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The Giving of the Seven Bowls of Wrath The First Six Plagues - Matthias Gerung (1531)

John saw in heaven another great and marvelous sing: seven angels with the seven last plagues. With these last plagues, God’s judgment is completed.

John saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire. Standing beside the sea were those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given to them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the Lamb.

“Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

After this, John saw in heaven the temple – the tabernacle of the covenant law – and it was opened. Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God.

Giving the Bowls of Wrath - Mattias Gerung (1530)The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed. John heard a loud voice from the temple tell the seven angels,

“Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”

The first angel poured out his bowl on earth. Ugly and painful sores appeared on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped his image.

The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea and it turned to blood. Every living creature that was in the sea died.

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Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water and they too turned to blood. John heard the angel of the waters say:

“You are just – and the one who is and who was, the Holy One – because you have passed these judgements, because they poured out the blood of your saints and prophets, so you have given them blood to drink. They got what was coming to them!”

The altar replied,

“Yes, Lord God, the All-Powerful, your judgements are true and just!”

Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun and it was permitted to scorch people with fire. People were burnt by the terrible heat and still, they blasphemed the name of God who has ruling authority over the plagues. They continued to refuse to repent and give him glory.

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast so that darkness covered his kingdom. People began to bite their tongues because of their pain. They blasphemed God because of their suffering. Still, they refused to repent of their deeds.

Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates and it dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the east. John saw three unclean spirits that looked 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. They are the spirits of the demons performing signs who go out to the kings of the earth to bring them together for the battle that will take place on the great day of God (Look, I will come like a thief in the night. Blessed is the one who stays alert and does not lose his clothes so that he will not have to walk around naked and his shameful condition be seen). The spirits gathered their kings and their armies to a place that is called Armageddon in Hebrew.

Finally, the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne saying, “It is done!” There were flashes of lightning, roaring and crashes of thunder, and there was a tremendous earthquake – an earthquake unequaled since humanity began on earth. The great city was split into three parts and the cities of the nations collapsed. So Babylon the Great was remembered by God and was given the cup filled with the wine made of God’s furious wrath. Every island fled away, and no mountain could be found. Giant hailstones weighing almost 100 pounds, fell from heaven onto the people. But they blasphemed God because of the plague of hail – because it was so horrendous.

What the story means to us today

The completion of God’s judgement

The seven bowls of judgement are the “third woe” mentioned in Revelation 11:14 (“The second woe has passed, the third is coming soon”). The first two woes occurred during the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets. It is reasonable to assume the seven bowls of judgement occurred during the sounding of the seventh trumpet. Revelation 10:7 confirms this assumption:

“But in the last days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished.”

The earlier seals destroyed one quarter of the population and the trumpets destroyed a third of the earth. Yet the pouring of the seven bowls demonstrates all-encompassing destruction, surpassing anything John had seen thus far. God’s judgment of earth has reached its conclusion.

Additional thoughts and considerations

List of Revelation’s seven bowls and seven plagues

The seven bowl judgements - artist unknownBowl 1 – Foul and painful sores on people.

Bowl 2 – Seas and oceans turn to blood and every sea-living creature dies.

Bowl 3 – Rivers and streams of water turn to blood.

Bowl 4 – The sun creates a heatwave that scorches the earth.

Bowl 5 – The Beast’s kingdom is plunged into darkness.

Bowl 6 – The river Euphrates dries up, demons spread across the planet performing signs and gathering the nations of the world together to battle against God’s forces.

Bowl 7 – Earthquakes cause cities around the world to collapse, mountains and islands disappear, giant hailstones pummel the people on earth.

Will Christians be present during the apocalyptic judgement?

Although not entirely clear, Revelation 14:12-16 may describe the harvest of saints into heaven. Possibly these are the “144,000” mentioned in earlier verses. Other verses make it clear that God’s wrath targets the beast and his followers and that followers of God are “sealed” for protection. Given the extreme symbolism in Revelation, whether believers are still present on earth at this point is unclear (but there is a good argument that they have already been “raptured” into heaven). Regardless, even though it’s possible that all that remains are stubborn, belligerent non-believers, notice that God is still concerned with their unrepentance.

