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 Revelation Chapter 16 (Part 69) (Verses 5 - 11)

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Statesman63
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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 16 (Part 69) (Verses 5 - 11)   Wed May 09, 2018 8:02 pm

Revelation Chapter 16 (Part 69) (Verses 5 - 11)

[It may seem like I took a long break from these lessons, but I have actually been editing them all starting from the beginning of this series. As of today, I have edited from Part 1 to Part 48, and intend to go up to Part 66. I have really cleaned it up so that it reads much better; I’ve corrected some minor things and have added a lot of great stuff along the way. While I do not strictly recommend to someone who has read up to this point to start over, for me, it has been a joy and blessing to go back, edit and add much more than what was already here. Confusing parts are now clear, and weaker parts have been filled in with better content. So the next time I announce my edit progress it will hopefully be when I complete it at Part 66. Let’s continue where we left off here...]

Revelation 16:5-6 say, “Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: ‘You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.’” Wait...there’s an angel in charge of the waters??? This verse seems to clearly (I know “seems to clearly” is an oxymoron) indicate that God has put particular angels in charge of His weather. We studied a similar verse in Revelation 7:1, which reads, “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the Earth, holding back the four winds of the Earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.” Those 4 angels had the power to hold back the winds. This verse in Revelation 16 is the only clear reference in the bible that implies that there are elemental angels: those in charge of the waters, winds, storms, etc. A lot of inferences could be made from this one verse, which I don’t see the importance of us hypothesizing further. Even if there are elemental angels, we know who is in charge of them all. Mark 4:39 says, “[Jesus] got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Peace, be still.’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” Let’s imagine just for a moment that there is an angel in charge of the wind, and an angel in charge of the waters: Jesus, at any moment, needs only to speak to override whatever those angels are doing. And finally, as a side point to this: I don’t think that this angel who has charge of the waters should be compared to in Revelation 14:18 who is said to have charge of the fire. “Fire” there does not refer to the elemental fires of the Earth, i.e.: forest fires, volcano lava, lighting a match, etc. The angel in charge of the fire was doing a priestly duty in God’s temple which required fire for that particular duty to be performed.

Now let’s look at what this angel, who is in charge of the waters says. He says, starting in verse 5, “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” We learn from this angel that God is just. God does not always prevent the wicked from slaying His saints, but He does always return due justice and judgment to the unrepentant. Justice might be postponed for a later time, but it is inevitable. And His judgment is right and just, whereas, we judge based on our human standards, prejudices, feelings, and opinions. This is why we should turn judgment over to the LORD so that He will repay, and repay justly. This verse is specifically speaking of the plight of Christian martyrs. When we see a Christian killed at the hand of a wicked person, we ought not say, “Where was God?” God was right there. He will judge the evil perpetrator and usher His own into His presence. God is not obligated to prevent a wicked person from killing a Christian—that would not be acting as a Judge—it would be acting as a restrainer, which God is not obligated to do. God does not prevent sinners from sinning. The Holy Spirit restrains sinners by preventing them from reaching their capacity to evil up until the Restrainer (the Holy Spirit Himself) is removed at the Rapture, and then sinners on Earth will have no restraint and will have all freedom to fully act out their evil. And a good verse to remember is Isaiah 57:1, which says, “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.” God knows that a person lives on (in a different dimension) after they die.

Revelation 16:7 says, “And I heard the altar respond: ‘Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.’” Here we have an inanimate object speaking. The altar is inside the Heavenly temple, which we learned that no one but God is able to enter at this time, so it could be God Himself speaking from His altar. However, the speaker speaks from the third person perspective and about God, so it is likely literally the altar speaking as it says. This is not figurative language. This is something that John really hears and it comes from the altar in Heaven. Things like this shouldn’t surprise us however, because we studied Revelation 5:13, which reads, “Then I heard every creature in Heaven and on Earth and under the Earth, and on the sea and all that is in them singing: ‘To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!’” At this particular time period (in our near future) every creature on Earth: animals, fish, lizards, birds (except people) are going to burst into song and sing doxology to the Lord. This verse says, “and under the Earth.” Hades is under the Earth, but the context here seems to exclude a people reference. I believe under the Earth refers here to gophers, worms, spider, chipmunks, etc. Psalm 96:12 says that all of the trees of the forest will sing for joy when the LORD comes to judge the Earth (I concede that this in Psalm is figurative language). So, yes, God can and will make inanimate objects (and animals) sing praises to Him when He comes to judge the Earth. This will be like the time of Moses where God will reveal many signs, wonders, and miracles while He is judging.

