Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Revelation 16:1-7

Revelation 16:1-7
And I heard a great voice out of the temple while saying to the seven angels, “Depart and pour out the seven bowls of God’s strong passion into the earth.”  And the first one departed and poured out his bowl into the Earth.  And a bad and evil wound became upon mankind, upon the ones who have the mark of the beast and the ones who bow down to worship his image.  And the second one poured out his bowl into the sea and it became blood as a dead person.  And every living thing – the things in the sea – died.  And the third one poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water and it became blood.  And I heard from the angel of the waters while saying, “You are righteous – the one who is and the one who was, the holy one – that you judged these.  That they poured out the blood of the holy ones and the prophets and you gave blood to them to drink; they are deserving.  And I heard of the altar while saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and righteous are your judgments.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

The first angel is told to come and pour out the bowl of God’s wrath.  The bowl is poured out those who follow the beast find themselves inflicted with a bad and evil wound.  The words used here are for ulcerous sores.  Again, notice that John is drawing upon his past.  Once more we return to the images of Exodus, where boils broke out upon the people.  However, notice that in this third set of judgments that the restrictions are lifted.  It isn’t a third of the people that are inflicted, it is all of the followers of the beast.  In the final set of judgments, God’s judgment is complete.  God is demonstrating His power and authority.  When He judges, all fall under His judgment.

Are you surprised to find so much parallel in the book of Revelation that reaches back into the past?  What might John be trying to say about the consistency of God’s character?

Second Thought:

The next two judgments carry the same theme as the first thought.  Water, ocean and fresh, is turned to blood.  Again, not the similarity to the Exodus story, where the Nile was turned to blood.  Again, notice the completeness of the judgment: all died.  God continues to be consistent.  God is capable of judging over humanity as well as His own creation.

Is it important to you to see God as consistent?  Why is this a characteristic that brings comfort to many human beings?

Third Thought:

We turn to the responses of the angels and those who are at the altar.  God is righteous in this judgment.  This is a difficult area for many modern human beings, Christians especially, to embrace.  How can we call a God that inflicts pain upon humans in the form of ulcerous sores be just?  How can a God who kills the living things in the water just?  The passage gives us part of the answer.  The world did the same thing to His Son.  God sent His Son to this earth; they killed Him.  God is righteous in His judgment.  Even more to the point, the entire world is fallen and corrupted by sin.  We all deserve judgment.  When God comes forth to judge, He is not being mean.  He is not being cruel.  God is coming forth and issuing what we deserve in our sin.  He is righteous.  It is only by His grace that we can escape His righteous judgment.

Is it hard for you to read passages of judgment like this?  How do passages like this color your perspective of a righteous God?  Do you understand why people might read passages like this and struggle with the righteousness of the Lord?  What can you say to people who are in that situation?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 16:8-12
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