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THE SEVENTH BOWL OF GODS WRATH

 

 

Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great. Revelation 16:17–21

   

This seventh and final bowl of wrath appears to be the end-time revival. The events described under this bowl of wrath describe the infamous Battle of Armageddon.

As the bowls of wrath are poured out, the true spirits behind the dragon, beast and false prophet are exposed and the battle lines are drawn. Every religious spirit, whether pagan, heretical, or professed Christian, is gathered together to fight against the everlasting gospel. Albert Barnes comments on this Battle or Armageddon.

 

Thus, in Revelation 16:14, the spirits are represented as going forth into the whole world for the purpose of gathering the nations together to the great battle, and it is natural to suppose that the reference is to them here as having accomplished what they went forth to do. But who are to be gathered together? Evidently those who in Revelation 16:14 are described by the word “them”—the “kings of the earth, and the whole world;” that is, there will be a state of things which would be well described by a universal gathering of forces in a central battle-field. It is by no means necessary to suppose that what is here represented will literally occur. There will be a mustering of spiritual forces; there will be a combination and a unity of opposition against the truth; there will be a rallying of the declining powers of Heathenism, Mohammedanism, and Romanism, as if the forces of the earth, marshalled by kings and rulers, were assembled in some great battle-field where the destiny of the world was to be decided.

 

Barnes sees the Battle of Armageddon as a spiritual war, not a literal battle to be fought at the literal sight of Megiddo. He goes on to comment:

 

The meaning here is, that there would be, as it were, a decisive battle which would determine the question of the prevalence of true religion on the earth. What we are to expect as the fulfilment of this would seem to be, that there will be some mustering of strength—some rallying of forces—some opposition made to the kingdom of God in the gospel by the powers here referred to which would be decisive in its character, and which would be well represented by the battles between the people of God and their foes in the conflicts in the valley of Megiddo.

 

Here we see that Barnes takes a church-historic view of the Revelation. What I have called the end-time revival he calls “a decisive battle which would determine the question of the prevalence of true religion on the earth.” This end-time revival involves “some opposition made to the kingdom of God in the gospel by the powers here referred to which would be decisive in its character.” What we see as the spirits of the dragon, beast, and false prophet Barnes calls “some rallying forces of opposition to the kingdom of God in the gospel.”

The seventh bowl of wrath is poured out into the air. The Apostle Paul tells us the meaning of the air in Ephesians 2:1–3,

 

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

 

The prince of the power of the air is an obvious reference to Satan. A belief among Jews and the heathen of the time was that the air was populated with spirits and demons. According to Paul, Satan rules over the sons of disobedience. Satan’s primary use of his rule is to lead people according to the lusts of the flesh and in so doing making them children of wrath. Remember what wrath is; it is a choice people make that separates and puts them outside the love of God—they reject God’s love.

This seventh bowl or wrath is another pouring out of the everlasting gospel that reveals the deliverance from sin resulting in holiness of life. As it is preached there is a voice that speaks out of the temple of heaven and from the throne. The temple is the biblical church in the end-time. It is not a denomination, group or fellowship; it is the host of the redeemed that have been saved from sin. It is people that accept the everlasting gospel. They may come together in individual congregations; they may exist in fellowships; they may call themselves by the name Church of God; or they may take on some other name but see themselves as those brought together through the atonement and have consecrated themselves to God.

Contrary to the spirit of the air that motivates people to live in the lusts and desires of their flesh while professing religion, the temple of heaven consists of those with Romans 6:12–14 experiences:

 

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

 

Babylon religions rebel at and deny such preaching and will fight it. But the truth remains that sinning religion is not acceptable with God.

The strength of the everlasting gospel preached under this seventh bowl receives the endorsement of the Lamb that sits on the throne. He says, “It is done.” This statement reflects back on the seventh trumpet message in Revelation 10:7, “but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.”

Chapters 10 & 11 concern the resurgence of the message of the biblical church as part of and the result of the work of the atonement under the sounding of the sixth trumpet. What is said in verse 7 is a prophecy of the seventh trumpet in which the mystery of God is finished. Chronologically, the seventh trumpet reaches to the pouring out of the bowls or wrath.

It appears the mystery of God that is finished initiates the end-time revival, here referred to as the battle of Armageddon. The word mystery in the mystery of God means a hidden thing, a religious secret that is confided only to the initiated. In the context of the New Testament it refers to God’s plan of providing salvation for men through Christ, which was once hidden but now is revealed. Here in Revelation 10:7 the mystery has to do with the return of Christ as the completion of the purpose of the everlasting gospel.

Chronologically we are living in the time of the seventh seal, the seventh trumpet, the last gathering under the ministry of the Lamb on Mount Zion, and the pouring out of these bowls of wrath. Most assuredly we can say we are living in the end time—but always remember, we have no way of knowing when the end of time will happen. It could be in our lifetimes or in the time of a future generation, but it will come.

