Title: THE VOICE OF FULFILLMENT
Text: Revelation 16:1-21
What we are about to read is a horror that even causes the imagination to stagger. The last seven bowls of wrath that are poured out in the final days of the Tribulation will bring unequaled horrors, but it is the climax of God’s plan to bring Satan’s domain to an end and Jesus’ return. God is almost finished with His original creation, so what remains, He makes it loathsome for sinful man in his final days. Each of the seven angels with bowls of wrath has a specific target for their contents. Read Text.
1. Why do you think God uses a loud voice to command the angels to go pour out their bowls of wrath? (For one, after His smoke filled the temple in chapter 15, no one is left inside; #2 – He’s ticked off and He is not restraining His anger.)
2. What is the target of the first bowl? Do you think these sores will disappear? (No. 16:10-11) How much of the world will be infected by these terribly painful sores? (All those who took the mark of the beast = most of the world.) Rev. 13:3-8
Insight: In Exodus 9 one of the plagues was boils that came upon only the Egyptians and the livestock of the Egyptians. Here God’s restraint reaches everyone on the earth except those who belong to the Lord. Aren’t you glad He is able to show grace to His own, even in the midst of His wrath? What measure of resentment do you think this will bring upon those who have the sores, but not upon God’s beloved?
3. How does pain affect a person’s disposition? (Difficult to get along with, grippe, depression.) So how do you picture human relations at this period of time? (They will be at their worst.) Does the pain cause the beast worshippers to repent? 9:20-21; 16:9-11
Insight: If men are not won by grace…they will never be won!
4. If we put the second and third bowls of wrath together, we see that the entire water supply is turned into blood. What do you imagine the stench of so much blood and dead fish to be at a time like that?
Insight: The word for “blood” here means: “like the blood of one dead; clotted.”
5. What is the justification for this terrible judgment? 16:5-6
Insight: Man has shed the blood of God’s people, so it’s only just that they should drink blood. In God’s government, the punishment fits the crime. Pharaoh tried to drown the Hebrew children, but he is drowned in the Red Sea. Haman planned to hang Mordecai on gallows, but he was the one put on the gallows. King Saul refused to slay the Amelikites, so he was slain by an Amalekite. Lesson: Do justly by God’s children or He will visit you with His justice! Those who shed the blood of saints and prophets will only find blood to drink in that day. Heb. 10:29
6. After the angel of the waters cried out that this judgment was just and righteous, John heard another voice. Who is this voice from? 16:7; Rev 6:9; 8:3-5; 14:18 (This is the voice of the souls under the alter that cried out “How long O Lord” in 6:9-10.)
Insight: The voices of the souls under the altar no longer cry out, “How long O Lord?” but "Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments!”
7. In chapter 8 the judgment of the 4th trumpet caused the sun to dim, but now the 4th bowl causes the sun to scorch the earth. How miserable do you imagine this to be if all the waters are clotted blood? The stench? Lk. 21:25-26; Isa. 24:4-6
Insight: It’s almost imaginable to think of how people will suffer from thirst, but even this judgment does not bring men to thirst for the Living God. You would think this succession of tragedies would bring man to his knees and cry for mercy. To hold out against the Almighty’s fierce anger shows their heart. To only blaspheme His name reveals they have sold their soul to the devil and thus they receive their inevitable damnation. Mal. 4:1
8. Notice the target of the 5th bowl of wrath. What is it? 16:10-11
Insight: Imagine this scene. You have intensely painful sores on your body – scorched to the point of blisters by the sun – no water to drink – and now you sit in the dark. All you can do is think…think about how miserable you are…and all because you took the mark of the Beast! How this reminds me of the plague of darkness upon Egypt. Darkness only upon his kingdom, while God’s children lived in the light. All Pharaoh’s citizens knew it was because of his unwilling heart to let God’s people go. Imagine the seething thoughts of the citizens of the Beast. But it isn’t him they blaspheme…it’s the only One who can deliver them from their torment.
Insight: Some profess a doctrine of a second chance and conversion even in hell. Does this scene of the Tribulation look like that were possible? If hell’s torment can cure men of their wickedness, why are not these people moved to repentance? Even under the outpouring of divine wrath, these do not turn from sin or seek reconciliation.
