The Worst is Yet to ComeMay 18, 2023
If you thought the worst was over, take a deep breath. The worst is yet to come. The seven seals are now opened, the seventh trumpet has blasted, and now comes the seven bowls of wrath to pour out on the wicked earth. These are the last and most intense and devastating of any of the judgments yet.
Hi everyone, I’m Tammy Becker. Welcome to the Almighty God & Gospel Girl Podcast. This is week twenty one into our series of Revelation and our podcast today is titled: The Worst is Yet to Come. My podcast today will be based on the reading of Revelation 15-16. And if you would like to follow along with the notes or maybe you would like to find the links to anything mentioned in the podcast today, you can go to the link in the description or by visiting www.youministries.com and visiting the corresponding page. As we get started today, I would like to remind you of my disclaimer, that as always…do not take my word, or anyone’s word for what you read…get yourself in the Bible and let God discern His Word to you. I am only human and make many mistakes and do not claim to know or understand everything in the Bible…I just hope by bringing out this study that your interest is sparked enough to get into God’s Word and begin to deep dive on your own.
… Because the purpose of the Great Tribulation is judgment. It’s to give Satan his final opportunity and then to render the logical consequence. In His marvelous, infinite grace, God will remove the church before this time of tribulation. If you willingly accept His grace, then you can escape this horrific conclusion. But even the church needs to know what the unsaved will go through, and in that sobering reality make us all a more zealous witness for Christ today.
In a brief interlude before the angels pour out the bowls of God’s wrath, now finished, John ushers us to heaven where we see another sign, a dress rehearsal of the last act of man’s day on earth. These extra details John has given us starting in Revelation 12 retrace events with added detail. (Like Genesis 1 is a summary of creation and Genesis 2 gives the details. The Gospels also give similar accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry but from different perspectives.)
God’s wrath, now at its zenith and completely expressed, marks the final judgment. He has been slow to anger, but here ends His longsuffering. Judgment in the final stages of the Day of Wrath comes from God, not from Satan’s antics in his thrust for world domination through the wild beasts. Judgment comes directly from the throne of God.
God is now making a final display of His wrath and brings earth’s sordid tragedy of sin to its conclusion.
And watching it all from a heavenly perspective are those who gave their lives in the Tribulation. They’re standing on “a sea of glass mingled with fire” (15:2), a picture of the Beast’s persecution. No one could have made it through without God’s protective seal. They’ve laid down their lives for Jesus and were faithful to Him until death. These Tribulation saints came through the fires of persecution on the earth and yet have not lost their song.
They sang “the song of Moses” (v. 3; see Exodus 15:1-21 and Deuteronomy 32:1-43)—that celebrates God’s deliverance, salvation, and faithfulness—and the song of the Lamb. Jesus Christ, the King of the nations, will be universally worshipped. There will be no place He will not be worshipped. Even those in hell will acknowledge Jesus is supreme authority, that He is running the universe, and it belongs to Him. They will acknowledge the truth of the glory of God—they’ll have to.
The Tribulation saints sing: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested” (vv. 3-4).
This testimony, coming from first-hand witnesses of the judgment, breaks our hearts in its beauty and settles in the minds of believers the fact that God is right in all that He does. It may not appear so at the time, but by faith we can believe He is just (see Psalm 7:9; 11:7; 107:1, 40, 42). This will happen when God takes charge.
From this worship service, the temple of the tabernacle opens in heaven so seven angels with seven golden bowls can come forward. They’re dressed for a priestly service (with linen and precious stones) but are leaving that work of mercy for plagues of judgment. Yearly, a priest would carry a gold bowl of blood into the Holy Place as a symbol of redemption for sin. But with that gift rejected, now sin must be judged. God acts in justice, and the wrath of the Lamb will startle the world.
Old Testament prophets often talked about the cup of iniquity and wrath filling up and spoke of God’s patience in waiting for it to fill. Then, when it is full, God moves in judgment. That time has come.
“Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth” (16:1), directed the voice from the temple.
Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ is still in full charge. He was the only One found worthy to open the seven-sealed book, which ushered in this entire series of sevens. He is the One marching to victory. The power and the glory and the majesty belong to Him. This is His judgment upon a world that has rejected the grace of God, and the Father has committed all judgment to Him. Christ is the One who gives the command that sends out these seven angels with the final judgments. There is no longer a delay, no longer an interval or intermission. The hour has come. The order is given, and the seven angels now execute His command.