The origin of the song of the Lamb

Those in heaven are standing by the “sea of glass” and holding harps given to them by God. They begin to sing a song called “the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb”. The song has been heard before – parts are taken from many books in the Bible including Exodus 15:1, Psalm 139:14, Amos 4:13, Deuteronomy 32:4, Jeremiah 10:7, Psalm 86:9, and possibly others.

The first bowl

The first bowl - painful sores on the people - artist unknownThe first bowl proclaims judgement on those who “had the mark of the beast and worshipped its image”. Festering sores and ulcers plagued the people. This judgment is the same as the one mentioned in Exodus 9:8 where God judged Pharaoh and his citizens for not allowing Moses and the Israelites to leave captivity. Exodus describes the sores as being so painful, people could not stand on their feet.

But does this mean acceptance of the mark of the beast destines a person to hell with no opportunity for repentance? Although the verses say sores appear on those who both (1) have the mark of the beast and (2) worship its image, prior verses strongly suggest accepting the mark of the beast is the end – once the mark is accepted, there is no turning back.

Revelation 14:11 tells us: “There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” They keyword here being “or” – anyone who worships the beast *or* receives his mark will be doomed. This may be an excessively literal interpretation and it is certainly not my call to proclaim its true meaning, but the verses make it seem highly unlikely that an opportunity for redemption exists at this point for anyone who accepts the Mark of the Beast. This seems a fair judgement given that acceptance of the mark is the equivalent of choosing to turn your back from God and worship the beast instead.

Revelation 13:14 further explains that unhuman-like powers and the “speaking image’ deceived the people, prompting them to worship the beast. Specifically, “the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship his image to be killed.” At this point in Revelation’s events, those who did not accept the mark of the beast may have already been put to death leaving behind nothing but evil and chaos.

Whether or not believers will be present during the ‘pouring of the bowls of God’s wrath” is not clearly specified and cannot definitively be interpreted from the text. Thus, it is best to consolidate Revelation’s symbolisms and assume that in the end-days, there are only two choices available to people of earth – follow God or follow the Beast.

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The second bowl

The second bowl of Revelation turns seas into blood - artist unknownThe second bowl turns the sea into blood like that of a dead person. The verses specially describe the blood as “like that of a dead person”. This may refer to blood that is darkened or muddied in color. A similar color has been seen in modern day waters overcome with red algae. The red algae “bloom” gives the water the appearance of dark, red blood. It occurs most often in fresh waters but can occur in any water, especially if the water becomes unusually warm for a longer-than-normal period of time.

A physical explanation for the water’s color may require a too literal interpretation of Revelation. Alternatively, the water’s description as “like that of a dead person” may simply be a symbolic representation of death.

Note that the verses say the second angel poured his bowl “on the sea”. The specific sea is not mentioned but most assume it means all oceans and seas throughout the word.

The third bowl

Like the second bowl, the third bowl turns waters into blood. But this time, the waters impacted are freshwater basins such as rivers, streams, and lakes.

Similar to the first bowl, this judgement and the prior one (that impacted the ocean waters) mirror a judgement in Exodus 7:17. Exodus tells us that in response to Pharaoh’s refusal to release Moses and the Israelites, God turned the waters throughout Egypt to blood. As a result, all life in the waters died, the waters began to stink, and people could not drink.

The third bowl judgement is also like the second trumpet judgement recorded in Revelation 8:8. In Revelation 8:8, “something like a huge mountain” is hurled into the sea turning a third of the sea into blood. Unlike the bowl judgement, the second trumpet judgement only causes partial destruction of the ocean and the life it contains. The discoloring of the water seen here may be a replay of events that took place earlier – only this time much more severe.

Like the second bowl’s judgement, the water is polluted and all life within it dies. The impact is much more catastrophic than it may appear. Especially over longer periods of time, the death of aquatic life impacts the entire food chain eventually leading to the death of land-based animals (those that fall higher in the food chain). Thus, no matter how the remaining events of Revelation play out, pollution of the earth’s waters means extinction of all life forms is inevitable.

As with all the other bowl judgements, we do not know whether to take the description as a literal event or a figurative illustration of God’s wrath. Blood is often symbolic throughout the Bible and could be symbolic in these verses too.

The fourth bowl

The fourth bowl causes the sun to scorch the earth including human inhabitants. As a result, the pain and discomfort do not cause the people to repent but rather, cause them to curse God and his judgement. It seems improbable that people could recognize the judgement derives from God but still refuse to repent. However, recall that when Moses brought forth plagues on the Egyptians, Pharaoh stubbornly continue to rebuke him despite recognizing that the plagues would end if he simply followed God’s instructions.

