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Revelation 16


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First bowl- Loathsome sores 
Second Bowl- Sea became blood
Third Bowl- Rivers and springs become blood
  Fourth Bowl- Humanity scorched
  Fifth Bowl- Darkness on kingdom of the beast
  Six Bowl- River Euphrates dried up
   Seven Bowl- Great hailstones

Introduction to Chapter  16

Revelation 16 reveals God’s judgments on the earth in the 2nd half of the tribulation.  This period is known as the Great Tribulation.  With these judgments, the wrath of God is complete.  At the close of the 7-Bowl judgments, Christ returns with the armies of Heaven to establish the Millennial Kingdom. (Rev. 20;1-7)

Chapter 16 is introduced in Chapter 15, there we first see the seven angels emerge from the Temple in Heaven with the seven plagues.  Their appearance in 15 follows John’s vision of those who had victory over the kingdom of the Beast by their martyrdom.  He sees those who died because they refused to receive the mark or worship Antichrist, they sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, in Heaven, before the throne, they are victorious.

Chapter 16 takes place after the world has been given a choice.  Those on the earth have the choice to receive the mark, worship the Beast and live or refuse and die.  God supernaturally aides humanity by sending three angels to warn of them about the choice they are being forced to make.  Many on earth choose Christ and death, rather then worship the Beast and his image; they are seen in Heaven before the throne, on the crystal sea. (Rev. 15:2).  Others choose the easier route, and worship Antichrist and receive the mark.                                                             

This chapter takes place after a period of decision on the earth.  Most on earth have made their decision, those who chose Christ died, some are in hiding, only to emerge after Christ's return.                                                                                      

During this period, Israel is supernaturally protected in the wilderness of Judea. Those who followed the warning of Christ in Matthew, fled into the wilderness following the Abomination of Desolation, when the Mt. Olives split opened for their escape. (Matthew 24:16-20, Revelation 12:14, Zechariah 14:5)  Here in the wilderness, Israel comes to the knowledge of Christ, realizing Jesus who was crucified by their descendents was in fact Israel’s Savior and only hope.  As the armies of the earth gather toward the hills of Megiddo, (Armageddon) Israel calls out to Jesus Christ as their Messiah, who returns with armies of heaven.  (Rev. 19:15-21)                         

At this point, those alive on the earth are mostly followers of Satan, working through the Antichrist and False Prophet. The great multitude in Revelation chapter 7 gathered before the throne, from all the nations, are those killed for their faith. (Rev 7:14)  After the earth has made its choice, God begins the judgments of wrath by commanding the angels to pour out the bowls on the earth. The seven bowl judgments complete God’s wrath on the earth.  Following the 7th bowl, Christ returns with angels and saints and establishes the Messianic Kingdom (Rev. 19:15-21) also known as the Millennium. (Rev. 20:1-7)  Those killed for their faith receive their resurrected bodies and rule with Christ in His kingdom along with the returning saints. (Rev. 20; 4, Matthew 19:28-29)

The Bowl judgments stand in contrast to the seven trumpet and seal judgments.  The Bowl judgments are not meant to move humanity into decision but are a demonstration of God’s wrath.  For example, the 2nd trumpet judgment effected one third of the sea, the second bowl judgment effects the whole sea causing all sea life to die.  The Abomination of Desolation also separates the Trumpet and Bowl judgments. The first bowl judgment is against those who worshipped the beast and his image by receiving the mark, placing the timing of this judgment in the second half of Daniel’s 70th week, following the Abomination of Desolation.

Revelation 16:1

1Then 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.”

Then I heard….The voice is probably God’s, since it comes from the Temple and no one at this point, is allowed into the Temple of God, until His wrath is complete. (Rev. 15;8)


First Bowl-Loathsome sores

2So 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.

Revelation 16:2

Foul and loathsome sore…(Gr.  helkos..a wound, especially a wound producing discharge pus) The first taste of God’s wrath falls on those who choose to reject the angelic warning in the 14th chapter.  The taste of wrath was not to produce repentance but to produce suffering.  Revelation teaches their no hope of repentance of those who turn to and worship the Beast, his image and receive the mark.

9Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  Revelation 14:9-10

The loathsome sore is an oozing wound tormenting the individuals who choose to worship the Beast. This sore could very well be the result from untested technologies imposed on those who will submit to the Beast. This would be a plausible explanation to those living at time. In actuality, its God’s wrath against those, who persecuted His people.



Second Bowl-Sea became blood


3Then 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.

Revelation 16;3

On the sea….(Gr. ThalassaSea, derived from hals meaning salt, salt sea) can mean Mediterranean or the Oceans.  Here the meaning is probably oceans; God’s wrath is poured out on all humanity.  In contrast to the second trumpet judgment (Rev. 8:8) where 1/3 of the sea became blood and 1/3 of the creatures died, here all the sea becomes blood and all the creatures died.

