Revelation 16 – The Bowl Judgments

I. Video Data.

What is the first bowl judgment? John Ankerberg Show. From the series “Revelation:” The Last Words of Jesus” featuring very special guests Dr. Ron Rhodes, Dr. Ed Hindson, and Dr. Mark Hitchcock.

II. Introduction.

Dr. John F. Walvoord  (Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., 1910-2002) Revelation Commentary, 1974.

Chronologically, this chapter is close to the time of the second coming of Christ, and the judgments described fall in rapid succession. There can be no doubt here, not only that the series reaches on to the time of the end, but that the whole of it is to be placed close to the same time. Daniel indicated that these closing days of the Tribulation will be a time of world war (Dan 11:36-45). World events are now pictured by John as coming to their climax. Chapter 19 of Revelation follows immediately after chapter 16 in the chronological development.

III. Scripture Text. Revelation 16. New American Standard Bible (NASB 1995). Pasted from Bible Gateway.

Six Bowls of Wrath

1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”

So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.

The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.

Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.” And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.

10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, 11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.

12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.


13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) 16 And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.

Seventh Bowl of Wrath

17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” 18 And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. 19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.

IV. Examination. 

Dr. Charles C. Ryrie (Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., 1925-2016). Ryrie Study Bible, 1986, 1995.

A. 16:1. Though there are similarities between the bowl judgments and some of the trumpet judgments in chaps. 8-9 there are differences as well, the bowl judgments being more intensive and extensive. Thus, it is best not to see the bowls as repeating the trumpets but as a distinct series of judgments following the trumpets.

B. 16:2. “a loathsome and malignant sore.” LIt., foul and evil sore. Probably, a plague of ulcers. The brief descriptions of these last seven judgments (vv 2-12, 17-21) may suggest that they occur in rapid succession upon a world already battered and bloodied.

C. 16:3. “every living thing in the sea died.” (see 8:9). Imagine the stench and disease that will accompany this event.

D. 16:4. Though drinking bloody salt water would be toxic, drinking bloody fresh water, though disgusting, would not be. 

E. 16:6. “They deserve it .” I.e., they deserve to drink blood because they shed the blood of saints and prophets.

F. 16:8. Side effects of this scorching heat will drastically affect the climate, possibly including excessive evaporation and melting of the great ice areas of the world.

G. 16:9. “they did not repent.” See verse 11 and 9:21. 

H. 16:11. “their sores.” I.e., those referred to in verse 2.

I. 16:12. “the kings from the east.” Lit., the kings from the rising of the sun. The armies of the nations of the Orient will be raided in their march toward Armageddon by the supernatural drying up of the Euphrates River.

J. 16:3. “the dragon.” Satan. the” beast.” Antichrist (13:1-10). “the false prophet.” the lieutenant (13:11-18).

K. 16:14. “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.” The war will consist of several battles, beginning with Antichrist’s campaign into Egypt (Dan. 11:40-45) and including a siege of Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2) as well as the final battle at Armageddon (v. 16). 

L. 16:15. A call to surviving believers to watch and be alert. The “clothes” of a guard caught asleep on duty were taken from him, leaving him “naked” and disgraced.

M. 16:16. “Har-Mageddon,” or Armageddon. Lit., Mount of Megiddo, near the city of Megiddo at the head of the plain of Esdraelon. This area was the scene of many OT battles, notably those of Barak with the Canaanites (Judg. 4) and of Gideon with the Midianites (Judg. 7).

N. 16:19. “The great city.” Either Jerusalem (11:8; cf. Zech. 14:4) or Babylon (18:2).

O. 16:20-21. The topography of the earth will be drastically changed, and unbelieving survivors of the hailstorm will curse God instead of turning to Him.

V. Reinforcement.

A. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost (Th. B., Th. D.; 1915-2014) Things To Come, 1958, p 363.

The third series of judgments, which complete the outpouring of divine wrath, are the vials (Rev. 16:1-21). Although four of these vials are poured out on the same areas as the trumpets, they do not seem to be the same judgments. The trumpets begin in the middle of the tribulation and depict events during the entire second half of the week (Daniel’s 70th week). The vials seem to cover a very brief period at the end of the tribulation, just prior to the second advent of Christ. These bowls seem to have particular reference to unbelievers, as they undergo the special wrath of God (16:9, 11), and have special reference to the beast and his followers (16:2).

B. My note concerning Dr. Pentecost’s above comment about unbelievers, as they undergo the special wrath of God. The words, “those who dwell on the earth,” relate to a group of unbelievers in the Tribulation who will refuse to repent, in spite of God’s judgments that continue to fall on them. Consider the following verses (NASB).

1. Rev 6:10. “and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

2. Rev 8:13. Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth”

3. Rev 11:10. “And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.” 

4. Rev 13:8. “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb.” 

5. Rev 13:14. “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast.” 

6. Rev 17:8. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.”

VI. Ryrie cross references for Rev 16 verses that have no examination.

A. 16:3. Ex. 7:17-21; Rev 8:8f; 11:6.

B. 16:5. John 17:25; Rev 11:17; 15:4; 6:10.

C. 16:7. Rev 6:9; 14:8; 1:8; 15:3; 19:2.

D. 16:10. Rev 13:2; Ex 10:21f; Isa 8:22;  Rev 8:12, 9:2.  

E. 16:17. Eph 2:2; Rev 11:15; 14:15; 10:6; 21:6.

F. 16:18. Rev 4:5; 6:12; Dan 12:1; Matt 24:21.

VII.  My Bucket List shows the references, of people and documents, that I use when I write my articles.

VIII. My Websites To Follow. Equipping The Saints Web Site Israel Web Site Israel, History And Prophecy Eternity


Author: Equipping

The Church is the Church, and Israel is Israel. The Church did not replace Israel, and is not spiritual Israel. In the New Testament, “church” and “Israel” are mentioned as being separate entities. In the New Testament “church” is mentioned 112 times; Israel is mentioned 79 times; both are mentioned as being separate entities The Kingdom “has not yet come,” and will not come until the Jewish bloodline of Israel accepts God’s chosen king (Deuteronomy 17:15), which will take place at the end of the Tribulation when the nation of Israel faces decimation and calls on Messiah, Christ, in faith, to save them (Zechariah 12:10). Individual salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and comes through Christ (John 14:6). Things are discussed in this website that relate to God’s creation, from “eternity to eternity,” and all that is addressed within those parameters. Consider Isaiah 43:13, “Even from eternity I am He, And there is no one who can rescue from My hand; I act, and who can reverse it?” The Moody Study Bible adds a comment: “God is the ruler of all, and there is nothing that can stand against Him. His will is irresistible. The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds this thought: “No one can reverse what God puts into action or thwart His plans.” The articles that are found in this site may relate to anything that is found in the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation22.21, as well as anything else that may relate to the Bible.

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