Eternal Father, quiet my heart as I seek to know You more.
Read Revelation 16:1–21
The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath
16 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”
2 The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died.
4 The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:
“You are just in these judgments, O Holy One,
you who are and who were;
6 for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”
7 And I heard the altar respond:
“Yes, Lord God Almighty,
true and just are your judgments.”
8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.
10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.
12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13 Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds,[a] fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
a Revelation 16:21 Or about 45 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectFocus your thoughts on the life to come in eternity. Expect the unexpected. Don’t be caught off guard.
Imagine a Frisbee, or round plate, or in fact any disc that captures
In the Bible we live on that disc in two ways simultaneously. Let
the edge of the disc represent the end of the ruined old creation
as the new creation bursts in. In one sense we live by moving
from the center – our birth, for instance – to the edge.
Every day we’re a day closer to the last things. In the other sense
we live around the rim. Every day we are on the edge. Every day
we are only a step from eternity.
The interlude between the sixth and seventh bowls in verse 15 is
only one verse long. It snaps us awake. It warns us to be ready
for the final judgment. Arguably, the clothing here represents the
good deeds of the saints, as in Revelation 19:8. If so, I wouldn’t
want to be caught off guard as if death, judgment, heaven and
hell were not imminent realities – as if the last thing to expect is
for Jesus actually to return like he said he would. I wouldn’t want
to be caught living as if the world had better values and goals
than Jesus, while pursuing my comfortable, self-centered life.
What would you change about your life if you knew that Jesus
was returning tomorrow?
Lord God, help me to be truly realistic and live today before You.
There might not be another day to do this.