The Plagues Of The Book Of Revelation
The Wrath of God, the 7 Last Plagues of the 7th Seal-- 3 views
1. The viewpoint of the 7th Seal with 7 Plagues seen from the throne of God as 7 trumpets. Trumpets used to announce something. Rev. 8 & 9; ( Rev.11:14-19--see study on the Second Coming of Christ).
2. As the 7th Seal or Wrath of God-- 7 Plagues as seen from the saints' view-- called the 7 vials or bowls-- Rev.15 & 16.
3. As the fall of Babylon, Rev.14:8; 18:1-24. (see study on the fall of Babylon).
Chapter 8-- The Lamb opens the 7th Seal on the mortgage scroll and the Plagues are poured out; the 1st 4 Plagues described looking from the view point of God's throne in the heavenlies. The scenes depicted in the book of Revelation are seen from various viewpoints.
Chapter 9-- 2 more Plagues are described, #'s 5 & 6. These 2 are demonic Plagues. The 6th Plague is simultaneous with the Battle of Armageddon.
The 7th Plague is not described until the very end of Chapter 11. Between Plague # 6 and Plague # 7 there is a literary parenthesis intervening, which begins in Chapter 10.
Chapter 11-- At the end of Chapter 11 starting with verse 14, the 7th Plague is poured out and the angel of the 7th Plague announces that the kingdom of God has fully defeated the kingdoms of this world. The 7th Plague occurs at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Chapters 15 & 16-- This is a second full account of the 7 last Plagues. The first account is in chapters 8 & 9 and chapter 11. Chapters 15,16 is a second full account of the 7 plagues. They begin with the 7 angels in heaven prepared to pour out the 7 vials of God's wrath and continuing the pouring out of the wrath into chapter 16.
The description of the 7 last Plagues or vials in chapter 16 compliments and completes the picture of the Plagues as seen in 8,9 and 11; but the Battle of Armageddon is mentioned specifically only in chapter 16.
First we will look at chapters 8 & 9 of the book of Revelation
Revelation 8:1 "And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."
The opening of the 7th Seal is in verses 1-5 of chapter 8 and this is seen from a heavenly view. Now we are still on the same context that started in chapter 4:1 (Read). The context hasn't changed. These are still things which must be hereafter. That must be because God must have a kingdom to bring in; He must have a bride. He must have a people, and rebellion must be put down according to what man is and what he's going to do, and who the devil is and what he's going to do-- these things must be.
So we see the opening of the 7th Seal. The blowing of the first trumpet of seven, all of which are in the 7th Seal. The 7th Seal consist of the 7 trumpets, plagues, vials or more literally bowls, the last 3 being woes. The first 6 Seals are found in chapter 6-- the Tribulation period. Now the word "Trumpets" has several meanings-- trumpets are used often in scripture (and they're always connected with momentous events) of official events, you might say. And the angels, it says, were given 7 trumpets.
Revelation 8:2 "And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets."
So the angels in themselves, even if they are high among the angels, still do not have the authority in and of themselves to pour out these Plagues. These are God's wrath and He merely gives to angels this position to pour them out.
Now these 7 plagues here are called 7 trumpets. That is, they're released through the blowing of 7 trumpets. These are also pictured in chapters 15 and 16; but in these chapters they're spoken of as 7 vials, more literally 7 bowls of wrath. And these bowls of wrath are poured out into the earth.
And in chapter 15:7, we find that the 4 living creatures are involved in this 7th Seal just as they had been in the first 4 Seals (Rev.6). It says in chapter 15:7,8 (Read).
So one of the 4 living creatures gave them these 7 vials of the Wrath of God.
Again, we see it's highly likely that this is a picture of glorified saints participating in the judgment as God gives. They participate in this judgment of the world system that they have overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.
Trumpets have several meanings in scripture
* One is warfare. Trumpets are used in warfare and this is a divine warfare we're going to see here. Jer.4:19 speaks about the sound of the trumpet being the alarm of war.
* They are also connected with the idea of fear. Amos 3:6,9 (Read)
* Trumpets are also connected with royalty. 2 Kings 9:13 says that in Israel, "they blew with trumpets saying, Jehu is king." So it was a sign of royalty being brought in.
* They are also connected with judgment, Josh.6:13-16. And this judgment was on a city that represented the world system, the fall of Jericho. Trumpets were blown 7 times before the city fell. Once each day for 7 days.
And in Revelation 8, we see that all of these things fit. You can see fear coming upon the earth. You can see warfare. These 7 trumpets culminate in the Lamb riding forth to make war with the beast, and following him are saints clothed in white linen. And he overcomes the beast, and he brings in the kingdom of righteousness.
And we also see royalty being brought in. Because these plagues of the wrath of God, the King of kings, are against this rebellious system that he might subdue all things to Himself and have a kingdom in heaven and earth.
And, of course, they're connected with judgment just as in Jericho. The walls of the world system, you see, are about to fall as these judgments are poured out. Jesus is about to take the city and rule as King of kings over the earth. That's going to be a wonderful day!
Revelation 8:3 "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne."
So this angel is called "another angel." He's not one of the 7, and he came and stood at the altar. Now this is a vision of a heavenly temple. Now we're not seeing this because there was an earthly temple and so now therefore, God's going to allude to the earthly temple. Rather, the earthly temple was just a picture of something higher and eternal in the heavenlies. And so we see the things of the earthly tabernacle and temple were just pointing to the true spiritual temple of God.
"Came and stood at the altar"
Now he came and stood at the altar. Now this answers to the incense altar that we see in the book of Exodus and Leviticus and other places. References: Exo.30:1-6; Luke 1:11. Now realize this is an analogy; it's a picture of something spiritual, but nevertheless something real.
"Having a golden censer"
This angel has a golden censer. Heb.9:4 tells you that the golden censer was used in the holy of holies. Now incense was offered up every day on the incense altar which was just outside the veil. But once a year, the high priest took coals from off of the incense altar into his censer which is a golden vessel that had a compartment where you would put incense on top of that. And as you did, of course, the incense would burn, and it would fill the place with the smoke and the aroma would come up.
Now once a year the high priest went into the holy of holies with his censer, and he offered incense inside the holy of holies and the cloud filled the room. And the glory of YAHWEH appeared from off the mercy seat in that cloud of incense. So this golden censer is a holder to offer incense. And incense represents prayer--and Christ is our high priest-- God's golden censer or vessel that is making intercession for us continually.
Now gold is a symbol of Deity and so God is the one that we offer our incense, that is, our prayers to. We are in Him. We pray in the realm of God. We're part of Him; godly prayer of the saints.
"There was given unto him much incense"
Now again it says that this incense was given to him. So this angel doesn't intercede himself. It doesn't say, "The angel prayed." Rather the incense was given unto him. And this incense is said to be, here in the K.J.V., with the prayers of all saints. We'll talk more about that in a minute. So this angel is merely seen to offer up the intercession; he's not himself interceding.
It says there was given unto him much incense. Literally-- "many incenses"-- plural. This represents many prayers, so it's many prayers that's offered unto God.
Now incense being a symbol of prayer is seen in Psa.141:2. Incense is a symbol of prayer in the book of Revelation in 5:8 (Read).
Now this incense is said in the K.J.V., that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints. Rotherham says, "unto the prayers". He takes it exactly literally, the dative form in the Greek. And the best way to translate it would probably be "for the prayers." "He offered up much incense for the prayers of all saints."
It just depends whether you take the form as being dative or instrumental. If it's instrumental then you would say "by" or "with", "with the prayers." Dative would be better translated "for the prayers."
And instrumental and dative both have the same form, so you can't necessarily tell except by the context. But here the idea of "for" would be better. Not that the incense was something else besides the prayers, but rather that the incense represents the prayers of all saints. And so he's offering up this incense for the prayers of all saints. God remembers our prayers and our tears. That's what the Bible teaches. He stores them up.
Psa.126:5,6 that passage says that they that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
Psa.56:8 David says "Lord you put my tears into your bottle." They've all been stored up. All the crying out to God that I've done has all been collected together, and it's all going to be answered fully. God hasn't forgotten any of it. Our prayers are not in vain.
Now this is for the prayers of all the saints and that means all the saints. All the saints of all time that have ever lived on earth, all the saints.
Well, why is that here in Rev.8 when the Plagues are about to be poured out that we see a vision of the incense being offered up showing the prayers of all saints. Why would that be?
Well, what follows in answer to these prayers being offered up is ultimately the defeat of Satan, and the victory of Jesus Christ, the Lamb. This is what all the saints, all the holy ones, of all times have yearned for whether they exactly knew it or not. They were yearning for God's deliverance. They were yearning for that one who would crush Satan's head. They were yearning; all creation has been groaning and travailing; waiting for the release from the curse of sin. And the saints, we also, groan within ourselves waiting for this release; waiting for the victory.
