Summary: Trust Christ as your Savior and avoid God's coming judgment, which will be severe, suitable, and certain as it hardens people's hearts against Him.
Fred was a practical joker, who enjoyed pulling some crazy pranks at each of his three friends’ weddings. Then Fred got married, and he was worried. He was sure they would retaliate, but nobody interrupted the minister. Nobody sent naughty telegrams, and nobody hid his suitcases. There wasn’t even a cake fight at the reception.
When the honeymoon began, Fred’s car started easily. There were no flat tires. There was nothing strange in the trunk. In fact, no one had even tied any tin cans to the rear bumper. Fred and his bride, very much relieved, left for their motel.
The next morning, Fred picked up the phone, dialed for room service, and ordered breakfast for two. Then from the closet came a voice: “Hey Fred, make that breakfast for five, Okay?” (Paul Harvey, For What It’s Worth, September 25, 1987)
Just when he thought he was safe, they got him, and they got him good! So it is with many people in our world. They think that they’re getting away with their sin. After all, nothing bad has happened to them so far. But there is coming a day when God will get them, and He will get them good.
Revelation 16:1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” (ESV)
These are the last seven judgments of the Tribulation. They will come in quick succession, one right after the other, and they illustrate the nature of God’s judgment on sin. They show us what God’s payback system is like.
Revelation 16:2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. (ESV)
These are the people who worship the antichrist by accepting his mark. They bow down before his image. And as a result, they break out with painful sores that ooze with puss.
It is the same kind of thing that happened to the ancient Egyptians, who enslaved God’s people for hundreds of years. God pays them back with ten plagues. Exodus 9 describes the 6th plague, where it says Moses and Aaron “took soot from the kiln and stood before Pharaoh. And Moses threw it in the air, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils came upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians” (Exodus 9:10-11).
That’s what will happen to those who persecute God’s people during the Tribulation. Their sores will be so severe; they won’t even be able to stand. That’s the nature of God’s payback system. That’s what God’s judgment is like. It is no walk in the park. On the contrary…
GOD’S JUDGMENT IS VERY SEVERE.
It is very painful. It is very unpleasant. Look at verse 3.
Revelation 16:3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea. (ESV)
This 2nd bowl judgment is like the 2nd trumpet judgment in Revelation 8. There, the sea became blood and a 3rd of the sea-creatures died. Here, ALL of the sea-creatures die! And that’s the way it is with the rest of these bowl judgments. They are like the 7 trumpet judgments, only much more severe. Don’t be fooled. God’s judgment is severe!
Janine Brooks was a dental student when a man ran into her car and drove away. Having the car fixed put a severe strain on her student income, but she managed to survive and finish school. The man never returned to pay for damages or even to apologize.
Ten years later, Janine Brooks, the former student, was now a dentist, and guess who came into her office needing his tooth pulled? He did not recognize her, but she recognized him. She told him it wouldn’t hurt. She lied. (Associated Press, April 9, 1990)
Don’t ever let anybody tell you, “God’s judgment won’t hurt.” Don’t you believe it for one second, because God’s judgment is very severe. God’s payback system is very painful. More than that…
GOD’S JUDGMENT IS SUITABLE.
It fits the crime. It is exactly right.
Revelation 16:4 The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. (ESV)
That’s all the drinking water. In the previous judgment, all the sea water turned to blood. Now, all the fresh water turns to blood, as well.