The battle of Armageddon is described in verses 18–21. It begins with noises, thunderings, lightnings, and a great earthquake. This scene is reminiscent of God’s first appearance on Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:16,

 

Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. . . . and the whole mountain quaked greatly (Verse 18).

 

As momentous as that appearance of God was then, the end-time revival will surpass it in a great earthquake that has not occurred since men were on the earth. As Sinai was the first great movement of God in the moral world of mankind, the end-time revival will be the last and greatest movement of God among men. The only thing that will surpass this revelation of God will be the second coming of Christ: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (I Thessalonians 4:16). Also in Revelation 1:7 we read about His coming: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” When Christ returns, the sound of His coming will catch the attention of every eye—of all that are living and all that have previously passed into eternity.

The revelation of God under the seventh bowl of wrath does not bring the end of time; it has a devastating impact on religion. Throughout history man has devised religions intended to replace God. Throughout the history of the church, man has devised apostate imitations of the church Jesus built with the intent to replace God. Under the seventh bowl of wrath, God exposes all false and apostate religion for what it really is.

The everlasting gospel effectively exposes and divides Babylon into its three parts so that all who want to see its real nature can see it. Babylon is the religious works of men spawned by the three unclean spirits like frogs: The dragon—Christless religions; the beast—falsely called catholic churches that claim to be the universal church of God; and the false prophet—the apostate remnants of the Protestant Reformation and the churches spawned under that movement.

Under the everlasting gospel, this bowl of wrath finally reveals the extent of God’s wrath on false religion. God gives the Babylon “the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” This will not be a pleasant experience for people in this divided Babylon. They believe they have obtained a way to God, whether pagan, philosophical, or in the name of Christianity, but instead they have only placed themselves outside the love of God and under the wrath of God. Keep in mind, the wrath of God exists in a choice where people have put a barrier between themselves and the love of God. Remember what Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:9,

 

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

The three parts of Babylon contradict this truth by either denying God or denying the possibility of the deliverance from sinning in this life. God is love and God offers people the moral and spiritual miracle of salvation from sin; but, when people deny God’s will and choose a religion or a church that keeps them in the flesh and bound to sin, that same choice separates them from the love of God—it puts them on the opposite side.

As the everlasting gospel is preached under the power of God, verse 20 tells us “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” To some degree, everyone in every false or apostate religion is made aware of their position in wrath. Islands and mountains are the emblems of those religions, places intended to be places of spiritual safety and refuge—but the everlasting gospel reveals that they have no substance or position in truth.

We would love to see this end-time revival result in a world-wide act of repentance and people coming to the gospel and to the Savior Jesus Christ. Yes, there will be conversions and souls will be rescued out of this Babylon that is fighting against the gospel during the end-time revival. But the truth is that more people will be offended by it than will accept it.

The everlasting gospel over time becomes a great hail. In Acts 14:17 Paul is preaching to the pagans in Lystra, teaching them the difference between idols and the true God. He says, “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” While the rain from heaven Paul mentions is the literal rain falling from the sky, he is also using it as a metaphor for the gospel he has been teaching them—the message of Christ and the atonement.

Over the next 2000+ years the gospel was preached across the world, has led many into salvation, and has exposed everything in false and apostate religion. In the end-time revival, the Battle of Armageddon, the everlasting gospel will be declared with such power and clarity that it will be more like hailstones than a gentle rain. Each time that gospel is declared it will carry the weight of a talent. The lampstand in the ancient tabernacle was made of gold and weighed one talent. That lampstand represented the light of God and its use here signifies that the preaching of the everlasting gospel will be backed by the authority of God.

As I said just a moment ago, more people will be offended by the everlasting gospel than will respond to it. Verse 21 states quite plainly, “Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.” What a horrible end to this Battle of Armageddon!

Sadly, it will not be only pagans that will blaspheme God; there will be many that profess Christianity without possessing the salvation offered in the everlasting gospel who will curse God. Instead of choosing the love of God, they will turn their backs on the love of God and embrace the wrath of God.

Most certainly, we are living in the end time; and most certainly the everlasting gospel has been placed at our disposal. It has done its gathering under the ministry of the Lamb on Mount Zion. Those gatherings are over and now the world views the everlasting gospel as the wrath of God rather than the love of God. The three spirits of Babylon are gathering their people into a force that will oppose the everlasting gospel with the intent to destroy it, remove God from human experience, and substitute Christless and manmade religion in God’s place once and for all.

The battle lines for the Battle of Armageddon have been drawn. On which side are you? Will you side with the voice that comes from the throne out of the temple or will you side with the frogs? The choice is yours.