In our previous episode we covered Bowls 1 & 2 which included boils or sores and turning the entire sea to blood like that of a dead person, killing everything. Now we continue on to the next bowls of judgment against natural phenomena.

References to Bible Verses:

Revelation 16:4-21; Revelation 8:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Exodus 10:21-22; Matthew 25:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Zechariah 12:11; Joshua 12:21; Judges 5:19;

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Transcript

Jason: Welcome to the My Ministry Mission Podcast. We are your host, Jason.

Laura: And Laura!

Jason: Imagine feeling the ground tremble beneath your feet from the weight of impending judgment. Imagine looking up to the heavens, not for comfort, but to see the outpouring of God's fury as a crescendo in the symphony of his judgment. In this episode of Unveiling Revelation, seven angels stand poised with grim faces and eyes blazing with divine purpose, each holding a bowl filled with a terrifying promise. As this storm breaks, amidst a sea of glass mingled with fire, are those who were victorious over the beast, standing tall as a prelude to what's to come. Will the wicked tremble and repent, or will they harden their hearts and stand firm in their defiance to face the full force of God's judgment? Keep listening for the hour of reckoning draws near.

Witness, dear listener, the unveiling of the seven bowls, and tremble before the righteous anger of the Almighty.

In our previous episode, we covered bowls one and two, which include boils or sores and turning the entire sea to blood like that of a dead person, killing everything. Now we continue on to the next bowls of judgment against the natural phenomena.

Now we'll get into this episode starting in the third bowl, Revelation 16:4, "The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water and they became blood." And once again, we see this is a complete contamination of the spring waters or fresh waters compared to the third trumpet in Revelation 8:10-11. Imagine how long humanity will survive when all of the fresh water has been completely contaminated.

Laura: What is not long at all, Jason, and sorry, not sorry for the Jeopardy reference. Seriously though, first the seas and oceans become like the blood of a dead person and therefore unclean. Now we've got the freshwater becoming blood as well. And I almost wonder if it's a like blood situation, or if it's actual blood like in Exodus.

Jason: I don't know, but moving on to the angel that speaks to the righteousness of God in relationship to this third bowl in Revelation 16:5-7, "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, for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve. And I heard the altar respond, Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments."

So Adam Clark, a British theologian born in the 18th century, once wrote, "They thirsted after blood and massacred the saints of God, and now they have got blood to drink." Those who are rooted to this world have a history of persecuting those who have connections to God.

They pour out the blood of the saints and the prophets. Cain killed Abel. The Jews and Gentiles crucified Jesus. Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome under the Emperor Nero. Peter was crucified upside down and Paul was beheaded. Thomas was killed with the spears of four soldiers. Philip was arrested and cruelly put to death. And the list goes on.

Laura: The people left on Earth at the end of the Tribulation are being judged for refusing the living water, and now they are being given death to drink. And this angel is proclaiming that God's judgment is fair and pure. This isn't some form of vigilante justice. This is God's judgment on a world that has been warned over, and over, and over again. Our God never changes. He's always the same, and his judgments are always righteous because they are truth.

Jason: I read an interesting passage from an article that created a parallel between God's judgment against the philosophies of this world. Now, we've seen many great philosophers over the history of man, and humanity drinks from their ideas. But none of them can bring life. God wants us to drink of his water because it is the only water that can give life.

Laura: And anyone who drinks of these worldly philosophies will have a half life, a cursed life. Okay, well, maybe not cursed, but definitely not the life more abundantly that Jesus promised in John 10:10.

Jason: Oh, you must be confusing this with drinking unicorn's blood. Look, in my humble opinion, it's okay to receive wisdom from these philosophers, but always validate it against God's word.

Laura: Exactly. And if what the philosophers have to say goes against the word of God, then peace out, homeslice. And if you thought things couldn't possibly get any worse, you may want to put on your seatbelts, because this is going to be a bumpy ride into Revelation 16:8-9, "Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, causing it to scorch everyone with its fire.

