Revelation 16:1-21 Part 12

REVELATION 16:1-21 Part 12


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 out 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.



As we look ahead to the continuation of this great and awesome sign to the apostle John in (what we know as) chapter seventeen, we are almost ready to hear of the seventh messenger pouring out its bowl of the full and final wrath of YAHVEH Lord of Hosts (the last five verses here in chapter sixteen).

First, though, I sense the necessity of making a few more comments about this place called “Megiddo” (verse sixteen of our text).  John writes (if you remember) that that’s what it’s called “in Hebrew”.  And you will recall that I mentioned last Lord’s Day that, in all probability, the Hebrew “root” of that word (Megiddo) has, as its basic meaning: “assembly”, or “gathering”.  And the text says that “it” – the sixth messenger – “gathered” the kings and princes of the empire at armegeddon, or Megiddo.

Wisdom would have it that John wouldn’t have heard that (and he wouldn’t have written it that way, saying: “in Hebrew”) unless there was some special importance to it in the mind and perception of God.

We did allude to the fact that the very first assembly, or gathering, of the twelve tribes of Jacob (having been freed –or birthed – from four hundred years of captivity in Egypt) was at Mount Sinai, in preparation for occupying the “land of promise”.

Whereas Megiddo (called “Mount” Megiddo here in the sign to John) was about to be the assembly – the gathering place – from which Israel’s occupation of the Edenic land of promise was to be terminated… and the paradise returned to wilderness!

That’s something that just can’t be overlooked.  There’s a connection, a further obvious connection, in the mind of God and in the mind of the writer of this letter.

And so there is another.  It’s much deeper; and we can’t afford to miss it.

And the key here is, of course, wisdom.  And as it so happens, it is the wisdom of God!  That’s daunting (to say the least)!  Who can attain to it?

God sees these things from the perspective of One Who decreed their happening!  And there’s nothing in the decree that is devoid of purpose.

From His perspective as sovereign Lord of Hosts, all of it has purpose; and it is all connected and inter-connected.  What’s written in His Word concerning persons and events and places six hundred years before the birth of His Anointed, or a thousand years, or fifteen hundred years, appear here in the “capstone” of the Revelation as if they are as “fresh” as “yesterday”!  His perspective is “of it all”, whereas ours (because of our limitations) is, by necessity, one-at-a-time!  He recalls it all at once – just as in verse nineteen where He remembers His Own words regarding Babylon the great!

But by Word and by Spirit we are provided wisdom – “light” – into the limitless mind and decree of God.  However restricted we are in viewing God’s decreed history “all at once” (as He sees it), we are caused to understand an event, a person, or a place… one at a time; and (as we gather knowledge of each one) we revel in our new-found knowledge of the awesome wisdom of our God.  And it brings Him glory!  Like the gift of faith, God gifts us with wisdom; and then He blesses His Own gift.

And having received these insights ad seriatum, we begin to acquire a deeper appreciation of God’s power and glory and all His perfections… which include the perfections of His written Word.

It (His Word) is a “wholeness” – a “fullness”; it is truly a perfect “seven”; and it is without peer.  No other literature can possibly approach its perfections.  So we gain “certainty” and “conviction” by Word and by Spirit.  The more we know – the more wisdom we are afforded; the knowledge of God and His Word brings forth a fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom.  And so we put away the self-indulgence and self-absorption to become bondservants and mighty warriors in full service to another!

We’ve spoken many times about these things, so I won’t belabor them here; but the impeccable integrity of God’s spoken and written Word is the driving force behind all of our exegetical work; and the preaching arises from that.  And it’s perfectly safe to say that preaching must arise from that.  That’s the way He gifts us with wisdom.

Anyway, before we come to the seventh messenger of the wrath of God, that “integrity” of God’s Word sends us back to the word “armageddon” for some more insight… some deeper insight by which we can see one more event in the wholeness of God’s decree.

Not only was the plain of Megiddo the “practical” place for all the legions of the empire to be gathered (these are God’s armies, remember), but these words are to put the apostle and the Churches in remembrance of people and events in Israel’s history.  (It’s God’s history; and the connections are therefore perfect.  We don’t have to “guess” – we don’t have to construct fantasies.)

