Summary: If you are going to repent and believe you have to understand you are entering into a struggle, a battle, an all-out war within, and you’ll have to fight that war every day of your life. Yet in this war, God has promised the victory.
1. And I heard a huge voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go! And pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth.
2. And the first went and poured out the his bowl into the earth, and there came a sore, bad and malicious, upon the men having the mark of the beast, and those worshiping his image.
3. And the second poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood, like dead, and all souls living in the sea died.
4. And the third poured out his bowl into the rivers, and the springs of the waters, and they became blood
5. And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “You are righteous, who is, and who was, the Holy one, because you have judged all things.
6. Because they have poured out the blood of the saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink; they are worthy.
7. And I heard the altar saying, Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are your judgments.
8. And the fourth poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was given to burn men in fire.
9. And men were burnt with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God having the authority over these plagues, and they did not repent or give him glory.
10. And the fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was darkened. And they were chewing their tongues because of the evil
11. And they blasphemed God of heaven because of the evil, and because of their sores and they did not repent of their works.
v 1 Huge voice see 1:10.
v 2 Here begins the vial or bowl judgments, with a bad sore. This has been interpreted as either a cancer or boil (possibly from solar radiation), or a disease caused by the mark.
v 3 The river literally “became blood, as of someone who is dead”. Apparently, the death of the creatures is the result of the change of the water, rather than that the death of the creatures results in the change in the waters. The red tides in Florida recently may give us a small picture of the potential magnitude of such disaster.
vv 5-7 There is a causal relationship between the sins and commensurate judgment. When we have a heavenly perspective we will realize just how right the judgments of God have been. Jesus bore the price of all sin, but for those who refuse to receive His gift of sacrifice on the cross for our forgiveness, their judgment is appropriate.
v 10-11 Seat is throne. Darkness is described by Jesus Matt 8:12; 13:42; 50; 22:13; 25:30.
Repent and Believe
Jesus said this about his own generation
20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent . . . “if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Matthew 11:20, 24
It’s easy to look back in wonder at the people who saw Jesus first hand, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, and raising the dead, teaching the beauty of the Kingdom of God, who still did not believe in Him. How could they not believe? It's also difficult to understand how people in the Tribulation will be able to experience the severe judgments of God without being lead to repentance. The problem is belief is not merely a matter of reviewing evidence and coming to conclusions-it is also a matter of the heart. When it comes to God, as Blaise Pascal rightly observed, “In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.” There is an act of will in belief and repentance. In our relationship with God it is the will that is most important, the heart that accepts or rejects. We can even believe, yet still fail to repent. Repentance means admitting I’m wrong and God is right. It means letting go of the things we want to hold onto and holding on to things we may want to avoid. It means turning from darkness to light and from shadow to reality. Reality often hurts. I may prefer shadow boxing to real boxing, because the shadow pulls all his punches. But it’s only in the ring, with a real opponent, that the fight is fought and the prize is won. Paul put it this way, “the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5). If you are going to repent and believe you have to understand you are entering into a struggle, a battle, an all-out war within, and you’ll have to fight that war every day of your life. Yet in this war, God has promised the victory, in fact, this is the only victory that matters. For if you win the war within, you can face any battle without.