It became blood… Both sea water and blood have the same content of salt.  The sea becoming blood reflects the condition of mankind, like a dead man.  This is a judgment of wrath not one to turn men toward repentance, but to punish those who are at war with God.  God, the source of life, the source of blessing both on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45) withdraws life from the sea.

            This could be a chemical reaction, which started from the asteroid, which turned 1/3 of the Sea into blood.  Here the reaction spreads to the rest of the oceans, killing all oceanic life. Depriving the earth of a major source of food and nourishment, God withdraws life in the ocean.



Ten Plagues on Egypt

Revelation 8-9

Seven Trumpets

Revelation 16

Seven Bowl Judgments


Waters turn to Blood Exd. 7:19

Hail, fire mingled with Blood, 1/3 of trees burned, all green grass Rev 8:7

Sore on those who receive the Mark Rev 16:2


Frogs Exd. 8:5

Burning mountain, thrown into the sea became blood, 1/3 of creatures died, 1/3 of ships Rev 8:8

Sea became blood every living creature died Rev 16:3


Lice Exd 8:16

Burning star falls and 1/3 of rivers and springs of water made poisonous Rev 8:10-11

Rivers and Springs become blood Rev 16:4


Flies Exd. 8:21

1/3 sky without light, Sun, moon & stars Rev 8;12

Sun burns mankind Rev 16:8


Livestock died   Exd. 9:2

Demon Locusts from Abyss Rev 9:1-11

Kingdom of the Beast filled with darkness Rev 16:10


Boils Exd. 9:8

Four angels at Euphrates released, 200 million Demon Horsemen, 1/3 mankind is killed Rev 9:13-19

River Euphrates dried up, 3 frog like  demons gather  man to Armageddon Rev 16:12


Heavy Hail Exd. 9:18 Fire & Hail Exd.9:24


Great Earth quake and cities fell, and Great city was divided into 3 parts, Hail stones Rev 16:17-21


Locust Exd. 10:4




Darkness over the land Exd. 10:21

(See 4th Trumpet)

(See 5th Bowl)


Death of Firstborn Exd 12






Third Bowl-Rivers and springs become blood

4Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5And 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.”

7And I heard £another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

Revelation 16:4-7

Rivers and springs of water…..Like the first plague on Egypt, and the third trumpet judgment the source of fresh water for much of the earth became blood.  Whether this is blood like in color and texture or actual blood is unknown until that day.  The point God is making with man is not mercy but judgment.  God is repaying the inhabitants of the earth, for their treatment of His people who are now in Heaven.

Angel of the waters….In the same way God has assigned his saints to specific geographic areas. Angels are in charge of parts of the physical realms.   An angel is in charge of water, to guard and protect it from demonic activity or interference. The angel gives his approval to the judgments on fresh water, a necessity for life. 

They shed the blood of saints and prophets…..The persecution and murder of the saints is the purpose of the wrath poured out on man.  The trumpet judgments were designed to turn man toward God, to allow humanity to see their dependence on God.  The bowl judgments are designed to show the righteousness of God’s judgment.  Even here, the judgments are only a foretaste of God’s eternal wrath and judgment.

         Those who are on the earth at this point, are mostly those who worshipped the Beast, and received the mark.  The believers, except for those in hiding, and Israel hidden in Judean wilderness, are in heaven, killed by those who God is now about to pour out his wrath on.

You have given them blood to drink…With the death of many of the saints, God judges the world and causes them to suffer. One of the purposes that come out in these judgments is to demonstrate the hardness of the heart of man.  That despite all these judgments man becomes angry, infuriated at God.




Fourth Bowl- Humanity scorched

8Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9And 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.

Revelation 16:8-9

On the sun… The sun, the source of light and warmth, is magnified and giving man a taste of the coming heat in the lake of fire, which those who have chosen Satan will receive. 

Scorch men with fire…The heat from the Sun brings out the true nature of those who worship the Beast and his image.  There is no remorse or contrition in the face of the heat from the Sun. Mankind’s reaction will be the same in eternal hell, with this judgment and the one to come his heart will not soften toward God. For this reason we are twice told in this chapter men did not repent.

         Without the supply of the ocean waters and drinking water, the situation for the earth’s inhabitants begins to look very bleak.  Now added to their dilemma, is the scorching heat from the sun.  Out of this judgment, God demonstrates the character of those facing judgment.

They blasphemed the name of God… Rather then seeking mercy, the earth inhabitants rebel further, verbally assaulting God in heaven. God demonstrates the hardness of man’s heart and his own righteousness with these judgments. His wrath is falling on those who persecuted His people. 

They did not repent…. (Gr.  metanoeoô... to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction):—repent.)   The heart of remaining humanity has no desire to repent, they see God as their enemy.  They have staked their eternity  on Satan, the antichrist and false prophet.  Their only hope is for Satan to be victorious.