Consider this:

The prophet Zechariah, writing the Words of YAHVEH in chapters twelve through fourteen of his prophecy, recalls the events of Second Chronicles chapter thirty five when the God-fearing king Josiah defies YAHVEH and is killed in battle in the plain of Megiddo.  Israel “mourns” his death, and descends deeper and deeper into idolatry and decadence.

And in that context the prophet Zechariah issues YAHVEH’s declaration that He will bring hostile armies to remove from Israel all of the idols and the false prophets and the evil spirits.  The land will be completely cleansed.

And he writes in chapter twelve:


10) "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they see Me… Him Who they have pierced, they shall mourn over Him as one mourns for the only one, and be in bitterness over Him like a bitterness over a firstborn.

11) On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning… in the plain of Megiddo.

12) The land shall mourn, each family by itself….”



You see, the mourning over the imperfect and defiant king Josiah who was killed at Megiddo, is recalled by the prophet Zechariah as YAHVEH’s armies gather at Megiddo to cleanse the land.  And the mourning of all Israel over the perfect King Who they pierced will be bitter as they see Him in all His glory; for after HIS death Israel descended into even more abominable depravity.

Another example of the Word of God and all its perfections.

Please note that when John heard this and wrote it down, he was aware that “Megiddo” was the place where lying prophecies and lying prophets and all of their deluded followers go to meet their doom; a place where kings and armies are misled to their destruction; and where all the tribes of the land mourn when they see Him in all His power and authority – the One Who in His weakness they had pierced… pouring out His blood.

Zechariah is the second most referred-to prophet in John’s letter to the Churches – second only to Ezekiel (some of which we will read shortly).  Therefore God’s Word through this man Zechariah is important to the Revelation of Jesus Christ (not that any of them “lack” in importance – as we’ve seen).  But the prophecy of Zechariah has to do with the destruction of Jerusalem and all of Israel, and a final vengeance upon all its inhabitants. 

And it prophesies the glory of a new Jerusalem under the house of David, and the Gentiles coming to worship in that new “city of God”.  All of that is yet to come in the latter chapters of John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ.  So we’ll be driven back to Zechariah numbers of times as we proceed through the remainder of John’s Revelation.

And now I’m not “troubled” any more about Megiddo.  I’m sure I haven’t done everything; but I’m satisfied that I’ve done enough.  So we can move on to the seventh messenger and the seventh bowl of the full and final wrath of God about to be poured out upon the land.

Remember verse one where John writes the command to the seven messengers.  The command was: “Go, and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the land.”  Be aware that many of the translations read “into the earth” (meaning all of the earth).  But it is not so…; it is clear beyond any argument that the text refers to the paradise land of promise given to Jacob’s twelve tribes.

Even though bowls of wrath were poured out upon the sea and upon the sun and upon the great river Euphrates, the contextual focus of each one is the special cosmic entity – heaven and earth – that YAHVEH had created for His chosen people.  Our view of it doesn’t determine what it is; the view of its Creator determines what it is!

And in His view it has its own “sea”; it has its own sun and moon and stars; it has its own water sources; it has mountains and islands.  YAHVEH’s Presence and dominion over all His creation is on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, where His tabernacle in the heaven is replicated.

It is called “the land”.  God created it; and He referred to it, all through His Word, as having its own cosmic structure, made to “look like” His glory cloud tabernacle in the heaven (with all its lights) – a “paradise” in midst of a wilderness.  It’s how He perceives it; it’s how He made it; it’s how He refers to it in His spoken and written Word.  And it is a most heinous error – one seemingly purposeful – to avoid perceiving it as He does!

And as John is shown the seventh messenger pouring out its bowl, the full and final wrath of God is to be poured out upon the very “air” of His heaven-and-earth.

In God’s perception of His paradise, it has its own atmosphere.


We’ve seen quite a number of “mini-judgments” of late – all around the world… great earthquakes and tidal waves and tsunamis and tornadoes and volcanoes and flooding rivers (none of which are accidental, by the way).  But they are mini-judgments.  They are not “full” and “final” judgments.

And by no means are these occurrences limited to recent times!  They have occurred throughout God’s history.