And this here is involved in this victory. The kingdom of God is being brought in, Satan is about to be defeated. The Antichrist system is about to be put under. And so here we see all the prayers of all the saints of all time being offered up, and they became effectual, we find, to bring in the kingdom of God.
This is how Jesus taught us to pray, Thy kingdom come (Matt.6:9-15). Jesus is about to be manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
You can also put Luke 18:7,8 with that. Jesus says, (Read)... will avenge them speedily... (and when these things happen they happen speedily.) Now this scripture applies more places than here, but it sure applies here.
Revelation 8:4 "And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."
"The smoke of the incense"
Smoke probably shows judgment. Also it can show the glory of God. We see a cloud of smoke in the temple in 1 Kings 8:10,11. Smoke is the result of the incense being burned; it's burning prayer (James 5:16). So the prayer of the saints are ascending up to God, and He will proceed to judge speedily.
Isaiah had a vision in the temple, and he saw the temple being filled with smoke. (Isa.6:4,5).
So the smoke speaks of the judgment and glory of God. As He judges, His glory is brought in.
And on Mt. Siani when God gave the Law, the judgment of God was expressed. Exo.19:18 says that Mt. Siani was altogether on a smoke. And this is another sign that the Plagues are a retribution for what God's people have suffered at the hand of the world system, and for the sins of the world system in general. We see again the theme of retribution here. God says vengeance is mine, I will repay.
And again it says here in verse 4 "And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints." This would be best translated, "for the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."
Revelation 8:5 "And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake."
Now it says, "he cast it into the earth." That is, he cast the fire into the earth. He filled it with fire from the altar and cast it, the fire, into the earth.
Not that he cast the censer into the earth, that would be highly unlikely considering that the censer being gold was a hallowed, dedicated instrument in the temple. It seems unlikely that the angel would take and chuck the censer into the earth. It's too holy for that. Rather, what is being thrown into the earth is fire, and again this fire represents the judgments that are about to be poured out in these 7 trumpets.
Fire here wouldn't be literal but rather representing judgment in general, which will be shown in these literal Plagues which are about to be poured out.
"And there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake."
Also there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, again all showing judgment. These are all signs of the wrath of the 7 trumpets to come. Now these could be literal voices, thunderings, and lightnings, especially since it says an earthquake. It would seem to point that way. But again these themselves are not the Plagues. But they're pointing to the fact that God's wrath is about to be poured out. They're signs of the foreboding judgment, you might say. This is an awesome time that we're going to look into here.
Revelation 8:6 "And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound."
And therefore when they begin to sound, the Plagues begin. They prepare themselves to sound. This shows something that's official, something that is the will of God; something that has been planned and something that is awesome. They don't just casually sound; they prepare themselves to sound, because the sound of their trumpets brings momentous things upon the earth.
And you know, there's no repentance by men on the earth seen in all of these Plagues. And these Plagues are going to be worse than anything we've seen, much worst than the first 6 Seals. And yet no repentance is seen during these Plagues. We read in chapter 9:20,21, after one of the worst of these Plagues (Read), they still do not repent. Also read Rev.16:9.
That's the heart of men; they've given themselves over to sin to such an extent that there's no more repentance left. All they can say is, this is unfair; I won't repent. It's not right, you see. There's pride in man's heart that prevents him from surrendering to God. And so it says, "they repented not of their deeds." Revelation 9:20,21.
Now Revelation chapters 15,16 is a parallel vision-- vials or bowls. So we see a double testimony of God; different views to see the whole picture. The Plagues and Vials take place at the same time; both end with the Second Coming of Christ.
Revelation 8:7 "The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up."
The first angel sounded and in the vision in Rev.15 and 16, we see these 7 angels pouring out vials or bowls of wrath. Now the first trumpet in chapter 8 answers to the first vial or bowl in chapter 16, seen from a different perspective. The second trumpet corresponds to the second bowl, etc..
Now we'll see that there are a number of similarities between some of the judgments mentioned in the 7 trumpets and those mentioned in the 7 bowls; they supplement one another. Chapters 15 and 16 will add things that chapters 8 and 9 don't say. You can't divide them up and make them 2 separate times, because they both culminate in the same thing. And so we find in the book of Revelation, a double testimony to these things showing the weightiness of them; that they're repeated 2 times. They're weighty things, and these chapters have to be harmonized together to see the whole picture of what these 7 Plagues represent.
References concerning Plagues: Micah 7:15-17; Duet.28:15,27,35,62; Malachi 4:1; Isa.24:3-12.
So the first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth. Joel 2:30 says, that some of the signs of the last days will be blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke.
And when God poured out one of the Plagues upon Egypt, it was hail. It was a great hail which destroyed their crops, Exo.9:23-28. And what happens upon the earth is that "the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up." Now this is probably literal. There's no reason to think otherwise, because they are Plagues that are to be upon the earth.
Read Revelation 7:1-3 and this again in chapter 7 points to the Plagues that are just about to be poured out. Some Commentators go to no end to make it not literal. Some say that the trees are great men and grass is common men. And some make them the different things within the church. And some make them different Emperors in Rome, and just a lot of things, but no one can prove anything. And so one assumption is just as bad as the next. If you get into that kind of thing, you'll never make any sense out of this book, and you'll never be able to come to a conclusion about what it really is saying and then it wouldn't be a Revelation. It would be a darkening enigma. But this is a revealing, a making plain of what God is going to do in the last days. There's no reason not to take these things literally, at least that's the way I see it right now.
"The third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up"
This is probably referring to vegetation in general, not limited to just trees and grass. And because it says that the third part of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up, putting those facts together, I come to the conclusion that we're talking about a third of land area on the earth, because somehow a third of the trees and all the grass, that is, all the grass in that third where the trees were burnt. And so putting those 2 together, you would come up with of the earth's vegetated area being burnt up. And it's highly likely that many towns and cities would be involved in that too.
Rev.16:2 adds another aspect to the first Plague. Apparently unrelated with this in chapter 8, except by being at the same time. Rev.16:2 says (Read), now this is a grievous sore; it's a horrible thing that men receive. And it's those who worship the beast. A parallel passage to that would be Deut.28:15-28, especially verse 27 (Read). And that was to those that would walk away from God's covenant.
Revelation 8:8,9 "And the second angel sounded, and as it were, a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed."
So in the second Plague part of the sea becomes blood. And of the creatures in the sea died; and of the ships were destroyed. This is the second Plague and it's equivalent to the second vial of chapter 16:3.
"And as it were, a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea"
And when this trumpet sounds John sees, as it were, a great mountain burning with fire which was cast into the sea. He didn't say it was a mountain. He said, as it were a great mountain. He saw something that looked like a great mountain being cast into the sea. It could be a literal huge meteorite of some sort that appeared to look like a burning mountain, or possibly a volcano erupting and spilling over into the sea. We don't exactly know.
All we know is that God sends it and it's the source of this Plague which turns the sea into blood. Now really that is well within God's means to accomplish what He wants to do. So we needn't be troubled in our minds and question, well, how could that happen. I just don't see how something burning with fire cast into the sea could turn it into blood. It's not scientific. Well, God is the author of science and God is able to do what He wants to do. Although, realize this is not a time of pleasure for God; God is not willing that any should perish, and He's grieved that man has gone the way he's gone. But His judgment has to go forth. Sin has to be shown for what it is, and God has to be glorified.
Now remember before these Plagues there was a ½ hour silence in heaven (8:1). And it doesn't show God saying anything during that silence. It seems to me that the heart of God was grieving over a world that had rejected His love and had made it necessary for these judgments to come.
"And a third part of the sea became blood"
Part of the sea became blood. Now this probably is a specific part of the earth's oceans, one large area hit. Why I think that is in 16:3 (Read). Now here may be a source that would cause you to think that it may be as blood, because here it says it became as the blood of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea. So here it just says the sea became as blood and every living soul died. Now in chapter 8, it says that of the sea became blood; And one third of the creatures in the sea died and of the ships were destroyed. So putting those 2 parallel passages together, this would point to the conclusion that all of the sea became as blood or became blood in of the earth's area.
In Exo.7:20, the waters of the Nile became blood and therefore the precedent is established. And in Rev.16:3, it is said to be like the blood of a dead man-- it's somewhat coagulated; so it's thickened in consistency. Now Rev.16:3, as I said, every living soul shows that of the sea being hit in one specific area. This is the most plausible interpretation. Otherwise, how could it be said that every living soul died. At least it has to mean that wherever the sea became as blood every creature in the sea died. That would run into 100's of billions of fish, maybe a trillion. That would be like the entire Atlantic Ocean from the Arctic Circle down to Antarctica turning into blood.
Another parallel passage is Psa.105:29 (Read).
And it also says that a part of the ships were destroyed. This again lends support to the high probability that we're talking about of the ocean surface.
