What does Revelation 16:1-11 mean to us now?

 

Real repentance will demand our complete, authentic profession of faith and the turning away of our sin. This will show restitution, and the will to turn to Christ, not just as Savior, but also as Lord over all that we are and all that we want to be. To grow in our faith requires us to surrender our will and sin over to Him (Gal. 2:20-21). This means we surrender our ways of thinking, our desires, outlooks, pretences, agendas, and worldviews that are not based on His precepts and life so we can grasp His precepts and live the life He has for us that is wondrous and fulfilling. We give up what we think is worthy, that is ultimately unfulfilling for His worthiness; our sin is exchanged for His righteousness given to us. Then, we will be an offering to Christ and a showcase of His work to others. This process is ongoing and will last all the days we walk this earth; Christ will empower us with His Spirit to do so. So, what have you done to receive Him and remain faithful? Nothing of good can come from those who refuse Christ or repentance, and nothing will change a defiant heart, as this passage demonstrates. 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. How have you experienced that God indeed is patient and just? What would cause Christians not to heed responsibility and repentance? How would such people excuse themselves? What does God think? How does this affect your church?
  1. What does it mean to display trust in God when all that we have or are in charge of could be wiped out?
  1. Real repentance will demand our complete, authentic, profession of faith and the turning away from our sin. How can you do this? What can your church do to model and teach this? How can you demonstrate restitution? What does it mean to you that Christ will empower you with His Spirit to do so?
  1. How have you seen what is good as evil and what is evil as good displayed in your society and experiences? What about in the Church? What can your church do to combat these tendencies?

© 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

The Four Main Views of Revelation 16:1-11

 

The Preterist view: Basically there are two views. One view is that all of Revelation deals with the early church and fall of Jerusalem. Others see the first half of the Book of Revelation as dealing with Jerusalem, and the last half as dealing with Rome. Chapters 15 and 16 are considered “half way.” Most in this camp see this passage as the judgments against Jerusalem for their sins of killing the faithful. Others in this camp see this having to do with the fall of Rome in the fifth century. Some see this as the results of the Trumpet judgments in chapter eight. The Mark of the beast are the loyal citizens of Rome or apostate Jews and God’s warning to them in Deut. 28 being fulfilled. Some see these as symbolic; others as literal past happenings. Others see this as the plagues that infested Jerusalem during and after the siege by the Romans, because of all the piled up dead bodies and resulting diseases, and the pollution of the water. Hence, the imagery of blood and plagues. Some see this as further details of the Trumpet plagues while others as a different judgment. The difference is the Trumpets were 1/3 and the bowls are full on. The altar refers to the saints calling out for vengeance. The sun’s heat is seen as symbolic for the persecutors of the sinful Jewish leaders. The throne of the beast is seen as Rome, and darkness is seen as the resulting political turmoil in Rome after Nero commits suicide. 