But think what it might mean if the atmosphere in which the earth existed became totally chaotic and was then deconstructed in the full – and final – judgment from God!  That’s, of course, NOT going to happen; but just… what if?

Here in our text, what is about to take place in the land is the “FULL” and “FINAL” wrath of God poured out upon the air – the atmosphere in which God’s heaven-and-earth Israel existed.  That’s what the apostle is shown.  All that was “formed” would be “deformed”; all that was put together would be separated and divided and scattered (as is prophesied through the prophet Ezekiel); all that was created would be deconstructed in the heat of the wrath of YAHVEH – nothing would “hold together”; all that was lovely would be ruined – turned to rubble and waste; all that was paradise previously would cease to exist… never again to be brought to mind.

That’s what John is being shown by YAHVEH Lord of Hosts.

The legions of the empire were about to be gathered at Megiddo; and the paradise land of Israel would become a “waste”.

As God perceived it, and as John is shown, this separate cosmos called heaven-and-earth would no longer “be”.  The covenant with that land would no longer “be”; and the covenant would thereafter be of another construct.  In God’s covenant, the connection to heaven-and-earth Israel would no longer exist.

John hears the thunderous roar from the tabernacle… “It is come”.  And the land is shown to John as beginning to disintegrate as the very atmosphere, the presence, the “being” in which it exists is subjected to the full wrath of God.


We need to spend a little bit of time on the word “it is come”.  That’s one word.  It just takes three English words to translate it.  It’s one of the more difficult words in koine Greek – as is the Hebrew word that it translates.

In most all cases in Greek, the verb will be formed with its own tense (past tense, present tense, future tense, etc.); but in some cases (especially when creative activity is being revealed… or, in this case, decreative activity) there occurs a separate word that’s used, one that is its own tense, and it isn’t dependant on an additional verb.  And that’s what this word is that I’ve translated “it is come”.

The word has, at its root, existence itself… “being”; or “coming to be”; or “caused”; or “brought into being”.   You may remember the translation of the text as the glorified Jesus appears to John.  He is “IS”; He is “WAS”; He is “COMING”.  Those are translations of this word here in our text… of course in their own tenses and in their own context.

The word translates a similar Hebrew word.  And, like the Greek word, it is used with reference to creative activity.  And it appears at the beginning – in Genesis one.  The text there says, for example, that God created light; and light “WAS”.  The word is its own verb – independent of any additional verb or noun.  “WAS”.  And what is so interesting and revealing there, is that the word forms the root of God’s Name: YAHVEH… I AM.  He doesn’t say “I Am… something else!  He just says “I AM”.

Now, if you were to research the different versions of the English Bible for our text here in Revelation sixteen, in almost every case this word is translated “it is done”.  The idea behind that translation, I’m almost sure, is the fact that it comes as the “last” bowl is poured out.  So, since there are no more, it is done… it’s over.

But there’s a problem with that.  “Done” isn’t what the Greek word means!  The Greek word has to do with “being” – “existence”.  And since the subject is the full and final wrath of God; and since there are a perfect “seven” bowls of that wrath, with the last one the decreation of all that “was” is come to completion – it has come to “be” – in the mind and perception of God!  (And let’s not forget that John is shown all of this as that which is about to take place.)

The word is written in the Greek perfect tense, meaning completion in the present.  And the only way that I know of that can come close to the meaning here in English, is to translate it “It is come”; or “it is come (to be).

There is a finality inherent in the thunderous statement from the tabernacle that’s similar to the finality in the words of Jesus on the cross.  He said: “It is finished” – or, “it is complete”.  That’s a different word entirely; but it’s not at all different from this word in our text as to its “finality”.  Here in the text John hears the word which threatens the very existence – the “being” – of God’s covenanted promised land.

You may remember from the preaching of the letters to the seven Churches in chapters two and three that there were some doubters in a few of those Churches.  It had been nearly forty years since the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection, and the doubters were saying that nothing was going to happen….  It’s just day after day; month after month; year after year… and nothing happens!  Where’s His parousia that He promised??  Where is the “end of the age”?  “Things look as if they are just going to continue on like they are now.”