Revelation 8:10,11 " And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."
So the third Plague affects fresh waters now, because it's waters that men are getting their drinking source from. And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp.
The parallel passage here is Rev.16:4-7. So in Rev.16, it says that they became blood. Now this is perhaps of the specific earth area, that is, of the earth's fresh waters becoming bitter like wormwood, because people wouldn't drink of it and die if they had better water obtainable close by. You see, if there was interspersed here and there a river on this and on that continent, then people would just get water from an alternate source. But here it seems to show that they're forced to drink of it because they're in this area of the earth that is affected and people become so thirsty that they're almost mad with thirst, and they drink of this bitter water and die.
Now the name of this star is called "Wormwood", and it says that the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. Wormwood is a bitter plant. It's also called "Apsinthos"; it's a bitter poisonous plant, and they take this plant, and they get an essence out of it that they use as an intoxicant in a certain kind of a drink in very small quantities because it's highly poisonous.
And the name of this star in the Greek is called the "Apsinthos." It caused the waters to become bitter. Now whether this is a meteor or a comet or something entirely of a supernatural origin, we're not told. But we are told that the effect of it is to make the waters bitter. Jer.9:13-15 says feed them wormwood, that is, the sinners who turned away from God, feed them wormwood, give them bitterness. Lamentations 3:15 speaks of calamity; Amos 5:7 speaks of judgment.
Now in Rev.16:4-7, it says that the waters became blood, and in 8:11, it says they became wormwood; they were bitter. Now whether they become blood on top of wormwood, that is, they become blood, and it's bitter and it's poisonous, or else they become as the appearance of blood but poisonous as wormwood. Or else possibly blood shows the death of the people who drink the bitter waters and is therefore symbolic of death. But this is probably not the best possibility because again in Rev.16, it says the waters became blood. So I'm inclined to think that they appeared as blood and were bitter as wormwood.
Psa.105:29 and Exo.7:20 speak about the waters in Egypt being turned into blood at the time of Moses.
Revelation 8:12 "And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise."
Now the explanation of this would be that because a third of the sun was darkened, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars; we're probably looking at a third being in terms of a time period in the day rather than looking at the sun and seeing a little third pie slice of it darkened and the moon, etc. Because a third of the stars and a third of the sun and a third of the moon are darkened, the result is said to be "so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it," that is, the day did not shine. There was no light for a third part of the day and the night likewise. So those would seem to be a third of them in terms of the time that they should be shining during the day.
Some parallel passages: Exo.10:21-23;Eze.32:7-9; Isa.13:9-10.
The parallel passages of this Plague in chapter 16:8,9 says (Read). So that seems to show that at the time of day when the sun was shining, it was shining quite hot and men were scorched. Rev.16:8,9 is part of the 4th Plague.
Revelation 8:13 "And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the 3 angels, which are yet to sound!"
Just to bring us up to date again, the first four of the 7 Plagues have already taken place
*And we saw the first one; there was hail and fire mingled with blood cast upon the earth and a third part of the trees and grass were burnt up.
*The second one-- a great mountain, as it were, burning with fire was cast into the sea and a third part of the sea became blood.
*In the third one, there fell a great star from heaven called wormwood and made one- third of the fresh waters bitter.
*And in the fourth one, one- third of the sun, moon, and stars were darkened. And now, as though that weren't enough, John hears another proclamation in verse 13. (Read)
So there are 3 angels yet to sound. The 5th, 6th and 7th are yet to sound. And these 5th, 6th, and 7th trumpets are also called 3 woes. Woe # 1 is trumpet 5, woe # 2 is trumpet 6, and woe # 3 is trumpet 7.
And he says.... "And I beheld, and heard an angel"
Now all of the best Manuscripts and earliest ones say an eagle or possibly vulture rather than an angel. And so he beheld an eagle or vulture flying through the midst of heaven.
And so this is a warning in the midst of heaven that the last 3 Plagues are the worst of all.
"The midst of heaven"
This refers not to heaven where the throne of God is, but rather the heaven here on earth-- the sky. Remember, Paul talked about the 3rd heaven being that heavenly realm we are going to be dwelling in when we go to be with Jesus. The second heaven in the Hebrew mind referred to the dwelling place of the stars-- the astronomic heaven. And the first heaven is the sky. And so literally, John says, "I beheld, and heard an eagle or vulture flying through mid-heaven." Mid- heaven, that is, in the sky.
Parallel passages for that are Rev.14:6 and Rev.19:17. All the references in this context, you see, refer to things happening on the earth, and so this is the first heaven in the sky which corresponds to the earth.
Remember, John is seeing this in a vision. It's not as though there was a literal eagle flying through heaven speaking these words, but rather this is recorded for our sake. I don't think we should think of it as an eagle with a thunderous voice that's heard all over the earth saying, "Woe, woe, woe" and then the people all hear it in their own languages or something like that. But rather this is prophetically recorded in the book for our sake that we may understand the sequence of things and what's happening. And that we might see the gravity of what is about to come.
Now the first four Plagues were physical Plagues on the earth, and they were supernatural, but they pertained to the physical realm: the water, the sea, the sky, and the land.
Of the last three, two of them appear to be demonic Plagues-- spiritual Plagues such as the world has never seen. A demonic torment that's unleashed upon the people of the world-- the people of the Antichrist system. And the last Plague involves Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ.
"Woe, woe, woe"
Now, as I said, the word "woe" is used of these last 3 Plagues in this verse, and in Rev.11:14, we hear about the 2nd woe. It says the 2nd woe is past; and, behold, the 3rd woe cometh quickly. And in Rev.9:12, it says one woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
Now, the awfulness of these Plagues shows the awfulness of sin. It has to because these Plagues are not an unjust thing; they are the judgment of God. This is a time of trouble like the world has never seen. And yet even these worst of Plagues in the worst of time that men will ever see are tempered by God's mercy. In fact, the one- third could well be a symbol to show the mercy of God just by the fact that it's only one- third of the earth that's affected when it could be more. It could be the whole earth. And God would be just.
Revelation 9:1 "And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit."
We'll go onto the 5th Plague. "And the fifth angel sounded"
And as I mentioned this is woe # 1 because when it's completed, we read down in verse 12 of chapter 9 that one woe is past; and, behold, there come 2 woes more hereafter.
"And I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit."
Now this star is probably not Satan or a demon; but rather an angel of God who has the duty to open this pit of the abyss. Because the authority that's given there doesn't seem like it would be given to Satan but rather to an angel.
Rev.20:1 is parallel, and it says (Read). So we see here the bottomless pit being opened and being shut up.
Revelation 9:2 "And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit."
"And he opened the bottomless pit"
Now the bottomless pit here in verse 2 actually would literally say "the pit of the abyss." And when he opens this, John says in verse 2: "and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit."
Now Satan is called the prince of the power of the air in Eph.2:2. Now this darkening of the air could be literal or it could be figurative. The reason I say that is because the bottomless pit is the spiritual realm. It's not that these demons are coming out of a volcano or something, but the bottomless pit being a spiritual realm of darkness, therefore, when it's opened up John sees in the vision smoke and fire coming out of it. And so it's probably figurative, but corresponds very directly with what is happening in the spiritual realm.
You see the smoke of darkness and fire of destruction is being unleashed upon the peoples of the earth. You see, as it were, the burning of hell, Not Gehena, but the burning and the darkness of that realm. The darkness here is parallel to Rev.16:10 (Read). So that's all Rev.16 has to say about this fifth Plague.
Now you might put as a parallel Matt.12:24-26.
Revelation 9:3 "And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power."
So there came out locusts upon the earth. Now as we go on to read about these locusts; it's going to become very apparent that they are not little 2 or 3 inch long creatures, but they are symbolic of something much more dreadful than locusts. They're symbolic of demonic powers that have never been allowed to be released before on earth to torment man and to try to have their way with man. Also locusts do not live in the bottomless pit. They've never been released before. And it says: "and unto them was given power"
Now power here is authority. They are given authority as the scorpions of the earth have authority. Now we see that they're like a scorpion sting upon the bodies and minds and souls of all men who are not sealed with the seal of God during these Plagues.
And according to the parallel in Rev.16:10,11, that when this Plague is released, men gnawed their tongues for pain. And they blasphemed God because of their pains and their sores. So this is a terrible Plague indeed.
Revelation 9:4 "And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads."
These aren't normal locusts; they're not the kind of locusts we have known about. They don't touch any grass or any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God. They don't even touch animals, only those men, you see, it points to something far beyond locusts like anything we know.
So the analogy is locusts eat grass and don't hurt men. But, these are not locusts because they hurt men and don't eat grass. They're demons, and they're commanded only to hurt those men who have not the seal of God in their foreheads. Now this is not some natural locust that God puts some kind of "off" on or something on the 144,000 so that they don't get touched by these locusts. It's a spiritual thing; it's a protection that happens in a spiritual realm. It's a spiritual Plague. Although that doesn't demand that it can't touch or hurt people physically because we see that it does.