The Futurist view: They see this passage as judgments that come quickly in sequence, or all at once as the consummation of God’s judgment at the close of the tribulation period. These are different from the Trumpet judgments but follow a similar succession. Most see this as a literal depiction of these events while others see some of these events as symbolic. All see these as literal plagues just like the ones poured out on Egypt, except far more devastating or completely destroying the earth. Most see the first bowl as effects of nuclear war and natural catastrophes that God allows to come in their fruition for His purpose. The second bowl is seen as the sea representing the Gentiles and the judgment upon them or that the sea is literally wiped out. The third bowl is mostly seen as symbolic to how devastating it is, but literal as how blood-thirsty the evildoers are. Most do not see the blood as literal rather what it looked like or symbolic to how awful it is, but not to minimize the literal destruction. The fourth bowl is seen as the ruling secular authorities getting their judgment while others see this as literal “astrometric” disasters. The fifth bowl is seen as the end of the Beast’s political power and or influences. There is a lot of speculation concerning how Russia or China will attack Israel and/or the United States, or about a nuclear war. But, according to Scripture, these things, although they may occur, have no real bearing on the second coming of Christ or His timing. They just may mean “birth pains” to His coming. The failure to repent and apostasy are the reasons for these judgments. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as God Himself ordering the angels and judgments that resemble the plagues of Egypt. The contrast is that Satan operates just like evil dictators, personified by Pharaoh’s oppressive regime and domination of the Israelites, and God’s subjacent judgments upon him and his rule.  The other contrast is over the Trumpet judgments that affect 1/3 of the earth; these plagues bring total devastation. Some see these as parallel and literal while others as symbolic that calamity is certain if you do not repent. Some see this as the fall of Rome; others to how God deals wit the apostate Church as well as individuals. In between these two sets of judgments, the Trumpet and Bowl judgments gave abundant opportunity for repentance, but the wicked refused and brought judgment upon themselves. The other aspect of this passage is that it brings comfort to the persecuting Christians to whom John was writing. The sea is seen as humanity and the possible total devastation this may mean—the finality of humanity. The altar is seen as the prayers of the saints crying out for vindication. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as the last judgment on the corrupt papacy prior and during the reformation. Others see this as the civil wars and calamities of mankind in the 18th century and/or today. The mark of the beast here is seen as those loyal to and helping the evil Popes in the 16th through the 18th centuries. Others just see this as describing the reign of Napoleon and then the French revolution of the late 18th century (24,000 priests were killed during this time and many churches were destroyed too! Such a view is perhaps a “micro” application of the passage but not necessarily an actuality or verbatim of what it teaches us or what John saw). The sea into blood is seen as the removal of the papacies navel power and/or the changing political and naval powers of Europe due to war during the 19th century. The rivers are seen as the changing political landscape as borders and countries changed rapidly during this time climaxing with WWI. Blood is a symbolic for the papal persecutions of the righteous and the Reforming Church. The throne of the Beast is seen as papal Rome and the various wars over and with the Vatican from 1797 to 1798. Others see it as from 1794 through 1848, and world history during this time.

Exegetical look into Revelation 16:7-11

 

  • The altar respond means “personified” as the witness of the altar of God’s temple, as a means to make oaths and swear by. Also means the witness and integrity of people who are righteous or how they were sacrificed as being an altar to God (Deut. 29:19-21; Rev. 6:9). The altar itself refers to the blood from the slaughtered animals of the Old Testament sacrificial ritual, as the blood is drained out from the base of the altar (Ex. 29:12; Lev. 4:7-25, 24; 5:9; 8:15; 9:9; Matt. 5:33-36; Luke 1:11).
  • God Almighty is a name for God, and refers that He, as God, is strong and mighty and rules all things, meaning His supremacy and preeminence over all the universe (2 Cor. 6:18).
  • Sun was given power to scorch… fire. Heat and fire were feared by the ancients. This was also a terrifying image of judgment, from the suffering of heat of the fire the laborers felt to especially the “siroccos,” the hot, east winds that destroyed crops and sometimes people too. Interestingly, this was not one of the plagues of Egypt (Ex. 13:21; Deut. 28:22; Psalm 121:6; 1 Cor. 3:13; Heb. 12:29; 2 Pet. 3:7).
  • Refused to repent. Just as with the Trumpet plagues, these people are “stupid” and have no excuse. They had some warning, either by prophets, by the clear teaching of the Word, or by some supernatural pronouncement. They knew their deeds were wrong, yet they refused to acknowledge Christ or repent of their ways even in the face of catastrophes. In addition, they cursed the name of God. However, if they repented, they would be spared their calamities, yet they refused… talk about being hardheaded (Ex. 7:22-23; 8:10; 9:14-29; 10:2; 14:4; Amos 4:6-11; Rev. 2:14; 9:21 chaps 10-11; 16:9-11)!
  • Bowl on the throne of the beast may be referring to Satan’s throne. Throne appears 42 times in Revelation. The other 40 references are to the throne of God (Rev. 2:13; 6:15-17; 16:10).
  • Plunged into darkness. This is reminiscent of the ninth plague of Egypt that was more than a lack of light; it was “felt.” This “darkness” also refers to having no peace, contentment, or happiness, as chasing evils and pleasure even when our wants and agendas only leave us destitute of what is really important—His presence (Ex. 10:21-23; Is. 59:1-15)!
  • Cursed the God of heaven refers that people will replace evil for good and visa versa, as in praising Satan and cursing God. This is an aspect of hedonism—to manipulate a sin into a right. This is the very core of irreverence and blasphemy. God is Sovereign; He loves, gives grace and mercy, and yet will destroy wicked kingdoms. He who created and established His universal and eternal reign will not be cursed. God takes false worship and contempt very severely and seriously (Dan. 2:44; Rom 1:28-32; James 1:12-18; 4:1-4; Rev. 16:11)!