The altar basically agrees and concurs with what the angel just said. Both agree that God’s judgments are just. The altar adds the word “true” to the word “just.” God’s judgments are both true and just. The altar represents our worship and God’s holiness and presence. We worship because He is worthy to be praised and so that we can come closer to His presence and glorify Him with praise and service. True worship is sacrificial-service, not lip-service. The altar here is associated with God’s judgment. The location of the altar was in the Heavenly temple where we saw there was an angel in charge of its fire in Revelation 14:18. From the temple, came the seven plagues that we see unfolding here. The altar in the Old Testament was the place that the priest would sacrifice animals on behalf of the sins of the people. There was an altar for the burnt offerings for sin and there was a separate altar of incense, which represented the prayers of God’s people. We learned in Revelation that God stores the retaliatory prayers of the Saints in bowls so that He will later pour out His judgment in fulfillment of those prayers. The people during the Tribulation who are witnessing God’s judgments should respond to them in a similar fashion how this altar responds. They should submit to God and acknowledge His justice and thus repent. Mankind during this time should respond to God’s judgments with praise. So too, our (you and I—i.e., the Church’s) response to judgment when He disciplines us should be praise with repentance.

Revelation 16:8 says, “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire.” Verse 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.” Again, these bowls are following a similar pattern as the trumpet judgments of chapter 8. Revelation 8:12 also involved the sun and “the fourth angel.” It says, “The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.” But here in Revelation 16:8, this fourth angel’s bowl gives the sun power to scorch people with fire. Everything here is obviously supernatural, but mankind is already on a course to cause the sun to scorch us by our irresponsible behavior. If our ozone layer gets compromised or destroyed, the sun will scorch us. This is a scientific fact. Our testing of nuclear weapons continually damages the ozone layer. That is the greatest perpetrator of its loss of integrity today. It seems that mankind is going to continue to use and test nuclear weapons which will continue to degrade our ozone layer. God might be using this as part of His fourth bowl, or He could easily make the sun scorch us with fire without our help. Solar flares are extremely dangerous, and we have only our ozone layer to protect us. Studies suggest that pollutants also destroy the ozone layer. That may be true, but nuclear weapons destroy it much more quickly than pollutants.

Let’s turn on our futuristic television to the station of this prophesy and watch the news. The news at this time will report that the sun is actually setting houses and people on fire. So far, from these first four bowls alone (not to mention the earlier chapters) we are in a small 3 and a half year window of events. Within a small time frame, we have ugly painful sores breaking out upon the masses, there is barely any drinking water available because most of it has turned to blood, and now the sun is setting people on fire. What do the people say? What do the CNN reporters say? How do the masses react to all of this? The verse tells us: “they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him.” I like how John, the writer, inserts “who had control over these plagues.” Instead of going to the one who has the power to both start and end the plagues with forgiveness, they instead curse Him and continue as they are. Now I wonder if they even put 2 and 2 together, for 16:2 says, “...ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.” By specifying “who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image,” the text seems to imply that there were a small minority who did not take the mark of the beast. All who did broke out in painful sores, while the minority who refused the implant escaped the painful sores outbreak. This suggests to me that there was some unexpected poison in the implants that caused the painful sores. All signs obviously point to God judging them for their sins if they put 2 and 2 together. It seems they know this, but refuse to respond appropriately. They don’t respond, “Oh, we are just having a bad day.” No, these atheists specifically curse God. Their prayer consists of cursing God. Today people curse the Name of God all the time and His wrath keeps building up more and more against them. God’s name is to be revered, not to be used flippantly and as a cuss word. What is implied in this verse, but not explicitly stated is that they could still repent and glorify God. The text tells us they refused to repent. No one on Earth at this time is going to repent because God cleared the Earth of all who would repent (back in chapter 14) to preserve the unrepentant for this Day of Great Tribulation. Even so, they have their freewill and they themselves have chosen to not repent and glorify God. If they were to repent (even though they will not), God, in His great mercy would still reach down and save them in this late hour. But like Pharaoh, nothing is going to sway any of them to repent. (Just as a study reference, please see Revelation 11:13. We looked at that verse earlier in our study. We have the worst of the worst in chapter 16, and they are no longer responding like they did in 11:13.)

