Hollingworth lake - it is finished

The Bowls of God’s Wrath

The Apocalypse – Chapter 16 – Part 2

Now we finalise Chapter 16 of the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse which brings with it the gathering of the forces of evil at the place of Armageddon. The Bowls of God’s Wrath – Part 2

 It is Finished
 “It is finished”
 Were the Words of the Son
 The Christian faith begins not with a DO
 But with a big DONE.
 Of course our reason protests at this.
 There is a stiring within our souls;
 If we do not get moving
 How can we ever reach the goal?
 How can we achieve anything
 If we do not work for it, we protest,
 But Christianity is a queer business
 It begins from rest.
 If at the outset we try to do anything
 We get nowhere, we quickly fall,
 For in our seeking to attain
 We miss it all.
 “It is finished” said Jesus.
 There is nothing more to be sacrificed.
 God has blessed us with every 
     spiritual blessing
 In the heavenly places in Christ.
 We are invited therefore
 At the very outset to rest;
 Not to try to attain something
 That can only be second best.
 By the late Andrew Feakin 
 [passed away 16th March 2019]

Keys – The Bowls of God’s Wrath – Part 2

  • Jesus is ‘coming like a thief!’ may we be of those who stay awake and are clothed, not going about naked and exposed to shame.
  • Just as Christ declared “It is done!” at the cross of Calvary, so the Lord God, Himself declares “It is done!” the fall of the antichristian empire finally occurs.
  • Satan as well as the powers of the earth, are all subject to the Almighty power of God.
  • This downfall produced a thankful voice from heaven, pronouncing that now the work was done. The church triumphant in heaven saw it, and rejoiced. The militant church on earth saw it, and became triumphant. It is finished.
  • Those that are not made better by the judgments of God are always the worse for them.

In this chapter 16 we have an account of the pouring forth of these bowls that were filled with the wrath of God. They were poured out upon the whole antichristian empire, and on every thing pertaining to it.

The Bowls of God’s Wrath

The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up in order to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw three foul spirits like frogs coming from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet. These are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. (“See, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and is clothed, not going about naked and exposed to shame.”) 

It is done

And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a violent earthquake, such as had not occurred since people were upon the earth, so violent was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. God remembered great Babylon and gave her the wine-cup of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found; and huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, dropped from heaven on people, until they cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague.

It prepared the way

Henry says – The sixth angel poured out his bowl and it fell—upon the great river Euphrates. Some take it literally, for the place where the Turkish power and empire began. They think this is a prophecy of the destruction of the Turkish monarchy and of idolatry. Thereby a way shall be made toward the Holy Land. This bowl produced the drying up of the river, which furnished the city with wealth, and provisions. Yet it also prepared a way for the kings of the east.

{In more recent years we have seen the startling increase in the power and influence of China. It has gathered huge military strength and is in pursuit of global dominance. This combined with the persecution of Chinese Christians aligns it with antichristian interests. Therefore it’s easy to imagine that ‘kings from the East’ will include China who will march into the Holy Land.}

One desperate last push

The idolatry of the church of Rome has been a great hindrance both to the conversion of the Jews who have been cured of their inclination to idols. Yet also to the Gentiles, who are hardened in their idolatry from the traditions, symbolism and hypocrisy among so called Christians. It is therefore very probable that the downfall of popery, removing these obstructions, will open a way for both the Jews and other eastern nations to come into the church of Christ. If we suppose that Mohammidism shall fall at the same time, there will be still more open communication between the western and eastern nations, which may facilitate the conversion of the Jews, and of the fullness of the Gentiles.

And when this work of God appears, and is about to be accomplished, it will no doubt cause another consequence. The last effort of the great dragon. He is resolved to have another push for it, in an attempt to retrieve the ruinous posture of his affairs in the world. He is now rallying his forces, recollecting all his spirits, to make one desperate push before all be lost.

