Revelation 16:1-21 / Bowls of Wrath

Posted on February 28, 2016


This is the Forty-second in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on February 28, 2016. This message covers the seven bowl judgments. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes. Please note that the sermon notes are not necessarily a full transcript.


Revelation 16:1-21



The time has come for the final judgments to begin. These seven bowls of God’s wrath will eclipse anything we’ve yet seen.


Foul and loathsome sores on all who have the mark of the beast. These are the same as the boils that plagued the Egyptians, and afflicted Job. Except on a much larger scale.

  • Exodus 9:9-11
  • Job 2:7

Following anyone other than Christ can only lead to misery.


The sea turns to blood, killing every living creature. This is reminiscent of the second trumpet, except with greater devastation.

  • Revelation 8:8-9

It also harkens back to the first plague against Egypt.

  • Exodus 7:20-25

The death and decay of countless sea creatures will add to the misery of this plague. Not only will a major source of food be gone, but the stench, rot and disease brought about will be unbearable. It’s only appropriate that blood is used as an instrument of judgment against those who have rejected the saving blood of Jesus Christ.


Yet another example of the poetic justice of blood as the instrument of judgment. Now the earth’s freshwater supply has been made undrinkable. Fresh water will already be in short supply because of a prolonged drought.

  • Revelation 11:6

Not only that, they will have no clean water with which to wash their sores.


The eternal and righteous God will avenge the blood of the saints and the prophets by giving the persecutors blood to drink. This is similar to the justice administered by Moses in response to the people’s idolatry.

  • Exodus 32:20

Let us never consider God to be too harsh, His judgments are righteous. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and offers time and time again His saving grace. However; when people refuse His offer of grace. When people reject the saving blood of Jesus Christ. When people mock God by murdering His saints and prophets. They receive their just rewards.


The sun, which normally provides life-giving warmth and energy will become an instrument of judgment. The heat will be so intense that it will scorch the people. This scorching heat will likely melt the polar ice caps.

  • Amos 9:5-6

This would raise the sea level by some 200 feet, enough to catastrophically flood many of the earth’s major cities. It would also disrupt ocean transportation, making it more difficult to distribute the dwindling food resources. All of this will simply add to the misery. Yet, they will not repent. Instead, they will blaspheme God.


Beginning at the capital of the Antichrist’s satanic empire, a plague of darkness spreads to engulf the entire kingdom. The day of the Lord will come with darkness.

  • Joel 2:1-2

Darkness is always associated with judgment and/or sin. In this case it is both. All who do not walk in Christ, walk in darkness, and the darkness will eventually overtake them.

  • John 8:12
  • John 12:35

At this point, the darkness will be manifest in a very real way. It will be so thick, that they will be able to feel it, and it’ll be painful.


What is the reaction of those who follow the beast? The same as always, they refuse to repent. Instead, they blaspheme God.


The Euphrates flows 1800 miles, and five times in scripture it is called great. However, between the prolonged drought and the sun’s intense heat, the river would already have been greatly reduced. What’s left of this once great river will now be dried up completely. This once massive barrier now provides easy access for the kings of the east. They will take advantage of the situation for one last, massive assault on Israel. The reality; however, is that God will have prepared the way that will lead these kings and their armies to destruction in the battle of Armageddon.


These unclean spirits are the unholy trinity: Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet. This is made clear not only by the number of them (3), but also by the performance of signs.

Their comparison to frogs underscores their vileness. Frogs were unclean animals according to the OT dietary laws.

  • Leviticus 11:10-11

The mission now is to gather the world’s armies together for one massive assault at Armageddon. The truth is, though, that the battle is not Satan’s day, but the Great day of God Almighty!


As the world’s armies are gathering against God’s elect, He emphasizes the need to be always prepared. Like a soldier ready for a battle that could come at any time. Those who are watching, and ready for His return are blessed, for they are His chosen elect, the saints of God. They will not be surprised, even though they have no idea of when His return will be. The armies of darkness; however, will never see Him coming. They will be unprepared, and destroyed in an instant.


Unbeknownst to them, they are gathered together at Armageddon, to meet Him at His return. They could’ve been covered in the blood of Christ, but for their rejection, they will be covered in their own blood.


With the seventh and final bowl, the end of judgment is proclaimed. With that, an earthquake so fierce, that all remnants of the antichrists domain will be erased.

  • The cities and nations will fall.
  • Mountains and islands will disappear.
  • The remaining followers of the antichrist will be plagued with large hail.

Just as the flood purged, destroyed and erased all traces of that sinful world, so will this judgment erase the sinful world before it. Just as Israel was instructed to destroy the idolatrous Canaanite civilization, in order to purge the land which God had given to Israel. A land which God had consecrated and declared holy, so will this wicked land be purged.

It will be a time of purging, preparation for the kingdom of our Lord. It is necessary, for no wicked thing can exist within the Kingdom of Christ. All traces of sin must be removed. This is precisely what Jesus does to the believer. Before the Holy Spirit can dwell within you, your sin has to be dealt with.Therefore, by the blood of Jesus Christ, you are washed clean, white as snow. You then become a temple, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Holy and consecrated unto the Lord.

Just as the Antichrist could not be defeated apart from Christ, there is no way to defeat the sin in your life apart from Jesus Christ.

Posted in: Eschatology, Sermons