The Bowls of Wrath (Pt. 3) Revelation 16:17-21

Scripture tells us Armageddon is coming.  Many of us are familiar with Biblical phrases describing peace in the future age.  Micah 4:3, popular even among social activists, says:  “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”  

 

Yet, even while a lot of attention is given to the future wars described in the book of Revelation, it seems the OT predictions of this same war often are underappreciated.  

 

Take Joel 3:10 for example, which is the inverse of what Micah said.  Where Micah describes the peace after Armageddon, and the transformation of weapons into tools, Joel tells us that those tools were turned into weapons before Armageddon, “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears.”  Read the rest of Joel 3 (verses 11-17).  

 

Psalm 2 describes the arrogant and rebellious posture by the nations of the world against God and the Lamb.  Verse 2 says, “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against His Anointed One.

 

Zephaniah 3:8 describes what God is going to do to that International Alliance for Resisting God’s Sovereignty, “I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them – all my fierce anger.  The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.”  

The final phase of that fierce anger will be the 7 bowl judgments.  So far we have seen the first six bowls.  Bowl one brought boils on the people who worship the antichrist.  Bowl two turned the sea into blood.  Bowl three turned the drinking waters in the rivers and streams into blood.  Bowl four caused the sun to burn and sear people.  Bowl five brought a deep darkness on the Antichrist’s kingdom.  Bowl six assembled the nations at the place where the battle of Armageddon will occur.

 

Today we conclude with bowl 7.  It is singular if for no other reason than it is the very last episode in the last series of God’s judgments.  

 

The 7th Bowl (v17-21)

So, here we come to the 7th and final bowl.  Follow along in verse 17-21, “….”

 

Judgment will end similar to how it began.  Just before the Tribulation, chapter 4:6 said that from the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.”  Now, thunder, rumbling, lightning and even earthquakes are how the Tribulation will end.  

 

Now several points worthy of our notice.

 

First we see the 7th angel pours this seventh bowl into the air.  The other judgments were poured on the land, the sea, the rivers, the sun, the throne of the beast and the Euphrates River.  Now completing the scope of the earth’s environment this bowl is poured out into the air.  The result will be judgments that originate from the air:  peals of thunder, lightnings and devastating hail.  

 

Secondly, we see that with this 7th and final bowl the wrath of God is complete!  Notice the finality of verse 17, “It is done!”  When it began in chapter 6 with the seal judgments the people of earth hid and said “The great day of God’s wrath has come!” (6:17).  Now, a voice from heaven says, “It is done!

 

This is the long awaited cease-fire on earth.  The world has been shattered by God’s fierce anger.  Earthquakes, famines, poisoned waters, blood, disease, fire, death, demonic terrorists from the Abyss, angel after angel ushered forth by God to release devastation.  For seven years they will be cursing God and asking “When will it end?!”

 

They will be answered, finally in the 7th bowl, when a voice from the temple announces “It is Done!”  

 

Who is this voice?  We’ve heard many heavenly voices:  the 7 thunders from heaven spoke in chapter 10, the martyred souls under the altar, the voice from the altar, the angel with one foot on earth’s sea and one foot on earth’s land, the Lord Jesus Himself, speaking to John.  Who is this voice here?  It must be God.  Chapter 15 told us everyone else was forced to exit the temple for the duration of the 7 bowls.   Later in 21:6 God says, “It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

 

It should be God speaking too, because it is the fulfillment of His purpose that has arrived.  He spoke before it all happened, and, when He brings it about, He is the One to declare it has happened and it is over.  Just as a note:  this particular title God calls Himself, “The Beginning and the End”, ought to take on more meaning for us.  He is working everything out in the end exactly as He planned from the beginning.  He is the Beginning and the End, causing all things to conclude exactly as He planned.

 

Thirdly we see that God’s wrath comes to an end with the Mother of All Earthquakes and 100lbs Hail.  Where can man turn to escape God’s wrath?  Under their feet the ground shakes.  Above them Hail rains down.  They cannot escape the One Who Sits on the Throne.

 

The earthquake rips the great city into 3 parts.  The great city is either Jerusalem (11:8) or Babylon (18:2).  Either way, everywhere on earth this earthquake is going to be felt.

 

The next 2 chapters, chapter 17 and 18, will survey the smoldering ruins of the Beast’s kingdom after the 7th Bowl is completed.  Like a city after a hurricane, the event will be over, but, the effects will be everywhere.  The devastation will be all you can see.  

 

So our time through those passages will inform us of what the landscape will be when God brings down the Beast’s reign.  

 

Transition to Communion

There is another place in history where God declared, “It is done”.  Jesus, when dying on the cross, before breathing His last said, “It is finished.”  We know what is going to be “done” with the 7th bowl, so what was Jesus talking about?  What was “finished” when He hung on the cross?  

 

The Greek word translated as “It is finished” is a word that literally means “Paid in Full”.  Jesus declared that payment was finished.  What payment?  The death payment for sin.  Jesus

Suffered the wrath of God on the cross in our place so we could be pardoned.  God expressed His fierce anger He had towards all our sin against His own Son.  If you go to Jesus your sin will be done.  God’s anger towards you for your sins will be finished.  For Jesus took it all, paying with His own blood.  Remember our new song?  The title is a call to you, “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery”:

 

Come behold the wondrous myst’ry, Christ the Lord upon the tree

In the stead of ruined sinners, hangs the Lamb in victory

See the price of our redemption, see the Father’s plan unfold

Bringing many sons to Glory, grace unmeasured love untold

 

Come behold the wondrous myst’ry, slain by death the God of life

But no grave could e’er restrain Him, praise the Lord He is alive

 

Yes praise Him!  

 

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