Pouring out the first bowl (16:2): “A foul and loathsome sore” on everyone who had the mark of the beast. Scripture states the life of the flesh is in the blood, and also death is in the blood. These putrefying sores are worse than leprosy or cancer. God reveals physically what man is morally: utterly corrupt. This plague is reminiscent of the sixth plague in Egypt and is the same type of “boil” (see Exodus 9:8-12; by the way, Moses predicted this coming judgment in Deuteronomy 28:15, 27, 35).
Pouring out the second bowl (16:3): The sea becomes blood and everything in it dies. The sea becomes a grave of death instead of a womb of life. Like in the first plague of Egypt, carcasses float to the surface and line the shore. Commerce is paralyzed. Human beings die like flies.
Pouring out the third bowl (16:4-7): Rivers and streams become blood. Now the total water supply of the earth is cut off and causes destruction of human life across the planet. But even the angel of the waters agrees this is a righteous judgment and poetic justice with a vengeance. These who are being judged had made martyrs of God’s people, and now God is forcing them to drink blood for the righteous blood they spilled. The martyrs in heaven who ask God how long before He judges evil are now vindicated. God answers their prayer.
Pouring out the fourth bow (16:8-9): The sun scorches those who blaspheme God yet they still don’t repent. Jesus predicted this sign (Luke 21:25) and so did Moses (Deuteronomy 32:24), Isaiah (Isaiah 24:6, 42:25), and Malachi (Malachi 4:1). To accomplish this, all the Lord has to do is remove one or two blankets of atmosphere. Or He would need only to pull the earth a little closer to the sun—not much—and nothing could survive. Nevertheless, His own are preserved: “The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night” (Psalm 121:6). Though this promise means little to us today, it will be a great comfort to the believer during the Tribulation.
The first three bowl judgments had personal implications; the final three all have political consequences.
Pouring out the fifth bowl (16:10-11): The Beast’s kingdom is darkened. This strange darkness might be called black light. As the sun’s wattage increases, the heat will be greater, but the light will be less. Egypt experienced this during the ninth plague (see Exodus 10:21-22). Isaiah foretold this (Isaiah 60:2) and the prophet Joel described this as the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:1-2, 31). Other prophets, Nahum, Amos, and Zephaniah all mention it, as well as our Lord Himself (Mark 13:24). Even the apostle Paul described in Romans 2:4-5 how people will harden their hearts against God’s righteous judgment in the day of wrath. And here it is—and man refuses to turn to God for mercy.
Pouring out the sixth bowl (16:12-16): The river Euphrates dries up. The Euphrates is called “the great river” in the Bible, mentioned over 25 times. It was connected to the sixth Egyptian plague. Once the cradle of man’s civilization, now it will be its grave.
Now between the sixth and seventh bowls of wrath is an interlude, like between other sixth and seventh features.
John reports a weird and ghastly scene signaling the trinity of hell—Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet—along with the demonic masses pouring out of their mouths, acting together to force the nations of the world to march against Israel. They had to destroy God’s purposes on earth. But God made some promises to Abraham and Israel that He’s going to keep.
The Lord Jesus is the only One who can stop this campaign from crushing Israel. Their help doesn’t come from the North or the South or the East or the West—that’s where their trouble is coming from. Their help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
It’s a tremendous scene: The War of Armageddon, not just a battle, has been going on for half the Tribulation and extends the entire length of the land of Israel. It’s God who “gathered them together” (v. 16) on the plain of Esdraelon in central Israel. Satan may think he’s commanding the armies, but he is nevertheless fulfilling the Word of God.
Christ, the warrior and King, now says He comes like a thief to end the Tribulation. The whole earth mourns His appearing. They would like to shut Him out from ever returning, but He’s getting ready to come through space.
Pouring out the seventh bowl (16:17-21): A mighty earthquake shakes the entire world and a hailstorm pummels the earth. As the seventh angel pours out his bowl upon the air, a great voice came from the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” The only One who could deliver His own and set up a righteous kingdom and bring peace to the world is the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s His voice that says, “It is done,” just like He said from the Cross when the work He accomplished that provides for our salvation was complete. He offers us a finished redemption; but if you won’t accept it, there will be a judgment. Those who have refused God’s salvation won’t escape His judgment.
Let us keep our eyes on Christ through this. He is the Judge now.
Lightning and thunder and voices launched the Tribulation, and now they bring it to an end. This earthquake is so devastating that it divides Jerusalem into three parts, and cities all over the world fall. The earthquake even moves islands and levels mountains. The final act of judgment is the hailstorm—with hailstones ranging between 50 and 100 pounds pummeling the people on the earth. This dramatic deluge brings an end to the Great Tribulation.
Next week we will see how God turns His attention to Satan’s capital city, Babylon.
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