and the bowl judgments

"And the 7th angel sounded, and there arose loud voices in heaven,"

The 7th trumpet sounds at Revelation 11:15 and serves as an "announcement" of the final stage of God's wrath on the kingdom of the beast and the unbelievers of the world.

The section, 11:14-19 picks up from chapter 9:21 which is the 6th trumpet.

Revelation chapter 10 is a parenthetical section that reaffirms John's commission to proclaim truth throughout the remainder of his life. But in the middle (at verse 7) there is a reference to the 7th trumpet and the fact that when it sounds, "the mystery of God is finished."

The mystery of God is that which was proclaimed by the prophets. The fact that this revelation is assigned specifically to "the prophets" and not the "apostles and prophets," as at Ephesians 3:5, strongly suggests that Old Testament revelation is in view. In that case, "the mystery of God" refers to God's 6-point plan for the nation of Israel as outlined at Daniel 9:24.

The completion of that plan revolves around the final 7 years of Daniel's 70th week and the end of that 7 year period. It is at that time that the last 3 points of God's plan for Israel will be carried out as the Messiah begins -

(1) His righteous reign and "brings in everlasting righteousness."

(2) Fulfills the Old Testament "vision and prophet."

(3) And "anoints the most holy" in the Millennial temple which temple is described in Ezekiel chapters 40 through 43.

(Refer to discussion on Daniel's 70 weeks in the PROPHECY PERSPECTIVE index.)

Since Rev. 10:7 introduces the end of the week, the vision of John next records that end by focusing on the specific 1260 day ministry of the 2 witnesses who prophesy from the mid-point of the week until its end.

The passage in view (Revelation 11:1-13) is thus, parenthetical as it "back-tracks" to the mid-point of the week and moves to the end, at which time (actually 3 1/2 days later) the 7th trumpet will sound (Revelation 11:15).

The ministry of these two witnesses begins at the 2nd half when the beast begins his reign and they minister for the duration of the 2nd half of the week, exactly 1260 days. The end of the ministry of the witnesses and the "mystery of God being finished" is the same point in time, ie, the end of the 70th week.

Chapter 12 and 13 are also parenthetical and cover the persecution activity of Satan from the midpoint of the week, when he is physically kicked out of heaven and down to the earth. Chapter 12 introduces the two objects of his attack during the great tribulation.

1. The Jewish race as the Messianic people.

In order to identify this "victim" of Satan's oppression, the vision gives us a history lesson in v. 1-5. The lesson covers the history of Israel from the creation of the 12 tribes until the resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Messiah in 30 AD.

Then at v. 6, it reveals the final period of persecution which is the last half of Daniel's 70th week, during which time the "orthodox" Jews in the land, who refuse to take the mark of the beast, flee into the mountainous wilderness for protection. This corresponds with the warning that Jesus gave to "THOSE (not 'you') who are in Judea" to flee into the mountains at Matthew 24:16.


2. At verses 7-17, the vision relates the reason for the more intensive persecution that takes place at this time. It results when Satan is physically defeated and kicked out of heaven by God's angels. Therefore, "knowing that he has only a short time," he intensifies his aggressions not only against the "orthodox" of Israel (verses 13-15) but also with any church age believers he can "get his hands on" as indicated at verse 17, those "who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus."

This refers to the persecution against the church "before" the rapture and not against the 144,000 after the rapture. The main reason is that the 144,000 are clearly identified as Jewish and that identifying factor is significantly NOT used in Revelation 12:17 in reference to those who trust in Jesus.

The two groups in view are the "physical" nation of Israel and a body of believers known as those who "hold to the testimony of Jesus."

Since the "woman" is clearly contrasted with those who trust in Jesus, she represents the nation of Israel in unbelief, and not the 144,000 Jewish converts of Revelation 7.

Furthermore, the activity of the beast is unrestricted which is characteristic of his reign "before" the Day of the Lord. Whereas, after the Day of the Lord, the activity of the beast will be much hindered by the administration of the Day of the Lord judgments.

Chapter 13 refers to the same period of time as that which is in view at chapter 11:6-17 but amplifies the persecution by telling of the religious and economic controls the beast seeks to institute. It also provides insight about the beast's "right hand man," the false prophet or "beast out of the land." This "2nd beast" is a Jew ("out from the land") and represents and promotes the policies of the 1st beast, basically testifying with words and miracles that the 1st beast is indeed the promised Messiah and should be worshiped as God.

Chapter 14, then gives us a summary of the high points of the 2nd half of the week beginning with the "sealing" of the 144,000 Jewish "servants" of the Lord after the rapture and concluding with the gathering of the nations to Armageddon which is the 6th bowl.

