“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.’” Revelation 16:1.
“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. 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. 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.” Revelation 16:12-14.
The above have been added to maintain context, they were covered here on 9-22-22 and 9-25-22 and Revelation 16:1 on 9-18-22.
We will now continue with Revelation 16:15.
“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.” Revelation 16:15.
In the midst of this turmoil there appears both a warning and a message of comfort. The Lord tells us that He is coming as a thief; that is, when no one is expecting Him.
He then urges the faithful to persevere by saying, “Blessed is he who watches”. The warning is to those who begin to lose faith in His return.
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:12-13.
Though the Christian becomes discouraged and their faith lags, by enduring in their walk, they show outwardly that they are saved. The question here becomes, what will one be doing when the Lord returns?
Have you wondered how the Lord could come as a thief at the end of the tribulation after He has made it so plain that He will return 1260 days after the beast enthrones himself as God?
“He [beast/Antichrist] shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time [3 ½ years or 1260 days].” Daniel 7:25.
“… [the beast] the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3b-4.
“So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ and he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months [1260 days 3 ½ years].” Revelation 13:4-5.
The simplest explanation is that through the beast’s persecutions and Bible burnings in the second half of the tribulation and the apostate church’s destruction of the word of God in the first half, the study of the book of Revelation will probably be nearly non-existent.
Even so, there will always be portions of Scripture scattered everywhere. Many men throughout history have attempted to eradicate the Bible, yet without success.
Another answer may lie in Daniel 7 quoted above, “and [he] shall intend to change times and law”. The beast may change the names or number of months in a year, or change the number or names of the days of the week.
One thing is certain, A.D. and B.C. will be gone. As a result of this meddling, people may become completely confused as to when 1260 days either starts or ends.
“And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” Revelation 16:16.
The three froglike spirits have now completed their task which is to gather the armies of the world together in this place as a jump off point for the beast’s final solution, the invasion and destruction of Israel.
This invasion of Israel will initially be successful with beast’s armies swarming all over Jerusalem and down to Bozrah in southern Jordan.
“Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” Zechariah 14:1-2.
Jerusalem will be taken, plundered, half the city will be enslaved, and the remnant bottled up in the city. Throughout the land of Israel two-thirds of its people with die during the seven years of tribulation and one-third will come through.
“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: 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.
The purpose of the things quoted in Zechariah above is the same as that which is quoted from Daniel in another place shown below.
“Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” Daniel 12:10.
It is at this turning point when the Israelites call upon the name of the Lord in national repentance that the Lord returns.
And He enters at Bozrah to the south and swings north toward Jerusalem.
“Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? – ‘I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? ‘I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come.” Isaiah 63:1-4.
Moving northward the Lord Jesus Christ comes to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, just east of Jerusalem, where the final battle is waged.
“Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. 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.” Joel 3:12-13.
“And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, ‘Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.’ So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs [about 4 ½ feet deep by 200 miles long].” Revelation 14:18-20.
The demon frogs had done their job of gathering the armies to Armageddon, and now the angels of Revelation chapter 14 have gathered them into the winepress.
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. 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.” Joel 3:14-16.
“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!’ 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. 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. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, every hailstone about the weight of a talent [about 100 pounds]. And men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.” Revelation 16:17-21.
When the seventh angel pours out his bowl there is a loud voice from the throne within the temple; this can only be the voice of God since no one could enter the temple during the seven last plagues. God says, “It is done!”
Just as the Lord Jesus called out “It is finished!” from the cross after God the Father had laid the sins of the world upon Him and judged them, so this finishes the wrath of God poured out on those who reject Christ.
This mighty earthquake in Revelation 16:18 can only be the future quake released when the sixth seal was opened in chapter 6.
“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of his wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” Revelation 6:12-17.
Finally, the great city mentioned in Revelation 16:19, “the great city was divided into three parts”, would have to be Jerusalem, since there are only two cities of interest during this period.
And Babylon is mentioned by name in this verse. “And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.”
This verse also states that, “…the cities of the nations fell”. Words fail when trying to describe this catastrophic earthquake!
“Then every island fled away [sank], and the mountains were not found [flattened]. And great hail from heaven [the sky] fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent [100 pounds]. Men [knowing who sent it] blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.” Revelation 16:20-21.
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each one according to his deeds’…” Romans 2:4-6.
Look at that last phrase, “God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’”. God deals with individuals, not just you and I, but each individual among billions as if they were the only one.
When islands sink, God knows every person who drowns, when mountains fall flat, God knows every individual that perishes. The tribulation is about individuals, not unknown masses.
Josef Stalin once said, “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.”
When numbers overwhelm we get lost in a sea, but God has the hairs of each person’s head numbered. And He works with each one because He is unwilling that any should perish, you and I and multitudes of other souls.
While the sixth and seventh bowls of wrath are poured out in sequence, the events in the sixth may flow into the events of the seventh, so it is difficult to be precise when interpreting them.
The same could be said about the Armageddon campaign prophecies. While most of them dovetail together well, there may still be something missing, since the Old Testament, and New, to a lesser degree, are peppered with end time and millennial prophecies.
This, as you can see, takes some serious study to put together the order of events. Some of the more prominent books are: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah. Perhaps you will take up the challenge?
There will be some more details on this last battle of the “great day of God Almighty” given in chapter 19. Meanwhile we will be shifting gears in the next two chapters 17 and 18.
“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2.
“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:21.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world [every person] through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light [the truth of God revealed] has come into the world, and men loved darkness [Satan’s lies] rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:16-21.
Revelation 16:15-21 taken from godisrevealed.com updated on 2-9-17, reposted on 9-28-22.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.