Summary: Introduction to the Bowl Judgments
Revelation 16:1, “Then I heard a mighty voice shouting from the Temple to the seven angels, "Now go your ways and empty out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth."
The glory of the Lord will prevail over all the nations and the nations will acknowledge that He is the Lord over all creation. All majesty and honor belongs to His holy name. The bowl judgments spark off the beginning of the end of the Great Tribulation which will be the time of God’s great anger, also known as the Day of the Lord. Today we will look at all seven of the bowl judgments, but first lets take a look at the background.
The only true beacon of hope and eternal life belongs only in Jesus Christ the Lord. The Lord is merciful and kind. While He is merciful and kind though His Word is still a book of judgment. It is important for us to understand this as we embark upon this journey through this the darkest hour of the tribulation, for the simple fact that the Old Testament clearly teaches the final day of the Lord especially in Joel 2:28-32; Zech 14:1, Mal 4:1,5).
The New Testament is full of such warnings as well, revealing God’s judgment of sinners. John the Baptist the forerunner of the Messiah, preached a confronting, even harsh message of judgment. He called some of those who came to him seeking baptism snakes (Luke 3:7) and threatened them with judgment, saying, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:11-12). John 3:36 warns, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” The apostle Paul spoke of “the God who inflicts wrath” (Romans 3:5), noted that “the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience” (Col 3:6), and described the terrifying time, "when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess 1:7-9).
The writer of Hebrew 10:26-31 added, “26Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received a full knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. 28Anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29Think how much more terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God and have treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. Such people have insulted and enraged the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to his people.30For we know the one who said, "I will take vengeance. I will repay those who deserve it." He also said, "The Lord will judge his own people."31It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
The wrath of God will thus be revealed in His end time judgment on sinners yet this is one of the Old Testament messages the Prophets proclaimed that the coming wrath would be all consuming and God’s final justice would then be revealed, then the coming of His Son thus revealed. These rapid fire judgments will take place in a very short period of time, making the final hour of the Day of the Lord, for they are the final outpouring of God’s wrath on the unbelieving world before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (15:1). These are the last expressions of the very same divine justice that thus has seen to be revealed in the seal and trumpet judgments which will now be the culmination of His divine wrath against sin, unrighteousness, and blasphemy that is rampant on the earth during this time.
The return of the Messiah is described in Chapter 19 immediately following these seven judgments. Chapters 17 and 18 go back in time to describe the destruction of Antichrist’s kingdom his worldwide political and religious empire of Babylon. Yet this can also be seen as the same interrupted recapulation that occurred in chapters 12-14 as well. Following these seven bowl judgments the Lord Jesus Christ will return destroy the world’s armies the Sword that proceeds out of His mouth destroy the armies during the battle of Armageddon and the other battles as well, and establish His universal rule on the earth. In fact the bowl judgments foreshadow the Battle of Armageddon. The drying up of the Euphrates River as a result of the sixth bowl will pave the way for the forces of the east to come to that destruction.