Episode 75: End Times Judgments, Part 5- Bowls 4-7

Peace to Live By Episode 75: End Times Judgments, Part 5- Bowls 4-7 - Daniel Litton
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       Today we are finishing up our discussion on the wrath of God, those judgments which God is going to bestow upon the inhabitants of the world at the end times. This is now our fifth week in our discussion here, and I think we’ve covered quite a bit. We spent the first week talking about the Seal Judgments. We learned about the Antichrist coming to power, and the beginnings of war, famine, and pestilence on the earth. And we saw how one-fourth of humans were killed. Then, we spent the next two weeks discussing the Trumpet Judgments. We saw how they affected the earth with hail, fire and blood, a possible meteor, comet, or astroid, debris falling to the earth, affects on the sun and moon, the releasing of the locusts, other supernatural creatures, and so forth. Last week, we started our journey through the Bowl Judgments, and we are going to be finishing this up today. We saw horrific sores inflicted on people, the destruction of the oceans of the earth, as well as the rivers and fresh waters. So, we’ve gone all the way through the wrath of God, and I think we’ve been reminded of, and learned, quite a lot here.

       We come today then to the final moments of our current world setup, phase two, you might call it, in the history of the world. Let’s briefly review these world phases. Phase one was when God originally created the world (some 6,000 years ago), and we saw how he accomplished this in Genesis 1 by speaking it into existence. And that world grew large in number, some theologians estimating it to be about seven billion people by the Great Flood, the Flood of Noah. As the world had become so wicked by the days of Noah, God decided that he was going to destroy it, and yet save the human race through Noah and his family. And he told him to build an Ark, and God used that ark to save the people and animals, two of every kind, who boarded it. And, as an aside, this is probably where we see the death of the dinosaurs (as for whatever reason, they may have not boarded the ark. They could have been taken as infants or small dinosaurs; we really don't know for sure). Nonetheless, getting back on track here, God recreates the world during the Flood, and that is phase two. He rearranges the platonic plates, and splits the one continent into seven continents. And this is the setup we are currently in today.

       Now, shortly in the future, as we are going to see the beginnings of today, God will destroy phase two of the world setup and create a third world setup, which we will call phase three. Phase three involves a renovated earth, probably resembling the setup of phase one, and Jesus Christ will rule on the earth under this setup for 1,000 years. God sets up the Millennial Kingdom for the Jewish people, that which he promised them in the past he would do. In this world, no sin exists, at least, not until the end. Phase four occurs when God destroys the earth by fire—that is, he burns everything up that exists—and creates a new Heaven and a new earth. Everything in the current world is destroyed, including everything in outer-space. Of course, phase four here will be awesome, and everyone who has believed in God, who has counted on Jesus’ payment for the forgiveness of their sins, will have a residence in this fourth phase. You and I will be able to visit different people’s houses, and fellowship with them, and there will be plenty of time for us to be in fellowship with whoever we want to be. People will have their hearts desires, things they wanted when they lived in their original lives, but in a far better makeup and experience. Possessions will be abundant.

       All this being said, we are going to discuss here the destruction of phase two of the world, so God can setup his Millennial Kingdom that he has promised the Nation of Israel. So, turn to tap in your Bibles to Revelation 16. Recall, we saw in Revelation 15 the seven angels with the seven bowl judgments, and the martyred saints sang a song to God. We went over last week the first three Bowl Judgments from the angels, and we will pick up with the fourth Bowl. Verses 8 and 9 of Revelation 16 says, “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 cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory” (ESV). This plague moves from the earth to outer-space.

       In the fourth Bowl Judgment here, we see that the angel of the Lord actually pours out his bowl of judgment upon the sun. And this gives the sun the ability to scorch people with its fierce heat. This judgment that the Apostle John tells us about here could be interpreted in various ways. For one, it could be that the sun’s power level is turned up so that it is even more powerful than it currently is. Recall, we saw in the fourth Trumpet Judgment that God reduced the sun’s power to two-thirds power. And we discussed how this probably made the earth colder, obviously. Well, here, in the fourth Bowl Judgment, things are certainly going to get hotter for people. It may also be that the sun has supernatural power to actually send fire down from outer-space and individually scorch people, as if it were a living thing. We really just don’t know for sure based off of what John has told us here. Another possibility is that the ozone layer has somehow been affected to such a point that the earth is no longer adequately protected from the sun’s UV rays. In other words, perhaps just a little exposure to the sun’s light causes severe sun burns.