Fifth Bowl-Darkness on kingdom of the Beast

10Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom s became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 11They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

Revelation 16:10-11

Throne of the beast… The rebuilt city of Babylon, the capital of antichrist’s kingdom is filled with darkness.  Egypt faced a similar plague in the days of Moses.  The fourth trumpet also brought darkness to 1/3 of the earth.  The purpose of the darkness over the kingdom of the Beast could be for several reasons;

1. The darkness is a foretaste of the eternal darkness the dwellers of the earth will taste for all eternity.

11And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Matthew 8:11-12

2. The darkness could allow any in hiding in the kingdom of the Antichrist to escape the coming destruction of “New Babylon” under the cover of darkness. (Jer . 51:6)

6 Flee from the midst of Babylon, And every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, For this is the time of the Lord's vengeance; He shall recompense her.

7 Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord's hand, That made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; Therefore the nations are deranged. Jeremiah 51:6-7

3. The people of this kingdom will not repent or seek forgiveness while they are still alive and on the earth. This judgment demonstrates the hardness of man’s heart.

They gnawed their tongues…The darkness along with oozing sores from the first bowl, lack of water, lack of food and scorching heat are taking their toll.  The response of man is one of war not repentance.  In agony, humanity gnaws at their tongues but they refuse to repent cry out for mercy.

They blasphemed the God of heaven… Again, those on earth respond in blaspheming God.  The righteousness of God’s wrath demonstrated by its recipients, for the second time humanity shakes their fist toward heaven, and blasphemes God’s name.

Did not repent….The second time this point is made. This point is repeated twice for emphasis, so the reader understands that even if humanity could repent, they would not.



Sixth Bowl-Euphrates dried up

12Then 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. 13And 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. 14For 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.”

16And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, £Armageddon.

Revelation 16:12-16

On the great river Euphrates…. Drying up a river might not seem like a plague, but what follows is the point.  The gathering of the Earth for the final battle in the land of Israel is the issue. This is the second time the Euphrates plays a role in the book of Revelation.  In Revelation 9, we see four powerful angels bound at the river who are released and head an army of 200 million demon horsemen in the close of the 1st half of the Tribulation.  This results in the death of 1/3 of mankind.  Here we see the Euphrates River as a barrier to the kings of the East. 

Kings from the east might be prepared… Why does a way for the kings of East need to be prepared?  There has been debate concerning this verse. Are the kings from the east coming to help the kingdom of the Beast or for war with the kingdom of the Beast? In Daniel 11, before the middle of the tribulation, the Antichrist wars with the east and north, defeating them and consolidating his world power.

43He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. 44But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him. Daniel 11:43-45

With, the calamities in the world at this time, including lack of food, water, and darkness surrounding the throne of the Beast (New Babylon), what is the reason the east advances toward Israel?

There are two schools of thought from the futurist view on this point. 

1. The kings from the East are coming in opposition to the Beast after his kingdom is made vulnerable by all the judgments, with his kingdom in darkness, an invasion might seem right.  To repay the Beast for the destruction he waged on them. (Daniel 11:44)

2. The kings from the East are coming in alliance for a final satanic assault against the Creator.

The frogs like demons lend support to the second viewpoint, since they go out and deceive the kings of the earth, to gather them. 

I saw three unclean spirits like frogs….If there is any opposition to the satanic kingdom these demonic forces resembling frogs from John’s view of the spiritual world are designed to crush it.

The unclean spirits proceed from the un-holy trinity.

o         The mouth of the dragon

o         The mouth of the beast

o         The mouth of the false prophet


For they are spirits of demons, performing signs…The method used to turn any rebellion into an alliance is through signs and wonders performed to convince the kings to join the battle with the  Beast.  Satan seems to give the armies of the Earth hope they can defeat the armies of God.  Satan is again repeating an old tactic used before when 1/3 of the angels rebelled against God, thinking they could defeat Him.  Here man thinks he can defeat God in a Satan inspired deception.

Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches…. Why is a warning and blessing placed here?   Jesus’ warning is located several places in scripture,

Matthew 24:43, Luke 12:39, 2 Peter 3;10 and Revelation 3:3.  The warning is to those who are not watching; to them Jesus comes like a thief in the night.  To those not watching, their nakedness and shame will be exposed.  This warning applies the pre-tribulation and tribulation saints.  .  But the blessing of being clothed is offered to those watching.  Those who wait and look for the master’s return will be blessed.

2For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. I Thes 5:2-5

The temptation in the tribulation will exist for many of the new believers to sin. Imagine feeling like you are the only survivor of your family.  You along with other survivors may be tempted to engage in some sinful activity.  Adultery and premarital sex will be a temptation in the tribulation period for believers as it is in our own day.  Jesus, does not want the tribulation saints, those who find Christ in the midst of the trial, to get lax and make excuses to sin.

