Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” … and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done!” (Revelation 16: 1 & 17b).
This is the most horrific chapter in all the Bible as it describes the pouring out of God’s pure wrath. With the seven Seal Judgements, one-fourth of the earth was affected. One-third of the earth was affected by the seven Trumpet Judgements. But now the seven Bowl Judgements are extremely severe and affect the entire world.
The seven angels were prepared and given golden bowls of God’s wrath. A loud voice from the temple in heaven commands the seven angels to pour out the contents of their bowls. One after another, in rapid succession, they pour out the judgments. Severely painful sores broke out on the people. The sea and all water sources turn to blood. The sun’s heat intensifies. And then the world is plunged into darkness. Without light to see or water to cool themselves and soothe their sores, the pain becomes unbearable. It is beyond our imagination to comprehend the entire population of the world suffering from such pain and misery that nothing can cure.
As the seventh bowl is poured out, the voice from heaven proclaims, “It is done!” (v17). The effect of the seventh bowl judgment is a violent, intense storm with enormous hailstones and a devastating earthquake like no other since people have been on the earth (v18). The quake is so severe that it affects the whole earth. Jerusalem is split into three parts, and the mountains and islands disappear.
As these judgments are poured out, the people’s hearts are as hard as the pharaoh’s heart before the exodus. This is a horrible scene. Instead of repenting and turning to God for forgiveness, they blasphemed the name of God, who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give him glory (v9).
This entire scenario may seem harsh. How can a loving God act in such a manner? But we must understand that the holiness and justice of God demands punishment of the wicked.
The angel proclaimed; You are just, the Holy One, who is and who was, because you have passed judgment on these things. Because they poured out the blood of the saints and the prophets, you have given them blood to drink; they deserve it! vv5-6
And those in heaven replied, Yes, Lord God, the Almighty, true and just are your judgments. v7
This chapter presents an opportunity for us to soberly reflect upon God’s holiness, praise Him for His justice, and pray for all to come to a saving faith while there is still time.