Chapter 16: 1-7
“Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.’ So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died. Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying:
“You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.’ And I heard another from the altar saying, ‘Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.’”
I would like to address an issue that, as we approach the last days, I see popping up even in conservative Baptist churches. That is the idea of the insecurity of the believer. I do not know if churches are using this ‘fear tactic’ to try and keep people attending, but it is not right.
I had a young man ask me just a few days ago about whether it was possible to lose your salvation just because you have stopped going to church. This young man is saved; he has trusted Jesus as Savior and only Jesus. He believes that Jesus is the Christ, Acts 8:37. He believes that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6), and he believes that Jesus has bodily resurrected (Romans 10:9-10). He believes that Jesus is God (John 10:30) and that He was 100% Man as well as God. He knows that he is a sinner and that only Jesus could save him; and he has put his faith, his trust in Jesus (John 3:16).
According to the scriptures, a person who has put their trust in Jesus as Savior HAS eternal life. At the very point that a person believes and puts their trust in Jesus, they are saved; they have eternal life as a gift from God. Once this transaction has taken place, it is irrevocable even by God himself. In Numbers 23:19, we find these words:
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”
God cannot lie. He has promised eternal life to all who believe, at any point in history, on His Son. At the very moment of your belief, you are saved – and that is forever.
We should not lie to people to get them to serve and obey the Lord. And, if it is not, then it is a lie on your part, then you need to study the scriptures and understand that once a man is ‘born again’ he cannot ever be unborn again, just like a human baby cannot be unborn. Jesus himself used this analogy in John 3. Just read it; it is clear and well written for us there. You either are saved or you need to be saved because you never have been. To imply that a disobedient Christian was never saved at all is to imply that your disobedient children are not born at all. God did not call us to confusion. Stop it.
Sometimes talking about the wrath of God can be a bit of a downer. I am truly blessed. I have been saved since I was 14. I was raised in a Christian home with parents that love me and gave the best that they could. I was brought up in very doctrinally conservative churches that taught the Bible as it is and believed that the Bible was and is the Word of God. Currently, I serve in a small Baptist church with people that love me, love my family and have allowed me to serve them for almost 23 years as the pastor. My wife is truly a gift from the Lord, and my children are my blessings from Him. Are we perfect?
Far from it. I the furthest of us all. Yet I am loved and have people to love. If I were to count my blessings from my birth to now, the number of them would be more than I could count. So, yes, it is very hard to talk about the Lord’s wrath. I have never known it, I deserve it as a sinful man, but my Savior bore the wrath that was mine for me. I never have to fear the wrath of God. If you know Jesus as Savior, then you never have to fear the wrath of God either. But the rebellious people on earth have the wrath of God to fear, and we will explore the last seven judgments today and next week.
The Men who worshipped the Beast, verses 1-2
God sent a sore on the men (people) who worshipped the Beast and his Image. These sores are sent on the earth, verse 1. Now there have been some questions over the years as to what ‘the earth’ means. From John’s perspective he had not ever seen anything past the Middle East. As an associate with the Apostle Paul and as a citizen of areas that, at the time of writing, were still under the control of the Roman Empire, he would have known, at least secondhand, that there was land all the way out to the southern part of Europe and maybe a bit west of there.
He may not have known of what we call England today. He may not have known of Russia or China. He knew about parts of Africa but may not have known the vast expanse of the African continent. Some have been prompted to say that only the old Roman Empire would be under the control of the Anti-Christ and Beast. But John was just the penman; God was writing the book of the Revelation, and He knows that there is land and civilization beyond the Mediterranean Sea. God knew there would be a Russia, USA, and all the land between.
Anyone who takes the time to study the New World Order will see that it is deeply entrenched in the USA. It is funded and heralded by politicians who always have a good reason to take more and more of the freedoms that the founding fathers of the US fought for. God knows what He was talking about. He also knew that it would be our generation that these words were written to as well, and that we would know the earth meant the whole earth, not just the Roman Empire or just the parts that John knew.
This plague of the boils will fall on the men of the earth that have rejected the grace of God and turned to worship the Anti-Christ and his cohorts.
In a case of irony, these men/people who are marked by the Beast, are marked by God. As we discussed a few lessons back, the mark may be invisible or some other mark that requires detection. We see the relatively new phenomena of microchipping humans. Some companies require that you’re microchipped to use the printers, or enter certain areas or to clock in and out. These microchips are often hidden just under the skin, but these sores will be there for all to see. It will be very transparent to the world around who is on the Lord’s side and who is not.
