JOURNEY TO ARMAGEDDON
Lord, make us see how helpless we actually are before You.
Read REVELATION 16
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.
Lord Jesus, You will come like a thief in the night. Help us to be ready, alert and clothed for Your coming.”
The final plagues begin. When they are completed, a voice declares, “It is done” (17). God’s work of judgment has been completed once and for all. The previous judgments (the seals and the trumpets) were incomplete, simply warnings to bring about change. But these are final: the opportunity for repentance is over. Those who worship the beast will be punished. They have had their chance and failed to take it. God says what he means and means what he says. The plagues strike earth, sea, rivers, and sky in turn; then comes torment and destruction, till finally the world is no more. There are echoes of the Exodus plagues before the final battle at Armageddon and the day of judgment.
To an environmentally sensitive world, problems from earth, sea, water, and sun strike a chord. The whole ecosystem is falling apart. The old heavens and earth are giving way to the new crea-tion of God. However, as judgment arrives, so the cursing of God rather than human repentance intensifies. Although they know that God exists and can plainly see God’s hand in these events, many still want to go their own way. No appeal or threat of punishment makes any difference. Darkness comes, as it did in Egypt, and confusion results. For all their pride and vaunted inde-pendence, they are now out of control, unequal to the task. Human organization breaks down, and anarchy reigns. Like Pharaoh, the people harden their hearts.
The sixth plague dries up the river and opens the way for invaders. Urged on by the lies of the dragon, beast, and false prophet, the nations assemble for the final battle. Into the midst of this face-off between good and evil, Christ speaks (15) intimating his coming, which will be sudden and unexpected. The end comes with thunder, lightning, and an earthquake. Babylon collapses, never to rise again.
How are you living your life, given the anticipated arrival of our Lord?
Soften our hearts in repentance and faith, Lord, that we may turn to You and not away from You when You deal with us.