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Revelation 16:1-9 “The Pouring Out Of Bowls 1-4”

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SIH STSTA ICONTHE TEXT:

Rev 16:1-9 KJV

(1)  And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
(2)  And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
(3)  And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
(4)  And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
(5)  And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
(6)  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
(7)  And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
(8)  And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
(9)  And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

In the previous chapter, we have been presented to us the truth that the Lord will deliver His people from this fallen earth just prior to the falling of His wrath upon sinful mankind. This was symbolized by two differing reapings of the earth.  Now we continue looking at God’s wrath that will fall at His second coming by looking at the final stages of His wrath.  The last part of His wrath is called the seventh trumpet.  The contents of this trumpet will be shown to us in seven symbols.  These symbols are vials (bowls) of wrath that are poured out upon the lost.

In chapter 16, we will see the contents of trumpet 7, in other words bowls 1-7, being poured out upon Satan’s kingdoms…

I.  Revelation 16:1-21
A.  Command To Pour Out Vials (16:1)
B.  Vial One (16:2)
C.  Vial Two (16:3)
D.  Vial Three (16:4-7)
E.  Vial Four (16:8-9)
F.  Vial Five (16:10-11)
G.  Vial Six (16:12-16)
H.  Vial Seven (16:17-21)

Please notice, there is a similarity (with clear differences) between these vial judgments and the 7 trumpet judgments that we have previously looked at:

 

# Trumpets (Rev 8:, 9:, 10:) Vials  (Rev 16:) Exodus Plague
1 Hail, Fire , Blood Sores On Men 9: – Boils
2 Burning Mountain, Sea To Blood Sea To Blood 7: – Water To Blood
3 Star From Heaven , Rivers and Founts To Blood Rivers and Founts To Blood 7: – Water To Blood
4 Darkness Sun Scorching Men 10: – Darkness
5 Locusts Upon Men Darkness and Pain 10: – Locusts
6 4 Angels / 200,000,000 Army 4 Kings / 3 Spirits 12: – Death Angel
7 The 7 Vials Thunder, Lightning, Earhquake, Hail 9: – Hail

Please note that all the symbolic vials can find their source among the 10 Egyptian Plagues.

As we can see that are several similar judgments (2, 3, 6), one opposite judgment (4), and two totally different (1, 5,), and one trumpet is inclusive of all the vials (7).

From this we can see that the 7 trumpets are NOT the same judgments as the 7 vials (bowls).   However, the 7th trumpet is made up of all seven of the vial judgments.

Also, please remember, the first 6 trumpet judgments affect lost mankind, while several of the 7 vials affect Satan and his kingdoms,  this is another very important difference that must be recognized.

One final difference between the trumpets and the vials is found in their severity.  While the trumpets affected large portions of the lost, the 7 vials seem to affect all of the members of the kingdom of Satan resulting their final physical destruction.

 

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Rev 16:1-9 KJV

(1)  And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

In the previous chapter, we saw that the seven angels had been sent out from the Lord’s presence with the authority to send God’s wrath upon the earth against Satan and his kingdoms.  Now John hears God’s voice commanding the angels to begin sending His wrath upon the earth.

There are seven angels that symbolize a complete sending of God’s wrath upon man.  At the completion of His wrath, Satan and his kingdoms will be totally defeated.  Whenever we see angels in Revelation they are symbolic of Godly origin, and authority at work.

Although the seven angels in this section of our study are symbolic, helping us to understand that the wrath that falls comes from the Lord under His authority, there are texts that tell us angels will be literally active in sending God’s judgment upon lost mankind (2 Thess 1:7-9).

This wrath is said to be contained in bowls which contain the hot wrath of God that will be poured out upon the earth (15:7)

 

(2)  And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

The first angel immediately follows the command of the Lord and pours out the first bowl upon the earth.   This is the role for the elect angels of God to minister on His behalf, swiftly following His commands (Psa 103:20).