Everyone was burned by this blast of heat, and they cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory." Now we're moving into the sky with this bowl being poured on the Sun. Unlike previous judgments, when the Sun was turned dark, here we have the Sun being turned up to full blast. But this bowl seems to pull the Sun very close to the earth. It is interesting to note that these people are cursing God and refusing to turn to him. At this point though, time is up. There are no more chances for repentance.

And this does kind of remind me of that scene in Star Wars, Revenge of the Sith, where Anakin had just lost the lightsaber duel with Obi Wan and the lava started burning his legs and body. Instead of crying out for help, he cursed Obi Wan, who then walked away. Can't help those who don't want it, I suppose.

Jason: True. I'm going to have a science geek moment for a moment. As the light intensity decreases with distance from the source, in this case, the sun, the rate of decrease is in proportion to the square of the distance between where it comes from and where it is received. So, in other words, if the sun actually got closer to earth, the amount of heat and radiation gets exponentially greater. It's called the law of inverse squared.

Anyhow, my commentaries have another Walvrood quote that I want to share. It says, "The wistful thinking of some that men would repent if only they knew the power and righteous judgment of God is shattered by frequent mentions in this chapter of the hardness of the human heart. In the face of the most stringent and evident divine discipline." So unfortunately those who are not won by grace will never be won.

And while many of these first four plagues could have an impact on the beast and his government, they aren't targeted towards him. However, the last three bowls are. British theologian, biblical scholar and congressional minister, George Bradford Caird, referred to these last three plagues as a triad of political disaster.

Kind of feels like. Modern day politics. Anyhow

Laura: there was an election there, Jason.

Jason: it is, he suggested that these include "internal anarchy", "invasion" and "irreparable collapse."

Laura: Yeah, that does sound like current events. Actually, but let's get back into the thick of this. Revelation 16:10-11 reads, "Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. His subjects ground their teeth in anguish, and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God."

Now, I'm going to be honest, this bowl stumped me for a bit, especially as we've just come from the fourth bowl, where there was an extreme heat and the sun's power seemed like it was amplified. My commentaries suggest that following the sun being turned up to full blast, it, along with the moon and stars, are completely extinguished where the beast's kingdom is.

I mean, it's kind of like going from the hot tub into the pool, I guess. Now, some people may interpret this part of Revelation as hell itself, but that doesn't seem to hold with the judgments being poured out on and into the earth. It's more likely that this supernatural darkness and subsequent freezing temperatures is centralized wherever the beast has his throne.

Some may say Rome, others may say Jerusalem. Now, Jerusalem, in my opinion, makes more sense because 2 Thessalonians 2:4 says, "He will stand in the temple of God and declare that he is God." And where else is the temple of God except in Jerusalem?

Jason: So my favorite commentarian, David Gusick commentarian, did I just make another word? Anyhow, he suggested that some see this as a symbolic darkness as in symbolic political darkness with spiritual overtones. But this darkness could be felt as we saw in Exodus 10:21-22. But it also says this could be a preview of Hell itself, suggesting that those under this Fifth Judgment are standing on the shores of the Lake of Fire.

Laura: Didn't actually think about that. When the beast's subjects grind their teeth in anguish, the literal translation here is, gnawed their tongues, which doesn't sound comfortable, honestly. And that's either from the painful sores, the burns from the sun from the previous bowl, the freezing cold from this bowl, or a combination of all of them.

The combination does seem to be the most likely because a timeline I've recently come across indicates that bowls 1 through 5 run concurrently with trumpets 4 through 6. And all of that happens in the last half of the Tribulation. And yes, that does challenge my long held beliefs that the judgments happen in sequence. And I really don't want to say the word mosaic, but Jason, your mosaic seems to be taking the top theory spot.

And I'd also be willing to bet that there isn't time from one bowl to the next for people to recover from the effects of the previous bowl or trumpet. And as Jason mentioned earlier, those affected by these judgments seem to be hardening their hearts to God, all the while blaming him for what's happening.

