THE DEATH OF EVIL
Mighty God, you speak words of promise and I answer with praise. I am yours, all yours.
Read REVELATION 16:1-11
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.
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.
ReflectRecall the last news broadcast you heard or newspaper you saw. What aspects of the evil present in our world do you most long to be defeated?
We come to the beginning of the end – again we see adaptations of the Egyptian plagues from the Exodus. However, these judgments are directed at the followers of the beast and the judgments affect the whole earth. In Revelation 8:7,8 only one-third of the earth and sea is affected, but now the whole water supply is turned to blood (vs 3,4).
In this passage God’s final judgment shows the final binding and defeat of Satan and his forces – those who have revealed their true loyalty to the beast (v 5). The angels pour out the bowls of God’s wrath upon the earth (v 2), the sea (v 3), the rivers (v 4) and the sun (v 8). Then the beast’s kingdom is plunged into darkness (v 10). The judgment also is an attempt to elicit repentance (vs 9b,11b). How are people’s reactions to the bowl plagues like Pharaoh’s reaction to the plagues of Egypt?
Martin Luther King wrote that God ‘… is working through history for the salvation of his children … Evil dies on the seashore, not merely because of man’s endless struggle against it, but because of God’s power to defeat it.’*
Think again about the evils you long for God to defeat. How might he be calling you to join him in bringing about change?
Lord, please purify my heart and mind, so that I will live more faithfully and walk more closely with you.
*Martin Luther King Jr, ‘The Death of Evil upon the Seashore’, in Strength to Love, Harper and Row, 1963, p64
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