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Summary: We must bear in mind that John is describing the vision God gave him while he was on the island of Patmos for the sake of Jesus Christ. Those events that make up the vision are still in the future, and we should watch for them, for then we will know....

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By: Tom Lowe Date: 2/22/17

Series: Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

Title: Second Bowl: Sea Turns to Blood, All Sea Creatures Die (16:3)

Revelation 16:3 (KJV)

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.

Introduction

The first calamity has been upon the earth; the second is upon the ocean.

Commentary

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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.

“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea”

This is not a literal pouring out of the contents of a bowl containing the wrath of God, which it is thought will happen before the general inferno predicted by the Prophet Amos: “This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: The Sovereign LORD was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land” (Amos 7:4). We must bear in mind that John is describing the vision God gave him while he was on the island of Patmos for the sake of Jesus Christ. Those events that make up the vision are still in the future, and we should watch for them, for then we will know that Christ’s return is eminent.

If our verse sounds familiar, it’s probably because you recall another verse that is similar to it; Revelation 8:8 in describing the second trumpet says, “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.” For the meaning of this as a symbol, see the notes on that verse (lesson III.C.3).

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Omit “angel,” which is not found in the best manuscripts, though it is understood.

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“Upon the sea." The “sea” is also the object of the second trumpet plague.

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“And it became as the blood of a dead man”

This clause is almost an exact reproduction of the second trumpet, and of the first of the Egyptian plagues. One *commentator’s explanation of this sentence states, “Either very bloody, like a mangled corpse, or else colored, as it were, with the dark and almost black blood of a dead man.” (The latter would seem to be, most probably, the meaning; implying that the ocean would become discolored, and indicating that this was the effect of blood which was shed in great quantities on its waters. In Revelation 8:8 it is, “the sea became blood”; here the allusion to “the blood of a dead man” would more naturally suggest the idea of naval conflicts, and of the blood of the slain that poured in great quantities into the ocean.

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The sea doesn't necessarily become blood, but “as of” a corpse's blood. It will match the appearance and sickening character of the blood in a dead body; thick, clotted together, and putrid, and so it can never be returned to its former state.

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“and every living soul died in the sea”

Revelation 8:8-9 described a partial contamination of the sea; but here the contamination is made complete.

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“every living creature in the sea died.”

In Revelation 8:9 it is said that “the third part of the creatures that were in the sea died, and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” Here the destruction is more general; the calamity is more severe and awful. It is as if every living thing had died. The sense here is that there would be some dreadful calamity that caused the sea to be changed into dark blood, and every living thing in it to die.


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