Rev.7:3,4-- the 144,000 were sealed with the seal of the living God, and therefore, protected from all of these Plagues.
Revelation 9:5 "And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man."
It was not precisely a scorpion sting, but it was as the torment of a scorpion. Going on in verses 6-9 (Read). Now let's examine some of these points here.
In verse 5, it says that it was given to them that they should not kill them, but rather to torment them for 5 months. And their torment is said to be as the torment of a scorpion. Now this can very well be literal; that they're physically going through pains as though being stung by a scorpion, because as we saw in the parallel in Rev.16:10,11 that men gnawed their tongues for pain. And they had sores and they had pains.
But also involved is a mental and a spiritual torment. And that's probably because of the darkness. Read Rev.16:10 again. Now this isn't a power outage; this is darkness, a spiritual darkness and heaviness and oppression such as these people have not experienced before. And they gnawed their tongues for pain. So there's a darkness in the kingdom. The utter darkness of the demonic realm has been unleashed upon the earth as this bottomless pit is opened up. And the blasting, destructive, hateful, desolate condition of fallen angels is being unleashed upon the earth. You know demons have nothing good to offer people who follow them and that do what they want them to do. Their temptations only lead to darkness and death. Even the Antichrist, Satan's chief on earth, finds his kingdom full of darkness. This darkness is poured out upon the seat of the beast it says in 16:10. Perhaps even his, what he would desire to do in consolidating his realm and wiping out all oppositions, perhaps even that is hindered by the fact that all those who are following him are under such an oppression and such a torment that the kingdom becomes paralyzed.
Satan's kingdom is divided. That's what it says in Matt.12:24-26 (Read). So we see this darkness. This man, the Antichrist, had given himself to Satan like no man before or after had done. And now his kingdom is paralyzed with a spiritual and a mental and a physical torment.
Revelation 9:6 "And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."
So they desire (this is very strong in the Greek-- they really want to die) just to escape the torment because it's so great. They probably don't have the full realization that something even worse awaits.
Revelation 9:7 "And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men."
"And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle"
Now it doesn't say they were horses, but they were like unto horses. These are all comparisons.
So they're like horses prepared unto battle. Now Job 39 tells us some more about horses in battle (Read Job 39:19-25).
He's saying that man's weapons are powerless against the horse. Now this isn't strictly true in the natural. A man could lick a horse with a sword, but I believe that this analogy in Job is reaching beyond what we know about any normal horse. It says, the quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. Now that's not strictly true of a natural horse. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage, neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
So if you wanted to make it typological here, I wouldn't place tremendous weight upon it, but we do see the parallel. Of these horses in Job, it says he doesn't believe it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha. In other words, his demons in this demonic Plague are not saying, Oh, this is the trumpet of God so we're obeying God. We're doing what God wants us to do. That's not in their hearts. They're saying, we don't believe this is the sound of the trumpet. We're doing what we want to do. We're going to destroy and hurt as much as we possibly can.
But praise the Lord He places limits upon this in His mercy. And so we see a picture of this strength of these demonic powers that are coming upon the earth.
"And on their heads were as it were crowns like gold"
And it says that they have heads and upon their heads were as it were crowns like gold. Now this word for crowns is "STEPHANOS", and it means a victor's wreath like gold. And so they are allowed to have a victory in their battle against man as far as God allowed it.
"And their faces were as the faces of men"
Now this possibly means, and I just mean possibly, that they'll manifest themselves to men; perhaps men will see them in a vision. We know that at the very least, they are dealing directly with men in a personal way, in a personal torment.
It's not just locusts-- impersonal locusts. It says they have the faces as the faces of men. This would seem to show an identity beyond that of a mere insect. Possibly the demons are manifesting through men because they've given themselves over to the demonic forces.
Revelation 9:8 "And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions."
"And they had hair as the hair of women"
This possibly shows the fact that they are in submission to this angel of the bottomless pit, which is mentioned in 9:11 "And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit."
We know that long hair is a type of submission. Samson had long hair as a type of his submission to God in the Nazarite vow. And the Bible instructs the women to have long hair as a type of submission to the man. Well, these demonic forces are in submission to the king who is over them. So they're pictured as having long hair. And also in verse 8...
"Their teeth were as the teeth of lions"
So this shows their destructive devouring force, devouring men apart as a lion. Satan is compared to a roaring lion in 1 Peter 5:8 (Read).
Revelation 9:9 "And they had breastplates, as it were, breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle."
"And they had breastplates"
Again this is figurative-- as it were-- breastplates of iron. So this shows their invincibility before man. Man can do nothing to hurt them or defend himself against them.
"As it were, breastplates of iron"
This is showing that hard judgment is being given through them.
"And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle"
And this would show the terror that they inflict in the hearts of men. And it says in verse 14 (Read) "Loose the four angels which are bound." So it's highly probable that these are demons. Angels-- fallen angels. The reason being that they are bound; angels, unfallen angels, are not bound. God's angels are not bound.
But these demons are bound. That is, they haven't been allowed up to this time to release their deadly effects. And they are bound in the great river Euphrates.
Angels bound in the great river Euphrates
Now the next section of scripture, that is, verse 14; talking about the angels being bound in the great river Euphrates, has a multitude of conjectures as to what it means. And so I'm going to give you probabilities here. What I see as one probability is we're probably talking about the world system here. And I'll go on to explain what I mean. The Euphrates flowed through Babylon; it flowed right through the city. And therefore, it was the life source of Babylon. And without that river, Babylon would not have its life. And so this symbol, if it be a symbol, could mean that the very life source of world Babylon will be used against them. And what is the very life source of world Babylon? It's demons. It's Satan and his men because the sound of many chariots rushing to battle is something that inflicts terror upon the enemy. In fact, God even used that very sound one time to scare away the Syrians when they were coming against the city of Samaria. And God cause a noise, as it were, of chariots to be heard in the trees and the Syrians took off. It was the sound of terror.
Revelation 9:10 "And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months."
Now remember Satan and his demons hate God and therefore they hate man because man was created in God's image, and man was originally destined to rule and reign with God and fellowship with God in a way beyond the angels. And so because Satan hates God, he torments man. These are hateful creatures that would do anything that they were allowed to do to hurt and destroy man. Praise God that He's set a hedge about us-- those who love Him.
The combined picture is terrible. It's really awesome. It shows the awful horrendous torment that will be inflicted upon man during that time. And that means that it is men who are alive today. Both physical and spiritual torment in this plague, and it will last 5 months.
Revelation 9:11 "And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon."
"And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit"
This is not necessarily Satan, but it could well be Satan. Its name here is called Abaddon and Apollyon. It could be a prince of demons or an arch demon under Satan or there's a possibility it could be Satan himself.
"Whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon"
Now Abaddon is a Hebrew word meaning destruction, so his name was called destruction. And Apollyon is a Greek word which means destroyer, so he's called destruction, and he's called the destroyer. He's a destroyer, and he brings destruction upon men.
Revelation 9:12 "One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter."
And so the 6th and the 7th trumpets are the two woes which are to follow. We'll go onto the 6th Plague (Read vs.13-21) these verses show the utter totality of the decision that they've made to serve sin. That even when these judgments are poured out, this gives them an opportunity to repent and cry out to God, but they don't do it.
Revelation 9:13 "And the 6th angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God."
"From the 4 horns"
Now the horns of the altar without Christ are the power of God in judgment. Horns = power, and so this is a universal judgment. 4 horns = 4 powers = universal powers of God in judgment released from this altar. Now this 6th Plague is the gathering of the nations to the battle of Armageddon.
"Of the golden altar"
Now this is sent. Remember, God is the one who allows this. It's from the golden altar that he hears this voice. The golden altar being the altar that is God's representation of sacrificial prayer to Him. Now remember that at this golden incense altar, the prayers of the saints were offered up, the prayers of the saints. We saw that in Rev.8:3. And then after offering up these prayers as incense, the angel took fire from this altar and cast it into the earth in Rev.8:5. And we saw that that casting fire into the earth was a picture of judgment to come during these plagues. And so now John hears a voice from this same altar. And it says in verse 14, saying to the 6th angel which had the trumpet....
Revelation 9:14 "Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates."
"Loose the 4 angels"
So it's highly probable that these are demons. Angels, that is, fallen angels. The reason being that they are bound, unfallen angels are not bound. God's angels are not bound, but these angels are bound.
That is, they haven't been allowed up to this time to release their deadly effects. This sets the stage for the battle of Armageddon.
