CHAPTER 16 ---
1. This chapter is the vivid answer to the plea of those of the fifth seal (ch. 6:9 – 10). It is complete in showing two things: God’s mercy to the faithful, God’s wrath upon the wicked.
2. Remember this is a “cycle” of judgment and not yet the FINAL judgment. It is yet another opportunity (more intense than all others to be sure) at bringing mankind to repentance.
3. Within this chapter there are nine realities:
a. Separation from God as the source and sustainer of life (2 Thess. 1:7 – 9)
b. This judgment is approved by the angel and the oppressed saints because it is based on the actions and attitudes of the unrighteous and impenitent.
c. Rejection of truth causes confusion and ignorance.
d. Use of other nations to administer justice.
e. Satan resists the judgment
f. We must remain alert and continue to live righteously.
g. Consequences are as impossible to avoid as air is to earth.
h. “It is done.”
1. The time has arrived for God’s wrath upon disobedience. Since MERCY was rejected by these earth and sea dwellers, JUSTICE must now be applied.
2. The first bowl came upon the earth. (represents the place of mans abode) The punishment fell upon those who had the mark of the beast and worshipped his image. Compare Galatians 6:7
3. The second angel pours out his bowl upon the sea (represented the place of wicked men’s life of sin). The waters became as the blood of a dead man, causing every living thing within the sea to die. This “blood” is lifeless, and though mankind felt they could use it for their good, it proves their death!
4. The third bowl is poured out upon the rivers and streams – also sources of life-giving water. However, when they also become blood, the last resort of their desire to live proves fruitless for wicked men! (See also John 4:14; Isa. 59:2).
5. – 7. These three verses express the appreciation for God’s justice/avenging the blood of the martyred saints.
8. – 9. The fourth angel pour out his bowl upon the sun. We have seen in previous passages “sun” is illustrative of the GREATEST SOURSE OF LIGHT, i.e., Jesus. This bowl increased the HEAT of that light so as to scorch men with fire. Still, they blasphemed and repented not. When THE VERY TRUTH ITSELF does not convert souls, that soul is “seared with a hot iron” AND REFUSES to repent. (Romans 1: 21)
10. – 11. The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the very seat of the beast. Remember the first beast was the “head” of civil government. When inflicted with this pain, the beast expresses a CRAZED emotion (gnawing their tongues being that indication). The kingdom of the beast is filled with darkness. He blasphemes God and yet refuses to repent.
12. – 16. Read this context very carefully. Note the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the Euphrates and the water dried up. This would permit all the kings of all the nations easy access across the riverbed and gather at the seat of the highest powered king, allied to do battle. The frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, beast, and false prophet (remember chapter 13) are the spirits of devils, working LYING wonders, for their works can not be of righteous nature. Their intent is to do battle against God Almighty. Just as Jesus said via Peter (2 Peter 3:9 – 10), this engagement would be without notice. Therefore, CHRISTIANS MUST REMAIN ALERT AND PREPARED! Armageddon was a famed place of battles. It here symbolizes a great conflict between God and Satan (good verses evil) even more intense that we saw at chapter 12. Remember chapters 12 – 14 lead to this more severe battle as man’s mind is more intent on self-gratification and God more intent to save man from sin!
17. The seventh angel now pours out his bowl upon the air. AIR is the last of four basic elements required for man’s survival in the earth: earth, water, fire (sun) and air. Note through these bowls of wrath, all four are inflicted with God’s wrath so we are caused to LIVE BY HIS WAY or die engaging the dragon’s (Satan’s) way. The voice comes from the temple. Since it comes from God’s throne, we know it is His authority. There is no misunderstanding the voice. It says plainly, “IT IS DONE.” The cycle of God’s judgment upon these wicked ones is complete.
18. The elements of VOICES, THUNDERINGS, LIGHTENINGS AND EARTHQUAKE each describe God’s change in government (rule both civil and religious) coming from His authority. It is indeed the fulfillment of Daniel 2:44.
19. This is a prophetic reality of Rome’s certain destruction, just as Babylon fell. While Rome is CERTAINLY the intended city, we must acknowledge ALL CITIES of wicked rule over God’s children comes to the same fate.
20. The places where some “hopeful escape” might permit refuge for these wicked ones vanished from existence.
21. Every evil one suffered the infliction of extremely heavy hail (i.e., intense burdens affecting their minds) in attempt to bring them to repentance. (Heb. 4:12 – 13). Yet, they repented not and continued their blaspheme against God because of the punishment due them!