And it's not the wrath of God that calls people to repentance, but his grace, love, and mercy. And this just proves that old adage, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Jason: So Jameison, Fawcett, and Brown provide some context to this gnashing of teeth and gnawing of their tongues. Which, by the way, I've bit my tongue. Not fun. They suggest that this is a product of rage as much as fear. They set out to establish this satanic kingdom as revenge, and they are now angry that their hopes have been overthrown.

Also, this references their sores, which tells us that these bowls of judgment seem to be an accumulation of plagues rather than just a succession of plagues, which Laura alluded to a moment ago. But circling back to that hell on earth theory, I found an interesting reference that the darkness and this fifth bowl is described by Jesus as "the outer darkness" in Matthew 25:30 in the King James version.

When I looked at this verse in the NIV version, there does seem to be quite a bit of correlation. It reads, "And throw that worthless servant outside into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." This reference come from the parable of the bags of gold, where the master went on a journey and entrusted his servants with his wealth.

This third servant was only given a bag with one gold in it, and he did nothing with it. He didn't think he didn't work. He didn't even try at all. And then he made excuses. Now this servant was judged harshly for squandering his wealth and being lazy. This gold represents gifts that the Lord has given us and entrusted us to use to grow his kingdom. And this is a reminder that those who do not use those gifts to work for the Lord, do not pray and do not evangelize. Well, God will judge them harshly and harshly. They are judged with this bowl.

Laura: And of course, back to those language lessons we talked about in the last episode, I went and looked up both Greek words mentioned in these verses. Now the one used here in Revelation is masaomai, which is used usually in the context of eating or chewing, and in this case out of pain, while the word mentioned in Matthew is brygmos, which is used more for growling in anger.

Now looking back at that parable, and taking the word brygmos into consideration, I'm not so sure that the third servant was meant to be a Christian in the first place. I mean, even if he had done something so little as to put the money in the bank, he would have been accepted. Even if he had put in no extra effort.

He just wouldn't have gotten the rewards that the other two received. Now, it makes more sense to read this as the third servant being a non Christian, and therefore doesn't truly do anything productive with his life.

Jason: It's fair. So the sixth bowl begins with Revelation 16:12, "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." Now the Euphrates was a significant part of the Roman empire's defenses because it created a secure barrier against invasion from the empires of the east. Now back then it was 1800 miles long and between 300 and 1200 yards wide. With this river dried up, it's basically now created a road where a massive army from the east could move westward.

Laura: As an ancient Jewish writer, John would be identifying these armies as being from Mesopotamia, rather than from the Far East, like India or China.

Jason: Fair enough. Now, these armies could potentially come to wipe out Israel or rebel against the Antichrist. However, ultimately, these armies come to do battle against God and the Messiah. Now, if you'd like to read more about this, turn to Psalms chapter 2. My ESV study Bible noted that this river drying up symbolizes God's removal of restraint on Satan's capacity to assemble a global conspiracy against the church. I mean, perhaps this is God's way of saying, "bring it on!"

Laura: Maybe. We continue on with Revelation 16:13-14, "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. 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."

Jason: First ,ew, that being said, the ancient Jewish people saw frogs as unclean and repulsive creatures, yet the Egyptians actually revered a frog goddess. So while Christ cast out unclean spirits, we see the enemy calling them forth. Once again, we see demons using signs and wonders as tools of deception, and an army is gathering to wage war against God.

Now, as I thought about this more, I can't help but wonder if the armies from the East might have been initially tempted to overthrow Israel or the Antichrist, but these demonic spirits convinced them to band together through these signs and wonders. Regardless, they are gathering for battle on the great day of God Almighty. Not the Great Day of Man, not the Great Day of Satan, or the Antichrist, or the False Prophet. The Great Day of God Almighty. Which is a bit of foreshadowing.

Laura: Yes it is, moving on to verse 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."

Jason: So this is an interesting passage. Because it's basically referring to the words of Jesus Christ. This is a warning to the Tribulation Believers to stay alert. Stay awake and keep your clothes on. And be blessed because Jesus will return to the Earth suddenly and unexpectedly as a thief visits a homeowner in the dead of night.