"Which are bound in the great river Euphrates"
Now the next section of scripture, that is verse 14 talking about the angels being bound in the great river Euphrates, there are a multitude of conjectures as to what this means. And so I'm going to give you probabilities here. What I'd see as probabilities
We're probably talking about the world system here, and I'll go on to explain to you what I mean
The Euphrates flowed through Babylon; it flowed right through the city, and therefore, it was the life source of Babylon. And without that river, Babylon would not have its life.
And so this symbol, if it be a symbol, could mean that the very life source of world Babylon will be used against them. And what is the very life source of world Babylon? It's demons, it's Satan and his demons that have empowered this system and that have worked in the hearts and minds of men to even bring it about.
And so this could be a picture of the life source of Babylon being stopped. In Matt.12:24-26 is shown the fact that Satan's kingdom is divided against itself.
Now the Euphrates is mentioned in the parallel again in Rev.16:12,13 (Read).
Now the Euphrates in 16:12 would seem to be literal because the angel poured out his vial upon the river Euphrates and it was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
And that again is dealing with Armageddon where there is a literal gathering of armies and of nations. So it would seem that that's literal there. Either that or else it would show symbolically that the political strength or power of the world Babylon system is weakened. You see, the river being dried up would show that its life source, its strength would be dried up or weakened to prepare the way for the Battle of Armageddon.
We can't rule out a literal drying up of the river to prepare the way for armies. Some would say in modern days, in modern warfare, that a river is no hindrance to armies, but that's not totally true. You can't rule that out totally.
So, in other words, there are a number of speculations here. Whether it be the literal Euphrates, whether it be the life source of Babylon-- the system being dried up, or whether it is literal in Rev.16 and figurative in Rev.9; we don't have a complete understanding of these verses yet.
Revelation 9:15 "And the 4 angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men."
Now the third part of men would mean just that-- of the population of the earth, excluding the 144,000. The Greek is the hour, it's a certain hour, day, month, and year. And at this time in history, considering that many people have died already, it's probable we're talking about approximately 1 or 2 billion people being killed in this 6th Plague. That's quite astounding. Now this is referring to the battle of Armageddon.
Revelation 9:16 "And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them."
Now it's highly likely that these horses are a picture of a horde of killing demons; demons that are given such power against men that they are allowed to take their very lives.
Now most probably this is not the number of the horsemen in the Battle of Armageddon. And what I'm talking about here is the 200 thousand thousand, the number of the army of the horsemen. The reason is that we're going to go on and give a description of these horsemen, and again it would reach far beyond a natural situation. Now I'm not saying that there's going to be horsemen in Armageddon. Even if this were literal horsemen, it's written after the manner that John could understand warfare in his days. But I believe it's talking about a spiritual Plague. This is probably not literal horses.
200-1,000-1,000, that is 200,000,000. Now it could be either 200 million or it could be innumerably. And the reason for that is that the Greek says twice myriad's of myriad's.
A myriad can be either 10,000 or it can be figurative for an innumerable multitude. It's used both ways in scripture. And so twice 10,000 x 10,000 would be 200,000,000, or it may be talking about an unnumerable multitude. And John says in 9:17 "Thus I saw the horses in the vision," so this is a vision. He's not seeing exactly what something looked like in the natural. It's a vision.
Revelation 9:17 "And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone."
Again we saw in Job 39 that horses are a symbol of warfare. And so this again is a warfare. It's a warfare on a third of mankind, and it takes their lives. A parallel passage is Joel 2:2-11 (Read).
"And them that sat on them" is likely to mean the demonic powers that are behind this Plague.
"Having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone"
Now the Greek says they had breastplates fiery, as an adjective, and hyacinth- like. Now a hyacinth is a dark blue flower, but it could also refer to a blue precious stone. And, in that case, it would be probably sapphire that is intended. So it's fiery and hyacinth- like and sulfur- like. Like sulfur or like brimstone.
Now the horses of the 5th trumpet had breastplates of iron, but the riders of these horses have breastplates of fire, and hyacinth, and sulfur. And this is parallel to the fire, and the smoke, and the brimstone down in verse 18, it says by these 3 were the third part of men killed. By the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone-- so the smoke there would correspond to the hyacinth in verse 17.
Now this may speak of the death and damnation that they bring by being allowed to kill these ungodly men.
"And the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions"
Now this shows the ferocity of these forces. They're ferocious. They're devouring demons. The parallel is in verse 8 of chapter 9, which says that the locusts had teeth as the teeth of lions. In Joel 1:6, the nations come with teeth of a lion.
Revelation 9:18 "By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths."
This is an awesome sentence, indeed. So they're probably figures of demonic powers and the ensuing damnation that results in those that are killed by them.
Revelation 9:19 "For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt."
Now it says, "By these 3 was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone" verse 18. Again that would seem to make it not a literal warfare that's happening here because normally smoke wouldn't kill anybody, unless it was some kind of a poisonous smoke.
So it's probably figurative. And verse 19 says, "their power is in their mouth, and in their tails." Again, it's authority. Their authority is in their mouth, and in their tails. It seems again to point to something that's personal in nature. That is, demonic powers which are here being granted authority over men because men have given themselves over to them. And so they have authority.
Revelation 9:20 "And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:"
Verses 20 and 21 give men's reaction to the 6th Plague. So it seems to say that their hearts have become even harder than they were before. That the Plagues, rather than bringing men to repentance, have actually hardened them in sin because of their unwillingness. Rev.11:13 says that the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell. (Read). So at an earlier time, they gave glory to the God of heaven and this was a lesser calamity. But here in 9:20 when something even greater comes upon them it says they repented not. Their hearts continue to be hard and getting harder. Now also it says that they repented not of their works of their hands. (Read Romans 2:5-6; Psalm 115:4-8).
Revelation 9:21 "Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."
Sorceries here is "pharmakeia". Now pharmakeia does mean sorceries, but it also involves the use of drugs. So it could be sorceries or drugs or both that are intended here. They are not repenting of their drug use and of their involvement with the occult. This word involves worship with drugs, Rev.18:23 same word, it has to do with drugs with religion-- a false religion.
"Nor of their fornication"-- fornication being all types of sexual sins, a general term.
"Nor of their thefts" So that is a sad commentary on the state of man's heart even in the face of the judgment of God. And we saw in the parallel in Rev.16 that this Plague prepared the way for the Battle of Armageddon.
Revelation 11:14-19 (see study on the Second Coming of Christ)
Now the 7 Plagues as seen from the saints' view-- called the 7 vials or bowls-- Revelation 15 and 16
Revelation 15:1 "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God."
He sees another sign great and marvelous. Marvelous here means wonderful in terms of full of wonder. Not that it's joyful, but it's wonderful in the sense of inciting great wonder or awe. It's an awesome sight, a sign that he's seeing here in heaven.
"7 angels having the 7 last plagues" This is parallel with the 7 angels who were given the trumpets in chapter 8:2 and following. These 7 Plagues are announced by 7 trumpets in chapters 8 and 9 and also chapter 11:14-19. Whereas, here, these Plagues are shown as vials or literally bowls in 15:7. It talks about the 7 golden vials or bowls. So the trumpets announce these Plagues and the bowls pour them out.
"For in them is filled up the wrath of God"
In other words, God's wrath against sinful man is finished or completed by these 7 Plagues. That is, it's completed on earth. Now Christ is still going to rule with a rod of iron in the Millennium and there's still a great judgment at the white throne up at the end of the Millennium. But in terms of the wrath of God to be poured out on this ungodly system here on earth at this time, the wrath of God is going to be filled up in these 7 last Plagues. And they culminated in the Battle of Armageddon, and the Second Coming of Christ which is the last of the 7 Plagues.
We see a pattern repeated many times in scripture. And it's seen again here. That the wrath of God is poured out to judge sin and to judge man in the state that he has come to. But, then, afterwards, God brings in cleansing and He works to bring a final blessing after the wickedness is purged away.
You see that pattern in the whole plan of God in the Bible. Man sins, falls, is cursed, is separated from God, but he's restored in Jesus Christ. And we saw before the flood, the Bible said the world was full of violence. And the thoughts of men's hearts were only evil continually. And God sent a flood, a judgment, a universal flood and purged away that wicked system. But, then, out of it came forth a new world for Noah; a world where he could live in godliness away from all the surrounding ungodliness that was covering the earth.
Israel sinned and was taken captive into Assyria. But, in the last days, God said He's going to regather Israel and so out of that judgment of God in the end comes a blessing. That is, a blessing for those who will turn. There are some who never do enter into the blessing and God has to purge them away in order to bring in His righteous kingdom.
Judah sinned and they went to Babylon and there many of them were purged of sin. They made decisions that they would walk with God like never before. And when they came back they trembled at God's Word. They were zealous to keep His law and they were willing to put away their foreign wives. They were walking very carefully before God. God had worked a blessing through that judgment.
