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Just as God used the plagues to judge the Egyptians and deliver His people from bondage (Exodus 7–12), these plagues will help rescue God’s faithful servants.

16 Then I heard a great voice coming from the temple ordering the seven heavenly messengers.

A Voice: Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God upon the earth.

So the first messenger poured out his bowl onto the earth. When he did, a foul-smelling, painful sore broke out on each person who bore the mark of the beast and who worshiped its image.

The second messenger poured out his bowl into the sea. When he did, the waters became like the blood that spills from a dead body, and every living creature in the sea died.

The third messenger poured out his bowl into the rivers and springs of fresh water. When he did, they, too, became blood. And I heard the messenger over the waters speak.

Messenger over the Waters: You are just, O holy One who is and who was,
        for You have judged these things rightly.
    Because people shed the blood of the saints and prophets,
        You have given them blood to quench their thirst.
    They are deserving of these punishments.

God’s judgment is true and just. Violent people are thirsty for blood, so God gives it to them. Sometimes judgment means receiving what you desire.

And I heard a voice from the altar agree.

A Voice: Yes, Lord God, the All Powerful,
            true and right are Your judgments!

The fourth messenger poured out his bowl on the sun. When he did, the sun was permitted to blister people with its fire. The incredible heat of the sun burned their skin; but instead of rethinking their actions[a] and glorifying God, they cursed God’s name because He had the power to carry out these plagues.

10 The fifth messenger poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast. When he did, its kingdom was blanketed in darkness. People chewed on their tongues out of the depth of their agony. 11 Still they refused to change their wicked ways,[b] so they cursed the God of heaven because of their painful afflictions and ulcerous sores.

12 The sixth messenger poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates. When he did, the river dried up and became a road so that the kings from the east and their armies could make their way. 13 What I saw next troubled me deeply: three foul spirits like frogs appeared, belched from the mouth of the dragon, the mouth of the beast, and the mouth of the earth-beast. 14 These frogs are demonic spirits. As they go into the world, they perform miracles persuading the kings of the world to gather for the last battle on the great day of God, the All Powerful.

The dragon, beast, and earth-beast are an unholy trinity who send out demonic spirits. These spirits resemble frogs and remind the reader of the plague of frogs that invaded Egypt before the exodus. These foul spirits roam the world, persuading the kings of the earth to assemble together to do battle against God and His chosen.

A Voice: 15 See, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the person who watches and waits, dressed and ready to go, so as not to wander about naked, exposed to disgrace.

16 And the kings gathered at the place called Har-Magedon in Hebrew.

Har-Magedon means Mount Megiddo and is sometimes transliterated “Armageddon.” This refers to the battleground where the armies of the earth, led by the forces of evil, will assemble to mount their final attack against God. This place is often associated with the plain of Megiddo in northern Israel because the fertile land there has often been turned into fields of blood during gruesome battles. In a place like this, for one last time, evil will raise its ugly head against good.

17 Finally, the seventh messenger poured out his bowl into the air. When he did, a great voice came out of the temple, from the throne.

A Voice: It is accomplished!

18 At the sound of the voice, there were flashes of lightning, sounds of voices, rumblings of thunder, and tremors of an earthquake. In all of human history, there had never been an earthquake of this magnitude. 19 The great city was torn into three parts, and the cities of all the nations fell. God remembered the great city, Babylon, and made her drink the cup of His fury and wrath. 20 Every island sank into the ocean, and no mountains were left to be discovered. 21 And great hailstones, each weighing nearly 100 pounds, fell from the sky onto the people until they cursed God because the plague of hail was so severe.


  1. 16:9 Literally, repenting
  2. 16:11 Literally, repent

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