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Is This God’s Wrath? The Seven Bowls of Wrath in Revelation 16

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The seven bowls are the last of the three-part series of judgments in the book of Revelation. The Bible says that these seven golden bowls are poured on the earth as the completion of God’s wrath.

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These seven bowls (or vials) filled with God’s wrath, also called the seven last plagues, are arguably the worst of the judgments. Let’s look at the scripture and find out why.

What are the seven bowls of God’s wrath?

Beginning from Revelation 15, John describes the seven angels with the seven plagues coming out of the temple. They were dressed in clean, shining linen with golden sashes around their chests. 

These angels were handed seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God. The temple then was filled with smoke wherein no one will be able to enter until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed. 

The First Bowl: The Festering Sores

2 The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. (Revelation 16:2)

The first bowl was targeted toward the followers of the Antichrist. Those who worshiped his image and bore the mark of the beast were festered with painful sores.

The Second Bowl: Seas of Blood

3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died. (Revelation 16:3)

The second bowl is poured out into the sea which turned the water into blood. It killed every living thing in the water. Note that on the second trumpet, a third of the sea had already suffered and now with the second bowl, the rest of the living creatures in it have gone. 

The Third Bowl: Rivers of Blood

4 The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. (Revelation 16:4)

The rivers and springs were the ones affected by the pouring of the third bowl. All freshwater turned into blood, similar to the fate of the seas in the second bowl. The third angel declared God’s justice behind the turning of water into blood: “for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” 

(Revelation 16:6)

It is similar to what happened in the first plague in Exodus 17:14-25 wherein the Nile River was turned to blood.

The Fourth Bowl: The Scorching Sun

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8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. (Revelation 16:8)

The fourth bowl was poured out into the sun and it scorched people with fire. The people were burnt with intense heat and cursed God. Still, they refused to repent and turn and glorify him.

The Fifth Bowl: Darkness

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10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. (Revelation 16:10)

The fifth bowl plunged the kingdom of the beast into darkness. People were already in so much agony that they gnawed their tongues and cursed God. Still, they refused to repent.

The Sixth Bowl: The Great Battle

12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East 14 …and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty… 16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12,14,16)

The Euphrates River dried up in the pouring of the sixth bowl. This prepared the way for the kings from the east. Three unclean, demonic spirits that looked like frogs are said to come out of the mouth of the dragon (also interpreted as Satan or the devil), the beast (Antichrist), and the false prophet.  These spirits gathered the kings of the whole world for the battle on the day of the Lord, to the place called Armageddon.

The Seventh Bowl: The Final Destruction

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17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. (Revelation 16:17-18)

20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. (Revelation 16:20-21)

The last of the seven bowls were poured into the air; a loud voice in heaven exclaimed “It is done!” It resulted in flashes of lightning and the worst earthquake in the history of mankind. Jerusalem splits in three parts and the cities will collapse.

Islands and mountains are gone. Finally, huge hailstones, weighing about a hundred pounds each fell on people. The plague was so terrible that the people cursed God.

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from unsplash.com

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