And the tribulation saints who went into the tribulation were lukewarm and uncommitted, went through a fiery trial and in the end they stand on the other shore in victory. God brought them a blessing. He worked through wrath and judgment and brought out glory to Himself in the end.
And so here the world's wickedness is coming to the full and they demonstrated that by killing His saints, completely martyring those who loved the name of Jesus. And so here we see the day of the Lord's wrath, a time of trouble such as the world has never seen. But, out of it comes the Millennial kingdom where the son of righteousness rises and shines upon the earth. And so God is working to bring glory and blessing out of sin and corruption. But there are those who have sold themselves to the devil and to sin, and they receive the judgment of God. So the wrath of God on this corrupt world system of man is filled up by these 7 last Plagues.
Revelation 15:2 "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."
So he says, "I saw as it were a sea of glass." Now you could translate that, "I saw a sea as it were a sea-- glassy." A sea glassy, it's a glassy sea, a sea made out of glass.
We see this sea in Rev.4:6 (Read). And there John saw a sea of glass like unto crystal. But, he didn't see the aspect of fire. Here it says that it's a sea of glass mingled with fire.
Now the crystal sea in Rev.4:6 shows the cleansing and that perfected state or cleansing that exists for the saints in the heavenlies. And Baptism for us now is an entrance into the pathway that leads to that eternal position of standing clean before God. There the cleansing is permanent. And that's why it's a sea of glass.
Now fire is symbolic of either judgment or purging. You put metals through the fire and they come out purified, and the tribulation saints went into a degree of judgment for their sins of not being committed to God. But, they become committed through that fire and they emerge purified through the judgment and through the purging. We see that God told the Laodeceans in Rev.3:18 to buy of Him gold tried in the fire. So what we're seeing here is a picture of those who took God up on His offer to buy gold tried in the fire. And they bought it by committing their whole lives to Him, even unto death. And they come out cleansed and purified. They are cleansed of their lack of commitment and their lack of belief and surrender to all of God's Word. Read 1 Peter 1:7;4:12.
Now here in verse 2 where it says in the middle of the verse, "and over his image, and over his mark" The phrase and over his mark is not in the best Manuscripts. That's kind of a side point. Actually it says, "They have gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over the number of his name."
Now the parallel passage, of course, is in Rev.13:16,17.
So they are standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. That is, they stand upon the cleansing that God has produced in their lives through the fires of the tribulation. And they have the harps of God showing that they are rejoicing in the victory God has given them. They are singing a song of victory. They stand before God on the basis of the cleansing and purification which He brought about in their lives.
So what we see here, verse 1, the Plagues are about to be poured out. Verse 2, John sees those who had just now come out of the great tribulation. Because the great tribulation ends, and then the seventh Seal begins the time of the Plagues. So just before those Plagues start, the tribulation saints are seen in heaven. They have just been caught up. And we see the same pattern exactly in chapter 7, where the first part of the chapter (7:1-8) we see that the Plagues were about to be poured out. The 144,000 were being sealed on earth. But in verses 9-17, then, John saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes. John is told that these are those who came out of the great tribulation (7:14). So that same pattern is repeated here; we're in the same period of time as chapter 7.
Revelation 15:3 "And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."
The song of Moses is recorded in Exodus 15:1-21. And it was the song of victory that the Israelites sang after they had crossed the Red Sea.
The saints here have crossed over the sea of death with the enemy following hot on their heels. But they emerge out of death in a new land. And so they are singing a song of victory. The picture here is that Satan and his helpers both men and demons, particularly men in this case, pursued them all the way to death in an attempt to destroy their souls but God brought them through. And now Satan and his own followers are going to be drowned in death. Satan is not immediately cast into the lake of fire, but I'm saying he doesn't come through and the saints do. That's the main point.
And they are saying, "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." So they have learned something about God, His nature, His ways, and His heart. They are saying, your ways are great and mighty. They are just. And you are the King. We know now somethings we haven't known fully in our hearts about you before. (Psa.40:5;92:5; 145:17)
"Thou King of saints" is not in the original Greek. Some Manuscripts have: "Thou King of the nations." And others have "Thou King of the ages." It's either the nations or the ages here instead of saints.
Revelation 15:4 "Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest."
So they know something about the Holy One and about His name. They know His nature- that He is Holy, He is the only true one, He's the only God of all ages, etc..
So they are caught up to heaven, we see that in chapter 11:1-13. The two witnesses after they were martyred are caught up to heaven, a picture of the tribulation saints. "All nations shall come and worship before thee. Psa.2:8,9;66:1-4;72:8-11;86:7;Isa.2:2-4; Zep.2:11; Zec.14:9. Now, God pours out His judgments in the 7 Plagues.
Revelation 15:5 "And after that I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened."
So he says the "temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened." We see a temple in heaven in chapter 11:19, now we are seeing a tabernacle in heaven.
Now Israel first had a tabernacle, that is the tent that they made in the wilderness to house the glory of God and to be the center of their worship. But then they had a temple. After they had a temple, they no longer used a tabernacle. The tabernacle pointed mainly to Christ's work of salvation for us.
The temple shows that work brought to fruit as Christ is glorified in his saints. You see, now there is a temple built and we are the stones of that temple and it is Christ being glorified in our eyes. But in Revelation we are seeing both types being put together here. So all the earthly analogies are wrapped up in the reality of heaven and it is greater than them all. It encompasses them all. The real thing is greater than any one type that points to the real spiritual truth.
"The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony." Another way to take that perhaps would be the temple (the Naos) which is the holy of holies of the tabernacle of the testimony. Rather than to say that there is a temple of the tabernacle, you could say that this is the holy of holies of the tabernacle. But even so, you'd be left with the fact that the book of Revelation talks about both the temple and a tabernacle in heaven.
Those who would not keep the covenant of the sacrifices in the tabernacle in the wilderness were judged by God. If they would not keep those ordinances, their soul was to be cut off from His people. So here the judgment of God is coming forth against those who have not kept the covenant of God upon earth.
This temple or sanctuary being opened refers to the fact that God's holiness is being seen. The tabernacle being open and therefore God's holiness comes forth in judgment against sin that will fall upon man on the earth.
Parallel 1 Sam.6:19-21 when the men of Bethshemesh were smitten because they looked into the ark of God. You see, they were profaning the holiness of God and they were smitten because of it.
Revelation 15:6 "And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles."
This is similar clothing to what we see in Rev.1:13. Jesus was clothed in white and had a golden girdle across his breast. What we are seeing here is similar to the garments of the priests in the O.T. The white speaks of righteousness. Gold speaks of God and His nature. Here the angels therefore are God's direct agents of pure divine righteous judgment. God is pouring out His judgments through these angels. They are His agents. Rev.8:1,2.
Revelation 15:7 "And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever."
So we see also that in some way, God allows glorified saints to have a part in His judgment (four beasts = Raptured saints). He gives it unto them, one of the living creatures. These are a type of the Raptured saints in the last days. Some way they are given a part in this judgment. But they are only given a part in such a thing after they are out of the realm of flesh totally, completely swallowed up in God. It is only in submission to His will. Whatever He wants them to do that is what they do. It is God who is pouring out these things. Rev.6:1; 1 Cor.6:2,3 shows saints will judge the world.
Verse 7 speaks about the 7 golden vials (bowls) full of the wrath of God who liveth for ever and ever. These bowls are, you might say, an antitype of the golden bowls and vessels in the temple that were used by the priesthood when ministering unto the Lord. They had various kinds of golden vessels and bowls. 1 Kings 7:50 (Read)
These are full of the wrath of God. Rev.5:8-- the bowls were filled with the prayers of the saints. If these be the same bowls here, now those prayers are filled up and they are poured out in terms of God's vengeance upon the earth. The saints have been crying out to God to redeem them and to bring forth justice in the earth. Now, God does pour out His justice upon the earth.
Luke 18:7,8 ties right in with that (Read). So God is going to avenge His saints.
Deut.32:31-36, So it says that when it comes to the point that the people of God, there is none shut up, or left, their power is gone. Then God is going to pour out His vengeance upon the earth. That is what it says in Daniel that the Antichrist would accomplish to scatter the power of the holy people. And Revelation says that he will come to the point that whoever will not take the mark of the beast will be killed. So after that time God will pour out His judgment upon the earth.
Deut.32:40-43, the Lord speaking (Read). So God is going to have vengeance in the time of the Plagues. It has a definite application here.
Revelation 15:8 "And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled."
These events are part of what Joel called the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. Joel 2:31. God is going to be glorified in that day by righteously judging those who have rebelled against Him and chosen the devil over Him. Exo.19:18 (Read) Also read Prov.1:24-33; Isa.1:24-31; Deut.29:20; Psa.18:8;74:1.
Revelation 16:1 "And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth."
Notice that this wrath is against man on earth. We are not seeing the wrath of God in eternity yet. This is not the Lake of Fire that is being ushered in at this point. It is the wrath of God upon the earth.