Chapter 14 does not begin with the mid-point of the week, but later, after the tribulation has been cut short and the 144,000 "servants," begin their evangelistic function as representatives of the nation of Israel. However, this chapter concludes just beyond the end of the 70th week, at the end of the 30 day time of "final" wrath which immediately follows the end of the week. Ie, the battle of Armageddon (Verse 14:20).


The 7th trumpet is not the "last trumpet" spoken of by Paul.
They should not be equated but are separate and distinct.
Paul's use of "last trumpet" refers to the call to assembly in the context of the Roman games; or even in a military context. Either of these would be Paul's frame of reference. In both of these cases there was a preliminary trumpet (sometimes 2) and then the last one which was a call to assembly. This is the call to assembly for the gathering of the saints.

He would have no knowledge of John's vision and the 7 trumpets.
Even though the Holy Spirit "melds" all of scripture, it is not advisable to interpret Paul's use in any other way than the cultural context of the day which speaks of the "call to assembly."

That is what will occur at the rapture. It is called THE trumpet of God at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, because it is at this time that he will "call" for the gathering of his people to meet Him in the clouds of the sky. Nor does it require the "actual" occurrence of one or two trumpet blasts before it, for the image in Paul's mind is simply focusing on the final blast which is the "call to assembly."

The 7th trumpet, on the other hand, is an announcement of judgment and not a call to assembly.

DETAILS concerning the 7th trumpet:

FACTOR #1: The Mystery of God is finished. Revelation 10:7

As previously discussed, this refers to the fulfillment of the Old Testament revelation about God's plan for the nation of Israel before Messiah's kingdom is established. The mystery of God in this case is the restoration of Israel to the place of "true" evangelistic activity as the 144,000 Jews trust in Messiah and become "servants of God."

This is the mystery that Paul mentioned at Romans 11:25-29 which relates two primary issues:

(1) a "partial" hardening of Israel

(2) "all Israel will be saved"

This begins with the conversion of the 144,000 Jews immediately after the rapture of the church which is when "the fullness of the Gentiles" comes in.

FACTOR #2: the announcement of Messiah's reign. (Revelation 11:15-17)

Revelation 11:15, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."

This indicates that the reign of the beast has come to an end and that the Messiah is about to set up His own earthly reign.

However, that "official" kingdom does not occur for at least 30 days. It is preceded by the 7 bowl judgments recorded at Revelation 16:1-21.

According to Daniel 12:11, it will not be until 30 days later that the "defilement" of the temple is cleansed.

"And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished (at the mid-point of the week) and the abomination of desolation is set up (at the same time), there will be 1290 days."

This is 30 days more than the designated 1260 days (3 1/2 years, 42 months) of the 2nd half mentioned at Daniel 12:6-7.

We must not be confused by the praise-language at Revelation 11:16-17,
For indeed, He "begins" to reign at this time since the reign of the beast is over and God's power now pours out the final judgments upon the unbelieving world which will culminate in the battle at Armageddon. But His earthly kingdom is not "established" until 30 days later, after the victory at Armageddon.

"And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God saying, "We give you thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who is and was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign."

The 24 elders are responding to the future vision that John is seeing rather than this being part of that future vision.

Through the Spirit, John is having a vision of heaven (Revelation 4-5) in which he sees what is actually IN heaven at the time of the vision in 96 AD. Then, from the "vision" location in heaven, he is shown a series of "future" visions (like on a movie screen) and those beings who are in heaven are observing them as well.

The "future" visions begin in chapter 6 and when the 24 elders and the living creatures are mentioned again (Revelation 11:16-17 and 19:4) they are shown to be giving a response to the same thing that John is seeing.

My point is that the 24 elders and the living creatures are not part of the "future" visions but are in the audience with John as the future is previewed before them.

FACTOR #3: Your wrath (orge) came. Revelation 11:18

Since chapters 12, 13, and 14 are parenthetical, we do not see any discussion of the chronological progress of "your wrath came" until the beginning of chapter 15, where it is designated as, "seven plagues which are the last, because in them the wrath (thumos) of God is finished."

Chapter 14, the parenthetical chapter which gives a summary of events from the rapture until the end of this 30 day period of "final wrath," does indeed end with the final military confrontation between the world's forces and Christ at Armageddon. But it should be viewed as a "summary" of events rather than the chronological development that chapter 16 presents.

Chapter 14 ends (verses17-20) with the "reaping" of those world forces as Christ wields the sword of His mouth and destroys them all as described at Revelation 19:11-20, and it is the 6th bowl which describes the "gathering" of these forces to Armageddon for this final confrontation.


