The Seventh Angel Poured Out His Bowl

and God said, "It is Done!"

16: 17-21

   DIG: When does this earthquake take place? How does it compare to other earthquakes in human history? What purpose will it serve?

   REFLECT: Do you believe that Jesus is coming back again? How has that belief changed the conduct of your life? Has it changed your urgency about winning the lost to Yeshua? He will come in the twinkling of an eye. When He comes, you do not want to have missed the opportunity to talk to a friend, or a loved one about Yeshua Messiah. What we do, we do today. Yes?

     The sixth and seventh bowl judgments are not in chronological order. They are like two bookends that describe the first and last stages of the Campaign of Armageddon. To see a summary of that Campaign, and where this tremendous earthquake fits into that context (see Ex – Stage Eight - The Victory Ascent Upon the Mount of Olives: The Eight Stage Campaign of Armageddon).

    As God preserved the Hebrews during the ten plagues on Egypt, He will again preserve a remnant from the city of Jerusalem during the second half of the Great Tribulation. How could the Jews survive there for 42 months without taking the mark of the beast? Without the ability to buy or sell? Just as the ravens brought Elijah bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening (First Kings 17:6), there will be sheep Gentiles who come to the aide of the Jews and provide help to God’s chosen people any way that they can. They will be the sheep Gentiles rewarded during the Seventy-Five Day Interval (see Fc – The Sheep and the Goats).

    The Word of God tells us that after the third stage of the Campaign of Armageddon, and the fall of Jerusalem by the antichrist and his hordes, half of the Jews will go into exile, but the rest of them will not be taken from the City. But before they can be executed, the antichrist, will turn to attack Bozrah, the fourth stage. As the believing remnant there acknowledges Christ as their Messiah and pleads for Him to return, there will be the national regeneration of Isra'el, the fifth stage.

    As the kingdoms of the world close in around the believing remnant in Bozrah (see my commentary on Isaiah Is - The Second Coming of Jesus Christ to Bozrah), the seventh angel will pour out his bowl into the air. Immediately a loud voice from the throne room out of the heavenly Temple says: It is done (16:17)! This is the second time we will hear Jesus say these words. When He hung upon the cross, He spoke the same exact words when He said: It is finished (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Lv – Jesus’ Second Three Hours on the Cross: The Wrath of God). It is one Greek word: Tetelestai, and it actually means paid in full. The perfect tense of the verb describes a completed action with ongoing results. With His solemn declaration, Jesus announces the climax of the final Day of ADONAI that will spread doom over the entire globe. God’s judgment of Christ on the cross offered salvation for repentant sinners; the judgment of the seventh bowl brings doom to unrepentant sinners.375

    Three times before John had heard flashes of lightening, rumblings, peals of thunder (4:5, 8:5 and 11:19) in heaven, just before the seal judgments, the trumpet judgments and the bowl judgments respectively. The seal and trumpet judgments had also ended with an earthquake. But the bowl judgments will be terminated with this unusually severe earthquake. In fact, it will be so tremendous that no earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on the earth (16:18). One of the major fault lines in the world, the African Rife system, runs from the heart of Africa, directly under the Dead Sea, up through the Jordan river valley, the Sea of Galilee and northward through Lebanon. Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives lies just 15 miles west of the Dead Sea. When the victorious feet of Jesus stand on the Mount of Olives there will be the largest earthquake in the history of the world. The great city of Jerusalem will split into three parts, one of those parts will be the Mount of Olives, and all the proud cities of the Gentile nations will collapse (16:19a). Of all the great cities of the world, only Jerusalem will be spared, but it will be changed significantly as we shall see.

    When the victorious Messiah returns to Jerusalem and His feet stand on the Mount of Olives, it will split it from the east to the west, forming a great valley (Zechariah 14:4). But Zechariah goes on to record another intriguing prophecy: On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and winter (Zechariah 14:8). Even though Mount Zion will be left unscathed by the severe earthquake, a great artesian spring will open up in the mountain, generating a large river (see my commentary on Isaiah Ge – Your Eyes Will See the King in His Beauty). It will evidently be the River of Life (22:1-6) that will flow from the millennial Temple (Ezekiel 47), with half flowing down from Jerusalem to the western sea (or the Mediterranean Sea) and half flowing down to the eastern sea (or the Dead Sea). Thus, while the tremendous earthquake will destroy other cities, God’s holy City will be made more beautiful than ever.376 And because the newly formed valley will provide a way of escape, the believing Jews of Jerusalem will be rescued following the deliverance of the Jews at Bozrah. However, the fate of Babylon will be diametrically different.

    God remembered Babylon the Great, the capitol of the beast’s empire, and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of His wrath (16:19b). We must remember that if ADONAI did not punish wickedness, there would be no such thing as holiness. This will lead to the final destruction of Babylon, detailed in Chapter 18:1-24.

    The whole surface of the earth will be changed because of the tremendous earthquake. Every island will sink below the water and the mountains will be leveled (16:20). The prophet Isaiah said: The earth will be broken up, split asunder and thoroughly shaken. It will reel like a drunkard, and will sway like a hut in the wind (Isaiah 24:19-20a). The net result of this will be that the trauma to the earth as a result of the Flood (Genesis 7) will be rectified with the Second Coming of Yeshua Messiah, and the beautiful pre-Flood world will be revived in the millennium.377

    Those who somehow escaped the devastation of the earthquake will face another catastrophe, unparalleled in all of human history. From the sky, huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail because the plague was so terrible (16:21). The seventh plague in Egypt during the days of Moses was hail mixed with fire (Exodus 9:18-25). It was directed against Nut, the female goddess of the sky. It was from her domain that plague came. In addition, Shu, the Egyptian supporter of the heavens who held up the sky and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture, seemed not to hear. Giant hail killed the Egyptian cattle in the fields and smashed down all their trees. This plague in the end times, however, will be much worse. The hailstones will weigh about a hundred pounds each and will hammer the earth with a vengeance. The heaviest hailstones ever recorded weighed about two pounds, but those gigantic chunks of ice will be fifty times heavier!378 So just as the gods of Egypt were unable to stop the plague of hail mixed with fire, so the antichrist will be unable to stop the seventh bowl of judgment.

    What effect will this have on mankind? Will people finally repent of their sins and avoid hell? No. For the third time in this chapter we read that they cursed God. This time it was on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible (16:21). It will be too late for them because their hearts will be hardened (Luke 16:31). They will have sold their soul to Satan and will be totally committed to the antichrist and his worldwide system of rebellion. As children of wrath, it will be as if they are begging to go to hell to be with their master rather than repenting and being with the Lamb. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 4:7).

 

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