November 16, 2020

Bowled Over by God's Wrath (and Grace)

Revelation 16

12 Comments | Listen | Print

The Seven Bowls of God's Wrath

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling 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 harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.

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

The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel in charge of the waters1 say,

  “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was,
    for you brought these judgments.
  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
    and you have given them blood to drink.
  It is what they deserve!”

And I heard the altar saying,

  “Yes, Lord God the Almighty,
    true and just are your judgments!”

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed2 the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.

10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish 11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.

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. 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 demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) 16 And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

The Seventh Bowl

17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into 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, rumblings,3 peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. 19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. 21 And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds4 each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.

Footnotes

[1] 16:5 Greek angel of the waters
[2] 16:9 Greek blasphemed; also verses 11, 21
[3] 16:18 Or voices, or sounds
[4] 16:21 Greek a talent in weight

Bowled Over by God's Wrath (and Grace)



Key Verse | Revelation 16:10-11

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.

Bio | Kristen Belveal

Hi, JTJ readers! Since my devo is on the seven bowls of God's wrath, here are seven way fun facts about myself.

  1. I'm a Dallas native.
  2. I started going to church because someone I met at a rock concert invited me to The Porch, Watermark's ministry for young adults.
  3. I write Christian fiction books and published my first Bible study in 2018.
  4. Eggs and milk gross me out.
  5. I have an adorable, fetch-playing cat named Gracie.
  6. Between writing my devo and now, I met and married my husband Noah. 
  7. "Avengers: Endgame" makes me cry. #DontJudge

Central Truth

An increased awareness of God's right, just response to sin and man's hard-hearted rebellion should inspire a greater desire to share the gospel.

Devotional | Revelation 16

When I first realized I'd be writing a devotional on Revelation 16, I was weirdly excited. While Revelation can be pretty intimidating, there are some interesting parallels in today's reading that can really...

When I first realized I'd be writing a devotional on Revelation 16, I was weirdly excited. While Revelation can be pretty intimidating, there are some interesting parallels in today's reading that can really spur us on in our faith.

In this chapter, God pours out His wrath on the people who bear the mark of the beast and live in its kingdom by sending plagues and calamities that, in part, mirror the plagues from Exodus: sores/boils (Exodus 9:8-12), water becoming blood (Exodus 7:14-25), fire (Exodus 9:13-26), darkness (Exodus 10:21-29), frogs (Exodus 8:1-15), and hail (Exodus 9:13-26).

In both parts of the Bible, hard-hearted people respond to God's wondrous signs with anger and defiance instead of repentance. And the same happens today. When some people face consequences for their sins, they rage at God (Proverbs 19:3) instead of humbly repenting. But how do we respond when we see that kind of hard-heartedness?

We pray for their salvation and share the gospel.

After all, we would all be rebellious, angry enemies of God if not for His divine, merciful intervention (Romans 5:8-11; 1 Corinthians 6:11; John 6:44). So we can faithfully plant and water gospel seeds and trust that God will inspire belief if it's His will (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). We are responsible for being obedient. He is responsible for generating results.

I'll end my devotional with one final parallel. In Revelation 16:19, the writer mentions Babylon the great drinking the cup of God's wrath—the metaphorical cup Jesus drank for us when He bore the weight of our sins on the cross (Matthew 26:39). In the end, every sin will be paid for whether by the people who committed them or by Him who knew no sin—Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:21) With whom will you share that good news?

See Comments

Discussion Questions

1. Who are ten people you can commit to praying for and sharing the gospel with? Watermark's Top 10 Card and the Echo Prayer app can help you remember to pray for and engage with them!

2. Do you feel confident in your ability to share the gospel? If not, check out this one-verse evangelism how-to and consider signing up for Unashamed, Watermark's a weekend-long urban discipleship trip, if you're in the Dallas area!

3. Do you ever struggle with reconciling God's just response to sin with His loving/gracious nature? Why?

4. In what situations do you have the most difficulty sharing your faith? Share your answer with a couple of mature believers and see what they recommend for growing in boldness or getting better equipped for those conversations.

12 Comments available

Kristen Reed 18 days ago
Reply right arrow

That’s super cool! I’m glad you liked the gif

Kristen Reed 18 days ago
Reply right arrow

@Sue Bohlin That’s an interesting question. It’ll be interesting as time passes to see what other previews there are in scripture that we just haven’t picked up on yet!