FACTOR #4: Judgment of the dead

"And the time came for the dead to be judged,"

What is clearly evident is the fact that "the dead" are not "judged" until after the 1000 year reign of the Messiah which is mentioned at Revelation 20:4. The judgment of the dead is described later at 20:11-15.

Thus, although "the time came," it does not actually take place for 1000 more years. The reason the 7th trumpet is viewed as "the time" is because the judgment of the dead is "based" on Messiah's reign which does not "officially" begin until the beast is removed from his "throne." And it is the 7th trumpet which basically "announces" that the beast's reign has come to an end and he is about to be judged.


FACTOR #5: Saints receive rewards

"And the time to give their reward to Your bond servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Your Name, the small and the great,"

This refers to the evaluation of the believer's works which were done here on earth as is described at 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10.

(See Doctrinal Archives R, for Rewards
and J, for judgment seat of Christ)

It is possible that these "personal" rewards are meted out as soon as the church gets to heaven at the time of the rapture. However, it is also possible, and more likely, that there is a delay of the "evaluation of works" until just before Christ's descent at Armageddon. I do not think that such a "delay" of the Justice seat of Christ violates the language which indicates that the church receives her rewards at the arrival of Jesus.

The reason is, that there are many things that are initiated at the "Day of the Lord" arrival of Jesus which do not take place until some time later. And yet they are certainly described as taking place upon His arrival. Furthermore, the language here, at Revelation 11:18, indicates that the reward will not be meted out until after the 7th trumpet sounds.

The recipients of this reward are mentioned in three categories. The intent seems to be to include believers from Adam until Armageddon.

Accordingly, I suggest that the first two words refers to the body of Christ, known as the bride, and would include all believers from Adam until the rapture. The word prophets refers to all of God's communicators from both the Old Testament times and the church age.

The word, saints, probably refers to everyone else who is a believer from all PAST generations. This division between the communicators and the "saints" is not foreign to Scripture, as we see such a division at Philippians 1:1, "to all the saints . . . including the overseers and the deacons."

The phrase, "those who fear your name," would refer to the believers from the time period between the rapture and the battle of Armageddon. This third group falls into two categories; (1) those who die between the rapture and armageddon, who are raised up at Revelation 20:4, at the beginning of the kingdom; and (2) the living believers still on the earth from both Israel and the Gentiles, who go alive into the physical kingdom as subjects to King Messiah as He reigns on His earthly throne in Jerusalem. The designation of these believers, using this phrase is based on Revelation 14:7, where the mandate of the everlasting gospel revolves around, "fear God and give Him glory."

Regarding the actual evaluation and rewarding of believers, there will be 3 separate administrations of the judgment of God on their behalf. But those three events do not correspond with this 3-fold division of the believers.

First, there will be the evaluation of the body of Christ which is His bride. This takes place between the sounding of the 7th trumpet and the announcement of the marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-8), for it is there that we see her "ready" by being clothed with the righteousness of good deeds. That is, deeds that have been evaluated and recognized as honoring to God because they were accomplished according to His standards. The Greek word, dikaiōma , in the plural should be translated as righteous acts or deeds and not as "righteousness," which the KJV does. This body of believers includes people from all generations prior to the rapture and is broken down into the "prophets" and the "saints."

The second group of believers who need to be evaluated and rewarded are those who are martyred between the rapture and the end of Armageddon. These are mentioned at Revelation 20:4, as being resurrected after Armageddon and reigning with Christ during His 1000 year reign on the earth. These are in view with the phrase, "those who fear your name."

The third group will be all the believers of the 1000 year kingdom. This group includes those believers who will be alive on the earth after Armageddon, and who go into the kingdom to be subjects of Jesus. From this group, many children will be born, so that by the end of the kingdom, there will be a massive population of both believers and unbelievers. The resurrection and evaluation of this group of "millennial" believers are not mentioned in scripture, but it is certain that such an evaluation must take place in view of what scripture teaches concerning the activities of people during the kingdom.

It is possible since Revelation 11:18 uses "reward" in the singular, that it refers to the ONE reward that they all share in common. That ONE reward is to reign with Christ during His 1000 year reign on the earth and for all eternity after that. In the book of Revelation, this is the "one" reward that has primary emphasis (Revelation 3:21; 5:10; 20:4).

And yet, the mention of the bride "having made herself ready," indicates a "cleansing" through evaluation so that all that remains of one's earthly production will be a "pure" garment of good works shared in common by all who are in the body of Christ. This, I would think could qualify as "reward" in the singular.

However, perhaps it is adequate to simply associate the "reward" of reigning with the other rewards. Reigning with Christ must be viewed from 2 aspects.

