5 “Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: ‘You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; 6 for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.’ 7 And I heard the altar respond: ‘Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.’ 8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.” ~ Revelation 16: 5-9
- But first let’s review: Many scholars believe this time frame to be the end of the Great Tribulation era, because of the severity of the Bowl Judgements. Earlier this week we identified a few similarities and differences between the …
- 5- Jesus Christ is the One who is, and was, and is to come.
- 5-6- Those who refused the Living Water of Christ Jesus, will not be forced to drink death.
- 7- “You are righteous, O Lord…” “Even in the midst of judgement, it is right that the angel says this. Not only is God’s justice fair, it is pure and appropriate. There is no ‘vigilante justice’ with God.” (David Guzik Commentary)
- 8-9- in the Fourth Bowl Judgement, the sun becomes a curse to those who refuse to surrender to Jesus. Despite the judgements, they will not repentant.
How is this text applicable in the 21st Century?
One stumbling block that many Christians trip over is the Doctrine of Hell. The issue of scorching fire in this text brings this to mind. How could a loving and merciful God condemn and torture a sinner, for all of eternity? The notion not only stirs a sense of unease, but can trigger severe anxiety in one’s final days. Conversely, this idea has potential to cause mental anguish upon grieving parties as well.
Much of the Book of Revelation is about the judgments to come- in the end Hell awaits for many. Over the final last chapters of the study, More Than Judas will dive into this issue, and take an in-depth look at “How a compassionate Father could sentence a soul to eternal damnation?” Where do we begin this idea of Hell? Especially when we claim that our God is love. God is merciful. And God does not discriminate. The Bible is very clear on the matter- Jesus Himself spoke to this reality in Matthew 10:28.
Yet, in the midst of all this confusion, one critical aspect of God’s Character is often forgotten.
God is holy.
This is a word our 21st Century culture has grown to both despise and ignore. We express this disgust by using phrases such as:
“Holier than thou…”
I’ve even heard a person referred to as a “Holy Snob.”
Now, obviously there are Christians guilty of persuading the masses with legalistic burdens, rather than the love of Jesus alone. This fact cannot be denied. Nonetheless, God Himself is holy. This is an aim we must strive for as Christ Followers. Not in a self-righteous manner, but with authenticity. However, we cannot achieve this by our own strength.
This measure of holiness is one reason why Hell exists. God is just. Under no circumstances will a Heavenly Father, pure and divine, neglect this requirement of holiness. Only Jesus alone can satisfy the obligation. God’s standard of holiness was demonstrated through the perfect life of Christ, who lived immaculately upon this earth, and shed His blood for our erroneous sinful nature. So that when The Father looks upon us, as believers, He sees his Son, and not our imperfections.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” ~ 1 Peter 1:16
If you are interested in learning more on how to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior:
“The wishful thinking of some that men would repent if they only knew the power and righteous judgment of God is shattered by frequent mention in this chapter of the hardness of the human heart in the face of the most stringent and evident divine discipline.” ~ John Walvoord, ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary
Additional Readings: Revelation 16
Billy Graham on Hell
7 Bowls of Judgment- Revelation 16
What are the Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets, and Seven Bowls in the Book of Revelation?
Prayer: Father God, thank you for sending Jesus Christ to die for my sins. I pray that today I live genuinely for You. Consume me Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.