They gathered them together….The “they” is the demonic forces sent from the un-holy trinity to the kings of Earth.  The armies of man are being gathered to a location fight against God. 

Armageddon… The Greek is a transliteration of the Hebrew har Megiddo, literally, “mountain of Megiddo.”  Megiddo is first mentioned in Joshua as one the cities conquered by Joshua (Josh 12:21).  Later Megiddo became a chariot fortress city for Solomon. There also, the righteous king Josiah was killed by Pharaoh Necho 2 kings 23:29 who had come to aid the Assyrians against Babylon.

     At the plain before the armies of the world will gather.  What will be the reason for their gathering? How this fits into God’s end-time plan is subject to speculation.  The armies of the Antichrist defeated Israel at the middle of the tribulation. He then installed the Abomination of Desolation on the Third Temple. A portion of Israel flees into the wilderness to escape. According to Zechariah, 1/3 of Israel survives the tribulation and enters the Millennium.

8 And it shall come to pass in all the land," Says the Lord, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one- third shall be left in it:

9 I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; And each one will say, 'The Lord is my God.' "  Zechariah 13:8-9

   In Zechariah, we see an end time picture of Israel being super naturally empowered by the Lord fight against the armies of the Earth immediately before the return of Christ.

7“The LORD will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. 8In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. 9It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. Zech 12:7-9

10“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of £Megiddo. Zech 12:10-11

  The surviving armies and people of the earth are gathered to Israel, specifically to Megiddo to meet the King of Kings.  The moving of humanity is at the behest of demonic forces, corralling men, on earth like cattle to a confrontation with Jesus Christ.  


Seventh Bowl-Great Hail stones

 Seventh Angel

17Then 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!” 18And 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. 19Now 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. 20Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21And 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.

Revelation 16:17-21


Poured out his bowl into the air… When the wrath proceeding from the 7th Bowl is completed Christ returns with the armies of saints and angels.  The loud voice is most likely God’s voice in the Temple. Since when the cloud filled the Temple no one was permitted in the Temple till the bowls of wrath were complete. (Rev 15:8)

There was a great earthquake…The events of this final bowl of wrath proceeds as the armies of the Earth are arriving or headed toward Jerusalem.  An earthquake un-equaled in the history of mankind destroys all the cities of the earth, including rebuilt Babylon.


Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.

Revelation 18:21

Great Babylon was remembered before God…”New Babylon the economic center of the world is divided into three parts.  This happens immediate before its complete destruction covered in chapter 18.

Great hail from heaven fell upon men….As the armies of the earth are gathered, and people run from the earthquakes hailstones weighing 135 pounds (1 talent) fall on mankind. 

Men blasphemed God…Even at this point with these horrendous judgments on mankind, the oozing sores, death in the oceans and fresh water, the scorching heat, the unbearable pain in darkness and an earthquake unlike any ever in the history of the world, men decide to curse God rather then repent.  Here again God is demonstrating the righteousness of his Judgment against hardness of man.

The book of Joel, chapter 3 pictures this end time gathering of the nations against Israel in the land of Israel.  Joel calls, event the “Valley of decision” (Joel 3;14) because people have made the choice to go to war against their creator. They feel they are assembling for war (Vs. 9), but actually they assembling for judgment(Vs. 12).


JOE 3:1  "For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,

JOE 3:2  I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.

JOE 3:9  Proclaim this among the nations: "Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up.

JOE 3:10  Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, 'I am strong.' "

JOE 3:11  Assemble and come, all you nations, And gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord.

JOE 3:12  "Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.

JOE 3:13  Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow-For their wickedness is great."

JOE 3:14  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

JOE 3:15  The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness.

JOE 3:16  The Lord also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the Lord will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.

JOE 3:17  "So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, And no aliens shall ever pass through her again."

JOE 3:18  And it will come to pass in that day That the mountains shall drip with new wine, The hills shall flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; A fountain shall flow from the house of the Lord And water the Valley of Acacias.

JOE 3:19  "Egypt shall be a desolation, And Edom a desolate wilderness, Because of violence against the people of Judah, For they have shed innocent blood in their land.

JOE 3:20  But Judah shall abide forever, And Jerusalem from generation to generation.

JOE 3:21  "For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted; For the Lord dwells in Zion."


In verse 18, we read about the kingdom of Messiah, which follows this end time battle.  New wine flows from the mountains and the hills flow with milk.  Jerusalem shall be holy and blessed, a clear indication of the Messianic age to follow, the battle of the nations assembled in the valley of Jehoshaphat, is a reference to the event known as Armageddon. When the nations of the earth assemble against Israel and are defeated by Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah, at his second coming.