1. The "status" of reigning with Christ because of salvation relationship and positional union with Him.

2. The "function" of reigning which is based on faithfulness here on earth and will vary from believer to believer.

It is this "function" of reigning that will be determined based on the evaluation of the believer's works. Accordingly, it is best to include the evaluation of one's works for crowns with the evaluation of one's works for reigning at the reward seat of Christ which apparently occurs shortly before the the Lord's descent to the earth at Armageddon.

FACTOR #6: Destroy the destroyers

". . and to destroy those who destroy the earth."

There is only ONE "destruction" of people by God that takes place in the context of this end times scenario and that is at Armageddon.

Revelation 19:19-21, And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

The "destroyers" represented in this passage are,

1. The beast: A human who is empowered by Satan.

2. The false prophet: A human who also has Satanic powers.

3. The armies of the world: represented by the kings of the West, East, South and North.

4. All of these participate in "destroying" the earth because of their moral and physical oppression of others.

5. This could include Satan, indirectly, but he is only chained in the abyss for 1000 years and is not thrown into the lake of fire until after the 1000 year reign of Jesus on the earth. (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10)

The details of this judgment on mankind awaits analysis of the 6th bowl judgment where we find the movement of the world's military forces into the land of Palestine and specifically to Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12-16)

Immediately after the sounding of the 7th trumpet and this "announcement" of Divine intent, God's final wrath upon the kingdom of the beast is initiated by the opening of the temple of God which is in heaven. Revelation 11:19,

"And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm."

1. "And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened;"

This is the first mention of the temple of God in HEAVEN. The temple speaks of God's presence with man with the point of contact being the character of God as He reaches out to man through the Messianic promise.

2. "Opened," indicates a view inside. This of course is symbolic. Once the "top" of the temple is removed, the ark of the covenant is visible.

3. "and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple:" the appearance of the ark speaks directly of divine righteousness and justice as the key factors for God's interaction with man.

A. Righteousness: speaks of the fact that man is at enmity with God and comes short of God's righteousness.

B. Justice: speaks of the penalty for coming short and at the same time, speaks of the Divine payment of that penalty through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

C. The consequences for rejecting the divine provision for salvation as represented by the ark of the covenant is judgment from God.

D. Thus, we have the "storm" to portend the administration of God's final judgment upon the physical earth and those unbelievers who reside there.

4. "and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm."

This speaks of the administration of justice on the earth upon those who have rejected the grace provision from God for adjustment to God, ie, salvation through faith in Christ.

The specifics of this administration will be given through the 7 bowls of the "final wrath" of God which are discussed in chapters 15 and 16

Chapter 15:1-8, picks up from this point in the narrative, making chapters 12-14 parenthetical. The chronology is interrupted in this parenthesis and actually "backtracks" to the mid-point of the week and moves forward to the end of the week and to the 30 days of judgment which follows it.

11:1-13 - begins at the mid-point and ends at the end, 1260 days later.

11:14-19 - continues from the end of the 2nd half and introduces the final wrath of God via the 3rd woe.

12-13 - begins at the mid-point and ends at the end, 42 months; 1260 days later.

Chapter 14, begins during the 2nd half of the week (after the rapture) and ends with the 30 days which follow the 1260 days of the 2nd half.

Chapters 15-16 then picks up at the end of the 2nd half (at the last trumpet) and the administration of the final wrath of God for 30 days.

Revelation 15 begins with the 3rd sign of the book of Revelation.

The first sign is at Revelation 12:1 and pictures the nation of Israel as the chosen, Messianic people of God. That is, those whom God chose to be the source and herald of Messiah's arrival on the earth.

This sign is called, "great" (megas) and speaks of the character of the sign in the context of human perceptions.

The 2nd sign occurs at Revelation 12:3 and is simply called, "another sign."

This sign pictures the great adversary of God, Satan, who has always been active in seeking the destruction of the Messianic people. If Satan can succeed in destroying those upon whom God has set His seal, then he would actually accomplish a spiritual victory over God and prove Him to be imperfect. If God is imperfect, then He has no business placing an eternal judgment upon an imperfect creature. Satan would thus acquire a reprieve from his appointment to the lake of fire.

The 3rd sign is called, "great and marvelous," (thaumastos). This word speaks of the effect the sign has on John as a humble recipient of divine revelation. It causes wonderment and awe. The sign pictures the angelic administrators of the final stage of God's wrath upon the kingdom of the beast. "Because in them the wrath (thumos) of God is finished."