She shall be victorious

This is occasioned by the pouring out of the sixth bowl. He makes – Three unclean spirits like frogs to come forth, one out of the mouth of the dragon, another out of the mouth of the beast, and a third out of the mouth of the false prophet. Hell, the secular power of antichrist, and the ecclesiastical power, would combine furnished with hellish malice. They would utilise worldly policy and religious falsehood and deceit to muster up the devil’s forces for a decisive battle. They deploy pretended miracles, the old stratagem of him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness2 Thess. 2:9, 10. Some think that a little before the fall of antichrist the popish pretence of power to work miracles will be revived and will very much amuse and deceive the world.

The field of battle—a place called Armageddon. This is in all probability refers to the mount of Megiddo, near to which Barak overcame Sisera, and all the kings in alliance with him, Jdg. 5:19. And in the valley of Megiddo Josiah was slain. This place had been famous for two events of a very different nature, the former very happy for the church of God, the latter very unhappy. But it shall now be the field of the last battle in which the church shall be engaged, and she shall be victorious. This battle required time to prepare for it, and therefore the further account of it is suspended till we come to the nineteenth chapter, Rev. 16:19, 20.

Be clothed, armed and ready!

The warning which God gives of this great and decisive trial is to engage His people to prepare for it, Rev. 16:15. It would be sudden and unexpected, and therefore Christians should be clothed, and armed, and ready for it, that they might not be surprised and ashamed. When God’s cause comes to be tried, and His battles to be fought, all His people shall be ready to stand up for His interest and be faithful and valiant in His service.

Here we have an account of the seventh and last angel pouring forth his bowl, contributing his part towards the accomplishment of the downfall of Babylon, which was the finishing stroke. A plague fell—on the air, upon the prince of the power of the air, that is, the devil. His powers were restrained and his policies confounded. He was bound in God’s chain. The sword of God was upon his eye and upon his arm, for he, as well as the powers of the earth, are subject to the Almighty power of God.

He had used all possible means to preserve the antichristian interest, and to prevent the fall of Babylon. He utilised all the influence that he has upon the minds of men, blinding their judgments and perverting them, hardening their hearts, raising their enmity to the gospel as high as could be. But now here is a bowl poured out upon his kingdom, and he is not able to support his tottering cause and interest any longer.

An earthquake as never was before

It produced a thankful voice from heaven, pronouncing that now the work was done. The church triumphant in heaven saw it, and rejoiced. The militant church on earth saw it, and became triumphant. It is finished. There was a mighty commotion on the earth—an earthquake, so great as never was before, shaking the very centre, and this ushered in by the usual concomitants of thunder and lightnings.

It brought about the fall of Babylon, which was divided into three parts, called the cities of the nations (Rev. 16:19). When interpreting this as being the papal empire it had rule over the nations, and taken in the idolatry of the nations, incorporating into her religion something of the Jewish, something of the pagan, and something of the Christian religion. Thus she was as three cities in one. God now remembered this great and wicked city. Though for some time he seemed to have forgotten her idolatry and cruelty, yet now he gives unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

A spiritual judgment more dreadful

This downfall extended further than to the seat of antichrist. It reached from the centre to the circumference, every island and every mountain were carried away in the deluge of this ruin. Despite this dreadful storm, even of gigantic hailstorms upon their heads they blasphemed that God who thus punished them.

Here was a dreadful plague of the heart, a spiritual judgment more dreadful and destructive than all the rest. The greatest calamities that can befall men will not bring them to repentance without the grace of God working with them. Those that are not made better by the judgments of God are always the worse for them. To be hardened in sin and enmity against God by His righteous judgments is a certain token of utter destruction.

Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary

Prayer for the Day

Father, we come to You. Thank You for the reminder that Jesus is ‘coming like a thief!’ may we be of those who stay awake and are clothed, not going about naked and exposed to shame. We join with the thankful voice from heaven in pronouncing that You reign victorious and one day we shall see the antichristian empire fall with our own eyes. We shall hear the Words “It is done!” Satan as well as the powers of the earth, are all subject to the Almighty power of God. If we be still here on earth may we be part of the militant church that will triumph. May we be made better by Your corrections and submitted to Your authority in our lives. In Jesus name. Amen.

The Bowls of God’s Wrath – Part 2

For the whole study into the Book of Revelation, so far please click here.

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