Revelation 16:1-21 Part 2

REVELATION 16:1-21 Part 2



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.



I have to read chapter fifteen for you, because sixteen just “continues” the sign that was shown to John.  It’s only eight verses (as you may remember); so listen carefully:


1)    Then I saw another great and awesome sign in the heaven; for God’s wrath was carried out in full through seven messengers having the last seven plagues.

2)    I saw as a crystal sea mingled with fire and the ones overcoming the beast and its image and the number of its name standing on the crystal sea having God’s harps;

3)    and they sing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb saying, ‘great and awesome Your works, Kurie the Almighty God; just and true Your ways, King of the ages.

4)    Who shall not fear Kurie and glorify Your Name - alone holy?  All the nations shall come and bow before You, Your righteous acts be manifest!’

5)    After this I looked, and the holy place in the tabernacle of testimony in the heaven was opened,

6)    and the seven messengers having the seven plagues came out of the holy place clothed in pure white linen and girded about the breasts with golden girdles.

7)    And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven messengers seven golden bowls being full of the wrath of God – the One Living into the ages of the ages;

8)    and the holy place was filled of smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and not one was enabled to enter into the holy place until the seven plagues of the seven messengers were finished.


And then we read verse one here in our text:


“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.’”


I trust that continuity is clear in your minds, because this is all one sign shown from Almighty God to the apostle John when he was in the glory cloud/tabernacle of God.  It is a “sign”, remember; it’s a sign of that which was, and that which is, and that which is about to be!

Listen again to what John wrote at the beginning (chapter one):


“Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness, and He did make it known having sent through His messenger to His servant John….(verse one)

And then, having appeared in the Island of Patmos in all His ascended glory, He said this to John:

Therefore write the things you saw and that are and that are about to be with these (verse nineteen).”


These are all things that were, and are and are about to be; and they are necessary to be done in quickness – right away; and write it all down and send it to the Churches for their comfort and assurance during these mighty acts of God – the likeness of which have never before been seen, nor will they be seen again; and they are necessary to be done in quickness!

And these mighty acts of God that “were” and that “are” and that are “about to be” are shown to John in signs (not symbols, but signs) - one of which continues here in chapter sixteen – having to do with that which is about to be.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said, as recorded in Matthew and in Luke, that He is the “fullness” of all that is written in Moses and the Psalms and the Prophets.

And in Matthew chapter twenty-six Jesus said:


“But all this is come to pass, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”


The Lord Jesus Christ, the Suffering Servant of God (as prophesied in Isaiah) willingly and faithfully laid down His Own Life for His Father’s people of the promise, spilling His Own blood for their sin (as a sacrifice unto God), purchasing them that they might be bondservants in the new tabernacle - His body, and rebirthing them by His Spirit into Himself that they might be pleasing to the Father.

And having done those things according to the will of His Father (all of which are prophesied from Moses to the prophets), ascended into the glory cloud, through the veil, into the Presence of The Father….  The Overcomer!  He is the Strong Right Arm of God Who has gotten Him the victory! 

He is the Savior of the World; and He is crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords (all prophesied in Isaiah); and all the creatures in the heaven and on the earth are subjects of His authority and serve Him (including all of the fallen messengers cast from the glory cloud).  Although they don’t acknowledge Him, they still serve Him!

And by His work on the cross, and by His resurrection and ascension, His further work through His Spirit is also guaranteed; for it is prophesied that all flesh will bow and acknowledge that He is, indeed, LORD!

He is the Word of God made flesh Whose mighty acts are seen from Genesis chapter one to the very end of John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ. That’s what John writes in verse one – chapter one: it is  “Revelation of Jesus Christ”!

It is the Revelation of the mighty acts of the Word of God that “were”, that “are” and that are “about to be”; for He is “WAS”, “IS”, and “WILL BE” (just as He said to Moses: IHIYE ASHER IHIYE.  (Translation: I AM THAT I AM).

And John is shown God’s perception of “the whole” and that which is “about to be” in “signs”.  And, as we’ve said so many times, the signs are in the language of God – a language that is found all through Moses, the Psalms and the prophets.