This idea of "the wrath of God is finished," refers only to the context of judgment on the earth prior to Messiah's 1000 year earthly reign. After that 1000 years, there will be another expression of God's wrath at Revelation 20:7-10. Then after that, at the great white throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15, God's wrath will be expressed toward all spiritual rebels by assigning them to the lake of fire for all eternity. It is only then that God's wrath will once and for all be complete for the entire universe, although the "effects" of that wrath (existence in the lake of fire) will continue for all eternity (Revelation14:11).

Verse one simply gives the "title" for this 3rd sign. The details are given in verses 2-8. (In v. 1 they are said to have the 7 plagues but they are not "given" the bowls that contain the plagues until verse 7.)

Before the 7 angels begin to pour out the bowls, we are shown a group of saints in heaven who praise God for the expression of His power, righteousness and truth.

At verse 2, we see a sea of glass and upon it, the same group of saints who were seen at Revelation 7:9-17 who were delivered from the great tribulation through the rapture.

1. These have come off victorious from the beast.

2. At Revelation 7:14, they came out of the great tribulation.

3. At Matthew 24:15-21, Jesus tells us that the great tribulation begins when the abomination of desolation is set up in the holy place of the temple.

4. It is the beast who sets himself up as God and places his image in the temple (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). This correlates with the activity of the beast described at Revelation 13:11-15 and Daniel 7:25; 8:23-25; 9:27

5. Thus the ones who are victorious over the beast are delivered at the end of the great tribulation and taken to heaven where they are seen at both Revelation 7:9-17 and 15:2-4.

6. This group is different from the group that we see later at Revelation 20:4. Although BOTH groups face the persecution from the beast, the ones HERE, come out of the tribulation, which will end at the 6th seal. The ones at Revelation 20:4 are those who became believers AFTER the rapture, that is, after the 6th seal. They were converted during the time between the 6th seal and Armageddon; during the time of the trumpet and bowl judgments.
Even though the tribulation will end when Jesus returns at the 6th seal, the ability of the beast to persecute will not end. It will be greatly impeded because of the trumpet and bowl judgments, but will not be completely prevented.

Revelation 15:2 does not tell us "when" they got there, but their presence in resurrection body is indicated by two factors.

1. When first we saw the sea of glass at Revelation 4:8, it was empty.

2. Now it is occupied and the ones there are "standing," which would suggest resurrection body as it does at Revelation 7:9.

3. The sea of glass is "before" the throne and at Revelation 7:9, the saints are standing "before" the throne.

Revelation 15:3-4 tells us that these saints sing two songs. The song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb. And yet it appears to be one song which embraces both titles.

The significance of the song of Moses might simply be that they sing "about" what Moses song about as recorded at Deuteronomy 32. Ie, the character and deeds of God, The Rock (Deuteronomy 32:4) who was actually the Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).

And the significance of the song of the Lamb is to make the correlation between the Rock, The God of Israel and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and will reign as king over the nations (Revelation 1:5; 19:16).

So this is a song of praise in anticipation of the righteous reign of Messiah after the final wrath of God is poured out on the earth.

Revelation 15:5-8 is preparation for the final outpouring of God's wrath.

"The temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened."

1. actually, this is the temple (which has) the tabernacle, etc.

2. Thus, in actuality, we have the same visual as at verse 11:19, when "the temple of God which is in heaven was opened."

3. Here, it is the same "heavenly" temple, still opened, but now with emphasis on the tabernacle of testimony.

4. There, John saw the ark of the covenant in the temple.

5. The tabernacle of testimony refers to the heavenly pattern God used for the physical sanctuary given to Israel as is described at Exodus 37 and 38.

The purpose of the symbols was to portray the divine plan of redemption for the human race.

The ark of the covenant was the most important item in the tabernacle and symbolized specifically the sacrifice of the Messiah in dying for the sins of all the world.

The divine character that is emphasized in this structure is righteousness and justice. Justice is not only the basis for "blessing" through salvation relationship with God, but justice is also the basis for judgment upon those who reject Jesus as savior.

That is the significance of this vision where John sees the tabernacle of testimony and the ark of the covenant "before" the final expression of God's wrath upon the unbelievers alive on the earth.

The same Jesus who died for the sins of the world is the one who judges, for "He gave him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man" (John 5:22-27).

The point of contact between Revelation 11:18-19 and 15:1-8 is two-fold.

1. The issue of the final expression of God's wrath:

11:18, "Your wrath (orge) came"

15:1, "seven angels who had the seven plagues which are the last, because in them the wrath (thumos) of God is finished."

2. And the temple in heaven as the location from which this final wrath is administrated.

Revelation 16:1, "And I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, 'Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth.'"

11:19, "the temple of God which is in heaven was opened and the ark of His covenant appeared"

15:5, "And the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened."

15:6, "and the 7 angels who had the 7 plagues came out of the temple"

Notice that at verse 6, we see the angels clothed in linen clean and bright.

