Revelation 16:1-21 Part 4

REVELATION 16:1-21 Part 4


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.




It’s more than obvious that this oft-repeated word “pouring out” bears great significance throughout God’s Word.  The pouring out of our Lord’s blood at His crucifixion was prophesied and foreshadowed in the original instructions at Sinai as the priests were to pour out the blood of the sacrifice below the altar.

And not only did Israel pour out the blood of the Christ Himself (Who the sacrifices foreshadowed), but they poured out the blood of those who He came to seek and to save… for which, Jesus proclaimed, they would suffer the blood of all the righteous in history!

And the blood of those who they pursued and persecuted and killed cried out to Almighty God for His vengeance, for Holy Spirit had been poured out at Pentecost, rebirthing them into the body of the Christ Whose blood had been poured out.

Their prayers are answered here in our text as the wrath of God is poured out on all who remain in the land – in sevens… indicating a full and final “pouring out”.

Seven messengers, emissaries of the Lamb of God that are clothed in the garb of the Levitical priesthood, are instructed to pour out the bowls of the wrath of God; and the pouring out is repeated seven times here in John’s text.  The sevens make a complete end.  And they’re done!

It is final; and it is full.  It is the recompense – the justice – the vengeance of God upon a people that has poured out the blood of the righteous throughout its history, poured out the blood of the prophets, poured out the blood of the Son of God Himself, and then poured out the blood of The Father’s elect from the tribes of Jacob.  And what’s left at the completion of the sevens is… nothing.  It’s all made as if there was nothing there before.  It was as “void” as the original creation before God separated the land and the sea and created light and brought the sun and moon and stars into being, and made a lush paradise for man.  

It was made as if it had never existed.

But then there’s the dawning of a new day – the eighth!  As we’ll see later in the Revelation, although there is a complete end of heaven and earth Israel as a cosmic dissolution is shown to John, the “Daystar” arises on a new heavens and a new earth.


That’s for us to see and hear later on.  Here in our text though, the first bowl of the final wrath of God about to be poured out on all the land has to do with the “mark of the beast” (you see that in verse two).

You remember that the dragon, Satanos, the messenger that was cast from the heaven for its rebellion, had now raised up the fourth great beast of world history.  That’s the Roman empire and the whole line of its decadent emperors.

At the same time, there arose the “land-beast”.  As God perceived it and showed it to John, it was the false shepherds and pseudoprophets of the land… Israel; and this land-beast caused all Israel to adore the image of Rome and its emperors.

It was this land-beast that required this fourth beast (that had been raised up out of the sea by the dragon) to be adored by all Israel.  And it was the land-beast that required the mark of that beast to be placed on the bodies of all in Israel.

Here it is from chapter thirteen:


15) And it was given to it to give life to the image of the beast that the image of the beast might speak, and (it was given to it to) cause even the least of those who would not adore the image of the beast that they be killed;

16) and it causes all, the menial and the great, the rich and the poor, the freemen and the servants, that they be provided a mark upon their right hand or upon their forehead

17) so that no one be able to buy or to sell without having the mark: either the name of the beast or the number of its name.


Every last one of those who refused to adore the beast – the Roman empire and its emperors – were to be killed; and it was the land beast – the false shepherds and pseudoprophets of Israel – who pursued and persecuted and killed many of the Lord’s people during the forty years between Jesus’ crucifixion and His Parousia.


Then in chapter fourteen John, by way of the first living creature from the mercy seat, is shown the hundred and forty four thousands standing with the Lamb of God in the heaven, for they are the ones who did NOT worship the image of the beast and did NOT accept its mark on their bodies. 

Then John sees the second and third living creatures thunder the sounds of the judgment of the Lord of Hosts against those remaining in the land… all of those who DID worship the image and receive its mark.

Here is what John writes concerning the third living creature (cherub):


9)    Then another messenger, a third, followed them (followed the first two) saying in a great sound ‘if anyone adores the beast and the image of it and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,

10) he will also drink from the wine, having been previously prepared unmixed, of the wrath of God in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented in fire and brimstone in the presence of holy messengers and in the presence of the Lamb,

11) and the smoke of their torment rises into ages of ages, and they have no rest day or night’.  These are the ones who adore the beast and its image and anyone taking the mark of its name;


And right after that, here in our text, John sees and hears the fourth living creature issue the command for the seven messengers to GO… and pour out the wrath of God.  And the first messenger pours out its bowl on the entire land, upon all who remain in the land; for all who remain have adored the beast and taken its mark on their bodies!