Exegetical look into Revelation 16:1-6

 

  • Seven angels. This comes from an ancient Jewish belief system, not from Scripture. They believed that angels had control over elements and were assigned positions by God. This may be true or not, an image John uses to make his point, or a metaphor for the elements and behavior of nature that God controls and directs (Psalm 148:1-12; Zech. 6:5; Rev. 7:1).
  • Pour out….God’s wrath. The Bowls, in conjunction with God’s wrath, may be symbolic referring to God’s judgment and not necessarily a specific attack plan although God can do as He pleases so this could be literal. This theme is used heavily in Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Far more important than the specifics or theories of how God will do this is the point that God will have His reckoning, that judgment is coming, and that it will be a reality. However, as Christians who trust in Him, we have hope and assurance through Christ and His righteousness (Is. 59:15-18; Joel 2:11; Mal. 3:2-10).
  • On the earth/land is a contrast of the first four bowls with the first four trumpets, referring to death (Rev. 8:7-12; 11:6; 17:15).
  • Bowl is an image of God’s action and His holiness in so doing, which simply means as this passage says, “God is pouring out.” These bowls are nothing esoteric or cryptic; they symbolize God’s wrath. It is not necessary to take this to mean literal, giant basins. It is a Jewish image of the Temple and the precious instruments and utensils used for worship. The point is, just as God delivered the Israelites from oppression using the plagues against Egypt, so will He deliver those who are His! This is also a call for us to be fragrant and poured out to our Lord, for that is what pleases Him. What does not please Him is our disobedience and refusal of His love (Deut 33:10; Psalm 141:1-3; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil. 3:1-14; Rev. 8:3-4). 
  • Ugly and painful/Noisome and grievous/loathsome. Obviously something painful, it also means bad, evil (from context, not that God is doing evil), and harmful, and then serious and painful, from whence we get our word “malignant.”
  • Sores/boils broke out. Means “ulcer;” this is reminiscent of the sixth plague of Egypt (Ex. 9:8-12; Job 2:7-8, 13; Luke 16:21).
  • Bowl on the sea…Rivers and springs. This is reminiscent of the first plague of Egypt (Ex. 7:20-21; Rev. 8:8). The term used means the ultimate destiny of mankind as being judged and the preparation for the Second Coming and/or the Last Judgment, similar or the same as the “Trumpet” judgments in Rev. 8:6-13. This is called “eschatological;” it is from God and His judgment, not necessary from the pollution from man’s industrial machine. Volcanic upheavals can also produce this effect from God’s direction. (see Revelation chap 6 notes; Is. 15:9; Psalm 78:44; 2 Pet. 3:10-12; Rev. 6:13; 8:10-11; 9:1).
  • Every living thing/souls. This is where we get “psych,” the Greek concept of mind and body and soul and/or the vital, living force of a person from which come our personality and expressions. Hence, the word is used for “psychology.” Thus, everything in the sea died—complete destruction.
  • Holy One/Lord. “Greek “kyrios” is the word used and usually translated as Lord; however, here it is “hosios” meaning “holy,” thus holy is the correct translation.
  • You are just means God’s ways are pure and without fault of any sort. God is never vindictive for reason of spite, but to defend His faithful, He seeks “payment” to remove sin. This is a Hebrew call of the oppressed seeking God’s mercy and judgment upon the oppressor. It is a plea for vindication by also praising God for Who He is. This is seen in the Psalms, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Thus, this angel/theme agrees with God; His ways are best, regardless of personal cost (Ex. 3:14; Rev. 15:3; 19:2-11).
  • Have shed the blood of your saints. Jewish tradition says that God turned the Nile into blood as punishment for shedding the blood of the children from which Moses escaped. This also refers to those who have been martyred because they remained faithful to Christ. It denotes suffering, injustice, and persecution, but the application is that they remained true to the faith, regardless of circumstances. In context, this image indicates that the martyrs are like sacrifices, just as Christ was when he represented the Passover Lamb, innocent and undeserving, whose blood was shed. In Christ’s case, it was for our redemption; in the case of the martyrs, it was seemingly in vain, but in reality, it glorified God (Pseudepigrapha book, Wisdom of Solomon chaps.16-17; Phil. 2:6-11).
  • Given them blood to drink. This is also reminiscent of the first plague of Egypt (Ex. 7: 14-24; 9:10) and is a metaphor for shedding blood and the blood crying out for justice and vengeance. (Apocrypha book, Tobit 3; Rev. 6:9).
  • As they deserve/worthy means “befitting.” It is not a commendation (praise) but rather a condemnation (a sentence to punishment) as “they deserve it.” This is also a saying that the wicked will fall by their own hand and means, or God will just wait and let the wicked destroy themselves. It also means “the punishment fits the crime.” God has the right to destroy what He created and does not need or is obligated to save; what He does anyway for us is offer Grace to us all who do not deserve it. However, the grace must be received and repentance must come forth. If no repentance, judgment is more than just and completely and totally appropriate (Isa. 49:26; Matt. 23:31-36). 

