In Revelation 16 then we see 7 more judgments to come, yes, there is more! Are you beginning to see how truly horrible sin is? Revelation is written in a way that is similar to a newspaper today, where you have different sections with a different focus or theme, and so these are not all chronological. Now we are moving forward in the book, but back in time to before the battle of Armageddon.
The seven bowl judgments poured out on the earth, to rid it from the stain of sin, begin in Revelation 16:1-2, “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.” 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.”
Those who refuse to repent, who continue to stand fast in their allegiance to the anti-Christ, are stricken with a terrible stinking disease. It affects all of the earth.
The second bowl, verse 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.”
All of life in the sea ceased to be. This is exactly what Zephaniah said was going to happen. Creation is being consumed. All mankind is going to die. All the beasts, all the fish, all the birds, all going to die.
Verses 4-7 show us the third bowl, “4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 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. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.” 7 And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”
The fourth bowl in verse 8-9, “8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9 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.”
The fifth bowl, “10 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. 11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.”
The sixth bowl, setting the stage again for the final battle, “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. 13 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. 14 For they are 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. 15 “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.” 16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”
The seventh bowl, when it is finished! Revelation 16:17 “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!” 18 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. 19 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. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 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.”
To the end, through all of this, men continued to blaspheme God and would not repent.
Here when it says, “It is done” this is the phrase, “It is finished.” What is the difference between the first and the last “It is finished?” After the first, Christ had paid our sin debt in full, bearing the wrath of God for us. Now at the end, the lost are bearing the wrath of God forever as the earth itself is cleaned from the stain of sin. And these 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls represent for us what Jesus bore for us on the cross! This is what wrath looks like. This is the price He paid. A price that will consume creation.
This is how serious the pronouncement of Zephaniah is, “I will utterly consume everything From the face of the land,” Says the Lord; 3 “I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, The fish of the sea, And the stumbling blocks along with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land,” Says the Lord.
The wicked destroyed and nothing remaining but ruins waiting to be remade.
To finish then, we see that Zephaniah was not exaggerating, was he? And we must ask, how does this affect us? What should we do with this Word, beyond rejoicing that He has paid for our sin and satisfied the wrath of God on our behalf? There are two things that we need to know, the first found in Revelation 3:10, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” This hour of trial, this time of tribulation, God says He will preserve His people. That does not mean we will not be persecuted, or even martyred. It means we will have no reason to fear those who can kill the body, as Jesus said, because we have peace with the One who can kill both body and soul in hell.
We need not fear men because with God, we are secure.
The other thing we need to understand is in 2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Think about how often we are tempted to sin because of things that belong to this fallen world. Covetousness, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. And all of this is temporary and will be burned up. And this is Peter’s question to us, if all of this that has been tainted by sin is going to be burned up like what Zephaniah describes, then “what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” How should we live in this light?
Rejoice knowing that the penalty for our sin, the wrath of God, has been satisfied by the blood of His Son shed for us. Jesus paid it all, all to Him we owe.