The fifth bowl

The Fifth Bowl - the Seven-headed Beast - Escorial Beatus (950-955 AD)The fifth bowl plunges the earth into darkness – the opposite of the effect from the fourth bowl when the Sun was allowed to scorch the people of earth. Interestingly, the bowl was poured onto the throne of the Beast.

Of all the bowl judgements, the fifth bowl seems most likely to be symbolic. It may be that light from the Sun was not blotted out but rather, that the beast’s kingdom was thrown into chaos and disarray (i.e. darkness). However, this does not entirely discount a literal interpretation. Possibly a supernatural force darkened the Sun or potentially a natural force, such as an interstellar body or smoke from rampant fires resulting from the scorching Sun.

Regardless of the cause. The people still stubbornly refuse to repent.

The sixth bowl

The sixth bowl dries up the River Euphrates so that the “kings from the East” may gather in preparation for Armageddon. This is similar to the sixth trumpet mentioned in Revelation 9:14 when the sixth angel was commanded to “release the four angels who are bound at the river Euphrates”.

In addition, three frogs came from the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. Frogs were considered unclean animals in ancient Israel and in some eastern cultures, were messengers of evil and plagues. Frogs were also symbolic as a god in Egyptian cultures. Israelites would have considered this neighboring God a false god and gravely despicable.

Since the frogs came from the mouth of the dragon, beast, and false prophet, they would likely symbolize lies. These lies serve to gather the “kings of the whole world” to prepare them for final battle. The description of the frogs is followed by a warning to Christians to “stay awake and remain clothed”. This is a clear warning to remain vigilant and not be tricked by Satan’s deception. Those that are not tricked are blessed – the third blessing of seven pronounced in Revelation. It’s a common theme in Revelation – Christians must remain aware, vigilant, and steadfast in their beliefs.

The location of Armageddon

When the River Euphrates dries up, the kings are gathered in a location which in Hebrew, is called Armageddon. Where Armageddon is geographically located is unknown. A popular theory says Armageddon is the city of Megiddo. Others believe the location is not a literal location, but rather a symbolic place.

In Hebrew, the “Ar” prefix in Armageddon (or more accurately, “Har”) means hill. The city of Megiddo is a plain, not a hill, which casts doubt on Megiddo as the location of the final battle. But “megeddon” did have an artificial mount (i.e. tell) that stood about seven stories tall in John’s day. Hundreds of battles have been fought in the area. Since the location of Megiddo was known as the location of many famous battles, John may have used the name as symbolism for a final battleground.

Another theory proposes the Hebrew word “Har Megiddo” derives from “the fruitful mountain”. In other words – the battle at Armageddon will take place in Jerusalem.

Given the variety of theories proposed, it is best to consider the location a symbolic reference rather than a geographic location. In other words, assume the final battle between good and evil could take place anywhere in the world.

The seventh bowl

The Battle of Armageddon - artist unknownThe seventh bowl is poured into the air and a loud voice proclaims, “It is done”. This is followed by a series of natural disasters that create a vast swath of destruction across the planet. Despite the calamity, inhabitants of earth continue to curse God for his judgement.

When God tells us the future, does Satan know it too?

If God freely tells us the future through prophetic descriptions, what keeps Satan from using this to his advantage? It’s an interesting question to ponder. If God tells us the future through biblical prophecy, why wouldn’t Satan use that message to adjust his strategy and avoid his own destruction? Of course, this is a question we cannot answer. God, like many aspects of our universe, is beyond mankind’s capability to understand. Possibly the events will play out in such a manner that nobody, including Satan, see it coming. Or possibly we live in a realm where future events are set and cannot be changed. Through he narrative however, we clearly see that God is in control of all the events and the participants. Most likely, Satan has no choice in the matter.

The science and history behind the story

The seven bowls

When the door to the temple in heaven is again opened, seven angels dressed in white and gold come out of the temple. One of the living creatures hands each angel a bowl. These bowls are easy to visualize given archaeological evidence from the ancient world.