       The passage reveals that as these men were scored by the fierce heat, they cursed God’s name over it. This is the first time we see God’s name get cursed by the unbelievers experiencing these plagues. If it is the case that the sun’s heat has been turned up, just think that these individuals not only have to deal with severe burns, but also they have to deal with the burns in severe heat, probably so much so that air conditioning may not even be working. It might be just hot enough before death would occur, but too hot for cooling systems to work. This bothers me even thinking about. Oh, and don’t forget, the people are still dealing with the sores from the first plague! Remember, these plagues occur in rapid secession, perhaps over days, or a month, or maybe multiple months.

       John tells us that the people who were scorched, who had experienced all the previous plagues, he says that they did not repent and give God glory. It is amazing to me how people who are experiencing such pain, and seeing all the supernatural things right before their eyes, do not turn to God and repent, if even just for the sake that they might hope he will take the pain away. Recall, Jesus said in John 14:11, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves” (ESV). But here, not even seeing God’s supernatural works turn the men’s hearts. Apparently, their sin has made them so hard of heart that they will not believe. Really, we shouldn’t be surprised at this. Jesus told us this was going to happen in Matthew 24 when he was talking about the end times. He said, “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (12, 13, ESV). By this time in human history, men’s hearts are very hardened (more than even today), like they were during the days of Noah, for that too was a very sinful time.

       Now, some might want to say that fear doesn’t save people. However, I want us to take a moment here and consider that. When I was saved, I originally believed because I was informed that I was going to go to Hell when I die, and I didn’t want to go to Hell. The sermon I was listening to was about the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. And I realized I was a tare, and I didn’t want to be a tare anymore. Jesus said in that parable, “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13:30, KJV). I didn’t want to be one of the people who got burned; I didn’t want to go to Hell when I died. And I knew at that moment, sitting in church, I knew that I would go to Hell if I died. Therefore, I turned to Jesus and was saved. So, yes, fear of Hell or punishment for sins does save people in our current day. It’s just in this case, by the end of the world, people have become too hardened in the heart for any fear to save them. That’s pretty remarkable.

       Moving on to the fifth Bowl: “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” (Revelation 16:10, 11, ESV).

       Here, John states that the fifth angel causes the Antichrist’s kingdom to be “plunged into darkness.” What exactly does this mean? Well, there are multiple theories that we can consider. First, it could mean that the sun is blocked from shinning on the earth—that is, if you include the whole earth as the Antichrist’s kingdom. That would make sense since he is the one world leader, the ruler of the one world government. So this would be a pretty debilitating plague, as everyone in the world would be shrouded in darkness. And there is a good possibility that electricity will be scare in places due to all of the plagues that have happened on the earth. Not only could the world go dark, but there could be few lights to give people any light. All this being said, another possibility is that just part of the world goes dark, like the capital city where the Antichrist reigns. But this latter theory seems less likely due to the fact that it would seem these final plagues encompass the entirety of the earth.

       John also mentions, “People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores.” So, the people gnawing their tongues in anguish displays how bad this plague is, as it is stacked on top of the other plagues. The sores were indeed painful, and surely they get more painful as time goes on. And the also have burns. And not only that, but the people now have to face their pain in darkness, which just adds to their misery. Really, this scene I think foreshadows for us a view of what Hell will be like for the unbeliever. In Hell, a person will certainly have pains, and I am sure sores and burns will be included in that, and they will be in darkness. They definitely will be biting their tongues there. The people are said to still be cursing God for their pain, which again shows the seriousness of the effect of the darkness as well as the cumulative effect of the plagues. And, unfortunately, they still don’t repent even under these circumstances. And, as we are going to see, this is God’s last time for giving anyone a chance to repent. For the final two plagues, no such mention of a chance of repentance exists.

       Now, these final two Bowl Judgments are the worst. The sixth Bowl Judgment is this: “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. 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. 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” (Revelation 16:12-14, ESV).