This is proof that the "armies" who come with the Lord Jesus to "mop up" at Armageddon (Revelation 19:14), do not need to refer to believers, but can easily and in fact, more reasonably, refer to angels.

15: 7, "And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels, seven golden bowls full of the wrath (thumos) of God, who lives forever and ever."

Revelation 15:8 tells us that the administration of this wrath of God, as an expression of His power, causes smoke to fill the temple. This EVIDENCE of God's GLORY is so great that none of the creatures in heaven are able to enter into the temple until the final judgments are completed.

Revelation 16:1 is the command to begin the administration of the judgments:

"And I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath (thumos) of God into the earth."

And verses 2-21 gives the details of these 7 last plagues of divine wrath upon the kingdom of the beast and the unbelieving world.

These 7 judgments all take place within a 26 day period as they begin some time after the ascension of the two witnesses. Their ascension takes place on day 4 of the 30 day period which follows immediately upon the 1260 days of the last half of the week. By the end of these 30 days, the kingdom of the beast will be totally destroyed and the 45 days of preparation for the kingdom of Messiah will begin. Daniel 12:11-12.

Some believe that the 7 bowls are simply a RE-STATEMENT of the trumpet judgments. This theory ignores the evidence that there is no similarity between the trumpets and the respective bowls. For a comparison of the trumpets with the bowls see the chapter - THE 7TH SEAL AND SIX TRUMPETS.

Bowl #1, Revelation 16:2: massive skin cancer develops upon all who have the mark of the beast.

"And the first one went and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image."

Bowl #2, Revelation 16:3: Salt water pollution that kills EVERY living thing in the sea.

"And the second one poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like {that} of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died."

I have come to realize through dialog with many different people that nothing should be taken for granted and that every point needs to be clarified. The "became blood," here and in other places where the image occurs, does NOT mean to literally become blood. It refers to the appearance of blood and communicates the severe pollution that discolors both water resources so that they are totally unusable.

Bowl #3, Revelation 16:4: Fresh water pollution which appears to extend to the entire fresh water supply in the world.

"And the third {angel} poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood."

Bowl #4, Revelation 16:8-9: Intensification of the sun's rays so that people are severely scorched.

"And the fourth one poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. (v.9) And men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues; and they did not repent, so as to give Him glory."

NOTICE that at verse 9, those who are the recipients of the plagues do NOT change their minds (repent) about their rebellion against God and continue to reject any expression of thanks and praise.

Bowl #5, Revelation 16:10-11: This is an opposite effect on the sun which diminishes its light and heat so that there is extreme cold and even artificial heating techniques will provide no help.

(The reason for that is that both electricity and fossil fuels will be in very short supply.)

"And the fifth one poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, (v.11) and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds."

NOTICE again that the spiritual rebels continue to blaspheme God and continue in their deeds of lawlessness.

In fact, not only do these peoples of the world continue to blaspheme God, but they have also become quite dissatisfied with the beast's ineffectiveness in providing necessary resources to those who have sworn allegiance to him. The result is a massive troop movement against the kingdom of the beast and specifically into the land of Palestine where there exists a large supply of natural resources under the control of the beast and his armies.

Bowl #6, Revelation 16:12-16: The assembly of troops to Armageddon.
This takes place in two stages.

Stage one is the arrival of the kings of the East, verse 12:

Verse 12, "And the sixth one poured out his bowl upon the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east."

This is specific reference to the movement of the kings of the East as they attack the king of the West (the beast) and his troops which are stationed in Palestine.

This incident is just briefly mentioned at Daniel 11:44 in the phrase, "rumors from the East . . . will disturb him."

The details of this maneuvering of troops before and at Armageddon are not directly pertinent to the "PreWrath" position so I will discuss them in a future article.

But as in the case of the other bowl judgments, this movement of the kings of the East is a direct assault on the kingdom of the beast.

The significance of the Euphrates River in this scenario is that, historically, it has stood as a barrier to the advance of the Far Eastern societies into the Middle East.

Today, the existence of the river does nothing to hinder the advance of armies. However, in a typical sense, it represents a deterrent to such advances and therefore when it is "dried up," we see the deterrent removed and the subsequent movement of Eastern troops into Palestine.

Stage two of this 6th bowl judgment is the movement of troops other than the kings of the East, verses 13-14, 16.

(verse 13) And I saw {coming} out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; (verse14) for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.

(verse 16) And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.

This movement corresponds with the development discussed at Zechariah 12:1-3 and 14:2.

Zechariah 12:1-3

"The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. {Thus} declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him,

Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah.

And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. "

Zechariah 14:2,

"For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city."