This bowl causes an extremely harmful, painful, malicious ulcers fell upon men who had “the mark of the beast” (members of Satan’s political kingdom) and which “worshipped his image” (members of Satan’s religious kingdom).

Sores in the OT were used by the Lord for the direct punishment for sin.  During the ten plagues (Exo 9:9-11) and the warning of the Lord’s judgment against the sins of Israel (Deut 28:27, 35)  Sores are also representative of the DIRECT results of sin (Isa 1:6).  And finally, sores are used in connection with lowliness, poverty and humility (Job 2:7, 5:18, Lk 16:20-21)

When we see these sores falling upon the members of Satan’s kingdoms, they are teaching us that the final wrath of God that falls at the second coming of Christ is being sent as a direct punishment for the sins that they have committed.  This punishment, in turn , results in their loss of well-being, leaving them in great need and disgrace.

It is interesting to note that in the Exodus account (Exo 9:11), boils were sent upon the Egyptian magicians  bringing them to public shame causing them to no longer be able to deceive the Egyptian citizens.  This is much like these symbolic sores placed upon the members of Satan’s kingdoms, causing them to no longer be able to deceive lost mankind leading them to rebellion against the Lord.

 

(3)  And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

The second angel now pours out his bowl upon the sea changing it to blood and bringing death upon all men and living creatures who were in the sea.  The Greek word for “soul” (refers to both human and animal life) (Rev 8:9).   We saw in Exo 7:19-25, the Nile was turned to blood resulting in all the fish in the Nile dying.

The phrase “the blood of a dead man” basically means “the blood of a corpse”.  This paints a vivid, ugly picture of this blood… it was like clotted blood, useless to support life, and actually caused death instead of sustaining life.

Bodies of water many times refer to teachings… the “water of life” and the “sea of glass” refers to the gospel message.  In this case, the sea located on the fallen earth is symbolic of all types of false teachings, false scientific theories, philosophies and worldly wisdom that proceeds from Satan.  This would include religious, moral, ethical, psychological and philosophical teachings.

The false teachings of Satan’s kingdom which promises to be healthy and life-giving, in actuality contains only the blood of the dead.

 

(4)  And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

The third angel pours God’s wrath upon the fresh water sources (rivers and fountains).  The basic principle being taught is the judgment of the false gospel message in particular that promise life to the receiver, but only result in judgment and death.

Rivers picture cleansing (Exo 2:5) and fountains can symbolize purity (Song of Solomon 4:12).  These are both pictures of spiritual cleansing brought about by God’s Word (gospel message) (Eph 5:26).

The fresh water sources based on the fallen world are speaking of the false gospels found in Satan’s kingdom.    When men follow these false teachings, they will only lead these men to their eternal spiritual death.  This death and destruction that comes upon those who are followers of Satan’s religious kingdom is brought upon them as a part of God’s judgment against their sin.

The main difference between the 2nd and 3rd angel bowls:

  1. 2nd angel judgment affects all those who proclaim the false philosophies and worldly teachings and scientific theories opposed to the Scriptures found in Satan’s kingdom.
  2. 3rd angel judgment centers on those delivering the false gospel messages that are proclaimed by Satanic false religions. These pervert the need of salvation, the Savior, or the way of salvation.  These teachings stand in direct opposition to the message of truth authorized by God and proclaimed by His people.

 

(5)  And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.   (6)  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

The angel that judges the followers of the false gospels of this world now praises the Lord for His wrath.  It was these that opposed His gospel message and those who proclaimed it.

The angel reminds us that this wrath is deserved by the false teachers of Satan’s kingdom (the Lord is righteous in sending this wrath).  He also reminds us that the Lord sending this wrath is the true eternal Creator God over all.  He possesses the authority necessary to righteously judge the lost.