Well, John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ gave the Churches the anticipation of, and the assurance and certainty, of God’s decree.  That decree was revealed to John in the tabernacle of YAHVEH in the heaven.  And John heard the words at the end of the seven bowls of YAHVEH’s wrath:  “It is come”.

And John saw and heard, from God’s perspective, that which would shortly come to pass… that which was “near”.  The sixth messenger had sent out lying, unclean messages to the princes and rulers of the empire; and God’s armies were crossing the dry Euphrates (like the Daystar arising from the East) to gather at Megiddo for the great DAY OF YAHVEH at the end of the age.

And the seventh messenger pours out its bowl of the full and final wrath of God.  And John witnesses such a shaking… a shaking, the like of which has never been, and which will never again be.  Not only the “earth”… but God’s “heaven and earth” is shaken; for the seventh messenger has poured out its bowl on the “air” – the atmosphere – the heaven”.

The entirety of God’s heaven-and-earth (Israel) would be definitively shaken and would no longer “be”… a shaking like no man had ever experienced.  The islands and mountains of this paradise would even flee from the shaking!  It’s exactly what the letter to the Hebrew refugees says in chapter twelve:


25) See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject Him who warns from the heaven.

26) At that time His voice shook the earth; but now He has promised: "Yet once more I will not only the shake the earth but also the heaven."

27) This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been created - in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

28) Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken; and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe,

29) for our God is a consuming fire.


Heaven and earth will be shaken and will disappear in the fiery wrath of God.  It is the “removal” of all that is shaken, says the writer of Hebrews.  Jesus warned them when He was on earth; and now He warns them from the heavenly tabernacle regarding the shaking and removal of heaven and earth.  All that can be shaken will disappear, leaving all that cannot be shaken, which is defined as His Kingdom – a new and better covenant with His creation.  His covenant included this heaven-and-earth land of Israel; but it no longer would.

The great city set atop Mount Zion, with all the tribes of Jacob surrounding it like the garden of Eden; and with the replica tabernacle of YAHVEH perched on the top of the dome, was to be the light of the world.  It was to be the figure of the dominion of YAHVEH over all His creation, and (according to Ezekiel) it was to be the centerpiece of all the nations, shining brightly with His glory!  But it had become worse than all the nations surrounding it.

And John witnesses all the sights and sounds of judgment from the glory cloud/tabernacle (as we’ve seen many times from the prophetic Word): great sounds and thunderings and flashing lights as the host of the heaven responds to all that YAHVEH is about to do.  “Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly”!!

The city of Jerusalem will be split – or divided – into three parts; and all the cities of Israel would fall (verse nineteen).

Listen to that as it was explicitly prophesied through Ezekiel, as we read in chapter five:


1)    "And you, O son of man, take a sharp sword. Use it as a barber’s razor and pass it over your head and your beard. Then take balances for weighing and divide the hair.

2)    A third part you shall burn in the fire in the midst of the city, as in the days of the fullness of the siege. And a third part you shall take and strike with the sword all around the city.  And a third part you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe the sword after them.

3)    And you shall take a small number from these, and bind them in the skirts of your robe.

4)    And of these you shall also take some and cast them into the midst of the fire and burn them in the fire.  From there a fire will come out into all the house of Israel.

5)    "Thus says YAHVEH: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her.

6)    And she has rebelled against my laws by doing more wickedness than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my laws and have not walked in my statutes.

7)    therefore thus says YAHVEH: Because you have surpassed the turmoil of the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my laws, and have not even acted according to the judgment of the nations that are all around you,

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

9)    And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. 10Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers. And I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds.

10) Therefore, as I live, declares YAHVEH, surely, because you have defiled my tabernacle with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, I too, will withdraw.  My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity.

11) A third part of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine in your midst; a third part shall fall by the sword all around you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds and I will unsheathe the sword after them.


God’s elect from the twelve tribes of Jacob were hidden in the hem of Ezekiel’s garment; but all the rest of the great city of God (which was the “center” of all the nations) was to be divided into three parts (as our text says).  And all the cities of the land were judged similarly; and they all fell (just as our text says).

