10 “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.
12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13 Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” ~ Revelation 16:10-16
Here is the main idea of the passage: In this text there is a lot going on. Not only are the fifth and sixth bowls unleashed, but we also are introduced to the Kings of the East, as well as three demonic spirits which resemble frogs, that come out of the mouths of the Unholy Trinity.
We’ll also look at two well-known terms: Armageddon and the Great Day of God the Almighty.
10-11- “The fifth bowl shows that the very throne of the beast is not immune to God’s just wrath. Darkness was the ninth plague on Egypt, the last before the slaughter of the firstborn compelled a heart-hardened Pharaoh to release Israel (Exodus 10:21-29). It is appropriate that a regime founded on deceit (Revelation 13:5, Revelation 13-14) should be plunged into darkness. Although reaping the anguish they have sown in rebellion, hardened people will react by cursing their just Judge rather than forsaking their self-destroying deeds. The refusal to repent shows the total depravity of those who dwell in the Earth, and it shows the justice of eternal punishment.” (ESV Study Bible Commentary)
12-16- “The common feature between the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl is the great river Euphrates (v. 12; compare 9:14). Here, instead of 200 million cavalry (9:16-17), John sees the kings from the East coming across the Euphrates (v. 12), representing the kings of the whole world assembled for a great battle (v. 14). These kings and their armies correspond to the cavalry of the earlier vision and, like those demonic forces, bring trouble to the earth in threes: three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur in the earlier instance (9:18), and here three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet (v. 13). The comparison between these spirits and frogs is the only link between this plague and the Exodus (see Ex 8:1-15).” (The IVP New Testament Commentary)
14- “The War of the Great Day of God, the Almighty. The Battle of Armageddon. It is the great war with God and Christ. The war will end when Christ arrives (Revelation 19: 17-20).” (John MacArthur’s Study Bible Commentary)
16- The Word “Armageddon means Mount Megiddo in Hebrew. In ancient Israel, Megiddo was a plain, not a mountain; but it was the site of some key battles (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29), so in the symbolic geography of John’s visions it aptly represents the global combat zone (Revelation 20:9) in which the final conflict between Christ and Satan will be fought.” (ESV Study Bible Commentary)
16- “Armageddon. A transliteration of the Hebrew for “mount of Megiddo.” In ancient Israel, Megiddo was a key city overlooking a major travel route between the great kingdoms of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Huge armies could assemble in the neighboring Plain of Esdraelon. Thus it is a fitting name for the location of the climactic battle.” (R.C. Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible Commentary)
How is this text applicable to the 21st Century?
One measure I take in preparing for the 2 Minutes with God Daily Devotionals is to extensively research the text. Sometimes, this endeavor takes hours of endlessly reading Scripture, explanations of well-known theologians, annotations, and more. Upon examination of this text, several words or phrases consistently surfaced: God’s cumulative wrath, justice, refusal of repentance, and judgment.
In Revelation 16, God’s adversaries refuse to repent, despite the wrath endured. Choosing instead to pride-fully rebel and curse Him. As usual, Charles Swindoll summarizes this truth well.
“Revelation 16:11 reminds us that the afflictions suffered by the enemies of God are cumulative. The sores brought on by the first bowl will continue to fester as the darkness closes in around them. The water that would have soothed their sun-scorched flesh will stand in stinking, stagnant pools; once-clean water will be polluted with decaying blood. Nevertheless, believe it or not, the people will continue to blaspheme God and refuse to repent. This is the final reference to their unwillingness to repent. The first five plagues were God’s final offer- and humanity’s final opportunity- for repentance. There will be no more. The bowls of wrath reveal that the minds, hearts and wills of those who took the mark have been sealed in their sinful condition.”
One truth that will always prevail in the end is God’s justice. While the platform is being set for the Battle of Armageddon in Revelation 16, the end has already been written. Christ will reign forever. One day Satan will absolutely be defeated. Everyone will be judged. Those marked with the Blood of Christ will be judged at the Bema Seat- those without will appear before the Great White Throne of Judgment.
Proactively seeking Jesus is a work-in-process. In fact, every Christ Follower is a work-in-process. Perfection is not demanded-but humility is. We should not claim to be perfect ourselves, but only follow a Perfect Man. Pursuing Jesus earnestly with reckless abandonment is one of the most challenging tasks in this lifetime. In theology, there is a phrase referred to as Prevenient Grace. In short, this means man cannot seek God, unless God has first sought the man.
“Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him.” ~ A.W. Tozer
Nothing in this life is by chance. Moreover, if you are reading this study today, God is pursing your heart. In Matthew 27:22, Pontus Pilate asked, “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Every person must answer this question concerning Christ Crucified. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, Jesus is either Lord and Savior of all, or a crazy lunatic.
In the end, there are only two ways to respond to this fork in the road. The first option is to say no. “Jesus is not Lord! Some would even suggest “He is a madman! His claims are outrageous!” The Bible is not authoritative. Furthermore, there is no “proof” Christ ever performed miracles. “Crucify Him!” the crowd responded to Pilate.
Or, you can say, “Yes Jesus.” Alas, you will see there is actually more proof for Jesus Christ as God, and the Word of God, than Atheism could ever explain, and more credible evidence than any other world religion. Invite Him into your heart as Lord and Savior, sit down and begin to build a personal relationship with Christ, at the table for two. It does not have to be perfect. You do not have to be perfect. There will be no perfect time. But seek Jesus with reckless abandonment, otherwise stated, your entire heart. Just take the first step, and know that in doing so, God already began that first step for you long ago, when He began pursuing you.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.” ~ Revelation 3:20
If you are interested in learning more on how to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior:
“Due to world conditions on every front and in every area of the globe, things will look hopeless. People will be in despair or certainly very fearful prior to the Tribulation. For the varied problems of the world, man will have turned to a variety of sources looking for hope. These will come in many forms and sizes. There will be the false prophets of modern science, scholarship and research, false religions, the occult, the cults, false prophets…the new world views, social ideologies and finally, the world will look for answers in some new and great world leader whether political, religious, or both. Such a man will come, but he will be ‘the Man of Lawlessness’ and ‘the Son of Perdition who opposes and exalts himself above every Song of Solomon -called god…displaying himself as God’ (2 Thessalonians 3,4). He will also be ‘the one whose coming (his historical ascendancy to power) is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders’ ( 2 Thessalonians 2:9).” ~ J. Hampton Kealthley
What is the Great Day of the Lord?
What is the Battle of Armageddon?
Pastor Greg Laurie’s article in Decision Magazine on The Last Days:
Prayer: Father God, help me live today with reckless abandonment. I want Jesus to be Lord of my heart today. May my life serve as a reflection of You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.