Revelation 16:1-11: What are the Contexts?

 

This passage continues the theme of judgment and uses the imagery of the plagues God poured on Egypt, where Pharaoh was offered an easy way out and grace, but he hardened his heart and refused to repent just as the recipients of the bowls of wrath do. Then, God warns the Jews to be loyal; if they are not, He will inflict them of the boils and plagues He did to Egypt (Deut. 28: 25-29). In contrast, this is also about how God protected His people from the plagues and judgments; thus, this passage is also about great comfort to others in persecution. This is in relation to the love and forgiveness of God being offered but then refused by those who need it the most. They sought to deliver themselves but they failed; instead of reaching for God, they cursed Him instead. The contrasting aspect here is that God’s provision and grace can be received and He will protect the faithful from His wrath just as He demonstrated in Egypt. We can take comfort in God’s love and protection and not fear His Judgment when we are in Him. But, we need to also take heed; God will not tolerate disloyalty and being cursed! This is about “what goes around comes around;” what we sow, we will, in return, reap. Our attitudes and ideas will result in the application of our deeds and actions. In other words, as this Book has been saying, we bring judgment upon ourselves by what we do and refuse to do. So, do not sin; but if we do, we must repent, seek, and accept His love and forgiveness. If we do not repent, we will be in our own “darkness” where there is the absence of peace and contentment. These bowls of God’s wrath are brought upon those who are evil and who seek after those who are evil. We can be reassured that there is no need for a Christian to fear God’s wrath; if you are not evil and manipulative and are loyal to Christ, you have no qualms to bear or reason to fear (Is. 57:15-21; 59:1-21; Rev. 15:1-16:21).

Revelation 16:1-11

Introduction 

The First Bowls of God’s Wrath 

John continues to get his incredible glimpse of the hope and wonder we will get for eternity. Now he hears a shout to the seven angels to go and empty the bowls of God’s wrath, and they are being poured out. The first bowl gives horrible pain and sores upon the wicked who refused Christ and took the mark of the beast. They received what they deserved, as they showed their disloyalty and contempt for God and those who are faithful. Then, the second angel poured out his bowl and the sea became dead along with everything in it. The third angel had his turn and did the same to the rivers. Now, the angel who was in charge of the earth’s waters agreed and said these judgments were just displaying his trust in God when all that he was in charge of was wiped out. He further testifies that the evils and unfaithfulness of God’s people and His creation of humanity judged themselves and thus doomed themselves. God is only giving them what they wanted and deserved. 

