Revelation 16:1-21 Part 1




1)    Then I heard a great sound from the tabernacle to the seven messengers. ‘Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the land.’

2)    And the first went forth and poured out from its bowl into the land; and an evil and malignant sore came to be on the men having the mark of the beast and adoring its image.

3)    And the second poured out from its bowl into the sea, and blood as of a corpse came to be; and every being that was alive in the sea rotted.

4)    And the third poured out from its bowl into the rivers and their water sources, and there blood came to be;

5)    and I heard the waters messenger saying ‘just are You, the IS and the WAS, the Holy One; for You did judge thus

6)    because they did pour out the blood of the righteous and the prophets.  Therefore you have given them blood to drink.  Worthy they are!

7)    Then I heard saying from the incense altar, ‘Yes!  Kurie the Almighty God; true and righteous Your judgments’.

8)    And the fourth poured out its bowl on the sun; and it was given it to burn men in fire;

9)    fierce heat!  And the men were burned, and they blasphemed the God having the power of these plagues and did not turn to give Him glory.

10) And the fifth poured its bowl on the seat of the beast; and its kingdom became shrouded in darkness.  And they were gnawing their tongues from the misery,

11) and they blasphemed The God of the Heaven for their pains and their sores.  But they did not turn from their works.

12) And the sixth poured out its bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up so that the approach of the kings from the sun’s rising would be prepared.

13) Then I saw three unclean spirits as frogs from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the beast and from the mouth of the pseudoprophet.

14) These are demon spirits which are going forth unto the kings of the whole world doing signs to gather them into the great war of the Day of Almighty God:

15) ‘Lo!  I come as a thief.  Blessed the one watching and guarding his garments that he may not be walking about uncovered and they observe his shame.’

16) And it gathered them in a place called in Hebrew ‘Armageddon’.

17) And the seventh poured out its bowl upon the air.  And there was a great sound from the Holy Place of the throne saying ‘IT IS COME’.

18) And lightnings and sounds and thunders came, and there was great shaking such as there never was since men came to be on the land,

19) and the great city was made into three parts; and the cities of the  people fell.  And ‘Babylon the Great’ was recalled before God, to give it the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath.

20) And every island fled; and no mountains were found.

21) And great hail as talant-weight comes down from the heaven on the men; and from the plague of the hail the men blasphemed God, for its plague is exceedingly great.


Since what we read here is in much the same language of God as we find in the older Scripture; and since it has to do with the decreation of God’s “heaven and earth” Israel; and since there have been questions about that heaven-and-earth language and about God’s perception of His “paradise land”; and since there have been questions concerning the “shaking” and “staggering” and the mountains fleeing and the lights being extinguished and the land of plenty becoming a wilderness (as if nothing ever existed there before), we need to use some of our time this morning… reading.

Otherwise, if we don’t get this now, we might not come to know the fullness of God’s Revelation concerning the creation of Israel.  For it was, in His perception, a creation revealed in cosmic language, similar in many ways to that of the original creation and the Edenic paradise.

And not only that, but without the understanding of that divine perception (and His language), we wouldn’t know the full scope of the “decreation” of Israel (as is revealed here in this text); and neither would we know the height and depth and breadth of what is revealed of the mighty work of God the Son in the salvation of the world and the creation of a “new heavens and a new earth” for the glory of God the Father.

So, “getting this” (as you can see) is of the highest import!

We’ve gone back to the older Scripture literally hundreds of times already (since there are over six hundred direct references to the specific language of the written Word right here in the text of John’s Revelation); and we’ve noted many times how God perceives what He has done, and how He reveals it to men.  And we’ll do so again this morning as we read from the Revelation of God to Isaiah the prophet.

So, as you listen to a little bit of chapter twenty-four, just recall what you’ve just heard here as we read chapter sixteen of the Revelation.  Here’s the Word of God through Isaiah:


18) For the heaven is opened, and the foundations of the land are shaken.

19) The land is completely devastated; the land is split apart; the land is violently shaken.

20) The land will stagger like a drunkard and sway like a hut. The land's rebellion weighs heavily, and it falls, never to rise again.



23) The moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for YAHVEH of Hosts reigns over Mount Zion.


You see, the prophet writes the Words of YAHVEH some eight or nine hundred years after Moses; and the language is the same.  And the language is the same here in The Revelation of Jesus Christ.  And here is the full wrath of God poured out in the seven final plagues… all of them promised in Moses and warned in the prophets!