The bowls given to each angel could have been the large bowls used to hold wine at banquets. Or they could have been the large bowls used to collect blood during ritual sacrifices. The verses tell us however, that the angels were given golden bowls. Golden bowls are almost always associated with temple worship which mean they would be the large flat bowls (or saucers) used for ritual drinking or for pouring libations.

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“Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed”

The verses tell us, “Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” The metaphor is clear but there is also historical substance behind this statement. In ancient times, conquered armies were often forced to disrobe. They were then marched, naked, as prisoners of the conquering army. These verses tell us to remain vigilant lest we be conquered (via deception) by Satan.

Notes on Biblical translation

Seven angels dressed in clean white linen

There is much evidence that the seven angels were dressed in “lithon”, and not “linon”. The difference is significant. Linon translates to linen while lithon translates to stone. If lithon is accepted as the correct translation, the verses would read “seven angels dressed in clean white stone”. Although “lithon” is found in many old transcripts, the word is typically translated as “linen” because “dressed in stone” seems impossible.

Bible Text

NIV

The remains of the Tel Megiddo site in northern Israel15 I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. 2 And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God 3 and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:

“Great and marvelous are your deeds,

Lord God Almighty.

Just and true are your ways,

King of the nations.

4 Who will not fear you, Lord,

and bring glory to your name?

For you alone are holy.

All nations will come

and worship before you,

for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

5 After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple—that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law—and it was opened. 6 Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. 8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

16 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”

2 The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.

3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died.

4 The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:

“You are just in these judgments, O Holy One,

you who are and who were;

6 for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets,

and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”

7 And I heard the altar respond:

“Yes, Lord God Almighty,

true and just are your judgments.”

8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13 Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The NET Bible

View from atop Megiddo which overlooks the narrow entrance to Israel's norther mountains from the Plain of Megiddo (aka Valley of Esdraelon)15:1 Then I saw another great and astounding sign in heaven: seven angels who have seven final plagues (they are final because in them God’s anger is completed).

15:2 Then I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and his image and the number of his name. They were standing by the sea of glass, holding harps given to them by God. 15:3 They sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and astounding are your deeds,

Lord God, the All-Powerful!

Just and true are your ways,

King over the nations!

15:4 Who will not fear you, O Lord,

and glorify your name, because you alone are holy?

All nations will come and worship before you

for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

15:5 After these things I looked, and the temple (the tent of the testimony) was opened in heaven, 15:6 and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, dressed in clean bright linen, wearing wide golden belts around their chests. 15:7 Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, 15:8 and the temple was filled with smoke from God’s glory and from his power. Thus no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues from the seven angels were completed.

16:1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple declaring to the seven angels: “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls containing God’s wrath.” 16:2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth. Then ugly and painful sores appeared on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.

16:3 Next, the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea and it turned into blood, like that of a corpse, and every living creature that was in the sea died.

16:4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and the springs of water, and they turned into blood. 16:5 Now I heard the angel of the waters saying:

“You are just—the one who is and who was,

the Holy One—because you have passed these judgments,

16:6 because they poured out the blood of your saints and prophets,

so you have given them blood to drink. They got what they deserved!”

16:7 Then I heard the altar reply, “Yes, Lord God, the All-Powerful, your judgments are true and just!”

16:8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was permitted to scorch people with fire. 16:9 Thus people were scorched by the terrible heat, yet they blasphemed the name of God, who has ruling authority over these plagues, and they would not repent and give him glory.

16:10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast so that darkness covered his kingdom, and people began to bite their tongues because of their pain. 16:11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their sufferings and because of their sores, but nevertheless they still refused to repent of their deeds.

16:12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates and dried up its water to prepare the way for the kings from the east. 16:13 Then I saw three unclean spirits that looked 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. 16:14 For they are the spirits of the demons performing signs who go out to the kings of the earth to bring them together for the battle that will take place on the great day of God, the All-Powerful.

16:15 (Look! I will come like a thief!

Blessed is the one who stays alert and does not lose his clothes so that he will not have to walk around naked and his shameful condition be seen.)

16:16 Now the spirits gathered the kings and their armies to the place that is called Armageddon in Hebrew.

16:17 Finally the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying: “It is done!” 16:18 Then there were flashes of lightning, roaring, and crashes of thunder, and there was a tremendous earthquake—an earthquake unequaled since humanity has been on the earth, so tremendous was that earthquake. 16:19 The great city was split into three parts and the cities of the nations collapsed. So Babylon the great was remembered before God, and was given the cup filled with the wine made of God’s furious wrath. 16:20 Every island fled away and no mountains could be found. 16:21 And gigantic hailstones, weighing about a hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people, but they blasphemed God because of the plague of hail, since it was so horrendous.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

New King James Version

15 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.