Prior to this, the king of the North has been pushing against the King of the West at geographical locations all over the world as is referenced at the 6th trumpet (Revelation 9:13-19) and Daniel 11:44, "and the king of the North will storm against him."

Now at this time, the king of the North as well as other world powers are motivated by demon influence to move into the Middle East.

The "practical" reason for such movement would be the severe economic conditions which exist worldwide. The movement into the Middle East is an attempt to alleviate those conditions by physically confronting the King of the West (the beast) and taking possession of the natural resources which are controlled by him.

But the possession and control of resources that the world believes the beast possesses, is simply an illusion. Remember that the bowl judgments have almost totally depleted those resources:

Bowl #2: All sea life is dead.

Bowl #3: All fresh water is polluted.

Bowl #5: Heating resources are depleted (gas, oil, coal, wood)

The kingdom of the beast is in chaos and his reign has for all practical purposes, come to an end as was indicated at the announcement from the 7th trumpet.

Now, right in the middle of describing this troop movement, we find an exhortation from Jesus as a reminder of personal accountability.  This is addressed to the readers of the book of Revelation, both believers and unbelievers, to warn them of the event of the 6th seal that will begin the "end-times" judgments of the Day of the Lord.

Revelation 16:15

("Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.")

The phrase, "come like a thief," occurs only 5 times and always refers to the return of Jesus at the arrival of the Day of the Lord (1Thessalonians 5:2, 4; 2Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15). The use of this term originated based on the parable Jesus taught at Matthew 24:43-44

"But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
"For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect it."

Believers will thus, be reminded of the urgency for testimonial consistency throughout their lives that they might not "be ashamed, and shrink away from him in fear at His presence," 1 John 2:28.
The same warning is given by Jesus at Luke 21:34-36.

Any unbelievers who read this will once again be reminded that if they are not spiritually prepared through salvation relationship with God, they will be left behind at the rapture and many of the men and women, if not killed by one plague or another, will end up as part of this troop movement into the Valley of Megiddo where they will face the sword of Jesus.

At all times throughout history, God has been faithful to provide the information people need to enter into relationship with Himself. This time of great judgment from God is no exception. The 144,000 "servants" of God are still present on the earth representing the truth of God to all who will hear. The message of these "servants" is found at Revelation 14:6-7 and is called, "an everlasting gospel."

The quote from God at this point in the scenario, indicates not only, God's concern for His own people, that they be "prepared" through fellowship abiding with Him, but that He is still concerned for all who are willing to come so that all who "call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."

When Jesus descends to the earth to face the nations at Armageddon, He will already have been present in the clouds for over five months, having come "in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Mat. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:12-14). AT this physical descent TO the earth, He will not come like a thief. It is true, that no one will know EXACTLY what hour or even day He will descend, but the judgments will have been on-going for over FIVE MONTHS already (Rev. 9:5), and an "any time" arrival is really not an issue at this point. The world will have ALREADY experienced the "signs in the sun, moon and stars," and SEEN the arrival of Jesus in the clouds. At that event of the 6th seal, the world will know that judgment is impending.

Revelation 6:15-17

"And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?"

However, prior to the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky at the 6th seal, when many unbelievers will NOT be experiencing judgment, but instead will be facing the "peace and security" issues of association with the beast (1Thes. 5:3: Mat. 24:38-39), there will be no thought of the second coming of Jesus or of judgment.

That is why this warning is placed here. It is given just before the vision tells about the FINAL judgment that comes in the Valley of Megiddo, and warns all who will listen that it is the second coming that will initiate the events leading up to it. Of course, for the beast-worshippers, who will already have taken the mark of the beast, their destiny in the lake of fire is irreversible. But for the many who will be experiencing only a TASTE of the benefits of beast worship, there is still a chance to trust in Christ and be saved.

Jesus gives the same warning at the close of the book of Revelation.
Revelation 22:12, 17

"Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done . . . And the Spirit and the Bride say, COME. And let the one who hears say COME. And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wants to, take the water of life freely."

The 7th bowl judgment takes place just before Jesus descends to confront the armies of the world in Jerusalem and at Armageddon. While armies are maneuvering in and around Jerusalem, being gathered to the valley of Meggido, the rest of the world is being destroyed by earthquakes and hail stones.

Bowl #7, Revelation 16:17-21,

(verse17) And the seventh one poured out his bowl upon the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done."
(verse 18) And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake {was it, and} so mighty.

The result is that cities are destroyed, Islands sink and mountains crumble. Attendant with this will be huge blocks of ice falling upon the earth causing more death and destruction.

(verse 19) And the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.
(verse 20) And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (verse 21) And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.

