Revelation Week 11 – The Seven Bowls

One last set of seven, one last image of judgement on the world

  • Who is facing this – it’s the people who have turned from God, who have accepted the mark of the Beast, who have killed the saints and blasphemed, who have seemed to thrive while God’s people suffered, who have escaped any kind of consequence for their actions

Let’s get into those consequences

  • Bowl 1: Sores – there’s some poetry in that, those who have chosen the Beast’s Mark receive a new mark, except this one hurts
  • Bowl 2 and 3. – waters turn to blood. The poetry is still here – those who have “drunk the blood of the martyrs,” will only have blood to drink
    • Verse 5 – “You who are and were.” – No “is to come,” this is it, this is the final act. There isn’t an “is to come” left
  • Bowl 4 – increases the heat of the sun and people are scorched
    • Introduces the idea of repentance – why is this happening? Not because God is vindictive, but because every other option has been exhausted
      • These plagues are meant to punish and to change, sadly what happens is only the first part
  • Bowl 5 – Darkness and the terror that comes with it
    • People see parallels here to the panic that followed the assassination of Nero and the uncertainty that comes and see this as a symbol of political uncertainty and unrest – maybe, but the others don’t seem symbolic.
  • Bowl 6 – Dries up the Euphrates – opens up the opportunity for invasion from the east
    • We’ve talked before about the Parthians who lived in modern day Iran and stopped Rome’s conquests
    • Alongside this plague are the spirits out of the mouth of the dragon and beasts who are calling the people of the world to war
      • Why are they frogs – frogs are part of plagues, also frogs croak all night and keep you awake and drive you crazy, and these frogs are trying to drive people to war
    • Armageddon – Har Meggido – “the mountain of Megiddo”
      • If you’ve been to Israel you might have been to Megiddo
        • Problem – it isn’t a mountain
          • It’s a city that was rebuilt so many times that it’s elevation increased, but it isn’t a mountain – definitely wasn’t at this point
          • What is it? – city at the entrance to the Jezreel valley, if you controlled Megiddo you controlled the paths of commerce through Israel, which connected Egypt to the rest of the Near East. So it was a famous site of battles
            • Is it the site of the “last battle?” Maybe. Some people argue instead that this is symbolic, that it points to the way evil will attempt to pull out all the stops against the goodness of God, and in doing so will destroy itself
              • One thing they point to – one of the most famous battles at Megiddo is the one where Josiah died
              • Egypt rose up against Assyria, Josiah decided to intercept Pharaoh’s army, fell it battle
              • It wasn’t his fight. This fight isn’t ours. Despite the frogs croaking and trying to call us out to it, this fight isn’t our fight.
  • Seventh Bowl – its done, people still don’t repent

What do we do about God’s wrath?

  1. It isn’t vindictive – the hope is that people will repent. That’s always God’s hope. Sometimes people will only learn not to touch the stove if they get burned
  2. It is Just – God must eventually bring justice to a world wrecked by hatred, cruelty, pain, and suffering.
  3. It comes out of God’s love – God won’t let evil have the last word

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