The word loathsome is defined as abhorrent, detestable, repugnant and odious. This will not be pretty. A vast amount of the world’s population at the time will have these putrid boils. The world will be an ugly place. I am so glad that in Jesus I am not going to suffer the wrath of God. Remember that last week I said that God is as passionately against the unrepentant as He is on the side of the repentant.
The Dead Seas, verse 3
In Revelation 11:14 we find that two woes have past and a third one is coming; these seven bowl judgments are the third woe. This destruction of the seas is simply what we call an event of Biblical proportions. According to Google, 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, and the oceans comprise about 96% of all of the earth’s water. This catastrophe will be Ark-like in scope. Dead fish and sea mammals everywhere, the stench of blood and death. The question of how this will affect the air quality with the evaporation of ‘blood’ is a real one.
There is such a movement, and sadly it is creeping into the Lord’s churches as well, about the whole Green movement with regards to the earth. We are NOT overpopulating the earth; it was designed to sustain an infinite population had there been no sin. We are NOT running out of resources. We keep finding more oil, more natural gas, and more coal; and there are as yet untapped resources of energy. We find ways to be more efficient in most things. And, sadly, the very things that are supposed to make us more efficient, like electric cars, need the lithium from the earth, and it is one of the hardest things to mine. I guess this is the height of irony.
Man is not going to destroy God’s earth. To imply that we could is to imply that we are better and smarter than God. Ah, there it is, the idolatry of man thinking that they are bigger, better, smarter and more than God – Romans 1 all over again. The earth is the resource that we are supposed to use; it is there to feed us, awe us with its beauty, and provide the means of our living. We are made from dust and we return to dust. The earth is our servant and not we to serve it; we are called to serve the Living God, the creator of Heaven and Earth.
God will strike the seas; the vast majority of the earth’s water will be useless and will no longer be able to provide food. God’s glory and power will be on display. The anti-Christ will be unable to reverse or change even one iota of what God has done. He will be utterly powerless, showing the futility of choosing any god other than the God of Heaven. These folks made their choice, made their decision to defy God, and now they have to deal with the consequences.
I see folk online all the time making fun of God and making fun of His gracious redemption; they do not understand that they are playing a dangerous game with the Master of the Universe. Mere men, dust, shaking their fists in the face of God. What a gracious God we serve that He simply does not kill them with the most painful and hideous death that we can think of.
Well, in the Tribulation, something worse than death happens; you get to live with sores, boils, undrinkable water, and dead bodies everywhere. So, you want to see what the world will be like without God’s restraining power on evil? Then here you go; have it.
The Dead Fresh Water, verses 4-5
Just when you thought it could not get any worse, it does. Oh no! All the fresh water turns to blood as well – more stench, more death to the freshwater animals; man these people on earth can’t get a break! That is what happens when you decide to wage war with God. You lose, always. The time to the very end is running close as the disaster on the earth is certainly enough to wipe out all life. We know that there are persons alive and able to enter the Millennial kingdom, so there is not a total loss of life. I suspect a lot of them will wish they were dead. But death will make the water shortage of earth look like a day at Disney compared to Hell.
Do you notice a theme that without God there is only death and death multiplied? Can you see that were it not by the loving grace of God that we live in each day, all of us would be dead? God allows us to live each day, and He protects and preserves us as we drive, sleep and live. Life is from God, and without Him there is only death. Those of us that have God as our Heavenly Father no longer need to fear death, but those that reject God have to fear even living, furthermore death.
Verse 7 tells us that this is just due to those that have killed the saints and the prophets. They got blood to drink. In Deuteronomy 32:35 we see these fateful words:
“Vengeance is Mine; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; for their day of disaster is near, and their doom is coming quickly.” They are repeated in the New Testament in Hebrews 10:30. God will repay the evil done to His people.
Lastly, in this lesson we finish with the fact that God is righteous. No matter what He does, no matter what it looks like, and no matter the death tolls here, God is righteous in ALL things.
There is such a cry from the world questioning God’s righteousness because evil is present in the world, but that does not change the fact that God is righteous and there is not one shadow of darkness in Him. Once we have accepted His absolute righteousness, then all He does is good – and we can settle our finite minds and simply trust Him by faith. God’s righteousness demands that sin be punished, and punished with prejudice. His righteousness demanded that Jesus be killed as soon as He became sin for me/us. Understand that God’s righteousness demanded His Son’s death once He became sin for us. Imagine what His righteousness demands for those who reject so gracious a gift?
We live in the age of grace, and we live in the age of the free offer of salvation. It was an expensive salvation to purchase, but it is offered freely to you and me. Today is the day to be saved.