Greek-- "Go your ways, and pour out the seven vials." The word seven is added, the seven bowls of the wrath of God. Read Lev.26:24.
Upon the earth. Literally-- into the earth. Pour them out into the earth. So we are seeing the seven bowls of God's wrath, the complete wrath of God as it said in Rev.15:1, "In them is filled up the wrath of God."
There are two main Greek words for anger and wrath
The one translated wrath here is thumos. Vines translates it as hot anger or passion. Thayer says that it is from the verb thuo which means to rush along or on, to be in a heat, to breathe violently. Thayer defines it as passion, angry heat, anger forthwith, boiling up and soon subsiding again.
So it comes from that root of what a wrathful man does when he is wrathful. He breathes hard and becomes red. There is a heat there in his face and it causes the breath to rush along violently as Thayer said. It is an outburst of wrath.
The other word for wrath or anger is orge. Vine translates it as anger as the strongest of all passions. I'm going to compare these two words a little bit and then tell you some applications. Vine says concerning thumos, wrath (not translated "anger"), is to be distinguished from orge, in this respect, that thumos indicates a more agitated condition of the feelings, an outburst of wrath from inward indignation, while orge suggests a more settled or abiding condition of mind, frequently with a view to taking revenge. Orge is less sudden in its rise than thumos, but more lasting in its nature. (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament words) Thayer says thumos means passion, angry heat, anger forthwith bubbling up then soon subsiding again. Orge, on the other hand, denotes indignation which has arisen gradually and becomes more settled. (Thayer's Greek~English Lexicon of the New Testament)
So thumos is used here. It is vials of the wrath of God. The wrath of God that boils up suddenly and intensely and subsides, that is the Millennium is soon to come once this wrath of God is poured out upon the earth. There is a cleansing, a purging, and God brings in His Millennial Kingdom upon the earth.
In Rev. 6:16 it is called the orge, it's the wrath of God, according to the people on earth. They are fearing and trembling and saying the great day of His wrath has come. They are fearing in their hearts that this wrath of God is going to have a long-standing effect.
Interestingly, chapter 16:19 great Babylon, the harlot church, receives the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. That is, the cup of the wine of the thumos of His orge. You see, it is the cup of the wine of the wrath of His anger, literally. The wrath of His anger. So God is expressing here in the most intense possible terms His indignation at that false religious system that has damned so many souls and deceived them and kept them in bondage. It is not only a quick outburst of anger, but it is an anger with long-lasting effects. It has been building throughout the whole history of the world since Babylon.
Chapter 19:15, it says that the Second Coming concerning Jesus at Armageddon, "he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." It is the winepress of the thumos, the wrath and the anger of Almighty God. At Armageddon many souls are going to enter into the realm of wrath as they are slaughtered. So it is just showing you how God's righteous anger has been held back for a long time as He has long suffered with the people on the earth. Finally, He waits until iniquity has come to the full and He cannot forbear any longer. The judgment of God is poured out and then His Kingdom comes in.
Revelation 16:2 "And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image."
Vial or bowl number one: This Plague is parallel with trumpet number one in Rev.8:7. It is called a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
"A noisome and grievous sore" that is, in the Greek "a bad and wicked sore or ulcer."
The first word noisome or bad denotes bad in character. The second word grievous denotes bad in its working or in its effect, according to Vines. So it is indeed a grievous Plague upon the people.
Now in the parallel passage Rev.8:7, it says that one-third of the living vegetation was burnt up. Famine had already wracked the earth during the 42 month tribulation, and now one-third of vegetation is burnt up. So you need to put the two together to see what the first Plague fully encompasses. There was one-third of vegetation burnt up and there was a sore upon those who had worshipped the beast. These are awesome things. You read these things and it is hard to even get the impact in your mind. The whole earth is going to be affected by this Plague. It is a horrible thing. It shows the greatness of sin and the depths that the world is going to come to in sin that such a judgment would be poured out.
Revelation 16:3 "And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea."
Now this Plague affects the sea and so we see this plague is parallel to the second trumpet in Rev.8:8,9. That too speaks of a Plague poured out upon the sea.
Chapter 8 adds another detail to it (Read). So tying the two together you see in chapter 16 it says that every living creature in the sea died, every living soul. If you put together chapter 8 with that, you see that it is speaking about one-third of the area of the sea in which every living creature died.
"The sea became as the blood of a dead man." That indicates probably a coagulation or a thickening of the sea. That is what the blood of a dead man does. You can see why that would cause all the living souls in the sea to die.
Possibly it coagulates or possibly it becomes red also. It says it becomes as the blood of a dead man here.
Exodus 7:20 is talking about the Plague that God brought upon Egypt through Moses. It says that the waters became blood. It doesn't say they became as blood. It says they became blood and the language there seems to say that it is real blood. And if so, that would be a precedent here. Read Exo.7:19-21.
It says "every living soul died in the sea." Literally, that means every soul of life, or living soul, you could translate it, died, the things in the sea. Every soul of life died, the things in the sea.
It's speaking about all the various creatures in that part of the sea. All the sea life died. So we need to be concern about saving souls of men, not save the whales, etc.. Because this earth is temporary. God is concerned with ecology, but God pours out these Plagues upon the earth. So we need to first seek the kingdom of God.
The language here is so literal that you know that it is talking about the physical sea.
Revelation 16:4 "And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood."
We're talking now about the third Plague, or the third vial or trumpet. Here it's called a vial. Vial again means a bowl. It's a bowl of the wrath of God.
Now the second Plague affected the sea. And we saw that one-third of the seas became as blood of a dead man. Now this third Plague affects the fresh waters that people drink from. And it's upon rivers and fountains of waters, springs of water coming up from underground. And they became blood.
Now this is parallel with the account in chapter 8:10,11, which also affects the water supply. It's also called the third trumpet. And here it says the third angel sounded in chapter 8 and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters. And the name of the star is called wormwood. And a third part of the waters became wormwood and many men died of the waters because they were made bitter. So tying those together we see that in chapter 16:4 when it says simply that the rivers and fountains became blood, we're talking about one-third of the rivers and fountains of water.
Now either this is speaking of literal blood or it's speaking of death resulting from the poisonous water and hence they became as blood. Blood is showing death. That is a possibility. Or they became in appearance as blood. But, if anyone would try to drink it, it would be bitter as wormwood is bitter. Wormwood is a bitter plant that's poisonous.
So in chapter 8, it says they became wormwood. The third part of the waters became wormwood. Now they can't become both blood and wormwood, unless it's blood that has a bitterness as if it were wormwood. And that is a possibility. It could be blood or it could simply be bitter causing death or it could be in appearance as blood but bitter to drink. The main point about it is that this is a miracle of God. This is not some kind of natural occurrence that caused it but this is a Plague sent by God.
Revelation 16:5 "And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus."
So even the angels that are pouring out judgment are agreeing, "This is the righteous judgment of God."
Revelation 16:6 "For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy."
Now here in verse 6, where it says they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy, that last phrase "for they are worthy" is simply another sentence. It says they are worthy or they are deserving. Thou hast given them blood to drink. They are worthy.
So, this verse shows us that God is avenging the blood of His saints in this period of the Plagues. Read Obadiah 15,16; Numbers 35:33.
Revelation 16:7 "And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments."
Now the words "another out" are actually not in the original Greek. So what it says is: "and I heard of the altar." It's something of the altar or from the altar say, "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments."
Now if so, that may be speaking of saints or of a saint since it's from the realm of the altar. That is, those saints who sacrifice their own lives for Him are proclaiming that God is true and right in pouring out thy judgments.
Revelation 16:8 "And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire."
Now the fourth angel is pouring out his vial upon the sun. And the result is that men are scorched with fire.
The parallel to this fourth vial is in Rev.8:12, the fourth trumpet shows that the sun and moon and stars were blocked it says for one-third of the day did not shine, and one-third of the night did not shine. And that may show that the light was blocked on one-third of the earth's surface during that period. It would affect one-third of the earth's surface, or simply for that period of time they were blocked.
Now this is comparable to a Plague of darkness that was mentioned in Exodus 10:21-23. And if you put chapter 8 together with chapter 16, you see that in the areas that do have light or in much of that area the result is that men are scorched with great fire. So there's a radical imbalance here. When the sun does shine it is scorching, and in other places it's dark when it's supposed to be shining. Now it doesn't tell the extent of the earth where men are scorched in this verse. But, we do see tremendous extremes where there's total darkness, and then scorching heat.
Now this could possibly be a result of a shift in the earth in which one part would receive too much sun, another part would be darkened.
Revelation 16:9 "And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory."
Literally "Men were scorched with scorching heat." The same word is involved there. They were scorched with scorching heat.
