Sermon Series in Revelation # 31 Revelation 16:1-16
1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.
4 The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood.
5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”
7 And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”
8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire.
9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
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 anguish
11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.
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 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.
14 For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.
15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”)
16 And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
The Pharaoh of Egypt put a godly man named Joseph in charge of preparations for seven years of famine. There were seven years of plenty and seven years of want.
During those seven years of want, the people of Egypt came to Joseph and bought grain. When their money ran out they sold their livestock, then their land and finally themselves as slaves so that they wouldn’t starve.
Every item of value was taken from them, including their freedom, in exchange for their lives. This world in which we live is equally oppressive. Many countries are ruled by tyrants, drug -lords, communism, Islamic law and dictators. People wake up every day wondering if this will be the day that everything is taken from them.
In our country there are various levels of oppression. Our government is forcing Hobby Lobby to surrender their religious liberty and damage their conscience or go bankrupt with government fees and penalties.
The estate tax is oppressive. Most children do not have the 35% to 55% of tax in cash to keep family assets together. The Death Tax will keep over half a million farms from being transferred to the next generation as Baby Boomers retire. It’s generational theft.
Speaking of generational theft, the government is spending almost twice as much as they collect in taxes. We have put on our children a national debt that they will never be able to pay off and we are selling them into slavery for our own comforts.
But the oppressive nature of this world is not just about the money troubles. People live in pain. I have a sister-in-law who takes massive pain killers every day just to get out of bed. My other sister-in-law’s sister lost 95% of her skin as a baby to a fire. She has lived without ears, toes, fingers, eyelids, etc. her whole life.
We have children addicted to video games that steal their ambition and future. We watch as people we love are enslaved to drugs, alcohol, consumerism, sexual addictions and perversions. The god of this age is a cruel master and uses cancer and sickness to grind God’s people into the dust.
So how did God win the release of His people out of Egypt? God sent plagues. God brought trouble on Egypt until they were begging for God’s people to leave.
God is going to do that again. God is going to save us by His arm of power. And like in Egypt, God will send a series of plagues to break the will of our oppressors and bring freedom for people who want to worship God.
This is the Lord’s doing. This is His great and marvelous activity for which we will sing His praise.
God Himself calls out from the smoke filled temple and says, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
Sores in the skin, diseased animal carcasses rotting under the sun and water is turned to blood.
God isn’t offering His mercy or grace. God steps out of the throne and wipes the floor with the defeat of His enemies. This reminds me of carpet bombing during the first two world wars.
This is God’s moment for Shock and Awe. These are the big guns and weapons of mass destruction.
And in the middle of this global calamity, John says that the angelic host are stirred to worship.
5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”
This isn’t some great act of injustice.
Even the martyrs who are protected by God under the alter, cry out in verse 7, And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!” With exclamation point . . . It is what they deserve!
Remember that in the 21st century, almost 200,000 Christians die every year for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom. 1.3 million babies are aborted every year in America; 50 million world wide.
Like the blood of righteous Able which cried out from the ground for justice in Genesis 4:10, so the blood of the martyrs cries out in this passage for justice.
At the end of each plague upon Egypt there was an opening for people to repent. But they did not.
And then a fourth angel stirs up the sun. Solar flares and heat scorch people. And God would be pleased to have them repent for their sins, but instead they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
Angels give God glory. God’s people give God glory. But the people under the spell of the Dragon say, “How could a loving God allow us to suffer like this! What have I done to not deserve God’s best blessings? What right does God have to bring me into accountability for my small indiscretions? I am not as bad as others. I am better than most!”
And like Pharaoh in his presidential castle, people keep hardening their heart to the gracious and compelling invitations of God for their salvation.
Then the fifth angel pours out a bowl of human suffering. Notice the strange connection between people of the world suffering and the Beast being judged.
When my kingdom suffers I as a leader suffer. All the structures for oppression set up by the Devil are brought down. Financial, medical, social and ethnic. All that matters is getting right with God.
Pharaoh was judged as he watched his people suffer under the Ten Plagues. Yet, how do the masses respond? People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.
The worst bowl of wrath God delivers is a strong delusion. Pharaoh hardened his own heart, and then God hardened it further. God allows the Devil to send out a delusion that they can fight and win with God.
When this comes, people stop repenting. The invitation stays open, but the path is not found by sinners. Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not repent of his sins. Now the world is repeating that folly. They follow after the Devil in organized rebellion against God.
This unholy trinity of the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet convince the world to unite in hostility against God in one final vain attempt to unravel His plans.
Friends, you cannot stop God. You can’t beat Him. You can’t hold back His will.
God even interjects a reminder to be ready for His abrupt appearance. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”)
Are you ready for the soon appearance of Jesus? You can be. Repent and believe today before you are convinced to not even listen to the sweet call of the Gospel. Behold, today is the day of salvation.
(This sermon was in preparation for the Lord’s Supper.)
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.