Isaiah, writing YAHVEH’S Word about a hundred and twenty five years before the first great beast of world history, prophesied concerning the rising of those beasts; he wrote of the birth of God’s Anointed – the Son of God/Son of Man – the Savior of the World; and over and over again he wrote YAHVEH’S warnings of impending doom.

And the language is that of YAHVEH; it should be so very familiar to us.  And that language has to do with Israel’s status before God as His special creation called “heaven and earth” – His “paradise” likened to the original Eden – and then its decreation.

So, since there are still questions about God’s prophetic language, and questions about His perception of what He Himself created, we need to read at least one passage from the great prophet having to do with these things.

The last sixteen chapters of Isaiah contain YAHVEH’s Word regarding the termination of covenantal Israel and the establishment of the “new heavens and the new earth” under the authority of God’s Messiah/King (and all of it written some seven hundred years before the incarnation of God the Son!). 

I’m certainly not going to stand here and read to you all morning; but you need to hear the language (over and over – until we get it); you need to hear how God perceives His Own creation and His Own history, and how He reveals it in history.

So, I’m only going to read from one chapter (at this point) – chapter fifty-one.  You’ll need to read the rest of it.  And, having read this one chapter, hopefully we can all be convinced of the magnitude and importance of the events that were about to take place as YAHVEH spoke to Isaiah; and then to see what John writes here in chapter sixteen of the Revelation as those ancient prophetic words reach their finality.

So, please listen carefully to the Words of YAHVEH as He speaks, through the prophet Isaiah, to this paradise nation that turned against Him from the beginning:  And afterward we can read and hear, from the apostle John, the same language of YAHVEH as His Word reaches its fullness.

Hear now from chapter fifty-one:


1)    "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek YAHVEH:  look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.

2)    Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him.

3)    YAHVEH favors Zion; he furnished all her waste places and He made her wilderness like Eden, like the garden of YAHVEH; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of song.

4)    "Give attention to Me, My people, and give ear to Me, My nation; for a law will go out from Me, and I will set My justice for a light to the peoples.

5)    My righteousness draws near, My salvation has gone out, and My Arm will judge the peoples; the coastlands (borders) hope for Me, and for My (Strong Right) Arm they wait.

6)    Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die as gnats; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will never be broken.

7)    "Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings.

8)    The moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but My righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations."

9)    Awake, awake, put on strength, O (Strong Right) Arm of YAHVEH; awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago.  Was it not You who cut Rahab (the sea monster) in pieces, who pierced the dragon?

10) Was it not You (the Strong Right Arm) who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made the depths of the sea a way
   for the redeemed to pass over?

11) The ransomed (bought ones) of YAHVEH shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

12) "I, I am He who has esteemed you; who are you that you are afraid of man - who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass,

13) and (who are you?) who have forgotten YAHVEH your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy?  And where is the wrath of the oppressor?

14) He who is bowed down (oppressed) shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the pit, neither shall his bread be lacking.

15) I am YAHVEH your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar YAHVEH of Hosts is his Name.

16) I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, 'You are my people.'"

17) Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from the hand of YAHVEH the cup of his wrath,
who have drunk the bowl to the dregs, the cup of staggering.

18) (There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne;
there is none to take her by the hand among all the sons she has brought up.

19) These two things have come upon you— who is it that will console you? devastation and destruction, famine and sword;
   who is it that will comfort you?....


21) Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk (staggering), but not with wine:

22) Thus says your Lord, YAHVEH your God who pleads the cause of his people:  "Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of staggering. The bowl of My wrath you shall NOT drink

23) and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors….


YAHVEH has made her like Eden, the Garden of God.  He established the heaven and laid the foundation of the earth and called it Zion, which He loved.  He Who accomplished it all was His Strong Right Arm (the Word of God).  He pierced the dragon and birthed this people out of Egypt and dried up the waters of the deep so His people could cross over. 

However, the nation was not thankful; did not remember YAHVEH and give Him the glory; did not obey His Commandments; did not anticipate His salvation….

Who will comfort this people in the devastation and famine and sword to come?  Yet…YAHVEH has promised; He has a people  who are afflicted – oppressed – in this nation.  (They are dispossessed and blind and deaf and lame and broken and demon-possessed.)  And He causes their tormentors to drink the cup of the wine of His wrath…..all the way to the dregs.