The fourth angel pours out his bowl upon the sun and it becomes more intense and scorches the earth; what is left is not burned up. Under intense judgment, the people still refuse to repent and seek God’s love and grace; they become even more belligerent and curse His Holy name! Saying what is good is evil and what is evil is good seems to be the everlasting work of Satan and evil people. So, the fifth angel pours out God’s wrath upon the beast and his minion of evil and the anguishes and pains of judgment are felt. However, responsibility is not heeded and repentance is still not sought. Indeed, God is patient and just!  

How would you symbolize these Bowls? Have you ever been through a natural disaster?

What does Revelation 8: 1-13 mean to us now?

 

These judgments seem to come against the Roman Empire, as the word meanings and Jewish metaphors suggest those found in Jesus’ “Olivet Discourse” in Matthew 24, and thus may have already occurred. However, that does not mean the final accumulation and sentence of God’s judgment has occurred; we are still waiting for that. These themes seem to repeat themselves throughout the history of the Church and society. However, a final buildup and its fruition still is to occur before Jesus comes back. 

These seven angels stand before God and His Throne. They have His approval and empowerment to carry out His plan. You are in His plan! Remember, as faithful Christians who are sealed, we have His approval. We may still face these persecutions and tribulations, but the difference is we have His love that turns a sentence of judgment and death into martyrdom for His glory. This passage attests to the fact that we must be dependant on God, and not bow to lethargy in our spiritual formation. This is the mark of a mature Christian. This is not a time to be lazy, to rationalize our situation, seek sympathy from others, or think He does not care, that we are useless. When we face darkness in our lives, it is a time to shape up and seek Christ as Lord.  We must be discerning, courageous, hopeful, and proactive in our faith. Be obedient and trusting, regardless of your situation, and remember you are His special child whom He has sealed. Keep in mind that God wants to rescue His people from those who are hostile to Him, and who want to oppress, control, or persecute us. 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. When these events come to pass (if they have not already), what do you think they will look like? How will these events send shock and awe to the average person?
  1. Why does it seem that a characteristic of God’s judgment is He does not do it all at once, rather He is slow and uses order? Do you think that He is slow to give time for His grace to work and people to seek forgiveness, even when they do not seek Him?
  1. God is patient, but He is ready at any time to unleash these sentences. How do you feel about this? Are you ready?
  1. Do you think this passage is literal? If so how will this be played out? If you think this is symbolic, how do you think it will play out? How do people’s idolatrous motivations and misguided followings influence His judgment?
  1. What do you need to do to take seriously that God is in control? Because of His grace, He only allows a fraction of His judgments. How can you have more confidence in Christ to deliver you out of your tough situations?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Four Main Views of Revelation 8: 1-13

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as the result of and further explanation from the first four seals being opened. The setting, as they see it, is that of the Jewish wars with Rome and the destruction of Israel as a nation in 66-70 A.D. and the resulting disasters, as these are the “Last Days” of the commonwealth of Judaism that has come to be a “Babylon” of evil (Deut. 29:18; Jer. 9:15). The trees and grass represent the remnant of Jews who are left after 70AD. These plagues do not come against the Church, as we are saved from God’s wrath (Rom. 2:7-9; 1 Thess. 5:9). The mountains are symbolic of the government of Israel as God’s mountain falling (Ex. 15:17; Matt. 21:21). The “sea” represents the Gentiles and the “land” represents Israel. The Romans slaughtered the Galileans and tossed their bodies into the Sea of Tiberius. Wormwood refers to the decaying bodies left by the Romans and how they tainted the waters. The sun, moon, and stars refer to the fall of a series of Roman Emperors in the first century; others say it is the fall of the Herod dynasty and the Jewish Priests who had the power. The “woes” refer to the warnings of more Roman devastation, which the early church saw, and left Jerusalem, saving themselves before its destruction, where perhaps a million people were killed. 