       So, the sixth Bowl Judgment has two parts. First, the angel of the Lord pours out his bowl on the Euphrates River, which John here calls the “great river Euphrates.” Remember, the Euphrates River is the most significant river in the middle east. It is the longest for one, and also established the eastern boarder for the land that God gave to Israel in the Old Testament. Regardless, the river is dried up by the angel in order that the kings from the east could cross over it. Certainly, by this point in time bridges will have been destroyed, and even if there were bridges, the coming armies are likely going to be massive. The drying up of the river makes it quicker for the troops to march to their coming doom at Armageddon. These “kings from the east” mentioned here will be leaders in the areas of places like current day China, India, and perhaps Russia. A lot of people will be coming.

       The second part of this judgment involves the unclean spirits coming from the mouths of the dragon, beast, and false prophet. Now, who are these individuals? Well, the dragon of course is Satan. The beast we should know by now is the Antichrist. The false prophet, whom we haven’t studied, is the Antichrist’s sidekick who performs signs and wonders to deceive people. He is the Antichrist’s religious leader, if you will, and really the whole world’s religious leader. But he is a product of Satan. Nonetheless, John describes the unclean spirits that come from their mouths as frogs. We know that frogs are amphibians who are typically dirty and usually not so pleasant in appearance. Plus, in the Old Testament, God said that frogs were unclean animals. These demonic spirits actually are able to perform signs, like the False Prophet, and go about to the kings all around the world to deceive them to come to the Battle of Armageddon. They may tell them that Jesus Christ is going to be returning, and that with all the power of the armies of the world, they should be able to take him out. And these kings buy into this because of the demon spirits great ability to deceive. Depending on what time period this occurs, the weaponry could even be more sophisticated than we have today which would only play into the lies.

       John calls the Battle of Armageddon “the great day of God the Almighty.” He is telling us who is going to win. And the day is great because it is the day that Christ returns to the earth, as he has been gone since Acts 1 when he ascended into Heaven. And this time he will be staying on the earth for the rest of its history. That’s such an encouraging thing to think about. Of course, we know at this battle that he will destroy all his enemies, everyone who’s lined up against him, including the Antichrist, False Prophet, and he will even capture Satan himself and lock him up. And this day will start the process whereby he rids the earth of all sinful people and things the offend him. Everything on the earth that has sin embroiled into it will be destroyed, as he renovates the earth for his 1,000 year reign.

       Next, we read: “(“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!”) And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Revelation 16:15, 16, ESV).

       John makes a break here with a quote from the Lord Jesus Christ. Much like between the sixth and seventh Seal and Trumpet Judgments, here again we find a break from the judgments with a word from our Lord to encourage believers who are still on the earth at this point in time. In essence, he is telling them to be prepared for his Second Coming. Jesus talked about the time right before his second return to the earth and how people on the earth at that time should make sure they are prepared. If we go back to Matthew 24, we can see this in the following verses:

“Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (40-44, ESV)

What Jesus said here is likely a picture of the angels gathering the elect up from around the world, as he had just talked about that in verse 31. Anyway, Jesus said it is important for people to be ready—to be living in a right way always—because they do not know when the end is going to come. And this is true for us today. We never know when our time is up, or when the Rapture will happen, and it is good for us to always have a clear conscious, to be living in the right way.

       Back in Revelation, John tells us that all the armies of the earth gather at the place which is called Armageddon. This battlefield, which obviously exists today, is in northern Israel. It is in Galilee, in the Jezreel Valley, and is an area of about 20 miles by 14 miles. So, it’s a pretty big area. This is where the final showdown occurs between the world and Jesus Christ.

       Now the final judgment from God, the seventh Bowl: “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!” And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. 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. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.” (Revelation 16:17-21, ESV)

       The seventh angel does something to the air, the atmosphere, the sky of the earth. Whatever he does, it is clear that it is something dramatic as shown by the flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake. And God informs us that this completes his judgments, for he speaks from his throne. It could be that the angel of the Lord has caused some type of superstorm to form in the sky, or it could be some kind of explosion, since there is the lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. Nevertheless, the world’s largest earthquake occurs at this point in time, so much so that John says “such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.” This quake cause tremendous destruction all over the earth. John notes that the city of Jerusalem is split into three different parts. And he says the rest of the cities of the world also crumble down. All the sky scrapers, the buildings men have built, come tumbling down. And finally, the capital city where the Antichrist rules and reigns, Babylon, will also be destroyed, and even to a further degree (you can read more on this in Revelation 17 & 18).