As the sign continues here without a break from chapter fifteen, one of the first things that comes to our attention once again (at least it did to mine) is the numerical perfection by which Almighty God views His Own creation and His Own history, and by which He reveals it.  We’ve observed it before; and it continues here.  And since John has already written that this is an “awesome” sign (chapter fifteen at verse one), and since it is the first time he’s used that term describing a sign in the heaven, then we have to consider that the use of all the “sevens” here is also great and awesome!  And, of course, it is.


Just as a sideline here (and I’m sure this will seem to be a bit strange for anyone reading this sermon in the future), there is a numerical and chronological “oddity” that will occur later this year (2011).  And it has been eight hundred and twenty three years since it last occurred.  That would put this event having last happened in the year 1188AD.

In July (which in this case happens to be, in the Roman calendar, the seventh month of the year – which is kind of funny) there will be five Fridays and five Saturdays and five Sundays!  Very rare indeed!

Now, it’s interesting to note these things when they happen; but this is the kind of event that “numerologists” flip out over!  We aren’t numerologists here, especially since there’s no prophetic chronology post-Parousia, and since the Roman calendar isn’t all that accurate anyway.

But some folks love these things; it’s really mystical to them (they get chills and all), and they live their lives and predict the future and assign great significance to numbers and periods of time… kind of like living to the end of a millennium and into a new one………it’s very mysterious.  They love the earth goddess “gaia” that likes the flight paths of the earth and the sun and the moon and the stars as it all “evolves” and “revolves”.

Numerology is especially important to islamists too.  As we’ve mentioned before, islam is basically a “lunar” religion (from Eastern mysticism).  Mohammed syncretized his own “lunacy” with judaism and Christianity and tried to overthrow the ascended and crowned King of Kings and rule the world with his own caliphate.  And they now figure their “holiest” events and their most destructive escapades on specific numbers and periods of time and particular dates.

Dispensationalists are especially prone to numerology, since they’re always trying to calculate (and then prophesy) future events, including the time that they say is yet to come when ten kings will gather for the war of “armageddon”.  That word appears here in chapter sixteen; and John said that it was an event which is “about to happen in quickness”; and he wrote that about nineteen hundred and forty-five years ago!

Dispensationalists are also always using numbers and dates to prophesy an event that they call “the last trump” (the last of seven trumpets).  That’s supposed to happen any time now!  But as we begin to look at the seven final plagues, we’ll also need to look at the seven trumpets again from the prophetic Word.  You see, all the sevens are here at the end for a reason; and the seven trumpets come before the seven bowls of the final wrath of God for a reason (God’s reason, of course).

Well, we’re not numerologists, as I said, and we certainly don’t predict the future.  That’s occultic; and it is a death penalty offence in God’s Law.  But we are very cognizant of, and always appreciative of, the perfections that are inherent in God’s speech (as written in Scripture), and the perfections of His decrees in history.

For well over three years now, preaching through the Revelation, we’ve been immensely rewarded by searching the mind of God (as He has revealed it) with regard to His use of the numbers three and four and seven and twelve, and His revelation of the multiple “sixes”.

Once again, here in this sign, we see the exquisite precision of His Word, from beginning to end, as we look into the “sevens” that He shows to John.

And let me say this one more time (for it is most edifying), that our God reveals qualitative perfection, completion and finality in the “sevens”.  We’ll see that even more in this chapter (and beyond).  But first I want to give you a “perfect” example of that from the older Scripture!

At Sinai, when Moses was in the glory cloud/tabernacle of YAHVEH up on the mount, he was given two stone tablets upon which were written the Ten Commandments (a “summary” of His Law-word).

The fourth of those Commandments reads like this (Exodus chapter twenty):


8)    `Remember the Sabbath-day to sanctify it;

9)    six days shall you labor and do all your work,

10) and the seventh is a Sabbath to YAHVEH your God (seventh!).  You shall not do any work, and your son and your daughter and your manservant and your maidservant and your cattle and the stranger within your gates.

11) for six days YAHVEH made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them; and He rested in the seventh.  Therefore YAHVEH blessed the Sabbath-day and sanctified it.


The seventh!


However, all through Scripture (the Law and the Prophets) there was ONE coming, promised of God, Who was the fullness of the Word of God.  In Him everything would be made new… a new heavens and a new earth.

