Revelation 16 tells us about the bowl judgments, the final pouring out of God’s wrath before Jesus returns to earth and triumphs over Satan and evil. There is no pause between the judgments, no time to clean up or recover. This time is cut short; otherwise, Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:22, no one would survive.
“And the first angel went and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.” ~Revelation 16:2
Everyone who rejects Jesus and chooses the beast will have ugly, painful sores like boils.
“And the second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.” ~Revelation 16:3
This time, unlike the earlier judgment upon the sea, it will be the ENTIRE sea. ALL of the living things in it will die. Imagine how much we depend upon the oceans for our very lives. No more shipping oil or food or other supplies, no more seafood or fishing, no more tides- that will throw off a lot of technology. And the smell- oh, how horrible!
“And the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying, ‘Righteous art Thou, who art and who wast, O Holy One, because Thou didst judge these things; for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink. They deserve it.’ And I heard the altar saying, ‘Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments.'” ~Revelation 16:4-7
There are several things that stand out to me in this third judgment. First of all, there is an angel of the waters. That is amazing! 🙂 Second, I cannot comprehend the devastation when the fresh water is all destroyed. Wow. And finally, the angel talks of the bloodthirstiness of men and says that they deserve this judgment. These horrible plagues that will be poured upon the earth- they are deserved.
There is a Newsboys song that talks about “when we don’t get what we deserve, it’s a real good thing (mercy)… when we get what we don’t deserve, it’s a real good thing (grace).” That is so true. We all deserve judgment, yet because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we can be spared. When we choose to accept His gift, mercy and grace are poured out freely upon us.
In verse 7 we are told that God’s judgments are true and righteous. He is the only perfect Judge, and He knows all things. When He hands down judgment and consequences, we can be sure they are deserved. Oh God, thank you for your mercy and grace!