It will be a frightful event for those left on earth. And the Apostle Paul warned the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, "For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night."

Laura: And this blessing / warning, there's a part of me that's not quite sure how to read this here, ties back in with the letters to the churches. Now, Sardis had a reputation for being dead and was called upon to wake up. Laodicea was advised to buy white garments from Jesus, indicative of changing their filthy rags of self righteousness for Jesus white robes of his righteousness. And it's interesting to note that the two churches referenced here were the two that Jesus really didn't have anything positive to say about in the letters back in chapter three.

Jason: Awkward.

Laura: Awkward! And as I was reading that verse a moment ago, I was reminded of several other times where Jesus mentions staying awake. Like he told the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. The parable of the foolish and wise bridesmaids, when the bridegroom was coming, they were supposed to stay awake and be alert and be ready for when the bridegroom showed up, but the foolish ones didn't have enough oil and were left behind because they had no light.

Jason: Interesting. So we often think of Armageddon as a thing that happens, not a place, right? But the word Armageddon comes from the Hebrew words "har" meaning mountain or hill in Meggido. So basically, the mountain of Meggido, or the hill of Meggido, which was near the city of Meggido, a former royal Canaanite city, and it's close to the plains of Esdraelon. Meggido is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible, Zechariah 12:11, Joshua 12:21, and Judges 5:19. Now the Valley of Meggido has seen a great number of battles. My commentary suggests over 200 battles, in fact, between 1468 BC and AD 1917, the latter year being an important battle won by British General Edmund Allenby.

Now in modern day, this area is about 60 miles north of Jerusalem, and there really isn't a Mount Meggido, but It's generally thought to be the hills near the plains of Meggido.

Laura: And one of my books points out that this mountain of Meggido overlooks what's called the Jezreel Valley, and as Jason mentioned was the grounds of many major battles. It's a triangular shaped area that's about 20 miles by 20 miles by 12 miles, which makes it look like a giant slice of pepperoni and pineapple pizza. Just saying. Apparently, Napoleon went on record as saying it was the world's most perfect battlefield. Though, there is a part of me that's skeptical about that one. I mean, my research does support the fact that he did fight there, so I guess that's possible.

Jason: Possible. So here we have this great battle of Armageddon happening at the end of the tribulation period. Demonic influences are driving the kings of the earth to gather armies for an all out assault on Jerusalem, with the Antichrist leading the charge. Jesus has promised to return quickly and suddenly with his armies of heaven to defeat the forces of evil, but we'll get into more of this in chapter 19.

What was interesting to me is that the Sixth Bowl wasn't a judgment to corrupt or destroy. I mean, it did get rid of a giant river, but the purpose here was removing a barrier to prepare the way for the invading kings from the east. I mean, I personally couldn't find a solid reason in any literature. I'd like to suggest it was because God was taking away a natural resource, but the third bowl already wrecked the freshwater. So I'm left to speculate that God wanted to give room for all the corrupt people on Earth to gather in one place.

Laura: So, we've established that Armageddon is a place and not an event. I mean, the event is what we usually refer to as the Battle of Armageddon. You know, like Frankenstein versus Frankenstein's monster, I suppose. And this description of it being a battle evokes images of demons and angels, saints and sinners engaged in an epic battle like the final battle in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, or the Battle of Gondor in Lord of the Rings.

Jason also touched on the fact that this bowl destroyed something that had already been effectively destroyed with the third bowl. And that it's very well likely that this bowl, the destruction of the river itself, was to give a relatively easy roadway to this particular valley. Great. Now I want to take a deep dive and find out why this place in particular.

Jason: I mean, yeah, maybe.

Laura: Not right now.

Jason: So we, we seem to have this massive army, marching West and this great battle of Armageddon prepares to get underway. God's righteous army against the unholy rebels. If you're an action movie buff, this battle would be horribly disappointing for you. But we'll get into more of that when we reach Revelation chapter 20. So instead of these agents of evil having their day, we're going to move on to the seventh bowl and the final judgment.