"And blasphemed the name of God....." It's not explained whether men died from this exposure to the heat. It just says simply that they were scorched. And their lack of repentance here parallels with chapter 9:20,21, although that verse there is in a later period of time.
So now we've come up through the first four vials. And these are Plagues that mainly affected the earth. But, now, the last three are directly upon men; they're directly upon the persons of men. And the last 3 Plagues are therefore called woes. To show you the fact that the first four were sent upon the earth and, of course, they affected men, but they were affecting different facets of the earth, read chapter 7:1-3. But now Plagues # 5 through 7 affect men directly, and they are called woes, chapter 9:12 and chapter 11:14.
Revelation 16:10,11 "And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds."
So this bowl is poured out upon the seat or the throne of the beast, and the result is that his kingdom is full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain.
Now the parallel passage is Rev.9:1-11. And that is spoken of as woe # 1. Now the darkness in 9:2 I believe is primarily a spiritual darkness that we are talking about. Spiritual darkness upon the kingdom of the beast.
Now physical darkness could be involved but even if it is, I am inclined to think that primarily we are seeing a spiritual darkness, because here it says that the darkness is on the throne of the beast and upon his kingdom. And darkness alone would not cause men to gnaw their tongues with pain. Darkness alone also would not give them pains and sores like it says in verse 11 of chapter 16. But when you tie chapter 16 in with chapter 9, you see that this Plague involves demons unleashed upon the earth to torment people. You can see how it would be a spiritual darkness. And also it's shown there that these demons affect people physically. They are actually given power to torment them physically. So you can see why that kind of a darkness would cause people to gnaw their tongues with pain and to have pains and sores.
Now this Plague is a demonic oppression that's so terrible that it causes actual extreme physical torment upon them. It's a demonic manifestation so severe that it immobilizes people. Their thoughts will be immobilized. They won't know what they're doing. Mental and physical intense anguish. And it could possibly have a paralyzing effect on life throughout the whole earth. Read Amos 5:18; Nahum 1:6,8.
Now in this Plague God is going to let Satan bring people right up to the point of death. And yet the thing that is so awful to them is that they keep living. They have to keep enduring this Plague because it doesn't kill them, but it brings them up to the point of death.
And this is very probably a Plague of demon oppression by demons which are so terrible that they've never been let loose before.
And we'll review again in chapter 9:1-3 (Read). In verse 3, we know that these can't be regular locusts because locusts don't live in the bottomless pit. They don't come out of the bottomless pit. They dig down into the earth or into the trees or different things but they are not in that realm. This is a spiritual realm they are coming from. So we know that they are spiritual locusts.
Verse 3 also shows that they are going to inflict a physical pain on people.
Rev.9:4--But only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And that's talking about a certain class of people. Such men as have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
Rev.9:5,6--Now that word desire to die speaks of a vehement, intense desire to die. And death shall flee from them.
Rev.9:7-9 describes the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses. And there are different attributes that show we are talking about demonic manifestation. They have faces of men, hair as women; they are submitted to their leader. They have breastplates as the breastplates of iron. And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. They are going to make a spiritual warfare upon men.
Rev.9:10,11 (Read). So, again we are seeing how it's a spiritual thing not some kind of new weapon upon earth. But a spiritual Plague. Abaddon and Apollyon refer to destruction and the destroyer.
Rev.9:12--So that's the 5th Plague. It's an awful Plague indeed. You can see why it would be called a woe, even compared to what went before.
And the result upon earth is not repentance but rather (Rev.16:11)--they blasphemed God and did not repent. They continued in a hardened attitude that we're going to go our way. We are right. We are not going to turn, God is being unfair in pouring this out on us. It's a hardened attitude against God.
Revelation 16:12-16 is the 6th Plague or 2nd woe, for more detail on this portion of scripture see the study on the battle of Armageddon.
Revelation 16:17-21 is the 7th Plague or 3rd woe, for more detail on this portion of scripture see the study on the Second Coming of Christ.
Review of the seven bowls and the seven trumpets
The seven bowls are simultaneous with the seven trumpets, and they are all speaking of the wrath of God poured out upon the earth.
We see in chapter 5 that the Lamb approached the throne and took the scroll and was worthy to open the seals. The scroll with seven seals, so you have the seven seals.
First the Rapture, then we have seals one, two, three, four, five, six occuring in sequence; this period of time here, of course, is the 3 ½ year tribulation. The 3 ½ year tribulation is the time in which the Antichrist government kills the tribulation saints; they are all martyred. By the time the 6th seal is opened all the saints are killed. We see that in chapter 11, it was spoken of as 3 ½ days that the 2 witnesses were martyred. In seal 5, we see that there were souls under the altar and it was said unto them that they should wait, until the rest of the brethren were killed. Then after that is completed, the 6th seal comes. Then in the 6th seal the sun was darkened, the moon was turned into blood and there was an earthquake and men cried out for fear and said to the rocks, "fall upon us, for the day of the wrath of the Lamb of God is come."
Then we have the 7th seal which encompasses the seven trumpets and the seven bowls. The last of these trumpets and bowls is the Second Coming. Trumpets 5,6 and 7 are also called the three woes.
During the tribulation, the saints are martyred. During the time of the Plagues, the 144,000 are sealed; they are sealed before the seventh seal is open. Somewhere around the time between trumpets 6 and 7 they are caught up. So that's where the 7 bowls and trumpets fit in.
Other proofs that the seven trumpets and the seven bowls are talking about the same thing so that there would be no doubt in your mind about that. There are four
* Both the trumpets and the bowls commence with a vision of the tribulation saints in heaven. The tribulation martyrs have been resurrected and they are in heaven. And it is logical in both places to conclude that both the trumpets and the bowls commence just after the tribulation martyrs are resurrected. You can compare Rev.7 (whole chapter) and Rev.8:1 with Rev.15:1-16:2. And there you see that in both places just as these judgments are about to be poured out, there are saints, the tribulation saints, resurrected and caught up to heaven.
* The second reason is the great similarities between many of the Plagues that are described.
E.g. Trumpet #2 shows that one- third of the sea became blood, one- third of the creatures died, one- third of the ships were destroyed. And bowl #2 was poured upon the sea and it became as the blood of a dead man, and every living soul died in the sea. So you can see the similarities.
E.g. Trumpet #3-- there was a great star called wormwood and it fell upon the waters and one- third of the waters became bitter and many men died. Bowl #3-- the rivers and fountains became blood.
E.g. Trumpet #4-- one- third of the day and one- third of the night were darkened and that involved the darking of the sun in the day time. Bowl #4-- also affected the sun in as much as it caused, or the earth's position in relationship to the sun, you might say, caused men to be scorched with a great heat.
E.g. Trumpet #5-- said that men were tormented as with the torment of a scorpion for five months. That is physical pain. That's a physical torment. Bowl #5-- men gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed God because of their pains and their sores. So you can see the similarity there.
E.g. Trumpet #6-- the four angels were loosed which were bound in the river Euphrates and those are demonic angels. Bowl #6-- the Euphrates was dried up. It is possible that one is speaking of the literal Euphrates and one figurative or both are figurative or both are literal.
E.g. Trumpet #7-- when that trumpet was sounded there was an announcement which said the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. So you know that that is talking about the Second Coming, for that is when Jesus Christ assumes ruler ship over the kingdoms of this world. There it said in trumpet #7, the temple of God was opened in heaven and there were lightenings, voices, thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. Rev.10:7 adds another detail there (read). That is, the time waiting for God to come in has been completed. The mystery of God is finished. Now bowl #7-- said that there was a voice out of the temple saying, It is done. So the mystery of God is being finished, as we saw in trumpet #7. And there were also voices, thunderings, lightenings, great earthquake, and hail about the size of a talent. So they are very equal.
* The third proof is that both the trumpets and the bowls involve the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth. They are both involving the wrath of God poured out upon the earth. But not only that, they are both showing that there is a fulness to that wrath because both involve the number 7. So it's a fulness, a completion of the wrath of God upon the earth. It is unlikely that the fulness of God's wrath would be poured out two times. If the fulness is poured out, then that is the completion of it.
* The fourth proof is actually a closer look at trumpet and bowl number seven. This proof is that both the trumpets and the bowls culminate in the bringing in of God's kingdom and therefore they have to end simultaneously. God's kingdom is not brought in two different times. So if they both end with the same event, we know that they both cover the same period of time.
Trumpet #7-- Rev.10:7. In the days of the seventh angel, the mystery of God shall be finished. Rev.11:15-- the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. Rev.11:17-- where the saints are praising God and saying that He has taken to Himself His great power and reigned. Read verses 16 & 17. That is, His reign on the earth has been brought in. Bowl #7-- Rev.16:17. There came a voice from the throne saying, It is done. So you can see that all those similarities show very clearly that the bowls and the trumpets are the same thing, just showing different aspects of the same period of time.