The Seven Bowls of Wrath: Revelation 15:1-16:21

Revelation 15:1-4 “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O king of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested."”
 
Here we are told that the great multitude are seen standing on the sea of glass when the seven plagues are about to be poured and this event happens after the second sickle and the harvest of the wicked which we have just read in the last chapter ( The Lamb and the 144,000 ). Therefore the great multitude are gathered after the thousand year reign, not before as previously assumed by SDA theologians. The wicked are tormented by the seven plagues and given a chance to repent. This is the judgment of the wicked left on earth.
 
Revelation 15:5-8 “After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”
 
God's home and sanctuary on earth was the temple on Mount Moriah in which was housed the Ark of the Covenant, (Exodus 25:16). The Ark of the Covenant contained the ten commandments which were a testimony of God's covenant with Israel. The "temple of the tabernacle of the testimony" is the heavenly sanctuary. The earthly sanctuary was a copy and shadow of the true sanctuary in heaven, (Hebrews 8:5, Exodus 25:40). Seven angels come out of the temple they are pure and they are girded with the Lord's golden band of righteousness and faithfulness, (Daniel 10:5, Isaiah 11;5, Revelation 1:13). The wrath of God is God's granting of the prayers of the saints, Revelation 8:3-4). God is descibed in many Old Testment verses as an eternal fire, flame or consuming fire in His glory and power, (Exodus 3:1-4, 13:21, Deuteronomy 4;24). No one can enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels are finished.
 
Revelation 16:1 “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”
 
The bowls of wrath are poured on the earth which represents the kingdom of the beast, modern day Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia Minor.
 
Revelation 16:2 “So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.”
 
The foul and loathsome sore is the Bubonic Plague or Black Death which ravaged Europe from 1348-1350. The Bubonic Plague is thought to have bgeun in China, but new evidence shows that it began in the spring of 1346 in the steppe region.1
 
“The Black Death, an epidemic of bubonic plague that spread over the whole of Europe, arrived in England in 1348 and killed as much as a third to half the population.”
{Bubonic plague, Wikipedia, 2014}
 
Revelation 16:3 “Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.”
 
The sea generally represents people in the Bible, but in Revelation it is more specific and represents people who worship God. So here we have a bowl poured out on the sea which results in every living creature in the sea dying. Blood usually signifies war or death so this prophecy is concerning true Christians who live within the kingdom of the beast. The Inquisition was initiated by the Roman Catholic Church to try and eradicate heresy from the church. It started in twelfth century France and targeted the Cathars and the Waldensians.2 The Inquisition then moved to other parts of Europe, Spain, Portugal, the Americas, Africa and Asia. The Roman Inquistion started in 1542, by Pope Paul III, and lasted until the mid nineteenth century in some papal states. In 1908 the Inquistion changed its name to "The Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office" and in 1965 to "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" and it remains to this day.3
 
Revelation 16:4-7 “Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.” And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.””
 
The rivers and springs of water represent the children of Israel and possibly of Abraham. The term is linked with the children of the descendants now living in the holy land where the patriarchs Abraham and Moses originally founded springs of water with assistance from God, (Genesis 26:18, Numbers 20;10-11, Proverbs 5:16). The term is also often linked with the salvation of God's children, (Isaiah 12:3, 41:17-19, 49:10). These are God's people again who are effected and the "angel of the waters," Michael, vindicates God's judgment upon them, because they had shed the blood of the saints and the prophets of God all throughout their history, (Matthew 23:37).
 
Revelation 16:8-9 “Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.”
 
We all now know that global warming is upon us and the seas are warming up. This prophecy seems to be a near future event where men are scorched literally by the heat from the sun. I have previously toyed with the idea that this could be a solar event, possibly a supa nova event occurring in a near by constellation.
 
Revelation 16:10-11 “Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.”
 
The fifth bowl is poured on the throne of the beast and it becomes full of darkness. The throne of the beast was situated in Asia Minor, now it is in Rome. The darkness is a prediction that no light of the truth will be found in her at all, literally and spiritually.
 
Revelation 16:12 “Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.”
 
The Euphrates River is literally drying up due to a drought in the region since 2007. The once mighty Euphrates is reduced to puddles in some areas mainly due to the damming of the river upstream and the lack of melt water since 2007.
 
Isaiah 19:5-8 "The waters will fail from the sea, and the river will be wasted and dried up. The rivers will turn foul; the brooks of defense will be emptied and dried up; the reeds and rushes will wither. The papyrus reeds by the River, by the mouth of the River, and everything sown by the River, will wither, be driven away, and be no more. The fishermen also will mourn; all those will lament who cast hooks into the River, and they will languish who spread nets on the waters."
 
Some commentators argue that the kings from the east represent Christ and the 144,000 crowned kings from heaven. But this prophecy maybe an actual invasion into Iraq/Iran after all the people living near the Euphrates are wiped out. If this did happen the kings of the east may represent China, possibly America because they are fond of exploiting the riches of the Middle East. The beginnings of this event may be happening before our eyes especially when considering the emergence of Isis and the west's response to them. Things will only get worse in the future.
 
Revelation 16:13-16 "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon."
 
When Satan is released at the end of the thousand year reign he uses three evil spirits to deceive the world again. One comes from Satan himself, one from the Papacy representing Rome and one from Britain. The three spirits deceive the whole world and the whole world believes the lying words of Satan, Rome and Britain. They are gathered together to fight our Lord and His saints at the battle of Armageddon, near the valley of Megiddo.
 
Revelation 16:17-21 “Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.”
 
I have heard many commentators speculate on what the seventh bowl represents. Some say that it was poured into the air thus it affects only those in heaven. But we are told exactly what the plague is in verse 21, “Men blasphemed God because of the plague of hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.” The plague of hail signifies the end for all the nations on earth and it sets in motion the great earthquake. This is possibly the same earth quake mentioned by Zechariah.
 
Zechariah 14:3-5 "Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!…"
 
 
References
1. The Black Death: The Greatest Catastrophe Ever, History Today, Ole J. Benedictow, http://www.historytoday.com, 2015.
2. Inquisition, Wikipedia, 2015.
3. Ibid
4. The Nile And The Euphrates Are Drying Up: Both Rivers Are In The News And Both Rivers Are In The Bible (An Inevitable Famine Is Plaguing The Muslim World) by Shoebat Foundation, http://shoebat.com/2015/03/23/the-nile-and-the-euphrates-are-drying-up-both-rivers-are-in-the-news-and-both-rivers-are-in-the-bible-an-inevitable-famine-is-plaguing-the-muslim-world/, 2015.