The “fullness” of this prophetic Word is seen right here in John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ.  And the language is the same.


After seeing and hearing the harping of the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb, John saw that the holy place (the Holy of Holies) in the tabernacle in the heaven was opened (as we heard prophesied in Isaiah twenty four), and John sees the “holy place” – the Holy of Holies.  And there is the location of the Testimony. 

The “image”, or reflection, of this ‘Holy of Holies’ in the heaven was the man-made Ark of the Covenant in the desert.  And in the Ark of the Covenant (built by Moses) were the tablets of the Law of the Covenant, over which was the golden “mercy seat”, and the four great living creatures – the cherubim. 

The Law of the Covenant was the first written Word from God to man; and it was His Word – it was the testimony of His Righteousness and His Justice; and it was the testimony against all who would break the Law of the Covenant.

But what John sees isn’t the image, or the shadows; he sees the Holy of Holies in the heaven… the tabernacle of the testimony (the Word of God), over which are the mighty cherubim creatures of God; and over it all is the majesty of Almighty God the Ancient of Days the Lord of Hosts.

John writes that it is the “tabernacle of the testimony”.  It is the tabernacle of the Word of God… reflected long ago in the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle in the desert.  And there in the text of Moses it was called the tabernacle of the testimony.  The man-made ark held the Word of God.  It was His covenant with His special creation – Israel.

The tabernacle in the heaven therefore is called the tabernacle of the testimony, for there is the Word of God… His covenant, the testimony.  The hundred and forty-four thousands harped the testimony before the Judge of all creation; and it was the “witness” that Israel had not kept His testimony – His Word – His covenant.

John sees and hears the witness; and he sees the firmament of the creation turn fiery red from the heat of God’s anger, for He hears the Words of His Own covenant. 

Now the holy place of the testimony of God “opens” to John’s sight (just as we read in chapter twenty-four of Isaiah); and the sign includes the opening of the tabernacle of the testimony for a particular purpose; and that purpose isn’t to allow entrance; and the purpose isn’t so John can see inside (he was already inside!); and it wasn’t for the purpose (as it was before) to pour out blessings (more about that shortly).

The purpose for the opening of the tabernacle of the testimony was to expose this harlot nation to the full and final wrath of God (the seven bowls).  It was His testimony – His Word (written in the documents of Scripture) to which Israel is exposed.  His Word is eternal in the tabernacle of testimony.  His Word stands forever; and He doesn’t change.

His covenant with Israel is His Word; and it included the sanctions against Israel should she break His Law of the Covenant!


That covenant also included the promise to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob that God would save Israel!  And the proof of that salvation is right here in the sign to John.  The hundred and forty-four thousands of the twelve tribes of Jacob are harping in the very Presence of Almighty God, the Lord of Hosts; and they witness to Him against those remaining on the land.  And what is the witness to God?  They harp the testimony of God from the Song of Moses which promises the horrific sanctions should Israel break His covenant!

The tabernacle of the testimony (the testimony being the Word of God) the tabernacle … opens to expose the covenant nation to the testimony!  And His Word won’t return unto Him void!  The testimony will be carried out in full!  And the tabernacle of the testimony is closed to its return - until it’s carried out in full.

The covenant nation will suffer the full exposure to the testimony – the Word of God – as the tabernacle of testimony is opened.

The elect of the twelve tribes (the afflicted and oppressed of Israel) having been “exodused” from the land (in much the same way as Israel was freed from Egypt); the final plagues now to come from the tabernacle of testimony harkening back to the plagues upon Egypt; the inundation about to come upon the land in the wrath of God being much the same as when the Egyptian armies “went down” in the flood of the Red Sea; the sin of Israel being much the same as the sin of the Canaanites when God ordered their complete destruction, this special heaven-and-earth creation of God is now exposed to the testimony!

The sign now shown to John reveals the sanctions promised in God’s Word for breaking His covenant; for that testimony stands forever.  And it is now time for the full, and final, outpouring of the wrath of God prompting the opening of the tabernacle of testimony.

John has already seen and heard the blood of all the righteous in history cry out to God for His vengeance upon Israel; and now he hears the witness of the hundred and forty-four thousands who Jesus came to seek and to save.  He had died for them.  And they are the ones who were pursued and persecuted and killed by the false shepherds of Israel.  And he hears them witness to God with the very Word of God – the Testimony – the Song of Moses.