       Nonetheless, John also informs us that all islands sink and the mountains are leveled out—that’s how great the big earthquake is. This is the ultimate big one; California hasn't seen nothing yet. So, Hawaii will be destroyed. Bermuda will sink. Whatever island you consider, it goes away. And the mountains, from the great Rockies to Mount Everest, are flattened out. What a tremendous change to the geography of the earth. Remember, during the sixth seal, people were hiding in caves and among rocks in the mountains. Now, they won’t be able to do this anymore. And if these things weren’t bad enough, John also says that God sends great hailstones down from the sky, and they fall on people and kill them. No matter what structures (those that are left) that people are in, these hailstones have the possibility of getting people. This hail could come right through roofs. This plague is so bad that it causes people to curse God. They don’t even consider turning to him so that they might be saved.

       And this ends the judgments from God on the world, the final stretch of our current world setup as we know it today. And we know that Jesus comes down to the earth at the Battle of Armageddon, and his enemies are destroyed. He kills the armies of the world instantaneously. The end of Revelation 19 talks about this a little more in-depth. It also tells us that the Antichrist and his false prophet are captured. And they are thrown immediately into the Lake of Fire, alive. To finish things up, let us bring to mind what Matthew has recorded for us in his Gospel: “Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matthew 19:28-30, ESV).

       In closing this series, I understand that a lot of what we have been discussing is hard to take in, particularly if this information has been new to you. God is going to do what he has promised in his Word, and this is where the world is headed in the near future. The important thing for everyone today is to make sure you are in right relationship with God, the Creator of everything and the person to whom everyone is accountable. It is true that God is going to hold everyone responsible for their actions in the future, for every thought, word, and behavior done in this life. And anyone who is not covered by Christ’s blood will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, which burns with sulfur. Everyone at the sound of my voice who does not have a payment for their sin will be tormented day and night, forever and forever for their sins against God. However, Christ’s blood offers an acceptable sacrifice for us before God, and anyone who trusts in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for his or her sins can be spared of any of God’s wrath to come. Jesus can make us right before God the Father. He paid the penalty for our sins, and by trusting in his sacrifice, God declares us not guilty for all accounts of sin in our lives.

       You see, God sent Jesus to the earth, some 2,000 years ago, and he died on the cross for your sins and for my sins. The Bible states that all of us have sinned; we have all fallen short of God’s glory. None of us are good enough in God’s eyes. No matter what we do in life, no matter how hard we try to be good, God says none of us are good in our actions. We can only become good by trusting in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Christ also rose from the dead and has life now, so that we can also have life. We, through God’s help, work through the power of the Spirit of God, now living inside of us, to live in the right way, the correct way, in a way that is pleasing to God, and beneficial to ourselves and others. God’s ways are always the right ways, and one cannot go wrong in following what he says. He has the way, and the truth, and has life to give. And anyone can have this life.

       If you would like to accept Jesus today as your personal Lord and Savior, then please follow my lead in this simple prayer:

God, I have done a lot of wrong things in my life. I have not lived following what your Word says, but I have lived following the incorrect ways of this world. Today, God, I want to turn from living in the wrong way and accept Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf. I do believe he died for my sins and that he rose from the dead. I do believe that your ways are the right ways, and I want to start following them. So, I turn from my sin now and accept you as my Guide. Please change me, Father, and make me become like Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

       Let’s pray:

       Heavenly Father, I thank for the opportunity to go over these final things today from your end times judgments, from the Bowls of wrath you are going to unleash on the earth in the near future. Thank you for the opportunity over these last several weeks to go over these important end times events and to study them and have a better understanding of them.

       Father, I pray for those who have just accepted Christ as personal Lord and Savior. I pray that they will stand firm in their newfound faith and not give it up as quickly as it has come to them, but that they will start the process of growing in you, of aligning their thoughts, their words, and their behaviors more in line with you, with what you say in your Word. Bless them as they start the sanctification process and become more pleasing to you.

       Father, I also pray for those of us who already know you, that we will remember your Truth always, that we will take seriously the things that you tell us in your Word, and that we will not become negligent or distant from your Word, but that we will live by everything that you have told us, and that we will continue to grow in you, making positive change where needed, and making a change when you bring something to our attention that needs work.

       So, bless each and everyone of us, Father, and keep us strong in the faith until the Lord Jesus comes to take us home to Heaven. So, Father, please bless us as we go about the rest of the day, and may your name be blessed always now and forever. I Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

-Daniel Litton