23: Pouring Out of the Seven Bowls (Rev 15:1-16:21)
After the interlude of chapters
12-14, the book now picks up the temple scene of 11:19. The dragon’s futile
endeavor on earth and the Lamb’s triumph on MountZion
have prepared the way for the fulfillment of the final judgment already
declared in 11:14-18. The cries of the angels and the vision of the harvests in
chapter 14 lead us to the seven bowls that contain the seven last plagues. The
time has now come for God to
pour out His full wrath on the earth. It is in the bowl judgments
that God will complete His vengeful wrath.
“Then I saw another sign in
heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in
them the wrath of God is complete” (15:1).
“Behold, I am coming as a thief.
Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk
naked and they see his shame” (16:15).
Did You Know…?
1. Song of Moses (15:3): “See Ex 15; Dt
32. Ex 15:1-18 was sung on Sabbath evenings in the synagogue to celebrate Israel’s great deliverance from Egypt.” 13/1941
2. Tabernacle of the testimony (15:5): “The dwelling place of
God during the desert wandering of the Israelites (see Ex
40:34-35). It was so named because the ancient tent contained the two tablets
of the Testimony brought down from Mount Sinai (Ex 32:15; 38:21; Dt 10:5).” 13/1941
3. Armageddon (16:16): “Probably stands for the Har Mageddon, ‘the mountain of Megiddo.’” 13/1942 “Megiddo
and Taanach dominated the main pass that runs
northeast through the hill country from the plain of
Sharon to the Valley
Because of its strategic location, the ‘plain of Megiddo’ (2Ch 35:22) has been
a frequent battleground from the earliest times.” 13/334
4. Weight of a talent (16:21): about 100 pounds.
1. How does John describe the sign?
2. What feelings does the scene in verse 2 give you?
3a. Compare the song in verse 3 with Exodus 15:1-8. What is the
theme of the song of Moses and the Lamb? What does the song teach about God and
3b. Why is this song also called the song
of the Lamb?
3c. Who are the singers? Why?
3d. Describe a time in your life when you also praised and thank
God for His greatness and deliverance.
4. Why do you think God showed this vision to John before
showing him the angels with the last plagues?
5. Read 11:1,19; 14:15,17 for previous
references to the temple. Then read 15:5-16:1. Explain the role of the temple
in God’s acts of judgment, especially in the context of the last plagues.
6. Record your observations of the seven bowls on chart I.
7a. Compare the bowl judgments with the trumpet judgments in
8:1-9:21. What are the similarities?
7b. How are the bowl judgments more
severe than the trumpet judgments?
8. What type of people have to suffer
9a. What is the theme of the declarations
9b. Why are these declarations necessary?
10. What do men’s blasphemy and unrepentance
tell us about God’s justice in His judgments?
11. Considering that Euphrates marked the north-eastern boundary
of Israel (Gen 15:18) and
served as a natural barrier against enemies of the east such as Assyria and Babylon, what does the drying up of Euphrates
represent in the sixth bowl?
12a. What are the sources of the unclean
12b. What are their works?
12c. What does this tell us about the nature
of the battle in 14?
13. Explain the parenthetical statements in 15. Why are they
14. List the three parts to the seventh bowl. How is this judgment
the most severe of all?
15. What is the meaning of “It is done!”