This is a judgment upon the people of the nations, whereas the "armies" of the nations will be judged separately as they are gathered at Armageddon.
Notice that there is still time for people to continue in their blaspheming of God and in their rejection of His salvation provision.

This is probably what Ezekiel described at Ezekiel 38:18-19,

"And it will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel," declares the Lord GOD, "that My fury will mount up in My anger. "And in My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare {that} on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.

and 39:6,

"And I shall send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety;
and they will know that I am the LORD.

This is probably what Jeremiah spoke about at Jeremiah 25:32-37, which has a worldwide focus as judgment upon the "peaceful folds" of these nations.

And even Isaiah seems to mention this particular occurrence in a Day of the Lord context at Isaiah 13:13,

"Therefore, I shall make the heavens tremble
and the earth will be shaken from its place
at the fury of the Lord of Hosts."

Notice also that there are two cities which are signaled out as receiving special judgment.

1. The great city: Verse 19, "And the great city was split into three parts," This refers to Jerusalem as seen at Revelation 11:8,

". . .the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt,
where also our Lord was crucified."

2. Babylon: Verse 19, "And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath."

This refers to the great influence of Babylonian evil as perpetuated throughout history and ultimately centered in the Roman Empire where it has wielded its perversion of Christianity to this very day.

The details of its history, character and identification are found in Revelation 17 and 18.
The chronology of events picks up again at chapter 19.

To restate:

Chapter 16 ends with a worldwide earthquake and hailstones, with special focus on Babylon.

Chapter 17 and 18 backtracks and reviews the history and character of Babylon.

Chapter 18 ends with the destruction of Babylon.

There has been much discussion as to the identification of this city of "Babylon." Three views have the greatest feasibility.

1. The city refers to an actual "restored" city of Babylon which the king of the west (the beast) possesses for his headquarters.

2. The city which carries all the "characteristics" of ancient Babylon and the "mysteries" of Babylonian evil, which would be Rome.

3. The city refers to Jerusalem.

But the details of this issue have no direct bearing on the PreWrath position and will be discussed in a future article.

Now, even though there has been world-wide physical destruction from the earthquake and hailstones, still the spiritual rebels continue in their blasphemy and lawlessness. Later they will all be evaluated and the righteous will enter the kingdom while the unrighteous go to the place of torments in Hades.

Chapter 19 picks up from where both chapter 16 and 18 leave off.

We again have the response from the heavenly observers to the "vision" which they have all been watching. Revelation 19:1-5.

Verses 6-11 returns to the vision "screen" as we are told that the marriage of the Lamb has arrived. The use of the word, "arrived" indicates that it has not as yet taken place, but is now ready to be completed. Accordingly, "His bride has made herself ready" through the evaluation that takes place at the justice seat of Christ.

The "betrothal" period began for each individual believer at the moment of his salvation through personal trust in Jesus as the Messiah (2Corinthians 11:2).

During the time of the believer's stay here on earth, he is to cultivate God's righteousness in His life through growth and the filling of the Holy Spirit. It is fulfillment of this purpose which produces good works which are acceptable to God (Romans 14:17-18) and which will be rewarded at the Justice Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). The positive result of the evaluation of all believers at this time will collectively constitute the wedding garment of the bride as "fine linen, bright and clean" which is "the righteous deeds of the saints," (Revelation 19:8).

Individually, of course, each believer will be personally rewarded according to the quality of his works as a Christian, whether they be good (agathos) or useless (phaulos), (2 Corinthians 5:10).

It is for this reason that Paul writes at 2 Corinthians 11:2, "that I might present you a pure virgin," and mentions his concern about their unfaithfulness at verse 3.

According to Revelation 19:9, there will be a marriage supper of the Lamb, which would obviously take place AFTER the wedding itself.

Now whether the marriage and/or supper take place before Revelation 19:11, is not clearly stated, but the implication is that Christ will first "destroy those who destroy the earth" at the battle of Armageddon and then participate in both the marriage and the supper at the beginning of His 1000 year earthly reign. There is no clear evidence that the marriage takes place in heaven and the supper, upon the earth. I suggest that both take place AFTER Christ's victory at Armageddon and at the beginning of the kingdom. Those who are invited to the supper will be those who are left alive after Armageddon (Zechariah 14:16-21) and who survive the evaluation of the nations of Matthew 25:31-46 as believers in Christ.

Accordingly, Revelation 19:11-21 now describes the actual physical descent of Jesus to the battle at Armageddon as also mentioned at Zechariah 14:3-4.

"Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.
And 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."

See the article, WHEN ARMIES MOVE for details on the Armageddon campaign.


Questions and comments are always welcome

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İRon Wallace, Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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