It is truly an awesome sign to John; for the fiery power and heated glory of The Lord of Hosts fills the tabernacle with smoke as a “company” of special emissaries are sent out with the Word of His power… not to pour out manna and meat (as in the desert), but to pour out wrath.

And none of the seven messengers may return to the tabernacle of testimony until the full wrath of God is vented upon this harlot nation.  It is His Word, you see… His spoken Word that is sent from an opened tabernacle of testimony!  The messengers themselves are His testimony spoken previously to Moses and the prophets.  It is His spoken Word, His Strong Right Arm which was made flesh; and His Word won’t return unto Him void.  For it will do all for which He sent it.

The language here, as before, indicates a “termination” of the heaven-and-earth that God had created for Himself – just as Moses had written, and just as we heard in Isaiah fifty one… the “decreation” of God’s “Edenic” paradise on earth.

The mighty “shaking of this heaven-and-earth”, the “flood” of His wrath, similar to the flooding of the earth in Noah’s time, the mountains fleeing, the stars falling from the heavens, the land splitting, the lights of the sun and the moon being extinguished, the plagues (similar to the plagues in Egypt) removing all of the blessings of YAHVEH upon the land, and the land being made void, as if there had been nothing there before… as it was in the beginning of the creation.


The language and terminology of God is all there as it was - from the beginning, so this is what was to be anticipated by all His people in the Churches.  That’s made very clear in the seven letters to the Churches in chapters two and three.

There was to be great fear and dread and awe at the mighty acts of God, and those that were about to be.  For His Strong Right Arm had gotten Him the victory! 

His Justice, His Righteousness is vindicated in history – to His glory; for God the Son, the crucified and risen Son of Man found, marked and sealed every single one of the promise.  This was their assurance (those in the Churches) as they anticipated the mighty wrath to come.

But, you see, there was much, much more for them to anticipate other than the fear-producing, dread-producing event shortly to come.  We’ll see the hope of the nations, the salvation of the world, in the further work of the incarnate Son, as His people keep His commandments and hold His testimony; for there is now a new heavens and a new earth and a new Jerusalem and a new tabernacle - the body of Christ; for as the old is decreated, the new comes to be.  And it is better!

And so you can hear that with your own ears (as we finish this morning), I take you right back to the latter chapters of the prophetic Word written by Isaiah.

Listen closely to the language of YAHVEH as all that is NEW is forthtold to replace the old.  First, a short passage from Isaiah sixty-five:


11) But you that forsake YAHVEH, that forget My holy mountain, that prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny;

12) I will destine you to the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter; because when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear; but you did that which was evil in My eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted not.

13) Therefore thus says the Lord YAHVEH, Behold, My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; behold, My servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; behold, My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame;

14) behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall wail for vexation of spirit.

15) And you shall leave your name for a curse unto My chosen; and the Lord YAHVEH will slay you; and He will call His servants by another name:

16) so that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from My eyes….

17) For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.


And here is the last… a short passage from Isaiah sixty six:


15) For, behold, YAHVEH will come with fire, and His chariots shall be like the whirlwind; to render His anger with fierceness, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

16) For by fire will YAHVEH execute judgment, and by His sword, upon all flesh; and the slain of YAHVEH shall be many.

17) They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves to go unto the gardens, behind one in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse (that means “starving to death”), they shall come to a complete end, says YAHVEH.

18) For I know their works and their thoughts: the time comes, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and shall see my glory.

19) And I will set a sign among them (those of the land), and I will send such as escape of them unto the nations… and to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the nations.

20) And they shall bring all your brethren out of all the nations for an oblation unto YAHVEH, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says YAHVEH, as the children of Israel bring their oblation in a clean vessel into the house of YAHVEH.

21) And of them also will I take for priests and for Levites, says YAHVEH.

22) For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, says YAHVEH, so shall your seed and your name remain.

23) And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me.


Now!  Open your ears and your eyes and your hearts and minds; and hear and see this most wondrous thing that has been done on our behalf… ultimately for His Own glory; for His Strong Right Arm has gotten Him the victory!

Next Lord’s Day John sees the wrath of God poured out on His “heaven and earth” as the old is shaken and decreated; and all that is new and unshakable is inaugurated in the crucified, risen and ascended Jesus - The Christ of God.