And John sees that this first bowl of God’s wrath causes horrific sores on them, for they adore the image of the beast; they have received the beast’s mark!

The text, of course, doesn’t say this; but one could almost imagine that the mark of the beast was “caused” to produce a whole-body skin infection from the soles of their feet to the tops of their heads!

However, the text doesn’t say that; it says that the wrath of God was poured out on all remaining in the land… all of them having received the mark of the beast raised up by Satan the great dragon.  This plague wasn’t caused by the mark of the beast, it was caused by the wrath of God having been poured out on those who had “taken” the mark.

And it was poured out on “all of them”… all of those remaining; for those having refused to worship the image of the beast and receive its mark were all seen by John standing with the Lamb of God on the new mount Zion (the Kingdom of Jesus Christ).  God had preserved them and kept them; for they are the ones of the promise – of the house of Jacob.

All those remaining had not taken the mark of The Christ when He “marked” and “sealed” all of His Own.  Holy Spirit was “poured out” at Pentecost; and all of those of the promise were marked in His baptism!

But it was the wrath of God that caused this calamitous plague of malignant skin sores (malignant meaning they wouldn’t heal… no matter what).  And I can say that’s the case because that’s what is prophesied.

And when we are finished reading the prophecies, it will be clearly understood why the first bowl of God’s wrath is what it is; and I don’t think I even need to give you a hint about it before we read; because, being the astute hearers of the word that you are, you will pick up on it right away!

But be alert anyway as to why the plague of open and malignant sores is the very first bowl of the wrath of God to be poured out on all the land.

Let me say this first, though, before we read from Exodus chapter nine, that the great sins of Egypt against YAHVEH’s people, and the horrific sin of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the seventy year captivity of Israel in Babylon are all recalled often in the text of Scripture; and all three of them are referred to in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  Israel is actually called all three of them!  She is called Egypt!  She is called Sodom!  She is called Babylon the Great!

In God’s perspective here in the Revelation, Israel’s sin is greater than any of the three; and her judgment is greater than that of any of the three; and she had taken the place of all three of them in the final and full wrath of God.  That’s what John is shown… and the Churches, of course.

And the reason that John hears them referred to in connection with the Day of The Lord, is that Israel is now more guilty before God than Egypt and Sodom and Babylon.  Therefore God calls Israel by their names.

Egypt was the first of these; for the twelve tribes of Jacob were “freed” from slavery in Egypt.  And the plagues upon the land that we see here in the text hearken back to the plagues upon Egypt.  And the plagues here are “greater” than they were upon Egypt since the sin is greater.  And, of course (as the text says), they are final.

But here is the reading from Exodus chapter nine:


8)    Then YAHVEH said to Moses and Aaron, "Take handfuls of furnace soot (that’s the soot from the kilns), and Moses is to throw it toward heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.

9)    It will become fine dust over the entire land of Egypt (poured out upon Egypt). It will become boils breaking out on people and animals in open sores throughout the land of Egypt."

10) So they took furnace soot and stood before Pharaoh. Moses threw it toward heaven, and it became boils breaking out in open sores on man and beast.

11) The magicians (of Egypt) couldn’t even stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians.

12) But YAHVEH hardened Pharaoh's heart and he did not listen to them, just as YAHVEH had told Moses.


As you heard, the plague was so severe that the seers and magicians of Egypt couldn’t stand, because these open sores were even on the bottoms of their feet!

Now listen to Moses, forty years later, as he prophesies what will happen to this people if they don’t worship and obey YAHVEH Who freed them from bondage in Egypt with great signs and wonders.

Deuteronomy chapter twenty-eight:


15) But it shall come to pass, if you will not hearken unto the voice of YAHVEH your God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day, that all these curses shall come upon you, and overtake you.

16) Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field.

17) Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading-trough.

18) Cursed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your cattle, and the young of your flock.

19) Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out (that’s all the time).

20) YAHVEH will send upon you cursing, discomfiture, and rebuke, in all that you put your hand unto to do, until you be destroyed, and until you perish quickly; because of the evil of your doings, whereby you have forsaken me.

21) YAHVEH will make the pestilence cleave unto you, until he have consumed you from off the land whither you go in to possess it.

22) YAHVEH will smite you with consumption, and with fever, and with inflammation, and with fiery heat, and with the sword, and with blight, and with fungus; and they shall pursue you until you perish.

23) And your heaven that is over your head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.

24) YAHVEH will make the rain of your land powder and dust: from heaven shall it pour out upon you, until you be destroyed (just as the furnace soot was poured out upon the Egyptians).

25) YAHVEH will cause you to be smitten before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them, and shall flee seven ways before them (the seven being complete defeat): and you shall be tossed to and from among all the kingdoms of the earth.

26) And your dead body shall be food unto all birds of the heavens, and unto the beasts of the earth; and there won’t be anybody to frighten them away.

27) YAHVEH will smite you with the boil of Egypt whereof you cannot be healed, and with the tumors, and the scabs, and the itch.

28) YAHVEH will smite you with madness (insanity), and with blindness, and with astonishment of heart;

29) and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind gropes in darkness, and thou shall not prosper in your ways: and you shall be only oppressed and robbed always (social anarchy), and there shall be none to save you.

30) You shall betroth a wife and another man shall lie with her (complete moral breakdown); you shall build a house, and you shall not dwell therein; you shall plant a vineyard, and shall not partake of the fruit thereof (separation from the land that was given them by YAHVEH).

31) Your ox shall be slain before your eyes, and you shall not eat thereof: your donkey shall be violently taken away from before your face, and shall not be restored to you: your sheep shall be given unto your enemies, and you shall have none to save you (foreign rulers and armies will take everything).

32) Your sons and your daughters shall be given unto another people (slavery); and your eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day: and there shall be nought in the power of your hand (helplessness).

33) A nation which you don’t know shall eat up the fruit of your land and all your labors; and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually;

34) so that you are driven mad for the sight of your eyes which you shall see.

35) YAHVEH will smite you in the knees and in the legs, and with a grievous boil from the sole of your foot unto the crown of your head from which you cannot be healed (the boils of Egypt…..except on Israel they will be “malignant”.


There’s much, much more from Moses that follows here; but let me just make a couple of comments.  What he says… what Moses says, is right from the mouth of YAHVEH; and what he describes, should this new nation not believe and be thankful and obey, is vengeance and retribution from The Lord of Hosts Who saved it and gave it a place in the creation all its own!  It was its own “heaven and earth” Edenic paradise – the land!

And if it did not believe, if it was not thankful, if it did not obey, then Almighty God would make a complete end!  And the process of dissolution would be so horrific that it would be like nothing ever seen before – or since.

Although the language and terminology is similar to that of the plagues upon Egypt, those plagues did not make a complete end like Moses prophesies against a rebellious Israel.

So too Isaiah.  In the opening prophetic word of YAHVEH through this prophet, we hear much of the same language.  The wrath of YAHVEH poured out upon Israel will include running, open, malignant full-body sores (from the soles of their feet to the tops of their heads; malignant in that they cannot be healed – no matter what.

And that’s what John is shown, as the first messenger pours out its bowl of the full and final wrath of God.

But listen first to the Word of God through the prophet Isaiah.  This is the very first chapter:


2)    2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; (God’s heaven-and-earth perception of Israel) for YAHVEH has spoken:  "Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.

3)    The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know (i.e. its own Master), my people do not understand."

4)    Oh, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly!  They have forsaken YAHVEH, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, utterly estranged.  (There’s your “clue”.)

5)    Why will you still be struck down?  Why will you continue to rebel?  The whole head is diseased, and the whole heart sick.

6)    From the sole of the foot even to the (crown of the) head,  no spot is left sound, (further clue) but boils and welts and festering sores that can’t be cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil. (no treatment, no ointment, nothing.  Malignant)

7)    Your countryside will lie desolate; your cities will be burned with fire; in your very presence foreigners will devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.

