Resources » Reformation Study Bible » Revelation » Rev 16:17–21

Rev 16:17–21

16:17–21 The seventh bowl brings the cycle of judgments to an end. Like the other cycles, this one ends with the Second Coming (Introduction: Characteristics and Themes: Literary Form), though the symbols of the Second Coming are not as obvious as in some other cases. Note the following features: the readers have been told that the end of the wrath of God would come with the seventh bowl (15:1); the removal of all islands and mountains in v. 20 corresponds to the final shaking of the earth in 6:14 and 20:11 (Heb. 12:26, 27); elsewhere the fall of Babylon is immediately followed by the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:1–10); in 17:14–17 the fall of Babylon is associated with the last battle, which takes place at the Second Coming (19:11–21). Moreover, that final battle was imminent in v. 16. The judgment of the seventh bowl continues the practice of drawing the imagery of the final battle from the conflict with Gog and Magog (v. 14 note) by grouping together an earthquake, the overturning of the mountains, and hail, as in Ezek. 38:19–23. Hence it describes the divine plague-judgments accompanying the battle; a description of other aspects of the battle is delayed until 19:11–21 in keeping with the dramatic plan of Revelation.