2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the 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. 3 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!

4 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.”

5 After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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.

16 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.”

First Bowl: Loathsome Sores

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.

Second Bowl: The Sea Turns to Blood

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.

Third Bowl: The Waters Turn to Blood

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.”

Fourth Bowl: Men are Scorched

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.

Fifth Bowl: Darkness and Pain

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.

Sixth Bowl: Euphrates Dried Up

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.

Seventh Bowl: The Earth Utterly Shaken

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.

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

The Message

I saw another Sign in Heaven, huge and breathtaking: seven Angels with seven disasters. These are the final disasters, the wrap-up of God’s wrath.

2–4 I saw something like a sea made of glass, the glass all shot through with fire. Carrying harps of God, triumphant over the Beast, its image, and the number of its name, the saved ones stood on the sea of glass. They sang the Song of Moses, servant of God; they sang the Song of the Lamb:

Mighty your acts and marvelous,

O God, the Sovereign-Strong!

Righteous your ways and true,

King of the nations!

Who can fail to fear you, God,

give glory to your Name?

Because you and you only are holy,

all nations will come and worship you,

because they see your judgments are right.

5–8 Then I saw the doors of the Temple, the Tent of Witness in Heaven, open wide. The Seven Angels carrying the seven disasters came out of the Temple. They were dressed in clean, bright linen and wore gold vests. One of the Four Animals handed the Seven Angels seven gold bowls, brimming with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. Smoke from God’s glory and power poured out of the Temple. No one was permitted to enter the Temple until the seven disasters of the Seven Angels were finished.

1 16 I heard a shout of command from the Temple to the Seven Angels: “Begin! Pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on earth!”

2 The first Angel stepped up and poured his bowl out on earth: Loathsome, stinking sores erupted on all who had taken the mark of the Beast and worshiped its image.

3 The second Angel poured his bowl on the sea: The sea coagulated into blood, and everything in it died.

4–7 The third Angel poured his bowl on rivers and springs: The waters turned to blood. I heard the Angel of Waters say,

Righteous you are, and your judgments are righteous,

THE IS, THE WAS, THE HOLY.

They poured out the blood of saints and prophets

so you’ve given them blood to drink—

they’ve gotten what they deserve!

Just then I heard the Altar chime in,

Yes, O God, the Sovereign-Strong!

Your judgments are true and just!

8–9 The fourth Angel poured his bowl on the sun: Fire blazed from the sun and scorched men and women. Burned and blistered, they cursed God’s Name, the God behind these disasters. They refused to repent, refused to honor God.

10–11 The fifth Angel poured his bowl on the throne of the Beast: Its kingdom fell into sudden eclipse. Mad with pain, men and women bit and chewed their tongues, cursed the God-of-Heaven for their torment and sores, and refused to repent and change their ways.

12–14 The sixth Angel poured his bowl on the great Euphrates River: It dried up to nothing. The dry riverbed became a fine roadbed for the kings from the East. From the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet I saw three foul demons crawl out—they looked like frogs. These are demon spirits performing signs. They’re after the kings of the whole world to get them gathered for battle on the Great Day of God, the Sovereign-Strong.

15 “Keep watch! I come unannounced, like a thief. You’re blessed if, awake and dressed, you’re ready for me. Too bad if you’re found running through the streets, naked and ashamed.”

16 The frog-demons gathered the kings together at the place called in Hebrew Armageddon.

17–21 The seventh Angel poured his bowl into the air: From the Throne in the Temple came a shout, “Done!” followed by lightning flashes and shouts, thunder crashes and a colossal earthquake—a huge and devastating earthquake, never an earthquake like it since time began. The Great City split three ways, the cities of the nations toppled to ruin. Great Babylon had to drink the wine of God’s raging anger—God remembered to give her the cup! Every island fled and not a mountain was to be found. Hailstones weighing a ton plummeted, crushing and smashing men and women as they cursed God for the hail, the epic disaster of hail.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

15 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. 7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. 8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

16 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. 2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous fsore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. 7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto 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 come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database
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