ACT FIVE — THE VISION OF THE SEVEN BOWLS
I. OVERVIEW (Chapters 15-16):
. . A. This vision has many parallels with the Vision of the Seven Trumpets and the Ten Plagues of the Exodus.
. . . . 1. Most of the plagues are of natural origin.
. . . . 2. In them, Nature harms rather than nurtures man.
. . . . 3. In most of them, only the unrepentant are affected.
. . . . 4. The order and content of the plagues is nearly the same in the two visions:
. . . . 5. In both visions, the unrepentant refuse to repent and glorify God.
. . B. Both visions illustrate God's vengeance on the wicked, particularly those who persecute and kill the saints. God
. . . . is answering the plea of the martyrs under the altar in Heaven (6:10): “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true,
. . . . until You judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”.
. . C. Commentators are divided as to the timing of the events of this (fifth) vision. Hendriksen maintains that, like
. . . . the events of the third vision (trumpets), they occur throughout the Christian Era. Others relegate them to the
. . . . time immediately before the Final Judgment.
. . D. It is made clear in the text that God's purpose (in both visions) is to bring the unrepentant to repentance and
. . . . obedience to His will, and to warn them of His final wrath and judgment.
II. THE SEVEN ANGELS WITH THE SEVEN PLAGUES (Chapter 15):
. . A. The vision is another great and marvelous sign in Heaven; nearly the same words that introduce the fourth vision
. . . . (see 12:1).
. . B. The multitude standing beside the sea of glass mixed with fire.
. . . . 1. They have been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name.
. . . . 2. God gives them harps, and they sing a song of praise to Him.
. . C. The seven angels with the seven plagues come out of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.
. . . . 1. They are dressed as high priests or as kings and rulers.
. . . . 2. One of the four living creatures gives them the seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God (God is their
. . . . . . source!).
. . . . 3. The temple is filled with smoke (see Ex.40:34-35). No one can enter until the seven plagues are completed.
. . . . . . (God's will cannot be fathom by human minds.)
III. THE SEVEN BOWLS OF GOD'S WRATH (Chapter 16):
. . A. The first bowl, poured out on earth, brings ugly and painful sores to the people who had the mark of the beast
. . . . and worshipped his image (diseases acquired through violation of God laws?).
. . B. The second bowl is poured into the sea, turning it to blood and killing every living thing in it.
. . C. The third bowl is poured onto the rivers and springs of water, turning them to blood.
. . . . 1. The angel in charge of the waters says that God is just, in that the wicked are forced to drink blood, in
. . . . . . retribution for their spilling of the blood of the saints.
. . . . 2. The altar (covering the souls of the martyrs) responds with a declaration of the justice of God.
. . D. The fourth angel pours his bowl on the sun, giving it the power to scorch people with fire. But even though
. . . . seared by the intense heat, they curse God and refuse to repent and glorify Him.
. . E. The fifth bowl is poured on the throne of the beast, plunging his kingdom into darkness. Again, men curse God
. . . . because of their pains and sores and refuse to repent of what they have done.
. . F. The sixth bowl is poured unto the river Euphrates, drying it up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.
. . . . 1. Three evil spirits (foul breaths?), which looked like frogs, come out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast,
. . . . . . and the false prophet (first introduced here, but not identified as the second beast until 19:20).
. . . . 2. They are spirits of demons, who by miraculous signs “gather the kings of the earth for the battle on the great
. . . . . . day of God Almighty.’
. . . . 3. Christ interjects here (16:15) with a warning to the saints that the time of His coming is as uncertain as the
. . . . . . coming of a thief; the saints are to wear continually His robe of righteousness so as not to expose the
. . . . . . nakedness of sin.
. . . . 4. The kings are gathered together in a place called, in Hebrew, Armageddon (possibly Har (mountain of)
. . . . . . Megiddo in the area where Deborah and Balak overthrew Sisera (Judg.5:19).
. . G. The seventh bowl is poured into the air, and appears to introduce God's destruction of the first earth in
. . . . preparation for the Final Judgment and the coming of the "second earth" (see 6:12-17; 11:13, 19; 14:17-20;
. . . . 20:11; 21:1).
Go to Act 6 (Chapters 17-20)
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