In the seven feasts required by God of His nation Israel which was to celebrate and commemorate seven great covenantal events in the nation’s history, and which were prophetic of grace and redemption for all those of YAHVEH’S promise, YAHVEH required the EIGHTH day to be sanctified – holy, set apart – a Sabbath unto YAHVEH!  The eighth day of the feasts.  The eighth day was the prophetic foreshadowing of the completion of the sevens, and the foreshadowing of the coming redemption!

That would be the first day of the new week, and the first day of the new heavens and the new earth brought to be in the Messianic Prophet, Priest and King.

The wholeness of the fourth Commandment – and more – are poured into the celebration of life in Christ in the eighth day, for the “seven” is filled up and complete in Him!  You see, there’s completeness and finality in the sevens; and in the eighth (the first day of the week) there is newness and light and life and joy and celebration with feasting and worship and praise… and there is rest IN HIM Who is the “fullness” of all the sevens!

And therein is the defense – the apologetic – against any who say that they can’t imagine that there’s any reason for Sunday worship and rest; and a defense against all who might say that the seventh day rest of the fourth Commandment still stands; and the apologetic against all who actually prescribe and practice a seventh day holy day.

Those who doubt the Biblical first day of the week worship are skeptics… or agnostics.  They just don’t know; and they will receive their reward.  But those who actually practice a seventh day holy day have searched the Scriptures and concluded that the holy day is the seventh day.  They are blinded.  Their practice is idolatry; for a seventh day holy day is an open and obvious rejection of the ONE Who is the fullness of the Law and the Prophets… the FULLNESS of all the “sevens”.

Now the whole corpus of the Fourth Commandment is poured into the first day of the week (as the seven feasts prophecy).  It is for man; for he stops his work and his work-like activities (two different words in the Commandment), and he rests from them.  And He is to delight in life and light in the resurrected and ascended Christ, worshipping and feasting, tasting all that is new IN HIM, and celebrating all that is new, and anticipating the salvation of the world to the glory of The Father.

That’s one of the best examples that I can think of to call attention to the completion and totality and finality of the sevens that we find here in our text; for at their completion the land is returned to its “rest” – what was there before is no longer remembered, for it is “decreated”.  As the text says, the messengers aren’t even allowed back into the tabernacle of God until everything is finished.  It’s a seven!

The “sevens”, you see, are indicative of completion – totality – finality.

It’s the mind of God; it’s the decree of God; it’s how He perceives it all, it’s how He revealed it; it’s how He shows it to John in order that the Churches can hear it; and it is “perfect”.


There’s a mighty shout from the tabernacle as this fourth living creature (cherub) commands the seven messengers to GO and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the land.  It is the “full” and “final” wrath! 

The sevens are very prominent here, as they were in chapters eight through eleven with the seven trumpets; and the trumpets are almost a mirror image of the seven bowls… except they affected only a “portion” of the land… a third and a third and a third.  In effect, the seven trumpets were the final warning to Israel of the coming “full” wrath of God in the bowls.  And before the trumpets and the bowls, were the plagues upon Egypt; for Israel is called “Egypt”.  She received the plagues as Egypt had before received; but the plagues upon Egypt were “in part”, where they are “in full” upon Israel.

So we see desolations “in part” in the plagues upon Egypt; desolations “in part” (thirds) upon Israel; and then desolations “in full” here in our text.

Now, in order to pull all of this together for you, I’m going to read to you from the prophecy of Ezekiel in chapter five.  Listen carefully, for here is the prophetic Word concerning the trumpets in chapters eight through eleven of the Revelation.  And listen to the “thirds”….


1)    And you, son of man, take a sharp sword; as a barber's razor shall you take it unto you, and shall cause it to pass upon your head and upon your beard: then you take balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

2)    A third part shall you burn in fire in the midst of the city for when the days of the siege are to be fulfilled; and you shall take a third part and smite it with the sword round about it; and a third part you shall scatter to the wind, and I will draw out a sword after them.

3)    But you shall take a few in number, and bind them in your skirts.

4)    Again, you shall take from (the hairs), and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; there from shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel.

5)    Thus says YAHVEH: This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations, and countries are round about her.