And John writes that Babylon the great is recalled before God; for He had promised to give it the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath.  He remembers; and He brings that fury upon the land, for it has become as Babylon – and worse.

Hear YAHVEH’s “remembrance” from the prophet Jeremiah in chapter fourteen:


10) Thus says the LORD concerning this people: "They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; therefore YAHVEH does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins."

11) YAHVEH said to me: "Do not pray for the welfare of this people.

12) Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer   burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence."


YAHVEH “remembers”.  He remembers the “consummation” that He promised by Jeremiah.  He remembers the “thirds” by which He will divide the city:  “by sword, by famine and by pestilence”.  And He recalls His Own words in this letter… back in chapter fourteen:


6)    Then I saw a messenger flying in mid-heaven having age-enduring proclamation to proclaim against those dwelling on the land, and upon the nations and tribes and tongues and people

7)    declaring in a great sound ‘fear ye The God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and do homage to The One having made the heaven and earth and sea and springs of waters’.

8)    Then another, a second, followed saying ‘fallen!  Babylon the great, from whom the wine of the passion of her fornication all the nations have drunk, is fallen!’

9)    Then another messenger, a third, followed them 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’.


Israel IS Babylon the great!

The first beast of world history to be brought up against an apostate Israel was Babylon; and it was promised of God to receive His wrath for its role in Israel’s seventy year captivity.  And God recalls it all – and His promise - and He now assigns the substance of that condemnation to His covenant people; for Israel is “worse” than the first beast of world history!  She has caused all the nations to drink of the wine of her harlotry; and she is now called by the name of that beast that was raised up against her.  YAHVEH remembers….

We’ll hear much more about the harlot in the next chapters as John records just exactly how God views her here at the end of the age.

And lastly there was the hail.  Talant-weight hail.  That’s T-A-L-A-N-T, not T-A-L-E-N-T.  Talant-weight is about fifty-seven pounds in today’s weights and measures.

The hail from YAHVEH’s storehouse is prophesied in a number of places throughout God’s Word.  For example, in the wondrous Psalm eighteen, David writes the very words of the coming Christ of God Whose infinite suffering would bring YAHVEH’s hailstones upon those who caused His suffering.

But it is the prophecy through Ezekiel (once again) that is referred to here in our text.  It is the great hailstones poured out upon Israel that knocked down the walls in the full wrath of YAHVEH.  Listen from chapter thirteen:


8)    Therefore thus says YAHVEH: "Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares YAHVEH.

9)    My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, ………  And you shall know that I am YAHVEH.

10) Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, 'Peace,' when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash,

11) say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall!  There will be a deluge, and you, O great hailstones, will fall, and a stormy wind break out.

12) And when the wall falls, will it not be said to you, 'Where is the coating – (the whitewash) - with which you smeared it?'

13) Therefore thus says YAHVEH: I will make a stormy wind break out in my wrath, and there shall be a deluge in my anger, and great hailstones in wrath to make a full end.

14) And I will break down the wall that you have smeared with whitewash, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you shall perish in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am YAHVEH.


Not only did the Dayspring arise in His Parousia and cause darkness over the fourth beast of history, and call up the princes of the nations with unclean, lying spirits, and dry up the Euphrates so they could cross, and gather them at Megiddo, and cause blood to be in the sea and the water sources, and cause awful plagues and thirst and starvation, and alter the cosmic structure of the promised land; but He would also knock down the walls of the great city that was the center of all the nations – now called “Babylon the Great”.  And his fifty-seven pound hailstones from His storehouse would beat down the walls to the foundation.

And all His armies would enter all the houses like a thief and put the remaining third to the sword.  And all remaining in the land passed into eternity with blasphemy on their lips.

The “talent-weight” of the hailstones recalls God’s Law-word of weights and measures; for herein God’s perfect justice is meted out – allotted – in perfect restitution.  It would be a full and final end.

Hereafter the Kingdom would be “from the heaven” where sits the glorified Jesus Christ; and His “Light” would shine upon the nations and tongues and tribes.  And a “way” would be made for them – for us - to stream into the New Jerusalem on the New Mount Zion, and worship Him alongside His elect from the twelve tribes of Jacob.