He is justified in His judgment of these men, because they have abused, mistreated and murdered His people and now He is simply shedding their blood as recompense to their shedding of His people’s blood. (Hosea 8:7, Exo 21:23-25, Matt 23:34-36)

 

 (7)  And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

John then hears another voice coming from the brazen altar, symbolizing the death of the saints of God who were sacrificed in His name (Rev 6:9, 8:3-5 etc).   They are now seeing their prayers answered and are praising Him for keeping His promise of divine retribution.

They are in agreement with the angel who recognized His judgments are deserved by those who abused His people.  He is only giving to them what is their due.  His judgments are:

  1. true – genuine, unconcealed, open for all to see
  2. righteous – lawful, impartial, just

(see Deut 32:1-6 where the Lord is praised in a similar way)

 

(8)  And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

The fourth angel is seen pouring out his vial of wrath.  It is poured upon the sun.  Throughout history the sun, due to its prominence in the heavens, has been the most common of all the false gods that have been worshipped in nature (Deut 4:19, 17:3, 2 Kings 23:5, Ezek 8:16, Acts 7:42-43).   Some of the most familiar false sun gods include: Egyptian god RA; Greek god Helios; Roman god Apollo, Hindu god Surya; Babylon god Baal etc etc.

God’s wrath being poured upon the sun symbolizes God’s judgment of idolatry and other types of false worship propagated by the religious kingdom of Satan.  Once again, the Lord is seen as turning wickedness back onto itself as a form of just retribution against sin.  Those who chose to worship the sun will now be burned by it.  This is reminiscent of the 10 plagues of Egypt, each of which was pointed at the very gods of nature that were being worshipped.  Examples of this include:

  1. frogs… they worshipped frogs, so the Lord gave them more frogs then they could handle
  2. sun… they worshipped the sun, so the Lord gave them total darkness etc etc.
  3. bulls… they worshipped the bull so the Lord sent the plague of murrain directly upon the bulls

So it was with each of the ten plagues, and so it is in this judgment.

 

(9)  And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

The men reacted to this plague just as in prior plagues.  Instead of humbling them and bringing them to submission to Christ, they are hardened against the Lord and only seek to rebel against Him in greater ways. (Rev 9:20)

This helps us to understand the helplessness of sinful mankind.  After facing such horrible judgments, it is amazing to see they still are not humbled, turning to Christ for their salvation.  Apart from God’s gracious intervention, they cannot come to repentance nor belief in Him.  These punishments only drive them farther from coming to faith.  This type of attitude was perfectly displayed in the life of Pharoah, King of Egypt during the 10 plagues and also in the lives of the Israleites during their wilderness wanderings….

1Sa 6:6 KJV – “Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?”

Psa 95:8 KJV – “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:”

 

May we all take Paul’s advice and use these things as an example for each one of us to avoid this ungodly attitude…

Rom 2:3-6 KJV – “And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?   Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?    But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;   Who will render to every man according to his deeds:”

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In these first four vials of God’s wrath, we are reminded of Christ’s role as the Just Judge of all mankind.  In these vials we have seen Christ as the One that judges Satan and his kingdoms, simply giving to them what is rightfully deserved,    Based upon the actions of the lost, Christ’s judgments fall upon them in an righteous way giving to them their just deserts and bringing back upon thie heads that which they have previously chosen to give to the Lord and those who serve Him.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

As fallen mankind, we should all recognize that the choices we make in this life will reap results in our future.   We are all faced with the decision to spend the time we have been given on earth either to live lives of selfishness, fulfilling the desires of our flesh, or living lives of service to Christ, willfully submitting to His desires for our lives.

May we all turn from our sins and turn to Christ, by faith, willfully submitting to His will for our lives.  In doing so, we will be making Him our Lord, Savior and eternal Friend.

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
(Joshua 24:15)

 

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4 Comments

  1. This study really hits deep. I can’t wait to share it with my bible study class. What really spoke to me was about the blood of the dead.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Thanks for continuing to share this with your group Sheila. In all these chapters there is so much for us to learn and profit. I tust you are being blessed this summer.

  2. SLIMJIM says:

    Encouraged to see your faithfulness

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