1. This evening w e come to that point in the book of Revelation we have been reading about and preparing for. God’s final judgement takes place. The bowls of God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth.
2. As we consider the plague and events that accompany this action, we must be careful how we approach the word of God. This is a literal explanation of that which will happen. We must not spiritualize these events or use them as allegories to describe other events. When we read about rivers, these are actual rivers and not spiritual rivers. There are many parts of Revelation that we do take spiritually. For instance the beast that rose out of the sea is not an actual beast but a symbolic, spiritual representation of the false religious systems of the world. There were parts of the book that refer to spiritual or historical events. But the pouring out of God’s wrath upon the earth is an actual event. Not something that is happening through this dispensation but as something that will happen at the end of this age.
3. The bowls contain God’s wrath and when they are poured God’s wrath, all of it has been acted upon. His wrath will be finished.
4. The first four bowls of His wrath is poured out upon different spheres or areas of nature, literally. The only symbolism is that of the bowl and the wrath itself. God’s wrath is not a substance that can be held in a bowl and can be poured out. But the events that happens are real and are a result of God unleashing His wrath upon the earth.
5. Creation will be affected by His wrath. The earth and sea and all that is in them belong to God’s kingdom, His creation. Man is the head of creation. Man became subject to the kingdom of Satan and Satan defiled creation and used it and its powers to his own ends. Creation has be stained by sin. It is unclean, has been made unclean. And we read about what happens to that which is unclean in Leviticus and Numbers. Also, man is dependent upon creation. It is through creation that God reaches us - provides for us and judges us. Through creation He sends sickness, famine and controls history. The number four relates to creation. Remember the four living creatures represent God’s created order in its perfect state, in its highest state - in forms of life. And as we said, the first four bowls all affect nature - the land, the sea, the rivesr and springs, and the sun
6. The fifth vial, we will see, is poured on the throne of the beast, the sixth prepares the battle of Armageddon and the seventh is in the air.
7. The affects of the bowls our plagues is universal or complete. There is no escaping them. The seals affect 1/4 of that which was affected. The trumpets 1/3. But the bowls are final. All are touched by them. All who are on the earth. But not the saints, since they have been raptured already.
8. What are the plagues that God’s wrath pours upon the people? The first bowl is poured upon the land or dry land. The result is that ugly and painful sores break out on all the people. Since only the elect did not have the mark of the beast and since they are gone. All who are alive on the earth have the mark. While these may be literal sores they can also refer to disease in general. The earth provides the necessities of life. But the plague on the earth so affects the crops and vegetation that they supply no health or strength for mankind. There is no relief. Even medicine will not be found, since the earth will not provide healthy plants to provide medicine. But man will not die.
9. The second bowl is poured on the sea. It turns to blood and all that is in the sea dies. The second trumpet had turned 1/3 of the sea into blood and killed 1/3 of the life within it. But again all life is killed by this plague. The sea is no good for providing food or even being a means of travel or commerce.
10. The third bowl is poured on the rivers and springs of water and they become blood. In their distress the people cannot get a refreshing drink. The entire water supply is affected. There is no relief for them.
11. The fourth bowl is poured on the sun. The sun increases in heat so much that men are scorched by its heat. And crops and animals will be affected as well. And they cannot get relief from the waters. There is no place for help or comfort. The whole earth is filled with the wrath of God.