Revelation: heading towards the final battle
Scene 5 is entitled ‘Punishment for the world: seven bowls poured out’ in the series of scenes outlined in Michael Wilcock’s ‘The Message of Revelation’. It covers Revelation 15:5-16:21. Before we start looking at the seven plagues poured out from the seven bowls of the seven angels, remember that Wilcock points out that these scenes are not linear. This is not a straightforward narrative sequence and should not be read as such. There is an overlapping and events that run in parallel. John is taking in a whole unfolding scene and trying to put it down in words. ‘The connection between the scenes is not chronological but logical’ (page 146).
As we saw yesterday, God is present and active. His glory and power and holiness are awe-inspiring and yet terrifying at the same time. It’s right to fear this one true God who is all-knowing and all-powerful and perfect in every way. We mustn’t lose sight of His awesome power, make Him smaller and ‘cosier’ than He is, or become complacent. Each of us will be held to account for the life we have lived. There is no escaping that truth.
The first bowl>the earth stricken
These are no longer warnings but punishments for those who have refused the warnings and must now take the consequences. Holiness is ushering in a plague on all that is unholy.
The second bowl>the sea stricken
The sins of the people are coming home to roost.
The third bowl>the rivers stricken
This is divine justice in action.
The fourth bowl>the sky stricken
God’s presence is recognised – and yet is blasphemed rather than submitted to.
The fifth bowl>torment
The entire human system is thrown into disarray.
God is grimly vindicated when godless society, which rose so proudly against him and his church, and claimed to provide a viable alternative, is shown to be unequal to the task. Michael Wilcock, page 147
Those who suffer will throw the blame on God. However, God’s people will know what is happening and why.
The sixth bowl>destruction
Satan’s purpose is to assert his power; God’s is to prosecute his justice. The result is the same: Armageddon. Michael Wilcock, page 149
Armageddon is the end. The last battle.
The seventh bowl>the world is no more
Thunder, lightning, earthquakes – all signs of the presence of God in action. Time and history are swept away to be replaced by eternity.
It’s all part of God’s cosmic plan.