The Futurist view: They see this passage as literal. This camp is greatly divided over the meaning of this passage, seeking newspaper interpretation rather than word meanings or looking to the Old Testament. Some of the more “credible” theories are that the trumpets are the final, drastic judgments of God. The trees and grass represent the fall of the western nations and God’s divine wrath upon us by His attacks on water and aquaculture. Some see this as nuclear war and the resulting ”fallout.” Some see the mountains falling into the sea as literal, much like an asteroid. Others see it as symbolic for everything that is popular falling. Some see it is the Gentile nations at war led by the antichrist, or God destroying the false church led by false teachers. Others see this as the destruction of the Catholic Church. Wormwood is seen as the Pope or Antichrist. The “great star” is seen as the political leaders who are apostate, or a comet from space hitting the earth. In the eighties, this group saw the Soviet Union as Wormwood; others said it was Reagan because each of his names had six letters. The sun, moon, and stars refer to the diminishing of spirituality during the tribulation (2 Thess. 2:11-12). Others see this as literal such as eclipses and astronomical phenomena. Some say it is the result of nuclear fallout. They associate all kinds of ideas to the eagle, and see the “woes” as inferring that they are warnings and not necessarily judgments, which is a contradiction to their other theories. Or they could be demonic woes to their coming judgment, or a warning of the coming three judgments (which makes more sense.) Their view would be better off if they weaned themselves from their misguided conjectures, and concentrated on reading their Bible more! 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as series of happenings and calamites that will occur again and again throughout Church history. Most in this camp do not see it as pertaining to a specific period. The trumpets are synchronous with the “seals” of the previous passages. They see these plagues as attacking the foundations of life support, water, and crops as natural calamities so we do not take things for granted. Some in this camp see these as attacks against the Church; others see them as God’s wrath against the wickedness of the world as reminiscent of the Egyptian plagues. Some see these as literal; others as symbolic. The mountains are images from Babylon’s fall and the punishment of wickedness (Jer. 51:25-42). Others see it as a volcano and the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. Wormwood is seen as the effects of natural disasters or God’s judgment. The “great star” is seen as punishment from God and its severity; others see this as idol worship that pollutes the mind and faith (Jer. 2:13-23). The sun, moon, and stars refer to the fall of Rome. Others see those as the doom of the ungodly who look to astrology and idols as their guide and or God’s control over the universe (Isa. 13:10; Luke 21:28). Others see “one-third” as a warning and not a final, determined judgment. The “woes” refer that the worst is still to come. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as four great blows to the Western Roman Empire, first in 408-410, and then in 476 A D. Hail and fire are symbols of God’s judgment reminiscent of the Egyptian plagues. The trees and grass represent the results of war and bloodshed and the consequential calamites to His Church. The fraction of one-third represents Rome that occupied one—third of the known earth then. The “mountains” are a symbol of strength or seats of power. Many see this as the fall of Rome by the Goths and primarily the Vandals in 428-468 AD who destroyed their ships and commerce. The “great star” is seen as the invasion of the Huns in 440 AD against Rome where thy killed over 300,000. Others see this as evil politicians and heretics such as Pelagius, who corrupted the Church. Wormwood is seen as false teachings affecting the Church. The sun, moon, and stars refer to the Roman political firmament in 476-479 A.D. during the last of the Roman Emperors. Others see this as events that affect the Church. The “woes” suggest that a turning point is about to happen, from the Roman Empire to the Dark Ages or Gothic period, in three waves, a Turkish invasion, the Saracens conquest, and then the French Revolution.

Exegetical look into Revelation 8: 1-13

 