8)    And the daughter of Zion will be left like a shack in a vineyard, like a lodge in a cucumber field, like a besieged city.

9)    If YAHVEH of hosts won’t leave us a few survivors, we will be like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.

10) Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom!  Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!  (Israel already called these names, you see!)

11) "What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says YAHVEH; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
   or of lambs, or of goats.

12) "When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts.

13) Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me.  New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.

14) Your new moons and your appointed feasts (the seven “eighth-day” feasts prescribed by God at Sinai) my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.

15) When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

16) Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,

17) learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

18) "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: (should you listen to Me) though your sins are like scarlet, they would be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they would become like wool.

19) If you are willing and obedient, you would eat the good of the land;

20) but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it."

21) How the faithful city has become a whore, she who was full of justice!  Righteousness lodged in her, but now……. murderers.

22) Your silver has become dross, your best wine… mixed with water.

23) Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves.  Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts (payoffs).  They do not bring justice to the fatherless, and the widow’s cause does not come to them.

24) Therefore YAHVEH declares, YAHVEH of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel:  "Oh, I will get relief from my enemies and avenge myself on my foes.

25) I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy (that’s everything impure).

26) And I will restore your judges as at the beginning, and your counselors as at the beginning.  Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”

27) Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness.

28) But rebels and sinners shall be broken together, and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.

29) For they shall be ashamed of the oaks that you desired; and you shall blush for the gardens that you have chosen.

30) For you shall be like an oak whose leaf withers, and like a garden without water.

31) And the strong shall become tinder, and his work a spark, and both of them shall burn together, with none to quench them.


This is the opening Words of YAHVEH through the prophet Isaiah – seven hundred years before the Christ was born.

From the plague on Egypt to the dire warnings of Moses forty years later; and now from the pen of Isaiah we hear the Word of God to His people in the land.  Nothing unclean will be admitted to the tabernacle of God.

Bodily emissions such as open sores and skin lesions must be made clean before one could approach a holy God in His tabernacle (the Law of the sacrifices); for they are signs of sin and death and depravity of man.  One MUST be made clean in order to be acceptable to the Thrice-holy God of heaven and earth.

However, the prophecies of Moses and Isaiah foretell the full-body uncleanness of His people in the land.  From the soles of their feet to the crowns of their heads, they are unclean before God.  And there is nothing they can do about it.  No washing; no bandages; no oil; no ointments… nothing.  Therefore God hates their sacrifices and their feasts and their solemn assemblies and their convocations … and their prayers.

And that’s what John sees first in the pouring out of the wrath of God upon all those remaining in the land… those who adore the image of the beast and have taken its mark.

In mind, heart and body they have rejected their Master for an earthly ruler; rather than hear the prophets of God, they have killed them and listened to false prophets; rather than receiving the mark of the Christ, they killed HIM and took the mark of the beast.

Therefore, in the full and final pouring out of His wrath, YAHVEH of Hosts will give them what they are!  They are completely unclean; oozing, malignant sores from the bottoms of their feet to the crowns of their heads.

And there is no better revelation of the total depravity of man than is here described.  Man can’t clean himself; he can’t dress and cover his open sores and be acceptable to God; he can’t pour out oil on them and be pleasing to God.  He is unclean, and it is irreversible.

You see, only ONE man was ever pleasing and acceptable to God (no sores, no blemishes).  And He was the sacrifice for those of the promise who are depraved from head to toe.  All the rest of us have to be MADE acceptable to God.  None of us can please God; none of us can approach Him; none of our prayers are heard; none of our solemn assemblies are acceptable… outside the Person of Jesus Christ; we have to be made clean in God’s eyes.  He doesn’t love us for who we are; He loves us because of Who Jesus is… ONLY because of Who Jesus is.

Outside of HIS body we are all one great big oozing, malignant sore that is detestable and only worthy to burn eternally in the lake of fire under the altar in the tabernacle of God.  The smoke of the burning will then be pleasing to God.

So the first messenger to pour out the very first bowl of the final wrath of God upon the land is the sign of Israel’s despicable uncleanness – the sign of man’s depravity outside of The Christ.  That’s why it’s first.

The next two bowls and the next five verses have to do with the blood.