Kristen Reed 18 days ago
Reply right arrow

@Greg Jones yeah that can be tough. I’m a huge fan of interpreting scripture with scripture. I think prayerfully seeing if our interpretations line up with the context of what we’re reading and the rest of what the Bible says can help keep us from misinterpreting things.

Linda Green 18 days ago

Wow, Kristen! Great job pointing us back to the plagues in Egypt to understand in even a tiny way what happens in the future.

Love the Old Testament, and stories that foreshadow Jesus and our future with Him. One day we will see the front side of the tapestry God is weaving, instead of the underside with so many dark threads.

Settling in my heart that God is good and perfect in His judgement is challenged by Revelation. But Jesus, who took God’s wrath full strength on the cross promises us His Father is loving. I can trust Him. John 3:16, John 15:9

Linda Green 18 days ago

Went back to catch up on yesterday’s devo and saw this: In the OT, the plagues came before Moses’ song of deliverance. But in Revelation that is reversed-praise for deliverance by the saints using Moses’ own words and of the Lamb (Revelation 15:3), and then the plagues are described.

The praise is because of Jesus! By the blood of the Lamb, anyone can be free and does not have to fear the plagues.

Mary Buri 19 days ago

Thank you for the gospel gif! I sent it to a friend that I often send verses to - she’s not a believer yet! Here is a short YouTube video for sharing the gospel in Spanish

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hVbfKsQemaU

Sue Bohlin 20 days ago

Thanks, Kristen!

So I guess it turns out that the plagues of Egypt in Exodus, as bad as they were, were only a sneak peek of the much more horrendous plagues that would befall the world in Revelation. And we found out that first the tabernacle, then the temple, of the Old Testament were only sneak peeks of the heavenly temple where the literal throne of God resides.

I wonder what other sneak peeks God gives us now, that we don’t realize are pointing us forward to their fulfillment in the new heavens and the new earth? It occurs to me that the freshly-appreciated blessing of gathering physically with other believers, and enjoying the privilege of corporate singing and worship, is a sneak peek of the glory of heaven.

Greg Jones 20 days ago

2/2

Q3a-Yes. Q3b-The why for me is to struggle with how to apply his word to others. When Jesus accuses others of killing the prophets they would do so by interpretation of the law. I don’t want to see myself as being beyond that struggle.

Great question, excellent devotional today.

Hope Harris 20 days ago

Great reminder to pray for those on our top 10 list. Doing so now

Hugh Stephenson 20 days ago

GM Kristin. Great devo on a complex passage.

Love this, “We are responsible for being obedient. He is responsible for generating results.”

A teacher taught me further; there are two main pieces of evangelism as modeled by Paul:

-Tell your own story

-Be bold in your weakness

Q3-A pastor explained this to me - If I believe God to be good, kind and just then everything He does will be good, kind and just.

At first I say “DUH”!!

Then I process…

What if my friends and family members are not believers and suffer the judgment and torment foretold in Revelation? Is God still good, kind and just?

What if my two unsaved prodigal children are subject to this judgment? Is God still good, kind and just?

My head says yes. My heart prays and begs God to save them.

Greg Jones 20 days ago

Sometime I wonder what scriptures were examined when the first copy of Revelation was brought to the Berean synagogue.(Acts17:10-11) Possibly in part they try to understand Revelation by how they read these Leviticus verses.

Leviticus15:19-24 concerns ritual purification laws, as do the rest of the laws in this part of Leviticus.

Leviticus18-20 moral purification laws.

Leviticus18:19-23-These things are considered moral equivalent failures. Leviticus20:18-21-Punishable by excommunication or possibly death.

God gives Babylon his cup of wrath Revelation16:19 she becomes drunk with the blood of God’s Holy people Revelation17:6.

In Revelation people are described as knowing God well enough to curse him for what is happening, but they remain unrepentant. Leviticus verses describe people who know God well. Some are Holy, some are unholy.

Most scholars believe Leviticus chapters11-15&18-20 have different authors for reasons including the writing styles.

Michael Scaman 20 days ago

Another one of the 7 “Blessed are” Revelation 16:15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”)

Blessed are those who: Revelation 1:3 hear the book; Revelation 14:13 are the the dead in Christ; Revelation 16:15 stay awake; (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) Revelation 19:9 are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb; Revelation 20:6 are in the first resurrection; Revelation 22:7 keep the words of the book; Revelation 22:14 wash their robes (later explained as ‘in the blood of the Lamb’)

View More Comments

Download The App

  • Jointhejourney app store
  • Jointhejourney play store