6)    And she has rebelled against My ordinances in doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries that are round about her; for they have rejected My ordinances, and as for my statutes, they have not walked in them.

7)    Therefore thus says YAHVEH: Because you are even more insubordinate than the nations that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept mine ordinances, neither have done even the ordinances of the nations that are round about you;

8)    therefore, thus says YAHVEH: Behold, I, even I, am against you; and I will execute judgments in the midst of you in the sight of the nations.

9)    And I will do in you that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the same, because of all your abominations.

10) Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of you, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments on you; and the entire remnant of you will I scatter unto all the winds.

11) Wherefore, as I live, says YAHVEH, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things, and with all your abominations, therefore will I also diminish you; neither shall My eye spare, and I also will have no pity.

12) A third part of you shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of you; and a third part shall fall by the sword round about you; and a third part I will scatter unto all the winds, and will draw out a sword after them.

13) Thus shall My anger be accomplished, and I will cause my wrath toward them to rest, and I shall be comforted; and they shall know that I, YAHAVEH, have spoken in my zeal, when I have accomplished my wrath upon them.

14) Moreover I will make you a desolation and a reproach among the nations that are round about you, in the sight of all that pass by.

15) So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment, unto the nations that are round about you, when I shall execute judgments on you in anger and in wrath, and in wrathful rebukes; (I, YAHVEH, have spoken it;)

16) when I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, that are for destruction, which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread;

17) and I will send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave you; and pestilence and blood shall pass through you; and I will bring the sword upon you: I, YAHVEH, have spoken it.


Three things: fire, famine and sword; and a third of everything in Israel is to be destroyed (except for the few of his hairs that he was to hide in the hem of his robe).

Now.  This is the prophecy that is filled up in the sounding of the seven trumpets in chapters eight through eleven here in John’s Revelation.  In chapter eight verse seven, one third of the land and the trees and the grass are burned.  In chapter eight verses eight and nine, one third of the sea becomes blood and one third of all life in the sea dies.

In chapter eight verses ten and eleven, one third of the rivers and the water sources become wormwood.  In chapter eight verse twelve, one third of the sun and the moon and the stars are darkened.

In chapter nine verses one through twelve, all men are tormented by the demonic locust creatures.  In chapter nine verses thirteen through twenty one, the armies of the nations come from the north (over a dry Euphrates) and kill one third of the people.

And then in chapter eleven (the “last trump) there is great sound from the tabernacle in the heaven, and there comes a great shaking in the land, and hail.

This is very similar to the plagues upon Egypt; and it’s exactly what Yahveh told Ezekiel to do in chapter five that we read; and its perfectly obvious that the seven trumpets were a partial “prequel” of the seven bowls of wrath here in chapter sixteen… the “final” outpouring of His wrath.

Notice that the sevens there in chapters eight through eleven are all in the “likeness” of the sevens here in chapter sixteen.  What we see, in order, are: the first bowl poured out on the land, the second poured out on the sea, the third poured on the rivers and water sources, the fourth poured out on the sun, the fifth on the throne of the (pseudoprophet) land beast, the sixth on the Euphrates, and the seventh on the air (with the shaking and the hail).

And remember the few of Ezekiel’s hairs that were hidden in his robe… obviously the remnant lost sheep of the house of Jacob who Jesus came to seek and to save from the wrath of God.  They were those of the promise who God had kept for Himself.

The seven trumpets was the complete and final warning to Israel… prophesied by Ezekiel over six hundred years previously.  It was the final warning of the coming FULL wrath of God in the seven bowls (shown to John here in our text).

The “sevens” were soon to be complete; it was necessary to be done in quickness (as John wrote in chapter one).  The fullness of the prophetic Word is revealed in the sevens.

And as the seven feasts of Israel foreshadowed, what would remain is the “eighth”.  The sevens are complete; seven is complete.  It has reached its fullness; and the eighth is sanctified – set apart unto God; for it is holy.  It prophesied the Christ of God; for He was raised out of death the eighth day.  Behold!  All things are made new!

Life.  Light.  A new day.  A new heavens and a new earth.   Hope.  Joy.  Faithfulness.  Celebration.  Remembrance of who He is and what He’s done.

Shortly we’ll take a few minutes to remember.