9. Do you recall the first reference to the Euphrates River in the Book of Revelation? what was significant about that location? 9:13-16
Insight: Now that this angel dries up the river, the armies from the east have dry ground upon which to advance to the battle ground…Armageddon. It initially looks like a gracious event to allow them to pursue the saints. But it’s much like the opening of the Red Sea for the Egyptians to pursue the Israelites…this act of seeming grace is only a trap for their own destruction! Armageddon means the Mount of Megiddo, which is in the great plain of Jezreel, which is in the middle of the Holy Land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. The Hebrew name means, “to cut off, to slay, a place of slaughter.” It was a great battlefield of the Old Testament between Israel and its various enemies. It will be a battlefield of untold proportions in the last days.
10. Under the cover of darkness brought on by God, Satan sends forth three evil miracle-working spirits. What are the marching orders of these evil spirits?
Insight: These kings, if administrating their kingdom through all these catastrophes were not enough, now they are tormented by demons. They are summoned to bring all their armies against the Lord and His beloved. But all this works to the advantage of the Lord…those whom He wants to destroy will be summoned by their own ruler…the king of darkness. The corrupt nations will look on Armageddon as a battle. But to God it is only a supper for the birds of the air. 19:17-19; 17:14; Isa. 34:1-8; 63:1-6; Joel 3:11-14
Insight: The assembled armies don’t create a problem for the Almighty…He laughs at them. Ps. 2:1-6
11. Where does the 7th angel pour out its bowl? (On the air.) Why is that? (Perhaps symbolic of being poured out upon Satan himself.) Eph. 2:1-2
Insight: Now that the final bowl has been poured out, this angel shouts a resounding, “It is done!” Jesus uttered these very words from Calvary as He defeated the sting of death (sin), and with this final angel’s mission accomplished, He can finish the defeat of Satan. Dan. 12:7-13
12. What is the immediate result of the bowl being poured out? (Great earthquake.) What is the great city? (Babylon) 18:2,10,16-19,21; Isa. 2:19-21
Insight: Babylon…the epitome of corruption will be shaken and destroyed by the fierceness of God’s wrath, for it belongs to the Beast. Its inhabitants will be given the cup of wine to drink that flowed from God’s winepress of wrath. The press has squeezed the wicked grapes…the wine was captured in a cup…and now the cup is passed to her inhabitants to drink the bitterest wine of all. The world convulses and it’s configuration is changed…islands are gone…mountains are gone…everything is in a massive rubble. Can you imagine the intensity of this earthquake if islands sink and mountains fall?
13. What will 100 pound hailstones do to earthquake-weakened homes and structures? what would it do to people running around outside? Does it cause people to repent at this point? (No, they blaspheme God.) What does that tell you about the condition of their hearts? Do you remember what the Old Testament punishment was to be for those who blaspheme God? Lev. 24:16
Insight: One hundred-pound hailstones…stones from Heaven that say, “You will blaspheme Me no longer!”
Such abstinence and sin has never been known before. When a heavy hailstorm fell upon Egypt, some repented. Pharaoh repented and asked Moses to intercede for him. For a brief moment he agreed to let Israel go. But these sinners have completely turned against God. They are ripe for final judgment. The Antichrist has taught them to curse God and die…and so they blaspheme Him to their very last breath. Unsoftened, unchanged by all the judgment God has poured out upon them, their last breath still utters blasphemy.
I am at a loss for words as I look at the severity of God’s punishment upon sinful man. I understand that they are impenitent. But when you look at all that happens before their eyes and yet they continue on the very path from which they cannot return…I am stunned.
I am reminded that there has always been a beast to oppress God’s people and a false prophet to try to lead us astray. We have always been heading to the battle of Armageddon where the nations wage war. God’s Word awes me, and yet it is bitter in my stomach. Rev. 10:8-10 It is bitter because of the people we know who continue to reject God and march towards destruction. But praise God, His Word is like honey in my mouth when I think that His children are not the objects of His wrath!
As we sing this song of praise, recall the words of our study tonight when we get to the chorus: “…mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of your Name…”
“Shout to the Lord” (My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like you. All of my days, I want to praise, the wonders of Your mighty love. My comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength. Let every breath, all that I am, never cease to worship You. Shout to the Lord, all the earth let us sing. Power and majesty, praise to the King. Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your name. I sing for joy at the work of Your hands. Forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand. Nothing compares to the promise I have…nothing compares to the promise I have…nothing compares to the promise I have in You.”