  • Seven trumpets indicates the pronouncement of God’s voice by the angels, who present His judgment, monitored by His grace. These are not to be feared by Christians. They are the answers to the prayers of the saints. His decisive judgment is answering them by His complete victory; His final victory is at hand (see previous study; Rev. chaps. 7-8).
  • Sound them. This “sounds off” the warnings that proclaim that a sequence of devastating plagues from the will of God is about to take place.
  • Hail and fire mixed with blood. This shows that God’s judgments are slowly and powerfully unveiled just as they were in Egypt (Ex. 7:14-24; 9:13-25; Job 38:22-23; Psalm 18:13; 78:48; 105:32; Ezek. 38:22).
  • A third of the earth indicates that God is in control and allows only a fraction by His grace. This also sets God up in a position that suggests He may not have completed His final punishment yet. 
  • Huge mountain, all ablaze… great star, blazing. “Mountains,” in Scripture, mean kingdoms (Isa. 2:2; Zech. 4”7; Psalm 46:2; Jer. 51:25). This wording is typical of apocalyptic literature such as “Sibylline Oracles” (a collections of 4,000 verses, supposed prophecies by Hellenistic Jews in Alexandria in the second century B.C.). These are hyperbole metaphors, meaning they are plagues from God and not man, and that will affect our daily life such as our water supply; people will die from dehydration (Jer. 51:25-42).
  • Sea turned into blood. This term is indicative to the first plague in Egypt (Ex. 7:20-21). It means the ultimate destiny of mankind as being judged and the preparation for the Second Coming and or the Last Judgment. This is called “eschatological;” it is from God and His judgment, not the pollution from man’s industrial machine. Volcanic upheavals can also produce this effect from God’s direction, see Revelation chap 6 notes (Isa. 15:9; 2 Pet. 3:10-12; Rev. 6:13; 9:1).
  • Wormwood. This refers to an herb (Artemisia absinthium, of the family Asteraceae) that is not poisonous but has a harsh, sour taste, and was used as an insect repellent. This was a metaphor for suffering, disaster, mourning, and idolatry. This may mean plagues will strike the earth’s drinking water supplies (Deut. 29:18; Ex. 15:25; Prov. 5:3-4; Jer. 8:14; 9:15; 23:15; Lam. 3:19; Rev. 3:15-16).
  • Turned dark. Like the other plagues, this one parallels the ninth one of Egypt (Ex. 10:22-23). “Darkness” means foreboding judgment that first invokes fear, and then a response for repentance. It is associated with “End Times” by other apocalyptic literature (Rev. 6:12-13).
  • Woe/terror is reminiscent of an O.T. prophetic oracle, such those of Jeremiah and Amos, giving further warning as more is to come. In fact, there are three more  “trumpet plagues,” each one a “woe” or a stern warning (Amos. 5:18-6:1; Rev. 6:10; 9:12; 10:1-11:14).
  • Inhabitants of the earth refers to wicked people who refuse to repent or acknowledge God as Lord. This is not referring to those who are righteous and “sealed” (Rev. 9:4).

Revelation 8:1-13

Introduction 

The First Four Trumpets  

Now they are ready; the seven angels stand at the cusp of unleashing God’s sentence, His decree of judgment by pestilence and other nasty endeavors. They are given to a world that refuses to see Him as Lord and refuses to seek forgiveness for their doings. God has no choice other than to protect His faithful, and do as He must. Thus it begins, as the first angel blows his trumpet, a mighty blast that will send shock and awe to the entity of creation on earth as hail, fire, and blood are sent as weapons against man’s environment. The second angel blows his trumpet, striking with great burnings as mountains are cast into a sea that has turned to blood. The third angel blows his trumpet, and more great burnings accrue as stars fall into the rivers of earth. The fourth angel blows his trumpet and the sun, moon, and stars become dark and eerie. Then, one—third of earth’s land, sea, and water is sentenced and perhaps reduced to ashes; people die in these devastations. However, as each of these judgments escalates and the resulting intensity grows, God’s grace remains the main, strong core as He spares over two-thirds. Then an eagle cries out saying, “terror and woe to all who endure such calamities,” as the fifth angel gets ready to blow his trumpet against man’s achievements. 

It is interesting to note that this passage parallels the ten plagues in Exodus, adjusted to seven trumpets or waves. God is attacking idolatrous motivations and followings with natural calamities, just as He did with Egypt. It seems a characteristic of God’s judgment not to do it all at once; rather He uses an order that is slow, giving time for His grace to work and people to see His forgiveness, even when they do not seek Him (Ex. John 2:11). The succession, systematic order, and number of these plagues are not an issue or even important; rather, its purpose is to show God’s patience, even though He is ready at any time to unleash the plagues. The plagues also seek to distinguish between those who are deserving and wicked and those who are spared and are righteous in His sight, just as He did in Egypt (Ex. 9:4-6; 10:22-23; 11:1-14; Rom. 8:18-25). 

Why does the world refuse to see Christ as Lord and why do so many people refuse to seek forgiveness for their doings, even Christians? Do you believe that God has no choice other than to protect His faithful and do as He must to pass judgment?