The fifth angel with the fifth bowl of plagues incurs a similar response from the people as the previous angel. Verses 10 – 11 say, “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of Heaven because of their pains and sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” Mankind curses God again for this plague as they did the fourth plague. I mentioned elsewhere before that cussing is the language of demons. One reason Christians ought to refrain from cussing is because that is how demons express themselves and if we start talking their same language, they can lure us closer to them and possibly hook us and attach themselves to us. These do not appear to be new sores, but rather, the same sores of verse 2 where the first angel’s plagues causes painful sores to break out on those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. When Satan’s kingdom gets plunged into darkness it seems that that was when their sores became much more painful. They are so angry because their sores hurt so greatly and don’t appear to be going away. Their doctor prescriptions are not working for them. “Gnawing their tongues” depicts how great their pain is. People often cuss when they experience pain. But since we Christians should refrain from cussing, pain can become a great opportunity for us to practice not cussing. Saying “ouch” is much more righteously noble and holy than uttering words that are ungodly that hurts the ears of the Holy God who is listening and watching us.

If are to continue paralleling the bowls of chapter 16 with the seals of chapter 6: you recall that the fifth angel who opened the fifth seal in chapter 6 resulted in the martyrs asking God, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?” The Saints in chapter 6 were met with impatience during the 6th seal. The wicked here are met with impatience here in chapter 16 when God plunges their kingdom into darkness, causing them to gnaw their tongues in agony because of their great pain and sores. The wicked’s prayer can be summarized as, “How long, God who we reject, will you continue to judge us so harshly?” But they prayed in the form of curses.

There is a peculiar statement in Revelation 16:10. It says that the kingdom of Satan was suddenly plunged into darkness by this fifth angel’s bowl. This action causes the unrepentant of the Earth to be even more resentful against God. What does it mean that Satan’s kingdom was plunged into darkness? Recall that Satan is referred to as the dragon. The beast is precisely the Antichrist who is possessed by Satan (and Abaddon). Satan sits on the throne of the beast. It seems to be an odd statement to make: “Satan’s kingdom is plunged into darkness.” Isn’t his kingdom already in darkness? Now it is being thrown into more darkness? Yes! Please recall that darkness in the bible means separation from the life and light of God. To be separated from the light of God is to experience Hell on Earth. Satan’s kingdom here is plunged into more darkness, much more further away from God’s grace and favor, thus everyone on Earth is experiencing a much more greater torture now than they were before this bowl was poured onto them. In other words, they are receiving no relief from God. Their sores hurt much more now than when they first received them back in verse 2 because they are even further away from the goodness and light of God. Today, God rains on both the just and the unjust. The unjust today are in darkness, but they still experience a lot of light from God because of His mercy, grace and patience. God is merciful to the unjust. He offers those who live in darkness today relief by not fully withdrawing His presence of light and goodness from them. But here in this verse we are studying, God plunges the entire kingdom of Satan into darkness and the people greatly feel the results of His departed presence. But what do they do? They curse Him. Now logic says that if their pain is the result of falling away from God’s light then the only way to rid the pain would be to turn to the Light and repent—but these are not logical people.

Lastly for today, this bowl of darkness is also one of the plagues of Egypt. What we studied here in Revelation is spiritual darkness. The plague the Egyptians experienced was physical darkness. I’ll close with just 3 of these verses. Many of the plagues of Egypt are repeated in the Tribulation plagues. Regarding this darkness plague, Exodus 10:21 says, “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” Recall that the people in Revelation 16 felt their spiritual darkness, as they were gnawing their tongues. The people of Egypt feel the physical darkness as it prevents them from doing anything productive. Verse 22 says, “So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.” Three days is how long it takes Pharoah to give in and summon Moses to take away the darkness. And verse 23 says, “No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.” The Egyptians were covered in complete darkness. No one could leave home otherwise they might fall into a pit. They were unable to draw water or take care of their livestock or anything. The Israelites are still in Egypt, yet God shines light only on their camp. It pains me to hear explanations of the plagues that try to downplay the supernatural significance. Interpreters are too quick to brush this plague off as a sandstorm and they quickly move on to the next plague. All of the plagues were supernatural occurrences by God, and not some natural phenomena. If we humor such a faulty interpretation for just a moment: that means that Moses predicted the sandstorm to fall on the Egyptians at that particular time, and not only that, such a sandstorm that would cause perpetual darkness without relief. Only God knows the future, so that would be supernatural of itself. Secondly, the Egyptians are not dummies. Pharaoh knows all about sandstorms. He would not be convinced to let the Israelites go based on a sandstorm. Pharaoh knew that it was a supernatural occurrence when he temporarily agreed to let the Israelites go. A Bing search says that most sandstorms that occur in Egypt lasts only a couple of hours up to half a day. It took Pharaoh asking Moses to remove it for it to be removed. Wouldn’t that too be supernatural if it were “merely a sandstorm?” Sandstorms don’t stick around and leave only when a person asks it to go away. If the darkness was caused by a sandstorm, I’m pretty sure the text would have mentioned the sandstorm.

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Revelation Chapter 16 (Part 69) (Verses 5 - 11)
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