Laura: Tomorrow we'll discover what our God in heaven has in store. One more dawn. One more day. One day more, and I totally butchered that last part, but never mind. So We're talking about the Bowls of God's Judgment here and not the day before taking a stand on the barricade.

Jason: Gavroche.

Laura: And Eponine, and Enjolras, and the rest. Although, with what we just read about Armageddon, I suppose it could work. Now, there is one more bowl that must be poured out, and that happens here in Revelation 16:17-21.

Jason: And that reads, "Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a mighty shout came out from the throne in the temple, saying, It is finished. Then the thunder crashed and rolled and lightning flashed, and a great earthquake struck, the worst since the people were placed on the earth. The great city of Babylon split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble. So God remembered all of Babylon's sins, and he made her drink the cup that was filled with the wine of his fierce wrath. And every island disappeared, and all the mountains were leveled. There was a terrible hailstorm, and hailstones weighing as much as 75 pounds fell from the sky onto the people below. They cursed God. Because of the terrible plague of the hailstorm."

Laura: That is a lot to unpack. Okay, so we come out of the sixth bowl expecting a huge battle in the Valley of Armageddon. However, instead of any actual fighting, we hear a loud voice shout, It is finished. I mean, Jesus basically pulls a Thanos, snapping his fingers, and sending off a chain reaction that annihilates most of what's still left after the other bowls.

And the statement, It is finished, causes thunder, lightning, a catastrophic hailstorm, and a massive earthquake, which in turn leads to the complete destruction of every island and mountain. Now, I would expect this loud voice to be Jesus, since those were his last words on the cross. And using the same words here, it seems to indicate that God's wrath has been fully exhausted on those who have continually rejected Jesus and his sacrifice.

Jason: I think by now we know that I love imagery. So I'm going to pause here and paint a picture for you. Chaos has reigned. People are running around with boils, horribly sunburnt and cursing God. Imagine the yelling and screaming in pain, the agonizing voices rebuking God, the God who created them. Then thunder tears through the atmosphere and the largest earthquake the earth has ever seen rips Babel onto pieces, shaking the ground. A hailstorm comes pounding and thumping as massive stones pummel the earth and then nothing. When God's wrath is complete, nothing lives. There are no voices, no animals, just nothing. The earth is empty and barren. Complete annihilation for those who rejected Christ.

Laura: Although, with verse 21 saying that they cursed God because of the terrible plague of the hailstorm, I'm not entirely sure everyone is dead just yet.

Jason: Mosaic?

Laura: Did you have to?

Jason: I did. I did.

Laura: You did. But in the midst of this, God makes Babylon drink the cup filled with the wine of his fierce wrath. And this does tie in to what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus went off by himself three times and ask God if the cup could be removed from him, but also said, "Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done." Part of it was the physical suffering, sure. I mean, I wouldn't want to go through all of that torture and crucifixion. And I'm sure Jesus as a human being didn't either. But I'd be willing to wager that the thing Jesus was dreading the most was facing the wrath of his father after he'd become sin for us. He knew God couldn't look at sin. He knew he'd have to endure all of that alone and rejected.

Jason: Now our pastor spoke about this in a sermon once. About how Jesus went to pray to the Father three times, and three times he did not receive a response. Probably the first time Jesus didn't hear God the Father. And our pastor suggested that at this point, God had already begun to turn his face away from Christ. He had already started the separation, and we have to remember that the pain and suffering experienced on earth by those who rejected Christ is nothing compared to the suffering they were about to experience by being permanently separated from God.

Laura: And I think this is a good place to end this episode.

Jason: I agree. Our next Unveiling Revelation episode should be here April 19th, and next week you'll get a non Revelation episode from me, and if all goes well, I should have an exciting guest interview. So be sure to come back and listen to that as well. If you're enjoying this series, consider supporting the show.

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Until next time, remember to read your Bibles, remember to love each other, and may the Lord bless you and keep you. God bless, everyone.

Laura: Bye!