it dealt with in the judgment. This is God's earthly
vindication of the suffering martyrs from earliest time to the
present, answering the prayers of the souls under the altar in
Revelation 6. This judgment bowl is similar to the plague in Egypt
where the rivers were polluted by God with blood. Exodus 7:17-25
BOWL 4 - SUN, Verses 8-9
This is the fourth bowl judgment and it is poured out the sun.
Severe heat and radiation from the sun will scorch the ungodly.
There will be a heat wave unlike anything the earth has ever known.
The sun will burn and scorch people with a blazing, fierce heat.
This a supernatural judgment accomplished by the power of God.
Fire in the Bible often speaks of judgment. It may be also that the
great heart of this plague will melt the polar caps, raising the
sea level and causing further devastation to many parts of the
earth. The pain drives man not to repentance, but to blaspheme th
name of God. The ungodly will not repent anymore than they do today.
They seem though to realize that God, not Satan, or the antichrist,
or the false prophet have control over plagues, but they still will
not give God the glory or repent. This is a warning to those today
who have heard the truth of the gospel but stubbornly persist in
going their own way.
Tim LaHaye made this statement in his commentary
When we add the effect of this excruciating heat on the waterways
and rivers that have been polluted, we find people almost tasting
the torments of hell described by Jesus in Luke 16:23-24,
without water to satisfy their thirst.
"In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham
far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said,
'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he
may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue,
for I am in agony in this flame.'
BOWL 5 - SEAT of the BEAST (Rome?)
Verse 10 and 16
This is the fifth bowl judgment. It is poured out on the seat or
throne of the antichrist, meaning his headquarters. More than
likely this will be the rebuilt city of Babylon, which will be the
center of all commerce, religion, evil, and government. This puts
the kingdom of the antichrist into total darkness, which in turn
disrupts his rule. It also prevents those suffering from the
previous plagues from seeking relief. They are suffering from
sores, thirst, filth, and the awful smell of the water, scorching
heat, and now pitch black darkness. Christ predicted that the sun
and all other light would be darkened, pitch black darkness.
Matthew 24:29 & Mark 13:24-25
And again rather than repent they blaspheme God, and refuse to
change their ways. There is an indication though that repentance
could stop the judgments but no one repents. One thing is clear,
no judgment, no purgatory, not even the lake of fire, will bring
repentance to those who have rejected the mercies of God and His
BOWL 6 - Euphrates River
Verse 12 thru 16
This is poured out on the Euphrates River, one of the world's
greatest rivers. The reason for the drying up of the Euphrates
river is to allow the great army of nations to form and march
against Israel and to exterminate the jews. The drying up of the
Euphrates means that it is no long a barrier for the kings of the
East(the Orient) to come with their armies in the direction of
Israel and the valley of Megiddo. The kings of the East are the
nations east of Israel, apparently involving the Arabs, China,
and all the other eastern nations.
Tim LaHaye made this comment in his commentary on Revelation.
One of the many signs that indicate we may be approaching the end
times and the fulfillment of these prophecies in Revelation is the
rise of China and its massive army. He went on to say not only did
they have a population of over 1 billion but has an army of 200
million. Since 50% of the world will have been destroyed by this
time, it will be smaller. China is already moving in the political
direction that will make it possible to march over the Euphrates
river to participate in the Battle of Armageddon. This would have
been impossible sixty years ago. But today it is not only possible
but very likely. After the way is prepared for the "kings of the
east" to come, the (dragon, Satan) the beast, and the false
prophet are ready to go into action.